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The Napoleonic Wars 1792-1815

The 33rd Regt. of Foot at Waterloo 1815.

For all discussions relating to the Hundred Days and Napoleon's final defeat at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

The 33rd Regt. of Foot at Waterloo 1815.

Postby Spañiard » February 27th, 2015, 5:50 pm

I went on-line just found accounts painted with a wide brush on the 33rd at Waterloo, It’s rank and file were recruited from what area, is the below correct?

33rd Foot nickname Havercake Lads 1700s/1800s A havercake is an oat pancake very popular in the West of Yorkshire, which was (and is) the main recruiting area for the 33rd Foot, later Duke of Wellington's and now the Yorkshire Regiment.


"The Waterloo roll call. With biographical notes and anecdotes"
https://archive.org/details/waterloorollcall00daltuoft



1793-1815 The Napoleonic Wars.

By early March 1815, the regiment was again under the command of the Duke of Wellington, this time during the Hundred Days campaign of Napoleon. Having taken part in the action of the previous day, at the Battle of Quatre Bras, they took part in the action at Waterloo; the 33rd was part of the 5th Brigade under the command of Major General Sir Colin Halkett.

"Upon the whole I consider this regiment (the 33rd) to be in the most advanced state of any in the army." - Sir Henry Clinton, Inspector General of Infantry of Wellington's army in Flanders 16th January 1815


On 16th June the French attacked them at Quatre Bras. The 33rd was heavily involved and played its part in ensuring the safe withdrawal of the British force to Waterloo. There, on 18th June, was fought the battle which was forever to be associated with the name of Wellington. The battle lasted all day and despite repeated attacks the British squares held firm against the massed attacks of the French cavalry. Napoleon, frustrated, is reported to have said 'These dogs of English never know when they are beaten'. Finally Wellington, aided by the Prussians under Blucher, drove the French from the field and the long periods of wars against them came to an end.

http://www.dwr.org.uk/dwr.php?id=64&pa=207


Can members kindly provide more info on the 33rd at Waterloo, etc. would be appreciated?


THK U FR YR TME.

Joseph.


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Re: The 33rd Regt. of Foot at Waterloo 1815.

Postby Josh&Historyland » February 28th, 2015, 12:16 am

I'll see what I can dig up.

First of all there's this, a memoir of a participant.
http://books.google.co.uk/books/about/Personal_Recollections_of_the_Waterloo_C.html?id=MQ6OPgAACAAJ&redir_esc=y

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Re: The 33rd Regt. of Foot at Waterloo 1815.

Postby Andrew » March 1st, 2015, 11:13 am

The 33rd were formally known as ‘the 33rd or The 1st Yorkshire (West Riding) Regiment.’ Thus, theoretically at least, they recruited from that part of England. However, like most regiments, they took recruits from wherever they could be found and most English regiments had high proportions of Scots and Irishmen in them.

In 1815, the 33rd were a relatively inexperienced regiment, having not fought in the Peninsular War like many other infantry regiments. Prior to 1812 they served in India, only returning in that year. In 1813 they served in Northern Germany and in 1814 took part in the abortive attack on Bergen-op-Zoom.

In 1815 they were commanded by Lt Col Elphinstone and formed part of Maj-Gen Sir Colin Hackett’s 1st Brigade of Alten’s 3rd British Division, 1st Corps. They were present at Quatre Bras and were deployed between the eastern edge of the Bossu wood and the main road, behind the Brunswick infantry. Here they came under heavy, close range artillery fire, but after fighting off some French infantry (probably skirmishers) they formed into square. Continuing to suffer from the artillery, they formed into line in an attempt to reduce casualties. A sudden cry of ‘cavalry’ panicked the battalion into a sudden rush to the perceived safety of the Bossu wood. A number of men were cut down and the battalion effectively dispersed. They rallied to the north of the wood where they were put back into some sort of order. They suffered 19 dead, 74 wounded and 9 missing at this battle, out of a starting strength of 576.

At Waterloo they were deployed to the west of centre of the British line between Kielmansegge’s brigade and Maitland’s brigade of British Guards. During the great French cavalry charges they formed a square with the 2/69th who had suffered heavily at Quatre Bras. One British eye-witness (Sgt Morris of the 73rd) claims that the square ‘was unfortunately broken into and retired in confusion’, but were rescued by British cavalry and retook their place in the line. During the final attack of the French Guard, Halkett was wounded and Elphinstone took command of the brigade. At this critical moment the brigade was ordered to withdraw to find some cover, but broke and rushed to the rear. Once out of contact they were again rallied. There casualties for the day were 35 killed, 102 wounded and 48 missing.

