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10 June; Formalities

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10 June; Formalities

Post  Ben Blackwood on Thu Jul 21, 2011 8:51 am

A day had passed since his missing sergeant had reappeared, and now that he was mostly back in proper order - still lacking a red jacket but in possession of a shako again - Blackwood felt comfortable in sending Burr outside the company's bivouac. It would not do for the sergeant to appear unkempt, after all.

Together, sergeant and captain made their way toward where the 60th were encamped. Blackwood had decided it was necessary for Burr to give a formal report of his part in the escape to the Rifles captain, since Burr had professed to play a rather important role in it.

There were Riflemen scattered around a couple camp fires, and these all made to rise upon taking note of Blackwood's presence.

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Ben Blackwood
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Re: 10 June; Formalities

Post  Gabriel Cotton on Thu Jul 21, 2011 9:16 am

Cotton had just put the kettle on to boil when he became aware of a redcoat officer approaching, accompanied by a man in a white drill jacket with his arm in a sling. He looked from one to the other, recognising the man in the drill jacket as Burr - Sergeant Burr, who'd escaped with them. And of course the officer with him was Captain Blackwood, of the Second Guards' Light Company.

"Can I help you, sir?" he enquired, straightening up and offering a salute.

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And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
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Gabriel Cotton
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Re: 10 June; Formalities

Post  Ben Blackwood on Thu Jul 21, 2011 11:52 am

Here was a face Blackwood recognised. With a slight smile, he returned the Rifleman's salute. "I've come in search of your captain," he replied, sparing a nod for the other greenjackets nearby. "I presume he is well enough to receive visitors now, for I've not seen him in some days."

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Re: 10 June; Formalities

Post  Gabriel Cotton on Fri Jul 22, 2011 2:29 am

"He ought to be, sir." He wiped his hands on his trousers. "I'll go an' check, sir - though I reckon he'd be pleased to see you."

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And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
"Who'll be a soldier for Wellington and me?" ~ The Rochester Recruit, trad.
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Gabriel Cotton
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Species : 5/60th Rifles; Captain's servant
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Re: 10 June; Formalities

Post  Ben Blackwood on Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:36 am

"Thank you." Blackwood hoped the Rifles officer was feeling more himself after having had some time to recover. Hopefully Vickery was in better temper than he had been the last time Blackwood had seen him, too.

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Ben Blackwood
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Re: 10 June; Formalities

Post  Gabriel Cotton on Fri Jul 22, 2011 3:49 am

"Welcome, sir. 'Scuse me while I ask him." He grinned, offered another salute and went to find the Captain, returning in a few minutes.

"He'll see you, sir," Cotton informed the Guards officer, and led the way over to where Vickery was sitting on a boulder.

The one disadvantage to campaigning in Portugal was that there was an awful lot of hillside, in Cotton's opinion.

"Captain, it's Captain Blackwood and Sergeant Burr to see you, sir," he said and stepped back as Vickery got to his feet.


Last edited by Gabriel Cotton on Mon Jul 25, 2011 4:41 am; edited 1 time in total

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And he sang as he marched through the crowded streets of Rochester,
"Who'll be a soldier for Wellington and me?" ~ The Rochester Recruit, trad.
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Gabriel Cotton
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Species : 5/60th Rifles; Captain's servant
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Re: 10 June; Formalities

Post  Ben Blackwood on Fri Jul 22, 2011 4:06 am

That was, Blackwood thought, a rather sensible place to sit, all things considered. A boulder was some height off the ground, which provided the means to survey one's surroundings. It also was nominally less dirty than the ground itself. He felt a smile threaten. That was a thought which would only occur to him, a Guardsman, really.

"Captain Vickery," he greeted, approaching to offer his hand. "You are much improved, I trust?"

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Ben Blackwood
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Re: 10 June; Formalities

Post  John Vickery on Fri Jul 22, 2011 4:15 am

Vickery took the offered hand, pressing his other arm to his side a little. "Vastly improved, thank you, Captain," he replied. "It is still a little painful, of course, but nothing like as bad as it was."

He indicated the boulder. "Draw up a rock, and make yourself comfortable," he added, with a grin. "I am afraid the Mess today is rather lacking in the usual silver and crystal, but may I press you to take a dish of tea?"

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Re: 10 June; Formalities

Post  Ben Blackwood on Fri Jul 22, 2011 4:27 am

This was good news. Blackwood nodded. "That is a relief to hear. Find a seat, Sergeant. Tea would be lovely, as well. Even if it must be only a dish," he added lightly. "Would you care for one too, Burr?"

