Battle of Waterloo 200th anniversary to be commemorated with re-enactment and educational programme

At its 100th anniversary, the Battle of Waterloo was given little consideration given that it landed in the middle of World War I in June 1915. Next year, however, a new charity in the UK called Waterloo 200, has been established to ensure the Battle of Waterloo is sufficiently commemorated alongside the other major war memorials currently being held.

The Battle of Waterloo saw an allied force of British, German and Dutch troops take on Napoleon’s French army near Waterloo in central Belgium. The battle reshaped Europe, the world and its future, and put the British on its path to empire. After the battle, there was peace for more than 20 years.

The battle’s importance is not well-known. In the UK, Waterloo 200 is taking up a challenge to have the history of the battle returned to the classroom, particularly next year around the 200th anniversary.

The charity is seeking to arm history teachers in schools across England with the tools and information needed to educate the next generation about the historical battle.  They have created educational packs for different age ranges, and the charity is hoping that it will be added to the curriculum in 2015.

On June 18 of next year, a special service will be given at St Paul’s Cathedral in London to mark the anniversary. Many attendees will have a connection to Waterloo, as well as members of the general public.

A new website will also be launched. While the Waterloo 200 charity has been funded mainly by the National Lottery’s Heritage Fund, the British Government at this point has not been involved or committed its support to the initiative.

Historians gathered in Plancenoit, near Brussels, for a re-enactment of the battle in 2005 on the 190thanniversary. Next year the re-enactment will take place on the actual battlefield with more than 6,000 people taking part, the Mail Online reports.

Organisers of the re-enactment say there will be one day with a focus on the French troops and another day focusing on the Allied troops. While a local farm is being renovated to house and tell the story of the historic battle, they will not only focus on the fighting of the battle, but they’ll also tell of how the soldiers lived at the time.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE