On this day in 1815 – (201 years ago) — some 65,000 troops lay dead, wounded, or missing in the immediate aftermath of the Battle of Waterloo, in which French troops loyal to Napoleon Bonaparte were defeated by a multinational force that was led by the Duke of Wellington, and made up of soldiers from England, Ireland, Scotland, Prussia, Holland, Belgium, and other European countries. The defeat brought an end to Napoleon’s domination of Europe and his dreams of greater conquest. Napoleon was soon forced to abdicate as emperor of the French, and he was sent into exile for the rest of his life on the remote South Atlantic island of Saint Helena. On the field of battle, meanwhile, scavengers carrying pliers and buckets hurried to and fro among the decaying corpses to pull and collect the dead soldiers’ teeth — which they then sold to dentists, who used them to make dentures. The dentists did not conceal the origins of the teeth from their customers. On the contrary, some proudly advertised their dentures as being made from “Waterloo teeth.”
On this day in 1972 – (44 years ago) — British European Airways Flight 458, en route from London Heathrow to Brussels, went into a deep stall shortly after takeoff, and crashed near the town of Staines, England. All 118 passengers and crew aboard were killed. The accident occurred in the context of a threatened air pilot’s strike over pay, conditions, and the hazard of airline hijacking, which had become common in the early 1970s. Not all BEA pilots were in favor of the strike, but many co-pilots had already walked off the job, to be hurriedly replaced by recently hired rookies. An inquest later concluded that the crash of Flight 458 was due mainly to several oversights and bad decisions made by inexperienced crew members.
Rotten History is written by Renaldo Migaldi