Lieutenant William Pearce

Lieutenant Pearce was responsible for one of the best known exploits of the Essex Regiment courtesy of his capture of a Imperial French Eagle.

During the later stages of the Battle of Salamanca, Lieutenant William Pearce  and Privates Finley, Murray, Blackburn and Devine of the 44th Regiment together with Lieutenant Francis Maguire of the 4th Regiment and Ensigns John Pratt of the 30th Regiment surprised a small group of French soldiers.

Lt Pearce noticed an Officer wrench the French Eagle of the French 62nd Regiment of the line from its pole and conceal it under his Greatcoat.

Lt Pearce attacked the French Officer who resisted and a French soldier attempted to bayonet Lt Pearce but was shot dead by Private Murray.

Lt Pearce was then able to secure the Eagle.

Further French Infantry came into sight and at once the Eagle was hoisted above the 44th to great cheers with the French infantry making no further advance.

The Eagle is now on display in the Essex Regiment Museum.

Click here for the full story of Salamanca