James has a slice of British military memorabilia with a remarkable story attached
The story behind a Waterloo medal
Our next treasure has historical links. A few years ago a medal, accompanied by a small ivory and gold portrait, came on to the open market;
I was the highest bidder and purchased it.
It was linked to one of the most famous and significant battles in history – Waterloo, which changed the shape of Europe for a century. I asked the archivist at Wellington Barracks to help shed some light on the medal.
Edward Pardoe was born on April 4, 1796, the fourth and youngest son of John Pardoe Esq, MP for Leyton, Essex, and Jane Oliver Pardoe. When Edward was 13 years old he attended Eton School. After his 17th birthday his father purchased a commission for him into the first regiment of Foot Guards as an ensign on April 29, 1813.
Having taken part in several skirmishes he was involved in his first major battle at the siege of Bergen-op-Zoom in March 1814. During one patrol he was engaged by the French defences; despite being overwhelmingly outnumbered and severely wounded he fought on before being overrun. For his courageous actions he was mentioned in dispatches.
Having recovered from his wounds he later joined a company commanded by Lt Colonel H D’Oyly. Pardoe had the honour of carrying the regimental colours into battle at Waterloo. He was in the centre of a four deep square with the unfolded colours still in his grasp when ‘this slaughtering business began.’
Soon after the great French cavalry attacks, the orchard at Hougoumont had been lost and Lord Saltoun and the light company re-joined the battalion just before the Imperial Cavalry of France attacked again.
“He unfolded again the colour but the Adjutant Gunthorpe called out to fold it up again. Ensigns Pardoe and Barton were both looking to the men firing and keeping well locked up, and thus beating the cavalry again, though they brought up at the end Infantry and the balls whistled about us profusely. With great grief one hit poor Pardoe in the forehead; he dropped on his face and spoke no more!” said an account of the battle.
The London Gazette said: His Royal Highness has pleased to approve of the First Regiment of Foot Guards being made a Regiment of Grenadiers and styled The First or Grenadier Regiment of Foot Guards in commemoration of their having defeated the Grenadiers of the French Imperial Guard upon this memorable occasion’.
Ensign Edward Pardoe’s name is inscribed, along with other officers who gallantly lost their lives at the Battle of Waterloo, on the memorial in the chapel in Waterloo.
At Juels Limited we are always looking to purchase any military memorabilia. This column is sponsored by Juels’ Limited, Royal Arcade, Norwich. juelslimited.co.uk juel[email protected] 01603 666373
ABOVE: The Waterloo medal LEFT: The medal and miniature portrait of Ensign Pardoe