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The 3rd Regiment of Foot : (The Scots Guards)

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The 3rd Regiment of Foot : (The Scots Guards)

Postby Iain » November 1st, 2014, 6:44 am

Hi All !
I’ve a few Newbie questions for you and I’d like to be corrected if wrong.

Before the battle, I believe the Battalion was composed of about 932 men (?) under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Francis Hepburn.
He had 10 companies, each one with a Lt Col commanding. One Grenadier company (Right Flank) one Light Infantry company (Left Flank) and eight Line Infantry companies. (one of which must have been HQ)

Nearly all my future questions will concern Guardsman Matthew Clay who was in Lt. Col. Master’s Company as a Grenadier. (an assumed ‘Grenadier’ as he was in the company first mentioned on the Battalion's Waterloo medals list)
Note..., as you all know, it was Clay who saved the French Drummer Boy inside Hougoumont and I need to know what type of human and logistic environment surrounded him during the week up to the battle.
http://blidworthhistoricalsociety.co.uk/10501.html

As such, my first three questions are :

1. Where can I get access to the Waterloo medals list ? (I’m on Ancestry but I can’t find it anywhere)
2. Lt Col Master was just one of nine others. Where do I look to find their names ? (I suppose the list !)
3. As can be seen on the Blidworth Historical site, Clay fought at Quatre-Bras on the morning of the 16th. Before hand, Wellington was already preparing the defence of Hougoumont. Question... Did the Light Infantry Company also fight at Quatre-Bras or were they posted directly to Hougoumont to assist the Coldstream Guards and the Jagers ?

I have some more ‘silly’ questions for you but as I prefer to remain focused, I’ll start another post. Lol ! My next will be concerning grenades.

Thanks in advance..., Iain.
http://img138.imageshack.us/img138/3994/scotsguards.jpg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LnLz6mVUk4
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Re: The 3rd Regiment of Foot : (The Scots Guards)

Postby jf42 » November 1st, 2014, 10:11 am

Iain, this may or not be of relevance to your research, and you may already be aware, but your reference to Lieutenant Colonels in command of Guards companies is interesting. At the time of Waterloo, Guards officers still had automatic seniority over officers in the rest of the army, which put them two ranks above their fellow officers. In the rest of the infantry, companies were commanded by officers with the rank of Captain.

Is it possible that Lieutenant Colonel in this instance was a courtesy title? This is part of the complicated distinction that existed at this time between Army rank and Regimental rank- which I still have trouble unravelling.

Grenades- is your question,by any chance, whether in 1815 men of the Guards grenadier companies were equipped with grenades? If so, the answer is, not since the mid-C18th.

By 1800, grenadiers were being described as "persons of superior force and courage, reserved for close combat with the bayonet"*, but whereas once physical stature and strength as well as courage were regarded as the essential qualities of a grenadier, experience and steadiness of "a soldier of service, not a lad who measures six feet"** had come to be valued as highly.

* ** FORMATION AND DISCIPLINE OF ARMIES (Robert Jackson,1804)
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Re: The 3rd Regiment of Foot : (The Scots Guards)

Postby Josh&Historyland » November 1st, 2014, 11:28 am

I don't know about in depth regimental details I'm afraid but if you ask oxfordmon he knows about the medal list.

As to question 3
"3. As can be seen on the Blidworth Historical site, Clay fought at Quatre-Bras on the morning of the 16th. Before hand, Wellington was already preparing the defence of Hougoumont. Question... Did the Light Infantry Company also fight at Quatre-Bras or were they posted directly to Hougoumont to assist the Coldstream Guards and the Jagers ?"

The light company almost certainly fought at QB. There were no allied units occupying Hougoumont until the night of the 17th. Wellington didn't start preparing it until the army arrived at Mont St Jean. And most British regiments at Hougoumont were sent there on the morning of the 18th. However if memory serves during the night and early morning the Light company of 2nd battalion 3rd Guards was (amongst other guard units) posted in the Chateaux but they and Lord Saltoun's men were replaced by the Naaseurs that morning. So that by the time the fight started only the Coldstream Guards were in the complex holding the kitchen garden.

Josh.
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Re: The 3rd Regiment of Foot : (The Scots Guards)

Postby John Waller » November 1st, 2014, 1:41 pm

At the same risk of being a pedant the 3rd regiment of foot are 'the Buffs'. The 'Scots Guards' are the 3rd regiment of foot guards.
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Re: The 3rd Regiment of Foot : (The Scots Guards)

Postby Iain » November 1st, 2014, 2:52 pm

Hi JF..., and thanks for your help.
Very interesting and as you say, the officers did have a special seniority. (so this could confuse my research) Many moons ago..., when I finished 10 years as a Lance Sergeant (the equivalent of a corporal in any other regiment; and had access to the Sergeant’s Mess) when visiting other regiments we were often frowned upon.

