Friday, 24 September 2010

Hanoverian Waterloo Medal

The Hanoverian medal was instituted by the Prince Regent for award to survivors from Hanover to all ranks who served at the battles of Ligny, Quatre Bras and Waterloo 16th-18th June 1815.

The Medal was made of Silver and was 34.5 mm in Diameter. It was fitted with a steel ring and clip. The ribbon was crimson with dark blue edging.

The front shows the Bust of Prince George III facing right with the words – GEORG PRINZ REGENT 1815. On the reverse it has Laurels, standards with the words– HANNOVERSCHER TAPFERKEIT WATERLOO JUN XVIII. On the edge of this medal is impressed with details of the recipient. A total of 11,000 were made.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Brunswick Waterloo Medal

Authorised by the Prince Regent for the Battle of Quatre Bras and Waterloo the medal was issued to the contingent for the Dutchy of Brunswick.

The medal is made of Bronze and was 35 mm in diameter. The ribbon was gold yellow and pale blue striped. The front shows the Duke’s head who was mortally wounded on the 16th June 1815 at Quatre Bras. On the edging would be the recipient’s name. On the reverse side is a Loral reef with the date 1815 in the middle. A total of 6,000 were awarded to those who took part.

The 'Black Brunswickers' participated in many of the Napoleonic campaigns including Peninsular War.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Marshals and Generals


Prince Frederick William, Duke of Brunswick

Born: 1771 Brunswick, Germany

Died: 1815 Quatre Bras, Belgium

RANK: Lieutenant General

Prince Frederick William-Wolfenbuttel was born on 9 October 1771 in Braunschweig as the fourth son to Charles William Fredinand, Duke of Brunswick-Luneburg, and Princess Augusta of Great Britain.

Not much is known of the Prince early life or education but he joined the Prussian Army in 1789 as a captain and fought in battles against Revolutionary France.
On November 1802, in Karlsruhe, Frederick William married Princess Marie Elisabeth of Baden, daughter of Charles Louis, Hereditary Prince of Baden. The couple had three children before Marie died of puerperal fever four days after giving birth to a stillborn daughter on the 20 April 1808.

In 1805 after his uncle, Frederick Augustus, Duke of Olesnica had died and having no offspring, Frederick William inherited the Duchy of Olesnica.
In October 1806, Frederick William took part in the Battle of Jena-Auerstadt as a major general of the Prussian Army, to which his father was the field marshal. In this battle his father died from his wound he received and Frederick William inherited Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel, as his eldest brother had died childless two months earlier. His other two brothers were mentally retarded.
After the defeat of Prussian in the Fourth Coalition, his state remained under the control of France, and was formally made part of the short-lived Napoleonic Kingdom of Westphalia in 1807. Frederick William fled to his in-laws in Bruchsal in the Grand Duchy of Baden, which had remained a sovereign state with the dissolution of the Holly Roman Empire in 1806 by Francis II, where he lived for the next few years.
In 1809 when the War of the Fifth Coalition broke out, Frederick William used this opportunity to create a corps of partisans with the support of the Austrian Empire.
This new corps was called the Black Brunswickers because they wore black uniforms and adopted the skull-and-crossbones as his badge in mourning of their occupied country. The Duke then became known as "Der Schwarzer Herog" The Black Duke. He financed this corps from his own pocket by mortgaging his property in Oels, and made his way from Austrian Bohemia through the French-allied states of Saxony and Westphalia to the North Sea coast.

Frederick William briefly managed to retake control of the city of Braunschweig in August 1809, which gained him status of a local folk hero. He then fled to England to join forces with his brother-in-law, later to be King George IV. His corps of originally 2,300 men was largely destroyed in battles in Spain and Portugal during the Peninsular war.

In December 1813, Frederick William returned to Braunschweig, after Prussia had ended French domination in Braunschweig-Luneburg. When Napoleon returned to France in 1815, Frederick William raised fresh troops including Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery for the Hundred Days campaign. The Brunswick corps was organised in two Infantry brigades, an advance guard of light Infantry, one battery of foot and one horse artillery, one regiment of Hussars and a squadron of Uhlans (lancers).

On the 16 June 1815 at 3.30 pm, Frederick William arrived at Quatre Bras and was immediately pushed forward into Bossu wood. Around the same time Lieutenant General Reille’s 16,000 Frenchmen began to advance. In their densely packed columns the French moved forward using the Charleroi to Brussels road as their axis. Opposing them was the Prince of Orange's 7,000 and the newly arrived 6,000 men of the Brunswick Corps. After a long fight, the Brunswickers were pushed back in some disorder. The Duke himself led a charge with his Uhlan squadron to cover the withdrawal of his men. While trying to rally one of his Infantry battalions the Duke was shot through the body and was killed by a musket-ball aged just 43. The Brunswick corps suffered 1,500 casualties.

The British Army nicknamed them the "Death and Glory Men"

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Waterloo Medal

The Waterloo Medal was awarded to all rank and file of the British Army who took part in one or more of the battles at Ligny (16th June) Quatre Bras (16th June) and the Battle of Waterloo (18th June 1815).
The medal was issued from 1816-17 to every solider present at one or more of these battles. They were also credited with two extra years’ service, to count for all purposes.

The medal was made of silver and was 37 mm wide. On the front of the medal bears a effigy of the Prince Regent’s head with the inscription ‘GEORGE P. REGENT’, and on the reverse side is a engraving of the seated figure of Victory with the words ‘WELLINGTON’ and ‘WATERLOO’ with the date ‘JUNE 1815’ at the bottom. All of the lettering was in large impressed Roman capitals, with stars at the beginning and end of the naming. The medal had a steel clip and ring, which was always prone to rust. The ribbon was of crimson, with blue edges.

A total of 39,000 were awarded. Out of these 6000 were issued to Cavalry, 4000 to Guards, 16000 to line Regiments and 5000 to Artillery. In addition to the supply personal, 6,500 were awarded to the contingent of the Kings German Legion.

This was the first medal to be issued by the British Government to all soldiers who were present at any of the three battles. The Waterloo Medal was also the first campaign medal to be awarded to the next-of-kin of the men killed in action.

It was also the very first medal to have the recipient’s name engraved around the edge by machine.

On Saturday 26th September a rare Waterloo medal is to be sold for charity. The medal belonged to Sergeant James Draffen of the 2nd Battalion Grenadier Guards. It has been in his family for more than 180 years. It is expected to sell at between £2,500 and £3,000 when it goes under the hammer. The money will go to Help for Heroes charity.