'Crimean Hero’ - Major-General George Wynell Mayow
The life and history of Major-General George Wynell Mayow and his connections to Clipston
Grave of Major-General George Wynell Mayow, All Saints Church
Tuesday 5 June 2018 saw the re-dedication of the grave in Clipston churchyard, that of Major-General George Wynell Mayow, who lived in Clipston and took part in ‘The Charge of the Light Brigade’.
He returned to the village in 1856 to a tremendous welcome and dinner on the village green. He died on New Year’s day at the age of 64 and was buried in Clipston churchyard on 8 Jan. 1873.
Over the years his grave had fallen into a poor state and thanks to the efforts of Alex Pegram and the late Laurie Anderson, enough money was raised to renovate the grave, including just over £100 being raised by the village school.
But what do we know of the man who rests in our churchyard?
George Wynell-Mayow was born in London on the 31st of August 1808, the son of Philip Wynell Mayow, of Bray, near Looe, Cornwall, a solicitor in the Excise Department, and his wife Jane Elizabeth, daughter of General Charles Deare, of Bray.
He studied at Hampstead School, and then at Trinity College, Cambridge c.1824-6.
Two of his brothers were clergymen.
He married Jane Elizabeth Kyle on 14 August 1842 in Dublin, 3rd daughter. of the Rt. Rev. Samuel Kyle, Bishop of Cork. She passed away in June 1848 in London, at the age of 31. They had only been married 5 years.
(Image of George Wynell-Mayow as a younger man kindly provide by Mr Jerry Ohlson)
Military Career 1825-1867
Cornet, 4th Dragoons, June 9, 1825; Lieut., 1830; Capt., 1835; Major, 1846; Lieut.-Col., 1854; Colonel, 1859. Served in the Crimea, 1854-6. Deputy Quarter-Master General, Dublin. Major-Gen., Mar. 6, 1868. C.B., 1867. Companion of Bath
Major-General George Wynell Mayow From the 1862 Army List: Colonel Mayow served throughout the Eastern Campaign of 1854-55, first as Brigade Major of the Light Cavalry Brigade to 19th Dec. 1854, including the affairs of Bulganac and McKenzie’s Farm, and battles of Alma, Balaklava, and Inkerman, and afterwards from the 20th Dec. to the end of the War as Assist. Qr. Master General of the Cavalry Division, including the night attack on the Russian outposts on 19th Feb. 1855, battle of the Tchernaya, and the siege and fall of Sebastopol.
Lieut-Col Mayow, 4th Dragoon Guards was Brigade-Major to the Light Brigade in the Crimea. He'd left his sick bed to be present with the Brigade at Balaclava and rode in the charge.
He will always be remembered for his courageous actions in leading men at the infamous ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’, at Balaklava during the Crimean war with Russia.
But, what was the Crimean war and where is Balaklava?
Crimean War (Oct 1853-Feb 1856)
Started when Czar Nicholas sent Russian troops to occupy Turkey’s Danubian principalities. When the Sultan’s demands to withdraw were rejected, the Ottoman Empire declared war on Russia. Fearing the consequences of a resurgent Russia, France and Britain followed suit and declared war on Russia on March 27, 1854.
A small town, Balaklava nestled beside a narrow arm of the Black Sea. The inlet was surrounded by a series of massive hills, towering peaks so large they blocked the view of the sea and made the waterway seem more like an inland lake. In any event, because Balaklava was the main British supply base, its maintenance was of the utmost importance.
Editor’s Note: Crimea has been fought over - and changed hands - many times in its history. The most recent event was when the Crimean peninsula was annexed from Ukraine by the Russian Federation in February–March 2014.
Charge of the Light Brigade: The Battle of Balaklava October 25, 1854
War fought mainly on the Crimean Peninsula between the Russians and the British, French, and Ottoman Turkish, with support from January 1855 by the army of Sardinia-Piedmont. The war arose from the conflict of great powers in the Middle East and was more directly caused by Russian demands to exercise protection over the Orthodox subjects of the Ottoman sultan. Another major factor was the dispute between Russia and France over the privileges of the Russian Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches in the holy places in Palestine.
