One Man’s War – Major Tom Goodall’s Papers

Earlier this year, the First World War Archives Project was at the Duke of Wellington’s Regimental Museum in Halifax continuing to scan material from their collection.

In a stroke of luck the project’s first visit to the museum occurred just after a suitcase brimming with material had been deposited by a member of the public. Looking through the suitcase it was found to contain the amazingly detailed personal archive of Major Tom Goodall. The papers and memorabilia follow Goodall from his enlistment in 1914 as 2nd Lieutenant in the 2/5 Battalion (Territorials) Duke of Wellingtons Regiment, all the way through the first world war and his time as Major in the Home Guard during the second world war.

WWI case

Goodall’s collection is a goldmine of information comprising of his personal journals, trench maps, aerial photographs, battalion orders, medals, certificates, press cuttings, items captured from German Trenches and other ephemera. The collection is an invaluable new resource into the history of the 2/5 Battalion, in particular ‘D’ Coy, and the day to day running of the British Forces.

A personal favourite from the collection has to be this note found pinned at the Entrance to a German Dugout near Achiet-Le-Petit 17th March 1917.

adaw

‘Good Neight Tommy! Auf Wiedersehen!’

Get Involved

Can you read Shorthand or German? If you can then we need your skills!

Tom Goodall’s Archive contains 4 small diaries written primarily in shorthand along with a few bits of correspondence also in shorthand. We would welcome volunteers who would be willing to transcribe these diaries for us so that we can make this resource accessible to all.

The archive also contains a book captured from a German trench which appears to contain a list of code names and some sort of journal or company diary. This is a fascinating item and would be an exciting transcription project for a volunteer.

Volunteers do not need to live in West Yorkshire and anyone interested should contact caroline.walter@armouries.org.uk

And Finally…

I’ll leave you with a few examples of the Battalion Orders which made the British Army the pride of the empire. Each one is a genuine order issued to the 2/5 Duke of Wellingtons Regiment during their time on the Western Front.

Battalion Order 293: Each company having been issued with a Flat Iron, Officers commanding companies will arrange that ironing of the seams of S.D. Clothing is carried out once a week and will forward certificate to Orderly Room every Saturday by 9 am stating that this has been done.

Battalion Order 294: Companies will arrange to inspect their sick before coming down to hospital and see that their men are properly washed and shaved.

Battalion Order 397: The practice of cutting down trousers to turn them into ‘shorts’ is prohibited. ‘Shorts’ are not to be worn in the VI Corps Area. (Vide. C.R.O. 2486 of 8-8-17)

Battalion Order 686: Companies will ensure that Haircutting is carried out as quickly as possible. All men must be completed by 9am 8-12-17.

The retreat to Quatre Bras: Baron von Eben, the 10th (Prince of Wales) Hussars

On the morning of 17 June the Anglo-Dutch army began its retreat from Quatre Bras toward Waterloo, covered by the British cavalry and guns which delayed the French pursuit at every opportunity. The Light Cavalry Brigades under the command of Vivian and Vandeleur formed the left column of the rear guard as it marched northwards, heading for the narrow bridge over the river Dyle at Thuy.

Ernest Croft: 'Wellington's Retreat from Quatre Bras'. On loan to the Royal Armouries by Leeds Art Gallery. Now in the museums 'Waterloo: The Art of Battle' exhibition.

Ernest Croft: ‘Wellington’s Retreat from Quatre Bras’. On loan to the Royal Armouries by Leeds Art Gallery. Now in the Royal Armouries’ ‘Waterloo: The Art of Battle’ exhibition.

The last of Vivian’s Brigade had crossed the bridge, and as the French cavalry attempted to follow they were met with an accurate fire from troops concealed behind a hedge and in a sunken road on the far bank, and forced to retire. The shots had the familiar crack of rifles, but they were not fired by the riflemen of the 95th Regiment (the Rifles) but by the troopers of the 10th (Prince of Wales) Hussars. The 10th Hussars were the only rifle armed cavalry in the British Army, but how had this come about?

[0] Portrait of HRH the Prince of Wales at a review of the 10th Light Dragoons, attended by Lord Heathfield, General Turner and Baron Eben (left); Colonel Quinton in the distance, oil on canvas by John Singleton Copley, 1809. © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Portrait of HRH the Prince of Wales at a review of the 10th Light Dragoons, attended by Lord Heathfield, General Turner and Baron Eben (left); Colonel Quinton in the distance,
oil on canvas by John Singleton Copley, 1809. © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Friedrich Christian Baron von Eben was born at Creutzburg in Silesia in 1773 the son of a Prussian general. He joined the army in 1787 and served in his father’s regiment of Hussars against the French in the Low Countries between 1792 and 1795, being awarded the Order of Merit for his bravery. He resigned his commission in 1799 when Prussia refused to renew the conflict with France, and entered British service as a Captain in the York Hussars before joining the 10th Light Dragoons. A socialite, who counted amongst his personal friends the Duke of Sussex, the younger brother of the Prince of Wales, he also wrote several military treatises on the use of light cavalry, which brought him to the attention of the Duke of York, the Commander in Chief of the Army. In 1802, when York was establishing the Experimental Rifle Corps (renamed the 95th Rifles in 1803), von Eben wrote a treatise entitled ‘Observations on the Utility of good Riflemen’ in which he proposed the adoption of the rifle by both infantry and cavalry.

