Date added: 7 Apr 2015
Major Clement Swetenham (16th Dragoons) is my 3x great grandfather. He served in the Peninsula campaign (Busaco, Fuentes d'Onoro, Salamanca, Vittoria) as well as Quatre Bras and Waterloo.
Attached is a copy of the letter he wrote from the battlefield the morning after which was also published in the Times in 1931. It tells a very human story. Interestingly he then married Eleanor Buchanan the sister of his friend he mentions in the letter and who’s death affected him so much. We presume Clement and Eleanor fell for each other when Clement went to return Buchanan’s effects to Buchanan’s mother – possibly because Eleanor would have then had no financial support and he felt a sense of responsibility. I have copies of a number of letters Eleanor later wrote to Clement when they were married that show how very close they became.
I have never managed to track down the original copy of the Waterloo letter so it would be wonderful if, by the story becoming public via Waterloo200, the owner might come forward. We suspect it was kept by Clement’s daughter who became a Reade.
Attached is a picture of Clement Swetenham wearing his Waterloo medal. Also pictures of his mount and his medals. With the exception of Clement's son, the subsequent four generations of Swetenhams including myself served in the Royal Scots Greys.
His grandson (Foster Swetenham, my great grandfather) served in the Boer War and is thought to be the first British officer killed in the Great War. He was commanding C Squadron the Royal Scots Greys at the time during the Retreat from Mons. Earlier that morning he had saved the life of Paul Maze their French interpreter and later great painter who became a great friend of Winston Churchill and taught him how to paint.
My grandfather Brigadier John (Teddy) Swetenham commanded the Greys and became Colonel of the Regiment.
My father Foster was Adjutant and I commanded B Squadron.
I have also attached pictures of Somerford Booths Hall near Congleton in Cheshire, where Clement and 28 generations of our ancestors (originally Saxon invaders) were born and died over a period of 900 years.I hope this is of help and anything Waterloo200 could do to help track down the original copy of the letter would be wonderful.
Submitted by Jeremy Swetenham