The Collection of Medals to Yeomen of the Guard formed by Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Denny

Date of Auction: 8th May 2019

Sold for £11,000

Estimate: £4,000 - £5,000

The Waterloo medal awarded to Sergeant-Major Thomas Baker, Coldstream Guards, who served in Lieutenant-Colonel Macdonnell’s Company and was most probably a defender at Hougoumont; a veteran of Ireland 1799, Cadiz 1800, Egypt 1801, Germany 1805, Copenhagen 1807, and the Peninsula 1811-14, he was appointed to the Yeomen of the Guard for ‘distinguished service’ in 1823 as the very first ‘military’ member of the Guard; in this capacity he attended the funerals of King George IV and King William IV, and the coronation of Queen Victoria, not forgetting his appointment as a Superintendent in the Metropolitan Police in 1829

Waterloo 1815 (Serj. Major Tho. Baker, 2nd Batt. Coldstream Gds.) fitted with original steel clip and silver bar suspension, toned, good very fine £4,000-£5,000


Provenance: Sotheby, May 2001.

Sold with an interesting collection of associated items, manuscript letters and printed documents, comprising:

(i) a framed, glazed and brooch mounted portrait miniature of the recipient, c. 1840-50, the reverse with locks of hair under glass.

(ii) a small framed oval miniature depicting a scene from the battle of Waterloo.

(iii) a George III silver mug, by Thomas Wallis, London 1769, with later engraved initials ‘TBB’.

(iv) a French gold-mounted malacca cane, the octagonal gold top engraved ‘A present from Colonel Woodford To Sergt. Major Baker. Paris 6th Sept. 1815’.

(v) a small file of manuscript letters and printed documents, three of the letters written by Colonel Woodford, these comprising a Commendation, a personal communication on the gift of the above cane (Paris, Sept. 6 1815... ‘I send you herewith a Cane, which I desire you to accept as a testimonial of my approbation of your conduct on all occasions, and particularly since you have been under my immediate Command in the Campaigns of 1813, 1814 & 1815...’) and the third on Baker’s discharge from the Coldstream Guards, dated June 10, 1823; other items including the original invitation from the Commissioner of Police for Baker’s swearing-in at the Home Office in July 1829, and a proven copy of Baker’s Will, the provisions of which include the division of his medal and the above cane amongst several beneficiaries.

Thomas Baker was born in Birmingham and enlisted there into the Coldstream Guards on 18 September 1799, aged 18, for unlimited service, a bridle-bit maker by trade. According to a manuscript note included above, but probably not in his hand, his service is described thus: ‘In Ireland 1799; Ransom of Cadiz 1800; Landing at Aboukir Bay 8th March 1801 & at the taking of Alexandria against the Invincible troops of Napn. Bonaparte 21st March 1801; In Germany under Genl. Lord Cathcart in 1805; At the Siege & Taking of Copenhagen in 1807; Spain, Portugal & France, 1811, 1812, 1813, 1814; In the Campaign in Belgium, Battle of Waterloo & the taking of Paris, 1814, 1815, 1816 & 1817 under Comd of the Duke of Wellington; Discharged 4th June 1823.’ It thereafter continues: ‘And appointed one of His Majesties (sic) Yeomen of Body Guard in June 1823 - And obtained the Situation of Supt. in the Metropolitan Police on the 28 day of July 1829.’

Baker was one of the Yeomen of the Guard present at Windsor Castle on 14 July 1830, when King George IV died. Eight of the Yeomen of the Guard present attended the body of the King in the Royal Bedchamber and the remainder lined the walls of the State Apartment, the Guard Chamber, the Presence Chamber and the Great Staircase, all hung in black. The next day at the Funeral of the King, the Guard followed immediately after the coffin next to the Royal Princes with partisans reversed. He was present at William IV’s inspection of the Yeomen of the Guard on 30 April 1837, and at his Funeral in June that year. Baker was next on ceremonial duty at the Coronation of Queen Victoria on 28 June 1838. He claimed and received the M.G.S. with clasps for Egypt, Salamanca, Vittoria, Nivelle and Nive (Sold by Spink in April 1934 and at Glendining’s in October 1952; now in the private collection of the Coldstream Guards). Sergeant-Major Thomas Baker died on 3 July 1854, ‘late Superintendent St James’s Division, Metropolitan Police.’

Sold with copied discharge papers and full muster details.