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Captain John Vickery is the younger son of the third Viscount Saltash and is an officer in the 60th Rifles. He is played by Sharpie. His PB is Gaspard Ulliel.


Father: James Vickery, third Viscount Saltash

Mother: Charlotte Vickery (nee von Alfeld)

Older brother: Robert Vickery (b. 1782)

Younger sister: Emma Vickery (b. 1790)

Sister, Laura, (b 1787, d 1788)

Sister, Georgiana (b 1793, d 1795)

History and Childhood[]

John Vickery with his older brother Robert, as children, c. 1790

John Edward Vickery is the second son of James Vickery, third Viscount Saltash, and his wife Charlotte, and was born in 1785 at Fallbrooke House in Hampshire, the family's country residence. His childhood was a happy one spent roaming the estate in company with his older brother and younger sister. He also displayed a penchant for practical jokes at a young age, recalling fondly the time he placed a toad on the breakfast table.[1][2]

Like his brother, he went to school at Winchester, where he boarded despite the proximity of school and home. He displayed an acuity for languages and received a thorough grounding in the Classics.

John and Robert were close brothers, well-matched in sports.

"Oh, Robert is the more languid of the both of us - though that is not quite the right word. He is active enough in all the things that matter in the eyes of Society, after all. He is quite the man about Town, I believe, though not much given to adventure. We are both suited to our respective paths in life, at any rate. As for beating him, we are well-matched in fencing, but he is the better boxer. I did beat him in a swimming race once, across the lake in the park. It wasn't a wide lead, but it was a lead. No mean feat, either - he is two and a half years older than I am, and at fourteen, that is quite a big difference."[3]

Army Career[]

Once he left school, Vickery's uncle purchased a commission for him as an Ensign in the 45th Foot, where he began to display a skill for soldiering that has stood him in good stead. His father bought him a promotion to the 69th as a Lieutenant in 1804, shortly before his nineteenth birthday , before he transferred to the 5/60th in 1805 at the age of twenty.

Vickery received his promotion to Captain at Christmas 1808 due to his merits as an officer, and has settled down to become a good officer, confident and loyal. He enjoys the challenges that come with a detached command.

  • 1802: Ensign in the 45th, aged 17 (purchased)
  • 1804: Lieutenant in the 69th, aged 18 (purchased)
  • 1805: Lieutenant in the 60th, aged 20 (exchange)
  • 1808: Promoted Captain in the 60th, aged 23 (on merit)

Life as an Officer[]

Captain Vickery's signature

Vickery is still learning the ropes of commanding a Company, yet he has the confidence that comes from being brought up as a member of the aristocracy, coupled with a natural talent for soldiering. One of his darkest days came when his soldier-servant Gabriel Cotton was flogged for stealing a watch, although Vickery was convinced that Cotton did not steal it but could not convince the court-martial of that.[4]

More recently, Vickery found himself on the wrong end of a French cavalry squadron, which over-ran his Company, leading to the capture of the Second Division's baggage train and some of his men. Vickery himself escaped the skirmish alive but with a gash in his side and a concussion that has meant he does not remember the events of that day. [5][6]

Friends, Acquaintances and Subordinates[]

John Vickery, 5th Viscount Saltash, by Sir Thomas Lawrence, c. 1825

Captain Jonathan Padstowe, Exploring Officer

Captain Benjamin Blackwood, 2nd Foot Guards (Coldstream)

Captain Edward Torrington, Royal Engineers

Rifleman Gabriel Cotton

Rifleman Zachary Pye

Rifleman Friedrich Rottländer

Rifleman Brendan Burke

Mrs Maggie Cotton

Odds and Ends[]

He is a keen hunter, and prefers shooting to fishing.

His horses are called Brandy, Phoenix and Blossom. He also has a mule called Willow. His father sent him a gun-dog named Ajax. He has also recently acquired a springer spaniel puppy he has named Benjy, for Captain Benjamin Blackwood, a friend currently serving as Brigade Major, who was the one who found the puppy and brought him to Captain Vickery.

When at home, he is a member of Boodle's, as are his father and brother.

