Military General Service Medal 1793-1814, 2 Clasps: Vittoria, Toulouse, awarded to Private James Brereton, 5th Princess Charlotte of Wales’s Dragoon Guards, who was present with his regiment at the Battle of Vittoria on 21st June 1813, entering into the fray during the latter stages of the battle, in pursuit of the retreating French army. He was then present at the Battle of Toulouse on 10th April 1814, the final battle of the Peninsular War.
Military General Service Medal 1793-1814, 2 Clasps: Vittoria, Toulouse; (J. BRERETON, 5TH. DGN. GDS:)
Condition: light contact wear, clasps slightly bent, Very Fine.
James Brereton saw service as a Private with the 5th Princess Charlotte of Wales’s Dragoon Guards from 11th June 1812 through to 16th July 1830, when he was discharged after 18 years and 152 days service with the Colours. As such he saw service with this regiment during the Peninsular War.
The 5th Dragoon Guards, consisting of 6 troops, and numbering 544 all ranks, embarked at Portsmouth on 12th August 1811, disembarked at Lisbon on 7th September 1812. The regiment spent the winter of 1811 to 1812 in quarters at Tomar before marching to Badajoz, where it formed part of the covering force watching the movement’s of Soult’s army during the siege operations of 1812. Soon after the fall of Badajoz the 5th engaged the French for the first time, at Llerena on 11th April 1812. Here the 5th inflicted over 100 casualties on a superior French cavalry force, and about 140 prisoners. The regiment’s first major action came at Salamanca on 22nd July 1812.
On the eve of the great battle, 20 men of the regiment were disabled when their horses trampled on them during the violent storm of the 21st July. During the battle the regiment, commanded by Colonel the Honourable William Ponsonby, was brigaded with the 3rd and 4th Dragoons to form the Heavy Cavalry Brigade under Le Marchant, the brigade causing havoc when launched against the French, shortly after Pakenham’s initial attack. The 5th Dragoon Guards lost 15 men killed and 17 wounded in gaining their first battle honour of the war. The regiment entered Madrid on 12th August 1812, and remained there for six days before marching north to cover the siege operations at Burgos. Following the failure of that siege, the regiment retreated to Portugal, along with the rest of the allied army, and went into winter quarters at Goes.
In the spring of 1813 the 5th Dragoon Guards advanced into Spain once more, and on 21st June 1813, took part in the battle of Vittoria, entering into the fray during the latter stages of the battle, in pursuit of the retreating French army. Brereton was present in this, his first major action, he having not been present for Salamanca having enlisted on the month prior to that major action.
The regiment took no part in the operations in the Pyrenees, and on 11th August 1813 march to Estella, remaining there until 27th December 1813. The regiment advanced into France in February 1814 and on 10th April 1814, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Lord Charles Manners, took part in the final battle of the war at Toulouse. Brereton was present in this action.
The regiment remained at Bordeaux following the end of the war, before marching to Boulogne, where it embarked on 17th to 18th July, landing at Dover on 19th to 20th July 1814 and marched to Woodbridge barracks and in October went to Ipswich.