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Amputation Saw

Last updated: 3 June 2011

Leah Birch presents the saw that was used to amputate the Earl of Uxbridge's leg at the Battle of Waterloo.

 
Amputation Saw from the Battle of Waterloo (video)

Transcript

Voiceover:

Now, in "A small piece of history", Leah Birch of the National Army Museum presents a favourite object from the Collection.

Leah Birch:

I have here the saw that was used to amputate the Earl of Uxbridge's leg at the Battle of Waterloo. And the bloody glove of his aide-de-camp who tried to staunch the flow of blood with his fist.

The Earl of Uxbridge was quite a character. He commanded the British cavalry at Waterloo. He nearly didn't make it onto the battlefield because he offended Wellington by having an affair with his brother's wife.

But he made it, and in the final hours of the battle a piece of shot narrowly missed Wellington and hit the Earl of Uxbridge instead. They carried him to Waterloo village where they proceeded to cut off his leg without anaesthetic, as was par for the course in those days.

During the operation Uxbridge remained very manly and composed and he remarked once that he thought the saw was actually rather blunt.

3 comments

Michael Powel
11 March 2011, 9.05pm

I have an ancestor called

I have an ancestor called James Powell who was a Surgeon and who came from Lenham in Kent - the dates tie-in - was it my James I wonder?
He was the son of James and Sarah Powell of Smarden - this James was also a surgeon. Very interesting video.

Christine Thomas
30 January 2013, 6.17pm

wow, this isnt a small piece

wow, this isnt a small piece of history this is a massive piece of history, the actual saw and even the blood still all over the glove, can they take some DNA and find some existing relitives even clone him fantastic.

Natalie
28 August 2013, 2.15pm

@Christine Thomas - No need

@Christine Thomas - No need for DNA testing. 'One Leg' has many, many living relatives (including the current line of Marquesses of Anglesey). He had 18 legitimate children (from two marriages) and around 75 grandchildren at the time of his death - so you can imagine how many hundreds of people still carry his genetics. :)

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