On June 19, 1815, at the age of nineteen, Lieutenant Henry Buckley led a
charge against a square of infantry on the Plains of Waterloo. Buckley was
struck by a musket ball and mortally wounded.
The Battle of Waterloo was a one-day action waged on a front of 3.2
square kilometres. After nine hours, 40,000 men and 10,000 horses lay
dead or wounded. Each Briton surviving Waterloo was eventually awarded
a medal and allowed to count two years of military service for that one day.
Men fighting and dying in foreign lands rarely had their bodies returned
home: difficulties of transport and practical problems surrounding decay
made such journeys undesirable for all but the most wealthy or well connected
of corpses. There are many young Englishmen like Buckley,
who are 'in that rich earth a richer dust concealed; a dust whom England
once bore, shaped, made aware'.
Field is a nine-hour projected video timed to coincide with the opening hours of the exhibition Exhumed. It was continously recorded from a point overlooking
the location most likely to have been the scene of Buckley’s death. Though
there is a plaque memorialising Buckley in his parish church of St Mary-at-Lambeth, it is not known where his body is buried.