Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (11 & 12 December 2019)

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Date of Auction: 11th & 12th December 2019

Sold for £38,000

Estimate: £20,000 - £30,000

The celebrated trio of Peninsula War medals awarded to the Hardy brothers of the 7th Fusiliers, the provenance of which can be traced back to the Lord Cheylesmore Collection of 1880:

Sergeant-Major John Hardy, who was wounded at the battles of Albuhera and Salamanca, distinguished himself at Badajos by fetching Colonel Spottiswode out of the breach, and was a Volunteer at the storming of St Sebastian - Sir Edward Blakeney ‘has often declared that I and my two brothers, who served with me in the same corps, were three of the bravest soldiers in the army’
Military General Service 1793-1814, 14 clasps, Martinique, Talavera, Busaco, Albuhera, Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajoz, Salamanca, Vittoria, Pyrenees, St. Sebastian, Nivelle, Nive, Orthes, Toulouse (J. Hardy, Serjt. 7th Foot.) suspension claw re-fixed and two replacement rivets, edge bruising and contact marks, otherwise good fine and extremely rare

Corporal Peter Hardy, who was wounded in the neck at the capture of Martinique, twice by musket balls in the leg and thigh at the battle of Albuhera, and again in the arm at the battle of Salamanca - ‘he has always conducted himself in the most gallant manner in the field’
Military General Service 1793-1814, 13 clasps, Martinique, Busaco, Albuhera, Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajoz, Salamanca, Vittoria, Pyrenees, St. Sebastian, Nivelle, Nive, Orthes, Toulouse (Peter Hardy, Corpl. 7th Foot.) light edge bruising and contact marks, otherwise very fine

Private James Hardy, the first of the three brothers to enlist and whose health upon discharge in 1824 was ‘much impaired by hard services’
Military General Service 1793-1814, 13 clasps, Martinique, Busaco, Albuhera, Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajoz, Salamanca, Vittoria, Pyrenees, St. Sebastian, Nivelle, Nive, Orthes, Toulouse (James Hardy, 7th Foot.) two edge bruises and some light marks in both fields, otherwise good very fine (3) £20,000-£30,000


Provenance: Eaton (later Lord Cheylesmore) Collection 1880; Cheylesmore Collection, Glendining’s, July 1930; later in the collections of Professor A. Leyland Robinson and John J. Barnett; Sotheby’s, November 1980; Glendining’s, December 1990.

The medals of both James and Peter Hardy, each carrying 13 clasps, were previously in the Stewart Mackenzie of Seaforth Collection (often referred to as the Seaforth Collection) of 1870. It is assumed that Lieutenant-Colonel H. F. Eaton then acquired these two medals to reunite the three brothers as shown in his printed catalogue of 1880. They have remained together ever since. The medal rolls only confirm these two men with 11 clasps, neither apparently entitled to clasps for Nivelle or Nive. The top carriage of Peter Hardy’s medal is mounted with four clasps. The medal roll confirms Sergeant John Hardy with all 14 clasps, one of only 12 M.G.S. medals issued with 14 clasps. The M.G.S. medals of John and James Hardy were each paired with a re-engraved Waterloo medal when sold in the Cheylesmore Collection at Glendining’s in 1930, but neither man is so entitled.

Sold with copied discharge papers for all three brothers.

John Hardy was born in the Parish of Swinton, Manchester, the youngest of the three Hardy brothers, and attested for the 7th Fusiliers at Doncaster on 26 April 1807, just two months after his two elder brothers had enlisted. He was aged 17 years 4 months, and a weaver by trade. He was promoted to Corporal on 23 November 1823, and to Sergeant on 25 March 1824. He transferred to the 1st Battalion 60th Rifles on 25 August 1824, was reduced to Private on 5 April 1825, but was quickly reinstated to Corporal later the same month and to Sergeant once more in the following month. He was finally discharged at his own request, on the ‘modified rate of pension’, on 11 May 1831, stating his intention to reside at Dublin.