The sergeant, settling himself stiffly on a smaller nearby rock, gave his head a slight shake. "No, sir."

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Re: 10 June; Formalities

Post  John Vickery on Fri Jul 22, 2011 4:33 am

Vickery passed the request for tea onto Cotton, who grinned and disappeared.

"I gather this isn't just a social call, Captain," he added, turning back to Blackwood. The Sergeant's presence hinted at something more than that. "I do hope none of my men have been causing any trouble?"

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King George commands, and we obey
Over the hills and far away ~ Traditional

An officer must be confident in giving orders, or else the soldier will not be confident in executing them.
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John Vickery
Captain

Species : Captain; 5/60th Rifles
Number of posts : 2869
Location : Leading from the front
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Re: 10 June; Formalities

Post  Ben Blackwood on Fri Jul 22, 2011 4:48 am

"Not entirely," Blackwood answered. "By rights, I should have brought Sergeant Burr to see you yesterday after his return, but he was not fit to be seen. He does, however, have a story to tell."

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Re: 10 June; Formalities

Post  John Vickery on Fri Jul 22, 2011 5:23 am

Yesterday? So it was something to do with his missing men's return, then. He looked across at Burr.

"Carry on, Sergeant. Make your report," he said, and was interrupted by a polite cough from Cotton. He turned to see his Rifleman waiting, carrying three steaming tin mugs and looking as though he would like to get rid of them as soon as he could - one of them must be burning him somewhat.

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King George commands, and we obey
Over the hills and far away ~ Traditional

An officer must be confident in giving orders, or else the soldier will not be confident in executing them.
avatar
John Vickery
Captain

Species : Captain; 5/60th Rifles
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Re: 10 June; Formalities

Post  Ben Blackwood on Fri Jul 22, 2011 6:28 am

Both Guardsmen held their silence until the mugs were claimed. Despite his refusal of a cuppa only a few minutes before, Blackwood noted the way Burr's eyes followed the steaming mugs' movements. He wasn't surprised.

"Take a mug, Sergeant," he directed, amused.

"Yes sir." Burr accepted a mug and cupped it in his paw-like hands without apparent care for its temperature. He was silent for a moment or two more, before seeming to make up his mind how to proceed. "It were the Fifth, I think, an' fair dark when I got to hearin' a bit of a fuss down near where the French was keepin' yer lads. They was kep' separate from us but bein' as I lost me own jacket, the Frogs din't mind me alla that much. The ruction was all kep' hushed down but it was somethin' aboot 'scapin'. Only none'f 'em could make his mind up to go or not. There was one fella in a Frog longcoat 'mongst 'em tryin' to get the lot movin'."

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Re: 10 June; Formalities

Post  John Vickery on Fri Jul 22, 2011 6:37 am

At first Vickery thought that Cotton had misjudged it by bringing three mugs, but then Burr took one, looking rather grateful. The Rifle officer dismissed his batman as Burr began speaking.

He rested his own mug on his knee, listening to the Guards' sergeant's report.

"Moving? Moving where, Sergeant?"

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King George commands, and we obey
Over the hills and far away ~ Traditional

An officer must be confident in giving orders, or else the soldier will not be confident in executing them.
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John Vickery
Captain

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Re: 10 June; Formalities

Post  Ben Blackwood on Fri Jul 22, 2011 6:44 am

"Toward the edge of the camp, s'it turned out, sir," Burr replied. "The longcoat was the one leadin' us on. I had a wounded fella up 'cross me shoulder 'cause he weren't fit fer walkin'. We went on fer a bit 'fore the longcoat had us stoppin' just shy of open ground to wait fer his signal to get on the march agin."

Blackwood sipped the scalding tea, nodding slightly as his sergeant spoke. He had heard the recounting of these events already.

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Re: 10 June; Formalities

Post  John Vickery on Fri Jul 22, 2011 7:01 am

It was an unexpected turn of events that was being recounted, and Vickery listened carefully. "So... the man in the French coat was helping you escape, then? Are you certain of that?"

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King George commands, and we obey
Over the hills and far away ~ Traditional

An officer must be confident in giving orders, or else the soldier will not be confident in executing them.
avatar
John Vickery
Captain

Species : Captain; 5/60th Rifles
Number of posts : 2869
Location : Leading from the front
Member since : 2008-08-03

View user profile http://showthecolours.forumakers.com/t1736-capt-the-hon-john-vic

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Re: 10 June; Formalities

Post  Ben Blackwood on Fri Jul 22, 2011 7:17 am

Burr nodded. "Yes sir. He weren't no true Frog neither. Talked English too plain. It weren't too long 'fore here was back an' we was movin' agin. We stopped agin near a ditch an' the longcoat was off agin, sayin' we was to wait fer him to whistle that it was clear. There was a boulder 'cross the side of open ground we was s'posed to make fer, an' he'd join up wi' us agin there, he said."

