Turning back the clock to Napoleonic period

26 March 2020
By Jane Hanks

A new Napoleonic wars re-enactment group has been set up - and it is the only British one in France that welcomes women as soldiers.

Founder Shaun Fox, who lives in Saint-Aubin-de-Terregatte, Manche, would love to hear from anyone who would like to join the Normandy-based group.

“Currently, we only have English members, but would welcome any nationality who would like to take part in this activity, which delves into the past to recreate the lives of the soldiers during the Napoleonic wars as accurately as possible.”

The group represents the 51st (2nd Yorkshire) West Riding Light Infantry Regiment. Mr Fox said: “The regiment was raised in 1755 but we represent the period of 1800-15.

“The regiment fought with distinction in major battles through Portugal and Spain and across the Pyrenees and into France and the battle of Waterloo, with the final defeat of Napoleon in 1815.”

Mr Fox has been passionately interested in this period since he was a young boy and said: “I was part of a re-enactment group in the UK for eight years before moving to France. We meet twice a month for drill practice, discussion and learning how to use period muskets.

“My wife Catherine is a long-suffering soldier’s wife and does all the background work and is a massive support.”

In June, the group are travelling to Belgium for a re-enactment of the Battle of Waterloo, with more than 4,000 “soldiers” taking part.

Uniforms are as authentic as possible. Mr Fox said: “At present, I am spending all my spare time sewing uniforms for our new members.”

Fabrics are manufactured to the same specifications as they were in the 19th century with authentic dyes.

“New members do not need to have any previous experience and there are no age limits,” said Mr Fox.

“Some of our new members have done nothing like this before and are finding it fascinating.

“I hope to put on events in the area and would welcome new recruits.”

Anyone interested can contact Mr Fox at facebook.com/groups/NNR1815 or by email at NNR1815@gmail.com.

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