Essex Regiment & Essex Militia History

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44th Essex at Battle of Waterloo 1815

The 2nd Battalion of the 44th Essex were called into action on 18 June 1815 at the Battle of Waterloo and were allocated a position near some farm buildings called Quartre Bas.

Battlefield at Waterloo

The battlefield at Waterloo as seen from the 44th Essex Position

French Lancers attacked as the Regiment was forming up when it was at a disadvantage having no support on either flank and arranged in lines 2 men deep rather than the squares employed as defence against cavalry. This deployment  allowed the lancers to attack from front and rear.

A French lancer made a grab for the colours with his lance but the flag was secured by Ensign Christie despite serious wounds. The Lancer then tried to escape with some of the colour still on his lance but he was killed in the attempt to get away.

Ensign Christie had been promoted from Sergeant Major in 1812 and was promoted to Lieutenant after Waterloo in recognition of his bravery.

This defence allowed other Regiments to form the defensive squares and thus blunt the effectiveness of the cavalry.

The Regiment earned great praise for their stand against the attack from Lord Wellesley-"The troops were long and severely engaged and conducted themselves with utmost gallantry".

14 other ranks were killed and 151 were wounded.The officers killed or wounded are listed below.

Killed

Lt William Tomkins

Ensign Peter Cooke

Wounded

Lt Colonel John M Hammerton

Major George O'Malley

Captain Adam Brugh

Captain William Burnley

Captain Mildmay Fane

Captain David Power

Lt James Burke

Lt John Campbell

Lt Robert Grier

Lt William Marcus Herne

Lt Robert Russell

Lt William Burrough Strong

Ensign James Christie

Ensign James Carnegie Webster

Ensign Benjamin Whitney

Ensign Alexander Wilson

Adjutant Thomas McCann