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The Napoleonic Wars 1792-1815

A flag discovered.

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Re: A flag discovered.

Postby PaulD » May 3rd, 2017, 7:26 am

Iain wrote:Concerning the Colours at Hougoumont:
I suppose I'm correct in thinking that the Light Companies wouldn't have had Colours. So it's only logical to presume that all 3 GG, CG and SG Colours were with their respective HQ Companies on the ridge. (?)


Afraid not - Dawnay states that for the 1814 issues the colours of companies 21-24 in the First Guards and 15 and 16 in the Coldstream Guards were for the light companies, although there were no bills for painting flank company badges on any of the colours for the Third Guards. These bills also record the painting of the honours up to "Barossa" and were for a standard and 31 colours for the First Guards and for 20 colours for the other 2 regiments. Additional colours were granted in 1815. (pp. 119-120)
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Re: A flag discovered.

Postby Josh&Historyland » May 3rd, 2017, 11:06 am

But in terms of colours staying on the ridge, yes contemporary evidence supports this.

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Re: A flag discovered.

Postby CMcLeod2012 » May 3rd, 2017, 1:52 pm

PaulD

Iain brings up an interesting point. Did the Guards (or any other British Bns.) have smaller 'Camp' or marker flags ?
Does the book have have any info on them ?

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Re: A flag discovered.

Postby PaulD » May 3rd, 2017, 3:14 pm

CMcLeod2012 wrote:PaulD

Iain brings up an interesting point. Did the Guards (or any other British Bns.) have smaller 'Camp' or marker flags ?
Does the book have have any info on them ?

Cliff


Dawnay does not cover camp colours. Infantry battalions certainly used them in performing manoeuvres and they are mentioned in various contemporary manuals - for example their use in wheeling from line to column or from column to line is mentioned on page 115 of Reid's "A Treatise on the Duty of Infantry Officers and the Present System of British Military Discipline, published in 1795 and available online at: https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=3KB ... &q&f=false
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Re: A flag discovered.

Postby FBC-Elvas, Portugal » May 3rd, 2017, 4:37 pm

This was in The Times today: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/wate ... 8aad67f7a7
Pictures of the flag are included in the article, looking just like the flag in Josh's article.

A battered regimental standard that survived some of the fiercest fighting at Waterloo is being painstakingly pieced together after being found in fragments in a cardboard box.

The colours of the 2nd Battalion, Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards were flown at Hougoumont Farm in the battle at which Napoleon was defeated in 1815.

The 6ft 5in by 5ft 7in silk flag is one of a handful to have survived. It turned up at auction in the United States, where it was bought for less than £500.

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Re: A flag discovered.

Postby Iain » May 4th, 2017, 4:53 am

Hi All...

I thought the best way to get an official answer would be to contact Archives; so I sent the following email this morning.
I'll keep you updated.
Quote:

Captain Matthews…, good morning. I hope you are well.

As I intend visiting London soon, I contacted Jimmy at SG-Archives to arrange a meeting; unfortunately, he informed me that much of the archives are absent and being digitalized up to and including December.
In the meantime, I have an important question which in fact concerns more the Coldstream Guards than it does the SG.

You have obviously been consulted relative to the tattered CG Colour that was found recently in a cardboard box https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/wate ... 8aad67f7a7 and for the time being, it’s a topic of conversation among specialists on the Napoleonic Wars Forum. viewtopic.php?f=43&t=3643 :

In order to iron things out a little, I would like to ask you two questions.
As the CG and SG Light Companies were skirmishers; would they have had Colours ?
And based on your knowledge about the battle, if they did have Colours, is there any proof in your archives that they were present in the Hougoumont farm during the battle ?

I was always under the illusion that all the Colours were on the ridge and well protected…, but this debate seems to be pointing in the other direction.

Sorry for taking up your time but I’m sure your professionalism will find the forum’s short-read interesting.

Yours Sincerely…, Iain Wood.
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Re: A flag discovered.

Postby PaulD » May 5th, 2017, 7:00 am

S.M Milne's "The Standards and Colours of the Army", Leeds 1893 has a chapter on the infantry colours 1814-15, and describes the colours carried by the 1st and Coldstream Guards at Waterloo. According to Milne, the 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards carried the standards made for the 1st Battalion: King's Colour (the Colonel's colour) - crimson silk with the star of the Order of the Garter under the crown in the centre and the sphinx and battle honours Lincelles, Talavera and Barossa and the later additions Waterloo and part of Peninsula: Regimental Colour - colour of the 13th company, which is similar to the colour of the 15th company, but with the central device a Tudor rose and pomegranate, with the battle honous displayed differently and lacking the bugle horn - both (somewhat tattered) are illustrated. He goes on to quote General Sir Percy Fielding that when the regiment returned to England in 1816 the colours went missing and a new stand was applied for. They were found in 1850 in a box in a lumber room at the house of Sir Alexander Woodford, having been embarked with his baggage. (pp. 189-192).

This book was privately printed and is very rare (=expensive!), but various libraries have copies (see http://www.worldcat.org/title/standards ... c/18963118) and there was a print on demand edition a while ago. More accessible is "Die Fahnen von Waterloo" by R. Fuhrmann, Zeughaus Verlag, Berlin, 2012 which has many colour plates (including the Coldstream colours) - it is widely available and excellent value.
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Re: A flag discovered.

Postby Josh&Historyland » May 5th, 2017, 12:03 pm

Ian, everything I've ever read on Hougoumont tells me the colours were not taken into the chateau. They remained on the ridge. Light companies did not carry colours. Nor did individual companies in the field, this job was assigned to the Colour party.

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Re: A flag discovered.

Postby PaulD » May 5th, 2017, 12:44 pm

Josh&Historyland wrote:Ian, everything I've ever read on Hougoumont tells me the colours were not taken into the chateau. They remained on the ridge. Light companies did not carry colours. Nor did individual companies in the field, this job was assigned to the Colour party.

Josh.


Everything points to the original story being hype - A guards battalion would only have 2 colours in the field, the King's colour being one of the colonel/lieutenant colonel/major's colours and the Regimental colour being one of the company colours - the regimental colour used by the Coldstream Guards at Waterloo was that of the 13th company, not the 15th and, as you say, the colours would be kept safe on the ridge, not risked in the action at Hougoumont.
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Re: A flag discovered.

Postby Iain » May 6th, 2017, 12:29 pm

Thank you Josh…
That seems logical. Lol…, having skirmishers running about and hiding; the last thing they would have wanted would be a colourful, flapping flag to give away their position away.
Rottenburg would have had a fit !
This is an extremely interesting post; not for the find, but for all the interesting replies from people like Paul.

In the meantime, Captain Matthews replied from RHQ.
Quote:-

Dear Ian,
Many thanks for your e-mail but so far as I know no-one has yet approached us about the story that appeared recently in the Times.

We do not have a full time historical researcher and rely on the services of a retired officer volunteer who comes into our Headquarters to help us out, usually on a Thursday and I am going to pass your e-mail to him to see if he can answer your questions. I am sure he will get back to you in due course.

Yours sincerely

Billy Matthews
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