His discharge papers give his service thus: ‘Copenhagen, Martinique, Talavera, Busaco, Pombal, Fuentes d’Onor, Albuhera, Ciudad Rodrigo, Badajos, Salamanca, Vittoria, Pyrenees, Nivelle, Nive, Orthes, Toulouse, New Orleans.’ He was ‘wounded - at Albuhera, on the left hip & the left jaw; at Salamanca, on the left knee - Distinguished himself at the Storming of Badajos, by fetching Colonel Spottiswode, aide de Camp to the Brigadier Genl., out of the breach - Volunteered for the Storming of St Sebastian.’

According to the footnote in Eaton’s catalogue, Hardy died [in Liverpool] at the age of 94, in 1876. Lieutenant-Colonel H. F. Eaton had clearly acquired his medal(s) shortly afterwards, and those of his two brothers, all three being listed in his printed catalogue of the collection in 1880.

Sold with Statement of the Services of Acting Serjeant Major John Hardy, late of the 1st Battalion 60th (The King’s Royal Rifles), and formerly of the 7th Fusiliers’, dated 9 Court, M’Kee Street, Liverpool, 20th March, 1865, and printed by D. Marples of Liverpool. Here follows Hardy’s own account of his service:

‘Joined the 2nd Battalion 7th Fusiliers at Bexhill Barracks, 18th April, 1803 [sic] (I was then between 16 and 17 years of age), under the command of Colonel Sir William Myers; was sent to join the service companies of the 1st Battalion, then under orders for Copenhagen, under the command of Sir Edward Packenham, 1807. Embarked from Dublin and joined the fleet in the Downs, under the command of Lord Cathcart (took Copenhagen); returned to England; embarked immediately for Halifax, N.S.; re-embarked for the island of Martinique, and took it, under the command of Sir David Baird; after the reduction of the island, was sent and joined the 2nd Battalion at Talavera; fought July 27th and 28th, 1809, under Sir Arthur Wellesley; Busaco, 27th September, 1810; Albuhera, May 16th, 1811; Ciudad Rodrigo, 19th January, 1812; Badajos, 6th April, 1812; Salamanca, 22nd July, 1812; Vittoria, June 21st, 1813; Pyrenees, from 28th July to August, 1813; Saint Sebastian, 9th September, 1813; Nivell [sic], 10th November, 1813; Nive, December 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th, 1813; Orthes, February 27th, 1814; Toulouse, April 10, 1814.

Embarked for England, 1814; embarked same year for New Orleans, and on our return were met by a frigate, and ordered to proceed to Ostend for Waterloo (fought the 18th June, 1815). I was sent forward with a captain of our regiment, and we joined the 23rd Royal Welsh, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Ellis, who was killed.

After Waterloo, marched on Paris, and encamped there for a short time; then went into barracks; from there we went to Valenciennes; from there to Cambray, where we were reviewed by all the crowned heads of Europe, except George III, of England. We then went into quarters at Bewqua, and eventually we formed part of the Army of Occupation, where we remained for three years and nine months; we returned home, after having been above nine years on service, and were stationed in Chatham.

In 1824 His Royal Highness the Duke of York came to Chatham to review his own regiment, the 1st Battalion 60th Duke of York’s Own Rifles; at this time I was Drill-Serjeant in the 7th Fusiliers, and was appointed His Royal Highness’s Standing Orderly during his stay in the garrison, at his own particular request. His Royal Highness, at this time knowing me to be a good drill, asked me to join his own regiment, which was newly come home from America, and was being remodelled; I consented, and was transferred the same day. After my transfer, I was appointed Acting Serjeant-Major, and made Colour-Serjeant. There was nothing then but drill till 1826, when the regiment was returned fit for service. We then embarked for Portugal (in aid of Donna Maria Gloria, against her uncle, Don Miguel), where we landed in Black Horse Square, and marched up the country as far as Coimbra. During this march I had the pleasure of passing many old scenes that I had neither time nor inclination to look much at before, such as Pombal, Conditia, Busaco, &c, and on our return march we passed through Loria, down to the Palace of Mafra, where Wellington formed his (then) army on the roof of the palace, and inspected them. We also passed the famous lines of Torres Vedras, both going up and coming down.

