The mystery of what happened to the bodies of more than 20,000 men who were killed at the Battle of Waterloo has dogged historians for decades.
Despite the passing of more than 200 years since the Duke of Wellington’s triumph over Napoleon’s forces in 1815, only two skeletons of fallen men have been found, with the most recent discovery coming last month.
But now, bombshell new research suggests the remains of men and tens of thousands of horses are missing because they were ground down and used to filter brown sugar beet into refined white sugar.
The gruesome practice likely took place at other Napoleonic battle sites, with sugar factories existing close by. …
The sugar factory at Waterloo.
The team discovered dozens of contemporary written accounts in Belgian, German and French archives that suggested the bones were plundered from 1834 onwards and used for the burgeoning sugar industry in Belgium. …
One written account, in the German newspaper Prager Tagblatt in 1879, noted that using honey to sweeten food avoided the risk of ‘having your great-grandfather’s atoms dissolved in your coffee one fine morning’.
Forgotten and rediscovered, in less than 200 years. Even the recent past is scarcely known.