Previous Lot Next Lot

Auction: 24001 - Orders, Decorations and Medals
Lot: 54

(x) The impressive 'Waterloo' C.B. attributed to Colonel D. Kelly, 73rd (Perthshire) Regiment of Foot and Assistant Quartermaster-General

On that famous day in June 1815, Kelly was personally commanded by the Duke of Wellington to take orders up to the 5th British Infantry Brigade when they had fallen into disorder; at that very moment its commander - Sir Colin Halkett - was wounded, and later in the day Kelly swiftly assumed command of his Regiment when all their Officers had been killed or wounded

The Most Honourable Order of the Bath, C.B. (Military) Companion’s breast Badge, 22 carat gold and enamel, hallmarks for London 1815, maker’s mark ‘IN’ for John Northam, complete with correct wide gold swivel-ring suspension and gold riband buckle, minor enamel loss to wreaths, good very fine

Dawson Kelly was the fifth son of Thomas Kelly of Armagh and joined the 47th Regiment of Foot as Ensign in 1800. Having served in the West Indies, he joined the 73rd Regiment of Foot as Major in 1811, being present throughout the campaign in Spain and Portugal. Kelly was appointed Assistant Quartermaster-General by the time of the Battle of Waterloo. His gallant 73rd were in the 5th Infantry Brigade, under the command of Sir Colin Halkett, who was wounded on four occasions that day. For the final wounding Halkett’s Brigade was in an advanced position, particularly since he had pushed forward his two right Regiments in support of the charge by Maitland’s Brigade of Guards; ‘and so great was the pressure upon it, in this exposed situation, that it fell into some confusion. The Duke observing this, said to some of his staff, “See what’s wrong there.” Major Dawson Kelly, of the Quarter-Master-General’s Department, immediately rode up to the Brigade, and while addressing himself to Sir Colin Halkett, the latter, at the instant, received a wound in the face, a ball passing through his mouth, and he was consequently obliged to retire to the rear.’

Such were the losses to the 73rd Regiment on that day, a Sergeant later in the day came to locate him, in order that he could ride to the fore and assume command. Kelly was duly rewarded with a C.B. and a Brevet Lieutenant-Colonelcy for his troubles. He went on Half-Pay in January 1818 and was given a Brevet Colonelcy in 1837, the same year in which he died at home in Dungannon.

Kelly is commemorated with a memorial in Armagh Cathedral, together with two of his gallant brothers.

The Armagh County Museum (ARMCM.9.1965) holds a portrait of Kelly, which was painted by Edouard Henri Théophile Pingret (1788–1875). It is interesting to note that painting displays his C.B. mounted on the same short riband as it appears today.

Subject to 5% tax on Hammer Price in addition to 20% VAT on Buyer’s Premium.

Sold for

Starting price