2015 is the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo, fought on 18 June 1815. Having discovered a reference to the New Zealand obituary of one Waterloo veteran, Robert ROYCROFT on The Treasury website, I decided to find out if any other veterans of the battle ended their lives in New Zealand, where the claimant was during the battle and what they might have experienced.
A search of PapersPast found death notices for thirteen purported veterans, seven from the United Kingdom, one Frenchman and one Austrian. Two of the first group were also veterans of Wellington’s Peninsula Campaign (1807-1814). They appear here ordered by their year of death.
Almost every surviving British soldier who fought at the ‘precursor’ maneuvering battles of Ligny and Quatre Bras on 16 June 1815, or the Battle of Waterloo two days later, received England’s first campaign medal, the Waterloo Medal. With more than 39,000 medals awarded, the medal roll is in essence a roll call of Wellington’s Army.
A note of explanation. A Regiment in the British army was an administrative body, not a tactical fighting unit: this was a Regiment’s battalion comprising about 600 officers and men. A British regiment might have one, two or more battalions, reflected here as '1/95th' for 1st Battalion, 95th Rifles or '2/59th' for 2nd Battalion, 59th Regiment of Foot.
Waterloo is almost unique in the period of Napoloeonic warfare as it involved three armies, not two. Following a cold night of torrential rain, the armies of Wellington and Napoleon, comprising 200,000 infantry, cavalry and artillery, spent the afternoon and evening fighting in an area of six square kilometres across a shallow valley, with casualties of 54,000 dead and wounded. Wellington’s strategy, in partnership with the Prussian general, Blucher, was to hold off the French until Blucher could arrive from the east with his army. Napoleon’s strategy was to defeat the Allies and the Prussians separately.
Wellington, a master of defence, chose to defend a low ridge running east-west, with both the farmhouse of La Haie Sainte, situated in front of the ridge, and the chateau of Hougoumont, on the far left of his line, defended by large garrisons. The battle began about 11.30 a.m. with an unsuccessful attack on the well-defended chateau of Hougoumont, which became a battle within a battle and lasted into the evening. Shown here are four maps showing stages of the Battle of Waterloo throughout the day of the 18th June, together with illustrations to best portray the harsh realities of Napoleonic warfare. The source of these images is the website BritishBattles.com
The next phase was the attack at about 1.30pm by the four infantry divisions of Count D’Erlon’s Corps, down the shallow valley and up the rise towards the left and centre of the Allied line between La Haie Sainte, and the village of Papelotte to the east.
This attack was repulsed by Allied artillery followed by a mass charge of the Allied Cavalry, the Household and Union Brigades. These lost cohesion and advanced as far as Napoleon’s Grand Battery and were then counter-attacked by nearly 2,400 French light cavalry from their front and left, resulting in large numbers of casualties.
This was followed by approximately twelve mass attacks by the French cavalry (no one kept count) led by the impulsive Marshal Ney between 4 and 5pm (at about the time that French infantry finally gained possession of La Haie Sainte). The Allied regiments formed into squares with their bayonets facing outwards to protect themselves, and the French cavalry were unsuccessful.
The final phase was the evening assault by columns of Napoleon’s Imperial Guard, routed by Maitland’s British Guards and by the inspired initiative of Col. Colborne who moved his 52nd Regiment forward and swinging it around to the left to fire into their flank – and ‘La Garde recule!’
This last drama occurred almost at last light, about 9pm. General Blucher and his Prussian army had been engaging the right flank of the French army since 5 p.m. and Napoleon now withdrew, fearing being cut off from his line of retreat into France.
The Battle of Waterloo was remarkable to the survivors for its ferocity and for the deafening volume of sound, unnerving even those who were experienced veterans of Wellington’s campaigns in the Peninsula. Captain John Kincaid of the 1/95th Rifles wondered if there had ever been a battle where all the participants were killed, such was the concentration of violence at Waterloo. He also said that after a battle, it was usual for a unit’s surviving officers to ask each other, ‘Who’s killed?’
