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The Napoleonic Wars 1792-1815

Waterloo

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Waterloo

Postby OXFORDMON » June 6th, 2011, 4:48 pm

I enjoyed a pleasent easter this year exploring the Waterloo battlefield but was concerned by the precarious state of Hougumont, and with the recent theft of the crucifix from the chapel, a real tragedy for what was a survivor of the battle and fire, i only hope the project Hougumont gets the funds together in time for 2015.
If any forumite would like to see a particular point of the Battlefield or monument please let me know and i'll see what i have.

Andy.

http://www.projecthougoumont.com/
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"Thus the war terminated, and with it all remembrance of the veteran's services" Gen W F P Napier.
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Re: Waterloo

Postby Ian » June 7th, 2011, 6:56 am

Hello Andy,
I share your thoughts about Hougoumont and wonder how the Belgian authorities could allow it to become so delapidated. :evil: Unfortunately, Hougoumont is away from the touristy area around the mound and doesn't have any security from people seeking to pull bits of brick from the south and east wall which is in a sorry state. It does appear as though there has been some repairs but the angle of the south and west wall overlooking what was the Great Orchard isn't looking good. This is one of the most interesting areas for me and was fought over for most of the day.
I wasn't that impressed with the renovation work carried out to the chapel which doesn't seem to have been done very sympathetically. :(
Some of the monuments on the battlefield are in a sorry state too, notably the Gordon monument.

I too took quite a few photos and would also be willing to share them with any member who is interested in seeing them.

I have an interest in collecting old photos and drawings of the battlefield that I find on the internet. I haven't seen any old drawings or paintings of the cross roads as it was before the mound was built in 1820 destroying this part of the battlefield. Does anyone know if one exists?

Ian
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Re: Waterloo

Postby Banker » June 7th, 2011, 10:11 am

Guys, For some of us who live on the other side of the globe any pictures would be of interest to see

Regards Steve
Researcher of Australians at War and Collector of Victorian Campaign Medals
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Re: Waterloo

Postby Ian » June 8th, 2011, 2:27 pm

Hello Steve,
I have sent you a PM. Please send me your email address and I will forward you my photos of the Waterloo battlefield taken two years ago.

Ian
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Re: Waterloo

Postby OXFORDMON » June 18th, 2011, 5:55 pm

As its Waterloo day, a photo of the battlefield roughly at the spot where the Imperial Guard were repulsed at the 'crisis', by the 52nd Light Infantry, with a little help from the Guards ;) (i like a bit of controversy :D ).

Andy.
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Re: Waterloo

Postby Ian » June 29th, 2011, 12:08 pm

Some of my Waterloo photos taken two years ago.

Regarding the last photo: I have read and re-read Mercer's account of the battle from his/this viewpoint. As you can see in front of Mercer's position there is a small plateau which extends about a hundred yards from this viewpoint . The ground drops away reasonably sharply the other side of the plateau. Mercer observed the bearskins of the Grenadiers a Cheval as they reformed just below the brow of the plateau. Mercer's guns were placed on the north side of the small by-road that runs along this part of the postion. The road was and still is slightly higher than the field immediately to the north side of the road. This meant that the muzzels of Mercer's guns were almost level with the road as they swept the area of the plateau to the front. This small bank of no more than a foot and a half to two feet high offered some protection from the fire to the front.

Ian
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Re: Waterloo

Postby MayFirst » December 1st, 2011, 9:22 pm

Next week will be my first visit to Waterloo and I have two questions for those who've been there: Is it a free-for-all as far as walking the battlefield goes? I intend to take the vehicle tour, but I naturally would like to explore on foot myself. Also, is it worthwhile to visit Ligny and Quatre Bras? Is there anything to see? The most recent overview I've read of those sites is David Chandler's from like 1980...

Thanks!
Ashley
Hard pounding this, gentlemen, but we'll see who can pound the longest. -- Duke of Wellington
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Re: Waterloo

Postby OXFORDMON » December 2nd, 2011, 3:43 pm

Hi Ashley

Great to hear your off to Waterloo, I'm sure you'll enjoy it immensely, in answer to your questions about the 'free for all' you can accsess all parts of the battlefield but bear in mind that the farms and farmland are still in use and they don't take kindly to visitors trampling their crops and poking around their buildings, Le Haye Saint for example is still a private residence. Hougumont is now deserted but is fenced off at present due to ongoing building work, you can get in if you want to and I don't think you'll get shot if you do but that's up to you, I would stay on the mettled roads where possible and you can see all you need to from these anyway as they bisect the main fighting areas. The main tourist area at the Lion Mound is a circus most of the time, although the diorama is well worth seeing, and of course the walk up the Lion Mound has to be done, although this gives a misleading impression of the field as the contours disappear from height. I've never been on the bus tour so can't really comment on that.

I would visit Quatre Bras, there is a recent memorial to the British Regiments that fought there to the west of the cross roads, and a few memorials on the main rd, beware of the traffic, they don't take prisoners believe me! As for Ligny, again there a few memorials scattered around ( at the church if my memory is correct) but I would take a guide book to get orientated, there are book shops galore at the Lion Mound, beware of the prices being charged though.

Hope this answers some of your questions, and enjoy the trip, look forward to hearing your thoughts :D .

Andy.
"Thus the war terminated, and with it all remembrance of the veteran's services" Gen W F P Napier.
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Re: Waterloo

Postby MayFirst » December 18th, 2011, 4:56 pm

Andy,

Your advice was very helpful; I played it safe and stuck to all the paths, didn't get too close to La Haye Sainte and stayed well outside the fences of Hougoumont and I felt I still got a very good impression of the place after walking around for over 5 hours. If one can stand the cold, I highly recommend visiting in the winter because there was no one there. I never ran across a soul while exploring (except for two admirable joggers), was alone in the movie rooms, and had the Lion Mound all to myself; only a couple people here and there flitted through the gift shop (which, by the by, would give one the impression Napoleon won the battle!). Looking at some of the summer photos here, I am struck by the remarkable change in the foliage and almost didn't recognize some of the views; I hope to visit again during warmer weather and see the battlefield more as it would have been seen in June 1815; I had gorgeous weather, but it was bloody cold at times, especially on the Mound.

When I arrived at the tourist centre in Waterloo I was told that the vehicle tour would not be operating the next day, so I can't remark on that after all. In the end, it probably wasn't necessary because walking around on foot was more authentic and it allowed for a better appreciation of the folds in the terrain, and besides, I was armed with two very good books on the battlefield.

Ashley
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Re: Waterloo

Postby OXFORDMON » December 18th, 2011, 7:31 pm

Ashley

Glad you enjoyed the visit, i didn't give much thought to the time of year to be honest :oops: , i would like to arrange a visit in winter, it sounds pretty good. Any pictures?

I know what you mean about the visitor centre, you would think it was a French victory! if you want a bust of Napoleon, you know where to go :)

Andy.
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