Issue 36 December
John Sadler in a 1970s British Ferret armoured car equipped with 30mm Rardon cannon (See Foxes of War inside for more details)
Greetings All Welcome to issue 36 of the Re-Enactor,
“Happy 3rd Birthday” I cannot believe that 3 years have passed by already, they do say that times flies when you are having fun!
Retired Ferret in more familial mode
I have just returned from a superb weekend at The Ludlow Castle Medieval Christmas Fair which was superb! The weather was fantastic and that certainly brought the crowds out-possible the busiest I have ever seen the fair. Later this week (Thursday 1 st) I will be at Hereford Cathedral to see The Mediaeval Baebes in concert-something that I am really looking forward to! Congratulations to John from the UK for being the lucky winner of last month’s competitions. Your prize will be with you soon! As always, I am on the look-out for more groups, traders, event details, stories, articles and reports. Please contact me at the normal email address with details!
Ferret, hotly pursued by a Chieftain MBT and no, this is not Iraq but Northumberland
Features This Month 1: The Foxes of War by John Sadler 2: Competition No.1 3: Book Reviews-The Historical Novel Soc. 4: Competition No.2 5: Katherine Ashe article 6: Event Listings 7: Mediaeval Baebes Concert
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I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Take care of yourselves and I will hopefully catch up with some of you in 2012. Editor.
Jason.firstname.lastname@example.org Competitions: All competitions are free to enter Winners will be selected at random on the 24th of each month for the relevant competition. Winners will be notified via email shortly after the draw takes place. No correspondence will be entered into. The editor’s decision is final. The views and opinions expressed in the articles in this ezine are those of the individual authors themselves and not those of the Editor
THE FOXES OF WAR By John Sadler with photographs by Adam Barr Cry havoc and let slip the Dogs of War…
A British armoured car stands sentinel over a field of dead. A shocking atrocity, but happily not a real incident, the ‘dead’ recovered rapidly with the offer of tea or coffee. The episode was re-enacted and filmed for a forthcoming book on the Massacre of Glencoe 1692 and perceived links to twentieth century ‘ethnic cleansing’ – surely one of the most odious of modern expressions.
This feature is not, however, about atrocities but armoured cars and particularly the Fox, or FV721 Fox Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance (wheeled), to provide its full designation. The Fox was, in part, a child of compromise intended to combine the joint functions of two of its predecessors, the Ferret scout car and Saladin armoured vehicle. As such it represented the apogee of a long period of design and innovation which began during the First World War. Before 1914 scouting and reconnaissance were traditionally preserves of the light cavalry, themselves descended from the ‘hobilers’ or ‘prickers’ who formed the eyes and often the teeth of medieval armies.
World War I provided the stimulus for the development of the armoured car. In the first instance this, more or less, was and did what it said on the tin, a civilian motor vehicle provided with light armament and some attempts at armour, used for scouting. As the war ground on, attempts were made top produce a more specialised vehicle, still based on civilian models but fitted with armour plate and, latterly a turret. Some were specifically adapted to anti-aircraft use. In 1914 the Royal Naval Air Service (“RNAS”) raised a squadron of armoured cars for airfield protection. These pioneer vehicles utilised a standard Rolls Royce Silver Ghost chassis but with twin wheels at rear and a bespoke steel superstructure including a revolving turret which could accommodate a medium machine gun (Vickers). A six cylinder Rolls Royce petrol engine provided sufficient power to keep 4.22 tonnes weight moving at effective speeds.
By 1915 many of these early vehicles were transferred to the Middle East theatre for use against Ottoman forces in Palestine and Mesopotamia. Freed from the grinding attrition of static warfare in the trenches the armoured cars came into their own. Performing in the light cavalry role, they coped well with desert conditions despite only being two-wheel drive. One of the most romantic uses of the armoured cars was as a component of ‘Dunsterforce’ – playing the ‘Great Game’ during the collapse of Tsarist Russian armies in 1917. MajorGeneral Lionel Dunsterville commanded a flying column of around a thousand British and Australian troops. Their role was to seal the gap which had opened after Tsarist withdrawal from the Caucasus, a wide frontier stretching over 800 miles to Mesopotamia. It was feared that the Ottomans, backed by their German sponsors, might have designs on India. These proved groundless but Dunsterforce was engaged in the savage and bloody fighting for Baku before withdrawing. The city’s predominantly Armenia population suffered the full, ghastly consequences of a Turkish victory. On the outbreak of World War II in 1939, emphasis in Britain’s output of fighting vehicles shifted mainly to the production of tanks, the bulk of the B.E.F.’s armour having been lost at Dunkirk. Armoured cars initially proved to be the poor relation with some interesting ad hoc variants. One of these was the ingenious if somewhat crude Beaverette, basic lightly armoured body on a Humber chassis, armed with a Bren. These continued to provide airfield security for the RAF and latterly, ‘armour’ for the Home Guard.
