Our Belgian campaign: Plancenoit
Posted by Martin on December 7, 2011
Back in July, Peter F. and I travelled to Belgium to visit the sites in the company of several other like-minded Napoleonic enthusiasts. It’s a measure of just how busy 2011 has been that it’s only now that I find myself with the time to sort through the photo files and share the best ones with you.
First things first though: I’d like to publicly acknowledge the kindness of our host for the visit: renowned Belgian Napoleonic author, expert and collector Paul Meganck. Paul, if you’re reading this, I haven’t forgotten my promise to send you copies of all the photos. Secondly, I’d like to thank my fellow campaigners for making the trip so enjoyably: Peter F., Buddy Hoch (of Triangle Miniatures in the US), Pete Bunde (of Brigade Uniform Plates fame) and his good friend and co-author/researcher Markus.
We packed so much into just three days that I’m going to split the photos over several postings. Today’s offerings come from a whistle-stop early evening visit to Plancenoit at the Eastern edge of the Waterloo battlefield. As most of you know, this was the scene of the arrival of the Prussians towards the end of that fateful day and the fight for the village swung to and fro around the now famous church. The first photo (above) shows the front of Saint Catherine’s church which is no longer as it was in 1815, having been extensively rebuilt in 1856. If you look carefully, you can spot a lithe young Peter F. wielding his camera at the foot of the steps.
The second and third photos (below) are detail shots of the two memorial plaques either side of the door. One remembers Lieutenant Louis of the Young Guard and translates as “To Lieutenant M. Louis, 3rd Tirailleurs of the Guard, born at Jodoigne on 3/4/1767, fell at Plancenoit 18/6/1815”. The other is in honour of the commander of the Young Guard at Plancenoit and translates as “In this village of Plancenoit that became famous on 18 June 1815, the Young Guard of the Emperor Napoleon was commanded by General Count Duhesme who was mortally wounded here”.
The fourth photo (below) shows the rear of the church which really highlights the extent of the rebuilding. The graveyard and the interior of the church have several more interesting monuments but our time was limited and we wanted to make sure we also saw the Prussian Monument.
My final photo for the day shows the famous Prussian Monument on the outskirts of Plancenoit village. It is impressive but inconveniently surrounded by a cast iron railing which limited photographic opportunities. I think you can still get a good sense of it’s austere grandeur from the image below: