A Napoleon related Oak & Iron Bound Campaign Silver Chest with Brass Plaque to Colonel Crokat


For sale, a significant oak and iron bound campaign silver chest with brass plaque bearing the name of Colonel William Crokat (1789 – 1879)

Crokat, while Captain of the 20th Regiment was assigned in replacement to Captain Lutyens as the officer orderly in charge of Napoleon Bonaparte in St Helena. The Emperor’s exile to the island was as a result of his defeat at Waterloo in 1815. Crokat was witness to Napoleon’s death and had the honour of of returning the news to Britain.

The regimental history provides further detail,

“On the death of the Emperor, on May 5th 1821, the body was placed in Surgeon Arnott’s charge, and he watched over it night and day until the funeral. The officer on duty when the Emperor died was Captain W. Crokat, who regulated and controlled the order of admittance of persons wishing to view the body of the deceased. The London Gazette of July 4th 1821, announced the arrival in London of Captain Crokat XX Regiment, with a despatch from Sir Hudson Lowe, informing the Government of Napoleon’s death.

For this service Captain Crokat was promoted Brevet-Major and awarded the sum of £500.”

Crokat joined the 20th Regiment in Sicily in 1807 at the start of the Peninsular War. Promoted to Lieutenant in June 1808, he went on to fight at Vimiera, Corunna, Vittoria and Roncesvalles where he was severely wounded. He was promoted Captain in 1814 and remained in that position until his encounter with Napoleon. He then followed his regiment to India in 1822 but retired on half pay in 1826. His subsequent promotions were: Lt Colonel 1837, Colonel 1851, Major General 1855, Lt General 1862 and General 1871. General Crokat died at 52 Inverleith Row, Edinburgh in 1879 aged 88.

The chest itself would have been bought by Crokat between 1851 & 1855 during his short tenure as Colonel so can be accurately dated and it is presented with a replacement interior baize lining as the original was missing.

A trade label attached to the inside of the lid confirms that the chest was retailed by James & Walter Marshall 44 George Street, Edinburgh. Jewellers in ordinary to His Majesty for Scotland. An important jeweller during the majority of the nineteenth century.

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