Most early British armoured cars of World War II were built onto standard commercial chassis; the Morris CS9 was based on a Morris 15 cwt 4 x 2 truck conversion. A number served with the 11th Hussars in North Africa and were still in use as late as 1943. The Marmon Harrington was a DIY assembly utilising Ford three ton chassis with a conversion ‘kit’ sold by the US Marmon-Harrington Company. The ‘kit’ had been designed by a former US army engineer Colonel Arthur Herrington who created a 4 x 4 armoured variant. Despite this apparently Heath Robinson provenance both Mark 1 and Mark 2 Marmon-Harringtons did good service in the Western Desert. By the end of the war, over 4,500 were in service with South African forces alone.
From 1941 the Rootes Group commenced manufacture of Humber, based on an Indian Army artillery tractor. Designed for airport security, the Humber quickly made its mark in reconnaissance. Though quite small it was relatively fast, reliable and versatile, open-topped
and mounting nothing heavier than a Bren or Vickers. The subsequent Mk 2 was fitted with a shield for the gunner and equipped with 15 mm and 7.92 BESA’s machine guns. By 1942 the Mk 3 was in production and, in the following year, a heavier Mk4 entered service. This now had a crew of four and was fitted with a revolving turret mounting a 2 pounder or 37mm gun. Over 3,600 of all variants were produced. Daimler, in 1938, through the company’s subsidiary BSA, won a design competition, sponsored
scouting/reconnaissance type vehicle. The design featured front wheel drive with engine at the rear, open-topped with sliding or, latterly, folding roof cover. Some were armed (Vickers) others had radio gear only. The final and most sophisticated variant, Mk 3 was hugely successful, some 6,626 being produced during the war years. Daimler produced an armoured car, based on a similar design, from 1939, though early models suffered from mechanical defects. A viable variant did not enter service until 1941 but quickly proved its worth, powered by a Daimler six cylinder petrol engine and having a 2 pounder gun mounted in a revolving turret. The vehicle did good service in the Western Desert, through the Italian campaign and after D-Day in Northern Europe. In all some 2,964 were built.
It was during the course of one particular campaign that fought in Iraq, where the armoured car showed its worth; fast moving, robust, with adequate firepower, the classic light cavalry role. Iraq had been governed by a British mandate after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. In 1941 the Iraqi polity was divided between Pro-Allied and Pro-Axis factions. The latter seized power in a domestic coup which potentially threatened Britain’s vital oil supply coming through Basra. Wavell appointed Lieutenant-General Sir Edward Quinan to lead ‘Iraq-Force’. In a markedly hostile environment, extreme climate and harassed by elements of the Luftwaffe the British succeeded in asserting control. RAF armoured cars played a vital role in defending the aerodrome at Habbaniya during a decisive and hard-fought battle. The cars later enjoyed a significant part in the subsequent advance on Fallujah.
Throughout World War II the handy Dingo did excellent service as a light reconnaissance vehicle. In 1949 this was replaced by the Ferret, also by Daimler and which was, in many ways, a natural successor. Ferret had a larger fighting compartment and optional turret, mounted a Bren with six hull mounted grenade launchers. It was fast enough for an urban environment whilst sufficiently robust (4 x 4) for variable terrain. A relative lightweight at
3.7 tonnes Ferret is popular with collectors and re-enactors and though long vanished from the UK order of battle is still fielded by a number of Commonwealth forces.
Coming into service for the first time in 1943 was the US manufactured Staghound (Marks 1,2, & 3). A heavy vehicle armed with a 75mm and, in the case of the final variant, three .30 cal. Machine guns. The Staghound was a light tank bar the tracks and, though effective in certain terrain was actually too big to negotiate the narrow lanes of ancient Italian and latterly French townships.