At Waterloo, the question was, ‘Who’s alive?’
The photo above graphically illustrates the effect of a cannonball of several centimetres diameter on a cuirass worn by a French heavy cavalryman. The man wearing the above cuirass, 23-year-old Cuirassier Antoine Faveau of the 2eme Carabiniers, probably never made it to the Allied lines. He was most likely struck by Allied artillery during his regiment's advance up the slope.
The battle generated a wealth of eyewitness accounts. Some years later, a Captain Siborne canvassed survivors for their recollections and impressions in an attempt to plot the course of the battle in detail. Many struggled to tell him anything they considered of any value, being far too busy following orders at the time. The battle remains one of the most closely researched in history.
The most succinct commentary on the chaos and confusion is probably that of the soldier who, on the morning after the battle, said, ‘I’ll be hanged if I know anything about the matter for I was all day trodden in the mud and ridden over by every scoundrel who had a horse.’
The Late Mr. Robert GRIGG.
We regret to announce the death of Mr. Robert GRIGG, which took place at the residence of his son in Taranaki street, on Saturday last. The late Mr. Grigg entered the army almost as a boy, more than fifty years ago, and was engaged in the memorable battle of Waterloo. The gallant veteran had thus served his Queen and country for more than half a century, and for the last sixteen years held the post of Barrack-Sergeant in Wellington, till within a few weeks of his death, at the advanced age of sixty-eight. The funeral, which took place yesterday, was attended by several of our settlers who had known and esteemed the deceased during a lengthened acquaintance. Gradually links of that chain which connects the past with the present are giving way, and in the death of our old friend another was severed.
Wellington Independent, 18 September 1866, Page 4.
Robert married Rose MCPHUN (1804-1865) in 1822 at Dublin, Ireland, and they had seven children, born at Dublin, Gibraltar, Woolwich, England and Newcastle NSW. The family arrived in New Zealand after 1846. Robert GRIGG was buried at Bolton Street Cemetery on 17 September 1866.
The Waterloo Medal Roll doesn’t list any man named Grigg, but I suspect Robert was indexed under the name Robert GREIG. Two men of that name were present at the battle: One was a Private in the 1/95th Rifles, Captain W. Gun’s Company No. 6; the other was a cavalryman, a Private in the 2nd (Royal North British) Dragoons (Scots Greys), Captain R. Venner’s Troop.
The 1/95th Rifles began the battle positioned to the left of the crossroads in the centre of Wellington’s line, with two companies under Captain Jonathon Leach moved forward to defend the area around La Haie Sainte and the sandpit across the road. The advance of Quoit’s French Infantry Division about 1.30 pm compelled their withdrawal to the main line of defence but after 3.00, following the retreat of D’Erlon’s Corps, they were able to advance and reoccupy the positions. La Haie Sainte was finally lost to the French about 6pm and the Riflemen of the 95th retreated yet again.
The 2nd (Royal North British) Dragoons (later the Scots Greys) were distinguished from the other red-jacketed cavalry by their grey horses and the bearskin caps worn instead of helmets. They were badly mauled during their retreat from the Grand Battery. Their mortally-wounded commanding officer was reported to have held the reins in his teeth and having both arms removed by sword cuts and was then shot through the heart. A member of the 2nd (Royal North British) Dragoons, Sergeant Ewart, captured the Eagle of the French 45th Line Regiment.
The 2nd (Royal North British) Dragoons total losses were 201 men (45%).
Death. On 22 July at Strathnoon Cottage, Geraldine, Canterbury, NZ, Aeneas Mackintosh MACPHERSON, late Captain in the 59th Regiment, aged 83. The Times, Tuesday, Sep 28, 1875.
