Vive L’Empereur: Cavalry (2): Carabiniers, Grenadiers à Cheval, and Mamelukes

After varnishing and basing the French Cuirassier figures in my collection of Del Prado pre-painted 25/28mm-scale Napoleonic figures, I began work on the second batch of French Cavalry.

These included Carabiniers, Grenadiers à Cheval, and Mamelukes. (Before anyone points out that the Mamelukes were not at Waterloo, I know. The figures were bought on eBay – along with the Grenadiers à Cheval – and were part of the range of pre-painted 25/28mm-scale Napoleonic figure that Del Prado sold for the Battle of Austerlitz. They were just too unusual and pretty NOT to buy!)

There are four bases of Carabiniers, two bases of Grenadiers à Cheval, and two bases of Mamelukes, each base having two figures.

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The New Waterloo Dispatch

It would appear that the ‘New Waterloo Dispatch’ is probably one of the least well-publicized events staged to mark the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo, and I suspect that I was not almost ignoring it completely. For those of you who also ‘missed’ it, here is some background information about the Dispatch.

The ‘New Waterloo Dispatch’ was an event organised and paid for by Waterloo 200, the National Army Museum, Culture 24, and the Heritage Lottery Fund to celebrate the bicentenary of the arrival of the original dispatch sent by Wellington to London after the Battle of Waterloo. Two re-enactors – dressed as Major Percy and Commander James White RN, who accompanied the original dispatch – travelled from Waterloo to London (and several other sites along the way) in a replica horse-drawn post chaise. They took with them a copy of the ‘New Waterloo Dispatch’ …

… and replicas of the two captured Imperial Eagles and Standards taken at Waterloo. The re-enactors then took part in ceremonies at the selected locations during which senior public figures and dignitaries were presented with the ‘New Waterloo Dispatch’.

The Dispatch’s itinerary was as follows:

  • Thursday, 18th June: Belgium: During the evening a formal ceremony was organized by the Belgian Government at the Wellington Museum, Waterloo, where the Duke of Wellington wrote his original dispatch. This marked the beginning of the Dispatch’s journey to the UK.
  • Friday, 19th June: Belgium: During the morning the ‘New Waterloo Dispatch’ was presented to the Mayor of the City of Brussels and other dignitaries. This took place at Royal Army Museum, Brussels. This ceremony was also attended by descendants of those who took part in the battle. During the afternoon the post chaise carried the Dispatch to the Governor’s Residence, Bruges, where it was presented to the Governor. The post chaise then took the Dispatch to Ostend, where it was greeted by the Sea Cadet TS Royalist. Later that evening the Dispatch was taken aboard HMS Northumberland, which conveyed it overnight to Broadstairs, Kent. The Royalist and Northumberland were accompanied across the Channel by boats of the East India Club Yacht Squadron.
  • Saturday, 20th June: Kent: During the morning a cutter from TS Royalist disembarked the Dispatch, the Eagles and Standards, and ‘Major Henry Percy’ and ‘Commander James White RN’ on the beach at Broadstairs. The ‘New Waterloo Dispatch’ was then presented to the Mayor of Broadstairs, after which the post chaise took the Dispatch to Canterbury, Kent, where it was presented to the Lord Lieutenant for Kent. This was followed by a special Waterloo Service at Canterbury Cathedral, after which the post chaise, the Dispatch, and ‘Major Henry Percy’ and ‘Commander James White RN’ left for London.
  • Sunday, 21st June: London: At 10.00am the post chaise departed from the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, after the Dispatch had been presented to the Mayor of the Borough of Royal Greenwich. The post chaise then travelled through South London, and crossed the River Thames at Tower Bridge. The Dispatch was then presented to the Governor of the Tower of London, after which is was escorted by members of the Honourable Artillery Company Light Cavalry to Guildhall Yard, where the ‘New Waterloo Dispatch’ was presented to The Lord Mayor of London. During the afternoon the post chaise re-crossed the River Thames at Waterloo Bridge, and then back again across the river at Westminster Bridge. On reaching Whitehall and Horse Guards it was joined by a mounted escort of the Household Cavalry and a number of historic coaches. The convoy then proceeded up The Mall and Constitution Hill until it reached Hyde Park Corner, where the Dispatch was presented to members of the Wellesley family. It then resumed its journey via Park Lane and Grosvenor Square, where the ‘New Waterloo Dispatch’ was presented to the Lord Mayor of Westminster and The Duke of Westminster. From there it went down Regent Street to Waterloo Place, where it was presented to the Mayoralty of London and a number of foreign Ambassadors. The convoy then travelled to St James’s Square, where the replica Eagles and Standards were laid at the feet of Princess Anne, the Princess Royal, on the steps of the East India Club. (The Club occupies the building where to original Waterloo Dispatch was presented to the Prince Regent.) The post chaise then joined the Waterloo Parade from Horse Guards Parade down The Mall. This parade included four European visiting bands (the Dutch Army Band, the Zurich Police Band, the Finnish Navy Band, and the French Artillery Band), several British military bands, and two hundred school children.
  • Saturday 27th June: Kent: During the day the post chaise, the Dispatch, and ‘Major Henry Percy’ and ‘Commander James White RN’ visited Faversham, Sittingbourne, and Rochester, where the ‘New Waterloo Dispatch’ was presented to local dignitaries.
  • Sunday 28th June: Kent: The post chaise, the Dispatch, and ‘Major Henry Percy’ and ‘Commander James White RN’ completed their epic journey when they presented the ‘New Waterloo Dispatch’ to The Lord Boyce, Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, at Walmer Castle.

