In my previous blogs entitled “The 1815 Reorganization of the Order of the Bath – Part 1” and “The 1815 Reorganization of the Order of the Bath – Part 2”, I discussed the establishment of the newly created three classes of the Order of the Bath and expanded on aspects of the First Class or Knights Grand Cross (G.C.B.) and Second Class or Knights Commander (K.C.B.). This blog, Part 3 and the last of the series, will expand on the criteria for the nomination of the Third Class or Companion of the Order of the Bath (C.B.) and the numismatics of the respective breast badge.
Companions (C.B.) Criteria
As previously noted in Parts 1 & 2, the official Warrant (dated January 2, 1815) created the three new classes of the Order of the Bath as published in the London Gazette on January 3rd, 1815. This Warrant was very significant in that it had not been previously possible to reward lower level Army and Naval Officers through the few available British Orders of Knighthood. The Warrant would also effectively terminate the further issuance of British Naval Gold Medals, Army Gold Medals & Army Gold Crosses in any future conflict. Thus, the Order of the Bath would become the primary means to rewards those Army Officers who distinguished themselves in the Waterloo Campaign (June 16-18, 1815) some six months later.
Within the above Warrant were further details regarding the nomination criteria for the Companions of the Order of the Bath (C.B.) summarized as follows (1):
- The Third Class of the Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath shall be composed of Officers holding Commissions in His Majesty’s Service by Sea or Land, who shall be styled Companions of the Order. They shall not be entitled to the apellation, style, precedence, or privileges of Knights Batchelors, but they shall take place and precedence of all Esquires of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
- No Officer shall be nominated a Companion of the said Most Honourable Order, unless he shall have received, or shall hereafter receive, a Medal, or other Badge of Honour, or shall have been specially mentioned by name in dispatches published in the London Gazette, as having distinguished himself by his valour and conduct in action against His Majesty’s enemies, since the commencement of the war in 1803, or shall hereafter be named in dispatches published in the London Gazette, as having distinguished himself.
- The Companions of the said Order shall wear the badge assigned to the Third Class pendant by a narrow red ribbon to the button-hole.
- And his Royal Highness the Prince Regent hath been pleased to ordain and enjoin, that the said Knights Commanders, and the said Companions, shall respectively be governed by the Rules and Regulations which His Royal Highness, in the Name and on the Behalf of His Majesty, hath been graciously pleased to make, ordain, and enjoin for them; and from time to time made and ordained by His Majesty, His Heirs, and Successors, King’s of this Realm.
Companions (C.B.) Awards to Napoleonic Veterans
On September 16, 1815, the London Gazette announced the nomination and appointment of the very first Companions (C.B.) of this new 3rd Class of the Order of the Bath as follows (2):
Whitehall, June 4, 1815
His Royal Highness the Prince Regent, acting in the name and on behalf of His Majesty, has been graciously pleased to nominate and appoint the undermentioned Officers, belonging to His Majesty’s Naval and Military Forces, to be Companions of the Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath, in conformity with the ordinance relating to the third class of the said Order, as published in the London Gazette of the 2nd January 1815…..
While I have not included the names of newly appointed Companions that appeared in this announcement, here are the numbers breakdown by branch of service as well as rank:
(89) Naval Captains; (7) Naval Commanders; (60) Army Colonels; (121) Army Lieutenant Colonels; (16) Army Majors
Within the same dated London Gazette announcement, the nomination and appointment of Officers from the Honourable East India Company were also announced (2):
His Royal Highness the Prince Regent has also been pleased, in the name and on behalf of His Majesty, in pursuance of His Majesty’s ordinance of the 6th of January last, announced in the Gazette of the 10th of that month, to nominate and appoint the following Officers, belonging to the service of the East India Company, to be Companions of the Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath…….
With names also excluded, here are the numbers breakdown by HEIC Army Officers’ rank:
(7) Colonels; (12) Lieutenant Colonels; (7) Majors
In addition, the London Gazette announcement published the names of the Companions of the Order of the Bath recommended by the Duke of Wellington for the Waterloo Campaign of June 16-18, 1815 (2):
Whitehall, June 22, 1815
His Royal Highness the Prince Regent has further been pleased to nominate and appoint the undermentioned Officers to be Companions of the said Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath, upon the recommendation of Field-Marshal the Duke of Wellington, for their services in the battles fought upon the 16th and 18th of June last…..
With names of the Officers nominated for the Waterloo Campaign also excluded , here are the numbers breakdown by Army Officers’ rank;
(16) Colonels; (91) Lieutenant Colonels; (6) Majors
Since the Duke of Wellington recommended the names of Waterloo Officers to be Companions before the list of Peninsular Army Officers was officially published in the London Gazette on September 16th, 1815, there are duplicate names on both the June 4th and June 22nd lists. This is easily explained as many of the Offices who distinguished themselves in the Peninsula and nominated as a Companion were also present and distinguished themselves in the Waterloo campaign as well.