The Times, Tuesday, Sep 28, 1875
Aeneas MACPHERSON gained the rank of Lieutenant on 21 December 1809 and served in the 2/59th Regiment in the Peninsular War. He was wounded on 10 December 1813 at the Barrouillet (Battle of the Nive). Aeneas held the same rank in the 2/59th at Waterloo. Following the battle he resigned from the Army and after farming in Scotland he emigrated with his wife, Ann Helen née Clark and their children to New South Wales in 1849. In 1861 he came to South Canterbury where his son-in-law W. K. Macdonald at Orari had built him a cob home in Geraldine which they called ‘Strathnoon’ after their home in Scotland.
The 2/59th saw no action at Waterloo, being part of a large detached force of 17,000 men positioned 14 kilometres west of the main engagement at Hals (now Halle) to prevent a possible French thrust up the Mons-Hal-Brussels road. Many were unenthusiastic Dutch and Belgian units stiffened by one British brigade of which the 2/59th was a part. Due to the direction of the wind they heard nothing of the battle despite the boom of artillery being audible in Brussels.
Indexed in the Waterloo Roll Call as ‘Alexander Macpherson’, which noted his appointment as Lieutenant on 21 December 1809.
The Waterloo Medal Roll lists ‘Alex Macpherson’, a Lieutenant in the 2/59th Regiment, Captain Belche’s Company.
There died at Punga Flat yesterday, in his 78th year, Robert Roycroft, a Waterloo Veteran. Roycroft was a private in the 42nd Highlanders, and fought at the Battle of Waterloo, where he was wounded. He received a small pension for his services, and came out to New Zealand in 1848, in the New Zealand Fencibles. He was located at Howick, where he lived until the Thames was opened as a goldfield. He was in his 78th year, and up to a very recent period he enjoyed very good health. A military funeral is to be accorded the remains of the veteran soldier.
Thames Star, 19 October 1875, Page 2.
FUNERAL OF A WATERLOO VETERAN Thames Star, 20 October 1875, Page 2.
Robert ROYCROFT was born at Carlow, Co. Carlow, Ireland and at some point was a member of the Carlow Militia. At Waterloo he served in No. 2 Company, 42nd Regiment (Highlanders) but was indexed in the Waterloo Medal Roll under the surname ROYCROSS.
In 1839 Robert ROYCROFT was discharged from the British Army aged 40. In 1847 he emigrated to New Zealand with his wife Jane, née MCINTOSH, as a New Zealand Fencible soldier, arriving at Auckland aboard the Minerva.
During the battle, the 42nd Regiment were part of Gen. Picton’s 5th Infantry Division, which was deployed on the left and centre of the Allied line, spread thinly over nearly a mile along and behind the hedge. They suffered heavily from the artillery fire of Napoleon’s Grand Battery.
There is now in the Thames Goldfield Hospital a man who fought in the 42nd Highlanders (the Black Watch) at the Battle of Waterloo. The world has now few of the heroes who fought at Quatre Bras and Waterloo on the famous 17th (sic) and 18th of June, 1815, and it is doubtful if there is another in the Colony. The Thames Advertiser goes on to say: - 'It is now fifty-eight years since the great day of Waterloo, and at that time Robert ROYCROFT was but a stripling of seventeen or eighteen. We need not say that the 42nd Highlanders made themselves famous by their deeds in decisive contest. Roycroft is a remarkably hale man for his years, and when the pensions were last paid walked from Punga Flat to Shortland to draw his.'
Otago Witness, 3 May 1873.
It has been generally supposed that the race of Waterloo heroes had nearly become extinct, but on the 10th inst. Thomas NEWTON, aged 77 years, who was present at the great battle of 1815, died in the Provincial Hospital. The old warrior has seen four sovereigns on the throne of Great Britain in his time.
Auckland Star, 13 March 1877, Page 2.
The Waterloo Medal Roll lists two men named Thomas NEWTON, one serving in the Royal Wagon Train, and one in the 69th Regiment who had enlisted in 1813 and was wounded in the battle.
