Waterloo Medal, 1815, contemporarily renamed, Army of India Medal, bar Bhurtpoor, officially impressed, William Coates, 11th Light Dragoons, who had a very long army career since the age of 16, and rode with Vandeleur’s Cavalry Brigade aged only 17 at the Battle of Waterloo.
Army of India, short hyphen reverse with designer initials, officially impressed: “Wm Coates, 11th Lt Dragns”
Waterloo Medal which has been many years ago, very neatly erased and attractively engraved around the original impressed stars: “William Coates. 11th Regt Lt Dragoons.”
Reputedly the veterans of Waterloo, who were taking part in their first battle since 1815 at the siege of Bhurtpoor, would sew their Waterloo medals into their uniform before going into battle, which naturally resulted in many lost medals and broken pairs once they finally received their Army of India medal circa 1850.
Provenance, sold as a pair in Glendinings during May 1966.
William Coates, was born during 1797 in Bromyard, Herefordshire.
Having been a labourer, at the age of only 16 he attested for service with the 11th Light Dragoons at Wolverhampton on 17th August 1813.
With the upcoming battle of Waterloo, Private Coates was only 17 years old, when he landed at Ostend with the regiment on 2nd April 1815 and mounted up with Vandeleurs Cavalry Brigade beside the 12th and 16th Light Dragoons.
He was present with Captain Thomas Binny’s Troop.
The regiment would come under heavy attack at Quatre Bras but were fortunate to only suffer few casualties.
During the Battle of Waterloo on 18th June 1815 the 11th Light Dragoons would have a rather disappointing morning, following a night of torrential rain the cavalry were forced to stand and watch the Infantry be bombarded and harrassed.
However, against Wellington’s orders, the Heavy Brigade suddenly executed a brilliant charge on the enemy which was then spoiled by their failure to re-form and it was looking like they would be lost.
It was then that the 11th Light Dragoons, under Lt Colonel Money, were sent into the action when it looked like the enemy were breaking up. Their charge broke a French infantry square and carried on with the pursuit of Napoleon’s fleeing soldiers.
Following the battle he later served in the Siege of Bhurtpoor (Bharatpur) which lasted from 9th December 1825 until 18th January 1826.
During the siege the British Forces totalled about 30,000 men to assault the huge fortress at Bhurtpoor, the stunning fortress had 8 mile long walls, which were 150 foot wide, surrounded by a 60 foot deep moat.
The 11th Light Dragoons and the 16th Lancers formed part of Colonel Sleigh’s Cavalry Division.
After the storming of the citadel, the 11th Light Dragoons chased down any defenders who attempted to escape.
Following his long service of 34 years, he retired and returned home to Herefordshire, and lived in Leominster.
His new occupation on the 1841, 1851 and 1861 shown as “Grocer and Chelsea Pensioner”.
He lived at Middle Marsh in Leominster, Herefordshire with his wife Mary A. Coates, where they later raised their young niece Jemima B. Medlicott.
He later died during 1863 in Leominster.