Memorable Quotes[]

Vickery in his campaign uniform

Vickery: "Knowing [Cotton], everything was probably packed this morning. Three times. I hope the tea's to your liking; he does make it overly strong sometimes."

Padstowe: "No, no, quite pleasant. I'm used to far stronger," He smiled again. "Usually laced with gunpowder."

Vickery: "I think that's the secret ingredient he can't believe officers should be allowed to have. He keeps his tea supply and mine apart religiously. Not to mention somehow obtaining sugar. He'll be most upset if I have to revert to the smouch he and his fellows drink, once on the march."[7]

"I'm not entirely convinced that swearing at the French is as effective as shooting at them." [8]

And not for the first time, Vickery suddenly had an image of Pye as an eager puppy in a Rifleman's jacket, wagging its tail at him. [9]

If Pye were a dog, he'd be wagging his tail so hard he'd probably be wagging it right off, Vickery thought, and had to try to think of something else, anything else, so that he wouldn't burst out laughing at the thought. [10]

"Well, that is a good start," Vickery acknowledged, blowing the steam off his tea, trying not to chuckle at Cotton's expression at the sight of his officer drinking smouch. "It's smouch, Cotton, it's as likely to kill me as it is to kill you." [11]

Vickery smiled as Rottländer returned, laden with various items, including a coat. He couldn't help raising an eyebrow at that. "I must admit to never having wool-flavoured stew before," he said. "It looks as though it would be rather indigestible." [12]

There was one problem with being in command - you couldn't go haring off yourself to have a look at something and leave the rest of your men to fend for themselves. - on responsibility [13]

"I doubt there is going be a way 'straight through'. It's not Bath, you know, all laid out with nice straight lines. Anywhere there isn't a house it's a path." - on fighting in Portuguese villages [14]

"Mind you, to be at war with the French is natural... To be at war with Paris is unthinkable!" [15]

General Picton was reported as being in a good temper last week, for only the second time this century... - Vickery's item suggestion for an army newspaper [16]

There was a reason that some Riflemen poked fun at the Guards' rigidity, Vickery thought inconsequentially, glancing at the rigid sentries outside the Colonel's tent. He was almost tempted to push one of them over, to see if he would go down like a ninepin. [17]

Vickery's eyebrow shot up. "Generally speaking, one takes one's jacket off before going in the water," he said, holding his hand to take the dripping piece of paper. ~ to Pye who has gone for a swim while fully clothed [18]

"Don't tell Mother, will you?" he said, somehow worried that his mother would come and fuss over him as she had done when he'd had the chickenpox or whatever it had been. She was nice, but she did fuss so. - A tired and concussed Captain Vickery, to Maggie [19]

"We were in front of you, Trooper," Vickery pointed out mildly. "Contrary to popular opinion, neither Captain Torrington nor I have eyes in the back of our heads to see what is happening behind us." ~ Vickery, after being informed that Willoughby and the other troopers thought he and Torrington had seen when their path diverged from the one they should have taken.[20]

"It is the sad duty of an umpire to be disliked by either side so, as I value both your friendships, I find I must respectfully decline the offer."- after being asked to act as umpire in a fencing match between Hunter and Torrington. [21]

"He seemed rather ... fractious at first, and then more surly than anything, in my opinion, but not malicious. But I would certainly feel more at ease if I could ascertain that it was only a momentary lapse, and not a symptom of a more general incompetence." "I must admit that I concur," Vickery replied. "He must be a very new Captain, I think?" ~ Edward Torrington and John Vickery, on Captain Fraser. [22]

"I was hoping to become better acquainted with him to help him to better understand the workings of the Army, however." - on Captain Fraser [23]

"It must take a prodigious talent to burn water," Vickery said, with a smile. "I have known a kettle boil dry before, but I have never yet come across anyone who could actually burn water."
He had another mouthful of stew. "I understand that cooking is mostly timing and knowing how long the various ingredients take to cook... although I am no great hand at cooking, myself. I think I could manage to boil an egg - should anybody wish to eat one that is as hard as brass, that is." [24]

Then there was THIS exchange:

"I fail to see how half-drowning three captains could possibly be any improvement on half-drowning two captains," Vickery said, taking a seat and crossing one leg over the other. "In fact, my not being half-drowned has to be of some benefit as my man has not had to look out two dry sets of clothing instead of one."