Von Eben’s idea for re-equipping the cavalry with rifles was not taken up, but the Colonel of the 10th Light Dragoons – the Prince of Wales himself, took a keen interest in the equipment as well as the appearance of his regiment, and ordered a test to be made of two rifles, one made by Henry Nock and the other by Ezekial Baker.

2 Rifle Tests

‘Twenty Three Years Practice and Observation with Rifle Guns by Ezekiel Baker, Gunmaker, London’, second edition, London, 1804

The result was clear, and in response Baker was ordered to supply the regiment with an initial 40 rifled carbines. The carbine was essentially a cut-down version of the Baker rifle then in service, but without the bayonet (not required by the cavalry) and with the addition of a captive ramrod (to prevent it from being dropped and lost in the heat of battle) and a safety catch at the rear of the lock plate (for preventing the carbine from going off ‘half cocked’). Later versions had a swell underneath the stock similar to a pistol to improve the grip and steady the aim.

1803 Pattern [need to check the Pattern Date] Baker Carbine for the 10th Prince of Wales Light Dragoons. XII.1968 © Royal Armouries

1803 Pattern Baker Carbine for the 10th Prince of Wales Light Dragoons. XII.1968 © Royal Armouries

The Prince of Wales took great pride in his regiment, and in 1807 he ordered a new sword for the officers from the John Prosser, sword cutler of Charing Cross. The sword was based loosely on the 1796 Pattern Light Cavalry Officer’s Sword, but with a modified hilt bearing the Prince of Wales cipher mounted on the langet.

1807 Pattern Light Cavalry Officers Sword for the 10th Prince of Wales Light Dragoons.

1807 Pattern Light Cavalry Officers Sword for the 10th Prince of Wales Light Dragoons. © Royal Armouries

But what of Von Eben? He left the 10th Light Dragoons in 1806 and returned to his native Prussia the following year where he served as a volunteer until the Peace of Tilsit. He then appeared in Portugal, where he married Elisabetha Contessa d`Astigarraga, the daughter of a Portuguese Admiral, in Porto 1808, only to lose most of his possessions when the French siezed the city the following year. He joined the Portuguese Army under Marshal Beresford, and from 1809 to 1813 he was present at most of the major battles and sieges of the Peninsular War before being made Governor of Tras os Montes province. In 1817 von Eben was implicated in a conspiracy against the King of Portugal, and but for his friendship with the Duke of Sussex and his association with the Prince of Wales he would probably have been executed. Instead he was exiled, and he ended his colourful military career in the service of Simon Bolivar during the South American Wars of Independence. He died in Bogota in Columbia in 1835.

 

Ernest Crofts: Wellington’s March from Quatre Bras to Waterloo. (1878)

‘Napoleon has humbugged me, by God…. I have made arrangements to meet him at Quatre Bras, and if I find myself not strong enough to stop him there, I shall fall back towards Blücher and fight him there.’

                                                                                          – The Duke of Wellington

English: Map of the Battle of Quatre Bras. 2006. Source: Gregory Fremont-Barnes (main editor) - The Encyclopedia of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, page 800. Adapted from Chandler 1999, 353.

English: Map of the Battle of Quatre Bras. 2006. Source: Gregory Fremont-Barnes (main editor) – The Encyclopedia of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars, page 800. Adapted from Chandler 1999, 353.

Vital to both sides, the crossroads at Quatre Bras would have allowed Wellington to advance towards his Prussian allies at Ligny. This combined force would have outnumbered the French. However, Napoleon’s plan was to divide the Allies by crossing the border into the United Kingdom of the Netherlands (Belgium). This disruption would give Napoleon time to advance and defeat Blücher, before turning his attention to triumphing over the Anglo-Dutch army.

The story did not unfold by design and instead the Anglo-Dutch met the French at Quatre Bras, 16th June 1815. After a fiercely contested battle, neither side was forced from the field. Wellington gained a tactical victory, whilst Napoleon a strategic one, having prevented the Allies coming to Blücher’s aid.

Meanwhile, the Prussian retreat from Ligny left the flank of Wellington’s army open to attack, therefore, the following morning Wellington withdrew for Waterloo. This painting by Ernest Crofts is a depiction of the allied army marching towards Waterloo, with Wellington leading the procession.

Ernest Croft: 'Wellington's Retreat from Quatre Bras'. On loan to the Royal Armouries by Leeds Art Gallery. Now in the museums 'Waterloo: The Art of Battle' exhibition.

Ernest Crofts: ‘Wellington’s Retreat from Quatre Bras’ (VIS.1614). On loan to the Royal Armouries by Museums Sheffield. Now in the Royal Armouires’ ‘Waterloo: The Art of Battle’ exhibition.

Born in Leeds in 1847, Crofts studied in Düsseldorf under Emil Hünten, a former pupil of Horace Vernet. Here, Crofts unlike many of his contemporaries, witnessed soldiers in battle during the Franco-Prussian War (1870-1871). On his return to Britain, Crofts continued his studies under Alfred Borron Clay, another painter of military scenes. By the time Crofts had ended his studies, his speciality had, too, become military and historical subjects. His various works include portrayals of English Civil War scenes, and a series of works relating to the Battle of Waterloo. In 1878 Crofts was elected an associate member of the Royal Academy, and a full academician in 1896.

