Friday, 26 February 2010


On 31 August 1813 a small party of 80 men from the 95th Rifles held a bridge to prevent a full division of about 10,000 French infantry from crossing the river Bidassoa. I am not sure what it would be called. Certainly not a battle, probably not a combat but perhaps an action.

I first heard about this gallant feat way back in the early 1970s. I had just become interested in wargaming, and subscribed to the only magazine then available in UK called Wargamers Newsletter by Don Featherstone. One edition contained an article called something like "Action at Vera". It caught my eye because my sister is also called Vera, and because it was about the Napoleonic period. The combination meant that I may have forgotten the details of the article, but not the name of the village.

So when we were planning a visit to Wellington's 1813 battlefields in the Pyrenees I was determined to make time to visit the village. Vera played an important part in the campaign because it had one of the few bridges over the strategically important river Bidassoa.

It was easy to find Vera, less easy to find the bridge. Although in a good state of repair, the main road now runs about a mile from the bridge. Fortunately we found a local lad who spoke a little English and he was able to give us general direction which eventually led to the bridge.

You can read about our visit at:

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