The New Waterloo Dispatch: Celebrating the idea that is Europe
The New Waterloo Dispatch is an ambitious ceremonial interpretation of a defining moment in European history: The Battle of Waterloo, which was fought two hundred years ago on 18 June 1815.
However, it is not about the battle alone. The New Waterloo Dispatch pays homage to all the heroes of the Battle of Waterloo but it also recognizes the nobility of the war horse and, since the battle is hand in glove with the Congress of Vienna, celebrates the idea that is Europe. It promotes the essential values that spring from both the battle and the Congress: Leadership, Enterprise, Respect and Co-operation. These are values that ring true today.
The New Waterloo Dispatch is based on the news of Waterloo and its journey to European capitals, notably London and Berlin. It is both a presentation document and a constellation of events in various countries across Europe celebrating the Battle of Waterloo’s lasting legacy of peace and more significantly the very idea that unifies the diversity of the people of Europe. The legacy of Waterloo affects our lives to this day and its aftermath is a symbol for a more positive future.
Click here to learn how you can ride alongside the New Waterloo Dispatch, in partnership with charities Ride of the Lions and Walking with the Wounded.
A distinctive series of international events
Given the recent precedent, status and profile of similar defining moments in European history, such as D-Day, Trafalgar and World War I, it is unimaginable to think that we might not properly commemorate the 200th anniversary of what was arguably one of the most significant battles in European history — a battle more bloody, brutal and fiercely contested than anything that had come before.
Yet this is not an Anglo-centric, triumphalist occasion. Rather it is the opportunity to pay homage to all the heroes who fought and died that day, to the nobility and suffering of the horse, and significantly, to highlight the enduring values that have come down to us from the battle and the long peace that followed: leadership, enterprise, respect and co-operation – everyone fundamental to the way we face the challenges of the 21st century.
The New Waterloo Dispatch is a special and distinctive series of events on an international scale, involving royalty, European military bands, armed forces, civic representatives and the general public. In London it is expected to be a once in a lifetime occasion.
Accurately dressed interpreters for Major Percy and Commander James White RN, who accompanied him, will travel in a replica horse drawn post chaise along the newly christened Waterloo Way from Waterloo to London and the ceremonies along the way take place where horses were changed in 1815. As well as the presentation of the New Waterloo Dispatch at these sites, plaques will be unveiled at strategic locations to permanently mark the Way. Replicas of the two captured Imperial Eagles and Standards will be carried in the post chaise, as were the originals in 1815, and two hundred years to the day laid at the feet of a member of the British Royal Family.
Our thanks go to significant bodies, including the Royal Navy, The Lord Lieutenancies for Kent and London, the Army and Navy, Naval and Military and East India Clubs, companies and charitable trusts, educational initiatives like Hungry for History, and individuals ranging from journalists to historians.
The ceremonial interpretation of the news of Waterloo
The New Waterloo Dispatch is a ceremonial interpretation of the news of Waterloo. It comprises the new dispatch for 2015, to be presented to senior public figures and dignitaries during the ceremonial interpretation of the historic journey of the news of Waterloo from Waterloo to London and Berlin.
The presentations take place at sites where horses were changed along the ‘Waterloo Way’ from Brussels to St James’s Square. Each presentation involves an exciting outdoor public ceremony heralding the arrival of the post chaise carrying The New Waterloo Dispatch, the interpreters for Major Percy and Commander White and replicas of the two captured standards and Imperial Eagles. The ceremony includes the unveiling of permanent plaque marking the occasion and the Waterloo Way.
Thursday, 18 June. Belgium: WATERLOO DAY
Evening: A formal ceremony organized by the Belgian Government concludes with an early evening New Waterloo Dispatch ceremony at the Wellington Museum, Waterloo, where the Duke of Wellington began to write his original Dispatch.
Friday, 19 June. Belgium
Morning: The New Waterloo Dispatch is presented to the Mayor of the City of Brussels and other dignitaries during ceremony at Royal Army Museum, Brussels accompanied by an international gathering of descendants from the battle.
Afternoon: Post chaise arrival and departure NWD ceremony at Governor’s Residence, Bruges.
Evening: Post chaise arrival and ceremony at Sea Cadet TS Royalist, Ostend, followed by asimilar ceremony in HMS Northumberland at a flight-deck reception. The ships sail for Broadstairs accompanied by East India Club Yacht Squadron.
