Public invited to participate in new project aiming to preserve memories of the veterans of Waterloo
The public are being asked to help preserve the history of the British army in a new project by the National Army Museum aiming to transcribe and tag images in a unique online archive.
© Myrabella / Wikimedia Commons
The newly-digitised records are being uploaded to a new crowd-sourcing platform, Heritage Helpers, as part of the museum's Waterloo Lives: In Their Own Words project to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo on June 18.
“The Battle of Waterloo is one of the most important events in European History and it’s waiting to be discovered through this new archive,” says Janice Murray, the museum’s Director General.
© National Army Museum
“We’re dedicated to preserving the history and heritage of the British Army and telling its soldiers’ stories, but we need the public’s help to unearth more details and help us explore this Waterloo treasure trove."
The collection includes soldiers’ and officers’ personal journals, correspondence and poetry, as well as regimental order books, casualty lists, gallantry awards, reconnaissance reports and maps.
© National Army Museum
While most of the documents are in English, some contain French and Dutch.
At least one is written in Scots Gaelic.
The project is part of the museum's larger Waterloo Lives programme, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The decisive battle took place on June 18 1815, when combined British and Prussian forces, under the command of the Duke of Wellington, halted the advance of the French army in Belgium.
Outnumbered, Napoleon knew that his only chance was to attack Wellington's forces before they were able to unite with the Seventh Coalition in a co-ordinated invasion of France.
Wellington later remarked that the battle was “a damn close-run thing,”.
© Private collection. Photo: National Army Museum
He added: “I don't think it would have been done if I had not been there.”
Waterloo claimed the lives of 65,000 of the 200,000 men who fought that day; it saw the defeat of Napoleon and the end of the First French Empire, leading to almost half a century of peace in Europe up to the Crimean War.
© Royal Collection / Queen Elizabeth II
For more information visit heritagehelpers.co.uk.