The remarkable story about “The loss of Prince Imperial of France” was recounted by Lou Fletcher at our January meeting. Napoleon Eugene Louis Jean Joseph Bonaparte, heir to the French Empire, was killed in action while fighting with the British army in Zululand.
The Young Prince
The Franco-Prussian War, 1870-1871, saw the defeat of France by German states led by Prussia. The young prince, with his mother Empress Eugenie, fled to Chislehurst in England where they made their home, together with the prince’s father Emperor Napoleon III. As he grew older, the prince imperial longed for battle and pressed the British army for a commission. Although he could not be offered a position he was allowed to wear a uniform.
On the 1st June 1879, the British army advanced into Zululand, and a small patrol led by Lt Carey and accompanied by the prince imperial set out to locate a site for an army camp and to draw maps of the area. The prince, with his skittish horse and his Austerlitz sword, was considered risky and go-ahead but soon assumed command of the patrol. They stopped at an encampment to make coffee and smoke their pipes unaware of the many Zulus close by. In the ensuing attack, the prince imperial was trampled by his own horse and his arm broken. He fought valiantly but was killed by a veritable hail of assegai spears.
Tony Dunk complimented Lou on giving his presentation without notes and with such historical detail. It was as if Lou had himself been there! Our talk in February is entitled “Snapshots in the life of a Parish Priest” and will be given by the Very Rev Dr. Christopher Hardwick.
That Tavistock Probus Club is always happy to welcome new members. Anyone interested in joining Probus may contact the secretary on 01822 615669.