Saturday 23 September 2023

Mont St Jean Farmhouse

Mont St Jean Farmhouse was traditionally believed to have been far enough behind the Allied line to have been out of the direct fire battle. 

However, recent evidence hints that the fighting may have got close following the discovery of a French cannon ball. 

 Either way, the farm is principally known as the site of the Allied field hospital. Mick Crumplin states that “Many regimental surgeons and some assistant surgeons and staff surgeons collected at Mont-St-Jean Farm, about 400 metres behind Wellington’s line. This was the 1st Corps hospital, under the command of Dr John Gunning. Here wounds were redressed and cleaned, fractures were ‘reset’, and amputations and trepanning (skull surgery) performed.”

The farm was also on the main road to Brussels so most of the Allied wounded and French prisoners of war would also have made their way north past the front gate.  It would also be true to say that the many Allied soldiers who fled the field, such as the Duke of Cumberland's Hussars, would have passed this point.

There is plenty of evidence for what the  farm looked like at the front with many images giving supporting evidence:

Victorian photographs are also helpful:

The modern farm remains substantially the same but the central tower collapsed and was rebuilt:

The inside of the farm gives a sense of scale:

The difficulty is that the modern farm does not have the same rear as the farm of 1815.  We must rely on the Siborne model to show this, but a direct aerial shot is blurry:

We can superimpose the Siborne shot over a modern Google Earth image to get an exact sense of scale

Close up shots of the Siborne farm give excellent detailing and put the farm in its topographical context:

Here are some early shots of the farm, as built by my father.  The bails of hay are not right for the period and will go.  His realisation of the building is excellent.

We are very pleased with the results, but there is still much work to do before the surrounding scenery is correct:

Liam has been working on casualties to populate the farm:

In the coming weeks we will complete the farm and add the figures to what is promising to be an excellent new building for the diorama.

Casualties passing La Haye Sainte

Sunday 10 September 2023

More from the Crossroads

With the weather breaking and me going back to work, I dismantled the model and took it into my shed section by section.  This allows some close-ups but don't be confused by the proximity of other sections.  Here are some more shots showing progress over the weekend:

The garden at La Haye Sainte

Scene on the road

West Barn

Interior of the farm

95th line the hedge

Siborne shows this barricade with greenery, presumably cut from the orchard.

32nd Cornwalls

Cameron Highlanders




Elite light infantry advance north along the chaussee.

The orchard

And finally here are some shots of the Siborne model along with other source material. Of course Siborne shows the scene at the time of D'Erlon's attack while I am showing the moment that the French break into La Haye Sainte.