Date added: 11 Apr 2015
Here are three photos of a commemorative locket, which were provided by a family member.
It was given by my 4 x Great Grandmother, Mary Rowley Heyland, to her Grandson (my 2 x Great Grandfather), Alfred Thomas Heyland, to remember the life (and death) of my 3 x Great Grandfather, Major Arthur Rowley Heyland at the Battle of Waterloo, on 18th June 1815. The fourth photo is of his tombstone when it was still at the site of the farm, Mont St Jean.
The inscriptions on the locket read as follow:
Front top: “WATERLOO”. Round the edge of the top are written the words: “Arthur Rowley Heyland Nat.27th Sep.1781 Mt 18th June 1815.” The centrepiece is what appears to be a funereal urn, at the base of which is a glass fronted container, with something behind it. What that ‘something’ is, isn’t very clear. It appears to be fibres of hair or, more likely cloth, intermingled with some white gritty substance. This needs clarifying and, if any other family descendants also has one of these lockets - possibly from the same source - it would interest me greatly to know what they have discovered about the contents of this container.
The words “TELL MY CHILDREN I NEVER SWERVED FROM TRUTH” were taken from a passage in the letter Arthur wrote, on the night before the battle, to his wife, Mary, which she carried with her to the end of her life.
Written along the edge of the locket are the words: “To my beloved Grandson, Alfred Thomas Heyland, M.R.H.”. This signifies the giver was Arthur Rowley Heyland’s mother, Mary Rowley Heyland, to her grandson, Alfred Thomas, presumably as an aid to remembering his Father. It seems quite possible that she may also have done this for some if not all of Arthur’s other children, five of whom at least lived into adulthood. However, we don’t know how long after Arthur's death the locket was given to Alfred.
Date added: 17 Apr 2015
A brave man, kicked out of one regiment for challenging the cruelty of a senior officer towards his men, wounded at least 3 times in the Peninsula War, probably slow up the promotion ladder for lack of money and social connections but nonetheless given the prestigious role as commander of Toulouse (France’s second city) then fearlessly leading his men to victory in possibly the most significant battle in the history of the world.
A good, honourable, brave and loving man. What an honour to be his descendant.