21eme Regiment de Ligne
  Caporal O'Connell

My First Event

Caporal James O’Connell


March 1987, an advert in Military Modelling: “Join the Foot Guards, experience life as one of Wellington’s redcoats…” I would love to do that but I’m only 14. I couldn’t get there. Oh, and there’s an advert to be French, whatever.


June 1989 Ron Ackers turns up at our house and asks my dad if he wants to do “French reactment” (deliberate misspelling!). Dad says no but I might be interested. At last, I thought, do one event as French and then join the Foot Guards…


July 1989 equipped with a shako, trousers, gaiters, and a percussion musket we pulled up at Larkhill army barracks. It was dusk. Feeling very foolish I got out of the car with Ron and walked over to a group of French soldiers in line with two officers.


One of the officers materialises a greatcoat from nowhere, introduces himself as Chris and takes me to meet the Captain. “Chris” says Chris “This is Nick, our newest recruit.” I’m too scared to correct him. “You vill do nicely” comes the reply.

I am now marched round the back of the unit to my corporal, Dave Prior, and we’re off. I learn to keep step and basic drill on that first march in the dark.


We do guard duty and then a night battle where I got lost. By now I have decided this is NOT  for me!


After the battle we reformed, marched off and formed a hollow square, for the ceremony of furling the Eagle.


There I was 16 years old, part of an amazing group, listening to that tune that sent a shiver down my spine, and I knew that this was just the beginning.

Jame O'Connell
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Commanding Officer
Chris Perko
Algrave Hall
Hassock Lane North
Derbyshire DE75 7JB
The Adjutant
Chris Durkin
7 Lowcroft Crescent
Oldham OL9 9UU
Position of the Regiment
25th May
1790 Regiment Guyenne at Lyon
1792: Journal militaire:1st battalion arrived Besancon
1793 Landau, siege until 28th December.
1794 At Nice, General Kellerman formed a Polish battalion with men found in the 21eme demi-brigade, 9 companies of 3 officers and 70 men.
1796 Evening, Massena's division (21e) along left bank of the Ellero, from Mondovi to the Tanaro.
1798 Into garrison at Amiens, 2nd battalion at Nantes (formed March 1797), 3rd at Dunkirk
1799 Magnano, towards Brescia.
1800 Pas de Suse, and town of Suse.
1801 Battalion expeditionnaire formed on the Ile de Re, with 140 of the 21eme, 106 56th Line, 59 5th Light, 58 Colonial depot Ile de re, 28 legion Loire, 119 cannoniers 5th Foot artillery, on the frigate l'Africaine.
1803 Bruges Camp/Ostend, 3/4 battalions Flessigne until July 1804.
1804 3rd and 4th battalions to Cologne.
1805 Crossed the Danube at Pressberg, one battalion at Bruick, other in villages of Regelbrun, Arbestal, Collesbrunn, Willfersnauer, and Schadendorf, until 5th January 1806.
1806 Division Kreus Munster
1807 Division at the Hohenstein camp until 5th June.
1808 Juliers
1809 Division left Ebersdorf for Vienna
1810 Brunswick, until October.
1811 Stade
1812 Division Thorn
1813 Order to form 1st Corps, 1st division, 33rd Provisional demi-brigade (2/12, 2/21) forming near Erfurth, united into corps at Wittenberg.
1814 Bergen op Zoom
1815 Lille

1815 Between Quatre-Bras and Waterloo.
Waterloo 1985
Boulogne 1991 on the Video page.

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