Waterloo Uncovered is a groundbreaking charity that combines world-class archaeology with a programme of care and recovery for Veterans and Serving Military Personnel (VSMP) who have struggled with the physical or mental impacts of their service.

Taking part in a Waterloo Uncovered Support Programme can help rebuild wellbeing and confidence, give participants the opportunity to learn new skills and provide a great forum to mix with people from a variety of backgrounds with shared experiences.

"In 2021, Waterloo Uncovered launched our Creative Arts Programme, and our Finds Programme, which we ran alongside the second year of our Virtual Programme and our Battlefields Uncovered Programme. Throughout 2021, we've had the pleasure of working with an amazing group of beneficiaries, all of whom have gained something unique from being with us over the past year.

Participants were supported by our expert wellbeing and support team who helped encourage them along the road to recovery. All those who enrolled with us worked towards their own set of personal goals and had the chance to immerse themselves within an important part of history, with a likeminded group of people.

Below, you'll find details of what they got up to over the last year. It has been truly inspiring to work with such a wonderful group of individuals, despite challenging circumstances related to Covid, shifting plans and misbehaving technology, we've really had a great year. New friendships have been made, amazing experiences have been shared and our programmes have had a positive impact on those who took part.

I'd like to say a huge thank you to everyone who joined us in 2021; from our staff and collaborators to our funding bodies, but mainly to our participants. You make the whole thing worthwhile and we've had an absolute blast."

Katie Buckley, Chief Operations Officer

“My journey with Waterloo Uncovered has been a privilege. I have learnt so much and been able to communicate with like minded people from all over the UK”
Neil, Virtual Programme participant
Screenshot of a Christmas Google Hangout virtual meeting of staff and programme participants
Screenshot of a Christmas Google Hangout virtual meeting of staff and programme participants

Virtual Programme



Designed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Virtual programme connects veterans and serving military personnel whilst exploring the archaeology and history of Waterloo.

When we couldn’t go to Waterloo, we brought Waterloo to our veterans and serving military personnel. The aim of the programme is to give a taste of the work Waterloo Uncovered does, bringing together archaeology and wellbeing.

The Virtual programme explores the history and archaeology of Waterloo through lectures, workshops and hangouts. Of the many activities open to participants were a virtual tour of Hougoumont, mindful activities and a look behind the scenes of the British Museum. 

Impact & Benefits
Before each programme, participants also take part in a goal setting exercise, to determine how the programme can be best adapted to help them achieve their social, educational and wellbeing goals. By providing veterans with a sense of routine during the pandemic, as well as a group of like-minded veterans to socialise with and access to new opportunities through education, participants were able to improve their confidence, archaeological skill and reduce loneliness.
“I live alone and from January 2021, I started to slip into a dark hole. I'm a Welfare Officer for RAFA, I help others, but I realised this time it was me that needed the help, I'd lost all my confidence and was so lonely. It helped me build up my confidence and seek a solution to my dilemma: a part time job, which means I see humans each week”
Michelle, Virtual Programme participant
Finds programme participants during a session at Waterloo Uncovered's finds archive
Finds programme participants during a session at Waterloo Uncovered's finds archive

Finds Programme



The Finds Programme, run for the first time in 2021, brought together archaeologists and veterans with an interest in archaeology.

Veterans and serving military personnel bring experience and expertise to the interpretation of battlefield archaeology at Waterloo. Veterans working together to interpret our finds is at the core of this post-excavation project. Participants enjoyed meeting each other, sharing ideas and learning something new, all of which contribute to improving their wellbeing.

The project blended learning and research tasks using Google Classroom, virtual hangouts on Google Meet, and in person workshops. The group worked together to research and curate handling collections of finds from Waterloo, to teach other veterans about the importance of archaeology for mental wellbeing.

A veteran holding a Scots Guard button discovered at Hougoumont
Impact & Benefits

This programme not only cultivated and fostered a lasting connection to heritage, but it also gave participants the chance to discuss a number of sensitive topics, such as death, loss, injury and trauma.

Participants worked together to build physical and digital assemblages over the period of a year. This provided them with an opportunity to re-engage with the military community and to explore the historical context of the Battle of Waterloo in ways which may resonate with their own military experience. As ever, our dedicated and experienced team were working alongside participants every step of the way to ensure that their wellbeing was a priority and that appropriate support was provided as needed.

Finds Stories

Read the fascinating stories of some of our finds from the Waterloo battlefield, researched and written by our 2021 veteran Finds Programme participants.

Château d’Hougoumont
The North Gate of Hougoumont farm
Hougoumont Farm was on Wellington’s far right flank. Find out more about the objects that give us an insight into Hougoumont around the time of the battle...

Life of a Musket Ball
A participant and Finds Officer cleaning musket balls on site in 2019
Musketballs show us where and how battles took place; illustrating the technology of warfare in 1815 and the violence of the battle.

James Callum
James Callum's silver snuff box
One of the most exciting discoveries in our 2021 Finds Programme has been the story of James Callum. James was a Private in the 71st Regiment of Foot, positioned near Hougoumont for most of the battle.

Finds Stories



Read the fascinating stories of some of our finds from the Waterloo battlefield, researched and written by our 2021 veteran Finds Programme participants.

Château d’Hougoumont


The North Gate of Hougoumont farm
Hougoumont Farm was on Wellington’s far right flank. Find out more about the objects that give us an insight into Hougoumont around the time of the battle...

Life of a Musket Ball


A participant and Finds Officer cleaning musket balls on site in 2019
Musketballs show us where and how battles took place; illustrating the technology of warfare in 1815 and the violence of the battle.

