Sunday, 25 September 2016

I have been to ... the Household Cavalry Museum, Whitehall

After leaving the main Horse Guards building, Sue and I walked the very short distance to the Household Cavalry Museum. The entrance is located on the Horse Guards Parade side of the building, near to a statue of Field Marshal Garnet Joseph Wolseley, 1st Viscount Wolseley.

The rooms used to house the museum were originally part of the stables, and the floor is still cobbled in places.

The first exhibit tells the story of the Horse Guards building ...

... and is followed by one that explains the role played by the Household Cavalry in protecting the Queen.

A selection of the ceremonial uniforms used by the current Household Cavalry regiments is then displayed.

Visitors then pass into a section of the museum that had been part of the stable's stalls, and one can still see the working end of the stables through a large frosted glass panel.

Examples of the uniforms worn by the troopers and the tack used on the horses are on display in this section of the museum.

The final part of the museum covers the history of the regiments that make up the Household Cavalry.

It starts with the English Civil War ...

and then moves on to the Napoleonic Wars.

The nineteenth century saw the evolution of the modern ceremonial uniform worn by the Household Cavalry.

In the centre of this part of the display is a magnificent piece of regimental silver known as the Zetland Trophy. It was made in 1874 and represents the role played by the Blues at the Battle of Waterloo. It is topped by the figure of Mars, the god of war.

There are also several exhibits that relate to Colonel Frederick Gustavus Burnaby, who was killed at the Battle of Abu Klea, including items of clothing that he wore whilst colonel of the Royal Horse Guards or Blues.

Just opposite is a tableau depicting the capture of the Eagle and Colour of the French 105th Regiment of the Line during the Battle of Waterloo ...

... and beneath it is the Earl of Uxbridge's wooden leg, which he had to wear after his leg was shot off during the closing stages of the battle. (William Paget was the son of Henry Paget, 1st Earl of Uxbridge. He commanded the British cavalry at the Battle of Waterloo and later became Field Marshal Henry William Paget, 1st Marquess of Anglesey. According to anecdote he was very close to Wellington when his leg was hit by a cannon ball, and exclaimed, 'By God, sir, I've lost my leg!' — to which Wellington said to have replied, 'By God, sir, so you have!'.)

The modern role of the Household Cavalry is not ignored, ...

... and the medals awarded to one member of the regiment shows how active they have been in recent years.

Almost the last item on show in the museum is a collection of Britains 54mm figures. They depict the Household Cavalry (both mounted and dismounted) as well as representatives of the Foot Guards.

If you are in the Westminster area of London and have an hour to spare, I would recommend a visit to this excellent small military museum.

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Miniature Wargames with Battlegames Issue 402

My copy the October issue of MINIATURE WARGAMES WITH BATTLEGAMES magazine was delivered on Friday afternoon, and despite having been ill with a gastric flu bug for some days, I have now managed to read it.

The articles included in this issue are:
  • Briefing (i.e. the editorial) by Henry Hyde
  • World Wide Wargaming by Henry Hyde
  • Forward observer by Henry Hyde
  • Spanish Walls: The continuing tales of a wargames widow by Diane Sutherland
  • Fantasy Facts by John Treadaway
  • Prelude to Kursk: Fighting the Great Patriotic War one battle at a time: Part Six by Andrew Rolph
  • Memoir 1643: A regiment-level game for small ECW battles by Arthur Harman
  • Grenouisse at bay part 4: The Wars of the Faltenian Succession climax by Henry Hyde
  • Hex encounter by Brad Harmer-Barnes
  • Wargaming my way by Norman Smith
  • Little Wars: The First Miniature Wargames by Benjamin Bourn
  • The Battlegames Combat Stress Appeal report by Henry Hyde
  • The Other Partizan 2016 by Neil Shuck
  • It's the little things: The joys of small scale gaming by Craig Armstrong
  • Send three and fourpence by Conrad Kinch
  • Recce
This was a real bumper issue from my point of view. Arthur Harman's Memoir 1643 rules (which were based on my MEMOIR OF BATTLE rules) was excellent, and I really enjoyed the last of Andrew Rolph's Fighting the Great Patriotic War one battle at a time articles. Likewise the final part of Grenouisse at bay brought Henry Hyde's wonderful campaign report to an interesting end, and as I follow Norman Smith's blog, his article Wargaming my way was a 'must read'. In addition to all that, Conrad Kinch's thoughts about running/organising good multi-player wargames were very well presented. Finally, although I would take issue with the description that Little Wars were 'The First Miniature Wargames' (I can think of several wargames that used toy soldiers that pre-date it!), I never tire of looking at pictures of H G Wells's battles.