The 69th Regiment were part of Gen. Alten’s 3rd Infantry Division, which following a thirty mile march via Quatre Bras was deployed on the right and centre of Wellington’s line. The 69th suffered the disgrace of losing its King’s Colour at the Battle of Quatre Bras two days before, and nearly lost their regimental colour as well. Ensign Clarke of the 69th killed three cuirassiers to protect it, at the cost of twenty-two sword cuts. Losing a colour was a terrible disgrace and men on both sides would commit reckless acts to defend their regiments’ colours or attempt to capture those of the enemy.
The Royal Wagon Train was responsible for the transport of food, ammunition, fodder and a rudimentary ambulance service. They wore red jackets with blue facings and their men carried carbines and bayonets. Private Joseph BREWER of the Royal Wagon Train displayed utmost bravery at Waterloo, unhesitatingly driving his ammunition wagon to the north gate of the chateau of Hougoumont under very heavy fire to resupply the defenders who were desperately short of cartridges.
FUNERAL OF A VETERAN.
Donald MCKENZIE, who, as a man, soldier and Freemason, was one of the oldest in the colony, expired on Friday last at his residence, Onehunga. Amongst his last wishes was that he should be buried with Masonic honours. The request was conveyed through the officers of Lodge Manukau, and of course it was complied with. The deceased was born in the year 1800, and consequently at the time of his death was 78 years of age. His father was a soldier in the 42nd Highlanders (the famous "Black Watch"), and young McKenzie, on the discharge of his father, joined the regiment when 19 years of age, and in November, 1819, he was initiated a Freemason in the 42nd Highlanders' Lodge, hailing under the Grand Lodge of Scotland. This lodge has since become dormant. Mr. McKenzie served with the regiment (in which he was born) during the trying times of 1815, when the famous battle of Waterloo was won and lost. He did not take an active part in that famous fight and victory, but he was on the scene the preceding day, and was under fire. He was then connected with the baggage guard, which was several times attacked by the French troops. He was amongst the oldest settlers in the Pensioners' Settlement of Onehunga...
New Zealand Herald, 17 June 1878, Page 2.
Donald MCKENZIE served in the same regiment as Robert ROYCROSS. Born at Aird, Invernessshire, Scotland in 1799, he was the son of Andrew McKenzie and Margaret, née Chisholm. He joined the British Army in Scotland in 1813, aged 14 years, and served in Gibraltar, Malta and Corfu. After some time in the 42nd Foot he was promoted to Corporal. About 1846 he married Catherine Falkner at Edinburgh.
Donald was discharged from the Army in 1840. On 15 July 1846 he was admitted to Chelsea Hospital as an Out-Pensioner, with over 22 years’ service. According to an Invalid Board certificate of 1875 he was 5 feet 6 inches tall, with grey eyes and fair hair.
Donald MCKENZIE also emigrated to New Zealand as a Royal New Zealand Fencible, arriving in 1849 with his wife Catherine aboard the Beramphore.
The Waterloo Medal Roll, 1815 lists two men named Donald MCKENZIE in the 42nd Regiment. Both were privates, one serving in Captain Daniel MCINTOSH’S Company, the other in Captain Robert BOYLE’S Company.
A Peninsular Veteran in Auckland.
Thomas HILL, a purported veteran of the Peninsula campaign and Waterloo, was interviewed in June 1878 by a reporter at his home in Moreton-street, Onehunga. He was very deaf and forgetful, aged 100 by his own account, but his recollections were so disjointed the reporter stated that, ‘no connected narrative could be got from him.’
Evening Star, 12 June 1878, Page 2.
HILL told the reporter that he was late 51st Light Infantry, Capt. Douglas’s company, and named two other officers, Col. MITCHELL and Maj. ROBERTS. Stated that he landed at Bellams Step (Belem?) in 1809, and marched to Corunna, arriving three days after Gen. MOORE was shot. Present at Battles of Salamanca (twice), Burgos, Badajos, Cuidad Rodrigo (all in 1812), and at Waterloo. Hill’s purported recollections of the battle of Waterloo were very vague. The reporter had done his homework and was aware that Hill’s name was not on the Waterloo roll. Hill insisted he enlisted under his own name, claimed he took his discharge directly after Waterloo and in 1819 surrendered his pension for 100 acres of land in New Holland (an archaic name for Australia), arriving in New Zealand in 1842.
