17 May Torres Vedras and the Duke of Wellington
At the end of April we were pleased to welcome three cyclists from Wellington’s twinned town of Torres Vedras in Portugal as they set out on a 2,450km journey through their town’s twinned municipalities of Villenave-d’Ornon and Lagos. They are due to arrive home today after a challenging and exciting trek across three countries.
When the cyclists visited Wellington, they stopped at Wellington Monument (pictured) on their way south to Poole. Wellington Monument holds significance in our towns’ connection as the Duke of Wellington was instrumental in defending Lisbon during the Peninsula War. He ordered the construction of the “Lines of Torres Vedras”, a series of forts built in secret to protect the Portuguese capital from Napoleon’s forces.
During these battles, the 95th Regiment of Foot, as well as other regiments (in 2007 formed under one name, The Rifles) fought alongside the Iron Duke and successfully repelled the French army. The Rifles now hold the Napoleonic battle honours “Peninsula” and “Waterloo” in commemoration of their victories within that war.
On Saturday 17th June, Wellington will be proud to grant the Freedom of the Town to The Rifles in a historic event that will see over 200 military personnel parade through the town centre.