Original British Napoleonic Wars Waterloo Medal 1815 Awarded to Gunner William Harper Royal Foot Artillery

Item Description

Original Item: One-of-a-kind. Incredible 1815 Waterloo medal with rim officially impressed, that reads WILLIAM HARPER GUNN ROYAL FOOT ARTILLERY. Features a steel clip, contemporary steel bar suspension, ribbon, and replacement ribbon. The medal has slight pitting and minor wear but is offered in overall very fine condition.

Research at the National Archives tell us that WILLIAM HARPER, born in Donoughune, Donegal, was a Gunner in the 3rd Brigade Royal Foot Artillery and fought at Waterloo. He enlisted in 1813 at the age of 21 years and was discharged 1834 (due to death).

This medal was original acquired in the early 1960s through Caro-Len Coin Co and comes in the original Caro-Len envelope. The original price in 1960 was $400 (which is marked on the safety deposit envelope). It has remained in a private collection since it was acquired in 2020.

During the Napoleonic Wars the British Royal Foot Artillery (RFA) was organized into "brigades." (The word "battery" was a later creation.) The brigade had 6 guns, 6-9 ammunition wagons, and was divided into 3 "divisions" with 2 guns each. Each division was under the command of a subaltern officer. Brigade also had wheeled carriage, mobile forge, two store wagons, and 2 spare ammunition wagons.

RFA Brigade in 1808:
- 5 officers
- 8 NCOs
- 3 drummers
- 125 other ranks

 In November 1808 the British artillery was organized as follow:
- 1st Brigade RFA (4 light 6pdrs, 2 light 5 ½ inch howitzers)
- 2nd Brigade RFA (5 light 6pdrs, 1 light 5 ½ inch howitzers)
- 3rd Brigade RFA (5 medium 12pdrs, 1 heavy 5 ½ inch howitzer)
- 4th Brigade RFA (5 long 6pdrs, 1 heavy 5 ½ inch howitzer)
- Brigade KGL (8 pieces) - due to the lack of horses only 6 in the field
- Brigade KGL (8 pieces) - due to the lack of horses only 6 in the field
- Brigade KGL (4 12pdrs)
- 1st Troop RHA (5 light 6pdrs, 1 5 ½ inch howitzer)
- 2nd Troop RHA (5 light 6pdrs, 1 5 ½ inch howitzer)

Average strength of British batteries at Waterloo 1815 :
- 5 foot batteries (average strength: 5 6pdr cannons, 1 howitzer, 220 men each)
- 8 horse batteries (average strength: 2.5 6pdr cannons, 2 9pdr cannons, 1.5 howitzer, 170 men each).

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