He accepted the offered cup of tea and blew the steam off, though he did not taste it right away; it was likely to be hot enough to burn his mouth.

"I could say that it would have been even funnier, but I get the feeling you won't agree with me." Hunter shifted on his feet settling into a more comfortable position.

"The blame would be more easily shared," Torrington deadpanned. "And it was an accident suffered in the name of duty! We were striving to improve our fencing skills - and surely three officers doing so would be better than only two?"

"It only requires two participants to fence," Vickery replied. "Although I must say that it does seem as though a third pair of eyes may have spotted the river before you fell in. It is quite a large body of water for this part of the world, after all." [25]

"You will also miss having soup spilled in your lap. Or some dandified fool looking down his long nose at you because your neck-cloth is not tied so fancily as to prevent you from turning your head and so tightly as to prevent you from breathing." - comparing dining experiences in England and in Spain [26]

"Bloody cavalry. Why not put the horses in charge? They might have a scrap of sense between them if they did." ~ on the cavalry, after the Scots Greys blundered into a British picquet and were fired on. [27]

"Would anyone care to tell me precisely how Rifleman Newbury got here from the surgeon's care?" he asked, looking around, his words clipped and precise. "I presume somebody must know, after all. Unless he sprouted wings and flew here in his sleep." - asking how Newbury made his sudden appearance [28]

"Good afternoon, Private. I hope you don't think that we Rifles expect such deference as a matter of course. A simple salute is enough to satisfy even the most particular Rifle officer." - Vickery to Christian who had just tumbled down a hill to end up literally at Vickery's feet[29]

"I believe I would prefer to travel the rest of the way in your fair company, ma'am. I'm quite sure Captain Vickery and I will find another, more suitable setting to test our riding prowess against each other."
While he kept his voice polite and conversational, the last was said with a decided twinkle in his eyes, and he quickly glanced over to Vickery.
Vickery replied with a nod and a quick grin at Torrington. "We shall. I think the terrain hereabout is perhaps not the... most conducive to a good race."
Edward raised an eyebrow at Vickery. "Shall I keep an eye open during my mapping endeavours for a more suitable one, you think? Or should we find a neutral to set the course?"
"Well, it would be more... sporting... for a third party to set the course. But as you are a gentleman, I am sure I can trust you to set a fair course... although I ought to ride it with you so that you do not have an unfair advantage in knowing the terrain," Vickery replied, smiling.
"Then may I ask you to join me for a bottle of port tonight and we discuss the requirements of the course?" He smiled wryly. "Why do I have a feeling we should each have a second to negotiate these things for us?"
Vickery raised an eyebrow in his turn. "That would be an interesting turn of events. And quite a precedence - choose your weapon, swords, pistols or horses?" He chuckled. "It would be my pleasure to join you this evening, Captain. Seconds or otherwise." [30]

Referenced Threads[]

  1. Story: 'Mr Toad Comes to Breakfast'
  2. "Dinner at Vickery's"
  3. Once More Unto the Breach
  4. "Cotton on Trial"
  5. "Rifles on Retreat"
  6. "Wounded in Action"
  7. With 3 Coy 5/60th Rifles,
  8. Time for Tea,
  9. Time For Tea;
  10. Time For Tea;
  11. Returning With Gifts,
  12. Returning With Gifts,
  13. Afternoon, Sixth Day on the March,
  14. Pombal,
  15. The Tocsin of the Soul: The Dinner Bell,
  16. The Tocsin of the Soul: The Dinner Bell,
  17. Prisoners,
  18. After the Swim,
  19. Wounded in Action,
  20. Building Bridges of Humanity,
  21. Having Dinner With the Engineer,
  22. A Booming Morning,
  23. A Booming Morning,
  24. Dinner With the Rifle Officers,
  25. Having Dinner With the Engineer,
  26. The Tocsin of the Soul: the Dinner Bell,
  27. Between the Picquet and the Dawn,
  28. Visitors at Dawn,
  29. The Prisoners Return,
  30. Building Bridges of Humanity,