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Thomas Thetcher | by Hexagoneye Photography
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Thomas Thetcher

In Memory of

Thomas Thetcher

a Grenadier in the North Reg. of Hants Militia, who died of a violent Fever contracted by drinking Small Beer when hot the 12 May 1764. Aged 26 Years. In grateful remembrance of whose universal good will towards his Comrades, this Stone is placed here at their expence, as a small testimony of their regard and concern.

 

Here sleeps in peace a Hampshire Grenadier,

Who caught his death by drinking cold small Beer,

Soldiers be wise from his untimely fall

And when ye're hot drink Strong or none at all.

 

This memorial being decay'd was restor'd by the Officers of the Garrison A.D. 1781.

 

An Honest Soldier never is forgot

Whether he die by Musket or by Pot.

 

The Stone was replaced by the North Hants Militia when disembodied at Winchester, on 26 April 1802, in consequence of the original Stone being destroyed.

And again replaced by The Royal Hampshire Regiment 1966.

 

Bill W., author of Alcoholics Anonymous, misquotes the gravestone on the first page, writing:

We landed in England. I visited Winchester Cathedral. Much moved, I wandered outside. My attention was caught by a doggerel on an old tombstone: 'Here lies a Hampshire Grenadier / Who caught his death / Drinking cold small beer. / A good soldier is ne'er forgot / Whether he dieth by musket / Or by Pot.'"

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Taken on June 23, 2012