Waterloo Uncovered (WU) is a charity that combines world-class archaeology with veteran care and recovery.
Lewis joined The Rifles in 2007 and left in Dec 2010 where he went to work for his Grandfather on his farm where unfortunately he kept himself much to himself.
Subsequently Lewis has been diagnosed with and suffers from many of the classic signs of PTSD
Lewis learnt about the work of the WU through his Combat Stress case worker who recognised that Lewis had a keen interest in history. Lewis was encouraged to apply however on doing so he experienced second thoughts, especially because he would be leaving his Grandfather at home to manage the farm alone.
However, after an online interview, where the project was fully explained to him, Lewis decided to go ahead with the trip. Having been in The Rifles Lewis already knew a lot about the battle and felt a connection to the soldiers that fought in it. Lewis wanted to improve his knowledge of the battle and gain a better understanding of what it must have been like to fight in Wellington’s army all those years ago. Lewis said that he found it hard to imagine what those soldiers would have been through, with thousands of men charging at you and how different it was from Afghanistan where you rarely knew who was your enemy was.
WU as a charity has limited funds and therefore required help in funding this trip for Lewis. The WU team approached The Rifles to seek financial assistance with the cost of the trip. The Rifles (Care for Casualties Appeal) together with Just Rifles awarded a total grant of £3510, this enabled Lewis to attend the full two-week trip.
Lewis found the trip hugely worthwhile. He expanded his knowledge and experienced the joy of archaeology. “I really liked finding things” he said. “I know it’s not all about that but it’s just the best thing to pick something up and think wow! Someone shot this out of his rifle over 200 years ago. That’s pretty amazing!”
As well as the archaeology, Lewis also enjoyed interacting with the other people on site and being part of a team. Lewis said “It’s been good for me because being with the soldiers and the vets I kind of feel normal again, back home I’m just another person, spending a lot of time on my own, but with veterans you can be your old self again, with the dark humor and the banter. It’s a privilege to be here.”
Lewis is now considering studying history or archaeology at university.