On January 11th 1727, the church of St Mary the Virgin at Westerham in Kent saw the baptism of the son of Colonel Edward Wolfe. This boy was to spend much of his childhood living in a large Tudor mansion in the town. Following his father into the army at the tender age of 14, he rose through the ranks, reaching the position of Major-General by the time he was 32.
At dawn today, 13th September back in 1759, he silently led his troops up the St Lawrence River, landing to the south west of the city of Québec. Scaling the cliff face, known as the Heights of Abraham, to the plateau above, the troops double-loaded their muskets and sent a volley into the French army, driving them back into the city.
In the short battle that followed, the French leader Marquis de Montcalm was killed – but the leader of the British Army was also mortally wounded. However, this leader, James Wolfe, lived long enough to hear that he had been successful, his last words upon hearing the news reported as being, “Do they run already? Then I die content.”
England has its own Heights of Abraham at Matlock Bath in Derbyshire. Named in 1786 after a supposed resemblance to those that Wolfe had scaled 27 years earlier, these at least have a cable car to get to the top!