In honour of the approaching bi-centenary of the Battle of Waterloo, Westminster City Council will commemorate the bravery of soldier, Samuel Goodley, by tidying up his grave in St Johns Wood Burial Ground.
The disused graveyard is not maintained by Westminster City Council, but it was decided that Samuel’s resting place should be tidied up when his descendent , David Yaw, contacted the City Council to tell the tale of the remarkable part his ancestor played in the Battle of Waterloo.
During the battle, a marksman shot Samuel Goodley’s horse from beneath and so, in an act of survival, he fought a French cavalryman, known as a cuirassier, for his horse. Despite suffering a fractured skull during the combat, Samuel successfully commandeered the horse and continued to fight in the battle right up until Napoleon surrendered.
Samuel Goodley received injuries severe enough to require a silver plate be placed in his head. After the battle, he found employment in the bazaar at Baker Street, which is where he sadly collapsed and died in 1832.
Councillor Richard Beddoe of Westminster City Council, said: “We were unaware until recently of the significant part that Samuel Goodley, who lived, worked and is buried in Westminster, played in this historic event. His bravery and determination serves as a symbol of all that should be remembered as we approach the 200 year anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo. “
David Yaw, Samuel Goodley’s descendant who told the City Council his story, said: “I am pleased that Westminster City council keeps the public space well maintained - and naturally delighted that the parks department is pulling out all the stops to ensure Samuel's final resting place is being cleaned and tidied in time for this weekend's bi-centenary - a fitting tribute. After 200 years, the headstone is showing signs of wear”
“It’s very re-assuring that Westminster City Council will not be using any chemicals during the cleaning process, to ensure no further damage is caused”