LONDON, England – In the lead up to the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo, a new war memorial to honour the 24,000 soldiers of the Anglo-Allied and Prussian forces who were injured, died or went missing on that historic day, has been unveiled by the Duke of Wellington at Waterloo station.
The Waterloo Memorial has been co-created by The London Mint Office, London-based artist Jason Brooks and We Are Waterloo. The London Mint Office has funded the installation on behalf of charity Waterloo 200.
The centrepiece of the memorial is a large replica of the reverse of the Waterloo Campaign medal, depicting Nike, the Greek Goddess of Victory. The London Mint Office cast the medal centrepiece in solid bronze to a diameter of 65cm. The memorial features a tribute to the fallen soldiers carved in stone incorporating the Iron Duke’s words:
“My heart is broken by the terrible loss I have sustained in my old friends and companions and my poor soldiers. Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won.”
Present at the unveiling ceremony were the Ambassadors of Belgium and Austria, plus representatives from the Russian, Dutch and German Embassies, attending on behalf of the Allied armies who fought alongside Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo. Those speaking at the ceremony comprised: Sir Evelyn Webb-Carter, Chairman of Waterloo 200; Peter Snow, broadcaster; James Deeny, Managing Director, The London Mint Office; Tim Shoveller, CEO, South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance; Chris Heyland, great-great-grandson of Major Arthur Heyland who died at the Battle of Waterloo.
The Duke of Wellington said, “It is an honour to unveil the Waterloo Memorial in tribute to the thousands of men from many nations who fought and died in just a few hours two hundred years ago. It is important that the sacrifice they made, which led to a century of peace across Europe, should never be forgotten.”
James Deeny, Managing Director of The London Mint Office, added, “It is only fitting for the Waterloo Campaign Medal to be at the heart of a memorial to the soldiers who fought at the Battle. The medal is an important piece of history in itself as it was the first medal in the same metal commissioned to be given to all the soldiers present at a battle, irrespective of their rank. Before this, medals reflected army hierarchy, with gold medals being given to senior generals through to tin medals for privates.”