Collier Row family find rare 200-year-old flag from the Battle of Waterloo
PUBLISHED: 07:00 28 April 2017
A father and son who deal in antique military memorabilia have unearthed one of only two known flags from the Defence of Hougoumont during the Battle of Waterloo.
Gary Lawrence, 58, who runs an online business called Waterloo Militaria with his son Luke, made the discovery when he bought a box of items at an auction in America and quickly realised he had a historically significant item in his hands.
Gary, from Collier Row, said the find was “unbelievable” and thinks it is even rarer than the only surviving flag from the Battle of Trafalgar which sold for more than £300,000 in 2015.
“It was lost and we found it at an auction in June,” said Gary. “There was a couple little bits in there and we new it was an early British flag and we knew pretty soon it was very very important.
“We’ve had quite a few experts look at it and confirmed it was one of the battle flags carried at the Battle of Waterloo.
“There are no other flags found from that battle, Hougoumont was the most important and exciting part of the Battle of Waterloo.”
The flag was carried by the 2nd Coldstream Guards 15th Company during the battle in June 1815 and is only one of two known flags to be taken to the battlefield.
Despite being in fragments it is estimated that 90per cent still exists.
The flag is now with the conservation team at the V & A Museum and Gary and Luke will go to the museum to help piece it together before it is put up for auction.
Gary said: “I’ve been dealing and playing about with military items for the past 30 years and I don’t think I’ll find anything like it again – it’s like finding Napoleon’s hat.
“We’ve had some good finds but after this it doesn’t get any better.”