The organisation taking care of the 200th Anniversary of Waterloo, which is in June this year, have put out a request for descendants of anyone who was on the Waterloo battlefield to submit a short piece about their ancestor and their life.
So I’ve sent them a piece about my ancestor, William Fraser, who received gun shot wounds during the Battle of Waterloo on 18th June 1815. It reads as follows, and will be published on the Waterloo 200 web site at http://www.waterloo200.org
Private William Fraser 92nd Regiment of Foot (Gordon Highlanders)
Ensign William Fraser was born in Cruden, Aberdeenshire in January 1778, son of Sergeant Donald Fraser of the 92nd Foot. William Fraser was my great great great great grandfather: in 1805, with the daughter of a local crofter, he fathered an illegitimate son who was also named William Fraser.
Shortly after the birth of his son, William Fraser enlisted with the 92nd Foot. His entry in the Peninsula War Medal Roll states he served from 1807 to 1814 and saw action in Vittoria, Pyrennes, Nivelle, Orthes, Toulouse and Salamanca. An entry in the regiment diary for 10th November 1813, at the line of the Nivelle, records that Ensign William Fraser was among the wounded. His 1816 discharge papers state that Private William Fraser “in consequence of gun shot wound received in the left hip joint, right thigh and left arm, while in action with the enemy at Waterloo on the 16th and 18th June 1815, is rendered unfit for further service”. According to his discharge papers, William Fraser was “5ft 8ins tall with fair hair, grey eyes and a fresh complexion, and by trade is a labourer”.
After his discharge William returned to Aberdeenshire. The mother of his illegitimate son had by then married but there are indications he was in contact with his son throughout his life. In 1819 he married Isabella Fraser at Peterhead, but there is no evidence they had children. By 1841, William and his brother John, both army pensioners, are living with their brother Andrew Fraser and his family near Peterhead. William was to spend the rest of his life with his brother’s family on their small croft. He died in 1864, aged 86.
William Fraser’s illegitimate son William became a crofter near Hatton, south of Peterhead, where he lived next door to the grandson of his uncle John Fraser.
Almost 100 years later, my grandfather James Fraser, great great grandson of William Fraser, enlisted with the Gordon Highlanders and served in World War 1: he survived but was wounded at Beaumont Hamel during the Battle of the Somme.