Opened in 1829 by Tom Evans, The Oxford Blue has heroic origins.
Joining the Royal Regiment of Horse Guards (The Blues) in 1800, at just 19 years old, Tom was stationed at Northampton before moving Windsor with the Blues. Meeting his sweetheart there in Windsor, Tom would march from the barracks over the open fields to see her – Miss Jane Broughton.
Soon enough, Tom and the Blues were sent to battle. Travelling to Portugal in 1812, and joining the Battle of Vittoria in 1813. In the following year, and in the final stint away from Windsor, Tom and the Blues fought at the conclusion of the Peninsular War. After the victory, Tom eagerly returning home to his love, Jane. His homecoming was not as to be imagined for such a decorated veteran. Eating heartily while away, Tom had put on a few pounds, and Jane was first to comment – but was not the last.
In 1815, the Blues were called to Belgium, to the Battle of Waterloo – all except for Tom, he was too fat. After offering himself as a volunteer, Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Robert Chamber Hill decided that trouper Tom should be reinstated on the regimental roll.
Tom the Hero
During the battle of Waterloo, Sir Robert, already injured from battle, fell out in-front of the troops. Cut off from his regiment and surrounded by five Cuirassiers (French Cavalry), his future seemed short. At that moment, a lone trouper saw his Colonel in trouble and gallantly charged his way through the chaos of the battle to help his troubled commanding officer. This lone trooper was Tom Evans.
Four of the Cuirassiers who surrounded Sir Robert fell to Tom’s sword, the fifth Cuirassier was struck twice. The first hit shattered Tom’s sword. Swinging again, Tom pummeled the final Cuirassier until the hilt and the blade were separate. Unlike so many others, Tom and his Colonel lived to see home again.
Parading in 1816, upon return to Windsor and the Cavalry barracks (now Combermere Barracks), Colonel Hill acknowledged his debt to the valiant, old soldier – Tom. In the following year, Jane joints Tom’s story – marrying on July 4th. Another year went by, and at the age of 39, Tom ended his service with The Oxford Blues, and moved north to the Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire Cavalry as a Drill Instructor.
Nine years on, now 1829, Jane he grew homesick for the Berkshire landscape in which they had courted. Retiring that year, Tom and his family wandered home to Windsor, where he opened The Oxford Blue.
Tom fought his last great battle on 17th January, 1859, and aged 78, he was laid to rest with military honors in OId Windsor churchyard, leaving behind a widow, 3 sons, a daughter, and a legacy for us all – The Oxford Blue.