Blantyre Men at Waterloo

The Battle of Waterloo, 18th June 1815. It prompted several stories about bravery, inspired the naming of the rows of homes in the expanding Blantyre Works Village and was even the subject of a Eurovision song!

Scotland_Forever!67,000 British and Allied troops with 160 guns went up against 74,000 French troops with 250 guns, At Waterloo, Belgium. The allies were commanded by the Duke of Wellington. According to Wellington, the battle was “the nearest-run thing you ever saw in your life”, a reference to the almost equal number of guns and troops. Despite odds slightly in favour of the French, the British won the battle, forcing Napoleon, the French leader, into exile and retreat.

This iconic picture shows one of the allied regiments, the Royal Scots Greys charging the French. The ground was so bad, they had to canter the charge rather than storm in. Amongst those 945 horseback soldiers were 2 Blantyre men. A senior ranking officer Serjeant Arthur Pollock, originally a weaver from Blantyre and Private Robert Mackie, a labourer. Unfortunately, both Blantyre men were killed in action.

scotsgreys1815The Caledonian Mercury newspaper reported the loss on Monday 7th August 1815.

The Royal Scots Greys were first formed in 1678, later becoming the Royal Regiment of Scots Dragoons, where thy kept this title until 1971, merging with the 3rd Carabiniers. They form a vital part of the British army , seeing a lot of service especially in the 2 great world wars. The names Pollock and Mackie should be remembered in our town. These were two brave men fighting for their country, to protect their homeland

Featuring Blantyre Project Social Media with permission. Strictly not for use by others on or offline, our visitors said:

Nathaniel Mains They’ve got a brilliant painting of this in Leeds Art Gallery.
Joseph Allan Blantyre every where
Margaret Duncan these snippets are really interesting – keep them coming x
Tom Loggie We’re all their horses grey or white in colour as shown in the painting.
Blantyre Project I must admit to having to google that. It appears so. The greys referring to horses with white or dappled-white hair.
Isobel Paterson Amazing
Christine Forrest There was a story I read somewhere that one the early president James Polks grandfather came from blantyre. Due to them not being able to read or write changed his name to Polk a sort of short version said quickly of Pollock wonder if he was related to this soldier
Blantyre Project that, i think is partially true. There are absolutely links to a Pollock from High Blantyre going to America and being linked to the President. I started investigating this thoroughly in 2017 but parked it as I needed to pursue ancestry abroad. I have a detailed little booklet that connects things together. The story is one however, entwined with slavery, his financial worth (and indeed modern legacy) from arriving in America being made entirely from acquisition and forced captive labour, all in that unsavoury time in history.

There IS a definite connection and more than a myth. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.


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