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Forces War Records Blog

WE MUST NOT FORGET THE GALLANTRY AND BRAVERY OF THOSE WHO FOUGHT AT WATERLOO

Blogger: GemSen Tomorrow, June 18, marks the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo and in 2015 it will be 200 years since the significant historical event took place.

However, despite it being such a huge milestone, the Government is not making any plans to celebrate this anniversary amid suspicions that it doesn’t want to offend France, says a recent article by the Daily Mail. In stark contrast Belgium where the battle happened all those years ago, on 18 June 1815, is commemorating the event by spending at least £20 million on the project, which includes restoring the battlefield. Apparently, the British Government won’t be handing over any money for any events to mark the battle and there will only be some commemorative activity at the Duke’s former homes and a few initiatives at military museums. “Waterloo was a battle of the most immense importance,” David Green, director of the Civitas think-tank, told the Daily Mail.

“Britain was fighting a tyrant who had conquered Europe. It was a momentous moment that should be commemorated. We should be shouting it from the rooftops.”
Ending over 20 years of conflict Fought a few miles south of Brussels near the village of Waterloo, the battle was fought between the French, under the command of Napoleon Bonaparte, and the Allied armies commanded by the Duke of Wellington from Britain and General Blücher from Prussia. The battle involved various nations with the entire future of Europe at stake and the eventual Allied victory stopped Napoleon’s reign as dictator and ended over 20 years of conflict beginning with the French Revolutionary wars in 1792 and continuing with the Napoleonic Wars from 1803. It also marked the end of the Emperor's final bid for power, the so-called '100 Days'. Britain and its allies had 68,000 men, and were joined by about 45,000 Prussians on the evening of the battle. The French had 72,000 troops. Heavy rain had turned the battlefield into a swamp and the scale of casualties was staggering - around one in four men were killed. Of the Anglo-Allied armed forces, there were 17,000 military casualties and the French suffered losses of 48,000, of which 8,000 soldiers were captured according to war service records. The Battle of Waterloo in 1815 forms an important part of military history as it gave rise to the first of the war medals issued by the British Government to every member of the British army recorded in service at either the Battle of Ligny (16 June 1815), the Battle of Quatre Bras (16 June 1815) or the Battle of Waterloo (18 June 1815). The Waterloo Medal was also the first military medal to be awarded to the families of soldiers killed in action, and the first to be engraved with the soldier's name. In a message to Waterloo 200, the 8th Duke of Wellington said: "I am often asked whether we should not now, in these days of European unity, forget Waterloo and the battles of the past. My reply is, history cannot be forgotten and we need to be reminded of the bravery of the thousands of men from many nations who fought and died in a few hours and why their gallantry and sacrifice ensured peace in Europe for 50 years." See tomorrow’s blog for more detail on the battle. Source: Daily Mail, BBC Forces War Records have a wealth of records from the early 19th century - if you are researching your ancestors from this war period then have a look at our site and fill in the missing pieces. Alternatively, for more information on the Waterloo Medal take a look at one of our documents from our library called British Battles and Medals.
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