Despite the illustrious name they were later to carry, they did not cover themselves in glory during this short campaign. They lacked the core of experienced officers, NCOs and soldiers enjoyed by many of the other British regiments and I suspect their experiences at Quatre Bras (and possibly even at Bergen op Zoom the year before) had not prepared them well psychologically for such a cataclysmic battle.
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Re: The 33rd Regt. of Foot at Waterloo 1815.

Postby Josh&Historyland » March 1st, 2015, 11:59 am

A lack of veteran officers and NCO's (for most commanders were experienced in drill) is not unusual for at least half of Wellington's British units. Still at least some of the NCO's must have been veterans... I mean the Grey's had some Low Countries Veterans and even some Peninusluar ones that transferred, so the raw material must be key here.
They were recruited from around Yorkshire and Midlands, with their headquarters at Halifax. The havercake lads, was a nickname earned because their recruiting parties had at one time or another baked them for recruits.

A rather bumpy ride overall but nevertheless a fair percentage since they were on the right flank of the brigade and came under the least fire during the "Crisis" and were engaged late at Quatre Bras. Waterloo, is perhaps more impressive for their lack of campaign experience over the interval years between India and Holland and their fright at QB after seeing the 69th Ridden down, I think most of the brigade rushed for the shelter of the wood (entirely sensible if cavalry have got the jump on a line of infantry, one cannot always do a "Glouster" or likewise face about the rear rank like the 44th, or just form square anyway like the 42nd) , I'd not blame either for being a tad skittish on the 18th. There was a terrible lack of cavalry support for the infantry at Quatre Bras. (Luckily it seems that really Wellington never minded troops running away so long as they came back which they seem to have done twice!)
The incident of the brigade breaking of course was a phenomenon suffered by most of the entire right centre as they advanced to pursue the Guard, from the British Guards on the right to the Hanoverians on the left, they all suddenly recoiled and rushed back across the road in disorder, while Adam's and Detmer's Brigades kept going. Kruse went first after Donzelot was repulsed, then Halkett as the 4th and 3rd retreated. And then the 1st Foot under Maitland also, in a sort of serried descent into panic.

The Regiment had a fairly high tradition of drill in the Line. Essentially because Wellington had commanded it as Arthur Wellesley since before the Duke of York's Flander's campaign, where they had performed admirably. In 1796-7 they went with him to India, were again they demonstrated good solid virtues Wellington liked to see in his infantry fighting in all his major battles and returned in 1812. Given that this was the only regiment he practically commanded as Colonel in the field. This was the model for which he measured every other line regiment afterwards. However they did not see action from their return until Bergen op Zoom and they didn't see much of the fighting.

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Re: The 33rd Regt. of Foot at Waterloo 1815.

Postby jf42 » March 1st, 2015, 4:31 pm

In fact, the 33rd had a much longer tradition of excellence. After Lord Cornwallis became their Colonel in 1766 he lavished attention and money on the Regiment. Cornwallis drilled the 33rd in Light infantry techniques, and they were employed as an unofficial light infantry regiment in America during the War of Independence, serving in the same role as the 'Flank' battalions, the 42nd and Queen's Rangers out of New York. In 1780 Cornwallis then took the 33rd with him down to the Carolinas where they shared in his successes and failures, till what was left of the regiment went into the bag at Yorktown.

The connection with Yorkshire was formalised in 1782, Cornwallis reporting that the 33rd had "always recruited in the West Riding." Following the return from North America in 1786, the 33rd continued to receive recognition for their smartness, discipline and efficiency, quickly earning the nickname 'The Pattern." During a time when the rest of the army was stagnating such esprit de corps was exemplary. The 33rd did duty as 'King's Guard' at Windsor until 1789, when Inspecting officers reported the 33rd was "adequate for any military service whatsoever"- despite their hats being too small. Wesley was fortunate in gaining his Lieutenant Colonelcy in the 33rd. Their performance, covering the withdrawal for the Guards at Boxtel in September 1794, for which Abercrombie personally thanked Wesley, was not merely a prefiguring of the young Colonel's future coolness and command under fire, as hagiographers tended to claim. That is not to say Cornwallis wasn't content to recommend Wesley as "a sensible man and a good officer" in 1796.

Curiously, though, Lord Cathcart, who took over a neighbouring brigade at Tiel on the Waal in November 1794, remarked that the 33rd "are much improved since I last saw them" (at Ostend five months before). He nonetheless confided they were a regiment he would gladly have in his brigade, the Sixth, - who showed well in the sporadic fighting during the ensuing mid-winter campaign. The 33rd, together with the 42nd and 78th were in theThird brigade, which performed equally well. Together with the Guards, the Third and Sixth brigades acted as Harcourt's fire brigade, under David Dundas. The 33rd extracted themselves from an awkwardly exposed position at Meteren in January 1795, credit for which, as at Boxtel, may have been due to the pugnacious and more experienced Lieut. Col. John Sherbrook, Wesley's junior in the 33rd, although older and with longer service.
Last edited by jf42 on January 22nd, 2016, 5:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The 33rd Regt. of Foot at Waterloo 1815.

