Following my discovery yesterday that I cycle past a statue of Clive of India each day I’ve had my eyes peeled!
Staggering up the steps carrying my bike into Waterloo place I pass the Duke of York Column, as in “the grand old Duke of York”. Prince Frederick was the C in C of the British army through the French Revolutionary Wars resigning in 1809. He reorganised the British army and supported the setting up of the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.
Then into Waterloo Place I’m surrounded! In front of me we have Edward VII on horseback, John Lawrence, 1st Baron Lawrence who during the Sikh mutiny organised the supply of the British Army in the Punjab. In 1863 he became Viceroy.
Next to him is Colin Campbell, Lord Clyde. Campbell was the officer in charge of the Highland Brigade during the Crimean War, and led during the famous “thin red line” at the battle of Balaclava. He was also sent to India to put down the mutiny of 1857, relieving the siege at Lucknow.
The final statue on the right is to Scott of the Antarctic.
To my left as I cycle though is Field Marshall J. F. Burgoyne, not someone I was familiar with. Looking him up on wikipedia it appears to me his military career was not massively successful:
Burgoyne is best known for his role in the American War of Independence. During the Saratoga campaign he surrendered his army of 5,000 men to the American troops on October 17, 1777. Appointed to command a force designated to capture Albany and end the rebellion, Burgoyne advanced from Canada but soon found himself surrounded and outnumbered. He fought two battles at Saratoga, but was forced to open negotiations with Horatio Gates. Although he agreed to a convention, on 17 October 1777, which would allow his troops to return home, this was subsequently revoked and his men were made prisoners… more
On further investigation it turns out this wasn’t him it was his father! Our Burgoyne was comissioned into the Royal Engineers in 1798 serving during Wellingtons Peninsular Campaigns fighting at Badajoz, Salamanca, Vitoria, San Sebastian, Nive, Busaco, Ciudad Rodrigo, and Nivelle! Like our friend Harry Smith he took part in the war of 1812 against the USA, though unlike Harry he save active service during the Crimean War.
The last statue to my left is more modern, its so modern if you look on google street map it disappears as you go down the street! Air Chief Marshal Keith Park was a New Zealander, WW1 flying ace and commanded the Royal Airforce during WW2.
the awesome responsibility for this country’s survival rested squarely on Keith Park’s shoulders. British military history of this century has been enriched with the names of great fighting men from New Zealand, of all ranks and in every one of our services. Keith Park’s name is carved into history alongside those of his peers. Douglas Bader
The Memorial to the Crimea is the final thing I pass as I cycle up toward Piccadilly Circus, which is flanked by a memorial to Lord Herbert of Lea and another to Florence Nightingale. Also know as the Guards Memorial it is cast from cannons captured at the siege of Sevastopol, and is:
To the memory of 2152 Officers, Non-Com. Officers and Privates of the BRIGADE OF GUARDS who fell during the war with Russian in 1854-56. Erected by their Comrades.
So when I’m fishing for ideas at the start of each season I need look no further than those things around me!