Wellington’s March from Quatre Bras to Waterloo, is on display at the Royal Armouries as part of our Waterloo exhibition ‘The Art of Battle’ (22 May 2015-23 August 2015), alongside contemporary pieces of arms and armour.

 

 

Dancing into battle: The Duchess of Richmond’s Ball

The Duchess of Richmond’s ball has become a romanticised element of the Waterloo myth, where all the ‘immediate’ drama of the Battle of Waterloo began. It was held on June 15th (1815), the night before the Battle of Quatre Bras. The Duchess Charlotte was married to Charles Lennox the 4th Duke of Richmond, and the Duke and his 15 year old son (Charles Lennox, Earl of March, ADC to the Prince of Orange) were present at Waterloo on 18 June.

1024px-The_Duchess_of_Richmond's_Ball_by_Robert_Alexander_Hillingford

Robert Alexander Hillingford – painting “The Duchess of Richmond’s Ball” in Goodwood House the family seat of the Dukes of Richmond

Brussels was just a short boat ride from the south coast of England, and as a result the city was full of sightseers as well as the wives of senior officers.

The glamorous ball was continuing as any other, with the guests all dressed in their finery. Many of the male guests were high-ranking officers, who would soon be fighting at Waterloo (see full list below). Wellington himself arrived late to the festivities, having heard that the French had crossed the border in Belgium, and had already issued orders to his troops to prepare to move when the direction of Napoleon’s main attack became clear. Wellington was therefore distracted, and regularly speaking with his officers about arrangements during the festivities.

Later that night, a dispatch arrived from Quatre Bras to the Prince of Orange. The message was dated to 10pm that evening, and announced the repulse of Prussian forces from Fleurus on the road north-east of Chaleroi – less than 8 miles (as the crow flies) from Quatre Bras.

Intelligence of the Battle of Ligny (1818) by William Heath, depicting a Prussian officer informing the Duke of Wellington that the French have crossed the border at Charleroi and that the Prussians would concentrate their army at Ligny.

Intelligence of the Battle of Ligny (1818) by William Heath, depicting a Prussian officer informing the Duke of Wellington that the French have crossed the border at Charleroi and that the Prussians would concentrate their army at Ligny.

Wellington immediately asked the Duke whether he had a good map available, and they retired to his dressing room. Here Wellington supposedly uttered the now famous lines:

‘Napoleon has humbugged me, by God…. I have made arrangements to meet him at Quatre Bras, and if I find myself not strong enough to stop him there, I shall fall back towards Blücher and fight him there.’ – The Duke of Wellington

The illusion of the ball was then shattered. Officers were rushing hither and thither preparing themselves and their troops to depart at 3am. The women were worried and tense, some of whom were saying goodbye to loved ones for the last time. The theatrical drama of the scene has been captured in many works of classical 19th century art, including those below.

The Black Brunswicker by Millais.

The Black Brunswicker by Millais.

Before Waterloo (1868), by Henry O'Neil, depicting officers departing from the Duchess of Richmond's ball

Before Waterloo (1868), by Henry O’Neil, depicting officers departing from the Duchess of Richmond’s ball

Summoned to Waterloo: Brussels, dawn of June 16, 1815 by Robert Alexander Hillingford.

Summoned to Waterloo: Brussels, dawn of June 16, 1815 by Robert Alexander Hillingford.

Below is the guest list to the ball, given to Lord Verulam by the Duchess of Richmond, who sent a copy to Georgina, Dowager Lady De Ross, daughter of the Charlotte Duchess of Richmond. This was then published by her in: “Personal Recollections of the Duke of Wellington” Murray’s Magazine, Part I 1889.

There were approximately 223 people invited and it is thought around 200 attended. Highlighted here are those guests who were either killed or wounded at the battle of Waterloo, only three days later.

