A civil war can result in some uncomfortable situations. As an example, Sir Gilbert has had a letter from one of his nephews, Ronald “Ronnie” Bigsworth-Hill. Ronnie is the only son of Sir Gilbert’s sister who formed an unhappy union with Ronnie’s father, a travelling salesman from North Shields. Bigsworth senior was a silver-tongued layabout whose main legacy to his son was a firmly held set of values that could safely be used as a definition for bigotry. Ronnie’s father, also called Ronald, left his wife and son to their own devices after fourteen years of tempestuous married life.
Ronnie soon attracted the attention of the police – he was an unsuccessful petty criminal with a violent streak – and was sent to a work camp in mid-Wales to learn how to become a better citizen. On his release, he stayed in Wales, finding intermittent employment as a labourer, before discovering an outlet for many of his dubious energies in the BUF. He joined the Sir Thomas Picton Cohort less than a year before the outbreak of the civil war and the combination of his violent criminal background, his extreme bigotry inherited from his father and the veneer of upper-class polish from his mother ensured a rapid progress through the ranks so that by the time the war had started, he had become a Storm Leader, 2nd Class.
Throughout his chequered life, Ronnie kept in touch with his uncle, Sir Gilbert. A man of undisputed probity, nevertheless Sir Gilbert has always had a buccaneering side to his character. Although superficially, the respectable minor aristocrat was worlds away from his errant nephew, he always kept a sympathetic eye on the young man’s progress through life. Sir Gilbert was, and is, never a man to let politics interfere with what he considers the best interests of him and his own and consequently the fact that his nephew is now fighting on the opposite side to that which Sir Gilbert supports doesn’t prevent him taking a benign interest in his nephew’s career. Therefore, it was with pleasurable anticipation that Sir Gilbert received a letter from his nephew that described the young man’s participation in his first battle:
Dear Uncle Gilbert
Guess what? I’ve been in my first battle! And jolly sporting it was I have to say. I’ll give you a swift canter through what happened and luckily one of my lads had his Kodak with him so there’s some snaps to show you as well.
Where should I start? Well, as you know, I’m a Storm Leader 2nd Class which is about the same as a Second Lieutenant in the old-fashioned army. I know you’re not too keen on the jolly old BUF and some of the fellows are a bit rough round the edges but then, so am I. My time in the work camp wasn’t totally wasted, I’ve had to put some of bad lads in their place from time to time but they appreciate it and that’s how it is in the BUF; you earn respect, you don’t inherit it. No offense, old uncle – I don’t mean you.
So, there had been a major scrap nearby and our side didn’t do too well so, as usual, they sent for the Sir Thomas Picton Cohort – my lot – to sort things out. We were sent in to capture a useful bridge and a village beyond called Camrose. Here’s some photos.
A collection of local riff-raff defended the ridge. As you can see, they had some witches with them. Takes more that magic to stop the BUF
So, we wiped the floor with them, of course. There was some whining about a pinko medic getting shot and the landlord’s daughter tried to get off with our lads in the middle of the fight. I don’t blame her – we’re a lusty crew but we know that victory brings all those rewards anyway so when I shouted “leave the tart for now lads, plenty of time when we’ve won the fight” they responded with a throaty roar and piled forward, driving the rebels before them like the sheep they share their houses with.
I still have hopes of persuading you to our side, uncle. I know you don’t sympathise with the communist and socialist rabble. In the meantime, wherever the fortunes of war lead us,
Your loving nephew
Ronnie (Storm Leader 2nd Class, Sir Thomas Picton Cohort, BUF).
Historical footnote: This report is based on a game fought at Wargames Association of South Pembrokeshire with R. Mark Davies and his splendid band of gamers. They can be found online here: http://wargamesasp.freeforums.net/