At the other end of the scale the wartime AEC armoured car was replaced by the Alvis Saladin, weighing in at a hefty 11.6 tonnes. It was of steel armoured construction, had a crew of three and its main armament comprised a powerful 76 mm gun. Secondary armament was provided by two machine-guns. Part of the Alvis FV600 series its fellows were Saracen (armoured personnel carrier (“2APC”)) and Stalwart (all terrain supply). Never fully deployed in earnest Saladins, from B squadron 16/5 Lancers, nevertheless defended Nicosia Airport during the crisis of 1974. The vehicle remained in the service of Commonwealth and other forces for many years (including a batch delivered to West Germany for use by their border guards). Saladin was the opposite end of the scale to Ferret, a tank minus tracks which could add substantial firepower to the reconnaissance role
Despite technical advances and knowledge gained from battlefield experience the function of the armoured car remains the same, it has to be fast yet must provide crew member with both protection and firepower. If its role is not to initiate combat and must be equipped to deal with a combat situation. It is not a tank, though armoured cars have sometimes been described as tanks without tracks and larger up-gunned vehicles such as Saladin have a formidable appearance. A wheeled vehicle is likely to be faster, more manoeuvrable and, importantly, far less noisy than its tracked equivalent
In certain peace keeping and civil unrest situations the armoured car is to be preferred over tracked vehicles as it is felt to be less intimidating. For this reason Fox was deployed in Northern Ireland during the early days of the Troubles. With its rakish lines and slender armament Fox was perhaps still too threatening. A purpose designed vehicle the Shorland, bastard child of Land Rover body and Ferret turret, was provided for the Royal Ulster Constabulary (“RUC”). Even this was later replaced by the armoured Land Rover ‘Tangi’.
First introduced in 1973 and powered by a superb Jaguar 4.2 litre straight six engine, Fox served with UK armed forces for some twenty years before being phased out in 1993/1994. It carried a crew of three and was equipped with a low profile rotating turret fitted with a 30mm L21 RARDEN cannon. The gun was manually loaded with three round clips and some 99 rounds in total were carried. Secondary armament was a coaxial L37A2 7.62mm GPMG with 2,600 rounds; neither weapon was stabilised. A pair of four-barrelled smoke dischargers was also mounted on the turret. To minimise weight (6.75 tonnes) the main armour was made from aluminium and the vehicle was designed to be air-portable, it was fitted with a flotation screen. Fox was not protected against nuclear, biological or chemical weapons.
Operational deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan have revealed limitations in the use of armoured Land Rovers in counter-insurgency operations. The British army is now equipping with Panther, a UK variant of the Italian IVECO Light Multi-role Vehicle (“LMV”). Billed as a Command Liaison Vehicle (“CLV”) this is manufactured in the UK by BAE Systems and weighs some 6.5 tonnes, not that much lighter than Fox. Its design reflects shifting operational requirements, the crew can remain safe inside for up to five days and it features modular armour packs and a high ground clearance with numerous features designed to shield occupants from blast caused by roadside bombs. Why is this Cold war era worth re-enacting – the war that never was? Well obviously, it’s great fun or we wouldn’t do it, bombing around country lanes to the ire of lycra clad cyclists has a satisfying resonance, a blow for anoraks everywhere, carbon footprint the size of Nebraska. There is a serious underlying purpose in that vehicles such as Fox are important elements in our post-war military heritage. That these vehicles were not, during the course of the Cold War, tested in earnest as the preceding generation of armoured cars had been, is to be welcomed. Nonetheless Ferret, Saladin, Fox et al represent important heritage assets with a tradition stretching back into antiquity. The armoured car perhaps never enjoyed the prestige of its tracked contemporary the tank but its contribution to Allied Victory in both World Wars cannot be overlooked. Ironically in an age when the Main battle Tank (“MBT”) is largely accepted as being redundant, a new generation of armoured cars has emerged. D. John Sadler BA (Hons) M.Phil FRHistS FSA (Scotl.): 28 th September, 2011.
Competition One Tower, An Epic History of The Tower Of London ISBN: 978-0-091-93665-5
Castle, royal palace, prison, torture chamber, execution site, zoo, mint, treasure house, armoury, record office, observatory and the most visited tourist attraction in the Country: The tower of London has been all these things and more. No building in Britain has been more intimately involved in our island's story than this mighty, brooding stronghold in the very heart of the capital, a place which stood at the epicentre of dramatic, bloody and frequently cruel events for almost one thousand years. Now historian Nigel Jones sets this dramatic story firmly in the context of national - and international events. In a gripping account drawn from primary sources, he pictures the Tower in its many changing moods and its many diverse functions. Here, for the first time, is a thematic portrayal of the Tower of London not just as an ancient structure, but as a living symbol of the nation. incorporating a dazzling panoply of political and social detail, TOWER puts one of Britain's most important buildings at the heart of our national story. Historian and biographer Nigel Jones has written acclaimed books on subjects as diverse as Nazi Germany, Patrick Hamilton and Rupert Brooke. A former deputy editor of History Today and BBC History magazines, he has appeared on historical documentaries on BBC TV and radio and writes and reviews widely for national newspapers and periodicals. Nigel is founder-director of www.historicaltrips.com The book is published by Hutchinson, Random House, www.randomhouse.co.uk
To win one of five copies of this book visit: http://www.hrp.org.uk/TowerOfLondon/stories/buildinghistory/ And answer this simple question: Q:When did William the Conqueror begin to build a massive stone tower at the centre of his London fortress?
