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Was Bijlandt's brigade in cover at Waterloo?

A great many histories on the battle of Waterloo repeat over and over again how from the start of the battle the Netherlands infantry brigade of Major-General van Bijlandt was still on the forward slope of the Ohain road. Exposed to the fire of the French grand battery. Resulting in the men running to the rear and breaking ranks.

Well.... was it? No, they had taken ample cover by 9 - 10 a.m. behind the ridge together with their Allied comrades. It is corroborated, when for example we take notice of Corporal Dickson's account who served with the Scotts Greys:

Then a strong brigade of Dutch and Belgians marched up with swinging, quick step, and turned off at a cross-road between high banks on to the plateau on the most exposed slope of our position. They numbered at least three thousand men, and looked well in their blue coats with orange-and-red facings. 

In case you want to know more, then look forward to our next volume on the battle of Waterloo and the conduct of the Netherlands troops.

Due for May 2014.


The defence of Hougoumont by the Nassau troops

During the battle of Waterloo the defence of the château and farm complex of Hougoumont, its garden and orchard were not merely in the hands of British troops, who fought bravely. It was also in the hands of the stubborn Nassau troops in the service of the Netherlands army, who amongst other defended the walls of the garden and the southern buildings of the complex. These men were from the 1st Battalion of the 2nd Nassau Regiment, including two jäger companies.

Their story will be included in our new history on Waterloo, told through the accounts of the battalion commander Moritz Büsgen, Sergeant Andreas Buchsieb and Jäger Peter Leonhard. Whilst we even have additional information on some of them leaving the complex, as the majority remained until the end of the battle, looking for ammunitions and retold through the memoirs of Netherlands staff officer Major Jan Egbertus van Gorkum. Their stories will add further flavour to the staunch defence in cooperation with the British comrades.

Read all about it in our next Volume Three.


Battle cry 'Oranje boven!'

During the trooping of the colours this week an old battle cry was re-introduced with the army, as 1350 men shouted 'Oranje boven!' (Orange for ever!) in honour of king Willem-Alexander.

We found some other battle cries as well in several memoirs of men and officers who fought at both Quatre Bras and Waterloo, which were feverishly shouted moments before they attacked with lowered muskets and bayonets fixed. We like to share these with you here:

  • Long live the King! (Lang leve de koning!)
  • We would rather die for king and country! (Wij sterven nog liever voor koning en vaderland!)
  • Long live the King, long live Prince Willem! (Lang leve de koning, lang leve prins Willem!)

Commemorative led coin from 1865 for the battle of Waterloo with the Prince of Orange.

Inscription 'Held van Waterloo' (Hero of Waterloo) 


Progress on book 3: Waterloo

As you may well expect.... our next volume will be published ahead of June 2014.

At the moment we have planned 14 chapters for Volume 3. And have now completed writing 5 of them, regarding the retreat on 17 June, the position of Prince Frederik at Halle, and two chapters on both the preparations of Wellington and Napoleon during the morning of 18 June for the battle to come at Waterloo.

So we are well ahead with 1/3 of the manuscript!



200 years Dutch Royal Armed Forces - trooping the colours

Yesterday on 9 January I was present and officialy invited to attend the commemoration how the Prince Sovereign Willem, later first king of the Netherlands, decreed the start of the armed land forces of his newborn country. It was a celebration of infantry, cavalry, artillery and other supporting branches. A rare and unique event in our 200 years of history of trooping the colours (i.e. Koninklijke Landmacht 1814 - 2014).

Indeed a proud moment as author to have been officialy invited by the Dutch army, among which officers do recognise the importance of what I write and publish.

I held a very simple camera in hand from the public tribune for the officialy invited guests and amongst other took a photo of King Willem-Alexander arriving in his landauer coach.