This week, the tale of General James Wolfe — soldier, hero and father of 13 illegitimate kids. You may have seen his statue at the top of Greenwich Hill.
“General James Wolfe was a battle-hardened war veteran, a fearless hero in everyone’s eyes. Well almost everyone.. his work colleauges started to wonder if there was actually something wrong with him…”
Watch the video and enjoy the London song inspired by this tale, ‘The Cause & The Cure’.
You won’t find courage on my list of credentials. Far be it from me to rush into a burning house or throw myself into a river. I find it hard enough to muster the backbone to complain about the quality of my mochaccino, which more often than not taste like it’s been coughed up from the bottom of the River Ganges.
But General James Wolfe was a real man’s man. Standing at 6 foot two – a giant in those days- with flaming red hair, he threw himself into combat at only 14 years of age seeing action from Flanders to the Scottish Highlands.
During this time Wolfe developed a reputation, not just as capable commander but as a man of courage, a true hero. He once refused to kill an enemy claiming his ‘honour was worth more than his commission’.
In 1759 he was dispatched to Quebec to lead the British assault and his heroics continued. I say heroics but his colleagues started to question this, suspecting instead a brain disorder, claiming he was mad. The King’s response? ‘Mad is he? Well I hope he’ll bite some of my other generals!’
James Wolfe caught three bullets in the chest that same year and died in Canada, becoming a national hero superseded only by Admiral Nelson some time later.
However on his death rumours started circulating of a thwarted adolescent love affair with a Greenwich neighbour named Elizabeth Lawson. An affair much against the wishes of his parents. When James Wolfe heard of her engagement to another it sent him nuts, as well is to numerous trips to London bawdy houses and into the arms of a homosexual relationship.He cared little for life thereafter.
But don’t feel too sorry for him. He’s still got a statue in his honour on Greenwich Hill and seeded 13 kids to an Essex hooker.