Orders, Decorations and Medals (19 & 20 March 2008)

Date of Auction: 19th & 20th March 2008

Sold for £1,100

Estimate: £700 - £900

Military General Service 1793-1814, 1 clasp, Salamanca (W. Belshaw, 3rd Foot Guards) original riband, edge bruise, good very fine £700-900


William Belshaw, from Wigan, Lancashire, enlisted in the 3rd Foot Guards in July 1811, aged 21 years, following four years service in the Lancashire Militia.

At Salamanca, on 22 July 1812, the 1/3rd Foot Guards were in General H. Campbell’s 1st Division, in Fermor’s Brigade, along with the 1/Coldstream and one company of the 5/60th. The main body of the Battalion was never called into action, but the light company of the 3rd in which Belshaw was serving, along with the light company of the Coldstream, was involved in fierce fighting against French voltigeurs, the skirmishing line of Maucune’s Division, as both sides fought for possession of the village of Los Arapiles. Houses on the outskirts of Los Arapiles changed hands several times but at the end of day remained with the British.

The 3rd Guards sustained losses of one killed and 21 men wounded, among the latter being William Belshaw. He was duly discharged in consequence of ‘having lost his left leg above the knee at Salamanca’ (WO 116 refers), and was awarded a pension of 1/- a day. He died in Wigan on 18 June 1866.