1865: Last brave veteran of Waterloo dies


Château d'Hougoumont during the Battle of Waterloo

On Sunday last the remaining remnant of the glorious 18th of June [date of Battle], in this parish, departed this life, within a few days of celebrating the 50th anniversary of that memorable day. William Packman, more familiarly known as Old Blueman, was a native of Cuckfield and in his early days enlisted in the guards, serving in Holland and a part of the Peninsular War.


At the time the alarming news came that Napoleon had returned from Elba, he was attached to the 2nd battalion, then lying at Brussels, and was engaged with the advance on the 16th and 17th of June, 1815, and on the 18th took part in the hand to hand affair at Huguemont [a walled farm compound] during the eight hours’ strife on the plains of Waterloo, and having received the bounty at the conclusion of the war, left the service, an act he much regretted in his after years, as had he remained in the guards a few years longer, he would have been entitled to a pension.

He was in his 74th year, and has left a wife and two daughters, both of whom are respectably married. It is a singular circumstance that his wife, who has been confined to her bed for months, on her husband’s demise, suddenly recovered her strength, and getting out of bed, dressed herself, and set to ‘putting things to rights indoors and out, seeming to be as strong and as active as ever,’ but we hear that she soon relapsed into her former helplessness.

Poor Old Blueman was an assiduous and faithful nurse to his wife, and being of late years, dependent on his own exertions as a casual gardener, their means of living were very precarious, but they found friends in high quarters whose generosity will no doubt extend to the widow, and save her from ending her days in the union house.

Sources:

Sussex Advertiser - Tuesday 13 June 1865

Castle of Hougoumont during the Battle of Waterloo [Public domain image]


Contributed by Malcolm Davison.

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