The Maclaine Family Medals

Date of Auction: 17th September 2020

Sold for £22,000

Estimate: £12,000 - £15,000

The Field Officer’s Gold Medal awarded to Major Hector Maclaine, 57th Foot, for the battle of Nivelle, at which action he was severely wounded and assumed command of the regiment after the death of Major Ackland

Field Officer’s Small Gold Medal, for Nivelle (Major Hector McLaine, 57th Foot.) complete with its three-pronged gold ribbon buckle and contained in its original Rundell Bridge & Rundell red leather case of issue, the case scuffed, otherwise extremely fine £12,000-£15,000


Hector Maclaine was born in about 1784, the fifth and youngest son of Gillean Maclaine of Scallasdale, Isle of Mull. He was younger brother to General Sir Archibald Maclaine, K.C.B., the ‘Hero of Matagorde’; Captain Murdoch Maclaine, 20th Foot, killed at Maida 1806; and Major John Maclaine, 73rd Foot, killed at Waterloo 1815.

He was appointed Ensign in the 64th Foot on 24 September 1803, and served with that regiment in the West Indies and at the capture of Surinam in 1804. He was promoted to Lieutenant in the 46th Foot on 25 September 1804; Captain, 57th Foot, 1 December 1806; Brevet Major, 57th Foot, 19 May 1814. He served with the 57th in the Peninsula from August 1811 to April 1814, being present at Vittoria, Roncesvalles, the Pyrenees, in front of Pampluna, at Nivelle, Aire and Vic Bigorre, Tarbes, Orthes and Toulouse; besides constant skirmishing, as he was attached to, and frequently commanded, the Light Companies of General Byng’s Brigade. An example of his service in this regard occurred on 18 March 1814, when Hill was smartly engaged with the French rearguard at Vic Bigorre. Captain Hector Maclaine of the 57th, in command of the Light Companies of Byng’s Brigade, was posted that evening to guard the road from Conchez. About four o’clock it was reported that the French were approaching. “Captain Mc’Laine ordered the light companies to check the advance of the enemy, who, on finding themselves opposed by infantry, halted, and after maintaining a brisk fire for a short time retired some distance for the night. On this occasion Lieutenant Aubin, commanding the 57th light company, was severely wounded.”

Maclaine was severely wounded and received a medal for his distinguished conduct at Nivelle. He afterwards served in North America in 1814-15, and with the Army of Occupation in France until 1818. He was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel on the Half Pay on 9 September 1824, and advanced to Colonel on 28 June 1838. He was latterly resident at Kington, in the Parish of Thornbury, Gloucestershire, and died there on 15 January 1847, aged 62.