Adventures In Historyland

Waterloo Dispatch, Wilkie, (c) Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation Waterloo Dispatch, Wilkie, (c) Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

The Duke of Wellington was famed for being able to assimilate and process large amounts of complex information in a relatively short space of time. His ability to communicate clear, concise orders based thereon were key to his effectiveness as a commander in chief. However a little investigated facet of his communication skills has been taken for granted.

It is a given that because the Duke was part of the Anglo-Irish Aristocracy; lived in Brussels for a few years and attended the military college at Angers, he could speak French. And indeed he could, though one critic commented that he spoke French like he fought them, Wellington could read, write, speak and understand the language of his enemy. He could do this because French was an international second language for most European nations. It wasโ€ฆ

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