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Waterloo Supper, 11 Feb 2015

A record turnout of almost 60 Bowyers and their guests attended the company's 'Waterloo Supper' to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Wellington's victory over Napoleon in 1815. Assembled in Bangers Bar & Grill on Wednesday 11 February they were entertained to a fascinating presentation from Liveryman and newly-appointed Court Assistant, Major General Andrew Sharpe.

Andrew has made a life-long study of those momentous events which took place one June day in the fields and forests of Flanders - events which so dramatically altered the history of Europe. He has spent many hours walking the battlefield and is acknowledged as one of the foremost experts on the subject.

With the precision of a military strategist, he outlined both sides' battle plans, lucidly describing the various manoeuvres and engagements in laymens' terms and carrying the narrative through from the early skirmishes to the bloody denouement. But it was his witty and colourful anecdotes about the personal lives of the key players in the drama which brought the subject alive. Arthur Wellesley, the philandering Duke of Wellington; Jerome Bonaparte, Napoleon's dissolute younger brother; Field Marshal von Blucher, the battle-hardened Prussian veteran; Prince William of Orange, "Billy the Frog"; and, of course, "The Little Corporal" himself.

The undoubted star of the show was Napoleon's deputy, the courageous, flamboyant, foul-mouthed, Marshal Ney - Le Rougeaud, Le Brave des Braves. Andrew closed his talk with a moving account of Ney's execution, when the heroic soldier, although innocent of treason, took charge of the firing squad and gave the order to end his life because the guard commander was too overcome by emotion.

Andrew Sharpe possesses that rare quality in a public speaker - the ability to leave his listeners wanting more. He spoke for over an hour yet held his audience spellbound so that they scarcely noticed the time passing.

The evening closed with a splendid three-course meal and a convivial time was had by all.

Chester Stern

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