After the settlement of Donna Maria’s question, we re-embarked for home, where we landed (in Ireland), and went into barracks at Fermoy, County Cork, between which place and Limerick we remained until 10th October, 1830, when the regiment embarked for service at Gibraltar.

During our stay at Fermoy we were commanded by Lieut.-Colonel Thomas Bunbury. There was an application from the 92nd Gordon Highlanders for a few drill serjeants to drill their regiment, as they were newly home from the West Indies, and nearly all recruits. I was sent by our colonel to superintend the whole drill, which lasted for two or three months. When we marched to Limerick I was eventually discharged, on the 11th May, 1831.

I wish now to look back a little. When first I went out to the Peninsula, we had no tents for the first four years; we were always en bivouac, marching and counter-marching day and night; lay down when we got a chance - and that was seldom. A clean shirt was a luxury that very few officers could command. As for a cooked dinner, it was a godsend. You drove your dinner before you on the march; and when you got a chance of cooking one, you could see the meat jump in the pot. But God help the poor fellow who, after a long march, found out it was his turn for out-lying piquet! We felt very much the want of salt, water, &c. I have been for days hanging on the rear of the retreating enemy, skirmishing the whole time, and when a halt sounded, would be asleep before I was properly on the ground, hungry or not. In particular, on our retreat from Madrid, we were so hard pushed that we could not get time to cook our victuals, little as it was; for, no sooner did we get our fires lighted, and our mess tins on, that the enemy’s shot would scatter them for us, and we would have to be off again, carrying a camp kettle between two of us, and dividing our mess as we went along, half raw, till we pulled up at Ciudad Rodrigo. When we left Madrid we got as much biscuit as we could carry, but never got any more until we came to Ciudad Rodrigo; and to help us on the way, it rained day and night the whole time. Still we were in good health, but very much troubled with overgrown appetites. At one time in Galicia we were nearly surrounded by the French, with a large river behind us; we had to live seven days on acorns, and could get nothing else; we cracked them, then roasted them.

After the battle of Talavera, we had to retire to the celebrated lines of Torres Vedras, where we had not much fighting; but an hour before daylight every morning we had to stand to our arms, strike tents, pack them, and load them on the mules, just the same as if we were going to start on the march. Every morning the same thing, as long as we were in the country.

At Badajos, on our being driven back the second time from the main breach, I had the good fortune to save a gallant officer on the staff of General Sir Manly Powell [Manley Power]. He was lying wounded at the foot of the breach. I volunteered to go back for him, and took him on my back and carried him up the ladder to the end of the glacis, from whence I procured two men and a bearer, and had him taken to the hospital marquee. I had never seen him nor known his name till 1819, when he was A.D.C. to Sir David Baird, the Commander-in-Chief in Ireland; we were then in Dublin, in George Street Barracks; he found me out, and sent for me to the Royal Hospital, the quarters of the C.-in-C.; I then knew that he was Colonel Spottiswode, of the staff. He behaved most generously to me, and settled a small annuity on me till his death, about five or six years ago, since when his honourable brother continues it to me.

I have often had the good fortune to be of service to the present Field Marshal Sir Edward Blakeney, when he was in command of the 7th Fusiliers, and retain his friendship to the present day; he has often declared that I and my two brothers, who served with me in the same corps, were three of the bravest soldiers in the army. My brothers lived through all our campaigning, and were discharged, but are since dead. I am in possession of a letter of thanks from Sir Edward, on my congratulating him on his attaining the highest rank in the British army.

But in all my soldiering we never had the least notion of getting medals, Victoria crosses, or thanks of Parliament; neither had we the assistance of those noble Englishwomen, led on by a Florence Nightingale, to comfort us under wounds or sickness - nothing but downright hard soldiering - aye, and that of the hardest description.

