Current Events, Special Days and Historic Anniversaries Brought to Life by Teddy Bears, Pandas and Other Cuddly Creatures
Monthly Archives: June 2015

NAPOLEON MEETS HIS WATERLOO

by Elspeth

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On 18th June 1815, 200 days ago today, the British and Prussian armies, led by the Duke of Wellington and Marshal Blücher, defeated Napoleon Bonaparte’s French troops at the Battle of Waterloo, regarded by many as the most important battle in the history of the British army.

The Royal Scots Greys played a crucial role in the victory, and it was Sergeant Charles Ewart from Kilmarnock who would ultimately capture the French Imperial Eagle standard of Napoleon’s 45th Regiment, known as The Invincibles.   

Casualties on both sides were heavy: Wellington had 15,000 dead and wounded, Blücher 6,000 and Napoleon perhaps 40,000.  It was the end for the emperor who would shortly be exiled to the island of St Helena from where there would be no escape.  The battle of Waterloo brought his dreams to an end, but with all of Europe against him, even victory could not have ensured ultimate success for Napoleon.

Instead of talking trumphantly about his victory, The Duke of Wellington acknowledged the number of lives lost on both sides when he famously said, ‘Nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won.’

To mark such an important moment in history, I knew the Bears had to do something really special and they’ve definitely achieved that.  For once, only two bears, both mounted on their magnificent steeds, appear in the Waterloo anniversary window – a ready made Napoleon from Les Invalides and a Duke of Wellington dressed in homemade hat and cape, brilliantly designed by my husband.  Jim also lent the Bears some of his collection of Napoleonic soldiers to provide some additional atmosphere to the scene, set against a background portraying the battle with the Imperial Eagle prominently displayed, which looks so realistic that you could almost be there!

If there’s one moment in history – other than the defeat of Hitler – that every citizen of Europe should be encouraged to commemorate, it’s the day the Battle of Waterloo decided the shape of our continent for a hundred years. 


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