Monday, 9 December 2013

Dramatis Personae

I've been pleased and impressed to see how the Herefordshire Big Games have generated a degree of role-playing among the participants, with many characters emerging from among their miniature leaders. With another bash on the cards next March, it is high time that we got to know some them, along with the movers and shakers in the county...


PRO-GOVERNMENT

William de Braose, Interim Governor of the Marches

William de Braose

A rather shady character of dubious background who has used the civil war to further his career.

Although titled Governor of the Marches, de Braose's power only extends to the areas of Herefordshire under Royalist control.

Jealous of the influence of the BUF (although nominally a member himself), de Braose is having to tread a fine line between the interests of Mosley's government and that of the King (who is attached to via his friendship with the King's equerry and, rumour has it, a number of loans to His Majesty).

De Braose's main job is to keep Herefordshire as a buffer zone between the Anglican League and the Welsh nationalists, and Royalist Worcestershire. However this is being complicated by the infighting between various Royalist and BUF commanders which will eventually force De Braose to pick a side and intervene with all the resources (and small private retinue) his considerabe personal fortune can provide...


Sir Peter Mandie-Benjamin, 1st Baron Benjamin of Foy

Baron Foy (centre)
More information

A prominent government supporter and ardent right-winger, Sir Peter was recently made a life peer under the title Baron Benjamin of Foy and promptly set up shop in the local manor, much to the chagrin of de Braose.

However Baron Foy's plans to seize the initiative and launch an attack on the Anglican League stronghold at Ross from his fiefdom failed when a combined Anglican League and Welsh force succeeded in cutting off the Foy isthmus, and the BUF/Royalist forces therein.

This allowed anti-government forces to take control of most of south Herefordshire and leave a bottled-in Foy and his Royalist allies to fight among themselves.


Captain Alexander Campbell, BUF

Commanding officer of one of the BUF units currently trapped at Foy. The kilt-wearing Campbell, of Oughtawashmurr House, Scotland, has been engaged in a war of words with rebel leader Sir Gilbert Hill, at one point challenging the wheelchair bound aristocrat to a boxing match and calling his secretary Miss Sweetmeat a 'tart'. This ungentlemanly behaviour has drawn the ire of Royalist commander Brigadier Lord Robert Grover, who regards Campbell and his men as an 'ill-bread Scotsman and his irksome Cockney bully-boys.'

In his own words, Campbell describes himself thus: 'The Robert The Bruce infant school, Fort William taught me all I need to know, those skills being honed in the Palestine Police in the recent troubles. If any Sassenachs want a lesson pay me a call.'


Captain Arrowsmith, BUF

A BUF officer who played an active part in the Ledbury campaign, but was in Italy during the Foy debacle. Consequently he is one of the few BUF officers in the county who is currently at liberty.

Rumoured to be a close friend of Mussolini, Arrowsmith has a reputation for brutality among his enemies and has a penchant for burning and/or blowing up buildings, veering his tank off the road and running over his opponents.


Brigadier Lord Robert Grover, The Duke of Farnham's Household Defence Force

Lord Robert (centre)
Officer of The Duke of Farnham's Household Defence Force (the Duke is his uncle) and a cousin of the Baron of Foy.

Currently trapped in his cousin's estate, Lord Robert has taken out his frustrations on BUF commander Captain Campbell.

In fact it could be said that he shows more sympathy for the rebel Sir Gilbert than his BUF allies, who he sees as a nothing more than a necessary evil in the fight against Bolshevism.



Stokkies Joubert, Commanding Officer Kings Own African Legion

Stokkies Joubert commands a unit of South African volunteers who have come to England to fight for their King, forsaking the open veldt for the damp hedges of Herefordshire. Joubert and his men have had a pretty tough time of it as of late, especially during the defence of Strangford, the result of which sees them also trapped in Foy.


Eustace Spode, Commander, King Offa Legion of Blackshorts

Eustace Spode, third from left
More information

Eustace, nephew of the powerful 7th Earl of Sidcup and Blackshort leader Roderick Spode, was exiled to Herefordshire after an unfortunate misunderstanding in a gentleman's convenience in London. Here he was tasked with establishing a Blackshort presence - a task which achieved with remarkable success.

Although theoretically subordinate to the BUF, the Blackshorts have been largely kept at arm’s length, patrolling along the county borders with a degree of autonomy.

As such they were not present during the battle of Foy and as such are one of the few remaining pro-government units still locally at Mosley’s disposal.