  • Major- General the Prince of Orange (Commander I Corps)   Wounded
  • Prince Frederic of Orange
  • Duke of Brunswick Dead
  • Prince of Nassau
  • Duke d’Arenberg
  • Prince Auguste d’Arenberg
  • Prince Pierre d’Arenberg
  • Lord van der Linden d’Hoogvoorst, Mayor of Brussels
  • Duke and Duchess de Beaufort and their daughter
  • Duke and Duchess d’Ursel
  • Marquis and Marchioness d’Assche
  • Count and Countess d’Oultremont
  • Countess Douairiere d’Oultremont and the Misses Douairiere
  • Count and Countess Liedekerke Beaufort
  • Count and Countess Auguste Liedekerke et Mademoiselle
  • Count and Countess Latour Lupin
  • Count and Countess Marcy d’Argenteau
  • Count and Countess de Grasiac
  • Countess de Luiny
  • Countess de Ruilly
  • Baron and Baroness D’Hooghvoorst,
  • Miss D’Hooghvoorst and Mr C. D’Hooghvoorst
  • Monsieur and Madame Van der Capellan
  • Baron de Herelt
  • Baron de Tuybe
  • Baron Brockhausen
  • General Baron Vincent, Austrian envoy Wounded
  • General Pozzo di Borgo, Russian envoy Wounded
  • General Alava, Spanish envoy
  • Count de Belgade
  • Count de la Rochefoucauld
  • General D’Oudenarde
  • Colonel Knife (?), A.D.C.
  • Colonel Ducayler
  • Major Ronnchenberg, A.D.C.
  • Colonel Tripp, A.D.C.
  • Captain De Lubeck, A.D.C.
  • Earl and Countess Conyngham and Lady Elizabeth Conyngham
  • Viscount Mount-Charles and Hon. Mr. Conyngham
  • Countess Mount-Norris and Lady Julianna Annesley
  • Dowager Countess of Waldegrave
  • Duke of Wellington (Commander Anglo-Allied Army)
  • Lt.Col. Lord (and Lady Fitzroy Somerset)  Wounded
  • Lord and Lady John Somerset
  • Mr. and Lady Frances Webster
  • Mr and Lady Caroline Capel and Miss Capel
  • Lord and Lady George Seymour and Miss Seymour
  • Mr. and Lady Charlotte Greville
  • Viscountess Hawarden
  • Lieutenant –General  Sir Henry and Lady Susan Clinton
  • Lady Alvanley and the Miss Ardens
  • Sir James, Lady James, and Miss Craufurd
  • Sir George Berkeley, K.C.B., and Lady Berkeley
  • Lady and Miss Sutton
  • Sir Sidney and Lady Smith, and Miss Rumbolds
  • Sir William and Lady Johnstone
  • Sir Hew and Lady Delancey (invited but declined)
  • Hon. Mrs. Pole
  • Mr., Mrs., and Miss Lance, and Mr. Lance, Jun.
  • Mr. and the Misses Ord
  • Mr. and Mrs. Greathed
  • Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd
  • Hon Sir Charles Stuart, G.C.B. (Minister at Bruxelles) and Mr. Stuart
  • Liutenant-General Earl of Uxbridge (Commander Cavalry Corps) Wounded
  • Lt.Col. Earl of Portarlington (23rd Light Dragoons)
  • Capt. Earl of March (52nd Foot) A.D.C.
  • Major-General Lord Edward Somerset  Wounded
  • Capt. Lord Charles Fitzroy (1st Foot Guards)
  • Lt.Col. Lord Robert Manners (10th Hussars)  Wounded
  • Lieutenant-General Lord Hill (Commanding II Corps)
  • Lord Rendlesham
  • Ensign Lord Hay, A.D.C.  Killed
  • Lt. Col. Lord Saltoun
  • Lord Apsley
  • Hon. Col. Stanhope (Guards)
  • Hon. Col. Abercromby (Guards) Wounded
  • Hon. Colonel Ponsonby Wounded
  • Hon Colonel Acheson (Guards)
  • Maj. Hon. Colonel Stewart                                                                             Wounded
  • Capt. Hon. Mr. O. Bridgeman, A.D.C. Wounded
  • Hon. Mr. Percival
  • Ensign Hon. Mr. Wm. Stopford
  • Hon. Mr. John Gordon
  • Ensign Hon. Mr. Ern. A.  Edgecombe
  • Ensign Hon. Mr. Seymour Bathurst, A.D.C.
  • Ensign Hon. Mr. Forbes
  • Ensign Hon. Mr. Hastings Forbes  Killed
  • Major Hon. George Dawson                                                                           Wounded
  • Lt. Hon. Mr. Lionel Dawson, 18th Light Dragoons
  • Major-General Sir Hussey Vivian
  • Capt. Horace B Seymour, A.D.C. Wounded
  • Colonel Hervey, A.D.C.
  • Colonel Fremantle, A.D.C.
  • Lt. Lord George Lennox, A.D.C.
  • Capt. Lord Arthur Hill, A.D.C.
  • Major Percy, A.D.C
  • Lt. Hon. George Cathcart, A.D.C.
  • Lt. Col. Sir Alexander Gordon, A.D.C. Killed
  • Col. Sir Colin Campbell, K.C.B., A.D.C.
  • Major-General  Sir John Byng, G.C.B.
  • Lieutenant-General Sir John Elley, K.C.B Wounded
  • Lt. Col. Sir George Scovell, K.C.B.
  • Col. Sir George Wood, Royal Artillery
  • Lt.Col. Sir Henry Bradford                                                                              Wounded
  • Lt.Col. Sir Robert C Hill, Kt (brother of Lord Hill) Wounded
  • Lt.Col. Sir Noel Hill, K.C.B. (brother of Lord Hill)
  • Sir William Ponsonby, K.C.B Killed
  • Lt.Col. Sir Andrew Barnard Wounded
  • Major-General Sir Denis Packe, G.C.B  Wounded
  • Major-General Sir James Kempt, G.C.B
  • Sir Pulteney Malcolm RN
  • Lieutenant-General  Sir Thomas Picton Killed
  • Major-General Sir Edward Barnes, Adjutant-General Wounded
  • Sir James Gambier
  • Hon. General Dundas
  • Lieutenant-General G Cooke Wounded
  • Major-General P Maitland
  • Major-General Adam (Not present)
  • Colonel Washington
  • Colonel Alexander Woodford
  • Colonel Charles Rowan (52nd Foot)  Wounded
  • Lt. Col. Henry Wyndham (Coldstream Guards)  Wounded
  • Colonel Cumming, 18th Light Dragoons
  • Lt. Col. Edward Bowater (3rd Foot Guards) Wounded
  • Col. Robert Torrens (1st West Indies Regt.)
  • Lt.Col. William Fuller (1st  Dragoon Guards) Killed
  • Maj. Henry Dick, (42nd  Foot) Wounded
  • Col. J Cameron (92nd  Foot) Killed
  • Lt.Col. D  Barclay, (1st foot Guards) A.D.C.
  • Capt. Clement Hill (1st Foot Guards) Wounded
  • Major Gunthorpe, (1st Foot Guards) A.D.C.
  • Major CH Churchill (1st foot Guards) A.D.C.
  • Major Hamilton, (4th West Indies Regt.) A.D.C.
  • Major T N Harris Wounded
  • Major Thomas Hunter Blair (91st Foot) Wounded
  • Capt.  D Mackworth, (7th Foot) A.D.C.
  • Capt. Edward Keane, (7th Hussars) A.D.C.
  • Capt. C A FitzRoy (Royal Horse Guards)
  • Capt. T Wildman, (7th Hussars) Wounded   
  • Capt. John Fraser (7th Hussars) Wounded
  • Capt. William Verner  (7th Hussars) Wounded
  • Capt. Elphinstone, (7th Hussars) (taken prisoner, June 17)
  • Capt. H Webster (9th Light Dragoons)
  • Capt. H Somerset, (18th Hussars) A.D.C.
  • Capt. C Yorke (52nd Foot) A.D.C. (not present)
  • Capt. Hon George Gore, (85th Foot) A.D.C.
  • Capt. Pakenham, R.A.
  • Capt. H Dumaresq (9th Foot) A.D.C. Wounded
  • Capt. F Dawkins (1st Foot Guards) A.D.C.
  • Capt.  G Disbrowe (1st Foot Guards) A.D.C.
  • Capt. G Bowles, (Coldstream Guards)
  • Capt. R B Hesketh, (3rd Foot Guards) Wounded
  • Capt. J Gurwood (10th Hussars)  Wounded
  • Capt. C Allix, (1st Foot Guards)
  • Capt. Hon Francis Russell, A.D.C.
  • Lt. F Brooke, (1st  Dragoon Guards)  Killed  
  • Cornet W Huntley, 1st Dragoon Guards)
  • Mr. Lionel Hervey (In Diplomacy)
  • Mr. Leigh
  • Capt. A Shakespear (10th Hussars)
  • Mr. Standish O’Grady (7th Hussars)
  • Capt. C Smyth, (95th Rifles) A.D.C. Killed
  • Ensign G  Fludyer, (1st Foot Guards) Wounded
  • Ensign Hon. John Montagu (Coldstream Guards) Wounded
  • Ensign Hon. Henry Montagu (3rd Foot Guards)
  • Ensign Algernon Greville (1st Foot Guards)
  • Ensign David Baird (3rd Foot Guards) Wounded
  • Lt. James Robinson (32nd Foot) Wounded
  • Ensign William James (3rd Foot Guards)
  • Mr. Chad
  • Lt. A F Dawkins (15th Hussars) Wounded
  • Dr. Hyde
  • 2nd Lt. Gustavus Hume (Royal Artillery)
  • Rev. Mr. Brixall (Rev. Samuel Briscall)

