The Iron Duke had some good reasons for seeing off Siborne’s tin and lead Prussians – Blücher was hardly a knight in shining armour. He had wanted to follow up victory at Waterloo by sacking France as revenge for Austerlitz and Jena. And Wellington and his friends at court and in the cabinet remained wary of Prussian ambition long after 1815, preferring to cement dynastic and commercial alliances with the smaller German duchies and principalities.
Captain William Siborne became an ensign in the 9th Foot in 1813 and was sent to France in 1815 as part of a battalion despatched to reinforce Wellington’s army. A notable topographer, after the events that year he was commissioned to create a scale model of the Battle of Waterloo, for which he carried out extensive research, writing to officers in the allied forces present to obtain information. The subsequent correspondence amounted to the largest single collection of primary source material on the subject ever assembled. After he had completed his model, which is today on public display in the National Army Museum in London, he used the mass of information he had gathered to produce his History of the Waterloo Campaign, which was at the time the most detailed account of the operations of 1815 and is still considered a classic work on the subject.