When Lt. Col. Lord George Paget rose early in the morning of October 25, 1854, he had no inkling of, as he later put it, “the day’s work in store for us.” Paget was part of an Anglo-French expeditionary force now besieging the Russian naval base at Sevastopol on the Crimean peninsula. Lord George was also brevet colonel and the head of the 4th Light Dragoons.
The booming report of cannons echoed through the gray-tinged dawn, the gradually fading sound soon followed by a succession of other cannon reports. These salvoes were the first shots in what would become known to history as the Battle of Balaklava.
Only 37 of the 145 17th Lancers Remained: Led by Lt. Col. George Wynell Mayow
...The audacious little band of lancers had run into a wall of Cossacks, forcing their retreat. Nevertheless, all seemed lost. Then the lancers heard a voice coming to them from a distance, crying “Seventeenth! Seventeenth! This way! This way!” It was Lt. Col. (and Brigade Major) George Wynell Mayow, and they thankfully rallied on him. Mayow took what remained of the 17th and the 13th Light Dragoons—about 12 men remained of that regiment—and they cut their way through to British lines...
The Bloody Battle of Balaklava’s End
The Light Brigade was shattered, but authorities do not agree on the casualty figures. Of the 673 men who charged, 110 were killed, including at least seven who later died of wounds. Some 130 were wounded, and around 58 were taken prisoner. This amounts to a casualty figure of about 45 percent. Somewhere between 300 and 500 horses were lost, or had to be put down. The Charge of the Light Brigade proper lasted perhaps seven or eight minutes
In any event, the Battle of Balaklava was over, but the Crimean War went on. There were more battles ahead, and more hardships for long-suffering British troops. Sevastopol finally fell in 1855, and the Russian government sued for peace in 1856 .
Crimean Military Awards to Major Mayow
Crimean medal with clasps for Alma, Balaclava, Inkerman and Sebastopol, the Turkish Medal, Order of the Medjidie, 4th Class, Chevalier (Knight) of the Legion of Honour (5th Class), and the Sardinian War Medal. The citation for this stated: "Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel George Wynell Mayow, (Unattached) Served as a Staff Officer to the Cavalry in the campaign of 1854-55 and was present at the battles of the Alma, Balaclava, Inkerman and the Siege of Sebastopol." Below are shown the awards to Major-General George Wynell Mayow, ‘Medal and Clasp, Knight of the Legion of Honour, Sardinian and Turkish Medals, and 4th Class of the Medjidie’. He was later nominated a Companion of the Bath.
|Les insignes de chevalier de l'Ordre National de la Légion d'Honneur||Sardinian/Turkish
Crimean War Medal
|Order of the
"The Return of the Major", ‘Northampton Herald’ 16 August 1856
Reported Major-General George Wynell Mayow returning home to Clipston from the Crimean wars. It said:
‘On the determination of war, the inhabitants of the village gave General Mayow a great reception. He was literally brought home on the shoulders of the men of the village. A sumptuous dinner was held on the green. The tables extended along the main road, and to this dinner every villager was invited. On that occasion, General Mayow gave a speech recounting his experiences and horrors of the Crimean war’. [see his speech below]
Major Mayow’s speech to Clipston, 16 August 1856
“...came to the battle of Balaclava. All did their best; the Dragoons rode as none but the Englishmen could ride (cheers) and the Russian cavalry dare not face them. The battle of Inkerman was the most decisive and important, and shewed the superiority of our men. Having regained the ridge, it had been asked why the storming of Sebastopol was not undertaken the next day, but our generals had other considerations to take into account. Some would, perhaps, have gone on, but the strength of their forces after the battle contrasted with the probable strength in the town, seemed inadequate to the generals: if they failed, all their flags and guns would be lost, and it was thought too great a risk to run for the honour of England. I myself thought so but it was not for me to judge.
After this battle, the winter set in, and the sufferings of the army were severe. However, their hearts were in the right place, and they knew that their countrymen would support them hand and heart. The siege promised to be as protracted as the ten years siege of Troy, but I was determined that nothing but death should prevent me seeing it out. (Cheers). The taking of Sebastopol, however, was at length effected, and of the circumstances attending it, you are doubtless fully aware.
