The gilded bronze 'Eagle' topped a staff which carried the standard of the French 45th Infantry Regiment at the Battle of Waterloo. The 'Eagle' and its standard were captured by Sergeant Charles Ewart of the 2nd (or Royal North British) Dragoons - later known as The Royal Scots Greys - at the Battle. 'Eagles' of this type symbolised the regiments of the French Army during the period of the 1st Empire (1803 - 1815) and were borne atop the standard-staffs of every regiment.
The Napoleonic 'eagle' was a representation of the eagle of Roman mythology that symbolised the god Jupiter. The 'Eagle' is clutching a spray of lightning bolts - traditionally the weapon of Jupiter. Napoleon based his design on that of the Roman Aquila (the Latin for 'eagle'): an eagle on a staff that was carried by every legion of the Roman army and which symbolised both the individual legion and the power of Rome.
The standard, or regimental flag, of a French infantry regiment represented that regiment's indentity and was intented to be a rallying-point in battle. On the front of the standard are words which translate as, '[From] The Emperor Napoleon to the 45th Regiment of Line Infantry'. The reverse bears the five battle honours awarded to the 45th: Austerlitz, Jena, Friedland, Essling and Wagram. Orginally, the standard was made in the colours of the French Tricolore (blue, white and red) but the passage of time has faded those, although some red is still present.
HIM Tsar Nicholas II
This portrait was painted by the Russian court painter Valentine Serov and presented by the Tsar to The Royal Scots Greys in 1902. This portrait depicts Tsar Nicholas II in his dress uniform as Colonel-in-Chief of The Royal Scots Greys (2nd Dragoons), to which post he was appointed by Queen Victoria in 1894. The Tsar wore this uniform on a number of occasions when in Britain: during a visit to Queen Victoria at Balmoral in 1896 and at the Cowes regatta of 1909 for example. The actual uniform is now the property of the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg and is usually displayed at the Tsar's summer palace of Tsarskoe Selo outside the city.
This 1797 Heavy Cavalry 'universal pattern' saddle was used by the 18-year old Lieutenant James Gape of the 2nd (or Royal North British) Dragoons at the Battle of Waterloo, 18th June 1815. Gape was in the midst of the charge of the Union Brigade when a musket was fired at him from just 20 yards by a French soldier. The musket ball penetrated the rolled-up cloak carried on the front of the saddle and became lodged in it. Later in the battle, a second ball was fired and struck the seat of the saddle, only just missing Gape.
Guidon of the
Guidons are types of standard, or cavalry flag, which are swallow-tailed and carried by regiments of dragoon guards and dragoons; conventional standards are rectangular or square and carried by regiments of horse. This guidon was carried in the regiment between 1826 and 1837. It is decorated with applied and embroidered iconography that includes the regimental badge, several regimental battle honours and symbols representing the monarchy of the United Kingdom of the period.
3rd Dragoon Guards
'Roman' Pattern Helmet
This helmet, colloquially known as the ‘Roman’ style, would have been worn by an officer of the 6th Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers) between 1818 and 1834. Made of a very lightweight copper alloy, ‘japanned’ in black, and with a bearskin crest, it was flamboyant but top-heavy and of little practical use. It is symbolic, though, of the British cavalry’s uniform in the decades after Waterloo, when form was regarded as more important than function.
Japanese Officers' Sword
This Imperial Japanese Army officer’s sword, or katana, was taken by Trooper Vernon Jenkins of A Squadron, 3rd Carabiniers during a battle in Burma in 1945. Jenkins was the loader in a tank commanded by Captain Hubert Cornaby when it was attacked on foot by a Japanese artillery officer and private; the private was killed by fire from a neighbouring tank but Cornaby was killed by the Japanese officer with his sword. Entering the tank, the Japanese officer then killed the gunner of the turret gun in the same way and attacked Jenkins. Jenkins had to fire all six rounds from his revolver into him and then three more from the gunner’s revolver before the Japanese officer was dead; Jenkins was awarded the Military Medal for his bravery.
