A battered regimental standard that survived some of the fiercest fighting at Waterloo is being painstakingly pieced together after being found in fragments in a cardboard box.
The colours of the 2nd Battalion, Coldstream Regiment of Foot Guards were flown at Hougoumont Farm, a key engagement in the battle at which Napoleon was defeated in 1815. The 6ft 5in by 5ft 7in silk flag is one of a handful to have survived. It turned up at auction in the United States, where it was bought for less than Â£500.
The new owner, Gary Lawrence, 58, a window fitter from east London who has a sideline in military antiques, had no idea he was buying one of the British Armyâ€™s greatest battle honours. He had planned to use it to restore other colours he owns but it turned out to be far rarer and more valuable than anything else in his collection. He has spent months trying to research it, and how it came to be in the US, without much success. He said: â€œIt was described as fragments so we had no idea how much of the flag thereâ€™d be.â€
The flag is being reconstructed by May Berkouwer, a textile restorer who works with the Victoria and Albert Museum and National Trust. When restored it could be worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.
04 May 2017