A Collection of Medals to the 10th and 11th Hussars

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Date of Auction: 5th April 2006

Sold for £7,500

Estimate: £4,000 - £4,500

Waterloo 1815 (Lieut. Anthony Bacon, 10th Regiment Hussars) fitted with contemporary gold clip and ring suspension, together with a fine miniature portrait in oils on paper 110x85mm, of the recipient in the uniform of a General in the Portuguese Army, wearing orders and medals, contact marks, otherwise very fine (2) £4000-4500


Ex Christies July 1985.

Anthony Bacon was born in 1796 and educated at Eton, where, after two years, the headmastership passed to the tyrant John Keate in 1809. During his last term at Eton, a commission was obtained for Bacon in the 16th Light Dragoons, and, shortly afterwards, he famously stood up to the terrible flogger Keate by refusing to submit to the birch whilst holding the King’s commission and having the right to wear the uniform of an officer of Light Dragoons. Keate was outraged and immediately expelled Bacon but relented two days later and Bacon was allowed to finish his curriculum. He left Eton in 1812 to take up his duties with the regiment and went to Portugal the following year, landing at Lisbon in May 1813, but too late for Vittoria. He was present at the battle of Sauroren, took part in the assault on San Sebastian, the passage of the Bidassoa, the battle of the Nivelle, the actions of December 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th consequent on the crossing of the Nive, the passage of the Adour and the investment of Bayonne.

Having been promoted to Lieutenant in 1813, Bacon exchanged into the 10th Hussars in December 1814 and accompanied the regiment to Belgium in April 1815. He fought at Waterloo, where he had two horses shot under him, and was himself badly wounded in the last charge, led by the gallant Major Howard, who was killed. The night of June the 18th he lay unconscious on the field with two severe wounds in the leg, and narrowly escaped death at the hands of some cut-throat camp followers. The following lines were written by a brother officer:

‘Three gallant youths the van exulting led,
three by the deadly volley instant bled,
Arnold and Bacon fall, again to rise,
From three fell wounds brave Howard’s spirit flies’

Bacon was placed on half pay in 1816, appointed Lieutenant in the 13th Light Dragoons in 1818; Captain, 1821; 94th Regiment, 1823; Major, unattached, 1825; 17th Light Dragoons, 1826. He retired from the British Service in 1827, and five years later entered the service of Don Pedro of Portugal, where he commanded a regiment of Lancers, which he raised on behalf of the constitutional forces during the civil war in Portugal. For his services he was appointed General and created Knight Commander of the Tower and Sword.

He married in 1823, Lady Charlotte Harley, 2nd daughter of the 5th Earl of Oxford, to whom Byron dedicated his Childe Harold as Ianthe. General Bacon died on 2 July 1864. He was also entitled to the M.G.S. medal for Nivelle and Nive. An engraved M.G.S., together with a renamed Waterloo medal, was sold by Glendining’s in November 1980. Sold with comprehensive research, including a copy of his biography The Story of General Bacon by Alnod J. Boger, London, 1903, and The British Cavalry at Balaklava. Remarks in Reply to Lieutenant General The Earl of Lucan’s Speech in the House of Lords, published with an Appendix. By a Cavalry Officer, London, 1855, being a 48 page booklet written by Bacon.