Orders, Decorations and Medals (12 May 2015)

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Date of Auction: 12th May 2015

Sold for £5,000

Estimate: £5,000 - £6,000

The Waterloo Medal awarded to Captain James Day, Royal Horse Artillery, who was three times wounded during his service with the historic ‘Chestnut Troop’

Waterloo 1815 (Lieut. James Day, Royal Horse Artillery.) fitted with contemporary silver clip and hinged bar suspension, small edge bruises, otherwise toned good very fine £5000-6000


Only 6 Waterloo Medals to officers in the 'Chestnut Troop' although, of these, Lieutenant Richard Hardinge was not present on 18th June.

James Day entered the Royal Horse Artillery as 2nd Lieutenant on 10 June 1807, becoming 1st Lieutenant on 1 February 1808. He served initially in 'M' troop, R.H.A., until he was transferred to 'A' troop, under Captain, later Field-Marshal, Sir Hew Ross. This, the 'Chestnut Troop' was probably the most distinguished of all troops that served in the Peninsula, where it was attached to the Light Division, and at Waterloo.

James Day was wounded at the siege of St. Sebastian and severely wounded at Nivelle. ‘I must particularly notice,’ wrote Colonel Dickson after the battle, ‘the gallant manner in which Lieut.-Colonel Ross’s troop was moved to an advanced position, when it reopened its fire at the distance of 350 yards from the work, and covered the approach of the others. In this operation Lieutenant Day was severely wounded.’

At Waterloo Ross's troop took post on the height immediately in the rear of La Haye Sainte, with two pieces, under Lieutenants James Day and Phipps Onslow, on the Charleroi road behind the sandpit. These, with four foreign batteries were the artillery of the first line. However, the troop proved inadequate for the defence of La Haye Sainte, which was alternately held by friend or foe, the troop retiring to the right or rear of the farm as circumstances required, and Major Beane’s troop was ordered up from reserve.

Both these troops were most hotly engaged, as is evidenced by the casualties amongst the officers. Major Beane was struck by a cannon-ball which completely ploughed him up the middle; Captain Webber, the second in command, was wounded, and Lieutenant Cromie had both legs taken off by one shot. Of Ross’s troop, Captain Parker and Lieutenant Day were wounded.

James Day retired on half pay on 3 February 1820, and was promoted to 2nd Captain on 6 November 1827. He died in Jersey on 1 August 1842, and is buried in St Saviour’s Churchyard, St Helier, Jersey, Channel Islands.