Several men named HILL served at Waterloo but none were in the 51st Foot. I am satisfied that Thomas HILL was not present at the battle although he has a firm claim as a Peninsula veteran. The Col. MITCHELL mentioned by Thomas Hill was Hugh Henry MITCHELL (1770-1817) who commanded the 51st Light Infantry from 13 June 1811 until 1814, throughout their presence in the Peninsula.
Thomas HILL died on 11 January 1879 aged 90 years, seven months after being interviewed.
Bay of Plenty Times, 14 January 1879, Page 3.
DEATH OF A WATERLOO VETERAN.
NAPIER, 1st October.
An old man, named M'CABE, died at the Old Men's Refuge yesterday, aged 82. He was the son of a soldier in the 66th Regiment, and when old enough he joined the same regiment, and fought by his father's side at Waterloo. He was afterwards a non-commissioned officer of the guard over Napoleon at St. Helena. He came to the colonies fifty years ago, first settling in Tasmania. M'Cabe was a singularly kindly old man, and was a great favorite with children, of whom he generally had a crowd around him. He died very suddenly, when in the act of mending a chair.
Evening Post, 2 October 1880, Page 2.
I have identified this individual as Thomas MCCABE, who died on 30 September 1880, aged 84.
Four men named Thomas MCCABE were present at the Battle of Waterloo, three private soldiers serving in the 1/27th Regiment, the 44th (in Captain Thomas Mackrell’s company) and the 1/71st Light Infantry (in Captain Campbell’s company), while the fourth was an Assistant Surgeon of the 3/95th Regiment.
The 66th Regiment in which Thomas MCCABE served was not present at Waterloo, although Thomas might have been one of those men in the regiments mentioned above. His obituary reversed the order of his service as the 66th Regiment was garrisoned on the island of St Helena during Napoleon’s final captivity after the battle of Waterloo, as mentioned in two extracts from this title:
A St. Helena Who's Who, or a directory of the island during the captivity of Napoleon. by A. CHAPLIN. (1919). New York:
66th Foot Regiment (2nd Battalion)
This battalion of the 66th Foot Regiment arrived in St. Helena from England between April 20th and May 13th, 1816, in the transports David, Martha, Retriever, Amity, Abeona, Queen, Regulus (arriving on May 13th), Barossa, Berwick, and West Indian (arriving April 20th), Adamant (on May 6th), and the Hassareen (on May 4th). It was quartered in Jamestown until the arrival of the 1st Battalion from India, in July, 1817, when it was ordered home for reduction. Many of the officers and men were then placed on half-pay, but many elected to stay on in the Island, and were enrolled in the 1st Battalion.
66th Regiment (1st Battalion)
This battalion arrived from India between June 27th and July 5th, 1817, in the Caesar (June 27th), Catherine Griffiths (June 30th), Dorah (July 3rd), and the Moira (July 5th). A wing of the regiment, some 500 strong, removed to Deadwood to take the place of the 53rd Regiment, which had been sent to India. In February, 1820, this wing in turn gave place to the 20th Foot at Deadwood, and returned to Jamestown and Francis Plain. On April 29th, 1819, a detachment of about 400 men left the Island for England in the Oromocto.
Joseph PITCAIRN died at Duhoi (? - faint copy) aged 87. Joined the Austrian army just before the battle of Waterloo.
Hawera & Normanby Star, 24 November 1882, Page 3.
I am unable to confirm the identity of this man although judging from two articles in the Taranaki Herald dating to January and December 1873 which reported friendly cricket matches, he may have lived at Henui in Taranaki and was unmarried.
In any case, the Austrian Army was not present at the Battle of Waterloo, so if Joseph Pitcairn was still serving in the Austrian army he can be discounted as a veteran of the battle.
THE LATE DUGALD MACFARLANE.
