Battle of Waterloo – 200 years on Thursday 18th June 2015

CGf3FVhWsAAGV-dThe Battle of Waterloo took place on Sunday 18th June 1815. At that time the war was within the United Kingdom of The Netherlands. The 200th anniversary falls on Thursday and there are a number of events going on to mark the historic moment. Today the battlefield lies in Belgium.

It was a pivotal point in history and it was a ‘close run thing’.

Why not help out a school project (I must admit to not knowing which school) that is trying to get 1815 followers on Twitter before the date of the battle.

Napoleon Bonaparte had escaped exile in Elba, 26th of February, with a thousand men. He swiftly formed a substantial army with a number of whole regiments flocking to him from the Bourbon King, Louis XVIII. Marshal Ney, one of his Officers during the Peninsula War, brought him around 5,000 men.

30 shillingsThe event I will be attending is at The Royal Armouries in Leeds where there is a nine day commemoration from Saturday 13th to Sunday 21st June.

There is a Wargaming convention on the opening weekend, free for all to attend. The Art of War art display, which includes the Waterloo cartoon by Daniel Maclise, on loan from the Royal Academy of Arts, and the  painting Scotland Forever! (the header image for this article) by Lady Elizabeth Butler on loan from Leeds City Art Gallery.

There will be a number of activities through the week culminating in a spectacular weekend on 20th & 21st of June that will include a Horse Display by the world famous Atkinson Action Horses, as seen in the recent BBC Drama Poldark. There is usually a charge of around £6.00 for the horse shows but I can’t confirm the price yet.

John WhiteWaterloo Re-enactment, Belgium. the main event. There will be an estimated 5,000 re-enactors, 300 horses and 100 canon at this event. I understand Seamus, the horse that starred as Poldark’s mount in the TV series, was invited to lead the charge but Atkinson Action Horses had to refuse, due to his value to them. There will be people there that I know, on both sides.

Jan WaterlooIn the recognisable Red of the British army, pointing out at us, is my friend John White who is a member of the 33rd Regiment of foot.

Napoleon’s troops include the Polish Lancers, Jan Gradoń can be seen on the grey horse in this picture. Jan appeared at Royal Armouries in Easter 2015 as part of the Easter Tournament.

I hope everyone enjoys the spectacle that shaped much of modern Europe up to the 1st World War. It certainly would have been a different continent if Napoleon had defeated Wellington and Blucher.

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