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.