James Callum


James Callum's silver snuff box
One of the most exciting discoveries in our 2021 Finds Programme has been the story of James Callum. James was a Private in the 71st Regiment of Foot, positioned near Hougoumont for most of the battle.

Finds Stories



Read the fascinating stories of some of our finds from the Waterloo battlefield, researched and written by our 2021 veteran Finds Programme participants.

Château d’Hougoumont


The North Gate of Hougoumont farm
Hougoumont Farm was on Wellington’s far right flank. Find out more about the objects that give us an insight into Hougoumont around the time of the battle...

Life of a Musket Ball


A participant and Finds Officer cleaning musket balls on site in 2019
Musketballs show us where and how battles took place; illustrating the technology of warfare in 1815 and the violence of the battle.

James Callum


James Callum's silver snuff box
One of the most exciting discoveries in our 2021 Finds Programme has been the story of James Callum. James was a Private in the 71st Regiment of Foot, positioned near Hougoumont for most of the battle.

“I was thrown into the virtual world which was hard to adapt to, however support from the Waterloo Uncovered team made this transition easier. I loved the finds programme and am loving this new adventure”
Charlie, Finds Programme participant
A piece of artwork on wood, created by a participant
A piece of artwork on wood, created by a participant

Creative Arts Programme



Participants on the Creative Arts programme, run for the first time in 2021, worked with practitioners to learn about the archaeology of Waterloo and create responses in three different art forms.

Taking part in creative activities like writing or model making has been part of the experience at Waterloo. These activities can help maintain wellbeing: through mindful activity, working with or alongside like minded people, learning new skills and making connections.

The Arts programme explored mixed media, poetry and drawing through Google Meet hangouts. The participants took part in live sessions, one to ones and group work, all led by practitioners. Virtual visits to the British Museum, Apsley House and the Scots Dragoon Guards provided context. Further inspiration from archaeology, history and the theme “A Sense of Place” resulted in the pieces produced, which also reflect the personal journey of each veteran.

A drawing of a Waterloo soldier
Impact & Benefits
Through the programme, participants were able to try a variety of creative activities and learn new skills that many believed they would not be able to achieve prior to embarking on the programme. The resulting artworks and pieces of poetry demonstrate a variety of unique perspectives, and a significant improvement in both confidence and ability, gained over the course of the programme.
Poetry
As well as creating artworks, veteran participants have written a series of evocative poems as part of the Arts Programme, largely themed around conflict, Waterloo, and their own military experience.


Arts programme participant Jamie performing his poem "What About Me?" at our November 2021 fundraiser, featuring background music from Sounds of War.
“As a totally blind individual, I was intrigued about the idea of participating in the Waterloo Uncovered Arts Programme - it seemed a bit impossible. However, when I thought about the wider aspects of art, it became obvious that there were areas with which I could get fully involved, and it has been fantastic! I've learned a lot about myself and about writing poetry that is 'in the moment'.”
Jamie, Arts Programme participant
Battlefields Uncovered participants on a tour of the Waterloo battlefield
Battlefields Uncovered participants on a tour of the Waterloo battlefield

Battlefields Uncovered



Our Battlefields Uncovered Programme, funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Trust's Tackling Loneliness Programme is a collaboration between Wellbeing and Support specialists, archaeologists, museum curators & the University of Utrecht. It provides a clear educational and goal setting structure to ensure participants achieve meaningful outcomes, with an important focus on improving their wellbeing.

This programme offered participants the chance to gain academic credits from an accredited university course held online. Ideally suited to those who may be interested in gaining new skills through engaging lectures and seminars with a particular focus on history and archaeology, participants journeyed across the globe and through the ages, starting with the Battle of Waterloo, to discover what investigating conflict can reveal about the past, the present and even ourselves.

Lectures, seminars and interactive workshops hosted by a range of expert lecturers and leading scholars, totalling 30 hours of online learning content, were spread over three months (roughly 2 hours a week), providing plenty of opportunities for learning.

Impact & Benefits

Battlefields Uncovered is designed to tackle loneliness in groups that were at particular risk during the pandemic. By holding regular, friendly seminars and group discussions with an incredibly diverse group of veterans, students and military family members from all over the world, ranging from 19 to 70 years old, the programme was able to successfully combat the isolation that can be felt over winter.

Participants also graduated with academic credits from the University of Utrecht, which opens up a world of opportunity for those who wish to pursue further education, job and volunteering opportunities, and more. Veterans were also offered the opportunity to continue onto a further stage of the Battlefields programme, and to carry out an internship in a museum or heritage institution in their local area.

Battlefields Uncovered supports those at risk of social isolation and loneliness over the winter period
Battlefields Uncovered is our first programme supporting the adult family members of veterans and serving personnel
Our diverse group of participants range from 19 to 70 years old!
Participants come from the UK, Uruguay, New Zealand, USA, Canada, Ireland, Gambia, Germany, the Netherlands and more!
“I have gained so much knowledge from my fellow students, particularly from the Veteran community. The timing of this course could not have been better as it alleviated a lot of the feelings of isolation throughout the lockdown period. The team's support throughout this course has been wonderful and I cannot thank them enough.”
Nicola, Battlefields Uncovered and Finds Programme participant
Sponsors, Supporters and Partners


Annington Homes
The Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust
COBSEO The Confederation of Service Charities
University College Roosevelt
University of Glasgow
Utrecht University
Summer School Utrecht
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Registered with Fundraising Regulator
Registered with Fundraising Regulator
Registered with Fundraising Regulator