LONDON, Wednesday 10th June: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 giant replica of the reverse of the Waterloo Campaign medal, depicting Nike, the Greek Goddess of Victory. Experts in medals and coins, The London Mint Office cast the medal centrepiece in solid bronze to a diameter of 65cm. The memorial also features a tribute to the fallen soldiers carved across four inlayed Portland Stone slabs, incorporating the Iron Duke’s famous quotation:
“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.”
Also present at the unveiling ceremony were the Ambassadors of Belgium and Austria plus representatives from the Russian, Dutch and German Embassies who attended on behalf of the Allied armies who fought alongside Wellington at the Battle of Waterloo. Veteran broadcaster and historian Peter Snow gave a talk about the significance of the Battle and the Allied co-operation, while Waterloo-descendant Chris Heyland gave a moving tribute to his great-great-grandfather, Major Arthur Heyland, who fell at Waterloo, reading from a letter he wrote to his wife Mary on the eve of the Battle. The whole event was opened by Sir Evelyn Webb-Carter, co-Chairman of Waterloo 200, who also closed the ceremony following the playing of the Last Post by a bugler from the Household Division who also brought along an original bugle that was found on the battlefield at Waterloo in Belgium.
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.”
Tim Shoveller, Chief Executive of the South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance, said, “We are both honoured and privileged to have played our part in the creation of a memorial at London Waterloo station. It is a fitting place for this stunning tribute to the men who died at the Battle of Waterloo; it will be seen by the millions who frequent the UK’s busiest railway station for years to come.”
In addition, Waterloo 200, The London Mint Office and medallists to the Queen, Worcestershire Medal Service, are giving away 500,000 free bronze Waterloo Campaign medals (on which the Waterloo Memorial is based) to UK households as part of the bicentenary commemorations. The medals are available here and limited to one per household, making it possible for UK citizens to own their own piece of Waterloo history and remember the soldiers who fought for them two hundred years ago.
The stone carving and installation of the plaque was carried out by South East London stonemason Perry Scott.
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Susan Perolls at Loudmouth PR, T 020 7981 9858, E firstname.lastname@example.org
Journalists: For more information and access to visuals please visit: http://www.mynewsdesk.com/uk/london-mint-office
About The London Mint Office Limited: The London Mint Office is a trusted and respected partner for a large number of British coin collectors. Gold, silver and other precious metals have fascinated mankind for many centuries, making coin collecting a popular hobby the world over. The London Mint Office is at the centre of British numismatics, bringing the fascinating world of coin collecting to both existing and new collectors. Together with our sister organisations across Europe, The London Mint Office provides a wide range of coins from ancient to modern, originating from virtually every country in the world. Visit www.londonmintoffice.org for more information.
About Waterloo200: Waterloo 200 Ltd is an organisation approved and supported by Government to oversee the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. In 2009 Waterloo 200 Ltd was granted charitable status. For more information visit:http://www.nam.ac.uk/waterloo200
About Worcestershire Medal Service: Worcestershire Medal Service is one of the largest suppliers of State Honours in the UK. Granted a Royal Warrant as Medallists to Her Majesty The Queen in 2008, it is best known for the Diamond Jubilee Medal issued in 2012. Its sister organisation, Gladman & Norman, designed and produces the Elizabeth Cross. It currently supplies UK insignia ranging from the GCB to the BEM as well as awards to countries in Asia, Middle East and the Caribbean. It is this production heritage that lead Waterloo 200 to choose Worcestershire Medal Service as its production partner. Visit www.worcmedals.com for more information.
About Jason Brooks: Jason Brooks is an artist, musician and filmmaker, based in central London who specialises in producing limited edition artwork and film installations, as well as public realm project management and idea provision. One of his companies is Iron Inspired.com, which is based around the incredible variety of street furniture such as Victorian coalhole covers. In 2013 he was also instrumental in creation of another historic landmark, the Dog and Pot sculpture which is a replica of a Victorian shop sign that formed one of the landmarks on the young Charles Dickens’ regular walk through Southwark and was unveiled to mark the 200th Anniversary of Charles Dickens birth. This can be seen opposite Southwark Tube Station.
About Perry Scott Stonemasonry
Having left school at 15, Perry Scott went into an apprenticeship as a stonemason for five years after which he then set up his own business which has been running successfully to this day 25 years on. He has completed many public landmarks including a Charles Dickens memorial and work at Chelmsford Courts which is a two-yearly event requiring traditional hand-cut lettering amongst others. He takes great pride in delivering a high level of workmanship on every project, whatever its size.
About We are Waterloo and the Local Waterloo200 Events
WeAreWaterloo is the Business Improvement District (BID) for Waterloo. Its aim is to make Waterloo a better place to do business. WeAreWaterloo.co.uk promotes the area's diverse range of shops, cafes, restaurants, theatres and attractions, as well as events and listings. It is promoting the local events which are taking place here in Waterloo, organised and convened by a number of local groups, along with the parish church of St John's, Waterloo, whose annual Waterloo Festival has been incorporated into the Waterloo 200 commemorations. From exhibitions to a Tea Party, from guided walks to military bands, there are plenty of opportunities to learn more about the history of the area, find out more about the battle itself, as well as have some fun and get together in the community. To find out more about these and many more events, visit www.wearewaterloo.co.uk/waterloo200 and www.stjohnswaterloo.org Follow us on twitter @WearewaterlooUK and @Waterloofestival