The exceptional and important Peninsular War Southern France 1814 Orthes and Toulouse, well documented Waterloo 1815, and possible Peterloo Massacre officer’s pair awarded to Lieutenant later Colonel Henry Lane, 15th King’s Regiment of Hussars, later 1st Regiment of Foot Guards - the Grenadier Guards, who having fought towards the very end of the Peninsular War in southern France at the Battle of Orthes on 27th February 1814 and the Battle of Toulouse on 10th April 1814, then went on to play an important role in the history of the Battle of Wat
The exceptional and important Peninsular War Southern France 1814 Orthes and Toulouse, well documented Waterloo 1815, and possible Peterloo Massacre officer’s pair awarded to Lieutenant later Colonel Henry Lane, 15th King’s Regiment of Hussars, later 1st Regiment of Foot Guards - the Grenadier Guards, who having fought towards the very end of the Peninsular War in southern France at the Battle of Orthes on 27th February 1814 and the Battle of Toulouse on 10th April 1814, then went on to play an important role in the history of the Battle of Waterloo on 18th June 1815, when his regiment ‘drove back the Cuirassiers, with the most distinguished gallantry, for some distance’. During one of numerous charges made, when the 15th were constantly attacking and retreating, as the enemy attacked up the hill towards the British positions. At one point command of the Regiment changed hands three times within a few minutes. Lane was later to go down in history for his personal account of his participation in the Battle of Waterloo, which he wrote in 1835 when assisting in the work of Captain William Siborne, whose famous model, now displayed in the National Army Museum, and taken from the letters written to Siborne by officers, including Lane, was one of the best attempts a recreating visually what happened at Waterloo. Lane’s letter form account, was ultimately published in the book “Waterloo Letter” by Major General Sitborne in 1891. We were no sooner on our ground than we advanced in line and charged the Grenadiers a Cheval, who fled from us. Our next attack ( in line without reverse) was ( on ) a square of French Infantry and our horses were within a few feet of the square. We did not succeed in breaking it and of course, suffered most severely. In short during the day we were constantly on the move, attacking and retreating to our lines, so that, at the close of the battle, the two squadrons were dreadfully cut up. As Lane was then still serving with his regiment, it is quite possible that he was present at Manchester in August 1819 at the notorious Peterloo Massacre, where the 15th Hussars were ordered to charge a crowd of some 80,000 protesters supporting the radical reformist MP Henry Hunt. 15 civilians were killed and some 500 injured. This incident has gone down as one of the greatest tragedy of the unrest which sparked amongst the workers during the Industrial Revolution.
Military General Service Medal 1793-1814, 2 Clasps: Orthes, Toulouse; (HY. LANE, LIEUT. 15TH. HUSSARS); Waterloo Medal 1815, complete with original steel clip and split ring suspension; (LIEUTENANT H. LANE, 15TH OR KING’S REG. HUSSARS)
Condition: Good Very Fine.
Henry Lane was born circa 1792, and lived at Thorpe Arch, now Thorp Arch, Wetherby, Yorkshire. Appointed a Cornet by purchase into the 15th The King’s Regiment of Light Dragoons (Hussars) on 4th December 1811. Since 1809 his regiment which had been evacuated from Corunna, had then been on duty in England, based at Hounslow and mostly engaged on Royal Escort duties, as well as in the suppression of a number of riots caused by civil unrest in support of the liberal reformist MP Francis Burdett. Shortly thereafter, a Royal Review of twenty thousand troops took place on Wimbledon Common in 1811, with the 15th Hussars being present.
The Industrial Revolution in Britain caused a tremendous amount of civil unrest as machines replaced workers in the factories and working men lost their jobs. The changes influenced almost every aspect of life, especially in the industrial) north of England. Civil insurrection often led to rioting, and in 1812 the 15th Hussars, together with other regiments, were called to Yorkshire and Lancashire to suppress riots. However it would not be until 1819 that the 15th Hussars would go down in history for their suppression of the protesters in what would become nicknamed the Peterloo Massacre.
Meanwhile, a British army on the Spanish Peninsular had met with success, and in 1813 6 troops from the Regiment embarked for Lisbon. They were brigaded, together with 10th and 18th Hussars, under Lt. Gen. Sir Thomas Graham, operating in a mountainous region around Almendra. The French army withdrew, harassed by Wellington's advancing troops. Fighting the major battle of Vittoria in June, the 15th Hussars - charging and counter-charging - were intimately involved in the overthrow of Napoleon's Spanish army.
For his part however, Lane who had been promoted by purchase to Lieutenant on 3rd September 1812, did not arrive in the Peninsula till November 1813, and therefore missed his regiment’s participation at Vittoria, nevertheless as a result of the crossing over the Pyrenees into southern France, he was then present in action at the Battle of Orthes on 27th February 1814, where his regiment operated in support of the infantry, and when the French troops panicked at the fear of being cut off, and then threw down their arms and packs in order make haste to cross the bridge, the cavalry succeeded in sabring about 300 and took many prisoners.
Lane was then present in action at the final battle of the Peninsula War, the Battle of Toulouse on 10th April 1814. In all 95 men of the 15th Hussars later claimed the clasp Orthes to the Military General Service Medal, and 142 claimed the clasp Toulouse.
The 15th Hussars returned to England to barracks at Hounslow in July 1814, with Lane amongst them. However, in May 1815 the Regiment, under command of Lieutenant Colonel Leighton Dalrymple, returned to France to meet the threat raised by the resurrected Napoleon. In France, the Regiment was brigaded with the 7th Hussars and the 2nd German Hussars. Napoleon's rapid advance in June took Wellington by surprise, and the British cavalry were ordered to march at short notice, reaching Quartre Bras on the evening of 16th June. On 17th, the British, with the cavalry covering, fell back towards the village of Waterloo and spent a night bivouacked in the open in torrential rain. On the fateful morning of the 18th, the 15th Hussars formed a section of the British front line near Hugomont Farm, astride the Nivelle Road.
" . . a large body of Cuirassiers and other cavalry were seen carrying all before them on the open ground between Hugomont and La Haye Saint, and their Lancers were shouting in triumph. The brigade instantly moved towards its former post, and the 13th and the 15th charged and drove back the Cuirassiers, with the most distinguished gallantry, for some distance."
Numerous charges were made, and the 15th were constantly attacking and retreating during the day, as the enemy attacked up the hill towards the British positions. Casualties were heavy, and at one point command of the Regiment changed hands three times within a few minutes.
For his part Lane would go down in history for his personal account of his participation in the Battle of Waterloo, which he wrote whilst living at Thorpe Arch, near Wetherby in Yorkshire on 24th March 1835. His letter form account, was ultimately published in the book “Waterloo Letter” edited by Major General Henry Taylor Sitborne in 1891, which originated from Lane’s personal involvement in the work of Captain William Siborne, whose famous model, taken from the letters written to him by officers, including Lane, was one of the best attempts a recreating visually what happened at Waterloo.
In 1830 Captain William Siborne obtained official approval for his suggestion that a model be constructed of the Battle of Waterloo. He took leave from the Army and undertook an eight-month survey of the battlefield. He then sent a circular letter to surviving British officers who had served at Waterloo. This asked them where their units had been at 'about 7 PM,' what enemy formations were to their front, what the crops were like in their vicinity, and inviting further comments about the parts played by their regiments.
About 700 replies were received and these formed the basis for Siborne's work. However, it is clear that he was highly selective of the evidence he chose to use. He does not appear to have attempted to obtain French and Prussian accounts and letters from the German officers in Wellington's Army were ignored. Much of the area occupied by the advancing Prussians is excluded and the model was clearly intended to be viewed from the British position. Nevertheless, it is a magnificent modelling achievement, and along with the archive of letters to Siborne which was its by-product, forms a unique piece of historical evidence.
The model was completed in Ireland in 1838 and shipped to England in 39 sections. It was assembled for public display in the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly. Although the model attracted an estimated 100,000 visitors, paying one shilling each, receipts did not cover Siborne's costs. He was left seriously in debt. The model was returned to Ireland in 1841 and placed in storage. In 1851, a subscription was raised among the British regiments depicted and the model was purchased. It was brought back to London for display in the Banqueting Hall, Whitehall, as part of the Royal United Service Museum. When that museum was forced to close much of its collection, including the model, was presented to the National Army Museum.
For Henry Lane’s part, however his letter is a far finer record to delve into his personal experiences.
