Monday, 21 March 2016

On This Day - Battle of Stow 21st March 1646

On this day in 1646 the Battle of Stow took place. This was the last major battle of the First Civil War.
Site of Battle of Stow
Battle of Stow Monument
Monument Detail
Details of the battle can be found here: 

Market Cross
After the Royalist were pushed back into the town and taking around two hundred casualties in the market square the Royalist commander Sir Jacob Astley sat down on the medieval cross and said, 

'Gentlemen, ye may now sit down and play, for you have done all your work, 
if you fall not out among yourselves!’ 

It was the same Astley that prayed before the Battle of Edgehill,

"O Lord, Thou knowest how busy I must be this day. If I forget Thee, do not forget me." 

quickly followed by the order,
"March on, boys!" 

St. Edward’s Church (which can be seen behind the cross in the above photo) where hundreds of Royalist prisoners were held after the battle, contains a very rare surviving grave of a Civil War causality, that of the royalist Captain Hastings Keyt.  
Grave of Hastings Keyt
Grave of Hastings Keyt
Grave detail of Hastings Keyt
More recently the back door of the church, bracketed by trees, are said to have inspired Tolkien's Gates of Moria, his sketches of which do look very similar. The church also held the funeral for John Entwistle, bass guitarist for the band The Who.
St. Edward’s Church, Stow
Back door of St. Edward’s Church, Tolkien inspiration?

Thursday, 17 March 2016

WMMS 2016

Last Sunday saw the annual West Midland Military Show, better known by its acronym WMMS, take place. I realise its a cliché but these annual shows really do seem to fly by with surprising speed as the years pass. As usual I'm probably the last person online to post images from the show. My brother took the photos which probably explains why they are generally in focus. It will also explain why I'm not able to identify the majority of the tables as he didn't take notes or photograph any of the info that normally identifies the stands.

The date of the show unfortunately fell a week before my monthly payday so I kept my purchases to an absolute minimum. I will however, over the next few weeks, be posting a few of the purchases that my brother picked up.
WWII Displays - J Vaughan

Mill detail - Shrewsbury
ECW Battle of Edgehill
ECW Battle of Edgehill
ECW Battle of Edgehill
Battle of Hastings
Battle of Hastings
Battle of Hastings
The standard of the games on display was very good. My brother and myself were admiring one (unattended) particular table (Photos below). I assumed was a display English Civil War game given the quality of the terrain and number of figures that populated the table. I do mean 'populated' because everywhere you looked there were small detailed vignettes, civilians going about their daily business and even animals in natural settings.

After a while two chaps walked across, apologised for making us wait (no apology needed as we thought it was a display game) and asking if we wanted to play a game.

The scenario was based on the true events involving the rescue of Charles I who was being escorted in a stagecoach to a manor house.

Ducking Stool detail 
Windmill detail
King Charles I's armed escort

Tavern scene
'My' guards beginning their rescue attempt
Stopping off for a swift half at the local tavern
My men getting distracted by the local attractions
The rules were a variation of the Steve Jackson Zombie dice game. Very simple to play and follow.

For better photos of the game take a look [here].

There were over a dozen more participation and demo games of which only a handful we managed to photograph.
WWI Bolt Action
WWI Bolt Action
Also at the show were a number of modelling groups.As usual the standard of display was very high.

Washington State Patrol Car - Pensnett
Mark V Tank - Wombourne
All-in-all the WMMS is a very enjoyable show with plenty of different displays and games to keep you interested. I'm already looking forward to next years show.