Orders, Decorations, Medals and Militaria (16 April 2020)

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Date of Auction: 16th April 2020

Sold for £3,400

Estimate: £3,600 - £4,400

Waterloo 1815 (Lieut. B. W. Nicholson, 2nd Batt. 30th Reg. Foot.) fitted with original steel clip and ring suspension, minor edge bruising and contact marks, otherwise better than very fine £3,600-£4,400


Benjamin Walter Nicholson was appointed Ensign in the 13th Foot on 10 July 1805, aged 25 years. He was promoted to Lieutenant in the 30th Foot on 14 April 1806. He served at the Cape of Good Hope in 1806, India in 1807-14, the Netherlands in 1814, and at Waterloo. The senior Lieutenant in the regiment at Waterloo he was promoted to a Company after the battle by recommendation of Lieutenant-Colonel Hamilton of the 30th Foot, 20 July 1815, and was placed on half-pay on 25 June 1817.

An anecdote about Nicholson appears in Ensign Edward Macready’s account of Waterloo in ‘Historical Records of the XXX Regiment’:

‘When Chambers fell, his friend Nicholson threw himself on the body, and sobbed aloud “My friend, my friend.”’ There may well be some poetic licence here but considering that Chambers was the senior Captain and Nicholson the senior Lieutenant, their commissions dating from 1807 and 1806 respectively, there were, with the exception of another Lieutenant, no other officers with longer service in the regiment, and there can be no doubting their long and old friendships.

The following memorial inscription to his wife is on a tomb in Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin:

‘Sacred to the memory of Maria the affectionate wife of Capt. B. W. Nicholson, late 30th Regt. who died May 5th 1855 aged 74 years. She accompanied him in his campaigns to the East Indies, Cape of Good Hope, St Helena and was in Antwerp during the three days of Waterloo where her husband had been engaged. May she rest in peace.’