Dugald MACFARLANE was born at Aberfoyle, Perthshire, Scotland on 6 June 1790. In 1811 he was Gazetted 2nd Lieutenant in the 1/95th Rifles. At Waterloo he commanded Capt. Fullerton’s company of the 3/95th Rifles. He later left the Army and became a wine merchant in London. In 1820 he married Jane Drummond in Scotland and they had four children before her death. He married again, to Mary Ann Shaw, and they had eight children. He and his wife emigrated to Canterbury on board the Sir George Seymour, arriving on 17 December 1850, with Dugald employed as agent and farm manager for a Mr Russell. He later operated a farm he called Ledard Station south of the Waimakariri River until he sold out in 1860. He later worked as a wine merchant in Christchurch. In 1875 he visited the town of Thames in the Coromandel (perhaps calling on Robert Roycroft?). Dugald died at Christchurch on 15 September 1882. His obituary in the Daily Telegraph includes his vivid recollections of the battle, reprinted here.
Lieutenant Macfarlane commanded Captain Fullerton's company of the third Battalion (95th), and was thus attached to the 3rd Light Brigade, Sir Harry Clinton's 2nd Division, Lord Hill's 2nd Corps, commanded by Sir Frederick Adam. ‘Our position in the field of battle,’ writes Mr Macfarlane, in a letter published a few years ago in the Army and Navy Gazette, ‘was the right centre of the British army, on a sloping bank between Hougoumont and La Haye Sante, in squares of battalions, exposed for over six hours to the enemy's round shot, shell, and grape, and having to repel a dozen charges of his Cuirassiers and Lancers. About half-past 7 in the evening Lord Wellington galloped up to Sir Frederick Adam, and after a moment's interview we were ordered to form a line in crescent, with our flanks well in advance. Soon after we got into position, Marshal Ney, the most renowned soldier in France, came direct upon us at the head of seven battalions of the Old Imperial Guard, that had not fired a shot until then reserved evidently to break through in our centre and open out in our rear—Napoleon's favorite mode of securing a victory. They fought three deep in their companies, and in close columns in rear of their Grenadiers, with a frontage of only thirty men. Our flank battalions were formed two deep, and the 52nd in our centre was obliged to form four deep for want of room. Our strength at this time was about 2400 men, thus occupying a frontage of about 300 yards, while Ney's seven battalions had only 100 yards' frontage, with wide intervals between each phalanx. They charged, drums beating, and cheering 'Vive l'Empereur!' and when within 150 yards we were ordered to commence a steady fire by volleys of companies, and after seven or eight rounds of those well-directed volleys the whole of the enemy were in utter confusion. Ney's horse was shot under him. He lost his cap and on foot, sword in hand, he endeavored to rally his men. This was impossible, they were treading each other down. We were ordered by Sir Frederick Adam to charge with the bayonet, and in a moment about 3000 of the enemy threw down their arms and rushed in the greatest confusion to the rear. At this moment we were over 100 yards in front of the British line, pursuing this routed multitude with Napoleon's favorite Marshal in their midst, and perfect masters of everything in our front. The left of the 2nd Battalion Rifle Brigade had now reached the high road a little below La Belle Alliance, and shooting the horses of the enemy's artillery flying to the rear, blocked up the road, and thus secured about eighty guns of Count Reille and Count d'Erlon s corps. About 2000 of the enemy, under General Cambroune, were posted in front of La Belle Alliance to cover the retreat. They got panic-struck, and, adding disaster to confusion, fled with the Old Guard. Cambroune was taken prisoner by Lieutentant-Colonel Hugh Halkett, and we drove this routed mass a short distance beyond La Belle Alliance, when the Prussians took up the pursuit. It was now getting dark. We were halted, and ordered to take ground to our right, and slept upon the field, where Count d'Erlon's men had bivouacked the night before.'
Timaru Herald, 18 September 1882, Page 3.