Sir Jonathan Porridge and Sir George Moonbat, leaders of the Malvern Hills Conservators.

The Malvern Hills Conservators are the guardians of the Malvern Hills and, while ostensibly Royalist, will fight anyone who tries to encroach on their territory. This includes the BUF, with whom they have developed a bitter rivalry in the area.

At one point the MHC even allied themselves with the Anglican League in order to drive the BUF out of the Malverns and more recently clashed with the Blackshorts.

Miles Straitt-Jackett

Born 1879, only son of Lieutenant-Colonel Edward 'Loopy' Straitt-Jackett and the Hon. Felicia Straitt-Jackett (nee Warming-Knightley).
Educated at Mr. Thrashem's Academy for Young Gentlemen.
Joined Army 1897. Served in Sudan, Gold Coast, Basutoland, Matabeleland.

Despite never hearing a shot fired in anger Major  Straitt-Jackett served with distinction during World War 1, commanding 13th (Colonial) Field Kitchen Unit stationed in Bulawayo.  He was present at the Tsetse Valley Incident when a crowd of rioting Native miners were subdued by volleys of plum duff hurled by his cooks, for which action he was awarded The Order of the Yellow Buffalo (2nd Class).
A good friend of the renowned Major Denis Bloodknock, Major Straitt-Jackett joined the B.U.F. in 1935, in the mistaken belief it was a book club.
Interests : Cricket, Lepidoptery, Taphophilia. He also has a large collection of cheese labels.


ANTI-GOVERNMENT

Brigadier Gideon Langnecke, Military leader of the Herefordshire Anglican League

Brigadier Langnecke
More information

Since the capture of the previous Anglican League leadership, Langnecke has stepped into the breach as the first professional military man to command the faction.

His fist act was to abandon the disastrous campaign to encircle the entire county and pull back to defensive positions at Ross-on-Wye.

By luck or judgement, Anglican Forces have since established themselves in the south of the county and managed to encircle a considerable number of their enemies at Foy. However they have paid a heavy price for this success and Langnecke is now forced to rely more on his Welsh nationalist allies than many of his men feel comfortable with - a reliance that will continue until the Anglican League can bolster their meagre resources for the next confrontation.


The Bishop of Hereford

The Bishop of Hereford
More information

Original leader of the Anglican League in Herefordshire and the man responsible for declaring the county against the King.

After initial successes against the government, the Bishop cooked up a half-baked scheme to install a pretender on the throne - a move which alienated him from the national Anglican League leadership and bought the full fury of the Royalists upon him.

He was captured during the disastrous Severn Valley campaign and held at Madresfield, but later managed to escape, only to be recaptured again at the second battle of Ledbury before he could re-join the Anglican lines. Currently a guest of the Governor of The Marches, his status and indeed future is uncertain.


The Reverend Henry Meredith

A fiery Welsh vicar, the 'Bishop of Ross-on-Wye' took command of the remnants of the Herefordshire Anglican League after their defeat in the Severn Valley campaign. With a mix of firebrand rhetoric and personal charm he managed to bring the faction into some semblance of order and stabilise their front.

However he then overreached himself by attempting to link up with anti-government forces in the Midlands and encircling the whole of Herefordshire. His forces got as far as Ledbury, where they held on grimly before being forced to retreat back to Ross-on-Wye.

His military reputation in tatters and with Brigadier Langnecke waiting in the wings, the reverend split himself off from the Anglican League and began a preaching tour of the Welsh border areas, where he was captured by the BUF during a skirmish with the Welsh nationalists.


Capt. Teddy ‘Bear’ Jerningham, Anglican League officer

Before the civil war started Teddy (Bear to his friends) was the personal private secretary to Tory grandee, Sir Archibald Conrad Borrowmere and hoped to become an MP himself. Teddy watched first-hand the collapse of the government and the rise of Mosley.

Teddy was an outspoken critic of the new government and how it went about making new powers for itself and the King.  After a run in with Lord Cirencester and his ‘Political Intelligence Unit’ Teddy was forced to make a run for the country, along with his ‘man’ Purves and the two dogs. Helped by an old friend Hugh ‘Bulldog’ Drummond Teddy made to Staffordshire, here He joined the Anglican League.

