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.
The battle also ended Napoleon Bonaparte's rule as French Emperor, and marked the end of his Hundred Days return from exile. What's more, it ended the series of wars which had blighted Europe since the French Revolution in the early 1790s, and was the starting point for international peace in Europe which lasted almost 50 years up until the Crimean War.
British military records show that British involvement was with the Seventh Coalition, made up of many states that had opposed Napoleon on his return to power in 1815. These states mobilised a great coalition force, comprising an army of 68000 Anglo-Allies under the command of the Duke of Wellington, and 50000 Prussians led by Gebhard von Blücher. After three days of fighting, Napoleon's French army of 72000 men were defeated at Waterloo.
Of the 68000 Anglo-Allied armed forces, there were 17000 military casualties, 3,500 killed outright, 3,300 missing and over 10,000 wounded, however this compared with French losses of at least 24000 killed and up to 8000 soldiers captured according to war service records.
In the aftermath, coalition forces entered France and restored Louis XVIII to the French throne. Napoleon abdicated, surrendered to the British, and was exiled to Saint Helena, where he later died in 1821.
The site of the battle is in present-day Belgium near Brussels, and is dominated by a monument to William II of the Netherlands (the Prince of Orange). The Lion Mound or "Butte du Lion" is a large conical artificial hill raised on the battlefield to mark the spot where the Prince was hit by a musket ball during the Battle of Waterloo.