Our venues

Blog

Posts tagged with 'battle of waterloo'

Forgotten? : Black Soldiers in the Battle of Waterloo

21 October 2015 by Sarah

The Recruitment Officer c1815, showing a Black trumpeter rallying locals. It is exceptionally rare to find an image depicting a Black soldier at the Battle of Waterloo. Image reproduced by permission of Leslie Braine-Ikomi

The Recruitment Officer c1815, showing a Black trumpeter rallying locals. It is exceptionally rare to find an image depicting a Black soldier at the Battle of Waterloo. Image reproduced by permission of Leslie Braine-Ikomi

As we are now remembering and commemorating the Centenary of the First World War, Black British colonial troops are only now receiving attention by historians. 2015 is also the bicentenary of another great conflict, the Battle of Waterloo, and on 24th October at 1pm Dr Ray Costello will focus on another group of soldiers of African descent, Black soldiers who fought at the Battle of Waterloo a century earlier than the Great War. Here, Ray writes a blog for us ahead of his talk at the International Slavery Museum:

“If Black British colonial troops have been long neglected by historians, the existence of any narrative around Black British soldiers enlisting in the United Kingdom in the Napoleonic Wars is even less known. Black soldiers based in the United Kingdom would seem to have been a component of the British army for a very long time and there is some evidence to suggest that the British Army actively sought black soldiers during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

“Individual Black soldiers are known to have taken part in many of the Napoleonic war campaigns, including the Battle of Toulouse, the Peninsular War, Quatre Bra, and the final battle to defeat the French Emperor Napoleon at Waterloo in June 1815.

“Who were these Black soldiers and where were they from? Whilst the majority of Black soldiers found can be identified as coming from the West Indies, reflecting the slave trade, others came in roughly equal measure from Africa, continental North America, (i.e. the United States and Canada), the East Indies and Britain and Ireland. The 88th Foot had a number of Black soldiers serving with it in the Peninsular Campaign, and even after the Napoleonic Wars continued to recruit Black soldiers. One or two were even British-born, as Black people were being born in such ports at Liverpool at that time.

“Both before and after the Battle of Waterloo, amongst other regiments, black individuals were to be found in the 13th light dragoons, the 10th Hussars and the 88th Foot. After the Napoleonic Wars, we also look at what happened to those who had taken part. Did some receive medals? Who looked after them in their declining years and did they receive pensions?

“Although the numbers of Black soldiers may have been relatively small compared with the thousands who fought and died in this epic battle, the aim is to give these soldiers of African descent a deserved face and draw attention to the interest and importance of a previously under-researched history. I am inviting you to come along to the International Slavery Museum to listen to these forgotten accounts, and to perhaps rethink your perceptions of this phase of military history.”

Hear more from Dr Ray Costello this weekend, at his Black Soldiers at Waterloo talk at the International Slavery Museum – Saturday 24 October at 1pm. Part of our Black History Month 2015 event series. 

Waterloo lives display at the Museum of Liverpool

5 June 2015 by Andrew

Mike Butchard, Visitor Assistant, inspects one of the miniature ship models.

Mike Hall, Visitor Assistant, inspects one of the miniature ship models.

Karen O’Rourke, Curator of Urban and Military History at the Museum of Liverpool talks about the Waterloo Lives display that opened on 6 June.

“Our latest display in the Museum of Liverpool, Waterloo Lives: Liverpool and the French Connection, opens just in time to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo and the Napoleonic Wars, which happened on 18 June 1815. Read more…



About our blog

Welcome to the National Museums Liverpool blog! Written by our staff and volunteers, we’ll give you a peek behind the scenes of our museums and galleries.

Subscribe

RSS RSS Feed

Disclaimer

We try to ensure that the information provided on our blog is accurate and that appropriate permissions to use images have been sought. The opinions in each blog are very much those of the individuals writing.