Mary Beacock Fryer is a well-known expert on Upper Canadian history. She has written a trilogy on the Simcoe family: Elizabeth Posthuma Simcoe: A Biography, Our Young Soldier: Lieutenant Francis Simcoe, 6 June 1791-6 April 1812, and John Graves Simcoe: 1752-1806, A Biography. Among Fryer's other books are Escape, Beginning Again, and Buckskin Pimpernel.
Our Young Soldier
Francis Simcoe was the eldest son of John Graves Simcoe and Elizabeth Gwillim. his father is celebrated as the first lieutenant governor of Upper Canada; his mother for her Canadian diary and watercolour sketches. Francis was one year old when his family arrived at Newark (Niagara-on-the-Lake) in 1792, and almost six when they returned to England.
Letters written by his mother, sisters, and himself reveal his childhood at Eton. At sixteen, he was an ensign in the 27th Inniskilling Regiment. From the beginning of his military career, he kept journals and wrote many letters preserved by the family. His service began in ireland and ended under Wellington - he died leading a storming party in the Trinidad breach at Badajoz, Spain, a thoroughly bloody, costly battle in the Peninsular war.
The army had lost a talented young officer. As a warrior, Francis possessed the qualities that had carried his father from ensign to lieutenant general. Letters and journals disclose a soldier who was also an intelligent, loving human being. Of special interest are Francis’ associates who spent time in Canada - the Duek of Richmond, Edward Littlehales, James Kempt, and Julia Somerville (more than a friend?) who became Mrs. Francis Bond Head four years after young Simcoe’s death.
"Good reading and good history providing a window on an interesting aspect of our nation's past. Those concerned with either military or Canadian history will find it a most enjoyable book."