I may here mention that, during my service in the Peninsula, I have been most fortunate as regards wounds, only having received three: the first were two bayonet wounds at Albuera, the next was a gunshot wound at Salamanca, and a few slight touches on other occasions which did not render me a fit subject for the hospital tent.

If I have made any wrong statements as to dates, I humbly beg to be excused, as my memory is not so good or clear as it was some forty years back; but I do believe that the most prominent actions are as near as possible to the time they occurred.

I have now jotted down a few of the most prominent incidents in my military life, and have but to return my most heartfelt and grateful thanks to those noblemen and gentlemen who have so generously and English-like assisted the last days of an old British soldier.

Amongst my kind patrons since my retirement from the service, I am most happy to enumerate the following noblemen and gentlemen, viz.:- The Most noble the Earls of Enniskillen and Erne, for whom I formed and drilled (each) a Yeomanry Corps, for which I received great credit, as can be testified by characters in my possession; and, on my return to my own native Lancashire, I have been most kindly patronised by the following gentlemen, viz.:-

Charles Turner, Esq., M.P.
John Torr, Esq., J.P.
Captain Joseph Mayer, C.R.V., F.S.A., to whom I am indebted for many acts of kindness.
T. L. Whitehouse, Esq., Branch Bank of England.
Colonel Newlands, L.E.V.
Major Bousefield, L.R.V.
Captain Berry, L.R.V.
E. Wilding, Esq.

Late 1st 60th Rifles, (and formerly) 7th British Fusiliers.’

Note: John Hardy’s claim to have been at Waterloo is interesting. He states that he was ‘sent forward with a captain of our regiment’ and would seem to be referring to Captain Digby Mackworth, 7th Foot, who served at Waterloo as aide-de-camp to Lord Hill and most certainly received the Waterloo medal and, later, the M.G.S. too. However, there is no mention of Waterloo in Hardy’s papers and certainly no ‘2 years’ allowance for having been there. Hardy’s name does not appear on the Waterloo medal roll and the following pencil note inside the cover of his printed Statement of Service seems to confirm that Hardy must have provided himself with a medal to wear: ‘I have lost sight of poor old Hardy for some years and never could ascertain what became of him or his medals which when I saw them were battered & showed certain signs of having been much worn.’ This final note appears to be initialled ‘TLW’, possibly the T. L. Whitehouse listed above. An inserted manuscript note, dated 3 March 1859, lists the 14 clasps on Hardy’s medal and also states ‘fought at Almeida, Pombal, Copenhagen 1807, New Orleans, Bayonne [& Waterloo (Medal) - this clearly inserted afterwards], was also at the occupation of Paris.’

Peter Hardy was born in the Parish of Middleton, Manchester, the eldest of the three Hardy brothers, and enlisted into the 7th Fusiliers at Manchester on 28 February 1807, aged 20, for limited service, a labourer by trade. He served 14 years 49 days and was discharged at Edinburgh on 17 April 1821, ‘his second period of service being expired on the 28th Day of February 1821, and at his own request.’ His general conduct as a soldier was described as having been ‘Good, and that he was wounded by a musket ball which passed through the muscles of the back of the neck at the Capture of Martinique 1809. He was again wounded in the left thigh and on the outside of the left leg by musket balls at Albuera in 1811; and at the battle of Salamanca in 1812 a musket ball entered at about the middle of the right arm and passed out at the axilla, & that he has always conducted himself in the most gallant manner in the field.’ Admitted to an out-pension at Manchester on 18 April 1828, he died there on 20 May 1862.

James Hardy was born in the Parish of St John’s, Manchester, and enlisted into the 7th Fusiliers at Manchester on 14 February 1807, aged 19, for unlimited service, a dyer by trade. He was the middle brother in age but the first of the three to enlist. Like his younger brother John, he transferred to the 1st Battalion 60th Rifles, two days after him, on 27 August 1824, and was discharged at Dublin on 26 November 1828. The surgeon’s report stated that ‘Private James Hardy is unfit for the service having chronic rheumatism & difficulty in breathing. His condition also much impaired by hard services.’ He appears to have been admitted to out-pension at Norwich on 6 May 1856.