OR A TRUE RELATION OF STRANGE PROCEEDINGS IN A SOMERSETSHIRE LOFT

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

OLD PROJECTS RENEWED

In the middle of summer holidays at the moment so chaos reigns at Atticus Towers. Happily I  have plenty to look forward to. Having packed in working weekends after 20 years, I now have pretty much carte blanche for several weekends of the year, thanks to Mrs. Atticus being a fairly laid back sort of wife, bless her. So I've re-joined the Sealed Knot Society AND the English Civil War Society and hope to take up the cause if the common man fighting for Parliament against the tyrant Charles Stuart (just in case you were wondering which side I was on).

This is really exciting as 2017 is the 375th anniversary of start of the Civil Wars, so I hope to make the re-enactment of Edgehill my first event and make as many anniversary events as I can over the next few years. If that wasn't enough, the 400th anniversary of the start of the Thirty Years War approaches, so I hope to get involved in some of the events commemorating that (dreadful) conflict.

I found this on the web, and it's interesting to see a mix of muskets and calivers in the same unit, shot troops wearing helmets, and the range at which they are firing at each other. There are accounts of units touching barrels before giving fire and falling on. That takes some nerve. 

This will involve a certain amount of expenditure, but luckily I kept a lot of my equipment from last time I was in the Knot, about 20 years ago, at least the hardware. Swords, bandolier, musket, shoes....all the pricey things. An order has gone into The 1642 Tailor for doublet, hose and coat, so by the start of next year I should be clad as a volunteer for Parliament ready to take part in the campaigns of 1643.

All this is making me think about starting up my 1/72 TYW armies again, or increasing my 54mm ECW armies to fight Edgehill. Apart from my local battle Lansdown, Edgehill has always been my second favourite ECW battle to study, and I highly recommend this book if you are interested too


All 3 authors were in my ECWS regiment (one was a prospective father-in-law!) and their knowledge of the Civil War is unsurpassed. Happily they write unashamedly with a Parliamentarian bias, which is refreshing as virtually every other book on the Civil War is pro-Royalist.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF ROBIN HOOD

I've been painting but not blogging, and am working on some Robin of Sherwood figures I hope to post soon. In the meantime here is a Robin Hood song which seems apposite today.



Hope to be back soon, but am working lengthy hours so I can contribute to my oldest son's underfunded school.... funny but I was under the impression I had already coughed up in my taxes.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

CAROLINGIANS FOR LION RAMPANT


It's been a bit quiet on this blog so I thought I would show these chaps I finished in January. Last year I actually managed to play a game of Lion Rampant with my chum Speckled Jim, and actually rather enjoyed it.....it being simple enough for even my shrivelled brain to comprehend (added to which I won). SJ announced he was starting to paint some Vikings up, so I thought an army heavy in cavalry might be able to run rings about him.

Over the last year or so I have been enjoying watching "Vikings" on Amazon Prime, the producers have made an effort to do some research, and although historically it's complete pants, if viewed as a semi mythical saga, it's actually rather good. However like most popular fiction set in the early medieval period, the Christians get a bum deal and are invariably portrayed as weak, incompetent, corrupt or debauched, or all these things together..... for goodness sake, if they were that spineless how is it they completely crushed almost all vestiges of Paganism in Europe, and we aren't all speaking Danish/Swedish . I blame Bernard Cornwell , a man with a big axe to grind.

Having gnashed my teeth at the blundering Saxon soldiers in "Vikings", the Franks were portrayed as equally timorous, until led by ex-Viking Rollo (my favourite character). The real Franks (and Saxons come to that) were of course just as ruthless and nasty as the Vikings, and Charlemagne did a splendid job of shortening several thousand Saxon prisoners one afternoon after they had upset him (he had them all beheaded).

