Date added: 15 Jun 2015
The 95th in popular culture
The British Army at Waterloo numbered some twenty five thousand men with many proud andcelebrated regiments each with their own histories and traditions but only one regiment has beenimmortalised in the pages of a series of exciting and dramatic novels by Bernard Cornwell. Twentyfour novels took readers through the exploits of the fictional Richard Sharpe as he fought in many ofthe Napoleonic campaigns mirroring the real life progress of the 95th Regiment who fought at someof the most important battles. He later went to India just as Captain Le Blanc had done all thoseyears ago. In these books readers have been enthralled by the adventures of life in the 95th and justas these are works of fiction and entertainment they also make a fascinating route for many intostudying the truth behind the stories. It is fair to say soldiers who fought with the 95th would haverecognised the events, the hardships, the victories and the types of characters found in theCornwell’s pages. ITV famously took the adventures of Sharpe and created sixteen television movieswith all-star casts and Sean Bean in the title role. These productions brought the Napoleonic Wars,the British Army in the eighteenth century and the life of the ordinary serviceman into the publicimagination once more and popularised it in a way that is so difficult for more scholarly historians todo. In many ways these popular dramatisations open the door for many to study the period inquestion, to engage with the subject matter and foster an ingrained fascination for history. TheWaterloo 200 group has much to thank Bernard Cornwell for keeping these crucial events in ourhistory alive and for firing the imagination of another generation of future historians.