Send your answer for either one or both of this monthâ€™s competitions along with your full postal address to: email@example.com before January 24th 2012 to be in with a chance of winning!
Book Review Previously published by The Historical Novel Society IN THE NAME OF THE KING
A.L. Berridge, Penguin, 2011, £6.99, pb, 492pp, 9780141043746 France, 1640. Following directly on from the excellentHonour and the Sword, Andre de Roland travels to Paris to stay with his grandmother to address his future. When Andre stumbles on a conspiracy with Spain, which goes to the heart of the king’s household, to overthrow the king he finds himself accused of treason and is forced into hiding. It is up to Andre to risk his life and his honour to uncover the evidence which will allow Cardinal Richelieu to take action. The story is written from the point of view of several different characters, but, interestingly, not from that of de Roland. This allows the story to be told from a multifaceted viewpoint, bringing an immediacy and intimacy to the story. Well researched and written, the plot is fast paced and exciting. The action is virtually nonstop, while the battle scenes are realistic and compelling. You can read and enjoy this novel without having read Honour, but it will help if you have. This is one to keep and enjoy over and over again. Highly recommended.-- Mike Ashworth LIONHEART
Sharon Kay Penman, Putnam, 2011, $28.95/C$33.50, hb, 608pp, 9780399157851 The title of Sharon Kay Penman’s highly anticipated new novel, Lionheart, says it all. This is the story of Richard Plantagenet: king, soldier, count, mother’s favorite, crusader. Yet it hardly comes close to actually describing the depth and breadth of this chronicle and the lyrical way Penman brings this legend vividly to life. Lionheart encompasses the time immediately after Richard and his fellow king, Philippe of France, embark on a crusade to free Jerusalem from Saladin’s rule through Richard’s ultimate decision to return to rescue his kingdom from the machinations of his younger brother, John. Richard is portrayed as headstrong and arrogant, yet justifiably so since his military prowess was ferocious. Penman writes Richard with all his faults yet also his strengths, but the story is at its best when Richard’s sister Joanna takes the stage. Joanna is truly her mother’s daughter, and her scenes ripple with conviction and personality. She, along with other secondary characters, both real and fictional, serves to give us the most intimate look at the Lion, who is equal parts myth and truth. Lionheart is not an easy book to read, as it is filled with an author’s nightmare of similarly named people and a good deal of information-building necessary to illuminate the story. The beautifully described settings and the characters’ interactions are simply outstanding, however, and I was enthralled by Penman’s gift of placing you directly inside the story to experience all of the grittiness of war. Richard was a complex man who often polarized those who knew him into two camps: you either loved him or you hated him, and there was no middle ground. After reading Lionheart, I predict that there will be many more who will feel the enigmatic pull of Richard’s personality. Penman has written a tour de force that has me ready for the sequel right this minute. Highly recommended. -Tamela McCann
For reviews on other books why not visit:
Master of Rome Atticus, the young Greek captain, is now a commander of the growing Roman navy, blockading a port near Tunis, when the Roman legions suffer terrible defeat by the triumphant Carthaginian army, spearheaded by the elephant charges. He and his ships escape together, when the main body of the Roman fleet are first out maneuvered by the more skillful Carthaginians and then caught and almost completely annihilated by a terrible storm. Atticus and his crew are among the handful of survivors and being the messenger of this news to the Senta in Rome brings Atticus into political troubles, almost as stormy as the sea. Full of dramatic battles by land and sea, led by tremendous characters on both sides, MASTER OF ROME is a powerful novel, the third in this bestselling series by a born storyteller.
I have 3 sets of these excellent books to give away! To be in with a chance of winning a set of all 3 books just visit: www.johnstack.me and answer this simple question: Q:What is the name of John Stack's latest historical fiction novel which will be launched in January 2012?
Send your answer for either one or both of this monthâ€™s competitions along with your full postal address to: firstname.lastname@example.org before January 24th 2012 to be in with a chance of winning!
