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June 28th, early dawn before reveille: A booming morning

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Re: June 28th, early dawn before reveille: A booming morning

Post  John Vickery on Tue Jun 12, 2012 9:12 am

Vickery shook his head. "I was still a Lieutenant then - in what was my first real action, too. I have only been a Captain since three days before Christmas." He bowed slightly in the saddle. "So, you outrank me by a matter of four months."

Although, that did not necessarily mean anything in the wider world of the Army; he thought he had more experience of the Army itself than Torrington did - he had certainly seen more action, though it would not be politic to mention that.

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Re: June 28th, early dawn before reveille: A booming morning

Post  Edward Torrington on Tue Jun 12, 2012 10:02 am

Edward answered with a mock-bow of his own.

"Certainly. And should we ever fight over the building of a bridge, I will have no scruples at all to pull rank - or rather seniority. Until then, however, it might be more political to have a Rifle officer be the senior captain of a Rifle company."

His eyes searched for Fraser again and he sighed. He had not seen the Duffs yet.

"I guess it means I will have to talk to him again and find out what caused this ... misinterpretation of his own request. Would you come along? I think a neutral observer might be a good thing under these circumstances."

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Re: June 28th, early dawn before reveille: A booming morning

Post  James Duff on Sat Jun 16, 2012 5:19 am

"Right, James, you can let go of me now," said Alexander, shrugging off his brother's arm. "These Captains clearly came here to exercise their wit rather than do anything." Alexander kicked his horse viciously and cantered over to Fraser. James followed him, shaking his head at his brother's anger.
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Re: June 28th, early dawn before reveille: A booming morning

Post  Henry Fraser on Sat Jun 16, 2012 6:11 am

Fraser was hurrying his men up, telling his sergeants it was an exercise in a fast retreat and indeed, fast they were.
Even though the training had been a utterly failure, he still felt proud at his men. They were professionals.

The battery was just about ready to move, the men standing beside their horses, when a very angry looking British officer came riding up. His first lieutenant and staff sergeant quickly left him.
Well, he could understand. He would gladly ride away now.

He turned his horse to face the mounted officer, which had two heavily braided epaulettes. Frazer saluted, with two fingers touching the tarleton. A proper cavalry salute.
As he was clearly outranked by this man, he waited for him to start talking.
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Re: June 28th, early dawn before reveille: A booming morning

Post  James Duff on Sat Jun 16, 2012 6:16 am

Alexander acknowledged the salute in the most perfunctory of ways. "I am Lieutenant Colonel Duff of the 88th. May I have your name?"
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Re: June 28th, early dawn before reveille: A booming morning

Post  Henry Fraser on Sat Jun 16, 2012 7:04 am

Fraser had seen this way of saluting multiple times today. Perfect, without emotion. It promised no good.
88th, 88th, 88th...Weren't they Irish? Yet, he thought, Duff was a Scottish name.

"Captain Henry Fraser, Royal Horse artillery, sir."
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Re: June 28th, early dawn before reveille: A booming morning

Post  James Duff on Sat Jun 16, 2012 7:22 am

"Captain Fraser, I wish I could say it was a pleasure. Would you care to explain why exactly you saw fit to drive the entire camp to distraction with your damnable ruckus?"
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Re: June 28th, early dawn before reveille: A booming morning

Post  Henry Fraser on Sat Jun 16, 2012 7:38 am

Fraser had no idea what ruckus meant, but he suppose the colonel meant the cannons. He was touched in his pride: every artillerymen was proud on his cannons.
Then, the colonel had a good reason to call his cannons a 'ruckus'

"I thought I had General Permission sir, but I just found out there was a....misunderstanding about the date.' It was the most sorry soldiers excuse Fraser had ever heard. Blaming orders. "I'm terribly sorry sir. I have sent out my second lieutenant to spread the news it was only a practise," he added, hoping that it would make a difference for this man.

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Re: June 28th, early dawn before reveille: A booming morning

Post  James Duff on Sat Jun 16, 2012 7:46 am

"Army, is not a place for misunderstandings, Captain. I trust you will remember that. However, misunderstanding or not, was there any particular reason you chose to set your practice at this time of the day?"
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Re: June 28th, early dawn before reveille: A booming morning

Post  Henry Fraser on Sat Jun 16, 2012 8:04 am

"It was regular practice in India, sir". He always enjoyed telling men tales of India, it always seem to impress them.
"Though, we practices a lot further from the camp. But the General did not give me permission to ride out any further."

He added quickly: "People ought to be a lot less worried when they knew the practice was coming."
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Re: June 28th, early dawn before reveille: A booming morning

Post  James Duff on Sat Jun 16, 2012 8:11 am

Alexander's lips thinned. "Very well. However, next time you decide to do something because it was done so in India, you should take a little time and find out whether it would be appropriate here. I would have thought Captain, especially seeing as you have experienced a campaign before, that you have learned that just because your Ordnance Board superiors tend to mollycoddle their officers and your ultimate superior back home is not answerable to Horse Guards, it does not mean that Brigadier General Howorth will be at all happy about you creating tension between your company and the rest of the division."
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Re: June 28th, early dawn before reveille: A booming morning

Post  Henry Fraser on Sat Jun 16, 2012 7:25 pm

Fraser did not believe his ears. Not only did ths man mock his branch, but also his experience!

"First of all, Sir, this unit is called a troop, not a company. I would have thought an experienced man like you would know the difference between artillery and infantry. Second, I must insist you take your words about the Board back, for it is an educated and proffesional institute, and it is us where those who know their job get promotion, not just those with money, sir!"
Fraser himseld had been passed over multiple times for he was, in comparison, less educated.
"Thirdly, I have this training so early my man are trained for any given scenerio. As I mentioned earlier, the Board is a proffesional branch where the men and the officers train and exercise alike. Maybe it is not so with the infantrty - or at least not with the Irish dogs - but it is damn well so with the artillery, Sir!"

