Date added: 5 May 2015
Jan-Willem Pieneman’s painting of the Battle of Waterloo above shows Captain Clark holding the Eagle aloft on the left hand side.
My Great-Great-Great-Great Grandfather, Captain Alexander Kennedy Clark (later Lieutenant-General Alexander Clark-Kennedy) of the Royal Dragoons fought at the Battle of Waterloo. During the Battle, two French Eagles (the standards around which the French troops rallied) were captured and these two events were credited with playing a strong role in reducing French morale and therefore on the outcome of the battle. The Eagle of the 45th Regiment was captured by Sergeant Ewart of the Scots Greys, and Captain Clark captured the Eagle of the 105th Regiment. The Household Cavalry, which is the successor of the Royal Dragoons, has the Eagle today and is very proud of the role their Captain Clark played in the Battle of Waterloo. The story is, however, not without an element of controversy. Having spotted the Eagle, Captain Clark ordered his Squadron to “Attack the Colour” and led the Squadron forward, running the Officer carrying the Eagle through with his sword when he reached him. The Eagle fell in such a way that it landed across the neck of his horse and he was unable to grab it fully. He called out “Secure the Colour, Secure the Colour! It belongs to me” and one of his Squadron, a Corporal Styles across whose horse the Eagle had also fallen, took hold of the Eagle and handed it to Captain Clark. Captain Clark attempted to break it in order to secure the top part inside his jacket, but was unable to do so. Corporate Styles implored him not to break it and instead Captain Clark said “Very well, carry it to the rear as fast as you can. It belongs to me.” As Corporate Styles left, he looked back to see Captain Clark surrounded by the enemy and, presuming that he would not survive the battle, claimed on his return to the allied lines that he had captured the Eagle himself. However, Captain Clark did survive, although he was wounded, and he had to assert his counter-claim to the Eagle from his hospital bed. Eventually his version of events was accepted and he was credited with the capture of the Eagle of the 105th Regiment du Ligne.