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British Waterloo Medal

Royal Green Jackets (Rifles) Museum Online Book
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Date added: 31 Mar 2017

British Waterloo Medal 1815

The Waterloo Medal was awarded to any soldier of the British Army (including members of the King's German Legion) who took part in one or more of the following battles: Battle of Ligny (16 June 1815), Battle of Quatre Bras (16 June 1815), and the Battle of Waterloo (18 June 1815). At the start of the campaign there were 39,244 British & KGL troops.

This is the first medal issued by the British Government to all soldiers present at a series of battles in a campaign; it was equally awarded to the next-of-kin of men killed in action.

The medal was issued in 1816–17 to every soldier present at one or more of these battles. They were also credited with two years extra service and pay, to count for all purposes. The soldier was known and described as a 'Waterloo Man'. The obverse of this medal bears the effigy of the Prince Regent with the inscription 'GEORGE P. REGENT', while the reverse depicts the seated figure of Victory with the words 'WELLINGTON' and 'WATERLOO' below and the date 'JUNE 15 1815'. The ribbon passes through a large iron ring on top of the medal. The medal is made of silver and is 37mm wide. The medals were stamped along the edge with the rank (above Private), name and unit of the recipient. The ribbon was crimson with dark blue edges.

A total of 37,500 were struck but not all were issued.

The following were awarded to the RGJ antecedent regiments :
52nd Regiment             1,111
1/95th Regiment             570
2/95th Regiment             632
3/95th Regiment             205

The museum holds these numbers in its collection:
52nd Regiment                 69
95th Regiment                  43

At the time the granting of this medal, it was anything but popular in the British Army. The veterans of the Peninsula War feeling aggrieved that those who were present at Waterloo -many of them raw recruits, who had never seen a shot fired before - should receive such a public acknowledgement of their achievements. While they, who had undergone the labours and privations of the whole war, had had no recognition of their services beyond the thirteen votes of thanks awarded to them in Parliament.

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