Simon’s Son Guy Goes to a Joust Excerpted from Montfort The Angel with the Sword 1260 to 1265 Vol IV of the Montfort series By Katherine Ashe Available from amazon.com and amazon.co.uk Elated, Guy de Montfort went to the tourneys, incognito in his new chain mail with a plain black surcoat and shield, and riding a deceptively shambling, foundered-looking roan that he himself had trained as a superb destrier. Unlike the clandestine English country tourneys of Simon’s youth, a grand tournament in France drew challengers and spectators from all of Europe. Such an event could be held only on extensive level acres, their crops sacrificed for the high rents paid by contenders and spectators for tent and horse-line space, and by merchants for booth space in the aisles of a grand ad hoc bazaar. Fabrics of the finest damask, gold-shot samite, delicate blue silks dark as the sea or pale as the sky, brocades in gem hues of ruby and verdant chrysoprase, yellows and purples richer than topaz or amethyst were brought from the East by Italian merchants and hung in sumptuous swags along the drapers’ aisles. Dense winter furs: heavy, rich martin skins, white-and-brown patterned vair, and snowy coney pelts to line ladies cloaks, or, for lords, wolf and bear for cloaks warm in the bitterest storms, were heaped in careless abundance in the strange, domed tents of traders from the far North. Hammers rang on anvils. Furnaces, assembled out of stones, made a blaze like a lane in Hades in the armorers’ aisle, where metal was beaten to fine blades, smoothed to sheets then bent and curved and riveted for helms, or extruded into wire and curled to links for mail. At the eastern perimeter of the bazaar was the horse fair with long lines of animals: massive prick-eared, nervous destriers; mild broad-backed palfreys; smooth-gaited white mules from Spain – the height of fashion for clerics and ladies; and all manner of pack horses and jennets for servants. Between the bazaar and the tilt-ground with its flat oval of lawn, its barriers, its high, stepped seating and taller, satin-roofed pavilions, was a virtual town of tents that the contestants and spectators made their temporary homes. Here were tents more elegant in draperies, silk cording and tassels than would be seen in any other place, as their owners vied to impress with their wealth if not their jousting prowess. For here daughters and sons were brought with hopes of making a rich match. Set like bright lady in bower, demoiselles blushing with shy embarrassment, or brazenly coy toward every likely passerby, made of the tourney a marriage fair to which youths, many who had no notion of fighting, were drawn. Some had honest hopes; most sought only a brief joy. Mothers kept close watch upon their daughters, but no guard was sufficient, in the hurly burly of the fair, to forestall clandestine trysts. The perfumes of mating hung in the air as if Venus herself breathed into the nostrils of young France. Up and down these aisles, shouldering among the idling youths, came a parade of peddlers. Bent under tall frames hung with swinging brass bells, bead necklaces and tassels in every color to match milady’s heraldry, hawkers cried their pretty goods. Piemen, trays strapped to their shoulders and projecting like shelves from their chests, cried their pastries stuffed with pork or goose or finely minced beef flavored with pepper. Their sausages were wrapped in luridly dyed crusts. Dainty foods for dainty ladies’ fingers. With small casks hitched heavily to their thin breasts, innkeepers’ boys offered wine, opening the spigot protruding at one side to fill a customer’s own cup. A band of ragged gypsies, presumed pickpockets, gained general tolerance by offering the rare treat of oranges they had smuggled from Arab Spain.
