Jean Galiffe is the most decorated officer of the Peninsular war, with a total of 15 battle Honours to his name.
Jean Galiffe originally served in the Swiss army as a Lieutenant, before joining the Dutch service in 1794. He then transferred into British service joining the York Rangers in 1796, and in the following year joined the newly raised 5th Battalion of the 60th Regiment (Rifles).
Galiffe was wounded at Talavera, and had at first been reported killed at Salamanca, where he received no less than five wounds. Some other sources state that he was also wounded at Rolica, Vittoria and Toulouse. From the beginning of the campaign of 1813 until the end of the war in 1814, he commanded the 5th Battalion, and in March 1814 was given the brevet rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. At the end of the war he took the remnant of the Riflemen back to Ireland.
It is stated that ‘John Galiffe’s brilliant conduct in command of the light troops of Picton’s Fighting Third Division, called forth the applause of that distinguished general and the admiration of his brothers-in-arms.’
In Wellington’s Supplementary Despatch, Vol. VIII, he is mentioned in laudatory terms as leading the advance of the 3rd Division at the battle of Nivelle. Galiffe also commanded the battalion at Vittoria, the Pyrenees, the Nive, Orthes and Toulouse, but was awarded no gold clasp for either the Pyrenees or the Nive; nor did he get one for Albuhera, although being the senior Rifle Officer present.
During the ‘Hundred Days’ Galiffe was in Switzerland and was given command of a Swiss regiment, but whether it was engaged on active service is not known.
He was nominated a Companion of the Bath on the 4th June 1815, and In 1819, Galiffe was given the military command of Halifax, and afterwards of the Bermudas, from 1821 to 1824.
After leaving the Bermudas he finally held the command, for a short period, of Berbice, in British Guyana. In 1825 he was appointed to the command of the 2nd Battalion of the 60th, but retired six months later. He resided in Geneva until his death on the 21st November 1847.
He died without seeing the Silver Medal given that same year, but Queen Victoria sent it with a kind letter to his widow.
The modern day re-enactment group is very proud to have close links with his 4x great grandson, a direct descendant, who lives in nearby Stratford. Much information and sources have been shared about Jean, and we are very proud to maintain this unique link.
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