A Most Rare 1818 Officer's Heavy Cavalry Helmet Plate
The King's German Legion, 1st & 2nd Dragoon Regiments, a most rare and possibly unique officer's frontal plate for the 1818 pattern heavy cavalry helmet, in die-stamped hallmarked silver, London 1818, makers mark JA or possibly NA, the multi rayed plate with raised designs comprising the Royal Arms of Great Britain (1813-37), a Guelphic crown, and four battle honour scrolls Peninsula, Waterloo, Garzia Hernandez, the plate retains its convex shape, three ray finials missing and a few small fractures around the central design, and on one ray slight surface wear to the central escutcheon. Footnote: On the day following the battle of Salamanca, the 1st and 2nd Light Dragoons earned the battle honour Garcia Hernandez for an incident unique in the annals of British military history. During the French retreat, these two regiments charged and destroyed in succession three regiments of Foys rearguard, formed in three squares, which were supported by six pieces of artillery. A regiment of infantry formed in square, bristling with bayonets and with devastating fire-power on all sides, was believed to be impervious to attack from cavalry. For cavalry to break a square was unheard of. Eyewitnesses stated that after the action the dragoons, supporting their wounded, made their way slowly to the rear through the cheering ranks of the famous Light Division. Wellington, seldom lavish in his praise, wrote in his official despatch "I have never witnessed a more gallant charge than was made upon the enemy's infantry by the heavy brigade of the Kings German Legion under Major General von Bock, which was completely successful and the whole body of infantry, consisting of three battalions of the enemy's first division, were made prisoners." Three weeks later, all officers of the K.G.L. were granted permanent rank in the British Army.