Transfer of the Eagle to Scotland 1956

After the Eagle trophy was brought back to England in 1816 it was housed, during the 1830s at the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, by order of King William IV, and remained there for the next 120 years or so. In 1951 King George VI, as Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Scots Greys, gave approval for the transfer of the Eagle from the Royal Hospital to the Scottish United Services Museum at Edinburgh Castle. But the regiment were serving abroad at the time, in North Africa, with one squadron at Maan in Jordan. They returned to England in Feb 1955 after almost 17 years abroad and were stationed at Crookham near Aldershot. They were kept busy supervising the annual training camps of the Territorial RAC and unable to organise a ceremony to transfer the Eagle from the Hospital until the following year, 1956.

When the Queen presented a new Guidon to the Greys at Holyroodhouse on 5 July 1956 she made a speech in which she said, "In two days time the Eagle and Standard captured by Sergeant Ewart from the 45th Regiment at Waterloo, which by my father's instructions were returned to the regiment from the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, ten years ago, will be laid up in the Castle." This was reported in 'The Scotsman' on 6 July 1956 and seems to be incorrect in several respects. However, a ceremony took place at the Royal Hospital on 18 June 1956 (Waterloo Day) where the Governor of the Hospital, Sir Bernard Paget handed over the trophy and it was taken to Scotland for another ceremony to place it in Edinburgh Castle.

General Sir Bernard Paget, Governor of the Royal Hospital hands over the Eagle to RSM Haynes of the Scots Greys on 18 June 1956, one hundred and forty-one years after the Battle of Waterloo.

Regimental Sergeant-Major Haynes holds the pole with the Eagle of the 45th Regiment on its top. He received it from General Sir Bernard Paget, Governor of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, where the ceremony took place on Waterloo Day, 18 June 1956. He stands nearest the camera, with a Chelsea Pensioner next to him. At the end of that line is the Colonel of the Regiment, Brigadier G H N Todd making a speech. Behind him is the CO of the Greys, Lieutenant-Colonel M G Borwick also in no.1 dress, and an unidentified general officer in feathered bicorn hat.

The Eagle is paraded along the ranks of the Scots Greys after it was received from the Governor of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea. The trophy is carried by RSM Haynes who is flanked by two sergeants of the Greys wearing the dress uniform of scarlet tunic and black bearskin caps.

Two sergeants of the Greys stand guard next to the flag of the 45th Regiment that was at one time attached to the pole of the Napoleonic Eagle. The occasion was the handing-over ceremony at the Hospital on 18 June 1956.

The Eagle, having arrived back in Scotland in June 1956 is paraded through the streets of Edinburgh on its way to the Castle. The trophy is carried by the Eagle-Bearer RSM Haynes and escorted by two sergeants.

The Eagle enters Edinburgh Castle on its way to the Scottish United Services Museum, in June 1956.

The Royal Scots Greys parade at Edinburgh Castle on 7 July 1956 in front of a large audience for the laying up in the Scottish United Services Museum of the Eagle of the 45th Regiment captured by Sergeant Ewart at Waterloo in 1815. The Eagle is held by RSM Haynes and mounted escort in dress uniform. The flag of the 45th is in a frame, guarded by dismounted sergeants of the Greys also in dress uniform. The regiment parade in blue no.1 dress while the band stand at the back in dress uniform.

Regimental Details | Eagle of the 45th


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by Stephen Luscombe