Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (19 - 21 June 2013)

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Date of Auction: 19th - 21st June 2013

Sold for £7,200

Estimate: £5,000 - £6,000

The unique Peninsula War medal awarded to Lieutenant-Colonel Philip Dorville, C.B., 1st Royal Dragoons, who succeeded to the command of the regiment at Waterloo, where he led two squadrons in a charge that resulted in the capture of the French eagle of the 105th Regiment

Military General Service 1793-1814, 2 clasps, Sahagun & Benevente, Fuentes D’Onor (Phil. Dorville, Lt. Col. 1st Dgns.) contemporary engraved correction to rank from ‘Lieut.’, good very fine and a unique clasp combination £5000-600


Ex Ridsdale Collection, Spink May 1978.

Philip Dorville was born in about 1774 and was first commissioned as a Cornet in the 1st Royal Dragoons on 5 February 1795. He was promoted to Lieutenant in October 1796, and to Captain in July 1797. After service with the Royal Dragoons in England and Ireland he was appointed, in 1807, as Brigade Major to the Cavalry in Dublin under Major-General Slade. He served on the Staff with the cavalry under Lord Paget (later Marquis of Anglesea) during the campaign of 1808-09, including the actions of Sahagun and Benevente.

Dorville served with the 1st Royal Dragoons in the subsequent campaigns of 1809, 10, 11, 12, and 13, including the actions of Redhina, Sabugal, Fuentes d’Onor, and Aldea de Ponte; also the various affairs of out-posts during the different advances and retreats, viz. at Frexadas, where ‘he immediately charged with his two squadrons and, not only routed the enemy’s cavalry, but also drove the infantry off the field’, Nave d’Aver, Llera and others. At Llera he saved his squadron when attacked by a whole brigade of French cavalry, which attempted to surprise them.

Promoted by commission to Major in the 1st Dragoons in 1811, he became Lieutenant-Colonel by brevet in June 1814. Dorville was second-in-command of the 1st Royal Dragoons at Waterloo, and commanded the two squadrons of the 1st Dragoons ‘which rushed into the second column of of the enemy, consisting of about 4,000 men, and after a desperate fight returned with a French eagle.’ In this gallant charge Colonel Dorville had the scabbard of his sword shot away, and a bullet passed through the breast of his coat. He had three horses shot under him.

On the death of Sir William Ponsonby the command of the ‘Union Brigade’ devolved on Colonel Muter, of the 6th Dragoons, who, being soon after wounded, was replaced by Colonel Clifton, of the 1st Dragoons, and Colonel Dorville succeeded to the command of the Regiment. Dorville was made a C.B. for his services at Waterloo.

He married Miss Dewar, of Clapham, and left at his death, 10 November 1847, three daughters, who bequeathed the High Croft Estate at Malvern to their cousin, Admiral Dorville, the late possessor, the last male representative of an ancient family, on every page of whose eventful career in the navy the word “Hero” is plainly visible.

Sold with research including a photograph of a modern painting by Jim Dann, of Dorville and the 1st Royals in the act of charging at Waterloo.