Subsequent awards of a Companion of the Bath (C.B.) to additional British Army and Naval Officers who served in the Napoleonic Wars happened under the following (2) circumstances. These later awards would periodically appear in the London Gazette throughout in the years that followed the end of the Napoleonic Wars. For more information on the Companion of the Bath relating to the Royal Naval Officers, see Peter Lomdahl’s Blog on the Order of the Bath and the Naval General Service Medal – 1793-1840.
- Those British Army and Naval Officers who received a Companion of the Bath (C.B.) for distinguished service upon the death (and subsequent vacancy) of a previous Companion.
- Those British Army and Naval Officers, veterans of the Napoleonic Wars, that received a Companion of the Bath (C.B.) for later distinguished services in the numerous global campaigns (especially India) up to and beyond the Crimean War.
Colonel Francis Skelly Tidy, C.B. was one such early West Indies, Peninsular War and Waterloo veteran benefiting from the creation of the Companion Class of the Order of the Bath. Colonel Tidy is shown in Figure 1 (photo courtesy of the York Army Museum) wearing his Companion of the Bath (C.B.) breast badge on the left and his Waterloo Medal on the right. Colonel Tidy entered the Army in March, 1792 as a volunteer in the 43rd Foot. He obtained an Ensigncy in the 41st Foot and served in Guadaloupe where he was captured, confined on a floating prison hulk for 15 months, sent to France and finally paroled back to England. He returned back to the West Indies as Adjutant of the 43rd Foot and later transferred to the 1st West India Regiment. After joining the Royal Scots at Gibralter, he returned with them to the West Indies for a third time and took part in the attack of St. Lucie (3).
Francis Tidy was promoted to a Majority in the 8th West India Regiment and removed to the 10th Foot in 1807. In 1808, Major Tidy was appointed as an Assistant Adjutant General in the expedition to Spain under Sir David Baird and later to a Staff position. He served in the entire 1808-1809 Campaign in Spain and later at Walcheren in 1809. Obtaining a Brevet of Lieutenant Colonel, he joined the 2nd Battalion, 14th Foot at Malta during the plague that hit the island. He later took command of the 14th Foot at Genoa and later was ordered to return to England to take command of the 3rd Battalion, 14th Foot scheduled to depart for America. Prior to his arrival in England, a peace treaty was signed with the United States (3).
Lieutenant Colonel Tidy now found himself commanding the 3rd Battalion, 14th Foot helping to defend the right flank at Waterloo. While 300 of the 3rd Battalion were only 20 years old or less, division orders stated that “the very young battalion of the 14th, on this their first trial, displayed a steadiness and gallantry becoming veteran troops (3)”. For his services at Waterloo, Lieutenant Colonel Tidy was nominated a Companion of the Bath. George Thomas , the Earl of Albemarle, then an Ensign in the 3rd Battalion, 14th Foot would comment on Lieutenant Colonel Tidy’s character and the precarious situation the young 3rd Battalion, 14th Foot would soon find itself (4)……..
The Battalion had been drawn up in the Square of Brussels the day before, to be inspected by an old General in the name of Mackenzie, who no sooner set eyes on the corps than he called out “Well I never saw such a set of boys, both officers and men.” Tidy asked the General to modify the expression…….still the general could not reconcile it to his conscience to declare the raw striplings fit for active service, and ordered the Colonel (Tidy) to march them off the ground, and to join a brigade then about to proceed to garrison Antwerp. Tidy would not bulge a step. Lord Hill happening to pass by, our Colonel called out, “My Lord, were you satisfied with the behavior of the Fourteenth at Corunna? “Of course I was; but why ask the question?” Because I am sure you Lordship will save this fine regiment from the disgrace of garrison duty.”
Lord Hill went to the Duke (of Wellington), who had arrived that same day at Brussels, and brought him to the window. The regiment was afterwards inspected by his Grace and their sentence reversed. In the meanwhile a priggish staff officer, who knew nothing of the countermand, said to Tidy in mincing tones, “Sir, your brigade is waiting for you. Be pleased to march off your men.” “Ay, ay, sir” was the rough reply, and with a look of defiance, my Colonel gave the significant word of command, “Fourteenth TO THE FRONT! Quick march.”
Companions (C.B.) Breast Badge
Badge Obverse – Similar but smaller than the G.C.B. sash badge and K.C.B. neck badge, the C.B. breast badge obverse on the left in Figure 2 is a large white enameled and gold-tipped Maltese cross with British Lions between the arms of the cross. The center of the breast badge contains a thistle, shamrock and rose which symbolizes Scotland, Ireland and England. These in turn radiate from a scepter and are surrounded by three crowns. Surrounding this is a band with the motto “TRIA JUNCTA IN UNO”, which translates as “Three in One”. This motto is surrounded by a green enameled laurel wreath. Underneath the laurel wreath is a blue enameled scroll with the inscription “ICH DIEN”, which translates as “I Serve” (5).
