Napoleon's Imperial Eagles

To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, we have created a Quest to visit the 15 captured Imperial Eagles that are regularly on display in Britain. Your reward for visiting them all will be the title Imperial Eagle Hunter.

Imperial Eagles are the Napoleonic equivalent of British 'Colours'; rallying points during battle. Just days after coming to power in December 1804, Napoleon presented one to each of his hundred and fifty or so regiments. The regiment number of on the plinth. Nearly all of those that were not captured were destroyed when Louis XIII returned to power in 1814. Napoleon had to issue new Imperial Eagles when he was restored to power in March 1815. There is a difference. The 1804 originals have open beaks (like the one above) whereas the 1815 substitutes have closed beaks (like the one below). Napoleon also issued replacements for those lost in battle. Both reasons can lead to duplicate regiment numbers on the captured eagles.

Of those that are in public hands, Jingling Johnny, captured by the Conaught Rangers from the 101st Infantry, is now on display in the regimental museum in Ireland. The eagle from the 87th was removed from its staff and stolen, leaving just the staff on display at the Royal Irish Fusiliers Museum in Armagh. We will omit them for now. This Quest is to see the others. Note that the Royal Fusiliers Museum is inside the Tower of London, the Scottish War Museum is inside Edinburgh Castle and the Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum is inside Caernafon Castle. The Quest Points for these three are outside the castle entrances. The rest are outside the museum entrances. Most of the eagles are easy to find. We had trouble with the Royal Army Museum eagle from the 105th (above) which was hidden away in the corner of a huge display cabinet in the 'Battle' section of the top floor.

  • Royal Hospital Chelsea (8th, 13th Dragoons, 25th, 26th, 39th, 51st, 62nd, 66th, 82nd)
  • National Army Museum  (105th)
  • Royal Fusiliers Museum (82nd)
  • Essex Regiment Museum (62nd)
  • Lancashire Infantry Museum (22nd)
  • Scottish War Museum (45th)
  • Royal Welch Fusiliers Museum (82nd)