The Eagle Parade
Cavalrymen mounted on 55 horses, and two carriages from the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment paraded through London on Monday morning, in ceremonial splendour, to deliver a precious artefact to Horse Guards on the anniversary of the day it was originally brought back to London to confirm the victory over Napoleon at Waterloo.
On Horse Guards Parade, the Queen’s Life Guard turned out to welcome the procession and the Band of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment (dismounted) provided musical accompaniment.
Representatives from the Household Cavalry Regiment, the operational arm of the Household Cavalry, were also be present to welcome the Waterloo Eagle, whose emblem they still wear on their sleeves into battle.
The Waterloo 105 Eagle was carried in the lead carriage by Lance Corporal of Horse Carl Greenhaw, representing Corporal Styles, the trooper who captured the Eagle at Waterloo. He will be wearing Corporal Styles’ original Waterloo medal, newly acquired by the Household Cavalry Museum. The two artefacts will be displayed together as part of a new exhibition opening on Monday.
For the first time in two centuries a Napoleonic Eagle captured on the battlefield at Waterloo is to be united with the medal of the soldier who won it.
At 2pm on 18 June 1815 Corporal Francis Styles, a Londoner from Holborn, charged with Wellington’s Heavy Cavalry against the massed ranks of French infantry, attacking the allied position. Styles and his Squadron Leader, Captain Alexander Kennedy Clarke, found themselves in the midst of desperate fighting where they seized one of the two Eagles captured at Waterloo, writing their names into legend. Corporal Styles received a promotion to Sergeant as a reward for his bravery and accomplishment.
These two eagles, along with the Duke of Wellington’s dispatches telling of the Allied victory, arrived in London three days after the battle on 21 June 1815, exactly 206 years ago. After more than a decade of war, London and Britain rejoiced.
Styles’ Waterloo medal was lost to the Regiment after his early death in 1828. It disappeared from the record until last year when it was put up for sale on eBay in the United States. A serving Household Cavalryman, Corporal of Horse Richard Hendy, spotted this and flagged it to the Museum. It was duly purchased for the museum with donations from serving and ex-serving Household Cavalrymen.
Every single soldier in the squadron, and across the regiment, is fiercely proud of the legacy made at Waterloo by Styles and those he rode with. Today we wear the eagle on our sleeves, and for many, we have it tattooed on our skin. It means that much to us. It embodies what it means to be a Household Cavalryman and epitomises the courage, teamwork and sheer grit we expect from our people. Major Tom Mountain, the Blues and Royals Squadron Leader
The Household Cavalry Museum Exhibit
From 21 June, thanks to the generosity of the National Army Museum, the Eagle so iconic to members of the Blues and Royals and an artefact of national importance, will be loaned to the Household Cavalry Museum to join the medal. Over the summer a special temporary collection will focus on the cavalry heroes of Waterloo - from Jack ‘Bear Shaw’, a champion boxer and male model killed at Waterloo, to Lord Uxbridge, who lost his leg in the closing moments.
The long-lost Waterloo Medal of Sergeant Francis Styles of the Royals (1st Dragoons) – now Blues and Royals - will be displayed at the Household Cavalry Museum on Horse Guards with the actual Eagle of the 105e Regiment d'Infanterie de Ligne, which he captured during that fateful battle.
The Museum will be open from Fridays – Sundays until full restrictions are lifted. The Museum will be putting on special Waterloo walking tours, activity trails and special events from 21 June. The new exhibition trail will explore the courage, carnage and controversies of Wellington’s cavalry at a battle which secured almost a century of peace in Europe.