As for the grenades..., I have noted your info. Very interesting ! In the meantime, I made a separate post in the weapons section.

Josh..., Hi ! And thanks !
I’m just about certain that there must be a calendar of events for Hougoumont somewhere as there is for the battle as a whole. But I can’t find anything very precise.

As a newbie, please forgive me for contradicting you concerning the presence of my battalion in the farm during the battle. Lol ! (I only hope I well understood !) ;)
For example; Captain Thomas Craufurd died there with many other Scots Guardsmen. His plaque can be seen here :
http://www.freepub.be/doc/La_plaque_Tho ... d_full.pdf

Also, if you look at the Waterloo Roll Call, (below) you’ll see two Company Sergeant Majors Brice McGregor and Ralph Fraser of the 3rd of Foot being praised for assisting with the closing of the gates.
Lol..., I’m quite proud of this find !
For years if not centuries, the world has been praising the Coldstream Guards for closing the gates. (no mention of the Scots Guards !) Even Wellington mentioned it..., but little did he know !!
I discovered this on a round trip to Antwerp a few months ago !
I’ve still not told the Regimental Adjutant Col Vandeleur of CGRHQ as I want to remain in his good books ! He asked me to research the others in the farm at the time and for this reason I’ll have another question concerning the Germans who fought alongside the Guards..., but that’s for later ! (a detachment of the Waggon Train was also inside)

In fact, it’s my opinion that with so much activity, fires, dead and wounded, explosions and adrenalin etc, it must have been a total mess relative to discipline. And as they were all considered excellent individualists, each and every one must have acted without orders in the best interest of the defence of the farm. As such, a mish-mash of regiments closing the gates. (even the Germans)

I think the confusion arises in the fact that I read somewhere that Wellington entered the farm and gave an order. I read that this order was misunderstood and as a result, the guards were evacuated. (I think) Then, the CO's seeing the error, the two companies returned !

Waterloo Roll Call : https://archive.org/details/waterloorollcall00daltuoft (page 270)

..., Iain.
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Re: The 3rd Regiment of Foot : (The Scots Guards)

Postby Josh&Historyland » November 1st, 2014, 5:35 pm

Hi Ian.

I can see I have been unclear when I talked about the Guards in Hougoumont. Please pardon me.
I didn't mean to say that the 3rd Guards did not take part in the defence, they did, I was speaking only about that initial confusion when the Guards were replaced after a long night. I did not think to add that after the first French attack the defence of the buildings and a fair share of the orchard fell back to the guards. I thought it was obvious... My bad.

I'm well acquainted with Sergeant Fraser and the gates (it's no secret to me though you're right most people only remember the Coldstreamers). The 3rd more than did their fair share inside the compound. I'd never deliberately ignore them. Pardon my vagueness again.

If I may suggest investing in the Waterloo Companion which has a detailed section on the defence of Hougoumont in impressively analytical terms.

I agree it was a mess in there, Wellington was right when he said only the Guards could have held Hougoumont.
Any time I can help.
Josh.
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Re: The 3rd Regiment of Foot : (The Scots Guards)

Postby Iain » November 2nd, 2014, 6:55 am

Good morning Josh…, and thank you. My fault really !
Lol…, you are in contact here with an ‘L-plate’ historian and what’s taken for granted by you, can be more than fuzzy for people like me. ;)

And thanks for your advice..., the next time I’m in Namur I’ll order one.
I’ve also bookmarked your website..., hope I’ll find the time soon to read it all.

As you know Fraser well…, perhaps you can tell me why on http://www.forces-war-records.co.uk he’s down as a sergeant while Jimmy at SGRHQ said he was a CSM ? (as does the Roll Call) Perhaps a transcription error !

I suppose you can confirm my theory about him being a CSM in the Light Company..., so, officially inside. Unlike McGregor, doing his bit outside as a Grenadier (?) and taking refuge in the farm sometime during the afternoon ?

Thanks..., Iain.


