29/30 July 2006
For a change in my despatch I would like to give the paying visitors at an event a mention and a big thank you from the Napoleonic Association units present and, from a personal viewpoint, the 95th Living History Society as represented by the 44th East Essex and the 95th Rifles.
I think we would all agree that the visitors made our weekend that bit more special. The interest from all ages and walks of life, the desire to learn from us of our re-enactment period and to impart their familys' connection to the 95th Rifles and the accompanying anecdotes and stories. It was hard to pull ourselves away to go and do an item on the program or eat!
It was even more encouraging to have so many people make the effort after a long, hot day to come back into the camp and congratulate us on a marvellous day and exciting re-enactment skirmish.
One young family in particular, with the father in a wheelchair, expressed that this was their first re-enactment and they arrived hoping it would not be a bunch of guys playing around with dangerous toys. They were heartened by the sight of the 95th Rifles marching through the car park in such a disciplined and military manner and, on visiting us and the other British and French units, they realised that we are all deadly serious in our hobby and in recreating the military life during the Napoleonic Period. After the afternoon's skirmish they made a determined effort to come and see all the units to give their own thanks for je day's entertainment. The NA made their day out special and thank you, this family was one of many that made it all worthwhile to us.
We also received good, constructive feedback on how their expectations from a period re-enactment have been satisfied, what they like and what interested them most.
One chap said that he was impressed with the representation of the various regiments; in particular that the number of green riflemen did not overwhelm the redcoat "heavies. No comment and 44th, it's only one man's opinion!
Some children wanted more casualties in the opening minutes!
The French, (45eme Regiment de Ligne assisted by some of the 9th (East Norfolk) this time representing voltigeurs and the Royal Foot Artillary with 6-pdr cannon and quickly created French partisan women), were also warmly supported by the spectators. Congratulations to the French in winning a closely contended and thoroughly enjoyable shooting competition on Sunday. You all did a thoroughly professional job, including some heroic and realistic death scenes!
Another novelty was the sight of our esteem commander Brigadier-General Wagg Ellis-Jones swopping roles, and uniforms, with French commander Simon Butler of the 45eme on Saturday.
Wagg seemed to get exasperated that the French could not understand his orders ... in English!
Hello! Monsieur Wagg! A small clue. They're French!
Simon looked extremely dapper, yet somewhat uncomfortable, in his new, "red" uniform but quickly earned the "respect" of his new command leading the 95th Rifles on a flanking manoeuvre to silence the French artillary in the main skirmish of the day.
However, Wagg, to try and retrieve the ignominy of leading the galant, losing French side, decided to declare Simon a French spy masquerading as a British officer. Wagg, as court-martial, judge and jury, sentenced him to immediate execution by firing squad. Unfortunately, Chosen Man Scwiffy, whilst trying to restrain a desperate Simon, was cut down in the same volley, much to the amusement of the crowd. Excellent entertainment!
In summary, a great venue, a great day for re-enactors and spectator alike.
Driving the French out of the Camp:
Finally, Sergeant Anastasio of the 1/9th, quick recovery from your twisted knee.
[Oh yes, personal note - hi Tony good to see you again, glad you liked the show, thanks for the photos and enjoy the remainder of your holiday.]
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