Free Waterloo campaign medal for UK households
Waterloo 200, the Government-backed organisation overseeing the celebrations of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, is giving away 500,000 commemorative Campaign Medals as a gift to the public. The medals, which are bronze replicas of those presented to all of the British soldiers that served at Quatre Bras, Ligny and Waterloo in 1815, have been funded by the The London Mint Office and are available here. The medals are limited to one per household.
Of the 500,000 commemorative Campaign Medals available, the first 37,500 are individually numbered, representing the number of soldiers to whom the Campaign Medal was originally issued. These numbered medals are priced at £9.99.
The Waterloo Campaign Medal was originally commissioned by Sir William Wellesley Pole, brother of The Duke of Wellington, shortly after the battle. The medal features on the obverse an effigy of the Prince Regent looking left, with inscription ‘GEORGE P. REGENT’ and on the reverse is a seated figure of Victory, with inscription ‘WATERLOO’, the date ‘JUNE 18. 1815’ and ‘WELLINGTON’. The bronze medal commissioned was changed to silver by the Prince Regent and was intended to be issued to every soldier present at one or more of the battles. However, not all who fought (or relatives of the deceased) actually received a medal.
The Waterloo Campaign Medal holds much historical significance as it was the first time in British history that a medal was issued by the British Government to all soldiers present in a battle, regardless of rank.
The free medals are part of a programme of activity that Waterloo 200 is organising in the build up to the anniversary, which includes; a digital collection of 200 historic items associated with the Waterloo period from collections across Europe, various events at key locations including Apsley House, home to the 1st Duke of Wellington and Walmer Castle and Gardens, his official residence as Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports and where he died in 1852.
There will only be 500,000 of these medals struck and they will be available on a first come, first served basis. So be quick! There are also 37,500 sterling silver medals being produced for a cost of £87 and 15,000 14ct gold versions for £297 if you are feeling flush!
Just as a reminder, the webpage to order your free medal is www.200waterloo.co.uk