Wednesday, June 13

Body of British soldier found at Waterloo...

...spotted this in the paper today... absolutely fascinating....

They have uncovered the body of a soldier near to the Lion Mound at Waterloo - almost certainly British infantry...

Two things struck me.... one the size of that musket ball... 1.5cm's I reckon from the scale.... huge stopping power.... the ball also looks to be in surprisingly good condition - no loss of shape at all - I always thought that they would lose shape on contact.....

..the other thing is that the body was found with coins still on it - clearly battlefield looting was not as endemic as I thought......

Full story (with inane reader comments!) here...


  1. Good story - thanks for posting this. I would doubt that the musket ball illustrated was ever fired, never mind hit anything. Perhaps he swallowed it. Does the article suggest that soldiers carved things on their musket butts? - hmmm.

    Anyway - not the point - poor fellow didn't ask to get killed there, I'm sure, so it's important we show due respect. The coins might be a bit more informative - would British soldiers have local money?

  2. Thanks for this I missed it as I was away. Interesting to see the film Waterloo described as !"iconic" now!

  3. Very moving. Re the musket ball, the French Charleville musket was .69 calibre? so would fire a ball of 0.63inch? They were indeed pretty meaty! I've never seen a ball that was not flattened to some extent on impact, they were pretty soft.

    I read the guy was carrying an 1811 French demi franc. It will be fascinating to follow this story.

    Cheers for posting,

  4. Its correct that the soldier may not have been killed by the ball - he could have had it in his top pocket. If it had hit him in the chest there would be broken ribs and the ball should be damaged.

    The bigger story for me is why are they digging up the battlefield in the first place?

  5. As for the battlefield looting - there would have been thousands of corpses and casualties - the locals couldn't have looted them all.

    Also - Waterloo was OK but 'iconic'? I'd love to see a director have a got at it now - with CGI etc. it could be all kinds of superb.

  6. Phil - building a car park apparently...

    Your point re. putting a musket ball in his pocket is clever though...!

    Peter Jackson or Ridley Scott for director - Russell Crowe for Napoleon.. :o))

  7. Fascinating find. If the ball hit only soft tissue would it necessarily distort? It would be great if they could ID him.

  8. What a fascinating story, I didn't see this in the news, I hope they can give us more details about the poor chap!

  9. Very interesting. The size of that musket ball is very intimidating, its more reminiscent of a golf ball than a 'bullet'!

  10. How can they know the ball killed him?

  11. There's something eerie about that. God rest his soul, whoever he is.