Armies of Occupation, Part I: The British in France 1815-1818

The long Allied occupation of France after Waterloo provides a striking example of how soon a country can return to normal; J. Garston explains how it also offers parallels and contrasts with the state of affairs in Germany today.

The citizens of Calais were astir early on November 28th, 1818. The call of bugles and the rataplan of kettle-drums had fetched them to doorways and windows to look on as the red coats passed by, to the refrain of a light infantry quickstep.

“Vivent les Anglais!” called some, while others, either because they were themselves old soldiers or because the long occupation had taught them something of military customs, uncovered and stood bareheaded as the regimental Colours were borne through the streets.

They were torn and shabby those Colours, blazoned with battle honours and ripped by shot and shell, but the young ensigns carrying them let them fly in the stiff breeze, as if to show that this was no ordinary regiment marching through Calais on its way back to England.1

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