Claim your free Battle of Waterloo medal

Half a million free campaign medals are being made available to the public in commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo

The Campaign Medal, bronze
The Campaign Medal, bronze

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 are bronze replicas of those presented to all of the British soldiers that served at Quatre Bras, Ligny and Waterloo in 1815, and of all the medals available, the first 37,500 are individually numbered, representing the number of soldiers to whom the Campaign Medal was originally issued.

All 500,000 have been funded by the The London Mint Office and are available on the organisation’s website but are limited to one per household. And following the announcement of the free medals at the Waterloo 200 event at Apsley House last month 30,000 of these have already been applied for.

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. Prior to this, medals presented to participants in battle maintained a sense of the army hierarchy in the metal used – gold for generals and senior officers, silver-gilt for field officers and general staff, silver for captains and subalterns, bronze for native commissioned and European non-commissioned officers, and tin for privates.

The Duke of Wellington showing the Prince Regent (later George IV) the battlefield of Waterloo by Benjamin Robert Haydon c. 1844, Wellington Collection, Stratfield Saye House © Stratfield Saye Preservation Trust.

The free medals are part of a programme of activity that Waterloo 200 is organising in the build up to the anniversary, including a digital collection of 200 historic items associated with the Waterloo period from collections across Europe, and various events at key locations such as Apsley House, home to the 1st Duke of Wellington, and Walmer Castle and Gardens, where he died in 1852.

On the 18th June 2015 there will be a service of national homage at St Paul’s Cathedral. Waterloo 200 aims to trace anyone in the UK or overseas whose relatives fought in the battle. The descendants will have the opportunity to apply for tickets to attend the event which will be attended by a senior member of the Royal Family as well as representatives from every regiment in the British army. Those with descendants involved in the battle are encouraged to enter their details here.

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