The assault on the Mamelon by the French was the grandest sight I have seen,- Englishmen walked to the assault, but, in this case, immediately their rockets fired, the French started off and ran over the intervening space, about a hundred yards, at the top of their speed, returning no shot, and, rushing on impetuously and irresistibly, carried the parapet. I noticed one chef de battalion several yards in advance; he was first over the parapet, but almost instantly met his death for the honour of France. In four and a half minutes the parapet was carried. I also saw the Malakhof stormed.
Like Nineveh, Sebastopol was reduced to a city of ruins. The practice of the artillery had been almost perfect, and the Russians had since acknowledged that the firing was so terrific that they lost thousands of men a day, and must have given in in a few days from sheer loss of life. (Cheers).
No old soldier would wish for war with the worst horrors of it so recently before his eyes, but should the services of the army be again required, I have no doubt it would be found valiantly doing its duty. (Cheers).
In conclusion I would say that diverse as the scenes I have witnessed in my absence have been, I have seen nothing so pleasant to my eye as the green hills and fertile plains of Clipston. (Cheers)”.
Death of the Major, 1 January 1873
He died at the age of 64, fell dead from his horse when riding across a grass field at Misterton, Leicestershire, while out on a run with the Pytchley Hunt. The cause of death was said by a medical man who was on the spot to have been from "Heart disease".
Extract from the Market Harborough Advertiser, 7th of January 1873: "Sudden Death in the Hunting Field"
"On Wednesday, January 1st, General Mayow, of Clipston, was out hunting with the Pytchley hounds. Upon approaching a brook near to Gilmorton (between the village and Lutterworth) and conversing with some other gentlemen he suddenly fell from his horse, as was supposed, in a fit. Medical attendance was at once procured but it was found that the vital spark of life had fled. His body was at once conveyed to Clipston.
The deceased's brother is the rector* of Clipston, the Revd. M.W. Mayow. General Mayow, who was one of the heroes of the Balaclava Charge, was a brave soldier and rider to hounds. He was very much respected in the hunting-field and by all his friends and brother officers."
Editor’s Note: The rector* at All Saints Church 1867-1883 was Edmund Thompson, and the burial record below shows that he carried out the service. However, it may have been one of the deceased brothers was at the service as well. At the time of his death, one brother Mayow Wynell Mayow (1810–1895) was the Rector of South Heighton near Tarring Neville, Newhaven and the other, Philip Wynell Mayow (1813–1890) was the vicar of Easton, Wells, Somerset.,
|Clipston Burial Record 1873||Clergy Lists 1897|
Major General George Wynell Mayow 1808-1873: Restored grave June 2018
MAJOR GENERAL GEORGE WYNELL MAYOW
OF BRAY, CORNWALL, AND OF CLIPSTON C.B.
KNIGHT OF THE LEGION OF HONOUR, LATE O.Q.M. GENERAL IN IRELAND
AND TO THE CAVALRY DIVISION IN THE CRIMEA, 1854-55,
ALMA, LIGHT CALVARY CHARGE BALAKLAVA AND INKERMAN
BORN 31ST AUG 1808, DIED 1ST JAN 1873
“AND NOW LORD, WHAT IS MY HOPE, TRULY MY HOPE IS EVEN IN THEE”
The web editors of this article on ‘Clipston Connections’ would like to extend our thanks to Philip Boys for the excellent photo of the Major and additional background information. To find out more about the lives of the officers and men of the Light Brigade who fought in the Crimean War 1854-1856, go to: http://www.chargeofthelightbrigade.com/
We hope you have enjoyed learning a bit more about our local ‘Crimean Hero’, there are still a lot of things we do not know;
i) The ‘Northampton Herald’ 16 Aug 1856 reported that he was returning to Clipston, where was he before that date?
ii) Why did he come to Clipston, did he have connections here?
iii) What other involvement in Clipston did he have during his 17 years here?
If you can add or correct information (or have additional photographs, documents etc.) please contact the web editors by Email: email@example.com