Waterloo Messenger (Hardback)
The Life of Henry Percy, Peninsular Soldier and French Prisoner of War
As featured in the Daily Mail: The fascinating life of Honourable Major Henry Percy and his unusual battle victory message (19/05/17)
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Henry Percy is best known as the officer who carried the Waterloo Dispatch, the Duke of Wellingtons account of the Battle of Waterloo and the ultimate defeat of Napoleon, to London in June 1815. This was the climax of a remarkable military career. He served in the British army throughout the Napoleonic Wars in Sicily, Egypt, Sweden, Portugal and Spain, and he fought at Waterloo. This biography gives us a fascinating insight into active service and the high command during those wartime years. The strong, contrasting personalities of the notable British and French commanders he encountered Moore, Wellington and Junot among them are revealed, and his time as a captive in France offers us a rare inside view of the everyday existence of a prominent prisoner of war. Using archives in England, in particular at Alnwick Castle, and in France, William Mahon has reconstructed Percys life in meticulous detail. He paints a vivid picture of Percys wartime experience. He also describes his enduring friendships and his liaison with the French woman who bore him a son.
Although the author states that this is not a true biography of Henry Percy due to little surviving contemporary sources, "Waterloo Messenger" is nonetheless an excellent account of the life and times of this officer who served as an aide-de-camp to Sir John Moore, as a part of the Duke of Wellington's military family and the man who carries the "Waterloo Dispatch" back to London. The research is thorough and detailed, bringing to light the events surrounding the death in action of Moore in Spain, the various goings-on at both the French and British higher headquarters and Percy's time as a prisoner of war in the hands of the French. This is an informative and welcome addition to the vast amount of literature on the Napoleonic Era.The Past in Review
As featured inWiltshire Star
As featured inGazette and Herald (Devizes)
As featured inSwindon Star
A book more for the general reader than the specialist. Having said that the are some interesting insights into staff work. Also the description of how some prisoners of the French were treated is an eye opener. The book is not a biography but uses the life of Henry Percy as the thread running through some of Moore's and Wellington's campaigns in the Peninsula. That having been said I suspect, largely on the grounds of the author's extensive researches, that there is little more evidence available on Henry Percy's life. All in all a good read which doesn't quite give all the title promises.Clash of Steel
As featured inDevizes Gazette & Herald
As featured inWiltshire Times
Colonel Mahon has written a witty,thoroughly researched book which is easy to read and full of fascinating anecdotes [the 22 pages of Notes are full of surprises and coincidences ].Major Tim Young
The story of Sir John Moore's sword and Henry Percy's captivity,love affair whilst on parole and subsequent children are just two of many nuggets unearthed.
That Wellington entrusted the Waterloo Despatch to Percy comes as no surprise and one is left with an impression of a remarkable and eventful man who deserved more recognition.He now has got it.
As featured inView Wiltshire Magazine
Thoroughly recommended as a study of the life of officer in Wellington’s army, plus the additional details of his time as a prisoner of war.Stuart Asquith, Author
This outstanding biography is the story of courage. It charts the career of a superbly brave cavalryman against the rise and fall of his imperial master. Pierre Daumesnil was a loyal follower of Napoleon during his rise and his fall. Enlisting as a private soldier in 1793, he was caught up in the tumult of the Napoleonic Wars, surviving campaign after campaign and emerging as a much-decorated general and Baron of the Empire. It was a meteoric rise but one earned through hard fighting, bravery and indefatigable courage. Daumesnil accompanied Napoleon as an officer of his chasseurs and his service…By Edward Ryan
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