Battle of Waterloo medals spanning 200 years to go on sale

Two rare medals from the Battle of Waterloo, 200 years ago, are being put up for sale by auction in Shropshire, in the West Midlands of the UK.

The medals are thought to be worth thousands of pounds and are to be part of a military auction of more than 270 items.

One of the medals was awarded to Lieutenant Ludwig Heise, an injured soldier from the King’s German Legion Artillery. The second medal was awarded to Gunner George Sizeland, who fought with the Royal Foot Artillery, and prior to the war was a labourer from Norfolk.

Military medals are a large feature of the auction and they span in age from the Battle of Waterloo in 1815 to the Iraq War which began in 2003.

The auctioneers believe it is the best selection of medals they have ever seen, coming from all across the UK.

Another medal that is expected to fetch thousands is a Distinguished Conduct Medal, which was awarded to Bombardier Alfred Bentley, for his role in the Boer War. Bentley was a member of the 75th Battery Royal Field Artillery and was awarded the medal when he was shot in the face and wounded at Modder River. He went on to serve during World War One and was decommissioned in 1931.

The Boer War lasted from 1899 to 1902 and was fought between Britain, the South African Republic and the Orange Free State. The British were supported by troops from around the British Empire, including Australia, Canada, India and New Zealand. The British forces declared victory in 1902, annexing both republics and eventually incorporating the entire territory into the Union of South Africa in 1910.

The Boer War ended more than 100 years of conflict between the South African settlers of white-origin and the British Empire. The conflict was mainly caused by territory disputes and over control of the rich Witwatersrand gold mines, which founded the modern-day city of Johannesburg in the north east of South Africa, the Shropshire Star reports.

The auctioneers comment that they are not just putting the medals up for sale. Many are accompanied by historical documents and military memorabilia. Some come with medical reports, discharge paperwork, copies of obituaries and some even with photographs of the soldiers.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE