Picton, Sir Thomas

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Picton, Sir Thomas (1758–1815). Soldier. Born in Pembrokeshire, he joined the army at 13, but was put on half-pay at the peace in 1783. In 1794 he volunteered for service in the West Indies and fought with distinction, being appointed governor of Trinidad, captured from the Spaniards, in 1797. Accusations of cruelty forced his resignation in 1803 and legal actions continued until 1810 when he was cleared on the grounds that Spanish law still operated. By that time he was in Portugal with Wellington and fought gallantly in the Peninsular campaign. In 1813 he was knighted and promoted lieutenant-general. As soon as Napoleon left Elba, Picton rejoined Wellington, was wounded at Quatre-Bras, but took his post at Waterloo two days later. He was killed by a bullet at the head of his men, roaring them on. There is a statue of Picton at Carmarthen and the top hat he wore at Waterloo is preserved at Sandhurst.

J. A. Cannon

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