The irrepressible Johnny

Sir, – Michael Donnellan (January 20th), responding to Frank McNally's Irishman's Diary (January 18th) regarding soldier and dramatist Sir John Burgoyne, tells us that "Gentleman Johnny" was one of the founders and first president of the (Irish) Civil Engineers' Society, established in 1835.

Gentleman Johnny did indeed have a colourful career, eloping with the daughter of the Earl of Derby, introducing light cavalry into the British army, living the high life, collaborating with Richard Brinsley Sheridan, inspiring George Bernard Shaw, and of course losing the Battle of Saratoga in 1776.

I doubt, however, if even the irrepressible Johnny could return 43 years after his death to engage with the founders of an engineering society. I suspect that honour lay with John Fox Burgoyne, Gentleman Johnny’s son with his mistress Susan Caulfield. – Yours, etc,



Greystones, Co Wicklow.