William Siborne: Model Maker and Historian

William Siborne has played a major role in our understanding of the battle of Waterloo , and has left a lasting legacy of his work in the form of two large models, a collection of letters containing the eyewitness accounts of Waterloo veterans, and a History of the War in France and Belgium in 1815 that has remained in print for almost 170 years. But Siborne’s skills as a model maker are largely unappreciated, and his work as a historian is clouded by controversy.

1. William Siborne

William Siborne © Peter Hofschroer

Siborne the Model Maker

How Siborne developed his interest in model making is not known. It may relate to his time as a Gentleman Cadet at the Royal Military College, or his service with the Army of Occupation in Paris after the war. But when the idea was put forward in 1830 of constructing a model of the battle of Waterloo to form the centrepiece of the new United Services Museum, he was in an ideal position to undertake the project. He had recently constructed a model of the battlefield of Borodino, and had published A Practical Treatise on Topographical Surveying and Drawing, to which he had appended some Instructions on Topographical Modelling. As a result he was invited by Sir Rowland Hill, General Commanding in Chief of the British Army, to make the model. Siborne immediately took leave from his job as Assistant Military Secretary to the Commander in Chief in Ireland, and spent the next eight months at the farm of La Haye Sainte surveying the battlefield with the aid of a plane table and alidade (such as used below).

 .©.RCAHMS

The site had already been damaged by the construction of the Lion Mound, commemorating the location where William Prince of Orange (the future William II) was wounded, and so Siborne had to recreate part of the battlefield using an earlier plan by the Dutch surveyor Craan and the knowledge of the local farmers. The detailed plans that Siborne produced unfortunately do not survive, and the only hint that remains is a small-scale black and white engraving that was published by his son in 1891.

When the survey was completed Siborne returned to Dublin and set about making his model. After working out an appropriate scale of nine feet to the mile, he calculated the size of the base, and divided it into a number of sections to make it easier to construct and to transport. He then transferred the details of his plan to each section, and used this information to sculpt a clay pattern. When the pattern was finished he created a mould, from which he made a plaster cast. He then added the fine detail – the roads, hedges, trees, crops and buildings – before the 10mm high lead figures were fixed in place. When completed the model measured 21 feet 4 inches by 19 feet 9 inches, and was populated by 80,000 figures, representing the 160,000 Allied, French and Prussian troops.

