Waterloo – A Member’s Perspective – Lt Col D. Harvey

In recent times, Lieutenant-Colonel Dan Harvey, a member of The Military Heritage of Ireland Trust (CLG), has made a tangible contribution in fostering an enhanced awareness of the story of the Irish Soldier in the Battle of Waterloo.

Following extensive research, his commendable book, “A Bloody Day – The IRISH at WATERLOO” was self published and is now available for postal purchase though Schull Books. The publication coincided with the bicentenary anniversary on 18 June 2015.

Providing an introduction and insight into the battle, names of key Irish Commanders, the well indexed book contains maps, a chronology, a list of Waterloo memorials in Ireland, and the actual text of “Wellington’s Waterloo Dispatch”.

Napoleon acknowledged the role of the Irish Soldier at Waterloo. Speaking of the 27th Inniskillings, it is understood that he said, “I have seen Russian, Prussian, and French bravery, but anything to equal the stubborn bravery of the regiment with castles in their caps, I have never witnessed.”

Lieutenant-Colonel Harvey also played a significant part in the commissioning of a plague to the memory of Sergeant James Graham of the Coldstream Guards and a native of Clones, County Monaghan. Sergeant Graham was a veteran of the Battle of Waterloo and a resident of the Royal Hospital Kilmainham before he died in 1845.

Harvey_2Sergeant Graham is the soldier credited with closing the north gate of the chateau at Hougoumont on the advancing French soldiers, without which the Duke of Wellington believed they would have lost the battle. Despite taking him from the battlefield, his younger brother Joseph died later of his wounds. Sergeant Graham was selected by Wellington to receive the Norcross Pension (£10 per month) for his valour at Hougoumont on 18 July 1815. He received the annuity for 2 years whilst the fund was liquid. In 1915, as part of the centenary commemorations, Sergeant Graham’s portrait was depicted on a Wills’ cigarette card.

The plaque to Sergeant James Graham was unveiled by Mr John McMahon, Office of the Public Works, at the West Gate of the Royal Hospital Kilmanham on Monday, 25 May 2015. Attendance included H.E. Dominick Chilcott the British Ambassador, and Mr Paul O’Brian curator of the museum dedicated to the history of the hospital – located on the south west of the quadrangle.

Throughout 2015, Lieutenant-Colonel Harvey has delivered numerous public lectures on the Battle of Waterloo, including one conducted on 13 November to members of The Military History Society of Ireland.

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The Trust looks forward to the publication of Lieutenant-Colonel Harvey’s book on the Irish involvement at Rorke’s Drift, during the Anglo – Zulu War of 1879.

Eleven Victoria Crosses and four Distinguished Conduct Medals were awarded to the defenders of Rorke’s Drift. Surgeon Lieutenant-Colonel James Henry Renolds VC, born in Dublin in 1844 and educated at Castleknock College and Trinity College was one of the recipients of the Victory Cross as a result of valour at Rorke’s Drift on 22 / 23 January 1879.