The two companies of the 3/95th were in General Adam’s 3rd British Brigade, part of the 2nd British Infantry Division, initially deployed in reserve behind the right of the Allied line north of the Nivelles road. In the mid-afternoon the Brigade was moved forward and formed squares on the forward slope east of Hougoumont where it came under intense artillery fire and retreated behind the slope. I leave any further description of the battle to Lieut. Macfanlane’s vivid recollection above.
Full obituary and recollections of the battle reported in the Daily Telegraph (Hawkes Bay), 25 September 1882, Page 4.
Family and biographical information for Lieutenant Dugald MacFarlane of Ledard Station, NZ is seen on the website Clan MacFarlane and associated clans genealogy. where this portrait can be seen.
DUGALD MACFARLANE VISITS THAMES FOR THE ANNUAL COLONIAL PRIZE FIRING IN 1875:
January 25, 1875.
While at Parawai we were introduced to a Captain Macfarland (sic), a hale old gentleman of 85 who had fought at the battle of Waterloo! We (Thames) now have two men here who were in that battle: I suppose no other district in New Zealand could boast the same.
From: The Thames Journals of Vicesimus Lush 1868 - 82 (ed. Alison Drummond) Pegasus, Christchurch, 1975, p.155.
(Robert ROYCROFT was the other man referred to in this article).
Lieutenant MacFarlane of Canterbury, who is eighty five years of age, and who fought at Waterloo, undertook the journey to Thames to see this year' Colonial prize firing.
Colonist 16 March 1875
The Battle of Waterloo was fought on the 18th June, 1815, very nearly sixty years ago. The number of heroes now living who took part in the memorable battle when the army of the great Napoleon was annihilated, can almost be counted on the fingers. The Thames (says the 'Advertiser') is just now honoured by a visit from one of the few survivors who fought with the allied army under Wellington. Lieutenant MacFarlane, who is a resident of Kaiapoi, Canterbury, was in the Rifle Brigade at Waterloo, and came up with the representatives from the South, on a visit to 'see the shooting.' The old veteran is, we believe, now about eighty-five years of age, but is a remarkably hale man, as may be imagined from the fact that he is still able to undertake a long journey from home without inconvenience. On Saturday, Mr MacFarlane came down on the Luna, and with his Waterloo medal on his breast, marched out to Parawai.
The Grey River Argus 16 Feb 1875
John WALKER died on 1 October 1883 at Mount Eden Gaol, Auckland aged 92. Recently committed for vagrancy. According to his obituary he arrived in New Zealand in 1840 as a seaman on board HMS Reliance.
Marlborough Express, 25 October 1883, Page 2.
The Waterloo Medal Roll lists fourteen men named John WALKER. Without knowing more detail, it is impossible to confirm his identity.
Death of Richard STEVENS at Seacliffe Asylum aged 90. Pioneer settler at Riverton in the old whaling days.
Daily Telegraph, 10 July 1889, Page 3.
Death of Michael STEVENS at Seacliffe Asylum aged 90. Pioneer settler at Riverton in the old whaling days.
Evening Post, 10 July 1889, Page 2.
NZ BDM lists the matching death of Richard STEVENS on 8 July 1889, aged 88 years.
The Waterloo Medal Roll does not list any soldier named Michael or Richard STEVENS so his claim can probably be discounted.
DEATH OF A WATERLOO VETERAN.
[BY telegraph.— correspondent.]
Hamilton, Monday. Another of the few remaining of those who fought at Waterloo passed away yesterday at the residence of his son at Huntly, at the ripe old age of 96. William MCGLYNN served under Wellington in the Peninsular campaign, and took part in the battle of Waterloo. He was a native of County Tyrone, Ireland, and enjoyed perfect health up to a few days before his death.
New Zealand Herald, 14 January 1890, Page 5.
William MCGLYNN served in No. 5 Company, 40th (Somerset) Regiment of Foot. He is indexed in the Waterloo Medal Roll as William MCGLINN.
