Napoleonic history is an important part of St Helena. It is fortuitous that the airport opens almost at the start of the 6-year Bicentenary Commemoration period. The French Consul, Enterprise St Helena, St Helena Tourism, the St Helena Government, the Foundation Napoléon, and others, are working together to ensure the event is managed and maintained in a way that St Helena and Saints will benefit. Especially considering the increase in tourist numbers that will naturally occur with the opening of the airport.
Annual commemorative service – 5th May
Last Monday the annual commemorative service was held at Napoleon’s Tomb to mark the death of the French Emperor, 193 years ago. A similar commemoration took place at Les Invalides, Paris, where Napoleon’s body is now interred.
Over seventy spectators gathered on the terraces above the Tomb. A respectful silence between The Last Post and Reveille, offered a “Moment de Memoire”, which was followed by representatives laying floral wreaths. Wreaths were laid on behalf of the French Nation, St Helena, the Foundation Napoleon and the island’s youth – represented by ten students that are learning French.
French Consul, Michel Dancoisene-Martineau, said, “This is the first time we have held the ceremony with no RMS or cruise ship at the harbour, and it was a working day – so I am amazed at the turnout. I see today as St Helena showing respect to the man I am here for, keeping the memory alive.”
The location of Napoleon’s Tomb on St Helena was chosen by Napoleon himself. He was particularly fond of this valley, and sent servants to get water from the spring for his use on a daily basis.
There is no inscription on the Tomb. The French had wanted ‘Napoelon 1769-1821’. The British insisted that ‘Bonaparte’ should be added. In the end, it was decided to leave the stone blank.
About The Foundation Napoléon
The Fondation Napoléon (founded in 1987) is a registered charity committed to the encouragement of the study of and interest in the history of the First and Second Empires and the preservation of Napoleonic heritage. Director, Thierry Lentz, recently visited the island to oversee work on Longwood House – the Foundation being the primary funder for the project.
Save Longwood House Project
Within a few months the restoration of the Generals’ Apartments will be complete, and decoration of the interior and final exterior finishes will commence. Completion of work is timed in readiness to mark the auspicious occasion of 200 years since Napoleon’s arrival on the island; on the night of the 14/15 October 1815.
Longwood House April 2014
Longwood House 2010
Restoring Furniture and Speaking French
Prince Andrew School students are over a year into French classes. Extra curricular classes are offered to the community.Thirty major pieces of antique furniture are being restored in Paris, to be exhibited at Les Invalides, before they are returned to St Helena.
Six Saints have been trained to restore and conserve furniture at a purpose built workshop at Longwood House, mentored by Amael Gohier, Europe’s leading expert in this field.One apprentice continues to restore and repair furniture with the goal of running his own business in the future.
Credit to news@SAMS.sh
Credit to news@SAMS.sh
For more information please visit: www.napoleon.org