Peace from War: 2019 Impact Report

Read about the findings of our 2019 excavation and an evaluation of our nine-month Veteran and Serving Military Personnel Support Programme.

A report by Waterloo Uncovered reveals how archaeological work on the battlefield of Waterloo is helping veterans and serving military personnel with recovery from some of the mental and physical impacts of their service.

Published to mark the 5th anniversary of the charity and coinciding with the 205th anniversary of the battle (June 18th 1815), the Impact Report, entitled Peace from War, highlights the results of a nine-month pilot Veterans and Serving Personnel Support Programme run in conjunction with the excavation on the Belgian battlefield.

Fifty British and Dutch veterans and serving personnel took part in the dig last July, alongside a team of archaeologists led by Professor Tony Pollard, Director of the Centre for Battlefield Archaeology at the University of Glasgow.

Waterloo Uncovered participants Alastair Eager and Oliver Horncastle with a larger find

One participant described the effect of the programme on herself:

"Waterloo Uncovered has given me a handrail to life – it has helped keep me focused whilst dealing with day-to-day stress." – Waterloo Uncovered Participant

Support for the work of the charity has also come from Dame Clare Marx, Chair of the General Medical Council, who visited the dig in July:

"Waterloo Uncovered is using a really practical, physical environment to help people with their lives, with their belonging, with their control of what they do." – Dame Clare Marx, Chair of the General Medical Council,

The team uncovered more than 800 finds, including items of uniform from British Guardsmen, large numbers of musket and cannon balls from the fierce fighting, and grim evidence of the work of the surgeons in the Allied Field Hospital, in the form of amputated limbs from the struggle to save lives.

Participants in the programme came from a wide variety of service backgrounds, from Chelsea Pensioner to serving soldiers. They were set personal goals to overcome challenges which ranged from significant physical, or mental injury to the struggle to adapt to civilian life. Evaluation shows that 81% of these goals were met "in full, or mostly".

In addition, a scale to measure mental wellbeing, developed by the Universities of Warwick and Edinburgh, revealed an average improvement of nearly 30% in the short term, with an improvement of 20% sustained at the end of the nine-month programme.

A Waterloo Uncovered participant with a smaller find

Mark Evans, former Captain in the Coldstream Guards and now CEO of Waterloo Uncovered said:

"Our wellbeing and support team is made up of professionals with vast experience. This report shows the evidence of the benefits people can achieve, both in the short term and over a longer period."Mark Evans, CEO

Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Johnny Mercer, praised the value of the report in creating a body of robust evidence for the benefits that can be achieved through archaeology:

"The programme addresses the important areas of recovery, health and wellbeing, transition into civilian life, education and employment. It's a good story to tell." – Johnny Mercer, Minister for Veterans' Affairs