An Important Collection of Waterloo Medals

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Date of Auction: 8th December 1994

Sold for £3,700

Estimate: £3,000 - £4,000

WATERLOO 1815 (Reg. Serj. Maj. T. Barlow, 1st Reg. Dragoon Guards) fitted with original steel clip and bar suspender, about very fine and an important medal

Footnote

Born circa 1785, Thomas Barlow, the Regimental Sergeant Major of the King's Dragoon guards at the Battle of Waterloo, enlisted in the K.D.G. on 18 April 1801, and spent the next fourteen years of his service in England and Ireland progressively working his way up through the non-commissioned ranks. A man of strong religious beliefs, Barlow was a Methodist Lay Preacher, and at the time of the K.D.G's embarkation for the Low Countries in April 1815, a married man but with no children.

On the field of Waterloo, Barlow as R.S.M. rode ahead of his regiment in order to indicate the path of the K.D.G.'s advance in the first great charge of the Household Brigade (1st and 2nd Life Guards, Royal Horse Guards and K.D.G. 1220 sabres in all) against the 1st and 4th Cuirassiers of Dubois's Brigade which resulted in putting the four infantry divisions of D’Erlon's Corps into full flight. In so doing he met a French officer of the Cuirassiers in the open ground between the two sides and engaged him in hand to hand combat.

Notwithstanding his disadvantage in being armed with the standard British Heavy Cavalry sword, which was six inches shorter than its French equivalent, and despite the fact that the French officer was reputed to be one of the finest swordsmen in Napoleon's Army, Barlow succeeded in disabling his opponent bringing him to the point of surrender. As a token of his submission, the French officer yielded his sword which Barlow immediately presented to his Commanding Officer, who, in praising him for his bravery, expressed the wish that he had many more such Methodist parsons in his regiment.

During the course of the battle, the K.D.G. were involved in some eleven charges and by the time victory was secured the regiment had sustained casualties of eleven officers and 275 other ranks killed, wounded and missing. Barlow's obituary maintains that at the close of the day only fifteen King's Dragoon Guards remained mounted of whom the senior officer was a Lieutenant and the senior N.C.O. was R.S.M. Barlow. I

n recognition of his general bravery and in particular his combat with the Cuirassier officer, Barlow was rewarded with a commission and continued in the K.D.G. until transferring to the 23rd Light Dragoons as a Captain on half pay on 16 April 1818. In 1819, he became adjutant of the Prince Regent's 2nd Regiment of Cheshire Yeomanry, an appointment which he held until 1833, when he retired having received a commuted allowance for his commission. Described by a contemporary as 'a bold soldierly looking man, who spoke in a very pompous style', whose 'remarks from first to last were generally of the cutting and slashing character', Barlow became a local Methodist preacher and for some years lived at Pickmere, Cheshire, finally dying at the age of 72 at his home in East Collingwood.