Guy, solitary without squire or servant, and well muffled in a woolen hood, set up his plain, military tent on the rim of the contestants’ allotted land, choosing a spot surrounded by the tents of foreigners who could not know him. On one side was a wealthy Italian lad, full of eagerness at his first joust. On the other was a massive, haughty young German. Quiet of demeanor, Guy quickly attracted the German’s private challenge. It came in the form of a remark that a man who wore a hood and was ashamed to show his face ought not to be allowed to pitch his tent there. The German made his point by pulling the hood from Guy’s head and tossing it away. Guy went to fetch it, but as he bent to pick it up, the German pinned it to the ground with his sword point. Guy kicked the blade aside and in an instant had the German gripped about the neck, his dagger pressed to the pale, muscular throat. Thus they became fast friends. The Italian, who watched the contretemps with dismay, became Guy’s adoring acolyte. When their preparations were completed, their tents furnished with their modest cots and bundles and their horses fed and watered for the night, the German grossly winked, “Let’s have a look at the bride market. One needn’t buy, to sample.” The German’s earthiness was not to Guy’s taste, but he was nothing averse to viewing the demoiselles. The Italian demurred. “I’m betrothed.” He flushed as if the very words evoked sweet, overwhelming desire. The German stared, then laughed, and he and Guy, who had resumed his engulfing hood, went on their way. It was well Guy’s hood concealed him. Among the aisles of spectators’ tents, draped open on their tasseled cording and glowing with candlelight, Prince Edward and his friends were roaming, pausing to exchange gallantries, moving almost methodically from tent to tent. Where the girls were lovely enough and friendly, they paused, but if a parent joined their bantering they moved on. Gorgeous Edward, golden, tall, dressed in a crimson velvet riding robe heavy with gold thread, and cut tantalizingly short to display a near full-length of the well-turned, crimson-stockinged legs that earned him the name Longshanks, was recognized by everyone. He was far above the aim of any parent here, and well known to be married. Nonetheless he left a wake of gazing eyes and cheeks with heightened blush. Already he had secretly arranged for his night’s pleasures, but he continued browsing. Most of his young English followers were unmarried and might have been prime targets for parents’ hopes. But those who came to fairs seeking bridegrooms for their daughters were nobles in decline or knights with aspirations, not suitable alliances for young lords in the royal entourage. Like their leader, the prince’s friends were only in pursuit of brief delight. Guy saw his brown-haired, amiable brother Henry mildly chatting with a damsel and her mother, and observed his brother Simon walking stealthily with an unguarded servant to a shadowed gap behind the tents. His hood drawn low over his brow, Guy went unrecognized. Morning brought the first matches of the tournament. The long oval field was fenced, and the fence boards were draped so that no bare, crude wood was visible to mar the grandeur of the festival. Behind the barricade the crowd of common spectators was herded: cloak pressed to dirty shift, brewer next to beggar, housewife squeezed by villein. The tall pavilions, held aloft by satin-wrapped masts, were stroked by a rising breeze till their bellying awnings of blue satin rippled and shook like spilling sails over the wimpled and capped heads of the wealthier, more noble onlookers. Flags in every tincture of heraldry fluttered beside the mantled horses and the mail-clad, surcoated knights waiting their turns at the far ends of the field. Though this was combat, it was not war and every rider used what costly means he could to draw attention to himself. Plumes flounced at horses’ headstalls, and garnished the
gilded helms that nestled in mailed elbow-crooks until the signal of summoning to joust. Scalloped, gilded, painted bridles and reins were commonplace, and there were a few high saddles fancifully shaped, embossed with wings or lion heads. Mantels, draping to the destriers’ hocks, boldly displayed each knight’s colors and devices in white, red, yellow, blue, green and black. Guy had not imagined what such an event would be. Among the waiting challengers he sat upon his undistinguished, mantel-less and naked-seeming roan. He was in black from head to foot, his long, slit riding surcoat of black wool over his new chain mail meticulously rubbed with oily blacking to protect it from the damp. A precaution he had learnt from his father. Though no one else wore a helmet until his turn to enter the lists, Guy sat helmeted, stewing in the morning sun and peering at this gay and gaudy world through his narrow eyeslit. His anonymous and austere black so differed from the bright array of every other rider that he drew everyone’s attention. He was an instant mystery among the knights of the first day’s trials. Parsifal on his nag. Ribald bets were placed on him. When at last he cantered onto the field, he faced a knight who had already downed four men. The unknown black contestant struck the morning’s champion from his mount with a clean aim of his lance that brought merry roaring from the spectators. What Guy’s victory earned was another, and another joust throughout the remainder of the morning. The crowd demanded that the unknown knight ought not to leave the field until he met a rider who was his equal. Each newcomer moved from his waiting group, and plummeted to the ground as the black knight passed with his shield at perfect angle for deflection, his lance irresistible. No one could defeat him, though a few held their seats for a second or third pass. Edward, drinking with his friends in a pavilion -- the prince and noblest knights would not ride till the next day -- shouted drunkenly, “Let him face me tomorrow!” The tourney of young contestants went on, each riding against the tantalizingly invincible black challenger. His ungainly-looking roan finally weakening, trampling over the flattened grass at gallop, too far spent to reach the swift and powerful volant, Guy still faultlessly found the angle of leverage on each incoming shield and pitched his opponents down. Yet he too was tiring. Opposing him at last was his young, merry neighbor from Italy. Guy recognized the gentle lad’s unlikely device of a roaring bear. For honor’s sake he had to unseat him, though he would rather not. The boy came toward him at the full, surging volant. Guy couched his lance to touch the bear shield’s rim. Lance points and shields met. The youth, at impact of his own lance square on Guy’s shield, forced the black knight nearly to topple. Spectators shrieked with astonishment, and hardly saw the black lance slide skidding under the bear shield, through mail and padded pourpoint deep into the bear knight’s side. Guy felt the tipping force on his lance at once as the Italian was still carried forward by his horse and leaned away, pierced on the point. He let go his hold on the lance, reining in and turning his mount as quickly as he could. The boy lay with the long shaft jutting from his side across the trampled grass. Guy dismounted, horror-struck. “Oh God,” he muttered, kneeling in the angle of the boy’s bleeding body and the lance. The Italian raised a hand as if to remove his helm, but then lost consciousness. Attendants from behind the barricades were on the field now running toward them. A surgeon arrived and knelt, holding the point steady while the boy’s own valet gently drew the long lance away. Quickly the surgeon applied a thick pad of cloth as blood flooded from the wound. With the pad gripped in place, the boy was lifted, placed on a litter and borne to his tent. There would be no more jousting for Guy today.
