Felicity Handford

Volunteer, Finds Photography
Summer excavations 2015, 2016, 2017

Felicity was born and brought up a Londoner but has lived in Brussels since 1991, when she crossed the Channel as a trailing spouse, her husband worked for Eurocontrol from 1991 until 2007 when he died. Felicity has one grown‐up son who was born in Belgium, and is currently back living at home, in Belgium where she still lives. She is a retired Physiotherapist and worked both in the NHS and in Belgium. 

Felicity’s hobby is photography, and when she went to her church All Saints Waterloo with her camera to take photos of a 2015 WU, Hillery asked if she would come and do some finds photography. For Felicity there was good reason to say yes: “As a school girl in the sixth form I wanted to spend time on an archaeological dig but somehow I never managed it. To have the opportunity to work on one now is amazing and especially on the Waterloo Battle site. My four times great grandfather Sargent Major James Dissington of the Royal Horse Artillery fought in and survived the battle, so I have a personal connection.”

So, Felicity joined the team and has been doing finds photography for Waterloo Uncovered on every excavation since:

My job is to photograph all the finds with a find number before they are catalogued. So over the two weeks this amounts to photographing between 800–900 items. It is quite concentrated and methodical work and involves uses DSLR cameras.

While there usually is a brief lull at the beginning of the day while the finds department clean the items that came in the previous afternoon (and some days also at the beginning of the afternoon while waiting the next set of finds to be cleaned), the finds photography has to continue until all finds have been done, so we can be working up to the end of the last day.

As a result of my experience in the first two years, the 2017 finds photography was offered as an option for the veterans to do. Just as in the first two years, there was one person in particular who really enjoyed it and got a lot out of photography. Because of the help I had, we managed to photograph the finds far more quickly and the result was that the cataloguing went much more quickly and easily. I very much hope that we will be able to do the same programme next year. I personally really enjoy working with veterans and feel very fortunate in having had Mitch working with me in 2017. It is great working with someone who is very keen to learn and enjoys the work. I believe that photography is a skill that can be very easily developed and enjoyed by the veterans when they get back home.”

Thanks to her time on the dig, Felicity says, “I have learnt a great deal about archaeologists, the battle and I am the envy of a good many of my friends. I also want to say how much I have got out of the readings in Reading to Remember. I can only guess at how much work that involves, but it really puts one in touch with what the ordinary soldiers must have gone through.”

Felicity in 2017