Thomas Picton was born in Pembrokeshire in 1756. He joined the army in 1771 seeing service in West Indies, Gibraltar and the American war of Independence, during which he rose through the ranks. He was appointed Governor of Trinidad in 1801, but he was unpopular and found himself charged with allowing the torture of prisoners. Although cleared of the chagres, he returned to England and later joined Wellington in Portugal as commander of the 3rd Division. He was an uncouth gentleman and Wellington described him as a ‘rough-mouthed devil’. Despite this all recognised his talent as a leader and a general.
At the end of the war he retired to Wales, but on hearing of Napoleon’s return to France, he travelled to the Netherlands to join Wellington. He commanded the 5th Division at the battle of Quatre Bras on the day before Waterloo and was wounded. He concealed this fact, fearing that he would be sent home and so led his division at the battle of Waterloo . This was to be a truly fatal mistake as while leading his men against the French advance, he was shot through the head.
His body was brought back to the UK for burial and a monument was erected to him by the government in St Paul’s Cathedral