Saturday, April 9, 2011

Over the Hills

Queen Anne's version is more a marching song.

But I still prefer John Tams version. As does Kit I think!
(But its not as much fun to march to!)

George Simmons was Commander of the 95th Rifles....and his biography is, well, remarkable. This is from his diary and I have to admit that his career was bloody, brutal, and very long and surprisingly civilized.

A stark contrast is the Diary of Rifleman Harris. If you are a fan of Cornwell's books, you will know of Rifleman Harris...the literate one! He was all that, and much more. His biography of the same actions as Simmons makes you realize the remarkable gulf between the soldiers and their officers which existed during the height of the British Empire.
This book is a series of diaries of soldiers...Lieutenants like Kinkaid, and riflemen like Harris.

Kincaid's moving account of the wounded Captain Barnard who recovered from a sucking chest wound (page 82) is hardly in contrast to the story of a rifleman who shot a hare instead of an enemy combatant...and his flippant answer to his lieutenant when rebuked! (page 39)

Enjoy the reading. It is lighter than you might suppose considering the startling and violent nature of the job they were doing, and they often make better reading than Mr. Cornwell's books because, well, they were there and were describing real events. The Spanish lady who became Major Smith's wife, and later lent her name to the city of "LadySmith" in South Africa is told on page 103. Ahhh, you could not make this stuff up!!!

(The picture is not from Spain OR Portugal...I have never been there. It is in fact, the Paphos Gate looking into the city of Nicocea in Cyprus. But it is a suitable martial picture for the music!)

ip-location map zoom


Kit and Kaboodle said...

Kit does indeed! Where'd you find those wonderful book links - I suspect I'll now be spending much of my sunday reading them rather than boodling around gardening as was planned! I'm currently reading 'Some Desperate Glory' the diary of a young officer during the first world war and can confirm that that class distinction you refer to was still in full flow during that time. I suspect truth told it still comes into play nowadays. I live just down the road from Wellington's country estate; true to form there's a big country park now named after him and a variety of pubs etc still bearing testimony to his name and endevours! I might now have to go have a pint and raise a toast to the Iron Duke and all the lads who fought under him in your honour!

STAG said...

(gentle and pleased smile on Stag's face)

STAG said...

Actually, to be fair and honest, I pulled those books out of Mr. Cornwell's bibliography (from his introduction) in one of his Sharpe books. Darned if I know which one.

There is a marvelous line in the first chapter of Beau Gest...where the protagonist as a boy is fascinated by the stories of derring do as told by his French uncle, and Officer in the foreign Legion. He says at one point that as soon as he comes of age, he will join up...and a slight note of caution comes from his uncle as he points out that being an officer in the foreign legion is a great deal different than being an enlisted man.
The rest of the story (of Beau Gest) rests heavily on a different book, about a pair of adventurers who take an aeroplane from London to Capetown. If I can find it, I'll let you know...I found it as fascinating as any period work I have ever read!