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Bridge Over the River Wye – Sir Gilbert’s Volunteers join the fray

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Things were not proceeding too well for the Anglican League in Hereford. The situation is recorded in some detail here

Whilst not having any strong ideological ties to any faction, Sir Gilbert does have very strong ties to his own personal interests. The success of the BUF-backed Royalists has every appearance of running counter to those interests. So, having already taken steps to assemble a force with which to protect what is his, Sir Gilbert placed his platoon at the disposal of the Anglican League and was requested to march on Strangford.

Sir Gilbert's Road to            Strangford

Sir Gilbert’s Road to
Strangford

Sir Gilbert’s approach brought him in on the right flank of the Royalist’s position in Strangford. This was his first command in battle but his inexperience did not hamper his direction of the fight. With a grasp of tactics which astonished his opponents, he quickly assessed the situation and made the necessary dispositions.

Having first ensured a strong reserve in the form of the Ewyas Harold and Pontrilas Women’s Institute and the Wormbridge, Abbey Dore and Pontrilas Morris side (both sections being motorised) Sir Gilbert then threw in the Golden Valley Labourers and Artisans, followed by the the Bulk Importers Volunteers. The Labourers and Artisans were armed with shotguns and he sent them on a swing round the open flank of the defenders with order to occupy the centre of Strangford. The Bulk Importers, all armed with sub-machine guns, were sent along the road to the outskirts of Strangford with orders to drive in the defenders. They were supported by a mortar, on detachment from the Anglican League regulars.

The Artisans and Labourers head off to the left whilst the Bulk Importers follow the Strangford road

The Artisans and Labourers head off to the left whilst the Bulk Importers follow the Strangford road

The plan was a success in every respect. The Labourers and Artisans took some buildings commanding the cross roads in the centre of Strangford at a cost of only two casualties thus denying the enemy passage through the town. As a last resort, the enemy brought up a field gun with the apparent intention of engaging over open sights but judicious use of smoke bombs from the mortar successfully masked this threat.

Members of the Labourers and Artisans in the centre of Strangford

Members of the Labourers and Artisans in the centre of Strangford

Meanwhile the Bulk Importers, with crucial first-aid assistance from Dr Savage, had driven the South African Royalists from the edge of the village and cleared the way for the reserves to storm up the road with the intention of completing a famous victory.

The Bulk Importers storm the village

The Bulk Importers storm the village

The reserves move up

The reserves move up

Hostilities petered out at this stage leaving the Hill Volunteers in a strong and formidable position. There could be no dispute that the debut of Sir Gilbert’s force was a triumph, both of the Volunteers in the ranks and of the natural tactical genius of Sir Gilbert himself.

IMG_2933

Sir Gilbert with his HQ was never far from the firing line

Details of the inconsequential scuffles that took place elsewhere on the battlefield can be found here , here and here .

Sir Gilbert apologises for the quality of the photos that accompany the report of his exploits – the photographer was not as relaxed upon the battlefield as Sir Gilbert would have hoped. He has now been replaced by a more experienced war photographer.

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