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Private David Bell Swan Waterloo Medal

Waterloo 200


Captain T.H. Blair's Company No.7.

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Submitted by: Steven Power

Date added: 17 Nov 2016


A tribute to my 4th Great Grandfather, a Battle of Waterloo Soldier:

David Bell Swan born in 1794 in Leuchars, Fife, Scotland. He is my mothers fathers side of the family. The Swan family. They were from the Fife and Montrose areas of Scotland.

David was farm Labourer, a ploughman. He joined the Fifeshire militia as a young militia soldier. David married Annie Boyd in Perth, Perthshire, Scotland, on July 13, 1812, when he was 18 years old. David started his military with the 91st Regiment of Foot, Argyllshire Highlanders on October 2, 1812, when he was 18 years old. Although we suspect he was younger as we believe he may have lied. He did seven years with the Highlanders.

In 1812

The 91st were sent to Spain to fight in the Peninsular War under Arthur Wellesley (later the Duke of Wellington). They fought at the Battles of Vittoria in June 1813, Sorauren in July, Nivelle in November and Bayonne in December. In 1814 the 91st were heavily involved in the fighting in Southern France that led to the Battle of Toulouse in April which finally saw the end of the Peninsular War.

1815 - A Waterloo Soldier

After a brief period in Ireland, the 91st were shipped off to Belgium in early 1815, where they were stationed when Napoleon escaped and raised his Army and headed toward the Allied armies in Flanders.The 91st, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Sir William Douglas, were based in Major General George Johnstone's 6th Brigade in Sir Charles Colville's 4th Division. They distinguished themselves at the battle of Quatre Bras guarding the right flank of Wellington's Army. On 25 June they were one of the columns that stormed the fortress town of Cambrai, where they set camp.

David Swan, whilst stationed at the camp in Cambrai with his wife Annie, had their son Andrew Boyd Swan, my 3rd Great Grandfather. He was born in the military section of Cambrai, where Wellingtons Army were stationed.

David then fought at the battle of Quatre Bras and defended in the Battle of Waterloo under Captain T. Blair, he survived Waterloo.


David completed his service in the military on October 4 1819 in Dublin, Ireland, he was now 25 years old. He made his way back to the east coast of Scotland having been wounded in battle, but alive. He went on to settle in Fife and have children. We have no record yet of when he died but it would be after 1834. 

It has taken many years to piece his story together. It started with the fact that my 3rd Great Grandfather, Andrew Swan, was a British Subject but French born. We could not understand why and so started our investigation. After a major find of the Army Birth record for Andrew Swan in Cambrai we had no idea of the significance. We then found muster roll records, roll of honour records, Militia battalion conscript records, church parish marriage records, Census records and so a journey of discovery began. The journey culminated in a trip Scotland, to bring it all together. The documents are being placed online at Ancestry with his records for the family and future family to see.

Records Below are: 

1. Muster Roll for David Bell Swan 

2 Campaign Medal record David Bell Swan 

3. Marriage Certificate David Bell Swan showing Fife Militia 

4. Service record David Bell Swan 

Steven Power 

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