One of the advantages of wargaming the VBCW, is that when you have enough miniatures left over from creating factions, you can scrape them together and invent a new unit. Thus the Joseph Arch Workers’ Militia is born!
A bunch of revolutionaries, deserters and general reprobates, this left-wing militia unit joins the CCCP as part of the Joseph Arch Workers’ Column. Figures are from a mix of manufacturers, including Artizan, Musketeer, Great War, Renegade and Foundry, with various headswaps and stuff from my bits box.
Joseph Arch Workers’ Column – a ‘History’
Founded in 1872, the likes of Joseph Arch led the National Agricultural Labourers Union (NALU) into battle against farmers, landowners and the clergy in the struggle for workers’ rights. Unfortunately financial problems and clashes of personality hamstrung the union, which eventually folded in 1896.
However by the 1930’s the lot of the agricultural worker had improved considerably since the squalid days of tied cottages, pittance wages partly paid in cider and long unrelenting labour; thanks to campaigners such as Sidney Box, working under the banner of NALU’s successors (the Workers Union, National Union of Agricultural Workers etc.)
When the British Civil War erupted, many union-based left-wing militias were raised, some of which coalesced into the People’s Assault Column (PAC): a revolutionary body determined to turn Britain into a socialist state. While concentrated in the industrial areas of the Midlands and the north, the PAC also sought to establish leftist cadres in more rural areas such as Herefordshire – indeed a large left-wing force took part in the siege of Ledbury, whist an offshoot of this column sought to liberate their comrades in the Battle of Shobdon Instructional Centre.
The results were mixed, with many of the local population suspicious, if not downright hostile to the PAC’s socialist rhetoric. Even the lowly agricultural workforce, in theory the PACs chief recruiting pool, proved rather unresponsive to propaganda.
The PACs ruling revolutionary committee thus decided to reorganise and ‘rebadge’ the leftist forces in the county, appropriating the name of the National Agricultural Labourers Union for its own ends. Officially the newly named Joseph Arch Workers’ Column was not a band of Communist infiltrators from the West Midlands but a ‘protection detail’ for the re-established National Agricultural Labourers Union – a bona-fide trade union representing the rural proletariat, whether they liked it or not!