This victory palm leaf displays arms taken from the field of Waterloo. It consists of seventy-six British 1796 patterned light cavalry sabre blades forming a palm frond, while the top is formed from four Infantry Officer's sword tips and a French spontoon blade. The central stem is adorned with 21 Brown Bess musket ramrods bearing a large protruding arm encased in the butt caps of flintlock pistols. Many of the sabres bear cuts and chips along the blade; damage caused in combat against French cavalry during the Battle of Waterloo.
This historic Trophy of Arms hung for many years in the Officers'’ Mess of the Coldstream Guards, and held the associated regimental colours. The Coldstream Guards form part of the Brigade of Her Majesty’s Foot Guards in the House Division, and are the oldest regiment in the British Army with continuous active service. Originally formed in 1650 by Cromwell, the Coldstream Guards have served with distinction in almost every campaign fought since by the British Army. Notable campaigns include Portugal and Spain under the Duke of Wellington, the Crimean War, and both World Wars. It was the 2nd Coldstream battalion that fought at the Battle of Waterloo, on Sunday 18th June 1815.
Interest in Waterloo memorabilia and particularly Wellingtonia have peaked in recent auction records; a cloak believed to have belonged to the Duke of Wellington at the battle was sold Sotheby’s, London 14 July 2015, lot 24 (£47,500, including premium).