Raymond Farrell

Gold Star - 27,702 Points (02/09/1954 / Perth, Ontario)

The 200th Anniversary Of The Battle Of Waterloo - Poem by Raymond Farrell

This year
Is the 200th anniversary
Of the battle of Waterloo
The battle itself took place
On June 18th,1815
And I have
As time permits
Been following
What has been written
In the British press
It is with interest
I note
That some writers
Have uncharacteristically
Given credit where credit is due
To the disproportionate number of Irish
Who fought for the British
In the battle
I crunched the numbers
And 42.8% of the British troops were Irish
Wellington himself was born in Ireland
Into a family of English origin
The term Anglo-Irish
Did not exist in his day
And after the 1798 Irish uprising
The England of his day
Had an anti-Irish feeling
That was undifferentiating
Wellington's essential Irishness
And faith in his country men
Was evident in the fact that
His choice of aides de camps
Were at all times predominantly Irish
And his intelligence network
In Spain and Portugal
During the Peninsular War
Was composed of a network
Of Irish Catholic Priests
The vast majority of his troops
In that campaign were Irish
By his choice
And they were the only group
In the whole of Europe
At the time
Having any success
Against the vaunted French army
In fact that campaign
Helped determine
The future history of Europe
As we know it today
Because it kept
A large number of French troops
Pinned down
At a time when Napoleon
Opened a second front
By invading Russia.

But back to the Battle of Waterloo.

Wellington had fewer artillery pieces
Than Napoleon
But over half his gunners
Were experienced Irishmen
Who had fought before
And were better by far
Than their French counterparts
Many of Wellinton's senior offiers
Were Irish
As were many of the common soldiers
That infused many of the English Welsh and Scottish regiments
For example, the Royal Welsh Fusiliers of the day
Had 150 non-Irish and 840 Irish troops
The battle according to Wellington's account
Began at 10 a.m.
When the French started
A furious attack on Hougoumont farm
Which was an improvised British fortress
Protecting their right flank
Argueably, this became the most important
Single engagement of the battle
The position was held by Grendier guards
Composed mainly of transferred
Irish militia men
As well as the Irish 27th Foot
(Wellington later declared
One of the Irish 27th
From County Monaghan
To be the bravest
British soldier of the day)
As the battle for the farm raged
Of the 750 men of the 27th Irish Foot
450 were killed or wounded
Including all their officers
Except one
Napoleon kept poring troops
Into his attack on Hougoumont farm
In order to collapse
The British right
And inevitably win the battle
But the Irish held firm
At times reduced to
Hand to hand fighting
Their brave stand
Was pivotal
Sufficiently weakening the French overall
So when Napoleon committed
His last reserves
The hither-to-undefeated
Imperial guard
In an attempt to break
Wellington's center
And roll up his line away
From the Prussians
The Imperial Guard's advance
Was repulsed
And Wellington's counter attack
Sent the Guard
Into headlong retreat
At about the same time
The Prussians pushed through Plaucenont
In their third assault of the day
These two coordinated attacks
By the allied forces
Led to the disintegration
Of the French
Right, left and center
And as dusk fell
The rout was complete
And the French artillery
And everything else
Including Napoleon's abandoned carriage
Were in Allied hands
And thus
The future of Europe
Was sealed.

Topic(s) of this poem: commentary

Comments about The 200th Anniversary Of The Battle Of Waterloo by Raymond Farrell

  • Abdulrazak Aralimatti (9/1/2015 7:39:00 AM)

    A tribute to the Irish soldiers
    I salute them with honor.
    (Report) Reply

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Poem Submitted: Monday, August 31, 2015

Poem Edited: Monday, August 31, 2015

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