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Auction: 24001 - Orders, Decorations and Medals
Lot: 21

(x) The Army of India Medal awarded to Private W. Smith, 14th Regiment of Foot, a veteran of the battles of Corunna and Waterloo who would surely have had the honour to wear his Waterloo Medal into action when his unit famously charged the breach at Bhurtpoor

Army of India 1799-1826, 1 clasp, Bhurtpoor (W. Smith, 14th Foot.), very fine

Two men of the name William Smith served with the 14th Regiment of Foot at the Battle of Corunna and lived to claim his Military General Service Medal. Smith thence went on to serve during the Waterloo campaign. The first Smith served in Captain Richard Adam's Company (Medal sold at Glendinning's, October 1913, £2-4-0) and the other in Captain William Betts's Company (Medal not known to market).

Their Regimental History gives more detail;

'On the 18th of June the Third Battalion of the 14th Regiment had the honour to take part in the memorable Battle of Waterloo, the character and importance of which engagement, distinguish it as the greatest event of the age, and mark it as the brightest era in the history of the British Army. The Battalion was composed of young soldiers, who had never before been under fire, but their bearing reflected honour on the corps to which they belonged. During the heat of the conflict, when in 1815 the thunder of cannon and musketry, the occasional explosion of caissons, the hissing of balls, shells, and grape shot, the clash of arms, the impetuous noise and shouts of the soldiery, produced a scene of carnage and confusion impossible to describe, a Staff Officer rode up to Lieutenant-Colonel Tidy, and directed him to form square; this was scarcely completed when the glittering arms of a Regiment of Cuirassiers were seen issuing from the smoke. The French horsemen paused for a moment at the sight of the scarlet uniforms of the 14th, and then turned to the right to attack a regiment of Brunswickers; but a volley from the Brunswick square repulsed the enemy, and Lieutenant-Colonel Tidy, with the view of giving confidence to the young soldiers of the 14th, drew their attention to the facility with which infantry could repulse cavalry. The French cuirassiers rallied, and appeared inclined to charge the 14th, but were intimidated by the steady and determined bearing of the Battalion.'

By the time of the storming of Bhurtpoor, he was still with the unit. On that famous day, it was recorded that their Commanding Officer gave the order that Waterloo veterans of the 14th Foot - each of whom wore his Waterloo Medal - would form the front ranks of the assault Column for the breach.

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