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A tribute to Ensign John Bertwistle by Milbrook Academy

Date added: 3 Jun 2015

75

Milbrook Academy

Schools Waterloo 200
https://www.theonlinebookcompany.com/OnlineBooks/SchoolsWaterloo/Celebrations/FindTribute/WaterlooSoldiers/milbrookacademy3
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,

On 1st March 1815 Napoleon escaped from Elba and landed in France. Nineteen days later he was in Paris and resumed his title as Emperor. His army rallied to him. The soldiers who had been captured during the years of fighting had been released enabling Napoleon to reform his Grande Armée.

The European allies reassembled their armies and prepared to resume the war to overthrow the Emperor yet again. Sunday in June, 200 years ago, on a hill in Belgium, a brave Cornishman called Christopher Switzer carved a little piece of history for himself by saving his regiment's flag.

The hill was Waterloo, 12 miles south of Brussels, where the British Army faced the might of a multitude of battle-hardened French soldiers fighting for Napoleon. Switzer was a colour sergeant in the 32nd Foot (or the Cornwall Regiment) and his battalion formed part of a long line across a hill crest, blocking Napoleon's advance on Brussels.

As cannon balls from the French artillery ploughed into the red-coated ranks, causing horrific casualties, the French infantry marched up the hill towards the British line.

When it mounted the crest Ensign, John Bertwistle, the young officer carrying the Cornwalls' regimental "colour" – its personal flag – was severely wounded by a musket bullet. As he dropped the flag it was caught by Lieutenant Robert Belcher but simultaneously the French infantry closed in and an enemy officer grabbed the flagstaff. The prized colour – a rallying point and symbol of the regiment – was in grave danger of becoming a French war trophy.

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A tribute to Ensign John Bertwistle by Milbrook Academy

Date added: 16 Jun 2015

76

Milbrook Academy

Schools Waterloo 200
https://www.theonlinebookcompany.com/OnlineBooks/SchoolsWaterloo/Celebrations/FindTribute/WaterlooSoldiers/milbrookacademy4
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,

Artifacts Related to John Bertwistle

The Regimental Colours of the 32nd Cornwall Regiment of Foot 

These are the colours of the regiment in which Ensign John Bertwistle was a part.  He was wounded in the Battle of Waterloo whist carrying these colours during the conflict.

An Ensign is the lowest rank of the British officers during this time and it was their job to carry the flag.

The regiment has been mentioned in a TV series, Poldark, based on the novels by Winston Graham in which Ross Poldark is said to have fought in the American Revolution as a member of this regiment.

Saving the King’s Colours of the 32nd During the Battle of Waterloo by Richard Simkin

This is a painting depicting a fight in which a French officer attempts to seize the regimental colours following Ensign John Bertwistle being injured. The officer is run through by Sergeant Switzers Pike and Ensign Bertwistle.

Uniform of the 32nd Cornwall Regiment of Foot

This is the uniform of a typical soldier who was a part of the 32nd Cornwall Regiment of Foot

Ensign John Bertwistle would have worn something similar with his rank insignia included

Brown Bess Musket

This was the standard arm for ordinary soldiers (other ranks) in the British Infantry. About three million were made between 1793 and the end of 1815. It was the most common weapon that the British Army used in its 20-year war against France.

Ensign John Bertwistle would have had something similar to this during his time in the Battle of Waterloo

Family Tree for Ensign John Bertwistle

This is the Family tree for the Bertwistle Family.  John Bertwistle was the son of William Bertwistle, he had 3 sisters and not never married or had children.

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