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 […]

The last survivors of Waterloo

January 4, 2017 - The Chairman

We are now back from Christmas leave.  Serjeant Gibson and I spent some time examining some of the 200 items on our website.  This remarkable photograph taken on Waterloo Day in 1880 caught our eye. Until recently the website entry on this  shows the fourth man to be Robert Horton, in fact it is Robert […]

The half a million pound sovereign

December 23, 2016 - The Chairman

An interesting piece in the current Country Life mentions the value of 1937 Sovereigns with the head of Edward VIII.  Apparently there are as few as 7 that exist and their value is in region of half a million pounds.  The obverse is interesting as it was designed by Benedetto Pistrucci in 1817.  We know […]

The French General who changed sides

December 16, 2016 - The Chairman

Until recently I had never heard of General Bourmont.  He was the French General of a Division who deserted with half of his divisional staff to the Prussians during the Hundred Days.  He is an interesting cove.  A nobleman who fought against the Revolution but succumbs to Napoleon and is appointed to command a Division in […]

Waterloo Medals auctioned

December 8, 2016 - The Chairman

This week a number of Waterloo Medals were sold at Dix Noonan Webb and it is interesting to see that the price seems to have dropped now that we are well beyond the Bicentenary.  Serjeant John Gibson was very interested as his medal is now in my possession complete with original ribbon. However the one […]

1940 – The man who remembered Wellington’s funeral

November 28, 2016 - The Chairman

We seem to have gone rather sonic all of a sudden, here is another clip (sound only) of a man, Frederick Mead, who spoke in 1940 about his memory as a child as his father went to The Great Duke’s funeral. Today St Paul’s holds 2500 or thereabouts, in 1852 it held something like 25,000. […]