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Essex Regiment Bronze Eagle, circa 1935
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Essex Regiment Bronze Eagle, circa 1935

Measurements: Height: 10.5cm (4.5in)



In the form of a bronze model of The Imperial Eagle of the 62e Regiment d’Infanterie de Ligne captured the Essex at the Battle of Salamanca in 1812. Mounted on a an ebonised base with a presentation plaque inscribed '1st Battalion The Essex Regiment / In Memory of / Their Visit to Saar 1934-1935'

The present bronze relates to 1 Essex’s role as part of the  3300-strong International Force in the Saar that under the authority of the League of Nations oversaw the referendum on the return of Saarland to Germany. Saarland had been under League of Nations administration since the end of the First World War with France in control of its coal mines. The plebiscite decided that the Saar should return to Germany. The Saar became part of Nazi Germany on 1 March 1935, with Joseph Bürckel as Reichskommissar. There was little or no violence during the plebiscite and the peacekeeping effort was regarded as a success, and the return home of 1 Essex was widely reported http://www.britishpathe.com/video/saar-troops-return

The Eagle of the French 62nd Line was captured in July 1812 by Lieutenant Pearce of 2/44th Foot, who appeared in front of its bearer at the moment when he was taking it off its staff to protect it under his coat. A fight ensued, in which they were joined by a second eagle-bearer, a French soldier and three 44th. The French soldier was going to drive his bayonet into the Lieutenant, when Private Finlay shot him in the head, saving the Lieutenant’s life and spraying the eagle with the soldier’s blood. The two eagle bearers were also killed, one of them by Pearce, who snatched the eagle and then nailed it to a sergeant’s pike, carrying it triumphantly throughout the remainder of the battle, and presenting it to Wellington the following day.