Isle of Man Stamps & Coins – The Battle of Waterloo

In conjunction with Waterloo 200, the Isle of Man Post Office will be presenting a set of four se-tenant pairs of stamps in celebration of the bicentennial anniversary of the Battle of  Waterloo.

Waterloo 200 organiser, Mick Crumplin, said, “As education lead for Waterloo 200 and a military historian, I was delighted with the Isle of Man’s decision to commemorate one of Britain and Europe’s most important historical events – the Bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo. The stamps splendidly portray various stages in the action of the 18 June, 1815. This issue will remain a treasured memorial for collectors and the general public.”

This famous battle, depicted on stamps in various stages from both sides of the conflict, marked the end of the Revolutionary (1792 – 1803) and Napoleonic (1804 – 1815) wars. Financially it cost Britain dearly and resulted in a greater proportional loss of life than World War II.

Following Napoleon Bonaparte’s abdication in 1814, he made a surprise return to France the following year, which prompted an extensive mobilisation against him from the combined British/German and Dutch army, the Prussian Force, the Russian army and the Austrian army.

In response, Bonaparte advanced to the border of France and the Netherlands (now Belgium) in anticipation of an allied invasion, and for the first time he faced the Duke of Wellington.

War broke out on the 16 June following two preliminary battles, and two days later a three mile allied line, which included three defended farms (Hougoumont, La Haye and Papelotte) awaited Bonaparte’s preliminary move.

At approximately 12.45pm a 64-gun battery fired on Wellington’s left centre, followed by a 17,000 strong infantry assault, repelled by a strong, but wasteful, British heavy cavalry attack, which in turn was countered by French cavalry. Fighting continued on both sides all day, but by the following evening victory was assured, as the Prussian cavalry pursued the French off the battlefield. The victory, however, was tainted by the loss of 55,000 men; either killed, wounded or missing.

These stamps relive the battle by capturing its key stages, including the preliminary battle at Quatre-Bras, the fighting at Lay Haye-Sainte, the defence of Chateau de Hougoumont and an image of General Rowland Hill , one of Wellington’s trusted generals.

Tim Cooke, Chairman of Waterloo 200, said, “Waterloo 200 is a registered charity with a vision to deliver an appropriate international commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo and its consequences for the history of Europe. As the Chairman of Waterloo 200 we are delighted to be in partnership with the Isle of Man Post Office Stamps and Coins division.”

Valerie Caine

© June 2015