The very good casualty Waterloo Medal 1815, fitted with the original steel clip and modified split ring suspension, awarded to Guardsman William Bagshaw, 3rd Battalion, 1st Foot Guards - the Grenadier Guards, who came from Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire, where he worked as a weaver, and was then present during the Waterloo campaign in 1815, as a member of Lieutenant Colonel Fead’s Company, which formed part of the 1st Brigade. Bagshaw would have been present at both the Battle of Quatre Bras on 16th June and the Battle of Waterloo on 18th June 1815, he being confirmed as wounded in action by a musket ball which disabled his left hand, as a result of which he was discharged in February 1816.
Waterloo Medal 1815, fitted with the original steel clip and modified split ring suspension; (WILLIAM BAGSHAW, 3RD BATT. GRENAD. GUARDS.)
Condition: slightly polished, some contact wear and edge bruising, Very Fine.
William Bagshaw was born on Ashton-under-Lyne, Lancashire, now a part of Greater Manchester, and having worked as a weaver, then enlisted into the British Army on 11th April 1797, joining as a Guardsman the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards, which in 1815 became the Grenadier Guards.
As such, Bagshaw was then present with the 3rd Battalion, 1st Foot Guards during the Waterloo campaign in 1815, as a member of Lieutenant Colonel Fead’s Company, which formed part of the 1st Brigade.
During the campaign, the Guards were organised in two brigades in the 1st Division. The 1st Brigade was made up of the 2nd and 3rd Battalions of the 1st Guards, and the 2nd Brigade consisted of Coldstreamers and Scots Guards. Major-General Peregrine Maitland commanded the 1st Guards Brigade whose strength was: 2/1st Guards, 29 officers and 752 men, and 3/1st Guards, 29 officers and 818 men.
It was on the evening of the Duchess of Richmond's ball, 15th June, that Wellington discovered that Napoleon had 'humbugged' him. The army had to be mobilised that night so nobody had much sleep. The Guards were camped at Enghien and received the order at 0130 hrs. They marched out at 0400 and were force-marched all day in hot weather. At 1700hrs on 16th June 1815, as the 1st Guards arrived at Quatre Bras they were thrown in to the battle and drove the French back out of a thick wood. They suffered heavy casualties. The two 1st Guards battalions lost 3 officers, killed and 43 other ranks. Wounded: 10 officers and 491 other ranks.
The next day, 17th June, the allies retained control of Quatre Bras but Blucher's Prussians had been hit hard at Ligny and forced to withdraw. The following day was spent withdrawing to Mont St Jean. There was a cavalry battle at Genappe but the Foot Guards were not involved. The heavy rain started at midday and continued through the night. The Light Companies of both Guards Brigades, under Lord Saltoun, were ordered to secure the Chateau of Hougoumont while the rest of the Guards took up positions behind Hougoumont.
The actual battle of Waterloo was fought between 72,000 of Napoleon's French troops and 68,000 allied troops under Wellington. Blucher's Prussian army did not arrive until it was almost all over. Lord Saltoun commanded the two Light Companies of the 1st Guards who were ordered to hold the garden and orchard of the chateau of Hougoumont, while the other two Light Companies of the Coldstream and Scots Guards were commanded by Lt-Col James Macdonnell, responsible for the buildings. The night had been spent by all of these men busily fortifying the buildings ready for an attack early on the 18th. But Napoleon delayed his advance on the allies so the first attack did not happen until 1100 hrs. The 1st Guards held the orchard but the brunt of the attack was taken by the Coldstream and Scots Guards who fought with great heroism all afternoon.
For his part, Anderton was not with the guards present at Hougoumont, however he would have been involved in the repulse of Napoleon’s Imperial Guard towards the end of the battle. This was the climactic confrontation with the famed Grenadiers of Napoleon's Imperial Guard. Marshal Ney led the assault which began with a French artillery barrage. Wellington ordered his men to lie down on the reverse slope to reduce casualties. Some of the 1st Guards even managed to snatch some sleep as the shot whistled overhead. At 1930hrs the advance began. There were 6,000 Grenadiers, seasoned veterans, moving in two massive columns on a frontage of 70 men shoulder to shoulder.
One column was heading towards the 1st Guards who numbered around 1,000. They lay out of sight but could hear the sound of thousands of marching feet and roars of 'Vive l'Empereur'. When they were 40 paces away, Wellington shouted 'Now Maitland. Now's your time!' When the Guards sprang to their feet they were in four ranks. The front rank opened fire, killing 300 Frenchmen. The other ranks repeated this, combined with a barrage of grapeshot from the artillery, the Imperial Guard wavered and tried to fall back. Then Lord Saltoun led a charge of the 1st Guards which routed their French counterparts. The 'invincible' Imperial Guard was routed. The cry went up throughout the French army that the Guard were retreating. The whole of the British force swept forward and drove the enemy back across the valley and up the opposite slope. Cavalry and infantry, tired as they were pursued them off the field of battle. The casualty figures for the 1st Guards Brigade on the 18th June were, 4 officers and 131 other ranks killed, 11 officers and 346 other ranks wounded.
Amongst those to be wounded was Guardsman Bagshaw, who suffered a disabled left hand owing to a gun shot wound received at Waterloo, as a result of which he was discharged on 15th February 1816.