Armistice Day 2011

Today at the eleventh hour as I bowed my head and closed my eyes to observe the two-minute silence, remembering those who have fought and fallen in the great cataclysmic wars of the twentieth century and those too who have fought on behalf of the freedoms of others in these first years of the twenty-first century, I did stop and cast my mind back two hundred years. 

Then too, a great war was being fought across the wide landscape of Europe and upon the world’s seas, pitting the might of nations against the lust for power of one man who held a nation in thrall.   Indeed, until some midway point during the First World War, the Great War was the universal term for that which we now call the Napoleonic wars. 

Then, as now, British men were fighting and falling, sacrificing their lives, on behalf of the stolen freedoms of another nation, fighting to drive the invaders back.  Two hundred years ago, the invaders were French and the theatre of the British operations against them, Spain–finally pushing into France in 1814.

Then following a brief lull of peace while Napoleon was an exile in Elba, came the final clash of the epoch at Waterloo, when Napoleon and his dreams of empire were at last wholly defeated.  But at what cost?

And so, if I may, I should like to add those many sacrifices to the list of those to be honoured this Remembrance Day.

Viemiero, 21 August 1808:  134 killed, 534 wounded, 51 missing. 
La Coruna, 16 January 1809:  137 killed, 497 wounded.  Among the dead was the commander of the British forces on the Peninsula, Sir John Moore.

Oporto, 12 May 1809:  23 killed, 18 wounded, 6 missing.
Talavera, 27-28 July 1809:  28 officers and 616 men killed, 3509 wounded, 441 missing.
Coa River, 24 July 1810:  36 killed, 189 wounded, 83 missing.
Bussaco, 27 September 1810:  1252 killed of whom 626 were British.
Fuengirola, 13 October 1810:  200 British captured including their commanding officer, 40 killed.
Sobral, 14 October 1810:  38 killed and wounded.

Barrosa, 5 March 1811:  (Allied losses) 210 killed, 1037 wounded.
Pombal, 11 March 1811:  11 killed, 26 wounded.
Redinha, 12 March 1811:  12 officers and 193 men killed.
Casal Novo, 14 March 1811:  11 officers and 119 men killed and wounded.
Campo Mayor, 25 March 1811:  10 killed, 27 wounded, 22 captured.
Sabugal, 3 April 1811:  17 killed, 139 wounded, 6 missing.
Fuentes de Onoro, 3-5 May 1811:  11 officer and 230 men killed, 78 officer and 1169 men wounded, 7 officers and 305 men missing.
Badajoz, 22 April – 12 May 1811:  33 officers and 849 men killed, 159 officers and 2574 men wounded, 14 officers and 527 men missing.
Usagre, 25 May 1811:  ca 20 killed and wounded.
Badajoz, 18 May – 10 June 1811:  54 killed, 81 wounded.
Elvas, 22 June 1811:  10 killed, 24 wounded, 56 captured.
El Bodon, 25 September 1811:  27 killed, 97 wounded, 24 missing.
Aldea de Ponte, 28 September 1811:  13 killed, 66 wounded, 9 missing.
Arroyo dos Molinos, 28 October 1811:  7 killed, 64 wounded.
Tarifa, 19 December – 5 January 1812:  9 killed, 58 wounded.

Ciudad Rodrigo, 7-20 January 1812:  9 officers killed and 70 wounded, 186 men killed and 846 wounded.  59 officers and 503 men were killed in the storming of the place.
Badajoz, 17 March – 6 April 1812:  ca 2900 killed and wounded in the storm, a further 1200 killed during the rest of the siege.
Villagarcia, 11 April 1812:  14 killed, 37 wounded.
Almaraz, 18 May 1812:  189 killed or wounded.
Maguilla, 11 June 1812:  22 killed, 2 wounded, 118 captured.
Salamanca, 17-27 June 1812:  5 officers and 94 men killed, 331 wounded.
Salamanca, 22 July 1812:  388 killed, 2667 wounded, 160 missing.
Garcia Hernandez, 23 July 1812:  115 killed and wounded, 6 missing.
Madrid, 13 August 1812:  10 killed and wounded.
Burgos, 21 October 1812:  550 killed, 1550 wounded.
Venta del Pozo, 23 October 1812:  165 killed and wounded, 65 captured.
Tajuna, 30 October 1812:  43 killed and wounded.
Matilla, 16 November 1812:  34 killed and wounded.

Castalla, 13 April 1813:  400 killed and wounded.
Morales, 2 June 1813:  16 killed and wounded.
Tarragona, 3-11 June 1813:  15 killed, 82 wounded, 5 missing.
Osma, 18 June 1813:  50-60 killed and wounded.
San Millan, 18 June 1813:  ca 100 killed and wounded.
Vittoria, 21 June 1813:  21 officers and 498 men killed, 172 officers and 2765 men wounded.
Tolosa, 25 June 1813:  58 killed, 316 wounded, 45 missing.
Roncesvalles, 25 June 1813:  ca 175 killed or wounded.
Maya, 25 June 1813:  1470 killed and wounded, 140 captured.
San Sebastian, 7-25 June 1813:  693 killed and wounded, 325 captured.
Sorauren, 28-30 July 1813:  452 killed, 2556 wounded, 122 captured.
Echalar, 2 August 1813:  13 killed, 122 wounded, 8 captured.
San Sebastian, 25 July – 31 August 1813:  1200 killed, 3800 wounded, 300 missing.
Bidassoa, 31 August – 1 September 1813: 
Ordal, 13 September 1813:  75 killed, 109 wounded, 333 missing or captured.
Villafranca, 13 September 1813:  25 killed, 69 wounded, 40 missing.
Bidassoa and Rhune, 7-9 October 1813:  82 killed, 486 wounded, 5 missing.
Nivelle River, 10 November 1813:  274 killed, 1752 wounded, 74 missing.
Bayonne, 9-13 December 1813:  41 officers and 690 men killed, 212 officers and 3125 men wounded, 18 officers and 575 men missing. 

Garris, 15 February 1814:  170 killed and wounded.
Orthez, 27 February 1814:  211 killed, 1373 wounded, 61 captured.
Vic-en-Bigorre, 19 March 1814:  ca 250 killed and wounded.
Toulouse, 10 April 1814:  312 killed, 1775 wounded, 28 missing.

Quatre-Bras, 16 June 1815:  317 killed, 2154 wounded, 32 missing.
Waterloo, 18 June 1815:  22,800 killed and wounded–of a total of 71,000 men who fought and died there.

Auch die keinen Frieden kannten,
Aber Mut und Stärke sandten
Über leichenvolles Feld
In die halbentschlafene Welt:
Alle die von hinnen schieden,
Alle Seelen ruh’n in Frieden!
 
                                                                                             Johann Georg Jacobi (1740-1814)
 
Those too who knew no peace,
But still offered courage and strength
On the corpse-strewn field
In a world half-asleep:
May all who have parted hence,
May all souls rest in peace!
 
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