Friday, 30 December 2011

Sherlock Holmes, Atlantis, and... Dwarves?

Inspired by the latest round of the Robert Downey Jr/Jude Law Holmes & Watson caper ('Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows', available at all good Kinematographic Projection Emporia and Electric Theatres), especially as it seemed to be set exactly 120 years before I watched it (like the Atlantis campaign over at the Lead Adventure Forum) I decided it would be fun to tie the two together in order to round off the Atlantis capmaign.

As a result, I uploaded this, from the London Evening Messenger of December 20th, 1891, to the LAF site, with the rest of the text as it (somewhat inexplicably) breaks off with "... German E ..." and then stops. "Empire" of course. And then some more words, which you'll have to visit LAF to find out about, probably.

Anyway and such, the idea had entered my head of there being a peace conference at Reichenbach, where the fate of the Interventions on Atlantis was to be decided. And so it is; for the next few days at least, the Castle of Reichenbach will play host to a peace conference involving Britain, France, Russia, Germany, USA, CSA, Japan, China, Spain, and the Caliphate of Khosind (a small North African state which declared its independence from France some years ago, apparently), all of which have forces in the field in Atlantis, and at the very least Austria-Hungary, which doesn't, but is keen to discuss among other topics the Ruritanian Question.

So if there is to be Peace in Our Time, with Chancellors and Prime Ministers flying by aeronef back and forth carrying pieces of paper bearing the forged signatures of heads of state, it may be that I can finally draw the Atlantis Campaign to a close. Which brings me to the subject of Her Majesty's Native Forces, enlisted as soldiers of the Queen during the campaign. I have gotten a few steps closer to finishing them, and would like to present, for the first time anywhere, a sketchy but still colourful Daguerrotype of the Morlock Allied Native Infantry Corps (part of the Combined Atlantean Rifle Brigade).

Wearing old kit from the Zulu War and only now retrieved from storage, they are a little out of place in the brash modern world of 1891, but I don't really mind that much. They'll make a fine addition I think to the Thin Red Line (or in their case, the Quite Short but Stought Red Line).

Plans obviously are now to base them, and stat them up for GASLIGHT - shouldn't be too hard, they may be Dwarves, but they're British Dwarves, don'ch'know?

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Medals galore!

In attempting to sort out the Victorian histories of various fictional characters, I've looked at two, to start with, General Melchett (Blackadder) and Lance-Corporal Jones (Dad's Army).

General Sir Anthony Cecil Hogmanay Melchett:

info from Wiki here: and the discussions here:

Victoria Cross, the Order of the Bath (KCB), Distinguished Service Order

the campaign medals, which are worn in order of the campaign for which they are awarded: the South Africa Medal awarded for service in the Anglo-Zulu War. Next is the red-green-red of the Afghanistan Medal (1878-80)

the East and West Africa Medal, awarded from services in the region from 1887 onward; the blue-and-white Egypt Medal (1882-89); the Khedive's Star, which was awarded by the Khedive of Egypt to personnel who also qualified for the Egypt Medal; the red-green-red-green-red of the India Medal (1896).

Queen's South Africa Medal (1899), King's South Africa Medal, India General Service Medal, the 1914 Star

Corporal Jones:

info from here:

Joined the army as a drummer boy in 1884; Mahdist War in the Sudan (1884–1885) - Egypt Medal (1882–1889), Khedive's Sudan Medal (1882–1891)

the British Reconquest of Sudan (1896–1899) - Queen's Sudan Medal (1897), Khedive's Sudan Medal (1897)

the Boer War (1899–1901) - Queen's South African War Medal(1899–1902), King's South African War Medal (1901–1902)

He also once formed part of a Guard of Honour for Queen Victoria.

the First World War (1914–1918)- 1914 Star (or 1914–15 Star), British War Medal, Allied Victory Medal, Long Service and Good Conduct Medal

Occasionally he mentions fighting the Pathans in the North-West Frontier (he is probably referring to either the Second or the Third Anglo-Afghan War)... India Medal(1895–1902), India General Service Medal (1909) and then WWI medals.

I have assumed he cannot have served in the Third Anglo-Afghan War as he was invalided out of the Army in 1916, and the Third Anglo-Afghan War was fought in 1919. But the Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878-80, in which Sherlock Holmes's companion Dr Watson was injured) was before Jones joined up. However, there were numerous campaigns and actions from 1888-1908 in the North-West Frontier Province, especially between 1895-1902, and Jones could have been involved in more than one of these.

There is thus a close correspondence between Melchett's and Jones's medals - if as I have assumed the 'Khedive's Star' is the same as the 'Khedive's Sudan Medal' etc.

A list of correspondences is as follows (sadly as I can't sort out the formatting it's a little difficult to read):

Melchett / Jones / Year(s)
Egypt Medal / Egypt Medal / 1882-89
Khedive's Star / Khedive's Sudan Medal / 1882-91
East and West Africa Medal /(none) / 1887-1900
India Medal / India Medal / 1895-1902
(none) / Queen's Sudan Medal / 1896-98
(none) / Khedive's Sudan Medal / 1897
Queen's South Africa Medal / Queen's South Africa Medal / 1899-1902
King's South Africa Medal / King's South Africa Medal / 1901-02
India General Service Medal / India General Service Medal / 1908-1935
1914 Star / 1914 or 1914-15 Star / 1917 or 1918

These military careers are very similar, in many ways. Apart from the years 1890-99 they seem very close, and even in this period both served in India (receiving the India Medal) and in Africa (Jones took part in the relief of Omdurman in 1898, Melchett received the East and West Africa Medal for service in Africa sometime between 1887-1900). It is possible that they served together? We will perhaps never know. But once I've collated this info with the information about fictional British regiments, I might have a few answers...