Sir Richard Fletcher
Died: 31 Aug, 1813
Field: Soldier; engineer
Location in the Abbey: Nave
Type of memorial: Plaque
Type of material: Marble

Lieut.Colonel Sir Richard Fletcher, chief engineer to the Duke of Wellington in the Peninsular war, has a white marble memorial in the north west tower of Westminster Abbey, at the west end of the nave. It shows two young men in uniform and cloaks in front of a tomb from which hangs a medallion with a portrait relief. The sculptor was Edward Hodges Baily who applied to the Dean of Westminster to erect it in 1829. It is a little difficult to see. The inscription reads:

Erected by the Corps of Royal Engineers to the memory of Lieut.Colonel Sir Richard Fletcher, Knt. and Baronet, who, after highly distinguished services as commanding Royal Engineer with the army under the Duke of Wellington in the Peninsular War, was killed at the storming of Saint Sebastian in the 45th year of his age.

He was born in 1768, a son of the Revd. R.Fletcher and joined the army in 1782. While serving in the West Indies he was wounded in an action on St Lucia. He commanded the Royal Engineers at Dominica. In 1796 he married Elizabeth Mudge and they had two sons (Richard John becoming 2nd Baronet) and three daughters. After promotion he travelled to Turkey and survived a shipwreck. He went on to Syria and Cyprus helping to construct defences. For his work in Egypt he received a gold medal from the sultan, after being held prisoner by the French. In 1808 he went to the Peninsular and to Lisbon on the staff of General Sir Arthur Wellesley who became Duke of Wellington. He saw action in Spain and Portugal and at the battle of Talavera and directed siege operations at Badajoz, again being wounded. He was awarded the Portuguese Order of the Tower and the Sword and in 1812 was created a baronet. His grave is on the heights of San Bartolome near where he was killed on 31 August 1813.

A photo of the monument can be purchased from Westminster Abbey Library.

Further Reading

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography 2004

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