FORBES, JOHN [SSNE 4332]

Surname
FORBES
First name
JOHN, JOHAN

Text source

John Forbes, Baron of Pittachie, was a son of Arthur, 9/10th Lord Forbes and his wife Jean, daughter of Lord Alexander Elphinstone. He joined the Swedish army in 1628 and served throughout the 1630s. Also in Swedish service were his brothers Alexander, Master of Forbes [SSNE 1616], William [SSNE 2262], Arthur [SSNE 2226] and James [SSNE 3881]. They also had an illigitimate half-brother, Major John Forbes [SSNE 2243], and both men apparently served in the Swedish army at the same time. This John Forbes was badly wounded at the battle of Nordlingen in 1634, and it was probably he who the author of "The Modern Hostory" noted as being captured during that battle, though he was apparently able to escape. He later served in the Army of Westphalia under Alexander Leslie [SSNE 1] at Wittstock and then went under Leslie’s command to Minden. There he served as lieutenant-colonel in his brother's regiment. According to some sources he died at Hageburg and was buried at Minden after the Swedes attacked the Imperial troops of Colonel Don Philippo de Carrasco on 9/19 April 1638. However, this might equally have been his half-brother of the same name with whom he is often confused in sources. Other sources have him alive in England after the Restoration of 1660 when he and Lord Forbes petitioned Charles II asking for relief. It was probably this man whom Charles I reccomended for service with the Emperor of Persia on 2 December 1635, noting that John, son of the Earl of Forbes in Scotland had seen service in the late European wars. The recommendation is reprinted in 'The House of Forbes', p.201.

According to Svenska Riksrådets Protokoll, vol. 7, p.524, a Scots officer listed as Jonas Forbus was amongst a group of Scottish officers who had approached the Riksråd but did not have a pass to do so. However, the Queen intervened to help them with their issue, probably concerning their return to Scotland to join the Covenanting army. If it was this man, then he either re-enlisted in Sweden after Persian service, or never actually got accepted into Persian service and returned to Sweden soon after 1635. 

The Modern History of the World. Or An Historical Relation of the most memorable passages in Germany, and else-where, since the beginning of this present Yeere 1635 (London, 1635), A3; De La Gardiska Archivet, ed. P. Wieselgren, part 9 (Lund, 1837), p.64; Swedish Krigsarkiv, Muster Roll, 1624/8, 1625/3,5,6, 1626/3-9, 1629/22, 1629/11,14,16,18-20; 1630/22-25, 28-30; 1631/12-15; T. Fischer, The Scots in Sweden (Edinburgh, 1907); A. and H. Tayler, The House of Forbes (revised edition, Bruceton Mills, 1987), pp.168, 200-201. 

Thanks to Dr Bernd Warlich for the following German language sources: Detlev PLEISS, Das Kriegstagebuch des schwedischen Offiziers William Forbes: Von seiner Landung an der Unterelbe im Sommer 1634 bis zu seiner Rückkehr nach Stade im Winter 1649/50, in: Stader Jahrbuch Neue Folge 85, (1995), pp.135-153, p.152; Hans SCHLOTTER/Hans-Werner SCHNEIDER/Heinrich-Jobst UBBELOHDE (ed.), Acta bellorum Hildesiensium. Tagebuch des Dr. Conrad Jordan von 1614 bis 1659 (Hildesheim), p. 283.

Service record

SWEDEN, ARMY
Departed 1634-12-31, as COLONEL
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
PERSIA, PERSIA
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY
SWEDEN, ALEXANDER LESLIE
Capacity OFFICER, purpose MILITARY