RUSI Founder’s Day Lecture - The Duke of Wellington and the British Army, 1787-1815

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Duke of Wellington 2012A lecture by Professor Saul David, Professor of War Studies, University of Buckingham, to commemorate the founding of RUSI in June 1831 by the Duke of Wellington.

When Arthur Wellesley (the future Duke of Wellington) joined the 73rd Foot as a young ensign in 1787, the British Army was still reeling from defeat in the American War of Independence, its first loss of a major conflict. It would plumb new depths in the disastrous Low Countries campaign of 1794-5, Wellesley's first experience of combat, when an inadequately led, trained and provisioned British force was driven by the dynamic army of Revolutionary France into Germany. Its fighting performance gradually improved, thanks to the reforms of HRH the Duke of York, key improvements in British artillery and the genius of Wellington, who kept Napoleon Bonaparte's armies at bay in the Iberian Peninsula for six years.

In his lecture, Professor David will argue that the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815 confirmed the British soldier as the finest in Europe; yet, at the same time, was one of Wellington's least convincing victories.

Professor Saul David is Professor of War Studies at the University of Buckingham. He is the the author of several critically acclaimed history books, including The Indian Mutiny: 1857 (shortlisted for the Duke of Westminster’s Medal for Military Literature), Zulu: The Heroism and Tragedy of the Zulu War of 1879 (Waterstones’ Military History Book of the Year) Victoria's Wars: The Rise of Empire and, most recently, All the King’s Men. He has also written two bestselling historical novels set in the wars of the late 19th Century, Zulu Hart and Hart of Empire. An experienced broadcaster, Saul has presented and appeared in history programmes for all the major television channels and is a regular contributor to Radio 4.

Professor David will be on hand to sign copies of his latest book, All the King’s Men (Viking: 2 February 2012), which will be on sale.

An optional £10 sandwich lunch shall be available from 1215.

This event is open to all RUSI members. To become a member, please click here. 

To attend this event, please register online using the "Book your place" button above. If you have any queries please contact Sophie Cordes, Events Manager, at or call +44 (0)20 7747 4971. 

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