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A tribute to Private Thomas Chapman by Melbourn Village College

Date added: 15 Jun 2015

170

Melbourn Village College

Schools Waterloo 200
https://www.theonlinebookcompany.com/OnlineBooks/SchoolsWaterloo/Celebrations/FindTribute/WaterlooSoldiers/melbournvillagecollege10
Dear Family and Friends, As a way remembering those that fought at Waterloo in June 1815 including $personFirstName$, our school has created a page within the $bookTitle$. Please contribute by adding your thoughts, messages, photographs or even videos about this soldier. Add your insight or expertise to help build and lock-in our knowledge about this person, simply go to: $findPersonLink$. and make your contribution too. Thank you,

1. The King’s Shilling was important for Thomas Chapman because this was the start of his journey to Waterloo. By joining the army Thomas Chapman entered a new stage in his life, one that took him to places most ordinary Englishmen would never see on their own. However, it also led him to battlefields where he would have witnessed horrors no man could forget in his lifetime.

2. The green jacket was the mark of the rifleman. Thomas Chapman would have worn his with pride for it marked him out as a soldier with training beyond others and hinted at his skills as a sharp-shooter and marksman.

3. Being a private soldier it is unlikely that Thomas Chapman would have owned a kettle like this. However, it represents the small luxuries that soldiers sought out to try to improve life out in the field. Soldiers would often barter for goods that could be used whilst marching, and Thomas Chapman would have used his wits and ingenuity to do anything he could to make his life more comfortable.

4. Thomas Chapman would have known the pain that the owner of this bone experienced. He too was hit by a musket ball, his wound sustained in the hip. Unlike this poor soldier, Thomas Chapman survived his wound, and as his subsequent success as an agricultural labourer can attest, a combination of luck and the skill of the battlefield surgeon meant that he fully recovered from his wound.

5. Although Thomas Chapman was not the man who fired the bullet which killed Nelson, this bullet represents the important role that the Riflemen had to play in this more modern warfare. The Battle of Waterloo utilised the skills of the men who had been specially trained to target important men on the battlefield. The age of warfare which saw soldiers line up and take aim, with little skill and poor weaponry, was being left behind. It is of no surprise that the 95th Regiment were honoured by being renamed the Rifle Brigade, as the importance of their skill and tactical advantage was realised.

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A tribute to Private Thomas Chapman by Melbourn Village College

Date added: 15 Jun 2015

171

Melbourn Village College

Schools Waterloo 200
https://www.theonlinebookcompany.com/OnlineBooks/SchoolsWaterloo/Celebrations/FindTribute/WaterlooSoldiers/melbournvillagecollege11
Dear Family and Friends, As a way remembering those that fought at Waterloo in June 1815 including $personFirstName$, our school has created a page within the $bookTitle$. Please contribute by adding your thoughts, messages, photographs or even videos about this soldier. Add your insight or expertise to help build and lock-in our knowledge about this person, simply go to: $findPersonLink$. and make your contribution too. Thank you,

6. Whilst a soldier’s most important possession would arguably be his weapon, the knapsack held all the possessions a soldier owned. It held his bed, could serve as a pillow and kept safe the tools he needed and the trinkets that reminded him of home.

7. This picture of Vittoria would have been important to Thomas Chapman. Although he and the 2nd Battalion, 95th Regiment made a name for themselves at Waterloo, they had already experienced the carnage of war during the battles of the Peninsular Campaign. At Vittoria Chapman would have honed his skills as a marksman, and learned how best to try and survive a major battle. This knowledge would serve him well at Waterloo.

8. This painting of the Closing Gates of Hougoumont would have be recogniseable to Thomas Chapman. The 95th Regiment was stationed close to Hougoumont, their sharp-shooting skills put to good use as the French and English generals battled to control this key area.

9. Thomas Chapman didn’t gain much from Waterloo. Although his Regiment made its name, and though many of the officers and generals gained glory, the private soldier was left with little but memories after the battle was over. As time marched on, and the name Waterloo passed in to legend, this soldier’s medal would have gained importance for the soldiers who had won it. Not only a mark that they had survived such a bloody battle, these proved that they had been amongst those who had participated in one of Britain’s greatest campaigns.

10. We have few records of the ordinary soldiers who participated in Waterloo. Beyond birth, baptism, marriage and death certificates the private soldiers often fail to appear in the historical records. Their stories were forgotten, passed over for the stories of the officers in charge, but the thousands of private soldiers who fought in Waterloo were the true men who won the battle. They were the ones who carried out the daring plans of the officers, the bodies who were brutalised by the flying musket balls, and the ones who paid with their lives. The medal roll helps to keep alive the memory of the ordinary men who fought. Though their stories are lost, their experiences reduced to single lines on a page, their names at least, live on and inspire those who follow to try to rebuild the tales they had to tell.

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