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The halberd :

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The halberd :

Postby Iain » October 16th, 2016, 5:23 pm

Hi All…

Can anyone confirm that Sgt Ralph Fraser at Hougoumont-Waterloo 1815 actually had a halbred as a weapon ?
Also; looking at the images, it also seems as if he could have had a sword.
And the waist ribbon ? (??)

Kind Regards…, Iain
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The Halberd.jpg
The Halberd.jpg (161.31 KiB) Viewed 572 times
Sergent_A_Fraser_du_2nd_Battalion_des_Scots_Guards_engage_le_Colonel_de_Cubières[1].jpg
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Re: The halberd :

Postby TheBibliophile » October 17th, 2016, 6:37 pm

Have a look here and scroll down to charles wood, 1st foot.

http://www.armchairgeneral.com/forums/s ... 32&page=25
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Re: The halberd :

Postby Josh&Historyland » October 17th, 2016, 8:06 pm

Sergeants wore a waist sash with the regimental facing colour around their waist as a badge of rank. A sword also formed part of the uniform but it wasn't always worn in action and NCO's of the light company did not carry the halberd.

Josh.
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Re: The halberd :

Postby Iain » October 22nd, 2016, 3:07 pm

Hi… Sorry for not getting back sooner

Hi Bibliophile…
Knowing virtually nothing about the arms of the day; concerning Colour Sgt Wood’s halberd and sword in that image; I can well imagine the necessity of both in order to protect the Battalions’ Colours. The ‘suicide rank’!

Josh…, lol; I’m perplexed !

You say that the Light Company NCOs didn’t have halberds. However, as you already know from John’s report in relation to Fraser; prior to ±09h00, he was part and parcel of HQ Company. (with 2SG on the ridge behind the farm with the Colours)
As such and if I was a ‘CSM’ and ordered down to the farm for close-quarter combat, I’d certainly have chosen a halberd and a sword.
Lol…, had they been available, I’d also have had grenades and a longbow. Forgive my flippancy…, nonetheless, from experience, nobody, not even an Officer, tells a CSM what to do or carry ! Even in those days !

In the meantime and as you can imagine, this part of my research is to confirm/analyse the third image in relation to the Fraser/Cubières conflict.
Having been advised by many specialists here that the Waterloo Roll Call must be treated with caution, I didn’t want to quote the fact that on page 270, Fraser is down as being a Sergeant Major. (as was Bruce McGregor)

Being a CSM…, could that have changed his weaponry ? If so, it could also confirm his Waterloo rank plus the artist’s research behind the 3rd image !

I have already written to RHQ to confirm his rank but for once, Jimmy didn’t reply. Probably fed up with my e-mails !
In the meantime, I’ll be doing Christmas London shopping in December and I’d like to meet up with the new Regimental Adjutant Major Kelly. What’s more, (lol) I have a very long list for Jimmy !

Anecdote:
Fraser certainly didn’t have a musket so how did he unsaddle Cubières ?
The horse was not injured because Fraser used it to enter the farm…, and as we all know, despite Cubières being wounded at Quatre Bras and with one arm probably in a sling plus a face wound, he was certainly not an easy target.
What’s more, with a well disciplined horse and a rider with a sword; it lowers the odds of Fraser gaining the medal he received following the incident; simply with his bare hands or eventually a sword. Unless of course; he had a halberd !

A personal PS: These Officers/NCOs knew from experience exactly, how to stop the enemy from climbing over a wall. As such, the second weapon on the list of weapons after the musket for Hougoumont, was certainly a halberd. (ça coule de source !)
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Re: The halberd :

Postby Josh&Historyland » October 22nd, 2016, 8:34 pm

Hi Ian.

All I can do is repeat myself I'm afraid. Light Coy NCO's did not carry halberds & actually it's an awful weapon for fighting in buildings & forest. So I don't know why he is supposed to have one.
The Cubieres affair was discussed at the beginning of the old SG thread here and Andrew provided some interesting alternates which might show a more realistic account, I was convinced anyway.

viewtopic.php?f=43&t=2442&hilit=Fraser

Boiled down Cubieres was already wounded, but was shot from his horse as he lead the attack up the kitchen/western garden, or he fell due to losing control. Fraser might well have been one of the men French sources say the British officers were calling on not to kill the Colonel. The sergeant might have taken the horse as compensation.

From my own post:
"Cubiéres was now leading the advance in true French style from the front waving his sword and hat. He must have outstripped his men for he was suddenly in plain sight of the British muskets. Reality and legend are hard to untie here. For a sergeant of the Scots Guards named Fraser is credited with unhorsing him during the ensuing fusillade as the Guards snapped off a parting salutation to the oncoming enemy. In truth a musket ball might well have knocked Cubiéres from his horse, and French sources suggest that British officers were calling out not to kill him. Cubiéres was forever grateful to Fraser for sparing his life. So perhaps the sergeant had stepped forwards to finish him off or take him prisoner, but heeded an officer’s call and instead grabbed the Frenchman’s horse as a consolation."

The headquarters company acted like any ordinary company when on the field. So either Fraser wasn't in the Lt Coy, or the halberd (Half Pike is more accurate, but tradition is what it is) is just legend.

Josh.
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Re: The halberd :

Postby Iain » October 23rd, 2016, 4:56 am

Thank you Josh…
It’s amazing how artists, journalists and re-enactment groups can confuse situations by dramatizing !

As you say, there’s too much specialist evidence to have him with a halberd.
As such and as a sergeant, what did he have ? A musket ?

On re-reading Andrew’s account of the French comments, there’s certainly something ‘typically British’ with this event and something I must concentrate on. (a bit like Clay saving the Drummer’s life)
Quote; “the English officers, seeing him fall from his horse after receiving a new wound, threw themselves in front of their soldiers to prevent them from killing him. They picked him up and by their care and attention, showed him their admiration.”

In the meantime; ‘Typically British’?
In the heat of battle, I have my doubts that they’d have dusted him off !

Thank you Josh…, Iain.
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Re: The halberd :

Postby Josh&Historyland » October 23rd, 2016, 4:11 pm

Light company Seregants carried muskets as far as I am aware. The photograph you provided of the reenactor is I think a Grenadier Company man by the looks of his shako plume.
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Re: The halberd :

Postby Iain » October 24th, 2016, 3:15 pm

Ho hum...
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