The Times. Published June 22, 1815.

Standard

The Times, London, Thursday, June 22, 1815

After a lot of rifling through stacks of books and documents, my Grandad presented mewith his copy of the June 22, 1815 edition of the Times newspaper. An original copy at the price of 6d – the edges are faded and a little torn in parts, but the words are legible and the paper has been so well kept, that apart from the yellow staining, you could almost think it was a recently published paper.

The article inside comes from the London Gazette Extraordinary; ‘Honourable H. Percy arrived late last night with a dispatch from Field Marshal the Duke of Wellington’. Written at Waterloo on June 19th, the report from Wellington goes on to describe the advance of the French army and the British attempts to repulse ‘all the enemy’s attempts’ to gain their position. Wellington notes that the ‘Serene Highness the Duke of Brunswick…fell, fighting gallantly at the head of his troops’.

In great detail, the report states the movements of the French in relation to the British,

Wellington's Report

but Wellington assures that ‘the army never, upon any occasion, conducted itself better…there is no Officer nor description of troops that did not behave well’. Such praise from such a great man! And just think about the confidence, patriotism and morale it must have instilled in the public back home, who were anxiously waiting for any little bit of news.

Many great men are acknowledged throughout the report, and Wellington finally concludes that ‘I should not do justice to my feelings or to Marshal Blucher and the Prussian army, if I did not attribute the successful results of this arduous day, to the cordial and timely assistance I received from them’.

Following on this is a private correspondence report and an official bulletin which proudly announces ‘During the night, the Prussians under Marshal Blucher, who joined in the pusuit of the enemy, captured SIXTY GUNS, and a large part of Buonaparte’s BAGGAGE. The allied armies continue to pursue the enemy. Two French Generals were taken’.

The Killed and wounded.

But surely the most emotive and interesting section of the paper has to be the list of the British killed and wounded. The list is rather long, yet only mentions the generals, captains and lieutenants who did not survive the battle. That is bad enough, but there is no mention of the regular soldies – the normal men who did not live to fight another day. How many died? What happened to their bodies? When did the families find out? Were they just left on the battlefield or thrown unceremoniously into large open graves? I wonder if there were too many men to list – probably the men could not identified in the heat of war and had to be left to watch whilst their comrades continued on the fight. It reminds me greatly of all those stories I heard about the First World War in school. Despite the advances in technology and warfare tactics, the men didn’t change. They still fought gallantly. And they still fell in great numbers.

The rest of the paper is taken up with advertisements; ‘A young woman of respectable connections, to attend upon an elderly lady’ or ‘A substantial brick house, in excellent repair, in the occupation of Mr Hinge, at £25 per annum’. The adverts in themselves are extremely interesting (but maybe that’s for another post!)

Thanks Grandad for letting me see this absolute gem! Again, it’s the objects and physical documents that really do bring history to life.

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3 thoughts on “The Times. Published June 22, 1815.

  1. Dani

    And there was I, all impressed about Nan’s 1940s newspaper 😛

    Great post Gemma. Really interesting questions. I don’t think there was any kind of standard reporting of individual deaths, except as a note in service records and returns. As far as i am aware, it was not common practice to inform the relatives of the death or capture of men from the Other Ranks. Whether a family found out about their fate at all was largely down to whether a friendly NCO wrote to their own family and asked for messages to be passed along.

  2. Gemma, I couldn’t agree more with you about physical objects and visual stimuli bringing history to life. Another great post, and above all I’m really glad to see how your family has been getting stuck in with your research project. Nice one Grandad! But, on a serious note, make sure you do your bit and preserve some original documents of your own, to keep history going!
    As usual, fantastic work. Your Wikipedia page is also brilliant. You’ve covered lots of aspects of soldiering, and thanks to you we are getting a very clear and insightful picture of what it was like to be a soldier in the eighteenth century. Keep it up! Look forward to seeing how you are at our next UGRS gathering 🙂

  3. This Times dispatch, written by an exhausted Duke of Wellington, is a timely reminder of the great Allied victory on the field of Waterloo. Britain and her Allies were worn down by 22 years of war that had cost our country dearly – a national debt of around £52 billion and a larger loss of British lives, proportional to our population, than the cataclysm fought 100 years later. There will be many artefacts, articles, media productions and personal stories to be recalled, both this and next year – the bicentenary of the battle. Waterloo200 is the officially recognised body, which is engaging, networking and supporting all the events and celebrations in 2015. This will be a European commemoration, recalling immense national efforts and sacrifices. It marked a fresh resettlement of Europe and was followed by a period of relative peace from pan-European conflict, until the outbreak of World War One, one hundred years later. Useful information and learning material can be found on the Waterloo200 website – waterloo200.org

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