Last updated: 20 April 2011
This helmet was picked up from the battlefield of Waterloo in the aftermath of the Duke of Wellington’s victory over the French in 1815. Dragoons were originally soldiers trained and armed to fight either mounted or on foot, but by the early 19th century were primarily heavy cavalry.
During the battle, Marshal Ney had launched repeated cavalry charges against the British infantry squares, which had held firm despite suffering heavy casualties from artillery fire.
Although more and more men were committed to the attack, the boggy ground hampered the French cavalry and eventually the attacks were called off. Dragoons, now organized as armoured units, still serve in both the French and British armies of today.