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A Peninsula & Waterloo Veteran’s Order of the Bath Investment Star, 1827
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A Peninsula & Waterloo Veteran’s Order of the Bath Investment Star, 1827

Measurements: 77mm (3.03in) x 77mm (3.03in)

£2900

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Silver sequin and wire body embellished with coloured silk threads and red velvet. The Most Honourable Order of the Bath, K.C.B. (Military) Knight Commander’s investiture breast star formed of a cross pattée with rays in between the arms, the centre comprising a wreath of laurel surrounding the motto ‘Tria Juncta In Uno’ (Three in One), and encircling three Imperial Crowns, the whole over a motto scroll inscribed ‘Ich Dien’ (I Serve). The paper reverse inscribed in manuscript ink ‘Given to Sir Robert / Gardiner May 17. / 1827’ applied with the maker’s label of ‘Lewis / Gold Laceman, Embroiderer, / Sword Cutler / &c. / To The King / 33 / St. James’s Street.’

The present star was worn by General Sir Robert William Gardiner during his tenure as Principal Equerry to Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld and aide-de-camp to George IV. He later became aide-de-camp to William IV and Queen Victoria, Governor of Gibraltar, and Master Gunner, St James's Park. As a distinguished Waterloo officer he was painted by William Salter for inclusion in his documentary painting ‘The Waterloo Banquet at Apsley House’, 1839 (Wellington Museum, Apsley House).

Sir Robert William Gardiner (1781-1864) was the son of captain in the Buffs and received his professional education at the Old Royal Military Academy, Woolwich. He passed out as a Second Lieutenant in 1797 and was sent to Gibraltar, then under partial blockade by the French and Spanish fleets. In 1798 he took part in the capture of Minorca and was afterwards appointed to the staff of the island's Mosquito Fort, and aide-de-camp to the Lieutenant-Governor, General Henry Fox (younger brother of Charles James Fox).

Following the 1802 Treaty of Amiens he returned to England, and was promoted to Second-Captain in 1804. The following year he commanded twelve guns in an advance corps under Lieutenant-General Sir George Don as part of General Lord Cathcart and Count Tolstoy's campaign in North Germany. After skirmishes with the French, the expedition advanced as far as Hanover before the Battle of Austerlitz forced their return home in January 1806.
Gardiner next effected an exchange to Sicily, which he reached just after the battle of Maida. He continued in Sicily as aide-de-camp to Fox and afterwards to hero of Corunna Sir John Moore, returning with Moore to England from Gibraltar in December 1807.

As regulations prevented Gardiner from serving on Moore's staff on the expedition to Sweden, he exchanged to accompany Sir Arthur Wellesley to Portugal and was subsequently present at the future Duke of Wellington’s defeat of the French at Roliça on 17 August 1808 and few days later at that of Junot. Following General Dalrymple’s signing of the controversial of the Convention of Cintra by which the Royal Navy was to evacuate the French army from Lisbon with all its loot, Wellesley and Dalrymple were recalled to face a court of enquiry. Meanwhile with Napoleon’s entry into Spain with 200,000 veteran troops, Gardiner joined Sir John Moore as brigade major of the artillery in the retreat to Corunna and was evacuated with the army after Moore’s famous defensive action and death. In connection with Moore’s death Gardiner wrote, ‘You will imagine how severely I felt it. I saw him after he received the wound, but he was talking with such firmness, that I did not apprehend the danger he was in.’

In 1809 Gardiner took part in the Walcheren expedition, being present at the siege of Middelburg and Flushing, and was invalided with fever. On his recovery he went to Cadiz, and his battery took a prominent part in the battle of Barossa. He joined the Marquis of Wellington's Army in 1812 and received a brevet majority for his services at the siege and capture of Badajoz. He commanded a Field Battery at the Battle of Salamanca, the Capture of Madrid and the Siege of Burgos where with several of his men he volunteered for the trenches. Early in 1813 he was appointed to the command of ‘E’ Troop Royal Horse Artillery, then attached to the 7th Division, with which he fought at Vitoria in the Pyrenees, at Orthez, Tarbes, and Toulouse. He was made K.C.B. in 1814.

In March 1815, as Napoleon returned from Elba, Gardiner’s troop was stationed in front of the Prince Regent’s London residence Carlton House during the anti-corn law riots in London. Needless to say the house was preserved though its principal resident was forced to endure the vocal displeasure of the mob. Shortly afterwards Gardiner was ordered with his Troop to the Netherlands for the Waterloo campaign. At Quatre Bras of 16 June Gardiner’s troop was most severely pressed in covering the left of the army on the retreat’. On the 18th he commanded his troop at the Battle of Waterloo, where it saw out that epic day covering the flank of Sir Hussey Vivian’s cavalry. Gardiner was later advance to a G.C.B. and KCH, and had the decoration of St Anne of Russia for his services in the Waterloo Campaign and France with the Army of Occupation.

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