Reports of aggressive intentions towards the Golden Valley Protectorate by some of Sir Gilbert’s neighbours were received by him more with sorrow than with anger. He was well aware that many of his fellow land-owners and minor aristocrats were inclined to behave like spoilt children (he’d been to school with most of them, after all). So he determined on a response which mixed firmness with understanding.
The high standard of training and readiness attained by The Volunteers was amply displayed by the speed and efficiency with which this modern, fully motorised force mobilised and moved out to confront the misguided delinquents, now in arms and foolishly challenging Sir Gilbert in the vicinity of Longtown. The Volunteers were joined by two platoons of enthusiastic (if deluded) chaps calling themselves “socialists”. Ranged against them were the forces of Sir Giles Clive, an amiable nonentity and Lady Bramton Bryn, a forceful lady, led astray by a combination of inadvisable reading and weak intellect.
The Volunteers arrive, fully motorised and eager to get to grips
A platoon of “socialists” advance up the main road in their armoured wagon, towed by an armoured steam engine
On the right, more “socialists”, known bizarrely as Tressell’s Enlightened Philanthropists. move up on foot
Some of Lady Bramton’s “gels” form up in defence
Lady Maud’s section prepares to advance
A scarecrow? Or a sentinel of the sinister Twiggy Mommets? Sir Gilbert’s platoon will need to be careful
The worst news for a modern, fully motorised force…!
Nothing else for it but to debus and use shanks’ pony
Sir Gilbert’s WI section prepare themselves for the advance on foot
Meanwhile, in the centre, busloads of infantry move in support of the steam engine
Sir Gilbert’s Steam Armoured Section leads The Volunteers’ advance. To gain maximum traction in the muddy conditions, the tank deliberately proceeds in reverse, contrary to scurrilous rumours from the enemy
Lady Maud’s section advance to contest the large farmhouse with the “socialists”
Slight confusion as Sir Gilbert’s sections debus and form up
Tressell’s Enlightened Philanthropists steadfastly advance, determined to uphold Sir Gilbert’s rights
In the centre, the “socialists” gain the centre of the village and deploy the armoured truck to hold the position
Lady Bramton’s reserve section and artillery support
Sir Gilbert, surrounded by his staff and accompanied by Marlborough, the dog, emerge from the trees, ready to impose his iron will on the proceedings
The “socialists” head for the large farm……..
….to be met by Lady Maud’s section. Close combat…!
With debussing complete and perfect order restored, Sir Gilbert’s formidable, modern platoon moves off
The action in the centre is fierce as more “socialists” enter the fight for the farm and members of Tressell’s Enlightened Philanthropists advance on their right
Tressell’s Enlightened Philanthropists break through the massive hedge in front of the church
Lady Bramton’s HQ section deploy
Sir Gilbert’s platoon advances in perfect open-order. The steam tank has now turned to face forward
Members of Sir Giles Clive’s platoon advance against Tressell’s Enlightened Philanthropists
Sir Gilbert’s new anti-tank team, Mad Wullie McSpaniel and Nanny Pankhurst, storm forward in search of prey
Victory at the farm enables the “socialists” to consolidate their position in the centre
The “socialists” miners section lead the advance through the centre of the village
In the face of Sir Gilbert’s inexorable advance on the left, Lady Bramton orders the withdrawal of her baggage, covered by the reserve section and artillery
Sir Gilbert’s steam tank causes casualties in Lady Bramton’s HQ as his command exerts irresistible pressure on her platoon
Ferocious fighting in the churchyard between Tressell’s Enlightened Philanthropists and Sir Giles’ men, skulking behind the gravestones
The “socialist” miners press on in the centre
Looking across the battlefield with Sir Gilbert’s platoon in the foreground, the “socialists” (still with their distinctive omnibuses) in the centre and in the distance, on the far right flank, Tressell’s Enlightened Philanthropists
A chaotic scene in the centre with the “socialists” following up the retreat of Lady Bramton and coming under fire from Sir Giles’ armoured car. Mad Wullie McSpaniel can be seen rushing to where the fight is fiercest
Sir Gilbert’s platoon advances in perfect order, sweeping all before it
The “socialists” have the upper hand in the centre. On the right, Tressell’s Enlightened Philanthropists battle for the church with Sir Giles’ men and on the left, Sir Gilbert has total control
Tressell’s Enlightened Philanthropists continue to press Sir Giles, despite encountering fire from a heavy machine gun
Lady Bramton’s artillery, covering her platoon’s retreat, engages Sir Gilbert’s police section………..
….and inflicts the only casualties suffered by The Volunteers during the engagement. Despite this, Sir Gilbert’s platoon comes forward in fine style
As night falls, Sir Giles’ armoured car manages to stem the flood of the “socialist’s” advance in the centre
And so ended the skirmish at Longtown in which Sir Gilbert achieved all his aims. His misguided neighbours were shown the error of their ways but not destroyed or humiliated – they may be wrong but they are still “our class”.
The “socialists”, whilst also being misguided were able to experience the benefits of fighting under the leadership of an experienced and skilled campaigner in Sir Gilbert. There is hope that they may renounce their wrong-headed politics and return to their station as honest sons of toil.