Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (5 July 2011)

Date of Auction: 5th July 2011

Sold for £6,000

Estimate: £3,500 - £4,000

Military General Service 1793-1814, 12 clasps, Talavera, Busaco, Albuhera, Badajoz, Salamanca, Vittoria, Pyrenees, St. Sebastian, Nivelle, Nive, Orthes, Toulouse (John Reay, Serjt., R. Arty.) edge bruising to reverse, good very fine


John Reay was born in Lowtherston, Co. Fermanagh. He enlisted into the Royal Artillery Drivers at Enniskillien on 3 May 1803, aged 15 years. He joined the Army in the Peninsula in 1809. Served in Captain Baynes Brigade at the battles of Talavera and Oporto, 1809; with Captain Thompson’s Brigade at the battle of Busaco, 1810; with Captain Retberg’s Brigade, German Artillery, at the battle of Albuhera, 1811; with Captain Cairn’s Brigade at the battle of Vittoria, 1812; was Orderly to Colonel Framingham at the capture of Badajoz and the battle of Salamanca, 1812; and was attached to the Pontoon Train at the capture of St. Sebastian and later battles. His papers state that he was ‘with the Army with the Pontoon Train in France from 1815 to 1818.’ He was discharged from the Corps of Royal Artillery Drivers at Woolwich on 30 November 1818, being placed on the Pension List.

The published M.G.S. roll records, ‘A Dvr Jn. Rey on Waterloo Roll of A Tp HA’. Service at Waterloo is not recorded in his service papers but in a hand-written reference given by Major Fyldon, R.E., 13 October 1815, he writes that ‘Sergt. John Wreay Corps of R.A. Drivers has served with the Pontoon Train under my command since the month of May 1815 during which time he has conducted himself perfectly to my satisfaction, particularly when in charge of Dutch Drivers, where he showed himself to be an active, steady & intelligent N.C. Officer.’

Sold with original (repaired) Service Certificate and Discharge Certificate - on both he is referred to as ‘John Reay’ but on the former he signs himself ‘John Wreay’. Also with a hand-written ‘Memoranda of the Services of Serjt. John Wray, R.A. Driver’, dated Woolwich, 12th Novr. 1818. - listing his services and commanding officers in the Peninsula and France; together with seven other hand-written references of Serjeant Reay’s service given by various officers (his name variously spelt).