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My historical talks cover the late 18th and early 19th Century stemming from my interest in Napoleon and post-
My medical interest led me to study the surgeons and their equipment and techniques for battlefield medicine. This was to save the lives of the wounded and sick, the amputation techniques and how they retrieved the wounded and treated the soldiers during the heat and stress of battle. A number of surgeons advanced the knowledge and understanding, not dissimilar to the modern military surgeons in Birmingham.
I am also interested in Prince Frederick, Duke of York the second son of George III. After military training and inauspicious military campaigns in Northern Europe in the French Revolutionary War he became Commander-
During his life the Duke had many mistresses, but one in particular, Mary Anne Clarke was involved in a major scandal and brought to a temporary end the career of the Duke. The Duke and the British Army were was ably assisted in the field by a general thought at the time the equal of Wellington but he sadly lost his life while helping his men retreat the Peninsular at Corunna.
The doctors of Britain's Napoleonic army played a crucial role in the war against France. Their surgical skills were honed under difficult conditions and without anaesthetics and antibiotics yet the survival rate after amputation was surprisingly good. Their knowledge of disease was rudimentary and consequently the fatality rate was much higher than from injuries. This talk describes the conditions of working, the methods and equipment used and the precautions taken to improve healing.
Prince Frederick, second son of George III was a soldier from an early age. He trained in Germany and at the outbreak of war with France in 1793 was the Commander of the British army in Flanders and Holland from the age of 26 years. Although in the field he was thought by many as a failure he returned to London and over the next thirty years transformed the British soldier into a major force which was good enough to defeat Napoleon at Waterloo.
After the French Revolution the people of France and their National Assembly wanted to impose the revolutionary ideals on the rest of Europe. The Netherlands were over run and war declared on Britain. A small expeditionary army was sent under the command of Prince Frederick, Duke of York and after some success came to dramatic defeats at Dunkirk in 1973 and Nijmegen in 1794 and although there were numerous causes for these defeats the Duke of York was redrawn to London and later rewarded for his bravery and field experience with the role of Commander-
The Duke of York had many mistresses but one, Mary Anne Clarke was the focus of a major scandal when she and the Duke were accused of selling promotions within the army. The background is one of treachery, deceit, political shenanigans and a major enquiry in Parliament which rocked the country for seven weeks and resulted in the resignation of the Duke.
Sir John Moore was an important British General. He joined the army aged fourteen, fought in the American War of Independence, against the French in Corsica and helped developed the Martello Tower. But it his command of the British army in the Peninsular War for which he is best known. Threatened by Napoleon he led the army through atrocious conditions to the coast for evacuation but while holding the French back he was killed by a cannonball and buried in the fortress, prompting the famous poem "Not a drum was heard, not a funeral note, As his corse to the rampart we hurried".