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We’ve forgotten about the Battle of Waterloo. Today, let’s remember

18 June 2014

3:50 PM

18 June 2014

3:50 PM

Today is a day to remember the British army’s greatest 19th century triumph, the Battle of Waterloo. If the British and Prussian-led coalition had not been victorious at Waterloo, Napoleon’s 100 days would have become a French 100 years.

The British victory owed much to the bravery and initiative of a member of the ranks of the Royal Wagon Train, Brewster. He saw that the defenders of the farmhouse at Hougoumont were running out of ammunition. So, he slipped out through the French lines and, under heavy fire, brought back to Hougoumont fresh supplies of ammunition. Without Brewster’s intervention, the farmhouse would have fallen—as La Haye Sainte did—and the battle would have been lost.

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But despite these noble tales of heroism, Waterloo has become a rather forgotten battle. Hougoumont itself was falling into disrepair, with souvenir hunters simply looting the site. But, thankfully, something is now being done about this.

George Osborne, who is surprisingly passionate about the battle and its importance, has committed public money to help with the restoration of Hougoumont for the 200th anniversary of the battle next year. But private support is still needed. Do have a look at the Project Hougoumont website  if you have a chance. This is an event worth commemorating. ​

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  • Dogsnob

    And all so we could have Orgreave.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Agincourt, 25 October 1415.
    Don’t forget now.

  • Terence Hale

    James,
    “We’ve forgotten about the Battle of Waterloo. Today, let’s remember” Waterloo is in present-day Belgium not far from Brussels. I suggest we forget it.

  • Mack

    Dear Faceless Bureaucrat: Yes, yes, but you never vote, you don’t teach, you don’t serve as a volunteer docent at a historical site — you just complain about others because you didn’t do your job as a citizen.

  • swatnan

    2 memorable quotes from Wellington
    1. damn close run thing
    2. the scum of the earth.

    • MikeF

      These days ‘publish and be damned’ could do with a revival.

  • AndrewMelville

    Let’s have a little ambition.

    Should we not be applying (jointly with Jerry) for EU wide celebrations of this great achievement of a pan-European federation led (naturally) by Great Britain? Only a churl would object to a continent wide celebration.

    Moreover, it affords a wonderful opportunity for hugs, kisses and photo ops with our dear ally, Vladimir and co.

    Cameron should propose forthwith. We can count on Hollande to second it – if only to demonstrate his non-tyrannical credentials.

    • Makroon

      Well, “Vladimir’s ancestors” pretty much destroyed the Grande Armee, 200 years ago, last year, but I don’t remember much celebrating of that.

  • Steven Whalley

    As well as next year being the 200th anniversary of the victory over the French at Waterloo, it is also the 600th anniversary of Agincourt……..

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    “If I should fall and rise no more
    As many comrades did before
    Just ask the fife and drums to play
    ‘Over the hills and far away’.”

    Sing it for yourselves, lads.

    • Kaine

      O’er the hills an o’er the main,
      Through Flanders, Portugal and Spain,
      King George demands and we obey,
      Over the hills and far away…

  • Guiltyskies

    “Napoleon’s 100 days would have become a French 100 years.” Hard to say. Napoleon would have still had to beat Austria and Russia who were scrambling to assemble their armies at the time. And I doubt Prussia and England would have given up after Waterloo either. Especially with so many veteran British troops coming home from the War of 1812…

  • global city

    Ha….. James thinks that Waterloo train station is named after some battle or something!

  • Wessex Man

    we’ve not forgotten it and will be having a full day remembering the sacrifice of British men rescuing Europe from itself yet again, we will finish our day of rememberance will an Evening Dinner of best Roast Beef.

    We also wanted to commemorate the Battle of Flodden Field’s 500th anniversary

    but were told that if we went there we would have to join in a ceremony of reconciliation so look forward to the Scots 700th ceremony of reconciliation this year.

  • Rossspeak

    Of course it is “forgotten” – Waterloo was the final ending to several centuries of the French dream of world domination – and they have never forgiven us.
    The expansion of the British Empire – with our legal system , rather than the Code Napoleon – and in particular the adoption of the english language as the most practical “world language” really rankles many Frenchmen.
    I worked for a French company for many years and had lots of late night conversations with inebriated French Executives – and, believe me, these feelings of resentment run deep.
    The EU was ( is) their answer to regaining their influence and power – and we wouldn’t want to rock that boat now – would we?

    • HookesLaw

      Firstly Waterloo hs not been forgotten and the Hougomount project proves it.

      Second your reasons for supposing so are pathetically risible.

      • Wessex Man

        Now listen here Hoo zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

      • Rossspeak

        I would rather be risible and right than a Europhile and wrong.

    • Makroon

      Waterloo isn’t entirely forgotten, but the battles of Ramillies, Blenheim, Oudenarde, and Malplaquet, won by our most illustrious general (and diplomat) who systematically reduced Louis XIV massive armies to ruin, has been pretty much forgotten by the general public.

      • Rossspeak

        Good point – alot to do with the history curriculum – Marlborough is a forgotten hero – as you say – arguably our greatest Commander as he was able to combine military genius with diplomatic skills – a wonderful strategist.

    • MikeF

      When St Pancras became the London Eurostar teminal instead of Waterloo there was a splendid poster at the Gare du Nord in Paris informing people of the fact that showed Napoleon and his marshals and carried the slogan ‘Oubliez Waterloo’.

  • dado_trunking

    When all things about Big Charters fail let’s dish out a bit of Eurovision history next, ey?