“Two squadrons of the regiment were placed upon the position near our own squares of Foot Guards and the squadron was detached to the right in rear of Hougoumont, having a subaltern’s picket placed on the high road leading to Nivelles at the point which I have marked.
I cannot answer the two leading questions you propose as to the appearance of the enemy at seven o’clock. Large masses of troops in column advanced very near our lines, till shaken by the severe fire they sustained from our artillery they wavered and upon our whole line advancing to meet them, fled in utter confusion. I saw the first shot fired from our lines about eleven o’clock, it struck the column of the enemy advancing upon Hougoumont and caused some confusion and delay.
The 15th Hussars were moved soon after to the ground on the right of the position, where I have marked a Squadron as placed, and where the enemy showed a strong body of Lancers, which we were preparing to attack.
The enemy made this diversion for the purpose of drawing off our force from the right centre of the position, which in fact , was successful, for we were no sooner off that ground than the first attack made by the Cuirassiers took place upon the spot we had quitted. We at once returned to our former position, leaving one squadron to keep the French Lancers in check.
We were no sooner on our ground than we advanced in line and charged the Grenadiers a Cheval, who fled from us. Our next attack ( in line without reverse) was ( on ) a square of French Infantry and our horses were within a few feet of the square. We did not succeed in breaking it and of course, suffered most severely. In short during the day we were constantly on the move, attacking and retreating to our lines, so that, at the close of the battle, the two squadrons were dreadfully cut up.
When the Cuirassiers made their first attack, they passed through the squares considerably in rear of our lines and in retiring a body of them followed the high road to Nivelles. They came unexpectedly to the abatis marked on your map and a regiment of Infantry hidden there gave them fire, which destroyed them all.”
I am , &c, Henry Lane.
At Waterloo, the 15th Hussars lost 2 officers and 21 other ranks killed, together with 42 horses, and 7 officers, including Colonel Dalrymple, and 43 other ranks wounded, together with 52 horses. Lane was one of nine Lieutenant’s of his regiment present in the action, one of his fellow Lieutenant’s being killed and three wounded, Lane managed to get through unscathed. After the battle, the Regiment pursued the French to Cambray and then to Paris, returning to England to Hounslow in May 1816.
Returning to the 15th Hussars work of dealing with civil unrest, Lane was promoted by purchase to Captain on 25th December 1818, and was quite possibly serving with the Regiment in Manchester in August 1819, having during the march north already dealt with unrest in the Midlands, Nottingham, Birmingham and Wolverhampton. In August 1819, the Regiment was involved in the notorious Peterloo Massacre at Manchester, where they were ordered to charge a crowd of some 80,000 protesters supporting the radical reformist MP Henry Hunt. 15 civilians were killed and some 500 injured.
Conflicting eye-witness accounts exist as to whether the civilian deaths were caused by volunteer soldiers, the Manchester and Salford Yeomanry, or by the regular troops - the 15th Hussars. The yeomanry were first on the scene, arriving at 1.40pm, and as they advanced into the crowd panic ensued, the horses rearing and the inexperienced amateur soldiers drawing their sabres and striking out. When the 15th Hussars arrived on the scene at about 1.50pm, the yeomanry soldiers were in danger of being overcome by the angry crowd. Inquiries into the massacre concur that the regular troops attempted to minimise the violence - an unnamed officer of the 15th Hussars attempting to strike up the swords of the Yeomanry, crying - "For shame, gentlemen: what are you about?" Many hundreds of civilians were sabred and trampled by the horses in the melee.
The Regiment remained in the Midlands until 1822, when they returned south to Hounslow and the comparative peace of Royal Escort duties. Lane was promoted to Major by purchase on 5th August 1824. Lane was then promoted to Lieutenant Colonel on 9th June 1825 on an Unattached Commission with the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards - the Grenadier Guards, he having been up to that point still with the 15th Light Dragoons, and he was then placed on half pay in the same month. Lane who retired to his home at Thorpe Arch, near Wetherby in Yorkshire was promoted to Colonel on 28th June 1838, died in 1870, he being buried in All Saints Churchyard, at Thorp Arch, Wetherby, Yorkshire. Lane’s sword is now housed in the collection of the National Army Museum, it having been originally in the possession of the Royal United Service Institute, the sword is claimed to have been carried by Lane at Waterloo.