We had hoped to see the ‘New Waterloo Dispatch’ whilst it was in Greenwich, but by the time we discovered what time it was leaving, we had missed it. We had already intended to visit Walmer Castle of Sunday, and we were very pleased when we discovered that the Dispatch was going to present there on Sunday afternoon.

The post chaise, the Dispatch, and ‘Major Henry Percy’ and ‘Commander James White RN’ arrived outside the entrance of Walmer Castle at 3.00pm …

… and ‘Major Henry Percy’ and ‘Commander James White RN’ climbed out.

They then presented the Dispatch to The Lord Boyce, after which they carried the Eagles and Standards into the Castle.

The post chaise then left …

… and the horses could finally look forward to a bit of a rest! (The horses were a pair of Gelderlanders, and they had shared the work of the previous week with another pair of horses.)


Some great days out

Sue and I have spent today on the coast of Kent visiting Walmer Castle and Deal Castle.

Both castles are managed by English Heritage, and over this weekend Walmer Castle was the venue for a number of special Regency events. These included a display by the 44th (East Essex) Regiment of Foot re-enactment group and a visit from the coach and messengers carrying the bicentenary Waterloo Dispatch. I hope to write a number of blog entries about what we saw during today’s visits.


Sue and I have also visited Igtham Mote, Kent, and St Georges’s Chapel (the former Woowich Garrison Church) recently, and I also intend to write blog entries about them as well … so watch this space!

I have been to … Armed Forces Day, Woolwich

This morning Sue and I paid a visit to the ‘Armed Forces Day’ that was held at Woolwich Barracks. (Technically it was the ‘Great Get Together and Armed Forces Day’ … but that sounds far too long a title for an event!)

The event was held on the playing fields that are to the south of the main barrack block in Woolwich. Sue and I parked in the car park off Ha Ha Road*, and entered the site via the southern entrance.

We walked anti-clockwise around the site, and were very impressed by the wide variety of stands and organisations that were represented. My particular attention was drawn to the vehicle and military displays, some of which are featured below.

The A.J.S & Matchless Owners Club
Matchless motorcycles were manufactured in Plumstead, London, between 1899 and 1966, and in 1938 Matchless and A.J.S. became part of Associated Motorcycles (AMC). It was therefore very appropriate that this club had staged both a static and an arena display at this event.

The Royal Anglian Regiment
Although currently stationed in Bulford, Wiltshire, the 1st Battalion of The Royal Anglian Regiment (The Vikings), mounted a static display at the event. This battalion recruits from Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex, and Cambridgeshire, and is currently a Light Role Infantry Battalion.

I managed to have quite a chat with a member of the unit about his recent tour of duty in Afghanistan, and it was interesting to hear that the good old M2 Browning 0.5-inch calibre Heavy Machine Gun (known in the British Army as the L1A1) is still performing sterling duty despite its age.

The Royal Horse Artillery
We missed the arena display by the RHA that took place during the early afternoon, but they did mount a small but very informative static display as well. This included a full-sized model horse used to demonstrate the harness and saddlery used by the RHA and one of the unit’s 13-pounder Field Guns.

Other displays
Amongst the other things that were on display were a Pinzgauer 716M truck, …

… a Ferret Scout Car, …

… and the Greenwich Concert Band. (The latter included several middle-aged men who I taught many years ago when they were pupils at Woolwich Polytechnic Boys School!)

Visiting this event was a great way to spend a Saturday morning, and if another is staged next year, we hope to go again.


* Ha Ha Road is so called because it has a ha-ha (i.e. a ditch – with a wall on its inner side below ground level – that forms a boundary to a park or garden without interrupting the view) running along one side of it.

COW2015 Programme

The printed programme for the thirty-fifth Conference of Wargamers was posted out to attendees earlier today, and should be with them early next week.

There is one item on the Wargame Developments Annual General meeting Agenda which is worth members of Wargame Developments giving some prior thought to. A proposal has been made by Martin Goddard that in future the matters covered by the AGM be dealt with by email as this would enable the time currently set aside for the AGM to be used for further sessions.

If you are a member of Wargame Developments and have something to say in response to this proposal, please don’t comment on this blog entry; bring your comments to the AGM … and if you are not able to attend the AGM, send them in an email to either myself or Tim Gow.


Fifth anniversary of Paddy Griffith’s death

Today is the fifth anniversary of the death of Paddy Griffith.

Paddy Griffith was the ‘father’ of Wargame Developments, and in just over two weeks time we will be holding the 35th COW (Conference of Wargamers) at Knuston Hall, Northamptonshire. COW came about as a direct result of Paddy organising the NEW DIRECTIONS IN WAR GAMING conference that took place at Moor Park College from 23rd to 25th May, 1980. At the end of that conference those present decided to set up an organisation that would ‘spread the philosophy of realistic wargaming through the hobby (“better realism and better game structures”) and … put like-minded ‘realistic’ wargamers in touch with each other, so that they can more easily exchange ideas and rules. … We will hold a conference similar to Moor Park, every year.

At the time quite a few people within the wargaming fraternity expected that Wargame Developments would last a few years before it fell apart or ceased to exist. The view was also expressed that the idea of having an annual Conference of Wargamers would never take off. They were wrong … and Wargame Developments and COW seem to be going from strength to strength.

Thank you Paddy, because without you it would never have happened!


Vive L’Empereur: Cavalry (1): Cuirassiers

After varnishing and basing the French Artillery figures in my collection of Del Prado pre-painted 25/28mm-scale Napoleonic figures, I began work on the French Cavalry.

The most numerous mounted figures in my collection are Cuirassiers, and so I started with them.

There are six bases of Cuirassiers, each base having two figures.