Siborne had entered into the construction of the model in good faith without any form of written agreement, and when his official funding was suddenly withdrawn, either as a result of the Treasury’s realisation that the cost (£3000) was much more than they had anticipated, or because the new Whig adminstration was not inclined to support a project celebrating the senior figure in the Tory party, he was forced to continue the project at his own expense.

The Model illustrating the Crisis of the Battle, when Napoleon launched the Imperial Guard in a last desperate gamble to gain victory, finally went on display at the Egyptian Hall off Piccadilly in 1838 to popular acclaim, with over over 100,000 people visiting the exhibition. Only one major criticism was raised, that it over represented the contribution of the Prussians in the final victory, and in the end Siborne rectified the ‘error’ by removing almost 20,000 figures.

The Large Model © National Army Museum

The Large Model © National Army Museum

Despite the success of the exhibition Siborne’s financial position remained precarious. His hopes that the Government would purchase the model remained frustrated, and his attempts to sell it were unsuccessful. He was finally able to raise sufficient funds to pay off his creditors, when to everyone’s surprise he announced an even more ambitious project to construct a series of smaller models showing critical moments in the battle.

The first of the smaller dioramas showing the charge of the British heavy cavalry under the Earl of Uxbridge at about 1.30 pm was the culmination of all Siborne’s skill, knowledge and experience as a model maker. He had long realised that because models were viewed from above, the choice of scale was critical to give the correct visual impression of the ground. He therefore chose to adopt for the New Model a horizontal scale of 15 feet to 1 inch (giving an overall base size of 18 feet 7 inches long by 7 feet 9 inches wide), and a vertical scale of 6 feet to 1 inch in order to best illustrate the undulating nature of the terrain. The result is a splendid impression of the battlefield that illustrates not only the ridge of Mont St. Jean, but the major features such as the the sunken road, the sand pit, the farm of La Haie Sainte, and the re-entrant.

No. 3, Panoramic Shot of the Royal Armouries museum Siborne model. © Royal Armouries

No. 3, Panoramic Shot of the Royal Armouries museum Siborne model. © Royal Armouries

Siborne made an equally careful choice of figure scale. He wanted to show the tactical formations used by the opposing forces at the exact moment of the charge, the two ranks of the British infantry standing in line, the nine ranks of the French infantry advancing in column, and the broken formations of the cavalry and infantry in melee, flight or pursuit.

To do this he adopted the generous ratio of 1 figure to every 4 actual soldiers, and 1 model to every field gun or limber. All of the figures were to be hand painted in the correct uniform colours and facings. But Siborne also wanted to illustrate the action, and so he had each of the 20mm figures cast with separate heads, arms and weapons to allow individual infantryman and cavalryman to be given unique poses. The capture of the eagles of the 45th and 105th Regiments by Sergeant Ewart (Scots Greys) and Captain Clark (Royals), and other scenes were clearly indentifiable. Finally he had a number of special figures made to represent the Duke of Wellington, the Earl of Uxbridge, Sir Thomas Picton, and Count d’Erlon. The result is a dramatic interpretation of the charge of the Household and Union Cavalry Brigades, and the rout of the 1st Corps d’Armee.

No. 4. The New Model can be seen at the Royal Armouries museum. © Royal Armouries

No. 4. The New Model can be seen at the Royal Armouries museum. © Royal Armouries

The model was not perfect. There were some errors arising from Siborne’s flawed research, such as the transposition of the location of the 1st and 2nd Divisions of d’Erlon’s Corps, the misidentification of the French cavalry regiments, and the absence of Bijlandt’s Dutch-Belgian Brigade, as well as some inaccuracies in the uniforms and weapons. But Siborne’s intention was to produce a model that would enable ‘a closer insight not only into the disposition and movements of the troops engaged, but also into those minutae of detail which characterize the actual battle-field’, and in that he succeeded.

 

‘Scotland for Ever!’: the story behind Lady Elizabeth Butler’s iconic painting

Lady Elizabeth Southerden Butler (née Thompson) (died 1933) - National Portrait Gallery: NPG 5314

Lady Elizabeth Southerden Butler (née Thompson) (died 1933) – National Portrait Gallery: NPG 5314

Lady Butler was amongst the foremost battle painters of her time. Her earlier works on the Crimean War had already seen her win praise from the public, art critics and royalty. Butler always did her utmost to accurately render the details of her military subjects. Whenever possible she interviewed veterans and sourced genuine period equipment. This proved problematic when portraying the events of Waterloo, some 66 years earlier.

The Roll Call

‘The Roll Call’, Lady Elizabeth Butler – an archetypal picture of the Crimean War. Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2014

It is testimony to her diligence that only four small errors of uniform appear in her Waterloo work, as seen below: the addition of braided epaulettes on the lead officer, the inclusion of full-dress shabraques and regimental standard and the omission of the bearskins’ oil-skin covers.  However, Butler’s choice to inaccurately portray the horses at the gallop suggest that what could be read as errors were probably deliberate artistic choices to enhance the drama of the piece. Butler’s research also involved observing the Scots Greys on manoeuvres at Aldershot in 1879, twice having the regiment charge towards her to fully understand the effect she sought to capture.

LMG100000 Scotland For Ever! 1881 (oil on canvas) by Butler, Lady (Elizabeth Southerden Thompson) (1846-1933); 101.6x194.3 cm; Leeds Museums and Galleries (Leeds Art Gallery) U.K.; (add.info.: charge of the Royal Scots Greys at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815;); English.

