Tuesday, 15 September 2009
The Wolfe 250 battle Of Quebec Commemoration Westerham, Kent 12/13th September
For once as a family we were organised to make the most of the free entry to historical sites weekend and this included the 250th anniversary of the Battle of Quebec being commemorated at General James Wolfe’s boyhood home Quebec House and Squerryes Court the home of his friends the Wardes (still in the family ownership/Nat Trust) Quebec House was open and ‘populated’ with reenactors including a guard from the New France & Old England re-enactment group. I had a chat with them and learnt about the shortening of Brown Bess muskets for use in wooded terrain guerrilla fighting in the forests, how you source uniforms and more about the politics involved with celebrating the event in Quebec, Canada. Amazingly the group had been contacted as late as Friday night 11th September by a powerful French Canadian group requesting that the event in Westerham should not be put on! It is amazing how long memories last or is it protecting national identity under attack from globalisation, which I can understand with my environmental hat on or yet again is history being politically corrected ! In the Coach House There is an excellent exhibition on the Battle of Quebec, the men involved which included a young Captain Cook, the details of the ordinary soldiers and militias involved, the lead up to the battle then the actual short lived engagement that resulted.
Wolfe by Gainsborough
Map of the battle
re-enactor checking up on the facts! These chaps had trouble getting around the exhibition what with carrying muskets and wearing tricornes in a narrow exhibition space!
Display cabinet of Figures ....very nice but due to lighting & display cabinet impossible to photograph close up.
British Troops Landing
the French General Louis-Joseph, Marquis de Montcalm-Gozon
After taking in the harpsichord playing, the exhibition on the James Wolfe hero industry of the 18th century and a quick look around the house itself it was of to the reenactors camp and re fight of the famous engagement on the Plains of Abraham at Squerryes Court in front of the Duck lake. Total saving £14 a head on admissions at both properties…hurrah!! SO a good contribution went into the ‘help for heroes’ collection bucket and the Scouts tea stall!
Above living history in the drawing room Quebec House, below Squerryes Court house
The Camp was superb and I will let the photo’s do the talking, the reenactors were brilliant interacting with the visitors/spectators & children. The Model boat clubs remote controlled ‘men o war’ were superb and beautifully constructed, the trailer they brought them in was also yellow and black like a ‘ship o the lines sides’!
The actual shooting bit of the re-enactment was impressive in respects of the sound of a musket discharging and watching the loading procedure…the children shouting around us ‘go on general Wolfe die’! (they were only 6 or 7 years old!) It must be said the chap playing the general did slightly resemble James Wolfe and the re-enactment of the death of wolf painting scene a nice touch if done before I believe. The re-enactment probably lasted longer than the actual engagement in 1759!
After the hardfought battle we retired in good order to the Generals very own pub for a pint of Greene King Abbott, sadly it wasn't Westerhams own Brewery which brews a good pint.
Absolutely Recommended reading is Ralph's other superb blog Flintlock & Tomahawk where video clips and more info on the battle can be read.
I am resisting launching myself into yet another period here but what figures are available depicting Wolf? Front Rank do a pistol toting general Wolfe, RAFM who’s figures I have always liked for this conflict do a better representation of him….can you get RAFM French/Indian Wars figures in the UK or is it silly postal charge time???, Redoubt do the units involved but no general Wolfe, are there any other makes???????