The Flying Column deploy in defence of a vital asset
I am most happy to report that our new Flying Column, commanded by Chief Superintendent Ronald Bigsworth-Hill, has completed its first mission out of County and has recorded a noteworthy success in the process.
In pursuit of our stated aim of confronting extreme elements of whatever stripe wherever they should appear, I ordered Chief Superintendent Bigsworth-Hill to Herefordshire where concentrations of various undesirable elements were reported. Operating in support of local moderate forces, the Column succeeded in not only foiling the designs of revolutionary traitors but also caused the demise of a thuggish individual, one “Major” Straitt-Jackett, who has featured on my Wanted list for some time.
The people of Herefordshire will join with those of our native county in hailing Chief Superintendent Bigsworth-Hill’s glorious debut.
Report From Chief Superintendent Ronald Bigsworth-Hill
Acting on orders from Sir Albert BROCK, I led the Wiltshire Police Flying Column into Wigmore County in Herefordshire to counter the activities of various traitorous extremist groups of both the Left and Right of the political spectrum. The Flying Column was set-up with this express purpose in mind so my men greeted their mission with enthusiasm.
After sending our heavy weapons and motorcycle section off to join the Central Reserve, we deployed alongside Mr Himalaya Joe and his local volunteers. They were concentrated in defence of an important strategic asset.
A vital objective was securing livestock to succour the defenders and deny them to the enemy. Farmers bravely assisted.
Platoon HQ heavy machine gun section occupies a bunker, supported by the RCMP special section, on secondment from the Dominions
The platoon is greatly cheered by the arrival of the artillery section – its Spotters hurry forward, much appreciated by farm-workers, engaged in livestock rescue.
With their opening shot, the WPFC artillery score a “major” hit…! Aiming with surgical precision, the gunners eliminate the BUF commander, the notorious, murderous thug, so-called “Major” Straitt-Jackett. This poisonous individual has been high on Chief Constable Brock’s Wanted list for some time and has now met his inevitable end.
The Clowns are not happy. After losing their precious Thing to Sir Rufus’ men (see Clowning Around in Nether Winslet), they decide on an immediate revenge attack. So the day after the disaster happened, having sobered up, they head back to Nether Winslet, accompanied by their faithful chimpanzees. This time, as well as being sober, they also have weapons. Even better, their wives are not about to be left out. Grabbing their shotguns, the ladies join the party.
Sir Rufus’s Men: Nick Harper (Leader); Barney Welch (Sidekick); Dan Butcher (Ally); Phil Mimms (Ally); Tony Butcombe (Follower); Alf Dearheart (Follower)
A great victory for the Clowns. Securing The Thing was all that counted in this game and they achieved that with only the loss of two chimps (who both recovered and are once again hosting tea parties).
Nick Harper, when he realised the extent of his defeat (all his men except Dan Butcher being casualties) had the unenviable job of reporting back to Sir Rufus. Unsurprisingly, the mountainous rage exhibited by Sir Rufus, never a sympathetic man at the best of times, was of a degree unsurpassed in the experience of all who witnessed it. Subsequently, during the many months he spent emptying and cleaning the various middens on his employer’s estate, Nick Harper had ample time to relive that moment when he had informed Sir Rufus of the disaster at Nether Winslet.
Sir Rufus Pitt-Bulstrode, cousin of the famous Sir Gilbert Hill, has been musing on the advisability of raising a company amongst his estate workers and descending with fire and sword upon the more recalcitrant inhabitants of Borsetshire. By which he means communists, socialists, fascists and any other damn “-ists” who presume to disturb the county’s peace and tranquillity during the current constitutional crisis.
However, he is distracted from the serious business of Civil War by still having to deal with the nuisance of Dr Weevil. That madman, with his coterie of cultist followers, is persisting in trying to get his hands on The Thing and thus realise his dream of world domination, or at least of a place on the Borsetshire County Council. Thus when Sir Rufus had a telephone call telling him of “goings-on” in the hamlet of Nether Winslet, he despatched a party of armed estate workers to deal with the matter.
BUT ALL IS NOT AS IT SHOULD BE IN THE HAMLET
Arriving in the vicinity of the hamlet, Nick Harper, the party leader quickly assessed the situation. Two clowns from a circus which had set up in the next village had slipped out to visit the pub in Nether Winslett, taking with them their pet chimpanzees. They also had with them The Thing. However, they were unaware of the significance of The Thing. They thought it was merely an attractive musical box, which was why they had stolen it in the first place (but that’s another story). Having become extremely drunk on the potent Borsetshire cider, they attempted to telephone the circus owner to fetch them back in his car. In their inebriated state, they had forgotten that travelling circuses do not have telephones. Eventually giving up on the telephone call, they staggered out intending to get back to the pub, leaving The Thing in the telephone box.
Nick managed to piece together a garbled version of this story from accounts given by scandalised locals. He also learnt that a mysterious stranger, dressed in weird robes and with a group of similarly peculiar followers, was approaching from the other side of the hamlet. This could only be the nefarious Dr Weevil…! The game was afoot and time was of the essence…!
Unfortunately, the photographer from the Borsetshire Gazette arrived too late to record the proceedings, despite having been given ample warning by Sir Rufus. He and Nick Harper were anxious not to disappoint Sir Rufus (always a dangerous thing to do) and so the action was reconstructed for the cameras although, unfortunately, without the participation of Dr Weevil who had long since departed. He and his men were represented in the reconstruction by empty spaces in the landscape.
NICK HARPER ESCHEWS UNMANLY CAUTION
Eschewing unmanly caution, Nick boldly charged directly towards the telephone box whilst his followers set out to apprehend the clowns and their chimpanzees in the hope of gaining useful information. Despite harassing fire from Weevil’s cronies, Nick secured The Thing and removed it to safety whilst his men held off the cultists.
