A Collection of Medals to the Black Watch

Date of Auction: 25th June 2014

Sold for £6,000

Estimate: £8,000 - £10,000

Waterloo 1815 (Lieut. Thomas Reynolds, 2nd Batt. 73rd Reg. Foot.) fitted with original steel clip and ring suspension, file marks over ‘2nd’, otherwise nearly very fine £8000-10000


Thomas Matthew Reynolds was born at Great Baddow, Essex, on 16 March 1794, and was appointed an Ensign in the 73rd Foot, without purchase, on 20 February 1812. He received his commission through the interest of General William Wynard, who had been acquainted with Reynolds’ father, a former Lieutenant-Colonel in the Quarter-Master-General’s office who had been obliged to quit the army following a deterioration in his mental health, having been placed in the care of Doctor Willis, the physician who attended King George the Third during his relapses into insanity. His wife was consequently left in much reduced circumstances with the expense of bringing up a family of six children, of whom Thomas was the eldest son. He had been attending a military academy at Marlow, from which his mother had been obliged to remove him, the expense proving too much for her limited resources. Fortunately he was by now seventeen years of age and eligible for a commission, which was procured for him through the good offices of General Wynard, and Colonel Torrens at Horse Guards.

Reynolds served in the campaigns of 1813-14 in Germany and the Netherlands, including the action at Ghorde, in Hanover, under General Count Walmoden, the attack upon the village of Merxem, and the defence of Fort Frederick against the French fleet, under Lieutenant-General Sir Thomas Graham. He was promoted Lieutenant, without purchase, on 10 March 1814.

In the absence of Captain Richard Drew, Reynolds commanded No. 8 (Light) Company at Quatre Bras and Waterloo where he was severely wounded by grape-shot in the left thigh. ‘His Lieutenant, Reynolds, was a good little fellow; but was very unfortunate. If there was a shot fired at all, he was sure to get hit; while some men pass through so many fights without receiving a scratch.’ (Recollections of Military Service, Thomas Morris, London 1845, refers).

In 1818 Reynolds served with the 1st Battalion in the interior of Ceylon during the Kandy rebellion and commanded a small Division, a detachment of which captured Madugalle, one of the three rebel chiefs. He exchanged into the 12th Foot on the half-pay list on 8 April 1824, in consequence of ill-health from the effects of his wounds, in respect of which he received a pension of £70 per annum from June 1816 to June 1817. This pension was reinstated from 25 December 1823, after a successful petition to the Commander-in-Chief: ‘I was allowed a Year’s Pension as Captain having commanded a Company in the action of the 18th June 1815, and was to have been examined again but that I was ordered abroad before the period for a second examination had arrived. I now acutely feel the effects of the severe wound I received which totally incapacitates me from keeping up on a march with my men without the use of a horse, an expense, I regret to add, beyond my circumstances.’

Lieutenant Reynolds died at Brompton, London, on 9 March 1864.