Orders, Decorations and Medals (1 December 1993)

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Date of Auction: 1st December 1993

Sold for £1,800

Estimate: £1,500 - £1,800

The important Peninsular campaign medal awarded to General R.S. Piper, Royal Engineers

MILITARY GENERAL SERVICE 1793-1814, 3 clasps, Badajoz, Nive, Toulouse (R.S. Piper, Lieut., Royal Engrs.) dark toned, nearly extremely fine and scarce


Robert Sloper Piper served as Subaltern in the execution of the Lines of Lisbon and Almeida from 1810-1812. From January 1812 to the conclusion of hostilities in 1815, he held command of a division of the Pontoon Train and equipped, organised and formed the three Pontoon Establishments that served with the Peninsular Army. He threw the bridges across the rivers Guadiana, Tagus, Bidassoa, Gave D’Oleron and Garronne; served in the trenches at the last siege of Badajoz, from the morning of the 18th to the 23rd of March, when the bridges of communication below the town being destroyed and sunk, was dispatched, by order of the commander of the forces, to re-establish and remain with them, passing shot, shell and ammunition during the nights, and provisions during the daytime, for the remainder of the operations. For his services at the passage of the Tagus in August 1812, he received the thanks of Sir Rowland Hill; he was present at the fording and forcing the passage of the Bidassoa and the latter part of the blockade of Pamplona; the battles of the 9th and 11th December 1813 at Bayonne, and the driving in of the enemy's Picquets at Toulouse in 1814, where he passed and repassed His Grace the Duke of Wellington and Staff across the Garronne during the action, from the right to the left bank of the river, on a fly-raft of three boats; and subsequently advancing to Mongiscard on the Canal Royal du Midi, proceeded thence to Bordeaux. Piper joined the Army in Flanders as 2nd Captain in March 1815, where he organised and equipped a Division of the Pontoon Train at Antwerp. He moved on to Paris in rear of the Prussians on the morning of the 19th June, and threw two bridges across the Seine on the right of the British position, the completion of which caused the enemy to retire his right flank. In 1816 Piper proceeded to the Island of Ceylon and was employed as Commanding Engineer in the Kandian Territory during the whole of the Insurrection in 1817 and 18. He received the personal thanks of Sir Robert Brownrigge for exertions under his command in the Kandian Provinces. Piper saw no further active service and retired on full pay in 1848 whilst a Lieutenant-Colonel. He rose to the rank of full General in 1868 and died at Brighton on 26 December 1873, aged 84 years.