The 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo culminates in a massive re-enactment attended by 60, 000 spectators. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT - NO REPORTER NARRATION Sixty thousand spectators descended upon the former site of the Battle of Waterloo on Saturday (June 20) to watch French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte's dreams to rule Europe be shattered during a historic re-enactment as part of bicentenary commemorations. Napoleon's last battle saw him defeated at the hands of Britain's Duke of Wellington's forces and General Bluecher's Prussian army. Attendees watched vivid evocations of the bloody summer Sunday of June 18, 1815 when tens of thousands of men died on the field. Military history enthusiast Paul Wisken, participating in the re-enactment from the United Kingdom, said the event was a commemoration, not a celebration. "We all bear in mind exactly what the guys did and we're now experiencing that in a realism that most of us have never actually seen before with the numbers and the situation that we're fighting in. It is really incredible," he said. The losses on the Waterloo battlefield were extreme even by the standards of the day. The French lost 25,000 killed and wounded, Wellington 15,000 and the Prussians 8,000. Saturday's re-enactment, the finale of a series of festivities across Belgium to mark the 200th anniversary, was concentrated around Hougoumont farm, a key British stronghold during the battle. Napoleon and his 72,000 men stood defeated against Wellington's 68,000 and Bluecher's 45,000 Prussians. He fled to Paris, where he was forced into exile to the remote South Atlantic island of St. Helena and died there six years later aged 51.