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Edinburgh at Waterloo: Edinburgh Veterans

Waterloo archive anecdotes: 18 June 1815


Jun 18, 2015

Although victorious at Waterloo, Wellington was deeply moved by the huge number of casualties on the battlefield. French casualties in the Battle of Waterloo were 25,000 men killed and wounded and 9,000 captured, while the allies lost about 23,000. In the aftermath of battle he is quoted as saying:

"It has been a damned nice thing — the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life." "Well, thank God, I don’t know what it is to lose a battle; but certainly nothing can be more painful than to gain one with the loss of so many friends." He later wrote “Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won.”

Those who survived carried memories of their lost comrades for the rest of their lives. Edinburgh’s cemeteries hold many graves of Waterloo veterans who died years after the conflict – here we mention but a few.

Lt Col Hon Alexander Abercromby. (Illustrated right) 92nd Regiment of Foot. Present at Quatre Bras and Waterloo as Assistant Quartermaster General. Memorial at St John’s Churchyard, division 10, Lothian Road.

Ensign William Bain. 33rd regiment. At age 21 he was severely wounded at Waterloo. Shortly after Waterloo he was promoted from ensign to lieutenant and awarded a pension of £70 per annum. Died 23 June 1860 and is buried in grave 406 New Calton Burial Ground.

Captain Thomas Hunter Blair. (Illustrated left) 91st Regiment of Foot. He was one of the younger sons of Lord Provost Sir James Hunter Blair. Aged 30 he was present at Waterloo as a brigade major. He was severely wounded and awarded a Brevet Lt Colonelcy.  He died 31 August 1849 and is buried in a walled enclosure of Greyfriars Kirkyard.

Lt and Captain Thomas Brown. 79th Cameron Highlanders. Present at Quatre Bras and Waterloo. Severely wounded and awarded a pension of £100 per annum and retired Feb 1816. He died 7 July 1863 and is buried in East Preston Street Burial Ground.

Private Alexander Cruikshank. 79th Cameron Highlanders. Present at Quatre Bras and Waterloo. He died 22 August 1857 and his obelisk in Warriston Cemetery indicates that he was ‘late Fort Major of Edinburgh Castle’.

Lieutenant Thomas Gordon. 1st Royal Scots. Foot. Fought at Waterloo. Pedestal Monument New Calton Burial Ground -see illustration on right.

Thomas Galbraith Logan. Served as surgeon at Waterloo with the 13th Light Dragoons. Buried Restalrig – St Margaret’s.

Lt Col Alexander Macdonald. Present at Waterloo. He is buried at Warriston A2 Grave 576.

Major Donald MacDonald. 92nd Regiment of Foot. Although wounded at Quatre Bras, he commanded the 92nd Foot at Waterloo. He is buried in New Calton.

Major John Maclaine. 73rd Highland. Severely wounded at Waterloo and died from his wounds in Brussels. Buried Evere Cemetery Belgium.  Remembered at Warriston on family memorial cross. Section N Grave 46. South side.

Lieutenant Robert Winchester KH. 92nd Gordon Highlanders. Born 1783. Died Edinburgh (3 Brandon Street) 23 July 1846. Buried Warriston A3 Grave 58. In the words of Lt General Sir William Stewart G.C.B. “Winchester was severely wounded at Waterloo and was promoted to Captain in the month following the battle. He served with the 92nd until his retirement in 1842 having achieved the rank of Lt. Colonel. On retirement he was made a Knight of the Royal Guelphic Order (KH)”

The Waterloo Medal was conferred upon every Officer, Non-Commissioned Officer and Soldier of the British Army who saw action at Quatre Bras and/or Waterloo. This was the first campaign medal issued by Britain to all soldiers present at an action.

Acknowledgements:

Research: Wellington's Men Remembered by Janet and David Bromley

Portraits: NPG Creative Commons licence

Photo of grave: Findagrave.com



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