PS Here’s some details you may not know about Fraser… (researched by a friend of mine in Campbeltown)

- Born in Westminster, London abt1780 according to his discharge papers in December 1818.
- Enlisted at the age of 19 in 1799.
- Discharged in London 1818 following 21 years service, having been “worn out.” (number confusion here)
- 5ft 9 3/4in tall / dark hair / dark complexion / grey eyes
- Served in Egypt 1801 as a Corporal..., landing at Aboukir Bay on the 8th of March. Plus Waterloo, Hanover and Copenhagen.
- Activities... Praised for assisting in the closing of the Hougoumont Farm gate alongside the Coldstream Guards.
- Wounded... Twice badly wounded.
- Ranks... Corporal in 1801 and Company Sergeant Major in 1815.
- Appointments... Bedesman in Westminster Abbey / Chelsea pensioner
- Died... On the 4th of February 1862 at West Street, leaving effects under £800.

Ralph Fraser appears on electoral registers in 1837 and 1851 at West Street in Pimlico, London.

1841 census
St George, Hannover Square.
Ralph Fraser, 58, army pensioner.
Ann ‘Fraser,’ 60.
Mary Williams, 18, dress maker
Sarah Bailey, 20, FS
John Marrell, 59, smith
George Marrell, 25, smith
William Marrell, 16, smith
Ann Marrell, 29

1851 census - West Street, Pimlico
Ralph Fraser, 68, widower, Chelsea pensioner
Mary Ann Williams, 28, dress maker, single

It may be that Ralph married three times.
There’s a marriage of a Ralph Fraser to Ann Tayton in Westminster in 1818. (he was a widower)
I can find a marriage between a Ralph Fraser and Mary Ann Martin in Lambeth in 1814. (this Ralph was a widower when he married Mary Ann)
Nothing to confirm whether this is the same Ralph; but nothing to say that it isn't.
Last edited by Iain on November 30th, 2014, 3:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The 3rd Regiment of Foot : (The Scots Guards)

Postby Josh&Historyland » November 2nd, 2014, 11:40 am

Morning Ian.

That L plate is a badge of honour as far as I'm concerned, I polish mine every day! ;) Thanks for understanding.
Hope you like my humble site, I'll be putting more Waterloo 200 stuff up the closer we get to the date.

I'll look through my books and see if Fraser's rank anomaly shows up. You have collected some great personal details about him, it was great to read them.

I've only ever read him as a sergeant, he might have been the senior Sgt In his company and thus called CSM by the good fellows like Jimmie at SGRHQ and the roll. I'd usually err on the contemporary record, but other members might know more about when CSM became a formalised rank.

Josh.
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Re: The 3rd Regiment of Foot : (The Scots Guards)

Postby Josh&Historyland » November 3rd, 2014, 12:04 am

Ian.

All my books list Fraser as sergeant so I can't help you there. He was very much a tough veteran NCO though, as you've listed he had a good deal of service under his belt. At Hougoumont not only did he help the others close the gate, (He'd have been darn close to it when it got smashed open as the Lt Coy 2/3 Guards udner Dashwood were the last to get inside) but he entered through it on the horse of a French Colonel.
Outside he'd come up agaisnt Colonel Cubiéres of the 1st Légère who had taken some swings at him with his sword. Fraser had dodged and lunged upwards with his halberd (Adkins rightly says that Light Company Sergeants didn't carry halberds so there's some confusion about what weapon he used). Cubiéres was wounded and knocked or pulled from his horse, but instead of killing him Fraser stole his horse and rode through the gate on it. Which in a matter of minutes he'd be striving to close. Fraser would recieve a special medal for his gallantry.

Josh.
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Re: The 3rd Regiment of Foot : (The Scots Guards)

Postby Andrew » November 3rd, 2014, 8:21 am

Josh&Historyland wrote:Outside he'd come up agaisnt Colonel Cubiéres of the 1st Légère who had taken some swings at him with his sword. Fraser had dodged and lunged upwards with his halberd (Adkins rightly says that Light Company Sergeants didn't carry halberds so there's some confusion about what weapon he used). Cubiéres was wounded and knocked or pulled from his horse, but instead of killing him Fraser stole his horse and rode through the gate on it. Which in a matter of minutes he'd be striving to close. Fraser would recieve a special medal for his gallantry.

Josh.


The French account of this episode is interesting. As the 29 year old Cubières directed this attack on horseback, chef de bataillon Jolyet who commanded a battalion of the 1st Légère tells us,

‘His [Cubières] arm in a sling, at the attack on Hougoumont, he displayed such courage that 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.’

Cubières had been wounded at Quatre Bras and his arm was in a sling; the inference is that he was unable to defend himself. I am not saying the British account is the wrong one; just making the point that each side will put their own spin on events and we will probably never know which account is the truth (if it is either, rather than one that falls somewhere between the two).

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