27 Sep 1781 - 18 Jun 1815
Date added: 29 Jan 2015
The following is a letter written by Major Heyland to his wife Mary née Kyffin on the eve of the Battle of Waterloo -
"My Mary, let the recollection console you that the happiest days of my life have been from your love and affection, and that I die loving only you, and with a fervent hope that our souls may be reunited hereafter and part no more.
What dear children, my Mary, I leave you. My Marianna, gentlest girl, may God bless you. My Anne, my John, may heaven protect you. My children, may you all be happy and may the reflection that your father never in his life swerved from the truth and always acted from the dictates of his conscience, preserve you, virtuous and happy, for without virtue there can be no happiness.
My darling Mary, I must tell you again how tranquilly I shall die, should it be my fate to fall, we cannot, my own love, die together; one or other must witness the loss of what we love most. Let my children console you, my love, my Mary. My affairs will soon improve and you will have a competency, do not let too refined scruples prevent you from taking the usual government allowance for officers’ children and widows.
The only regret I shall have in quitting this world will arise from the sorrow it will cause you and your children and my dear Marianne Symes.
My mother will feel my loss yet she possesses a kind of resignation to these inevitable events which will soon reconcile her.
I have no desponding ideas on entering the field, but I cannot help think it almost impossible I should escape either wounds or death.
My love, I cannot improve the will I have made, everything is left at your disposal. When you can get a sum exceeding £10,000 for my Irish property, I should recommend you to part with it and invest the money, £6,000 at least, in the funds, and the rest in such security as may be unexceptionable.
You must tell my dear brother that I expect he will guard and protect you, and I trust he will return safe to his home. ARH."
On the morning of 18th June 1815, the 40th Regiment, led by Major Heyland, took up its position on the field of battle,arriving there between 9 and 10am after a short march. The Regiment remained as support until 2pm at the farm of Mont St. Jean. It was then advanced towards the farm of La Haye Saint, taking position on the opposite side of the road. The foot soldier, Sgt William Lawrence, who also served in the 40th Regiment wrote later in his diary of the Battle of Waterloo: “The rain had not quite ceased and the fields and roads were in such a fearfully muddy state, they slowed and tired us. In such conditions it was difficult for the cavalry to perform properly, but they were even worse for the artillery.” For hours they were forced to remain stationary, sometimes in line, sometimes in square according to whether it was enemy infantry or cavalry that they had to resist. They suffered great losses. At last, at about 7pm, the Duke of Wellington himself rode up the Regiment and gave the command to advance and with a cheer the line moved forward to clear the farm buildings of the enemy. Here Arthur was killed, by a ball in the neck. His sword had previously been shattered, his horse wounded, and for the greater part of the day he had been riding bare headed, his cap having probably been also shot away. The images above are the Waterloo MedaL and the musket ball that killed him.
Arthur was 34 years old and his wife was pregnant with their 7th child. Arthur is my husband’s great great grandfather