The 40th Regiment had only just returned from America three weeks prior to the battle. They left Ghent with half an hour’s notice very early in the morning of the 16th June and marched thirty miles that day and twenty-one the next with only two brief halts of a few hours, arriving at Waterloo at 11 a.m. on the morning of the battle already footsore and dead-tired. Placed in reserve behind the ridge with the 4th and 27th Regiments, all three regiments were later brought forward to defend the crossroads behind La Haie Sainte. By the end of the day the 40th Regiment were standing in knee-deep mud, churned up by the frequency with which they had formed from square to column on the same spot (infantry formed square to protect themselves from cavalry attacks and column to repel enemy infantry).
The 40th stood firm against repeated attacks by French cavalry, infantry and artillery, sometimes combined. At times they were engaged by several columns of infantry at once, and were frequently surrounded by French cavalry.
The 40th Regiment lost nearly two hundred out of seven hundred soldiers at Waterloo, and fourteen out of thirty-nine officers. They suffered a succession of massacres due to artillery while standing in column, as described by Lieut. Wray:
‘We had three companies almost shot to pieces, one shot killed and wounded twenty-five of the 4th Company, another of the same kind took poor Fisher, my captain, and eighteen of our company…another took the 8th (Company) and killed or wounded twenty-three…At the same time poor Fisher was hit I was speaking to him, and got all over his brains, his head was blown to atoms.’
If we recall that William MCGLYNN served in No. 5 Company we see that sudden, violent death took a company on either side of his own. He would have known all of those men.
Source: Lancaster Infantry Museum: Waterloo 1815.
See Smythies, R.H.H. Historical records of the 40th (2nd Somersetshire) regiment (1894) pp.179-199 for movements of the 40th Regiment prior to and during the battle, also officer’s reports and recollections, casualty lists, etc.
Death of a French veteran named E. CAFLER, an old resident of Whangarei on 20 February 1893. Born in 1797. Served at Waterloo with the French ambulance branch. Arrived at Kororareka in 1840.
Thames Star, 21 February 1893, Page 2.
Auckland, February 21.
DEATH OF AN OLD SETTLER.
A well-known resident of Whangarei, Mr E. CAFLER, died yesterday morning. Mr Cafler had an eventful history. Born in France in 1797, he was amongst the French troops at the battle of Waterloo, being then a youth of 18 years of age, and attached to the ambulance branch of the army. He went to Mauritius in 1832 and entered commercial life, acquiring wealth. As a result of an attack of yellow fever in China, he came to New Zealand for the good of his health, and landed at Kororareka in 1840. He witnessed the stirring events of Heke's war, in which his home was destroyed. He purchased land in Akaroa, Canterbury, from the Natives, but did not settle there, and after revisiting France and Mauritius he returned to New Zealand and established his home at Whangarei, where he stayed for the past 40 years.
Otago Daily Times, 22 February 1893, Page 2.
I identified this man as Edward Eugene CAFLER, naturalised on 21 April 1842 at Auckland. I do not have the means to confirm his claim as a Waterloo veteran. His entry in the 1902 edition of The Cyclopedia of New Zealand and his 1893 obituary paint a picture of a very astute, active and well-travelled international businessman, not hesitant to act as his own agent. He is remembered in Whangarei by the Cafler Park and Rose Gardens, on the site of his former residence.
Source of photograph: The Cyclopedia of New Zealand (Auckland and Provincial) 1902. p.553.
THE LATE MONSIEUR CAFLER from New Zealand Herald, 22 February 1893, Page 6
I was able to confirm that of the thirteen men discovered, eight were present at the Battle of Waterloo, seven serving in British regiments and one in Napoleon’s Armée du Nord:
I suspect that both Thomas MCCABE (died 1880), and John WALKER (died 1883) were present at Waterloo but without supporting evidence, their claims remain unproven.
The claims of Thomas HILL (died 1879), Joseph PITCAIRN (died 1882) and Richard STEVENS (died 1889) can be dismissed, although Thomas HILL was a veteran of the 51st Light Infantry, and like Aeneas MACPHERSON and William MCGLYNN, a veteran of the Peninsula Campaign (1807-1814).