Friday, February 26, 2010


Vera is a small village on the Spanish side of the Pyrenees. It played an important part in Wellington’s 1813 campaign as it has one of the few bridges over the Bidassoa river. The 20 miles journey from Maya is through the river valley through impressive mountain scenery. It is very similar to Scotland, but with more sun than is usual there.

On 13 August 1813 about 10,000 French troops crossed this bridge as part of an offensive to raise the siege of San Sebastian. The attempt failed and they returned in heavy rain, which dramatically raised the level of the river, making the river unfordable. When they reached the bridge they found it defended by 80 men of the 95th Rifles under the command of a Captain Daniel Cadoux. He held the bridge for two hours, but died in the action along with 16 of his men. The French forced the bridge, but lost 231 casualties in the process.

I first heard about this gallant action when I read a battle report in Wargamers Newsletter in the early 1970’s. I always remembered it, because my Vera is also my sister’s name. So when I saw a sign for the village I was determined to find the bridge. It proved very difficult to do so, and we were lucky that we found a local who spoke a little English and pointed out the direction of the bridge. It is still in use, but not part of the main road and you would not find it unless you were determined to

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