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Re: 10 June; Formalities

Post  John Vickery on Fri Jul 22, 2011 7:23 am

An Englishman in a French uniform only meant one thing, usually - desertion, which meant the man in question would be tried at a General Court Martial, and shot.

An Englishman in a French uniform who was helping English prisoners-of-war to escape... That was a whole different kettle of fish.

He sipped his tea, thinking. "Was there any hint that he was planning to give you away to the French at all?"

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King George commands, and we obey
Over the hills and far away ~ Traditional

An officer must be confident in giving orders, or else the soldier will not be confident in executing them.
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John Vickery
Captain

Species : Captain; 5/60th Rifles
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Re: 10 June; Formalities

Post  Ben Blackwood on Fri Jul 22, 2011 7:28 am

"Nothin' he gave 'way, sir," was Burr's response. "But it were a bit fishy, him leavin' us down in a ditch, mebbe, an' him gone so long's it seemed too. Yer lads weren't so happy aboot it."

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Re: 10 June; Formalities

Post  John Vickery on Fri Jul 22, 2011 7:43 am

"I can imagine they wouldn't be," Vickery returned, dryly. "I don't suppose you would know the reason he was away for a while, making you all wait for him?"

He was trying to phrase his questions in a way that would be acceptable in a court martial, hoping even as he did so that it would not need to come to that. He did not want the 60th's name dragged through the mud again - it had been hard enough living down a reputation for desertion before Christmas as it was. Major Davy would certainly not thank him for bringing another such case.

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King George commands, and we obey
Over the hills and far away ~ Traditional

An officer must be confident in giving orders, or else the soldier will not be confident in executing them.
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John Vickery
Captain

Species : Captain; 5/60th Rifles
Number of posts : 2869
Location : Leading from the front
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Re: 10 June; Formalities

Post  Ben Blackwood on Fri Jul 22, 2011 8:04 am

The sergeant shook his head. "No sir. It were a fair long wait. Then one of the lads caught noise of a horse near to us. It were only an officer, one of ours, doin' some scoutin' or somethin'. Gave the lads a proper start though, sir."

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Re: 10 June; Formalities

Post  John Vickery on Fri Jul 22, 2011 8:08 am

Now, that was interesting. An officer who might conceivably be able to corroborate what Sergeant Burr was telling him.

"I can imagine it would have, Sergeant," he remarked. "I don't suppose you happen to know who the officer was?"

He would hopefully be able to get the name from Cotton if Sergeant Burr didn't know it, but took out his Day Book to note it down if by any chance the Sergeant did know it.

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King George commands, and we obey
Over the hills and far away ~ Traditional

An officer must be confident in giving orders, or else the soldier will not be confident in executing them.
avatar
John Vickery
Captain

Species : Captain; 5/60th Rifles
Number of posts : 2869
Location : Leading from the front
Member since : 2008-08-03

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Re: 10 June; Formalities

Post  Ben Blackwood on Fri Jul 22, 2011 8:24 am

"Coupla the lads knew him, once we got up to him. The longcoat gave his whistle right aboot then, so we was all shiftin' forward. Then we come 'pon the officer." The sergeant paused to think a moment. "Or he come 'pon us. It were a bit of a fuss 'fore they figgered out he weren't a Frog. Yer own man ken him, too. Cap'n Padstowe, he said."

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Re: 10 June; Formalities

Post  John Vickery on Fri Jul 22, 2011 8:29 am

"Padstowe... Yes, my man would know him." Vickery wrote the name down anyway and put his notebook away again. "Do you happen to know why the man in the French coat disappeared when he did? Or... Let me rephrase that. What was the reason he gave you, if indeed he did give a reason?"

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King George commands, and we obey
Over the hills and far away ~ Traditional

An officer must be confident in giving orders, or else the soldier will not be confident in executing them.
avatar
John Vickery
Captain

Species : Captain; 5/60th Rifles
Number of posts : 2869
Location : Leading from the front
Member since : 2008-08-03

View user profile http://showthecolours.forumakers.com/t1736-capt-the-hon-john-vic

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Re: 10 June; Formalities

Post  Ben Blackwood on Fri Jul 22, 2011 9:19 am

"No sir." Burr shook his head. "He didn't never say."

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Re: 10 June; Formalities

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