Treasures of the Regiment
The Sprot Cup
A silver statuette, the Sprot Cup is a point-to-point challenge trophy. The race takes place when the regiment is stationed in Britain. It was presented by Lieutenant Mark Sprot, The Royal Scots Greys, in 1906. The heron and motto Parce qu’il me plait, are the crest and motto of the Sprot family. Two generations of the Sprot family have served with the Greys, beginning with Lieutenant Mark Sprot (1901 - 08, recalled 1914 - 18 ), followed by his son, Lieutenant-Colonel A.M. Sprot MC (1941 - 1962).
The Silver 'Nef'
A ‘Nef’is a model, usually in silver, of a square-rigged sailing ship in full sail. This example was presented to the Regiment by Major John Crabbe, The Royal Scots Greys, on his retirement in 1902. Made in the late nineteenth century of German silver by B. Muller, it was designed as a wine cistern that worked by dispensing wine from the spout in its bow by tilting the whole vessel. Although of little practical use, it remains a magnificent piece of decorative silver, for which purpose it is used in the Officers’ Mess of the Regiment today.
Ram's Head Snuff Mull
Ram’s head table snuff ‘mull’, containing snuff, a powdered form of tobacco. This mull was presented in 1971 by Lieutenant-Colonel A.M. Sprot MC, who served in The Royal Scots Greys 1941 – 1962, and Major G.H.C. Sprot, who served in the 3rd Carabiniers 1941 – 46, to Lieutenant-Colonel A. J. Bateman, the Officers, Warrant Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers and Other Ranks, The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards (Carabiniers and Greys). It was presented to commemorate the amalgamation of the two regiments in which those two members of the Sprot family had served to form the current Regiment.
The word ‘mull’ originates from a Scottish dialect word for ‘mill’, where the snuff would have been ground to a powder. Snuff ‘mulls’, as opposed to snuff boxes – which were for personal and pocket use – were reserved for communal use at table and after dinner, being passed from diner to diner. Snuff mulls came in a variety of shapes, the most splendid being fashioned from a ram’s head, usually mounted in silver and often embellished with cairngorms – a semi-precious stone which takes its name from its source in the Cairngorm mountains of Scotland.
Mounted figure of
Presented by Captain John Smiley, 6th Dragoon Guards to the Officers of the Carabiniers in commemoration of the South African War 1899 – 1902, Hallmarked London 1904–05.
All three ancestral regiments of today’s Regiment fought in the Second Boer War, 1899-1902. The 6th Dragoon Guards arrived in South Africa in November 1899 to be joined by the Royal Scots Greys a month later. The 3rd Dragoon Guards arrived in 1901. This was the last British war in which horsed cavalry played a major role.
Captain John Smiley
A silver statuette of an officer of Dalzell’s Dragoons, 1681, from a table centrepiece presented to The Royal Scots Greys in 1866 by Colonel George Calvert Clarke.
The first dragoons were mounted infantry, raised and deployed in France in the early 17th century; they entered the British Army later in the 17th century. Armed, organised and equipped like infantrymen, dragoons were mounted and therefore much faster across country, especially rocky or boggy ground, than ordinary soldiers. Regiments of dragoons were also cheaper than those of horse since their rate pf pay was lower and their horses were of less expensive quality.
Silver Eagle Toothpick Holder
Silver eagle toothpick holder, representing the French ‘Eagle’ captured by Sergeant Charles Ewart of The Royal Scots Greys at Waterloo. It was presented to the Sergeants' Mess of The Royal Scots Greys by Lieutenant-Colonel James Charles Maberley (Commanding Officer 1888-92) on his retiring from the Regiment in 1892. The neck of the Eagle is hinged and opens to reveal a toothpick receptacle.
Silver table centrepiece depicting Sergeant Charles Ewart with the standard and eagle of the 45th French Infantry. Presented to The Royal Scots Greys in memory of Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Alfred Welby, commanding 1892-96, by his widow and son. Clearly derived from the painting ‘The Fight For The Standard’ by Richard Ansdell (circa 1848), this centrepiece depicts Ewart, having taken the standard, in the act of cutting down a French lancer in order to retain it.