This is the last issue of MINIATURE WARGAMES WITH BATTLEGAMES magazine to be edited by Henry Hyde. In my opinion he took a rather jaded and poorly produced magazine and turned it into something that was vibrant and well laid-out. I hope that the new editor – John Treadaway – will be able to build on the solid foundations that Henry has created, and that I will continue to look forward to receiving my copy of what will now just be called MINIATURE WARGAMES magazine.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

I have been to ... Horse Guards, Whitehall

On Saturday 17th September, Sue and I visited Horse Guards in Whitehall, London. This building is usually inaccessible to members of the general public, but over the weekend of 17th - 18th September it was open as part of OPEN HOUSE LONDON.

Until 1904 the building was used as the offices of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, when it was then occupied by the Chief of the Imperial General Staff (CIGS). Two years later the CIGS moved to new offices in the Old War Office Building, and Horse Guards became the headquarters of London District and the Household Cavalry. It is currently used as the headquarters of London District and the Household Division.

We travelled up to Westminster by Jubilee Line from North Greenwich station, and emerged from the Parliament Street exit. We then walked up towards Whitehall, passing the Treasury, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Cabinet Office, and the end of Downing Street. The building was not going to be open to visitors until 10.00am, and we arrived at the Whitehall entrance of Horse Guards at 9.45am.

As we passed through the archway in the centre of the building we saw a dismounted sentry of the Life Guards on guard by the door into the left-hand building.

Once on Horse Guards Parade, we joined the queue to go in. The arrangement was for parties of twenty people at a time to be escorted around the building, and we had to wait until just before 11.00am before we reached the archway.

Whilst we were being given a short briefing about what we would see during our visit, the Changing of the Guard ceremony took place, and we had to stand to one side to allow the mounted troopers of the Life Guards to pass through the central archway.

Our escort was a recalled Reserve Major of the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment (who are known as 'The Tigers'). He gave us a brief history of the building before taking inside and down into the basement ...

... where the Cockpit was located! This was one of the rooms that dated back to the original Horse Guards building that was replaced by the existing building in the 1700s.

We were then taken up the main stairs in the central part of the building ...

... to the lobby that is located beneath the tower. The floor is decorated with a crest that bears the Latin inscription Septem Juncta In Uno (Seven joined in One). This is the motto of the Household Division, and makes reference to the fact that the division consists of seven units (the Household Cavalry, which is composed of the Life Guards and the Blues and Royals, and the Foot Guards, which is composed of the Grenadier Guards, the Coldstream Guards, the Scots Guards, the Irish Guards, and the Welsh Guards).

Above us was the inside of the central clock tower ...

... and above one of the doors leading off the lobby was the date when the present building was constructed.

The first of the rooms off the lobby that we entered is currently used as a conference room.

It is lined with paintings, the most prominent being that of Major General Arthur Wellesley (later Field Marshal the Duke of Wellington) which was painted not long after the Battle of Seringapatam on 5th April 1799 ...

... and that of the two members of the Grenadier Guards – Brevet Major Sir Charles Russell and Private Antony Palmer – who won the Victoria Cross at the Battle of Inkerman.

The next room we visited was formerly that used by the Duke of Wellington when he had been Commander-in-Chief.

Amongst the items on display are a painting of General George Monck (1st Duke of Albemarle), ...

... a bust of the Duke of Wellington, ...

... and the pennant carried by the vehicle used by last Commanding Officer of 4th Guards Brigade.

We then made our way back downstairs, took leave of our guide, and went back out into Whitehall. Two members of the Blues and Royals were on mounted guard duty outside ...

... and despite the unwanted attentions of the crowds of tourists, the horses and the troopers behaved impeccably.