About this image
A legion of about 2000 volunteers was formed in Belgium to help Emperor Maximilian of Habsbourg in his attempt to become Emperor of Mexico. His wife was Empress Charlotte was a daughter of Leopold I, King of Belgium. The legion was mainly composed of soldiers with Belgian nationality, but also 79 Germans, 64 French, 27 Luxembourgians. The training of the Legion was in the region of Oudenaarde (East-Flanders) At that time the legion was composed of 2111 persons, included 15 women. 4 ships voyaged in 1864-1865 to transport about 1600 men of the Legion from St Nazaire (France) to Vera Cruz (Mexico). From them only 754 survived. 176 Belgians remained in Mexico after their unit was disbanded (06/12/1866). The rest, presumably, enjoyed rest and recuperation in places such as Derbyshire, and a troop is seen here at Haddon Hall. Haddon Hall is one of the finest example of a medieval manor house currently in existence in England. The hall is one of the seats of the Dukes of Rutland (Manners Family) and lies alongside the River Wye, just south of Bakewell. The Manners family inherited Haddon after John Manners, brother of the 2nd Earl of Rutland, married Dorothy, one of the co-heiresses of Sir George Vernon 'King of the Peak', the last Vernon of Haddon Hall. The Rutlands used the hall very little in the 18th and 19th centuries, so it was almost unaltered since the end of the 16th century when the 9th Duke realised its importance and began restoration in the 1920s. The Vernons had lived at Haddon for four centuries. The present Duke of Rutland, Edward Manners, still owns the hall.