A British Auxiliary Legion Officer’s Shoulder Belt Plate circa 1835 to 1837
A very rare officer’s shoulder belt plate of the British Auxiliary Legion circa 1835 to 1837 in use during the First Carlist War, the rectangular polished gilt backing plate is adorned with a pair of palm leaves which wrap around a heraldic shield below a crown.
The reverse of the plate has two buttons and two bent over bars for attaching to a buff leather shoulder belt. The plate shows good fire gilt overspill and has age discolouration.
The British Auxiliary Legion was formed in May 1835 when the Spanish government asked the British for permission to raise a force of 10,000 volunteers for service against Don Carlos in the First Carlist War. The British agreed, viewing this as a better alternative to direct intervention, although they did also provide regulars in support.
The British Auxiliary Legion was sanctioned in Jun 1835 with the first detachments arriving in Spain on 10 July 1835. The initial full strength of 7,800 was on the ground by the end of Oct. Of the first contingent 3,200 were English, 2,800 were Irish and 1,800 Scots. Most were civilians with no military experience, including the officers. The men enlisted in the Spanish army, but under British conditions of service.
The Spanish also requested that Sir George de Lacy Evans command the British Auxiliary Legion. Evans was a liberal MP and had some military experience from the Peninsular 20 years earlier. Although a colonel in British service, once in Spain he had the local rank of lieutenant-general.
The first British Auxiliary Legion was disbanded on 10 Jun 1837, and was immediately replaced by a smaller second Legion. This in turn was disbanded on 8 Dec 1837 and replaced by an even smaller British Auxiliary Brigade.
A very rare opportunity to acquire a shoulder belt plate to the British Auxiliary Legion in very good condition with some minor surface scratches, most of the original fire gilt would appear to be missing or may need cleaning.