Monday 18 June 2018

1st Dragoons - Happy Waterloo Day!

Happy Waterloo Day!

Here are 90 men of the 1st (Royal) Dragoons, mostly of Methuen's No.7 or "D" Troop. I have hurried to get these finished in time for 18th June so there are tons of little errors and imperfections, mostly chips on the painted metal - I find metals 100% more troublesome than plastics - which I will need to go back and tidy up.

The 1st (Royal Dragoons) were the "English" part of the Union Brigade - the 2nd Dragoons being, of course, the Scots Greys, and the 6th (Inniskilling) Dragoons being predominantly Irish.

 The Regiment had a nominal strength of 444 but this would have meant a maximum of around 380 sabres on the field. These men formed 6 Troops which were then paired together to form 3 Squadrons. 96 men were killed or died of wounds. A further 69 men are known to have been wounded but records are incomplete and this number can probably be doubled.

The 1st Dragoons, or Royals, was the only regiment of the Union Brigade to have had recent experience of warfare. The Regiment had served in the Peninsula at Fuentes D'Onor, Vitoria and Toulouse and the majority of men at Waterloo had served in at least one of those battles.

The Regiment was on the right flank of the Brigade’s charge and became intermingled with the left flank of the Household Brigade (the 2nd Life Guards). The column at which they charged was under the command of Bourgois and consisted of the 105th Line (whose Eagle they captured) and the 28th Line.

The Regiment was overwhelmingly English – the ratio being 92% of English origin with the remainder mainly from Scotland and Wales. The men came from a broad range of counties but the most common were Lancashire -15%, Wiltshire -13% and Staffordshire (mostly Birmingham) -  11%.  Curiously, the five men from Shropshire – Corporal Williams and Privates Bevin, Clarke, James and Turton – were all killed .

There were few youths in the Regiment – the average age was 31 with 92% of the men being aged 25 or over. A large number of men had enlisted in 1804 and a similarly large number would be discharged in the year 1821 when the Regiment was reduced.

Here was see 10 men of Methuen's Troop - (front row, left to right) Private William Dance (killed), Private William Galliford (killed), Private Joseph Wadham - a veteran of Fuentes D'Onor, Vitoria and Toulose, promoted to Corporal after Waterloo, Private William Wiles - enlisted in 1799, from Thatcham, Berks, aged 37 at Waterloo, Private John Bilsborough - another Peninsula veteran, from Churchstone, Lancs. Lived to see the unveiling of Wellington monument in Manchester in 1856.

(back row, left to right) - Trumpeter John Webb - from Essex, enlisted in 1804. Survived Waterloo only to be Court Martialed two weeks later for unsoldierlike conduct in having in his possession a watch supposed stolen from Private John Rains.  He was sentenced to 200 lashes and received 197. Lieutenant Samuel Windowe (wounded) - promoted to Captain in 1822, Corporal William Tate (killed) - from Halifax, Private Joseph Townrow (killed) - from Suffolk, Private John Rains - from Yatton, Somerset.

Serjeant William Grant (in the front rank above) was from Westbury, Wiltshire and had enlisted in 1804. He saw action in the Peninsula and survived Waterloo, being discharged in 1821 aged 35. He lived to collect his MGS medal in 1848, with clasps for Fuentes D'Onor, Vitoria, and Toulouse.

These 90 figs are all old Perry Foundry, picked up bit by bit from Ebay over the last 20 years. I think my long campaign to persuade Alan and Michael Perry to do a box of plastic British heavy cavalry has been unsuccessful so I guess that, at the above rate, it will be another 20 years before I get to do the next 90 men of the Union Brigade!

Tuesday 8 May 2018

23rd Foot (Royal Welch Fusiliers)

Here are 90 men of the Royal Welch, part of a square of the whole regiment I have been working on.

The Royal Welsh Fusiliers was a battle-hardened regiment whose battle honours included Coruna, Martinique, Albuera, Badajoz, Salamanca, Vitoria, Pyrenees, Nivelle, Orthes and Toulouse. Amongst those men who lived to receive their MGS medals in 1848 claims for 10 or more clasps were not uncommon.

Despite their heritage, this “Welsh” regiment contained twice as many Englishmen as Welshmen. The known places of origin amount to as follows:
English   407
Welsh     190
Irish         62
Scots         5
Other         2

When Byng’s Guards moved forward to reinforce Hougoumont their place in the line was taken by the 23rd who formed square.  The regiment remained in this position all day sustaining repeated cavalry attack and one infantry advance.

Obscured from view here (his pike is just visable from the rear rank) is Serjeant Ingham, from Kenyon, Lancs who had enlisted in 1807 aged 23.  He served in the Peninsula and during the storming of Badajoz carried the wounded Major General Colville from the breach. So began a cycle of promotion and reduction (he was demoted to Private at least three times) which lasted over his 20 years service.

Here was can see Lieutenant Harry orders in the midst of the ranks. He was born circa 1793, the son of a reverend in County Longford and commissioned in 1808. Upon quitting the army in 1819 he followed his father, and grandfather, into the church.  He was posted as a chaplain to the colony in Freetown, in Sierra Leone where he soon died aged 30 leaving a young widow.