NICK’S MEN SPREAD OUT ROUND THE VILLAGE
Fire fights broke out to the North and South of the hamlet in which the Dr’s followers came off worse. They did manage to interrogate one of the clowns and to capture a chimp with intention of holding it to ransom in exchange for information.
AN INEBRIATED CLOWN APPROACHES Dr WEEVIL SAYING “YOU’RE MY BEST MATE”
Nick’s men secured the other chimp at which point both sides broke off the action and retired from the field. Weevil had been denied The Thing although the information he obtained may encourage him to continue with his evil schemes.
NICK, WITH “THE THING” SAFELY IN HIS GRASP, LEADS HIS MEN TO THE PUB FOR A WELL-EARNED PINT
Plot Points – Major Point in the telephone box. Minor Points the two clowns and the chimps
Sir Gilbert Hill, taking time out from his vital efforts in the Civil War, was visiting his cousin, Sir Rufus Pitt-Bulstrode, Squire of Much Rampling in Borsetshire. However, before he had time for a well-deserved snifter, he was made aware that all was not well in the Much Rampling area.
Apparently Sir Rufus, as chairman of the local Watch Committee, had got wind of a planned attempt by some political roughnecks to disrupt the annual fete in the neighbouring village of Little Bedding. Sir Rufus had to make an effort to prevent this happening; the local bobby at Little Bedding, Constable Gravy, had no chance of taking on the hooligans on his own. However, Sir Rufus could not call on any of his employees or tenants because they were all, so he said, vitally employed elsewhere.
Realising what was coming, Sir Gilbert, displaying his characteristic brio, offered to come to the rescue. “Don’t worry, old boy, I’ll send some of my people – they’ll put these scoundrels to the rightabout”. He gave instructions to his man, Stirrup to gather together a suitable group from amongst his followers and sent him off to do battle against whomsoever should disturb the Little Bedding peace.
Stirrup assembled the following from Sir Gilbert’s entourage and set out for the village.
Fragrance Sweetmeat, Sir Gilbert’s secretary
Roger Gently (Tenant farmer)
Marlborough, Sir Gilbert’s Dog
At the other end of the village, trouble was brewing.
Cecil Pimms (Leader) aided by:
Bert, Sam, Bill
PLUS 8 local ne’er-do-wells
This game was played with the Pulp Alley rules to see how they would work in a VBCW-era setting.
Answer? Pretty good. I’ve left out references to Pulp Alley rule devices such as “Plot Points”. As it happens, Stirrup, as the Last Man Standing would have harvested all the plot points if time (ie number of turns) hadn’t run out. So strictly speaking, the game was a draw. However Sir Gilbert, never one to limited by artificial constraints claimed the win and I’m not going to argue with him.
Once again, Sir Gilbert Hill (Bart) has been forced to abandon the tranquility of rural life and lead his Volunteers, simple folk and humble but embued with an enquenchable determination to secure their freedom against any that threaten it, against the wicked interventions of an alien demagogue.
In order to secure the peace and independence of his valley, the noble knight determined to re-establish lawful authority in Dorstone which has been occupied by a rabble of criminal elements.
FOOTNOTE: Nanny Pankhurst. As her inert body was carried from the field, it was observed there were slight signs that she yet lived. Dr Bill “Tiny” Savage was summoned. The burly, nineteen stone doctor took out his stethescope and knelt beside the stricken herroine. He reached to undo the top button on her sturdy gabardine macintosh amd that was the last thing he was aware of for the next 15 minutes until he woke up sitting propped against a tree with Nanny Pankhurst waving a bottle of smelling-salts under his nose. “Dr Savage,” she said, “No man has ever dallied with my buttons and no man ever will. Now let me attend to your black-eye.”
Much later, when Violet Ironsides, 2nd-in-command of the Ewyas Harold WI section congratulated Nanny on her amazing survival, she was told:
“Miss Ironsides, in battle, never underestimate the value of whalebone-reinforced corsetry.”
News of shady manouvering amongst the various seedy factions that support the usurper – fascists, misguided aristocratic ladies and eccentric countryside pressure groups, for example – forced Sir Gilbert Hill to once again turn reluctantly from his benevolent and paternalistic care of his dependents and followers. Although contrary to his fervent desire for peace, he did not shirk his duty when the necessity for armed intervention became evident.
The strategically important bridge at Bredwardine was under threat from the enemy and Sir Gilbert, ably supported by those staunch allies the Bishop of Ludlow and the Reverend Captain Verity, made haste to deny free passage of the bridge to his sinister foes.
The field was split by the river Wye and both sides had forces on either side.Sir Gilbert and the Anglicans deployed with the Bishop of Ludlow to the west and Captain Verity and Sir Gilbert to the east. Sir Gilbert’s role was to rush men in motor transport to the bridge whilst his armoured section held off Lady Maud’s platoon. Captain Verity was to move through the woods and buildings on Sir Gilbert’s flank and complete the securing of the bridge. The Bishop of Ludlow was to crash through the Malvern eccentrics and take the west end of the bridge, crushing any BUF between himself and the forces of Captain Verity and Sir Gilbert on the eastern side. This plan was made by Sir Gilbert in his customary authoritative style. His allies offered suggestion for minor changes that Sir Gilbert graciously accepted. The plan proceeded smoothly and with total success. Free passage of the bridge was denied to the usurper’s ghastly minions.
The usurper’s forces deployed the detestable BUF platoon, led by the infamous and equally detestable “Captain” Arrowsmith, west of the river accompanied by the reactionary, decrepit eccentrics from the Malvern Hills. To the east, they deployed the colourful force of Lady Maud, a brave but misguided aristocrat of the old school.
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.
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.