Arthur Wellesley (2)

Duke of Wellington, General and British Prime Minister,

Napoleon BonaparteWhat followed was a regular advance, then retreat, style of campaign that kept Wellington one step ahead of his often numerically superior enemies.

When in doubt about his army's ability to defeat larger enemy forces he would often retire - much to his men's fury - behind the Lines of Torres Vedras.

While careful with soldiers' lives in an open battle, Wellington is said to have often lost his caution in a siege and the bloody assaults on Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz back this up.

Yet, his brilliant victories at Salamanca and Vitoria paved the way for victory in the Peninsula and went a long way towards defeating Napoleon's ambitions.

In 1814, it took all of Wellington's skill to push a fiesty Soult back through the Pyrenees into France.

After the abdication of Napoleon he represented Britain at the Congress of Vienna, but was drawn back into military life by the return of the former Emperor.

During the 100 Days Campaign he found himself out manouevred by Bonaparte - "Humbugged" as he called it - but managed to hold off the French at Quatre Bras long enough to stabilise his defensive line at Waterloo.

In the only battle between the British aristocrat and the French emperor, Wellington's tactics, and the gutsy support of a bloodied Prussian army under Marshal Blucher, ended Bonaparte's hopes of a triumphant return to power. Instead, it ushered him into an ignominious exile and death on St Helena.

Known as Old Hookey (because of his nose), Our Atty (Arthur) and the Bugger that Beats the French, Wellington was worshipped by his men, but not loved.

He had hanged too many for looting to be anything other than feared, but his policy made the red-coated army not only a formidable fighting machine, but a disciplined one as well. Albeit an army disciplined by the lash and the fear of the gallows.

A long and turbulent political life followed for the Conqueror of Bonaparte and he became Britain's Prime Minister in 1828 despite his own reluctance for the position.

A conservative by nature, he allowed Catholic emancipation in Ireland, but drew the line at a more democratic system for the House of Commons.

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