Sleep with history at Hougoumont

March 1, 2017 - The Chairman

Recently I and my wife took the widow of Brigadier Professor Richard Holmes to stay a few nights in the Farm at Hougoumont.  Serjeant Gibson came along too to protect us from the ghosts. He, Richard not Serjeant Gibson, had been a prime mover in the saving of this important site. Until he turned his energy […]

Blücher’s Elephant

February 27, 2017 - The Chairman

The remarkable Blücher was the major influence in the successful 1814 campaign in which eventually the Allies occupied Paris but he did have problems. At one stage after the 1806-7 defeat of Prussia by Napoleon he suffered a breakdown, a side effect of which was to have hallucinations about giving birth to an elephant! In […]

St Helena found to be useful

February 15, 2017 - The Chairman

Am reading Candice Millard’s book on Winston Churchill’s captivity during the Boer War “Hero of The Empire”  and it mentions that during that war about 5,000 Boer prisoners were incarcerated on the island. Brian Unwin in his excellent book “Terrible Exile” tells us that several hundred died on the island and are buried there. […]

Marengo’s trotters reunited

February 11, 2017 - The Chairman

Recently Christopher Joll, late of The Life Guards, managed to photograph together the two front hooves of Marengo. Both are featured in our 200 objects but they are not together. See  and The photograph shows the hooves and are in size and shape identical although the colour is different, which is normal particularly as […]

Poor Boy – Cornet Alexander Hay of Nunraw

February 9, 2017 - The Chairman

I was at Waterloo last week staying at the Landmark Trust apartment, more about that later. However on one of our expeditions we visited the Church at Waterloo opposite The Wellington Museum and there we saw the memorial to Cornet Alexander Hay of Nunraw. Of interest to us as he is a kinsman of my […]

The Scottish Surgeon to the Tsar

February 6, 2017 - The Chairman

Whilst reading Dominic Lieven’s comprehensive book on the War with Russia in 1812 I came across Sir James Wylie who was surgeon to the Russian Army in 1812.  On looking him up and consulting my good friend Mick Crumplin I felt he was worth mentioning. He went to Russia in 1790 as physician to Catherine the […]

Ancestors and all that

January 25, 2017 - The Chairman

This photo is of Serjeant James Livesey, an old Horse Gunner,  in old age but as you can see wearing his Waterloo medal. His story is a fascinating one and is explained at length on the On Line Book Company’s website: He was in Bull’s Troop at Waterloo and both his troop (battery) and Norman […]

What happened to Napoleon’s sword?

January 22, 2017 - The Chairman

On 1 June 1879 in a remote part of South Africa, Napoléon Eugène Louis Jean Joseph Bonaparte, the son of Napoleon III, was killed by Zulus whilst on a badly planned excursion. But that is another story: however at the time he was carrying his great uncle’s sword, which was carried by Napoleon The Great at […]

From Russia with love

January 17, 2017 - The Chairman

Not long ago I went to Russia specifically to visit Stalingrad, now called Volgograd to be present at the commemorations of the great battle.  It was -15 degrees and with wind chill – 30 degrees. But that is another story. I had time during my stay in Russia to visit the battlefield of Borodino. I […]

Copenhagen’s Love Letters

January 11, 2017 - The Chairman

Seeing the recent coverage on the Guardian on Marengo  reminded of this slim volume of the love letters between Marengo and Copenhagen. The letters are fairly frisky stuff and Serjeant Gibson was frankly rather shocked.  The book is sub titled “The World’s greatest gay, equine, military, epistolary romance”.  Make of that as you will but I said […]