Postby Spañiard » March 5th, 2015, 6:54 pm

Hello: Thank U Mr. Andrew, JF42 and Josh, for your contribution it’s appreciated, will be of interest too students or interested individuals.

The 33rd served in the Peninsula during the War of Spanish Succession, being forced to ...

I keep seeing the above snippets, on the list for British Regiments 1808-14 the 33rd is not mentioned, did I miss the boat??


The 1st Yorkshire West Riding Regiment
Tradition for many years held strongly to the belief that the 33rd Regiment was originally raised around Sowerby, Near Halifax. However though it is not possible to be precise about the recruiting area, the evidence points to most of the soldiers coming from Gloucestershire where it's first muster was held.

There can be no doubt though that by the time of the American War of Independence the Regiment had established a strong link with the West Riding and it's from from this time also that the Regiment's nickname "The Havercake Lads" begins to appear, the Havercake being the traditional Yorkshire Oat (hafer) cake.

However it was not until 1782 that an established link with the West Riding was to be recognised. It was then that, to encourage recruiting, it was decided infantry regiments should be associated with particular counties and the Colonels of all non 'Royal' Regiments were written to, asking which county they would like to be linked with.

Lord Cornwallis, The then Colonel of the Regiment, replied that "The 33rd Regiment of Infantry has always recruited in the West Riding of Yorkshire and has a very good interest and the general goodwill of the people in that part of the county:- I should therefore wish not only to be permitted to recruit in that county, but that my Regiment may bear the name of of the 33rd or West Yorkshire Regiment". On the 31st of August 1782 Lord Cornwallis heard that the King had approved of the new title:- "33rd (or the 1st West Yorkshire West Riding) Regiment of Foot".

Though the Regiment's title changed again in 1853 to the "33rd (Duke of Wellington's) Regiment" to mark it's long-standing ties with the 1st Duke, it did not lose it's recruiting links with the West Riding.

http://www.dwr.org.uk/dwr.php?id=132


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Re: The 33rd Regt. of Foot at Waterloo 1815.

Postby Josh&Historyland » March 5th, 2015, 8:17 pm

Hi Joseph. The 33rd didn't serve in the peninsula during the "Spanish War of Independence".
When you say "Forced" in regard to the War of the Spanish Succession what do you mean?

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Re: The 33rd Regt. of Foot at Waterloo 1815.

Postby Spañiard » March 6th, 2015, 7:27 pm

Josh&Historyland wrote:Hi Joseph. The 33rd didn't serve in the peninsula during the "Spanish War of Independence".
When you say "Forced" in regard to the War of the Spanish Succession what do you mean?

Josh.


Mr. Josh: Sorry my Dyslexia kicked in, mixed it Up with 1st peninsula war, just focused on peninsula, just saw my mistake, thank U for pointing out the 100 year difference, Lol.

War of the Spanish Succession, la guerra de sucesión 1701 or 2 .
La guerra de la independencia 1808.


SVP. My awarness on Spain’s and the Neopolianic War’s History is minimale at best. This to me is all a learning curve, actually more informed on American then my own.

THK U FR YR TME

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Re: The 33rd Regt. of Foot at Waterloo 1815.

Postby 348 White » June 14th, 2015, 9:02 pm

Andrew's comments on the 33rd are generally correct.

In 1815 the unit only had two or three Irish men in the ranks and few Scots (save for a good few officers and the assistant Surgeon who were Scottish gentry).

A lot of men, unusually for a county unit at this stage of the wars, actually came from the unit's home county. Industrialisaton of the textile industry in west Yorkshire meant a lot of locals with previous employment in the textile related trades were now out of work. Areas of Lancashire and Nottingham shire also provided a similar pool of recruits Only a half dozen or less of the hundred 'German' recruits marched from the Baltic region that entered the unit in 1814 where still with the 33rd in summer of 1815. ( The term 'German' is very broad and one casualty at Waterloo was Danish, and other foreign names seem to include a Pole.)
One private (John Lewis Friday), who fought in the battles was black, a standard ranker rather than a musician.

Few of the 33rd served in the Peninsula, just staff appointments, though their contribution was immense if you consider that
Wellesley/Wellington was the 33rd's colonel for several years during this period!
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Re: The 33rd Regt. of Foot at Waterloo 1815.

Postby 348 White » June 14th, 2015, 9:07 pm

Much of my research on the period involves the 33rd in the Napoleonic wars. Rather than type reams of text, I am happy to answer some specific questions individuals might have on this topic.
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