Waterloo heroes’ tribute restored

The Wigan-based Queens Own Yeomanry Reserve Unit guard the monument
The Wigan-based Queens Own Yeomanry Reserve Unit guard the monument

A tribute to those brave men who helped to defeat Napoleon on the fields of Belgium 200 years ago has been given a make-over.

The Waterloo Monument in Billinge has been given a massive spruce-up after it fell into considerable disrepair.

Organisers John ONeill and Andrew Palin

Organisers John ONeill and Andrew Palin

A ceremony was held this weekend to show off the renovated monument, which was put up within a year of the battle which saw the French army defeated by the allied British, German, Prussian, Dutch and Belgian forces.

The repair work was done thanks to a campaign by the Waterloo Monument Group which has enjoyed support from local organisations, politicians and history groups.

Tony Hilton, from the group, said: “The monument was erected within a year of the battle in 1815 at Bispham Hall on the land now owned by the Scout Association.

“After 200 years it was in need of a little tender love and care. It has been taken down, its iron fittings replaced by steel, its weathered stones replaced, and rebuilt. The immediate vicinity has also been landscaped.”

After 200 years it was in need of a little tender love and care

Tony Hilton

Several local men were in the army which faced Napoleon’s forces, with John Hitchen, from Pemberton, and Benjamin Baddeley, from Leigh, known to have served at Waterloo.

The edifice lists the generals who defeated Napoleon and is decorated with quotes from the Roman writers Virgil and Horace, an adaptation of Nelson’s order to the British navy at Trafalgar and a verse by an unknown author.

The renovation work attracted considerable support, with the War Memorials Trust and the Duchy of Lancaster Benevolent Fund chipping in and councillors contributing to the cost through their Brighter Borough funding.