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Royal Armouries Museum

Waterloo study day

In partnership with The Waterloo Association
14th September - 10:00 am - 4:30 pm

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Draft programme

Timings maybe subject to change.The Waterloo Association 1815

10.00 am


10.15 am – 11.15 am

The local militia: Trials and tribulations


John Morewood


Perhaps up to 25% of the British male population served in the army, navy and various military associations during the Napoleonic Wars. John Morewood will look at how and why the various bodies such as the Militia, the Volunteers and the Local Militia were formed. In 1809-1810 there were a number of mutinies in various Local Militia regiments particularly in Bath, Ely and St Albans. Using original research on the mutiny in St Albans we will look at how poor officer leadership exacerbated the situation whilst elsewhere good leadership mitigated or prevented mutinies. We will also look at how the punishments meted out in Ely and St Albans led to the start of a major debate in Parliament on flogging in the armed services.

11.15 am – 11.35 am

Coffee break

11.35 am – 12.35 am

Bernadotte: King of Sweden and Marshal of the French Empire


Julian Spilsbury

Marshal Bernadotte – the betrayer, the turncoat, the traitor! Reviled to this day in France, and very often in Britain and the USA and yet revered in Sweden as a wise and far-seeing monarch. Julian Spilsbury looks at the life and career of this controversial and enigmatic figure – arguably the most successful of Napoleon`s Marshals – the founder of a dynasty which still exists today.

12.35 pm – 1.35 pm


1.35 pm – 2.35 pm

The lines of Torres Vedras


Mark Thompson

In 1809 Wellington started the construction of defences north of Lisbon to secure his army against the French invasion expected in 1810. Dr Mark Thompson examines these defences which foiled the attack by Marshal Massena who was forced to retreat after having suffered significant losses in front of the Lines. For the next four years, the Lines gave Wellington a secure base which was always ready to ready if needed. Over 150 separate forts were built with supporting defences and over 100 still exist.

2.40 pm – 3.15 pm

The Siborne Model: Pte Thomas Nicholson 1st (King’s Own) Dragoon Guards


Paul Brunyee

Somewhere, in the centre of the smaller Siborne Waterloo model is a representation of Thomas Nicholson, a young private soldier who fought throughout that day. Though badly wounded he survived and prospered, both in the army and out. Today he lies at rest in the old cemetery in York opposite the public house, still in use today, where he had been the publican. Paul Brunyee will tell his story.