  • Hexhamgeezer

    Would ABBA have sold more or less had Boney won?

    • Fergus Pickering

      If Boney had won the French would have been top Nation in Europe until comprenensively stuffed by Adolf and we’d all be speaking German now.

      • Kaine

        If the French had won at Waterloo there would never have been a unified German empire.

      • Hexhamgeezer

        Yes, but would they have sold more copies of ‘Waterloo’? Or would they not have written it?

    • itdoesntaddup

      Maybe we wouldn’t have had Ra-Ra-Rasputin or the Rivers of Babylon?

      • Hexhamgeezer

        Yes…those indispensable aids to GCSE History…..

  • Cooper1992

    God bless the British men who fought and died with such valour at Waterloo to keep our nation free and prosperous.

    God bless The Duke too for his leadership and judgement. We should never forget them.

    • Kaine

      Great general, rubbish politician.

      • Wessex Man

        You are only jealous because you will never ever be either.

        • global city

          I agree with Kaine. A bit like Corbusier…. one of the greatest architects ever, but a really lousy urban planner

        • Kaine

          Why would I want to be a rubbish politician?

          • Wessex Man

            I bet you wanted to be lots of things but didn’t actaully achieve any of your wants.

  • The Red Bladder

    Any Prussians around at the time were there?

    • Swiss Bob

      Turned up late, a common occurrence with British allies.

      The Old Guard ran from the British, not the Prussians.

      • HJ777

        Imperial Guard, I think, is the correct term.

        Remember that one of the difficulties that Wellington faced was that his was a hastily cobbled-together international army with different languages and different levels of experience. I don’t even think it was majority British although the largest part was British. This is why he bemoaned the fact that he didn’t have his ‘Spanish army’, i.e. his army from the peninsular campaign.

        • Swiss Bob

          Well if you’re going to be all technical it was the Middle Guard that attacked the British centre, of which two of three prongs were destroyed by British Infantry.

          In fairness, it was the Prussians the Old Guard ran from so I was talking ballocks!

        • HookesLaw

          His best troops were fighting the Americans

  • Faceless Bureaucrat

    The reason we have forgotten about this epic Battle is that our useless Education system fails to teach it anymore. How long before The Battle of Trafalgar is airbrushed from History to be replaced with how the EU is responsible for ‘Peace in Europe’?…

    • dado_trunking

      Now now, the Nobel Peace Prize is not handed out by faceless bureaucrats.

    • telemachus

      Too right
      Instead of wasting time and money on Free Schools
      Gove should be drumming in important history
      The immigrants who came in with Claudius in AD 43
      The immigrants who came in with Hengist and Horsa 400 years later
      The immigrants who came in with the Danes another 300 years after that
      The immigrants who came in with William of Normandy 200 years after that
      The immigrants who came in with Georg Ludwig in 1714
      *
      And how these immigrants fused with the Celts and each other to create a dynamic country that forged the greatest empire the world has known

      • global city

        Really piss poor attempt there telemachus. Just how many came with each ‘wave’ you mention there? Hostile invasion though, does your subconscious make the link with nulabour’s policy of rubbing the right’s nose in diversity with hostile invasions from history?
        ,
        Man, there’s a Freudian slip if ever!

        • telemachus

          Not sure Georg Ludwig’s hordes were hostile

          • Wessex Man

            go away you slimy little liar.

          • global city

            That may be true, but then again, there were not millions of them.

            You have to distinguish between immigration and massive, ongoing, never ending mass migration. When does an ideological base become a dogmatic chokehold on the intellect?

    • Kaine

      I think it is rather more a matter of politesse following the Entente Cordial.

      • Makroon

        If you visit the battle-field, you would imagine that Bonaparte had won, the “museum” is basically a celebration of the little tyrant.
        “Waterloo Days” by Charlotte Eaton, is worth a read – a ‘camp follower’ and observer who visited the battle-field on the day after the bloody battle, and a first hand account of the fleeing Flemish who said the battle was lost, and caused mass panic.

        • Owen_Morgan

          The forthcoming (next year) commemorations of the battle have, from what I understand, been entirely hijacked by the French, for quite a few years now, with the enthusiastic cooperation of what passes for a Belgian government.

          As for the “fleeing Flemish”, however, is that a reference to Bylandt’s brigade? Those men were subjected to an intense bombardment (they alone were on the forward side of the slight hill at Mont Saint-Jean) and then found themselves right in the path of a major French infantry attack, one of the pivotal actions of the battle. Other “Belgian” formations (“Belgian” is anachronistic, but still more accurate than “Flemish”), stood their ground throughout the battle. The flight of Bylandt’s brigade probably engendered rather less panic than the pell-mell retreat of Wellington’s entire army would have, in the event of more general “fleeing”.

          As far as I know, the only other Allied unit which broke and failed to be rallied consisted of a unit of Hanoverian hussars, who first volunteered to fight and then volunteered not to.

          • Makroon

            I think you should read Eaton’s eye-witness account.
            Yes, perhaps it is unfair to call them “Flemish”.

            • Owen_Morgan

              OK, I’ll look it up.

    • global city

      It was…. it was just sea manoeuvres between a blue team and a red team, according to TB and nulabour… nothing to do with fighting our allies the French.

      • Makroon

        Our whole maritime history has been forgotten by most people. Sailors are considered rather quaint these days.

  • Pier66

    What a huge great lesson at the FROGS we gave!
    That’ s is like a World Cup won!
    Ynwa & Tory in Power

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      You silly twisted boy.
      So what’s your first language, 66? Because it sure isn’t English.

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