WATERLOO 1815 ‘LIEUTENANT THOMAS BAYNES, 39TH FOOT.’
Thomas Baynes was appointed Ensign in the 1st Battalion, 39th Foot on 27 October 1808, and Lieutenant on 20 July 1809. He served in Sicily 1810-11 and Portugal from October 1811, serving during Lord Hill’s operations in Spanish and Portugal 1811-12. He took part in the advance to Madrid and the terrible Burgos retreat, where his battalion formed part of the rearguard. At the battle of Vittoria on 21st June 1813, the 39th were very heavily engaged, being tasked with the taking of and afterwards defending, against repeated French attacks, the village of village Subijana de Alave. Casualties in the regiment were very heavy indeed, totalling 243, amongst the highest of any Regiment in the Army. Baynes was severely wounded here, being shot through the neck! Recovering from his wound, he joined Sir John Lambert (a relative) commanding a brigade in the 6th division at the pass of Maya, and served with him as his Aide-de-camp in the operations in the Pyrenees, in September and October 1813, passage of the Nivelle, passage of the Nive, and the battle of St. Pierre, battles of Orthes and Toulouse.
He again accompanied Sir John Lambert, commanding 1st Infantry Brigade (7th, 43rd and 5th West India Regt) as his ADC during the whole of the Brigades operations in North America; 1814-15, taking part in the Battle of New Orleans. During the battle of New Orleans Lambert took command of the Army after General Pakenham was killed. As ADC, Baynes would have been in the thick of things, carrying messages, liaising with Commanding Officers etc, a most dangerous job as he would found during the Peninsular and later at Waterloo. Although initially in reserve, 1st Brigade was brought into action and eventually it was this Brigade that covered the retreat of the Army. A week or so later, the British were on the offensive again, striking out towards Mobile and Alabama, with the Army under Lambert eventually taking Fort Bowyer.
After the peace treaty arrived from Ghent, Lambert and Baynes returned to England but immediately on arriving, the Army was being mobilised for another campaign against Napoleon. Lambert was placed in command of the 10th Infantry Brigade consisting of Regiments that had just arrived back from the American war (1/4th, 1/27th and 1/40th). These would be the only Regiments to take part in the both Campaigns.
Still serving as Lambert’s ADC, Baynes served at the battle of Waterloo, where he was again in the thick of the action, proof of this is clear as he had two horses killed and two wounded under him! And it is believed he and Lambert spent part of the battle in the square of the 27th Foot. He subsequently took a part in the capture of Paris.
Baynes was promoted to Captain in the Royal African Colonial Corps in January 1824, reverted back to the 39th Foot as Captain in June 1826, and transferred to the 88th Foot in November 1827, being placed on half-pay on 20 November 1828. Captain Baynes died at Brussels on 27 May 1847.
Condition fitted with contemporary replacement silver clip and swivel-bar suspension, overall contact marks and edge bruising, otherwise nearly very fine and rare. Ex Glendining’s, November 1907; Payne Collection 1911, and Needes Collection 1939. A unique medal to the only officer of the 39th Foot present at Waterloo and one of the few at both New Orleans and Waterloo.