Teddy had no military background, but loved the countryside, and country pursuits. Teddy loved nothing better than to be out hunting, fishing or shooting. These pastimes have helped Teddy in his new career. Beagling was Teddy’s favourite sport and he always kept a couple of beagles even when living in London, these dogs, Dynamo and Sprocket are now the platoon mascots.

Teddy spent his early civil war career as a gypsy moving from one unit to another. Now He is part of the Malvern Shock Battalion, like most civil war units not a battalion at all, but 3 under strength companies. The battalion has a tank called Bertie’s Ruin, this is normally short of ammo so is used as a threat or to bully locals. The battalion moves up and down the Welsh border, where the villages are now laws unto themselves and the big manors are the private fiefdoms of their owners.

After his failure to cross the river Wye, Teddy is on the lookout for a couple of boats so He is better prepared next time. Teddy still keeps in touch with his old boss (now in hiding) and other friends from parliament. He knows that Lord Cirencester and his ‘Political Intelligence Unit’ are still after him.


Anthony William Hayle, King of England

King Anthony (centre)
More information

One-time conman and crackpot, Hayle claims to be the descendant of Sir Richard Hayle, an illegitimate son of Henry VIII and through this lineage claims to be the legitimate heir to the throne.

Wisely keeping his head low at the outbreak of civil war, Hayle was forced to flee to Anglican territory when Royalist forces occupied Hereford.

Here he and his small band of eccentric followers currently form a somewhat embarrassing auxiliary to the anti-government forces.


Miss Jennifer Ryding-Hudd, Commissar, the Joseph Arch People's Column

Ryding-Hudd (left)
More information

Also known as 'Little Red Ryding-Hudd', this debutante-turned-agitator is the political head of the Joseph Arch People's Column, an offshoot of the People's Assault Column tasked with bringing the revolution to rural Herefordshire.

Under the military command of Comrade Commander Fred Gibbons, the column failed in their attempt to capture a strategic rail junction near Little Hereford in the north of the county as part of the grander scheme to cut off Royalist Herefordshire.

They are currently holed up somewhere near the territory of their allies the Worcester Loyalists at Tenbury Wells.


Sir Gilbert Hill, The Golden Valley Invincibles

Sir Gilbert (seated)
More information

Sir Gilbert Hill is a land-owner and gentleman farmer from just north of Pontrilas.

While a respectable figure in the local area, he cuts a somewhat different figure over the border into Wales, where he runs a number of ‘legitimate’ interests via a gang of ‘business associates’, posing as Welsh Nationalists.

Sir Gilbert has forged a sizeable satrap in the Golden Valley and has raised his banner in revolt against the King and Mosley.

His forces played a sizeable part in the battle of Foy and his star is in the ascendant – much to the chagrin of the neighbouring gentry.


INDEPENDENTS

Sir Barrington Patchpole QC, Leader, Landowners' Protection Association

Sir Barrington Patchpole (centre)
More information

Sir Barrington Patchpole, QC, is the nominal head of the Landowners' Protection Association - an umbrella group that represents the interest of the landed gentry in Herefordshire.

While some landowners see the group as a cover to create their own marcher lordships and mini empires, the LPA's main aim is to pool their resources to defend their lands from all and any interlopers.

In the main this means bandits and raiders from across the Welsh border (along which most of the territory protected by the LPA is situated) but also from other factions who might be tempted by the stocks of food and ammunition garnered in the various estates and farms under the LPA's wing.


King Twiggy Mommet

A Twiggy Mommet scarecrow
More information

Titular leader of the Twiggy Mommet protest movement and descendant of Rebecca and Captain Swing, King Twiggy is believed by folklorists to be an imaginary figurehead, rather than an actual person (although that has not stopped the authorities from putting a price on his head).

Disguised as scarecrows, the movement gives the rural populace an opportunity to vent their anger at the privations of civil war with a degree of anonymity - breaking down roadblocks or vandalising property in the name of King Twiggy.

Across the factions many an unpopular officer or official has woken up to find a sinister scarecrow placed in his garden as a warning of his conduct, while in extreme cases a strange band of straw mannequins can be seen shambling across the battlefield.

8 comments:

  1. Thanks for bring all these together.

    What a bunch of reprobates!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Fabulous creations, one and all but Spode is still my favourite.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Top show there JP and it is good to see the combatants and there background. Make the whole blooming thing come to life

    ReplyDelete
  4. Splendid stuff! The pro-government look as nasty a bunch as were ever blackballed at a decent club.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They're a rum shower aren't they?

      Delete