‘Warfare Through the Ages’ at Bovington Tank Museum – 19th & 20th September 2015

After our big event at Chester over the August Bank Holiday weekend, we knew that the season was starting to wind down, but there were still a few events to look forward to over the Autumn and first up was ‘Warfare Through the Ages’, a mulit-period event being organised by our friends in Tillier’s and being held at Bovington Tank Museum.

We were mainly looking forward to seeing the tanks if we’re all honest, because what’s better than spending a weekend fighting AND looking at tanks?! Nothing, is what!

Anyway… we had a wonderful time and it wasn’t just us there that weekend, we were joined by friends from other re-enactment societies depicting different periods. There were Mediaeval re-enactors from The Woodville Household, ourselves and the rest of the Sealed Knot re-enacting both the English Civil War and the Monmouth Rebellion, friends from the Napoleonic Assosiationmembers of the Southern Skirmish Association re-enacting the American Civil War, The Great War Society were there representing World War One and the 29th Light Infantry Second World War re-enactors.

We arrived on Friday afternoon and evening and found ourselves a spot to camp and then got to the most important part of the day. Friday night, for those that aren’t aware, was the start of the Rugby World Cup and rugby is a much loved sport within the regiment, so after our Blog Fairy (who’d been there a few days already) had done a recci earlier in the week, we headed to the Royal Oak in Bere Regis and settled down in front of there tele to watch the opening match, England vs. Fiji.

We came home and headed for a couple more beers in the beer tent before ending the night happy and ready for the weekend ahead.

We were up and ready in time for drill the next day and although there were only a few Pikeman, one of them was new and it was good to refresh the mind about what was to come.

Due to there being so many associations there, the Sealed Knot battle was actually quite late in the afternoon, meaning we had plenty of time to go and look around the Tank Museum itself. We all trotted off, in our authentic kit, to go and see what was there and had a thoroughly enjoyable time.

We all thoroughly enjoyed the museum, including baby Dexter who was taken into his first tank by Uncle Chris, we’re still not sure who enjoyed that more!

After spending a few hours around the museum, we headed back to the tents to get ready for the battle. On the way back we had a look through the Authentic camp. The area next to the display arena was full of authentic tents of each period allowing public and other re-enactors alike to see how soldiers lived during the different times. It was interesting to see the contrast between different periods and all of the camps were full of interesting things to look at. Even as re-enactors who have seen authentic camps quite a lot, we still enjoyed having a look and learning more about the other societies’ time periods.

The battle on the first day was a bit slow to start with but the pike enjoyed some pushes and the musket were able to get a number of shots fired before taking on others in hand to hand combat. Part way through, we ran back into the defences and started to defend against the oncoming enemy. And then the enemy lit their fire pikes! It was quite a spectacle and suddenly something that is quite intimidating already, became even more so as pikes headed towards you with flaming tips!

The Newcastle’s boys were very jealous and vowed that they wanted to have fire pikes one day, so who knows what will happen next season!

We then went back to the field after the battle to take part in the Grand Parade with members of all the societies. The parade also included a short memorial service to remember those who’s lives were ended or changed forever due to war. Although re-enacting is a fantastically fun hobby, it is not to glorify war and we often show our respect to those we are honouring and who’s lives we portray to educate modern society.

All in all it was an enjoyable afternoon and we came back to camp tired but happy and ready to enjoy the afternoon and evening.

This started with cake!! One of our members, Toby, turned 13 at the weekend and we had a cake party to celebrate with Tig’s famous chocolate cake amongst other delights which certainly went down a treat! After this (and eating some proper dinner!) we got ready for a night in the beer tent. We enjoyed some time down there, getting to speak to other members of both our own society and the others that were there this weekend before heading back to camp for some good old regimental singing!

Sunday was spent in a similar way, relaxing and starting to pack down during the day before a much improved battle. This time we started in the right place (always helps!) and had a more co-herant and enjoyable battle and everyone came off far happier with their performances.

So that was it for another weekend, we had all really enjoyed it and slowly ambled home, looking forward to our last two events of the season coming up over the next 5 weeks or so.

We were lucky once again to be joined by new members giving this fantastic hobby a try. First to join us on Friday night was Indi, who is a friend of regimental members Ellie, Craig and Dexter. Indi decided that since she had an interest in history, this was something she’d try her hand at. She spent the weekend in female kit, with friend Ellie as they took baby Dexter around to see the Authentic Camp and watch the battles to give Indi and idea of what to expect. Indi sent us this lovely quote about her time with us.

From the moment I arrived everybody was really welcoming and helpful. After meeting everyone in the 21st Century clothes on the first night, I enjoyed seeing them transform into their 17th Century selves the morning after. It was interesting seeing all the different types of re-enactment you could do whilst walking through the Living History camps at Bovington and seeing the different roles within the Sealed Knot itself. I am looking forward to coming back and taking a more active role within the regiment next year.

Ellie and Craig were on a role with new members this weekend and on Saturday we were also joined by their friend Richie and his son Felix. Richie joined the pike block and Felix watched the battle with our other regimental youngsters Ollie and Toby who were with Ellie, Indi and Dexter. Both of them said they’d had a great time and Richie told us he was looking forward to coming back into the block next year and Felix has said he would love to get involved with the Sealed Knot Apprentices with Ollie and his friends to start getting ready for when he can go on the battlefield in a few years time.

I was lucky to be invited to the event by Ellie, it was my first event and I loved it. I went home with a cut cheek but it was amazing fun! I brought along my youngest son Felix who’s 12 and he got dressed up in kit too. I will definitely be coming again and I’m currently looking into Family Membership Thanks so much for welcoming my son and I into your regiment- Richie.

Overall, it was another successful weekend for our new recruits and we are looking forward to welcoming them into the flock next year. It was also a wonderful weekend for our usual rabble and a great follow up to the fun we’d had at Chester.

We’ll next be out and about at the annual Parade and Service taking place in Ripple, Worcestershire. Keep checking back here to find out more about it!

If you think that this might be the hobby for you, please head to our Joining Us page to find out how you can come along.

Images courtesy of Ellie Bell, Beth Knight & Bovington Tank Museum.

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