Guy would have followed at once, but it was with some difficulty that he managed to shed a crowd of admirers eagerly urging that the accident was no fault of his. His brother Henry was among them, sent by Edward. Confounded and embarrassed, Guy, still in his black helm, listened to his eldest brother, who had never complimented him before, praising his skill and urging him to accept the prince’s invitation to join them in the royal pavilion. Pitching his voice low, and mimicking the German’s rough accent, politely he declined the offer. When at last he could return to the obscurity of his own tent, taking off his helm, surcoat, armor and pourpoint, he drew on his long black robe and hood and went to the Italian’s tent. A priest with his vessels for the Last Sacrament was leaving. The boy lay conscious now but very quiet on his cot, his valet tending him. The valet’s look was bleak, cringing with guilt. The young Italian’s face was livid, purplish and flushed with sweat. He looked up at Guy and smiled, his eyes awash with tears of pain. “I nearly downed you didn’t I? Look what I won,” he said mildly, without accusation, turning back his coverlet. The gash was a long pool of blood and pus, the flesh ripped wide as he had fallen, the lance deep in him torqueing as it fell. The surgeon had drenched it with strong wine and tried to pack it with lint and unguent, but the flow of the wound was too great. The boy’s life was draining from his side. “I’m going to disappoint… my lady. My father doesn’t know… ” A surge of pain gripped him. When it passed, his face was white, his limbs already cold. ‘Tell my lord Aldobrandesca…” he murmured as his eyes clouded. He said a few words more, not in French. Guy’s Latin was of no use, he looked to the servant for translation. But the old valet had helped the boy to come despite his father’s command to the contrary. Seeing his young master could not live, he had fled. Guy and the German carried the slight, young body to the nearest church and paid the priest for a Mass and burial in consecrated ground. After writing a letter describing how the youth had honorably died, Guy searched the fair for anyone who knew the name Aldobrandesca. He gave the note into the hand of an elderly Italian knight, not knowing if the name was of the dead boy’s family, or his betrothed, or his liege lord. The next day the noblest contestants met to joust. Guy had been challenged by Prince Edward. He had promised not to fight his brothers or the prince and, with the Italian’s death, he no longer found the tourney enticing. He went home. Guy was already at the house on the Greve when the first news of the tournament reached Paris. Most thrilling was the tale of an unknown knight, broad-shouldered, riding an ungainly mount and dressed entirely in black, who unhorsed all comers on the first day of the tourneys but accidentally killed a man, then vanished. Debate raged over who the dark paladin could be. Simon observed his sullen son who spoke not a word of where he had been for the past week. “You’ve had enough of tourneys?” he asked with arch perceptiveness. Guy nodded his head.
A New Forum for all things Pirate! Meet other Pirates Event Information Tall Tales Traders Pirate History Check out the website for more information! www.forums.pyrates.co.uk The Mortimer History Society Spring Conference May 12th 2012
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Website: www.archers-review.com Email: email@example.com The Festival of History Kelmarsh Hall Northamptonshire, UK July 14th & 15th 2012
The Earl Mortimer College Leominster, Herefordshire. Marc Morris will be hosting a lively and interactive discussion on King Edward I, Simon de Montfort & Prince Llewelyn. He will be joined by representatives from historical groups and other authors to discuss aspects of the three men.
Visitors immerse themselves in 2000 years of England's past during the Festival of History at Kelmarsh Hall, Northamptonshire, presented by English Heritage. The event features everything from falconry, jousting displays and battle re-enactments to music, dance and ale.
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The Historical Writers Association will also be there with various talks and meet the author sessions throughout the weekend.