Currently on display at the Royal Armouries: LMG100000 Scotland For Ever! 1881 (oil on canvas) by Butler, Lady (Elizabeth Southerden Thompson) (1846-1933); 101.6×194.3 cm; Leeds Museums and Galleries (Leeds Art Gallery) U.K.; ( charge of the Royal Scots Greys at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815) English. Bridgeman Images.

This research, dedication, and attention to detail, created the painting ‘Scotland for Ever!’ – capturing the moment just before the 2nd (Royal North British) Dragoons crashed into the column of the French 3rd Infantry Division. The combined charge of the 2,500 men of the Household and Union Brigades – the entirety of the British heavy cavalry – totally shattered the first French attack of the day.  General D’Erlon’s 1st Corps had been pushing back General Picton’s 5th Allied Division, until the British cavalry crested the rise and thundered into the unsuspecting French.  Eyewitnesses recorded that some of the 92nd (Gordon) Highlanders called out ‘Scotland for ever’ as the cavalry charged.

Although a great triumph in which two French Eagles were captured (one by Sergeant Ewart of the Greys), 15,000 infantry were dispersed and 3,000 prisoners taken, the charge did not end with the defeat of D’Erlon’s Corps and the supporting Cuirassiers.  Most of the British heavy cavalry regiments were inexperienced, with the Greys not having seen active service in 25 years.  Flushed by their initial success, the two brigades charged on to the French Grand Battery and overran the enemy artillery.  Disorganised, and on tired horses, the British fell prey to counter-attacking French Lancers and Cuirassiers as they belatedly tried to return to the Allied lines.  The Greys suffered particularly, unusually having more men killed than wounded, amongst them their four most senior officers. The two British brigades sustained almost 50% casualties, including their commander Major-General William Ponsonby who was killed by a lance thrust.  Although on balance a success, the impetuosity of the charge, so well captured by Butler, led to unnecessary causalities and robbed the Allies of an effective heavy cavalry reserve for the rest of the battle.

Below are two images of a Pattern 1796 Heavy Cavalry sword belonging to the 2nd (Royal North British) Dragoons (Scots Greys), which Lady Butler therefore incorporated into her work above. To find out more about the sword and it’s development, please click here.

DI 2014 3811

DI 2014 3812

DI 2014 3811 & DI 2014 3812: A heavily modified Pattern 1796 Heavy Cavalry Trooper’s sword with an acute spear point and with the inner guard ground down. The sword is marked to the 2nd (Royal North British) Dragoons (Scots Greys).’

To see this iconic painting alongside other key artefacts of Waterloo, be sure to visit the Royal Armouries museum’s ‘The Art of Battle’ temporary exhibition in Leeds. To find out more about the museum’s full events programme of commemoration, please visit our website.

Pattern 1796 Heavy Cavalry sword

The Pattern 1796 Heavy Cavalry sword is one of the most recognisable and, to the British at least, iconic swords of the Napoleonic period. The sword was used by all regiments of British heavy cavalry (Life Guards, Royal Horse Guards, Dragoon Guards and Dragoons) throughout the Peninsular War (1807-14) and during the Waterloo campaign.

Pattern 1796 Heavy Cavalry  Trooper’s sword and scabbard

Pattern 1796 Heavy Cavalry Trooper’s sword and scabbard © Royal Armouries

Although for ever associated with Waterloo due to the swords use in the massed charge of the British heavy cavalry of the Household and Union brigades, Pattern 1796 Heavy Cavalry sword was also used by other countries. As part of supporting allied nations warring against the French, Britain exported a huge amount of weapons to its allies over the course of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars. Amongst these were Pattern 1796 Heavy Cavalry swords, which were used by both Portuguese and Swedish cavalry against the French.

Scotland For Ever! 1881 (oil on canvas)

‘Scotland for Ever!’ by Lady Butler, with the 1796 Heavy Cavalry Sword pictured. The artwork is currently on loan to the Royal Armouries from Leeds Art Gallery.

Above you can see the 1796 Heavy Cavalry sword pictured in Lady Elizabeth Butler’s iconic ‘Scotland for Ever!’, which captures the charge of the Scot Greys. The painting currently features in the Royal Armouries’ Waterloo exhibition ‘The Art of Battle’, alongside other stunning arms, armour and art from the battlefield. To find out more about the painting and work of Lady Butler, please read more here.

Development

The Pattern 1796 Heavy Cavalry sword was adopted due to the failings of its predecessor, the 1788 pattern sword. This first sword was found by a Board of Cavalry General Officers “from long and repeated experience”, to be “unmanageable, owing to the length of the blade and the weight of the hilt”.

Heavy cavalry officer's sword, British, late 18th century (IX.606) © Royal Armouries

Heavy cavalry officer’s sword, British, late 18th century (IX.606) © Royal Armouries

The new heavy cavalry sword was adopted rather than developed in 1796, as unlike the light cavalry sword of the same year, it was not a new design. Whereas for the light cavalry the British cavalry officer John Gaspard Le Marchant had developed an entirely new sword, for the heavies he simply proposed an almost identical copy of the sword currently in Austrian service, the Dragoon Pallasch of 1769. This pallasch was a sword he had seen used to good effect by the Austrian cavalry during the Flanders campaign (1794-96). However it is likely that it was due to the Austrians’ high levels of training and superior levels of swordsmanship that the sword was used successfully, rather than due to the sword itself.

