Z is for Zulu Blue Books

This is the Clermont Club which shared space with Annabel’s nightclub at 44 Berkeley Square. I have put it here because the only references I can find to my old friend Michael Hicks Beach on the internet are those concerning his meeting with Lord Lucan on the day before Lucan killed his nanny, Sandra Rivett,Continue reading “Z is for Zulu Blue Books”

Y is for Frederick Duke of York

This spirited engraving is one of the illustrations in A Biographical Memoir of His Late Royal Highness Frederick Duke of York and Albany; commander-in-chief of the forces of Great Britain, &c.&c.&c. by John Watkins. You need to read the text to realise that the martial Duke is not cutting his way towards victory but isContinue reading “Y is for Frederick Duke of York”

X is for the Xhosa Wars

Which is a cheat because by my normal rules this post would be titled ‘H for Hintsa’. Hintsa kaKhawuta (c.1780-1835) was the fourth paramount chief of the Amaxhosa people. He was killed by the British in 1835 during “a desperate attempt to escape from the escort which he himself had requested to attend him”. SoContinue reading “X is for the Xhosa Wars”

W is for Andrew Wilson

Needless to say this isn’t a picture of Andrew Wilson, blameless author of The Ever-Victorious Army, about whom more later. It is “a woodblock print of a Taiping leader which some Western observers mistakenly assumed was a likeness of Hong Xiukang”, the Hakka scholar who decided he was the second son of God after failingContinue reading “W is for Andrew Wilson”

V is for Spencer Thomas Vassall

Spencer Thomas Vassall (1764-1807) was the second son of the loyalist John Vassall (1738-1797) of Cambridge, Massachusetts. His father lost his American estates but retained his sugar plantation at Newfound River, Jamaica. The picture above of Four Jamaican Figures Talking at a Fence is by John Berryman who visited Jamaica between 1808 and 1815 andContinue reading “V is for Spencer Thomas Vassall”

U is for Beauchamp Colclough Urquhart

These are the arms of Kenneth Trist Urquhart 26th chief of Clan Urquhart whose father established his right to be chief in 1959. As with many old Celtic families the Urquhart arms celebrate the exploits of a faithful hound that saved the life of a hunter menaced by an outsize boar in the mists ofContinue reading “U is for Beauchamp Colclough Urquhart”

T is for Paul Thiebault

Paul Charles Francois Adrien Henri Dieudonne Thiebault (1769-1846) was a French general of the Napoleonic Wars who wrote a number of military books in his life time and left behind in manuscript Memoires du general baron Thiebault published in 5 volumes in Paris between 1893 and 1895. There is a perfectly good abridgement of hisContinue reading “T is for Paul Thiebault”

S is for Commissary Schaumann

Augustus Ludolf Friedrich Schaumann (1778-1840) was a citizen of Hanover who served in the British Army during the Peninsular War. His ambition was to serve with the King’s German Legion but he began and ended elsewhere. The English edition of his diary was published in 1924 translated by Anthony Mario Ludovici, famous and notorious byContinue reading “S is for Commissary Schaumann”

R is for L E Rees

This picture of a Regency rake contemplating his ruined fortunes hangs above my desk. It adequately conveys my feelings after I posted Q is for Queen’s Regiment which got worse each time I revised it. To the right of The Bitterness of Dawn I have an albumen portrait of Captain F H M Sitwell, aideContinue reading “R is for L E Rees”

Q is for The Queen’s Regiment

Six volumes to cover two hundred and forty three years is slow going even by the standards of regimental historians. You’d have thought John Davis had spent his entire life in the regiment and lacked any kind of hinterland. Not so. Grace’s Guide to British Industrial History tells us he was “Honorary Colonel of theContinue reading “Q is for The Queen’s Regiment”