Badge Reverse – The reverse of the C.B. breast badge on the right in Figure 2 is identical to the obverse with the exception that the British Lions between the arms of the Maltese Cross are facing towards the obverse as they are 3-dimensional representations.
A shortage of C.B. breast badges existed after the nomination of further East Indian Officers, other Officers of His Majesty’s Forces in 1825, as well as the nominations of Royal Navy Officers for the Battle of Navarino in 1827. Due to a shortage and to save the Treasury money, the Duke of Clarence (the future King William IV) pushed a more economical version of the C.B. breast badge. This “Economic Issue” C.B. breast badge, illustrated in Figure 3, reduced the cost from £27 6s 6d to £15 each. This “Economic Issue” was later scrapped due to its inferior quality in favor of the older design (5). The reason for illustrating this “Economic Issue” C.B. breast badge is that one sees them periodically in groups of Napoleonic Wars Veterans who were nominated a Companion of the Bath in the later years of the 1820’s into the early 1830’s.
Breast Badge Size/Alloy – From the onset of the order the C.B. breast badges, like the G.C.B. and K.C.B. badges, were made of 22 Karat gold. The Lord Chamberlain commissioned some of the finest jewelers in England to manufacture all classes of the Order of the Bath. The overall quality of goldsmiths in England at the time was quite high, but since there were multiple manufacturers, variations exist in the execution of the breast badge fabrication. In 1887, statutes were changed to make all classes of the order out of silver-gilt. This was motivated by cost savings. The particular C.B. breast badge example in Figure 2 is smaller than the G.C.B. sash badge and K.C.B neck badge, measuring approximately 1.75 inches (44.5mm) square across the arms of the cross and 0.345 inches (8.8mm) thick at the center.
Breast Badge Hallmarks – During the 1815 time frame, London goldsmiths hallmarked their creations, including all classes of the Order of the Bath. Hallmarks typically show a code letter indicating the year of manufacture, a lion passant-guardant indicating gold content, the Sovereign’s head assay mark, and sometimes the maker’s mark. Hallmarks disappeared on the C.B. breast badge insignia upon the conversion to silver-gilt alloy in 1887.
Hallmarks on the upper suspension ring of a typical early C.B. breast badge are shown in Figure 4. They include the lion passant-guardant (identifying this breast badge as 22 Karat) and the London hallmark letter for the year of manufacture, (U for 1815) on the obverse of the upper suspension ring. On the reverse of the ring are the initials “IN” indicating the maker’s mark. Early London hallmark letters for years of manufacture are:
1814 – T 1815 – U 1816 – a 1817 – b 1818 – c 1819 – d 1820 – e
1821 – f 1822 – g 1823 – h 1824 – i 1825 – k 1826 – l 1827 – m
An example of hallmarks on an “Economic Issue” C.B. breast badge obverse upper suspension ring are also shown in Figure 5 and Figure 6. This includes the Duty Mark for George IV, letter “N” for 1828 year of manufacture, assay mark for London and the lion passant-guardant for 22 karat gold.
Breast Badge Suspension – C.B. breast badges were suspended by a solid gold ring passing through a loop attached to the top of the badge as shown in Figure 7. Passing through this solid gold ring is a split ring threaded to the ribbon suspension bar. The split ring comes apart by loosening the knurled nut and pulling the split ring apart as shown on the right side of Figure 7.
Breast Badge Ribbon & Buckle – The early C.B. breast badge ribbon was 2 inches (51mm) wide (see Figures 2 & 3) with the badge intended to be worn on the left breast. The ribbon also has a (3) or (4) prong gold buckle on the ribbon. The C.B. neck badge worn by Colonel Tidy in Figure 1 is another example of this wider C.B. ribbon. Statues issued in 1859 reduced the width of the C.B. ribbon from 2 inches (51mm) to 1 1/2 inches (38mm) and the measurements have remained the same since (5).
Breast Badge Box of Issue – With regards to lower class badges, I have included an example of an early C.B. breast badge in its Rundell Bridge & Rundell case (with label) shown in Figure 8. This C.B. breast badge is also hallmarked on the integral suspension ring with a “U” representing the year 1815.
This concludes the Series on the 1815 Reorganization of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath. Coming soon is a new series on the Royal Order of the Guelphs of Hanover, created after reorganization of the Order of the Bath to also reward the Officers of the Royal Navy and Army for noble deeds during the Napoleonic Wars. Questions and comments are most welcome!
- Bulletin from the London Gazette of January 3rd, 1815, No. I, R. G Clark, Westminster, 1815
- Bulletin from the London Gazette of September 16th, 1815, No. II, R. G. Clark, Westminster, 1815
- Royal Military Calendar, Volume III, A. J. Valpy, London 1820
- Earl of Albemarle, George Thomas, Fifty Years of My Life, Henry Holt & Co, New York, 1876
- Risk, James C., The History of the Order of the Bath, Spink & Son, London, 1972