The 30th (Cambridgeshire) Regiment of Foot
The regiment was originally raised in Lincolnshire in 1689, during the Nine Years' War. In 1751 it received its regimental number and in 1782 its new county designation. The 18th century saw the regiment involved in many of the major conflics including the American Independence War. In 1793 they provided support to the French Royalists at the Siege of Toulon during the French Revolutionary Wars and in1801, under General Abercromby, they took part in the Egyptian campaign. In 1803 the 2nd Battalion was established and the 1st was sent off to India.
In 1809 the 2nd battalion was sent to the Peninsular and fought in many of the major engagements including Cadiz, the Lines of Torres Vedras, the Battles of Fuentes de Õnoro, Ciudad Rodrigo, the Siege of Badajoz and the Battle of Salamanca in 1812, where, they famously captured an Imperial Eagle. The 2nd Battalion returned to England in 1813 and later that year they took part in the ineffectual campaigns in Flanders.
They were still in Flanders when Napoleon staged his daring attempt to regain power. The battalion became the senior, and only experienced unit in Halkett’s British Brigade, Alten’s 3rd Division. On the 16th June 1815 they made a hurried march to Quatre Bras where they fought with amazing discipline, remaining in square and repelling the Cuirassiers of Marshal Ney. They withdrew to what would become known as Waterloo, and on the 18th of June, the 2/30th, now cold, wet and hungry, were held back for much of the battle and not brought into action until Ney launched his desperate cavalry attack.
Once again, in square, this time with the 2nd/73rd Regiment, the battalion withstood repeated waves of horsemen, taking casualties but never wavering. Worse was to come when La Haye Sainte, in the centre of the allied position, had to be abandoned, enabling the French to bring their guns forward. Five of the six officer casualties were killed during this late stage of the battle. The arrival of the Prussians proved decisive, relieving the pressure on the exhausted allied troops and the defeat of the Imperial Guard ensured victory.
310gm Limited edition of 50 c/w authentication certificate
Illustration by David Higham