In the foreground the wounded man is Private James Brockley, from Manchester, who served 26 years in the Regiment.  By Waterloo he was a veteran of six Peninsula battles and had been wounded in the shoulder at Badajoz. At Waterloo he was wounded again, this time in the leg, but continued to served until 1836.  His conduct on discharge was listed as “excellent”.  He never married and, in 1861, became an In-Pensioner at Chelsea.

Tuesday 1 May 2018

71st Highland Light Infantry

Here are 2 companies of the 71st (Highland) Regiment of Foot, part of Adam's Light Brigade at Waterloo. Spared Quatre Bras, the Brigade were fresh at Waterloo and, along with the 52nd and 95th, an extremely experienced veteran unit.

The 71st had been fighting Napoleon at Rolica in 1808 and since then had seen action at Vimeiro, throughout the Coruna campaign, Fuentes D'Onor, Vitoria, the Pyrenees, Nive, Nivelle, Orthes, and Toulouse. At Waterloo they had a nominal role of 841 (of whom around 760 would probably have been in the field). I have therefore gone with companies of 60 other ranks plus officers, serjeants and buglers. 

Although their record of service was one of the finest in the British Army, and their behaviour at Waterloo in general superb, it would seem that the long years of fighting had taken their toll and many of the men were at breaking point.  After years of hard fighting and terrible hardship in the Peninsula to be asked to continue in some new theatre of war without respite was asking too much of some men. One soldier had written of his feelings upon returning from Spain only to be boarded on a ship to America, “I wanted but a few months to be free. I sought my discharge, but was refused. I was almost tempted to desert. I lamented my becoming a soldier” Such sentiments cannot have been unusual.  In the occupation of Paris following Waterloo 12 men who had fought at Waterloo deserted.

Despite the title “Highland” this regiment was not “Scottish” in the way of the 42nd, 79th or 92nd; the 71st had abandoned the kilt for trousers and the bonnet for the shako, albeit adorned with a tartan band.  Furthermore, the proportion of Scotsmen was not so great, the proportion being:

Scottish 59%
Irish        34%
English    6%

"Highland" was also pretty unrepresentative of most of the Scotsmen in the battalion, the majority of whom were from Glasgow or Edinburgh.

So, 120 down, another 640 to go. 

p.s. I've recently been very distracted by the lovely new Perry brothers Chasseurs a Cheval. I've now got lots of spare pre-1812 torsos and hungarian boot legs. If anybody has spare 1815 torsos and overall legs please get in touch ( and we can swap!

Friday 9 March 2018

3rd Foot Guards - Hougoumont defenders

Now traditional apologies for tardiness in posting updates,  I will skip the boring excuses and just post some pics of a few men of Bowater's Company, 3rd Foot Guards. I haven't based them because the plan is for them to (one day!) be placed inside Hougoumont, skirmishing in the orchard etc.

Captain Edward Bowater (seen here at the front) was born in 1787, the only son of Admiral Bowater.  He joined the 3rd Guards in 1804 and served in the Peninsula where he was wounded at Talavera.  He was wounded at Waterloo and for these wounds later received £284-15-6.  He was afterwards a Groom-in-Waiting to Queen Victoria and a Colonel-in-Chief of the 49th (Hertfordshire) Foot. In 1861 he was sent, with Lady Bowater, to accompany the ailing Prince Leopold for a winter in the south of France but died at Cannes.

Behind Bowater we see Private George Osborne scrounging some ammo from Private Jarvis Kent. Kent was killed during the defence of Hougoumont. Captain Bowater was tended, whilst still inside Hougoumont, by the wife of Osbourne who was accompanying her husband on campaign. She attended many of the wounded officers and men, tearing up her spare clothes to make bandages, until she herself was wounded, being hit by a musket ball in the left arm and breast.  In view of her bravery and assistance at Hougoumont,  Bowater saw to it that she was granted a form of pension , known as “the Queen’s bounty”, until her death.

I realise now that I've missed a few buttons etc. So will have to go and tidy these up! It never ends!

Furthest right is Corporal William Dorward, one of the few non-Englishmen in the Company - he was from Monilkiee, Angus. He had enlisted in 1813 and was aged 26 at Waterloo.

More to follow soon.

Monday 1 January 2018

Happy New Year from the 71st Highland Light Infantry

Sorry, it's been a long time - have been very busy with new home etc. Lots of painting done but unfortunately all with a roller and very little with a brush. But Christmas has been a nice break from all the D.I.Y and I'm currently working on a couple of companies of the 71st Foot. Plenty to still be done on these guys, but I'm happy with the progress.

With some old leftover bits of chipboard I built myself a new painting station. This has gone down well with Lady Hill who previously could get quite riled about losing all of the kitchen table to my "painting stuff". This box can be quickly cleared away when necessary (which, to be honest, is hardly ever). Perhaps more useful is that it keeps me on task - I used to get easily sidetracked and start painting any other units lying sprawled around, but now I have to focus just on the few figs I can fit onto the painting station.

Anyway, I'm still here, still alive, still working on the project, and will try and post some pics soon - hopefully of these 71st chaps finished and based. Thanks for looking and Happy New Year to you!