A Waterloo Medal to Ainslie who Carried 69th Regiment ColoursConsignment #4
A Waterloo Medal to Ainslie who Carried 69th Regiment Colours - (ENSIGN AINSLIE 69th REG. FOOT.). Naming is period re-engraved. Contact marks, surface wear, fine. Accompanied by a printout from "Ensign Ainslie's Memoir". (C:4) Footnote: George Simon Harcourt Ainslie left Eton on December 6, 1814 and upon his arrival in London, found that he had been gazetted an Ensign on November 10, 1814, as mentioned in the London Gazette 16958 on Saturday, November 19, 1814, page 2290. He subsequently joined the Depot of the 69th Regiment of Foot and placed on its roll, later joining the Regiment at Ostend on February 24, 1815. He is documented as being on the list of officers of the 69th Regiment of Foot in the Netherlands in 1815. In "Ensign Ainslie's Memoir", he describes what happened at the Battle of Quatre Bras, on the Morning of June 15, 1815: "Here I overtook one of our men, bearing the Regimental Colour; from whom I learned that it had passed through several hands; I resumed my charge of it, and on arriving at the farm at Quatre Bras, I rejoined the remnant of out Regiment." The next day, on June 16th, it was raining heavily, with Ainslie reflecting: "A few minutes were sufficient to wet us quite to the skin; and the Regimental Colour, which I carried, altho' at the time I believe I was the youngest Officer in the Corps, and which from the circumstances of the Colours having been captured with the Regiment at Bergen-op-Zoom, the previous winter, was nearly new, dyed my hands and arms a deep green." Although it is generally acknowledged that Ainslie carried the Regimental Colour into battle that day, he makes no mention of the fact that he was knocked over by a horse, as another account relative to the 69th describes. Volunteer Clark is alleged to have caught the Colour and held onto it, killing three cuirassiers and suffering multiple wounds in the process, before collapsing to the ground with the Colour beneath his body, thus saving it. Clarke survived his injuries, losing the use of one arm in the process, and was rewarded with a commission in the 42nd Regiment of Foot for his bravery. What is known for sure, is that Ensign Ainslie was at the Battle of Waterloo on the 18th. In his words, again from the "Ensign Ainslie's Memoir": "I do not pretend to write an account of the battle of Waterloo, but can speak with confidence of what came within my own observation. Our view to the front was limited by the rise of the ground, but we commanded the field on the right, and to the rear, when the absence of smoke would allow us to obtain a view of the scene, which was at intervals; nor was the mind always disposed to take advantage of these opportunities; being otherwise engaged. The 69th Regiment of Foot having suffered so severely on the 16th (at Quatre Bras), as did also the 33rd., another Regiment of our Brigade, the two were united, and even then formed but a small body of men. Soon after the firing had become general, the Infantry of our Army were chiefly formed into squares, on which occasion our regiment composed our front right face; the rear and left remaining to the 33rd. This formation by squares, is admirably adapted for sustaining a heavy cannonade, and for being at the same time ready to receive the attack of cavalry; for, by causing the men to lie down, a square of four or five hundred men is no easy object to strike with shot or shells, and on the approach of cavalry, it is ready in a moment to receive them. The experience of the whole day confirms this. The increasing effect of the fire to which our situation behind the farm of La Haye Sainte exposed us, soon forced us to lie down; a command not unwillingly complied with. This formation causes no confusion, the square preserving its form, as when the men are standing; the only difference being that that the officers spaced in the centre for the supernumeraries and colours is thus reduced. The Regimental Colour remaining in my charge, my station necessarily was in this place. In this manner were passed several hours during which the tremendous cannonade in almost every direction plainly told us that we had no more than out share in the business of the day. The time was only marked by the occasional striking of a shot in our square….. Among those [events] which made the strongest impression, is the grand charge of the French Cavalry, which took place in the middle of the day. After we had been exposed for hours to the heavy fire I have just spoken of, on a sudden there seemed to be a pause; and soon after rose a general alarm that the Cavalry were coming. We were quickly ready to receive them. The firing now almost ceased on both sides; the French that termite not injure their own troops; and that on our side, by the forced retreat of the guards, through the intervals of the squares. In many cases, the guns were even left; and the men and horses alone, took refuge either in in the squares or behind them. The brow of the hill was in a moment covered with Cavalry, and they then swept down, literally like a torrent, on our squares. From some cause or another, I think from our being in the direction of La Haye Sainte, our square was never charged on the 18th." For his service, Ainslie was paid 34 pounds, 14 shillings and 9.5 pence. He later joined the Royal Dragoons. His surname "Ainslie" was officially changed to "Harcourt" in 1823, as was recognized by the crown, as mentioned in the London Gazette 17896 of Saturday, February 15, 1823, page 251: "The King has been pleased to give and grant George-Simon Harcourt-Ainslie, otherwise George-Simon Harcourt, now a Cornet on half-pay of His Majesty's 9th Regiment of Lancers, His royal licence and authority that he may discontinue the surname of Ainslie, and henceforth take, use, and bear the surname of Harcourt only. And to command, that this Majesty's concession and declaration be recorded in the College of Arms." Harcourt was a resident of Graffhem, Sussex, when he married Emily Catherine Ximenes of Sidmouth, Devonshire, on March 9, 1830, at Sidmouth. The couple took up residence in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire in 1839, where he became one of the two founders of Cheltenham College and named Honourary Secretary, while the College's co-founder, Captain Iredell, was named its Registrar. He gave up his position as Honourary Secretary when the couple moved to Bedford, Bedfordshire, where they both would reside for the rest of their lives. Harcourt died at Bedford, on December 29, 1869, at the age of 72, documented as being one of the last officers who participated at the Battle of Waterloo at the time of his death. He was buried in Foster Hill Road Cemetery, Bedford, Grave #157 IG8. His widow, Emily Catherine Harcourt, died on January 11, 1880, at the age of 71.