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52nd (Oxfordshire) Regiment of Foot Important Officer's Waterloo Medal & Hallmarked Silver Shoulder Belt Plate worn at Waterloo..
A rare opportunity to acquire a piece of history actually worn at the Battle of Waterloo, the 52nd being instrumental in winning the Battle by routing Napoleon's famous Imperial Guard (Garde Impériale) . A splendid pair, the Waterloo Medal impressed "QUAR. MAST. BEN. SWEETEN. 1st. BATT. 52nd REG. FOOT." Small edge knock at 8 o'clock otherwise excellent ... together with his rare 1813 hallmarked silver shoulder belt plate which he is believed to have been wearing at the Battle of Waterloo. The rectangular plate is mounted with a crowned laurel wreath in which rests an oval strap inscribed "Oxfordshire Regiment"; to the centre LII over a strung bugle. Reverse retains original hooks and studs and is complete with its original chamois leather lining.
Quarter Master Benjamin Sweeten was a long serving member of the 52nd who was appointed to this rank on the 22nd April 1813, the hallmark year of the silver shoulder belt plate. He is confirmed on the Waterloo medal roll and there can be no doubt that her wore this plate on the field of Waterloo on that fateful day. Whilst serving in the ranks he was present with the Regiment during the Peninsula Campaign and the Regimental history states he was present at the actions of Vittoria, Pyrenees, Action above Vera, Nivelle, Nive, Orthes, Tarbes and Toulouse. He died in 1832 and therefore no Military General Service Medal was awarded. In 1816 he was placed on the Half Pay List. Returning to his native Barnard Castle he became Landlord of the Waterloo Inn. This old warrior now rests in a family plot in St. Mary's Church, Barnard Castle. His gravestone inscribed ""Here lie deposited the remains of Benjamin SWEETEN late Quartermaster His Majesty's Fifty Second Light Infantry Regiment and husband of Sarah SWEETEN his surviving and disconsolate widow who in return for the great years of happiness she enjoyed during their union caused this stone to be erected as a tribute of love and affection to his departed worth. He ceased to be mortal at Barnard Castle December 13th 1832 in the sixty third year of his age."
To quote from http://waterloocommittee.org.uk excellent article by Nigel Sale :
The 52nd was the middle of the three battalions of General Adam’s Light Brigade. On the 52nd’s left was the 2nd/95th, the Rifle Brigade, and on its right the 71st of Foot, the Highland Light Infantry. Adam’s Brigade stood immediately to the right of 3rd/1st Guards.
Colonel Colborne, commanding the 52nd, had watched the Garde form up and approach. Recognising the seriousness of the threat and acting entirely on his own initiative, he ordered two companies forward as skirmishers to delay the advancing French, while he led the rest of the 52nd some three to four hundred yards down the forward slope and wheeled them to a position parallel with the Garde column. Only Peninsular veterans, such as the 52nd, could have been trusted to carry out such a manoeuvre. General Adam dashed up and asked what Colborne intended to do: he received a suitably succinct reply. The 52nd then advanced, fired a volley on the move, and went in with the bayonet. The Garde battalions, caught by surprise, nevertheless managed to return fire and caused about 140 casualties to the 52nd, but then wavered and broke. All, bar perhaps the tail-end two or three battalions, fled in panic. Their panic, maintained by the energetic pursuit, spread instantly to almost the entire French Army, which fled the field in complete disorder. Many present noted a sudden inexplicable silence when the firing ceased.
That is how the French Army was defeated, according to William Leeke, Ensign in the 52nd and carrying the Regimental Colour. But if any doubt about the 52nd’s terminal effect on Napoleon’s hopes still lingers, there are at least three French accounts that confirm Leeke’s evidence. All three attribute defeat to the attack on the Garde’s left flank; one account correctly names the 52ndRegiment. Another describes how ‘At the end of the day, a charge directed against their flank…put them in disorder….a complete panic at once spread itself throughout the whole field of battle…In an instant the whole army was nothing but a mass of confusion…
What happened next was crucially important both to the success of the 52nd and to proving the truth about the 52nd’s feat of arms.
In a move that can only be described as tactically inspired, Colborne did not advance straight towards the French Lines leaving French troops in force behind him but, instead, led his Regiment half way across the battlefield roughly in parallel with the Allied Line, threatening the flanks of other attacking units and, thus, sweeping the French away to the south, their line of retreat. As the 52nd reached the road that ran through the centre of the British line, at a point just south of the farm called La Haye Sainte, Colborne halted to straighten his formation before turning south to continue his pursuit.
At this moment the Duke of Wellington, Lord Uxbridge and a staff officer galloped up, having left the Allied Line several hundred yards behind them. “Well done Colborne, well done!” cried the Duke, “Go on, don’t let them rally”.
Code: 50211Price: 14500.00 GBP