Event Information December 4th Bromsgrove Militaria, Medal & Arms Collectors Fair, at the Spadesbourne Suite, Council House, Burcot Lane, Bromsgrove, B60 1AA. 9.30am - 2.00pm. Admission £2.50 www.rzmilitaria.com/events.php e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org 10th Anton Pieck Parade, Haarlem, The Netherlands Website: http://www.antonpieckparade.nl/intro.html 17th & 18th Dickens Festival, Deventer, Netherlands Website: http://www.dickensfestijn.nl/
2012 February 24th – 26th The International Living Fair, Bruntingthorpe, Lutterworth, Leceistershire, UK http://www.pikeandshot.com/index-ilhf.html 26th 1940s market and entertainments at the Winding Wheel Chesterfield, UK www.eventplan.co.uk
March 16th – 18th The Original Re-Enactors Market (TORM) Ryton on Dunsmore, UK, CV8 3FL http://www.reenactorsmarket.co.uk/
May 6th & 7th, Fortress Wales, Margam Copuntry Park, Port Talbot, Wales http://www.webster.uk.net/HistoryAndCulture/Re-enactmentWW2SWB/FortressWalesShowInformation.aspx
12th The Mortimer History Society Spring Conference, Leominster, Herefordshire, UK www.mortimerhistorysociety.org.uk/ 12th & 13th Multi-era Grand Historical Bazaar, Rufford Abbey Country Park, Notts. UK www.eventplan.co.uk 12th & 13th Victorian Weekend, Forge Mill Needle Museum, Redditch, UK www.eventplan.co.uk
12th &13th The Cressing Temple Fayre, Cressing Temple, UK www.templars-fayre.co.uk
26th & 27th les medievales de CHAUCONIN-NEUFMONTIERS http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=241449812568063
June 2nd & 3rd De Quaeye Werelt, Sterckshof, Belgium http://www.delegendevzw.be/ 2nd â€“ 5th The Colchester Medieval Oyster fayre, Colchester, UK www.TheMedievalFestival.co.uk 9th Boerderij aan de Giessen, Grotewaard 38, Noordeloos, Netherlands http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=158081454283009¬if_t=event_invite 16th & 17th Tatton Park Medieval Fair http://www.plantagenet-events.co.uk/ 23rd & 24th Wartime Clumber (1940s event), Clumber Park, Notts, UK www.eventplan.co.uk 23rd & 24th The Yorkshire Museum of Farming, Murton Park, Yorkshire, UK www.mitlivinghistory.co.uk 30th &1st Medieval Festival, Harewood House, Yorkshire, UK www.eventplan.co.uk
July 14th & 15th The Battle of Tewkesbury, Tewkesbury, UK http://www.tewkesburymedievalfestival.org/ 14th & 15th The Festival of History, Kelmarsh Hall, Northamptonshire, UK http://www.kelmarsh.com/ 22nd The Battle of Salamanca, 200th anniversary http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=183242878392002¬if_t=event_invite 21st & 22nd Berkeley Skirmish, Berkeley castle, Gloucestershire, UK http://www.plantagenet-events.co.uk/ 21st & 22nd The Battle of Azincourt, Azincourt, France. http://www.azincourt-alliance.org.uk/ 28th & 29th Tournement of Walraversijde, Belgium http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=252511704798690¬if_t=event_invite
August 10th – 14th Robin Hood Festival, Sherwood Forest, Notts, UK www.eventplan.co.uk 13th & 14th Lincoln Castle Medieval Market, UK http://www.plantagenet-events.co.uk/Events.html
September 8th & 9th EMA weekend at Caldicot Castle, wales http://www.theema.co.uk/ 8th & 9th On the Home Front 1939-45, Rufford Abbey Country Park, Notts, UK www.eventplan.co.uk 15th & 16th The Battle of Mortimer’s Cross, Leominster, Herefordshire, UK www.mortimerscross.co.uk 22nd & 23rd Wimpole at War (1940s event), The Wimpole Estate, Cambs, UK www.eventplan.co.uk 29th & 30th Sherwood through the Ages multi-period, Sherwood Forest, Nott, UK www.eventplan.co.uk
October 6th & 7th Hughenden’s Wartime Weekend, Hughenden Manor, Bucks, UK www.eventplan.co.uk
November 24th & 25th The Ludlow Castle Medieval Christmas Fair, Ludlow, Shropshire http://www.ludlowcastle.com/
Issue 36 December John Sadler in a 1970s British Ferret armoured car equipped with 30mm Rardon cannon (See Foxes of War inside for more deta...