Saturday, 20 June. Kent and London
Morning: A cutter pulls away from TS Royalist standing off Broadstairs rows to the beach to disembarks the interpreters for Major Henry Percy and Commander James White RN. This event Includes post chaise arrival and departure ceremonies with presentation of The New Waterloo Dispatch to Mayor of Broadstairs, followed by a day of town festivities, including The New Waterloo Dispatch Race for Pilot Gigs over a 20-mile course.
Afternoon: The post chaise arrives in Canterbury for the presentation of The New Waterloo Dispatch to The Lord Lieutenant for Kent. This includes a Waterloo Service at Canterbury Cathedral. The post chaise ‘leaves’ for London.
Sunday, 21 June. London
Morning: At 10:00 the post chaise departure ceremony from Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, with New Waterloo Dispatch presentations to the Mayor of the royal borough. The post chaise travels through south London, crossing Tower Bridge for ceremonies at The Tower where it picks up an HAC Light Cavalry escort to Guildhall Yard, where The New Waterloo Dispatch will be presented to The Lord Mayor of London.
Afternoon: The post chaise crosses the river at Waterloo Bridge and again at Westminster Bridge to Whitehall and Horse Guards where it is joined by a Household Cavalry Mounted traveling escort and a number of historic coaches. Proceeds to The Mall, Constitution Hill, Hyde Park Corner (New Waterloo Dispatch presentation to Wellesley family), Park Lane and Grosvenor Square (New Waterloo Dispatch presentation to Lord Mayor of Westminster and The Duke of Westminster) Regent Street to Waterloo Place, where it is presented to the Mayoralty of London and foreign Ambassadors.
It then moves to St James’s Square for two ceremonies; one in the square and one at the East India Club where the replica Eagles will be placed at the feet of a senior member of the Royal Family. The post chaise departs and joins The Waterloo Parade. We are looking for schools to participate – see section: Education and school involvement.
The Waterloo Parade from Horse Guards Parade down The Mall including four European visiting bands (Dutch Army Band, Zurich Police Band, Finnish Navy Band, French Artillery Band) British military bands and 200 school children. This parade will be the spectacular culmination of the Waterloo commemorations both in Belgium and London and will create a visual focus on Waterloo 200’s achievements and its enduring educational legacy.
The Waterloo International Music Festival 19 – 21 June
Featuring a concert at St James’s Church Piccadilly by The Dutch Army Band and appearances by European bands at iconic locations in central London.
The following weekend (27-28 June) there are NWD post chaise ceremonies at Faversham, Sittingbourne, Rochester and Walmer Castle – the finale of the NWD in Britain at which the Dispatch will be presented to The Lord Boyce, Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports.
There are two New Waterloo Dispatch events in Germany at Hamburg and Berlin on 22 and 24 June.
Some roads in central London are closed for the arrival of the New Waterloo Dispatch on 21st June 2015. See attached PDFs for maps & details.
Education and schools involvement
The New Waterloo Dispatch is one of the most visible ways of educating people of all ages about the battle, its context and lasting significance for Britain and Europe. It is part of Waterloo 200’s extensive educational and legacy activities, and includes working with schools along the route of the Dispatch – The Waterloo Way, inviting children to participate in some of the ceremonies through visual arts and the Timeline 200 competition, which asks them to nominate their defining moments in European history over the past two hundred years in the fields of History, Nature, Art, Sport and Science.
In addition, schools along the Waterloo Way are encouraged to watch the progress of the post chaise ceremonies when in their locality and to use The New Waterloo Dispatch to initiate history projects, including making materials for The Waterloo Parade in London.
We are looking for schools to create enormous heads of Napoleonic characters that can be carried on sticks during the Waterloo Parade. These could be the commanders and leaders, soldiers from the many European armies, horses, etc. In line with the bicentenary, we hope to have 50+ schools, marching with 200 heads, as part of the Parade. Alternatively, schools can simply decide to dress up, wear military hats and carry flags of the countries involved in the Napoleonic Wars. If your school is interested in participating, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.hungryforhistory.info
The New Waterloo Dispatch complements Waterloo 200’s package of free on-line learning resources and teaching materials for schools through W200’s website and Euroclio, Culture 24 and The National Army Museum.
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