Use and Effect

A14.370 - Heavy cavalry sword (Model 1769 Heavy Cavalry Sword). Austrian, late 18th century (IX.1829) © Royal Armouries

A14.370 – Heavy cavalry sword (Model 1769 Heavy Cavalry Sword). Austrian, late 18th century (IX.1829) © Royal Armouries

Despite being a cutting sword, with a broad, single edged blade, the straight blade meant the sword was not optimised for cutting as it could not produce the slicing effect of a curved blade. Additionally the hatchet point made thrusting all but impossible. However, when compared with its predecessor, the 1788, the 1796 heavy cavalry sword was much better balanced and manoeuvrable, especially for the cutting based combat system that the British cavalry were taught.

Despite problems with its design, the sword could be used to fearsome effect, especially by the typically larger men employed as heavy cavalry. Both of the French eagles (Regimental standards) taken at Waterloo we secured by men wielding the 1796 Heavy Cavalry sword, however each used it in quite a different way.

Sergeant Ewart of the 2nd (Royal North British) Dragoons (Scots Greys) exclusively employed cuts, as prescribed in the training manual:

‘The officer who carried it [the eagle of the 45th Regiment of Line Infantry] and I had a short contest for it; he thrust for my groin, I parried it off and cut him through the head; in a short time after whilst contriving how to carry the eagle and follow my regiment I heard a lancer coming behind me; I wheeled round to face him and in the act of doing so he threw his lance at me which I threw off to my right with my sword and cut from the chin upwards through the teeth. …I was next attacked by a foot soldier who after firing at me, charged me with the bayonet; I parried it and cut him down through the head; this finished the contest for the eagle which I was ordered by General Ponsonby to carry to the rear.’

Despite his method, it is thought that Ewart carried one of the swords that had had its hatchet point converted into a spear point; a process that Private Smithies of the 1st (Royal) Dragoons describes as happening in the days before the battle.  Captain Clarke of the same regiment clearly had his sword so ground as he took the Eagle of the 105th Regiment of Line Infantry in the same charge by thrusting with the point: ‘On reaching it [the Eagle], I ran my sword into the Officer’s right side a little above the hip’.

A spear pointed Pattern 1796 Heavy Cavalry Trooper’s sword of the 1st (Royal) Dragoons.

A spear pointed Pattern 1796 Heavy Cavalry Trooper’s sword of the 1st (Royal) Dragoons. © Royal Armouries

Blades with  modified spear (left) and original hatchet point (right)

Blades with modified spear (left) and original hatchet point (right) © Royal Armouries

These spear pointed swords are shorter than the unmodified versions and also have slightly less mass for cutting.  Even without the hatchet point the sword did not have a blade profile, being broad and single edged, for good penetration. However, the option of being able to use the point, especially when facing armoured Cuirassiers as the British were for the first time at Waterloo, made the modified sword a more versatile weapon.

A spear pointed Pattern 1796 Heavy Cavalry Trooper’s sword of the 1st (Royal) Dragoons. The Royals were the regiment of British heavy cavalry which saw the most action during the Napoleonic Wars.  ‘D’ Troop, which this sword is marked to, was led by Captain Methuen at the Battle of Waterloo.  Captain Clark and Corporal Stiles of ‘G’ Troop took an Eagle from the French 105th  Regiment of Line Infantry during the charge of the Union Brigade.

A spear pointed Pattern 1796 Heavy Cavalry Trooper’s sword of the 1st (Royal) Dragoons. © Royal Armouries

Above: A spear pointed Pattern 1796 Heavy Cavalry Trooper’s sword of the 1st (Royal) Dragoons. The Royals were the regiment of British heavy cavalry which saw the most action during the Napoleonic Wars.

‘D’ Troop, which this sword is marked to, was led by Captain Methuen at the Battle of Waterloo. Captain Clark and Corporal Stiles of ‘G’ Troop took an Eagle from the French 105th  Regiment of Line Infantry during the charge of the Union Brigade.

Trooper  of the Royal Horse Guards with Pattern 1796 Heavy Cavalry sword. The Royal Horse Guards were one of seven British cavalry regiments to use the sword at Waterloo

© Royal Armouries. Trooper of the Royal Horse Guards with Pattern 1796 Heavy Cavalry sword. The Royal Horse Guards were one of seven British cavalry regiments to use the sword at Waterloo

Below are two images of the Pattern 1796 Heavy Cavalry Trooper’s  sword associated with Corporal of Horse (Sergeant) John Shaw of the 2nd Life Guards. Shaw was a renowned prize fighter and is thought to have personally slain several French Cuirassiers during the charge of the Household Brigade.

DI 2014-3795

DI 2014-3795

DI 2014-3797

 

Shaw in combat with French Cuirassiers at Waterloo

Shaw in combat with French Cuirassiers at Waterloo

Popular Culture:

Of course one the most famous users of the Pattern 1796 Heavy Cavalry sword is a character of fiction – and one that would not have been issued with this type of sword. Bernhard Cornwell’s Richard Sharpe, despite being an officer of the 95th Foot (Rifles), uses the sword throughout his adventures.  Cornwell has Sharpe carry the sword due to personal preference, with Sharpe favouring the  straight bladed heavy cavaly sword to the lighter, curved Pattern 1803 Flank Officer’s sword a Rifle officer would have more normally have carried.

R Sharpe