Waterloo Medal

The Waterloo Medal was issued in 1816-17 and awarded to every soldier, and to anyone who had taken part in one or more of the following battles: Lingny, 16th June; Quatre Bras, 16th June; Waterloo, 18th June.  Every solider present at either of these Battles was credited with two extra year service, to count for all purposes, and was a ‘Waterloo Man’.

By a General order dated 29th July, 1815, the 1st Regiment of Foot Guards was granted the title “Grenadiers” for their service during the Battle of Waterloo.

This is the first medal issued by the British Government to all soldiers present at an action.  The Military General Service Medal commemorates earlier battles, but was not issued until 1848. It is also the first campaign medal awarded to the next-of-kin of men killed in action.

The Waterloo Medal is also the first medal on which the recipient’s name was impressed around the edge by machine.


Materials:      The majority of the British medals and clasps are made of solid silver, though some were issue in bronze versions, mainly to Indian non-combatants.  The majority of the British campaign awards are circular, usually 36mm in diameter.

Ribbons:         Medals are worn suspended from their own specific ribbons. These were first made of silk but cotton was increasingly used as the nineteenth century developed.  Their own colours often have a symbolic significance: the equal stripes of the ‘1939 to 1945 Star,’ for example, are dark blue to represent the service of the Royal and Merchant Navies, red, to represent that of the Armies and light blue to represent that of Air Forces.

Ribbon width can vary slightly though it is generally 32mm wide

Ribbon – 32mm wide, crimson with dark blue edges each approx. 7 mm wide

Waterloo medal ribbon
Waterloo medal ribbon

Type – Campaign Medal

Eligibility – British Army

Awarded for – Campaign Service

Suspender - Originally issued with a steel ring approx. 28mm diameter which passes through a hole in a steel clip approx. 2mm wide that grips the rim of the disc.  On many medals this suspension has been replaced either in whole or in part suspension of a different pattern.

Campaign – Battle of Ligny (16th June 1815), Battle of Quatre Bras (16th June 1815), Waterloo, (18th June 1815).

Established – 1815

Designer – T. Wyon

Naming – In large impressed Roman capital by machine.

Total awarded – Approx. 39,000

Clasps – None

Description – 36mm in diameter Obverse: The laureate head of the Prince Regent with the legend “GEORGE P. REGENT”.  Reverse: The winged figure of Victory seated on a pedestal and holding a palm branch in her right hand and an olive branch in her left; below the pedestal is the word “WATERLOO” within a rectangle.  The date “JUNE 1815” is in two lines underneath.  The word “WELLINGTON” is above the seated figure.


This guide will help you through all the parts and descriptions of military medals


Major L L Gordon ‘British Battles and Medals’

Some of the material on this page was also partially derived from

<en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Waterloo_Medal>

Which are released under the terms of



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