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Auction: 18002 - Orders, Decorations and Medals
Lot: 26

Waterloo 1815 (Bury Bridge, 1st Reg. Dragoon Guards.), with original steel clip and replacement ring suspension, minor edge bruises, nearly extremely fine

Gray Collection, 1908.
Glendining's, October 1950.

Bury Bridge served as a Trooper in the 1st (King's) Dragoon Guards, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel W. Fuller. With 32 officers and 555 men, the 1st Dragoon Guards were the largest British heavy cavalry regiment at Waterloo. They were brigaded with the Household Cavalry under Major-General Lord Edward Somerset, and helped to cover Wellington's retreat from Quatre Bras on 17 June. That night Wellington redeployed his army on the ridge of Mont St. Jean, 11 miles south of Brussels, with the village of Waterloo as his Headquarters. He positioned Somerset's Brigade on the reverse slope just west of the Brussels-Charleroi road.

When Napoleon launched his main infantry attack at 1.30 p.m. the following day, consisting of D'Erlon's Corps, he sent Milhaud's Corps of Cuirassiers (armoured heavy cavalry) in support. The French Cuirassiers advanced to the left of the Allied-held farmhouse of La Haye Sainte, catching the Hanoverian Luneberg Battalion in line and annihilating it almost to a man. The Cuirassiers were armed with extra-long sabres which enabled them to thrust at wounded men lying on the ground without leaving the saddle.

Just when Wellington's centre appeared to be crumbling, Lord Uxbridge, commander of the Allied Cavalry Corps, ordered both brigades of British Heavy Cavalry to charge. While Ponsonby's Union Brigade (including the famous 'Scots Greys') made for D'Erlon's infantry, Somerset's Household Brigade engaged Milhaud's Cuirassiers. The Cuirassiers' longer sabres gave them a considerable advantage against their British counterparts, who did not wear cuirasses. Somerset's Brigade was also heavily outnumbered. Despite these handicaps, the British troopers succeeded in routing the Cuirassiers and saving Wellington's position. Somerset's Brigade suffered appalling casualties in this action, the 1st Dragoon Guards losing 7 officers and 37 men killed, 4 officers and 100 men wounded. A further 124 men were 'missing'.

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