Although my Frankish army is from the time of Charlemagne (747AD-814AD) rather than the Vikings, I copied the colour scheme from the TV series, with lots of turquoise and gold, and painted them up as semi-mythical, with the heavy cavalry in gilded armour and white cloaks as the Emperor's Paladins.
The army. 2 Foot serjeants, 2 knights and 1 Mounted Yeomen 

Most figures from Old Glory (one of my favourite manufacturers). The dracos are from Lancashire Games, as the OG ones were a bit weedy.



The yeomen were cobbled together from all sorts of odd figures. Some old Essex with head swaps, a pair of Garrison legs with an OG body...this was an army on a budget. The horses are a right medley as well.

The Paladins were almost all Old Glory, with the odd Artizan figure. The Franks were known for using flanged spears on horseback, so I had to add paper wings to these lances.

Here's the head Honcho. Roland is carrying the Oriflamme (I am surprised no one does a figure of Roland blowing his horn)



All in all a fun little army to paint. The good thing was there were no figures left over. I bought 1 bag of OG infantry, 1 of cavalry, and an Artizan command pack and scraped around for spare horses for the yeomen.

I was a little shocked I knew so little of Charlemagne, and more surprised by what a colossus he is in the rest of Europe, legends about him and his paladins stretching from Scandinavia to Italy and beyond. Of course, most European countries still treasure their legends and folklore, teaching them in nurseries and schools. I can't see that happening here.  Well worth looking into anyhow. Here's a stirring tune I found about Roland's last stand.


or if you want the heavy metal version 






Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Blogging problems

I haven't had a lot of time recently to do any blogging, but have just started again over on my fantasy Blog  . However blogger have been up to their tricks again, a deliberate conspiracy to drive me hopping mad.

Firstly  my dashboard changed from a handy one page with everything visible, to a veritable labyrinth. I have only just found how to access this blog again, the only one being visible was my fantasy blog.

Secondly, my avatar, the chap in the wig (Sanderson Miller the garden architect), has vanished off a number (but not all) of the blogs I follow. I am still officially following them, but the blog owner can't see that.

Thirdly, now when I try and follow (or re-follow) a blog, I have to use my real name rather than Springinsfeld (I would rather remain incognito on the net), and no avatar appears (unless I reload the image). There is no option given to follow privately.

What does it all mean, and why is it happening?

Friday, 1 July 2016

MY GRANDAD'S MEDALS

A bit of a flying post, everything I do seems to be in a rush recently, and I haven't had much time for blogging with one thing and another. I've been meaning to post these up for a while now, and today, the centenary of The First Day of the Somme seems like a good time.

I don't remember my Grandad (my Mum's father). I was only about 6 months old when he died in 1969,  but at least he met me. His breathing problems carried him off in the end, partially exasperated by his heavy smoking, mainly because the one lung he had left after being gassed was in tatters. About 20 years ago I tried to gather some information about his activities in the Great War. He joined the army in 1915, aged 17, and as far as I can make out he was in the Rifle Brigade at this point and then transferred to 4th Reserve Infantry Brigade
 During this time , presumably still in England he won a ten mile race in full marching kit for which he received this little award

his initials stand for Charles Darwin Longfield, presumably HIS parents were Darwinists and the name has been preserved in our family, although none of my own kid's have it (which was remiss of me). He also received a silver topped swagger stick for winning this race, but that is in my Mum's umbrella stand at the moment and I couldn't photograph it tonight.

Here are his War medals, including the MSM he won in 1917, having moved to 244 coy Machine Gun Corps and been made a Sergeant by this time. They are in mint condition as he never wore them. My Mum tells me he made light of his experiences, and used to scare her with stories about the rats in the trenches, but didn't think much of the medals as a token of what he and his mates went through.



The MSM was either awarded for gallantry of useful service. If the former then the citation recorded the deed, but if useful service the deed was not recorded, and it seems the latter was the case for my Grandad. There are several family stories of how he won it, one being he shot down a German spotter plane with either his pistol (I believe machine gunners carried small arms) or the machine gun, or he took out a series of enemy gun nests with his MG team.

