250th anniversary of the Duke of Wellington’s birth
To celebrate the 250th anniversary of the birth of the Duke of Wellington, the great victor at the Battle of Waterloo, the Waterloo Memorial 1815 will be giving pride of place to England and the Allied troops. British riflemen, members of the 7th Belgian Line Regiment and Gordon Highlanders will display their arms and uniforms to the visitors for the occasion.
A range of activities will be on offer all weekend.
You will be able to visit the soldiers’ encampment from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday at Hougoumont Farm.
Come and discover the costumes, equipment and duties of the regiments at the time when the Duke of Wellington commanded the Allied armies. An 1815 guide, accompanied by actors, will explain the ins and outs of the fighting around the fortified farm.
Throughout the weekend, new activities will be added to those offered by our teams, as close as possible to the Lion.
You can look forward to military manoeuvres, firearm demonstrations and animated sketches.
The Waterloo Memorial 1815 offers a lecture by Bruno Colson, a professor at the University of Namur, where he teaches the history of war and strategy.
Wellington, military leader
Arthur Wellesley, the future Duke of Wellington, was born in 1769, the same year as Napoleon. He remains one of the greatest figures in British military history. Recent research has revealed more about his youth, training and earliest campaigns, first in the Netherlands and then, more importantly, in India. He revealed his talents as a commanding general in the Spanish Peninsular War where he claimed several victories against the French marshals between 1808 and 1814, forcing them back as far as Toulouse. Constantly needing to negotiate with his Spanish and Portuguese allies, he also proved himself to be a consummate diplomat who never lost sight of Britain’s foreign policy objectives. Moreover, this led him to take part in the Congress of Vienna in February 1815.
Ordered to command the Army of the Netherlands when Napoleon returned from Elba, the Duke demonstrated an equal ability to command his troops alongside the Prussians under Field Marshal Blücher and to negotiate peace with France after Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo.
Saturday 18 May 2019
10:00: The commemoration will begin with English artillerymen firing the first cannon shot. This will be followed by the procession of troops to Hougoumont, where you will find their encampment.
11:30-12:00: The troops are ready for training and leave the farm again. Extensive military manoeuvres will be held at the foot of Lion’s Mound from 12 noon onwards.
Find out all about their weapons in educational workshops.
The programme will include infantry soldiers firing blanks, a cannon being fired and mounted skill at arms contests.
13:00-14:30: Come and find out how food was prepared at the time in the historic surroundings of the Hougoumont orchard. The troops look forward to welcoming you to spend a pleasant afternoon with them.
14:45: At Hougoumont Farm, the British Riflemen’s Regiment will display their equipment and run a scientific workshop about English military surgery in the Georgian era.
15:15: Watch the mounted troops leave for the Lion’s Mound. In the afternoon, our cavalry will frequently ride down the legendary Chemin des Vertes Bornes to meet you. To welcome them when they arrive at the Mound, the artillery will fire a cannon.
In parallel, the 7th Belgian Line Regiment will run a workshop about their history and uniform at the farm.
15:45: In the courtyard at Hougoumont Farm, soldiers of the 44th Regiment, the 92nd Regiment of Foot, the 7th Belgian Line Regiment and the Riflemen will assemble and demonstrate the handling of firearms.
17:00: From the farm, follow our platoons of re-enactors towards the Mound and join the singing and the Allies’ march.
At the foot of the Lion’s Mound, the artillery will be in action to welcome the other troops and visitors. Large-scale military manoeuvres will follow.
CLOSURE OF THE ENCAMPMENT AT THE FARM.
19:00: Get to the very heart of the British lines with music by the Clan Hye Pipe Band, Scottish musicians who participated in the Battle of Waterloo. This hour-long show will be concluded with explanations of the pieces of music famous around the world at the time of the battle.
20:00: You will have the chance to enjoy a pleasant evening meal with the re-enactors and musicians beneath the illuminated Lion. This meal will feature songs and stories told by the regiments present.
Sunday 19 May 2019
10:00: Most of the troops will assemble in the farm courtyard and progress to the Mound. A regiment will be present at the encampment to welcome you throughout the day.
13:30: Attend a majestic mounted skill at arms contest re-enacted by cavalrymen beside the Mound.
14:00: Attend our lecture at the Museum Hotel, organised in partnership with Bruno Colson, a professor at the University of Namur specialising in the First Empire. The lecture will be based on the figure of the Duke, and more specifically the subject of The Duke of Wellington: commanding general of the Allied armies. (Reservation recommended.)
15:00: Admire an infantry manoeuvre near the Lion.
15:30: The cavalrymen will tell you about their weapons and the history of the Allied cavalry at the time of Waterloo.
You are welcome to attend a lecture workshop on the English army in the Georgian era.
The other infantry troops will welcome you to join a conversation, sharing photographs and information. Throughout the afternoon, there will be troops present on the Chemin des Vertes Bornes route. You are welcome to take a ride there in our horse-drawn carriage.
At the same time, you can also enjoy our usual activities, which will be held at the foot of the Mound.
16:30: The weekend activities will be brought to a close with various military demonstrations, before the troops return to Hougoumont Farm for the last time.
CLOSURE OF THE ENCAMPMENT AT THE FARM.