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  1. ITV Report

Rare flag from Battle of Waterloo found in a shoe box

A military antiques collector has discovered one of the last remaining flags from the Battle of Waterloo in a shoe box.

Gary Lawrence bought the collection of items through an online auction and found fragments of the flag which dates back 200 years.

He is now restoring the flag, which belonged to the Coldstream Guards 15th Light Company.

The 58-year-old runs Waterloo Militaria with his son Luke, and says he has never found anything this historically significant.

He thinks the 1815 flag is even rarer than the only surviving flag from the Battle of Trafalgar, which sold for more than £300,000 in 2015.

I bought it through an online auction in America in June.

We deal a lot in Napoleonic items and had no idea what this would be.

It was really fragile, it's a very early flag and was described as fragments so we had no idea how much of the flag there'd be.

We laid it out on a board - it took three days to put together - and found it was a flag from Waterloo, of which there are virtually none in existence.

It's more important because it's from the battle of Hougoumont, and barely any flags from that battle survived.

The Coldstream Guards 15th Light Company were one of the most important regiments at Waterloo.

Nothing else we've found could ever compare to how important this flag is - everyone's saying this is such an important find.

It's almost a national treasure, this is such an important battle.

– Gary Lawrence

Gary, who works as a window fitter is now working alongside a conservation team with son Luke, 28, who is an industrial painter.

The team came and visited us and said it was so important they'd take on the work.

It will have to go up for sale, I would love to keep it but it's just too big - it's seven foot by seven foot.

It's going to go into an auction, we've already had some of the big auction houses interested.

I'm not sure who will buy it, it could be a museum or a private collector, but I would love it to stay in England or go to the Hougoumont museum.

We're restoring it so it can be hung again, and we've done an awful lot of work, it's almost a nightmare.

To have that sort of thing in the house makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

– Gary Lawrence