Here is the citation as it appeared in the London Gazette in 1917, he's 4 up from the bottom 6285 Sjt CD Longfield

He certainly fought on the First Day of the Somme, possibly with the KOYLI according to family stories, but I'm not sure . 244 Coy MGC seems to have been active later in the War according to this document I gleaned from some record office years ago



At some stage in 1917, possibly at Cambrai, he was badly gassed and left for dead. He was recovered some days later, but had been been blinded by the gas as well and remained blind for 6 months having been sent back to Blighty.  The colliery he worked for (Allerton Bywater near Leeds) sent wounded veterans to convalescence in Scotland, where they recovered by cutting pit props and generally breathing in clean air.  The colliery also awarded him this certificate

and rather nice watch
Inside is an inscription of the award mentioned on the certificate.

His initials as a cypher on the fob.

Happily, he made it through the war, and into the next one, this time as a Captain in the Morecambe Home guard. Here he is leading his men in what I think is a classic picture, which has pride of place in my gaming room.
That's Captain Longfield at the fore, and the chap directly behind him is the spitting image of Sgt Wilson!

He was also an active Freemason, and I have some of his Jewels (as Bob Cordery kindly informed me of the proper name for this type of regalia).I hope you find these interesting Bob.



I would be interested to find out the meaning of the little house and 'cannon'.

Now let's take a look at our family's other war hero (they are all hero's in my view, to make it through such a bloody awful affair).

Private Mick Comerford was my Dad's uncle. He later became a gamekeeper at a little village called Berkley near Frome in Somerset,not far from where I live, but my Dad was brought up in Lancashire and used to come down to Somerset in the 30's as a small boy to stay on the estate Uncle Mick worked on.

Uncle Mick joined up in 1915, and we also have his medals. He has the 1914-15 star, which I think was awarded to soldiers who fought in 1915. The 1914 star was for those who joined in 1914. However he was given the Christmas tin of cigarettes and chocolate which initially was for soldiers at the front at Christmas 1914. Just reading up on the tin now, more seem to have been issued later on using surplus fund money, so he could have been a later recipient.





Uncle Mick often wore his medals, ands as you can see they are a bit more battered than my Grandad's.

He fought with the Royal Berkshire Regiment, and it seems from the battle list below, they had a pretty rough time of it



Again, happily, he made it through, unscathed as far as I know and his discharge is recorded here


Uncle Mick is 4 up from the bottom. But look at the number of chaps K. in A. 
Three on this page alone killed 1. 7. 16.

My Mum (87) was feeling a bit glum today, after watching and listening to memorial services, but if her Dad hadn't made it through the War, she wouldn't have been around nor my brothers, myself or our children, so we have a lot to rejoice about, while remembering those who didn't make it back.

Hopefully normal service will resume soon, and I can show you some toy soldiers!









Tuesday, 3 May 2016

MAY DAY MORRIS

Posts are a bit thin on the ground recently, but there are things in the pipeline which will soon be finished.... a couple of Lion Rampant forces for my budding project Robin of Sherwood Wolfshead Rampant. I've been hanging around on a Robin of Sherwood forum, and it's very pleasant to chat with folk who are keen on the 80's TV series, a couple of whom are also wargamers or role players.

As usual, we went down to see the village Morris Men performing on May Day, outside the school where the 'side' was formed back in the 1930's





Thursday, 17 March 2016

THE VVITCH

I went to see The VVitch last night , which lived up to all my expectations. We don't get to see many films set in the 17c , and rarely one where the dialogue, costume and behaviour of the protagonists is so well portrayed. The director had clearly done his homework and I recognised several real quotes from 17c witch witch trials. It certainly wasn't an easy watch, the burgeoning sense of paranoia, the graphic portrayal of witches rites (as recorded in trial testimonies) and the discordant soundtrack all added up to make a harrowing yet compelling film. I'll certainly be buying it when it's released on DVD to add to the folk horror collection.

Now...who does figures of 17c witches and civilians....?