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Waterloo Campaign Medal 2

So it was, that the second Waterloo commemorative medal the Master of the Mint was asked to create was a bronze medal to every participant in the battles of Ligny, Quatre Bras and Waterloo. Wellesley Pole hoped the medal would "be expressive of the Services of our own Troops and Commander" and asked the members of the Royal Academy to submit designs. However he soon withdrew the commission as the Mint's Chief Engraver, Thomas Wyon had created a design based on an ancient Greek coin showing Nike, the goddess of Victory. Production of the bronze medal was well underway when the Prince Regent decided that the medal instead be minted in silver.

In the end, 37,500 Waterloo campaign medals were struck and sent to Horse Guards for distribution to the relevant corps and regiments. Not only veterans, but also the next of kin of those who were killed or died of their wounds were originally intended to received a medal. But, in the end, this did not happen and the medals of the deceased were returned to Horse Guards. A few relatives of the fallen did request medals and these requests were sent, along with a medal from Horse Guards, to the Royal Mint for impressing with the recipient's name.

The medal was not without its problems and detractors. It was originally suspended from a large heavy steel ring, which quickly rusted and marked the uniforms of those wearing it.

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More significantly, the creation of a medal for the Waterloo campaign drew criticism form the veterans of the Peninsular campaign. They were aggrieved, perhaps rightly, that those present at Waterloo - many of whom were raw recruits - should receive such a public accolade when their own achievements through seven years of war had garnered then no recognition beyond the thirteen votes of thanks given to them in Parliament.

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