Sat 2 September 2006
For the 95th Rifles Living History Society this event was meant to be attended by 2nd Battalion 44th East Essex Regiment of Foot (2/44) but C/M Badger and I decided to tag along to add a bit of green to the proceedings and represent the 1st Battalion 95th (Rifle) Regiment of Foot (1/95). It was good to see young Bryony before she takes off for university in a couple of week's time.
Well, we have been fairly blessed with good weather all season with rain only an irksome side effect but this time it was to dominate the occasion. We therefore got a bit damp! However, having said that, it did not detract from participating in an interesting and enjoyable show.
To add to our numbers, new riflemen Steve and Tom Horton arrived to give us support, bringing along a potential camp follower in Tom’s younger sister, Lois. Not the ideal event to try and convince her to follow the Colours!
I must first congratulate and applaud the wonderful crowds that attended the afternoon and evening performances. Looking up at them on the grassy banks and along the perimeter of the Fort’s arena, huddled together and kitted out to withstand the ravages of the “inclement” weather, I thought that they must be mad to be here. We must have put on a couple of good shows ‘cause they all stayed the course and gave hearty applause to our efforts. Thank you, brave Joe Public, much appreciated!
The NA re-enactors were billeted together in one of the Fort’s rooms and throughout the day there was much banter and bon cammaraderie. Plus food and drink was provided gratis by the organisers.
We had a sort of overview-cum-rehearsal in the morning whereby we would recreate the whole Battle of Waterloo – but in 12 minutes. The script seemed a tad optimistic so by show-time the brigade commanders, Ed Parker and John Norris, had redesigned it to make the task a little more achievable, shall we say!
The afternoon performance went well; the artillery pieces blasted out 24 shots in rapid time, the bands played loud and stirring music and in between we did the Battle of Waterloo, recreated the “Thin Red (with a lttle green) Line” of the Crimea and the WWII chaps slugged it out in what I would guess was WWII in a nutshell. Unfortunately, the parachute drop and the Dakota flypast had to be cancelled due to the low cloud base and strong winds.
The evening performance was more of the same except we were now well versed in what we had to do and managed to embellish the script with some more dramatic interchanges between 1/95th Rifles and the Chasseurs. The assault on Hougoumont, the fall of La Haye Sainte and the massed cavalry attack culminating in the taking of an Eagle seem to just flash by! Both brigades were thoroughly professional and the rate of fire was very impressive. It was a marvel to watch the flame, sparks and smoke surge forward out of my Baker’s barrel and majestically curve round into the crowd. I could hear the occasional cough and splutter intermingled with laughter.
This performance was rounded off with a terrific firework display, the low cloud base interacting with the fireworks caused the whole sky to light up with a multitude of colours. Marvellous!
We were very damp but we had had a fine day’s re-enacting, heard some glorious music and finished with a wonderful display of fireworks.
The 1/95th Rifles will march again.
At Fort Landguard on Sunday 10 September and Sat/Sun 21/22 October 2006.
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95thRLHS Official Communication