200th Anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo at the 2015 Oxford Book Fair

A single manuscript page written and signed by John Shipp, the first veterinary surgeon to be commissioned into the British Army, with a list of the horses of the 23rd Light Dragoons injured at the Battle of Waterloo. Written only 2 days after the battle, at Brussels, it includes comments such as ‘wounded in shoulder’, ‘shot through near stifle, dangerously wounded’. A fascinating piece of history, priced at £750 and offered by R.E. and G.B. Way, Antiquarian booksellers specializing in books on Horses, Hunting, Racing and all Field Sports.

John Shipp was the first veterinary surgeon to join the British army (commissioned into the 11th Light Dragoons on 25th June 1796), and the founding member of the Army Veterinary Service or Veterinary Corps. This unit, the forerunner of the current Royal Army Veterinary Corps, was founded in the same year following public outrage at the brutal amateur treatment of the horses of the British Army (nicknamed ‘The Hell of Horses’). By 1815 Shipp was a veteran in the French Wars, seeing action in the Low Countries and during the Peninsula Campaign prior to the Battle of Waterloo.

The 23rd Light Dragoons were heavily involved in the white heat of the Waterloo campaign;they charged and routed the French Guard, who were approaching English artillery positions on the Great Orchard, on the slopes and plains of Hougoumont.


The annual PBFA Oxford Book Fair (www.oxfordbookfair.org) is one of the largest events in the antiquarian, rare and second-hand book, map, print and ephemera calendar. In 2015 over 100 dealers will offer tens of thousands of rare and collectable items.

Held at the Oxford Brookes University campus, it offers good national transport links via rail and road.

In the past, the Oxford Book Fair has attracted the attention of national media with notable highlights, such as an archive of the First World War aviator who coined the term ‘joystick’.

Venue: Oxford Brookes University, Headington Campus, Gipsy Lane, Oxford OX3 0BP

Admission: £2 or free via the website

Opening hours: Sat 25th April, Noon-6pm, Sun 26th April, 10am-4pm

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