Fraser was sure he was damned anyway, so he continued, just becaue there was no other thing to do.

"Fourtly, the exercise started after reveille, so if you were awoken it's in fact because you slept over regulation time. But, as you are with the infantry, I am not surprised, Sir."

A few men of his battery had overheard him gave a small cheer, for they were proud on their young captain. Suddenly, Fraser felt the urge to continue the training. After all, he was probably going to get into serious trouble so what had he to lose?
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Re: June 28th, early dawn before reveille: A booming morning

Post  James Duff on Sat Jun 16, 2012 7:46 pm

Alexander froze for a moment, then his eyes narrowed.

"I apologize for calling your troop a company, Captain, that was a mistake not worthy of me," he said in a very calm quiet voice.

"As to your other accusations, I won't even deign to answer them, except to say that clearly the Board is not as professional as you like to think, if it allows Captains to talk this way to their superiors."

Alexander's eyes glittered with anger: "As for Irish dogs, Captain, I prefer them to English curs such as yourself. You may choose your second."
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Re: June 28th, early dawn before reveille: A booming morning

Post  Henry Fraser on Sat Jun 16, 2012 8:01 pm

Fraser looked at the colonel. His eyes showed childish joy.
"May I remind you that dueling is strictly forbidden by army regulations?"
He thought for a moment.
"I have always find the Irish interesting people. Properly trained, they can be good loyal soldiers. I have a few in the battery. But when bunched up together, they become a rabble. A rabble which is damn handy for fight, but a rabble nonetheless which could turn on you any time."

He took his canteen, filled with brandy. He could use a sip now.
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Re: June 28th, early dawn before reveille: A booming morning

Post  James Duff on Sat Jun 16, 2012 8:07 pm

"At least they fight, instead of hiding behind their guns! Be damned to you, sir, you will choose your second! I am prepared to deal with the consequences of my behaviour, you, it seems, are not!"

James shook his head and sighed. He had to stop both the men, before something bad happened. Except he was not sure how, without undermining either of their authority. If only the artillery Captain apologised for throwing everyone in the camp into confusion to start with, Alexander would have let go at that. He did after all know that it was after reveille and artillery did have to practice.
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Re: June 28th, early dawn before reveille: A booming morning

Post  Henry Fraser on Sat Jun 16, 2012 8:14 pm

" 'course you do, you have the luxury to buy a commission if you are sent back. I'm not. I had to work long and hard for my captaincy and I will not trow it away because some Scottish idi...Colonel wants to duel over the honor of his Irish regiment!"

Fraser was satisfied with his answer, but quickly added:
"With all due respect, sir."
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Re: June 28th, early dawn before reveille: A booming morning

Post  James Duff on Sat Jun 16, 2012 8:19 pm

Alexander barked out a laugh. "Very well, Captain. It seems that I was wrong. Despite you thinking that I do not respect the Artillery Corps, I did think most of its representatives to be honourable, brave and above all smart men. You clearly are an exception to the rules. Just remember, Captain, orders or no orders, I've no doubt you'd have kept your commission if we did fight a duel. However, you may very well be cashiered after your court-martial. I think you may as well carry on with your practice, since you may never get an opportunity to do so again in near future."
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Re: June 28th, early dawn before reveille: A booming morning

Post  Henry Fraser on Sun Jun 17, 2012 12:00 am

Fraser lifted one eyebrow. He had heard the word 'Court-martial', alltrough he wasn't really sure what cashiered meant.
Suddenly he thought of a solution.
Well, not really a solution, but it might safe his skin.
"Does that mean I have your permission, as the highest officer around, to continue my training, colonel Duff?"
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Re: June 28th, early dawn before reveille: A booming morning

Post  Edward Torrington on Sun Jun 17, 2012 1:53 am

When the colonel had suddenly trodded past him, Edward had halted Trueno, thinking that the conversation might be private, but the raised voices made soon clear that this wasn't the case.

Fraser's words irritated him considerably, and he was just short of offering to stand as second for Colonel Duff when the uncomfortable word 'court martial' was spoken. So he guided his horse through the row of guns and their crews until he was next to the angry Colonel and asked in suitably polite, but not in any way timid tone:

"Forgive me, Colonel, but may I have a word with Captain Fraser for a moment?"

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Re: June 28th, early dawn before reveille: A booming morning

Post  James Duff on Sun Jun 17, 2012 1:59 am

"You may, Captain," said Alexander a little stiffly, not entirely happy with the interruption, "but make it quick". His brother, James took the opportunity to ride up next to his brother and to say something to him in a low voice, so as not to be overheard.
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Re: June 28th, early dawn before reveille: A booming morning

Post  Edward Torrington on Sun Jun 17, 2012 6:37 am

"Certainly, Sir."

Edward nodded crisply and swung down from his horse, handing the reins to one of the troopers.

"Captain Fraser, would you step this way for a moment?"

He indicated a spot well away from the troop.

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Re: June 28th, early dawn before reveille: A booming morning

Post  Henry Fraser on Sun Jun 17, 2012 7:05 am

Fraser was surprised by the interruption, but glad for it, for he feared he would take himself in even more trouble.

He dismounted too, the reins taken by a bombardier which smiled to his captain. Fraser was glad for this sign of support.

He followed the engineer towards the spot and took a breath.
"I'm a dead man, am I not?"

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Re: June 28th, early dawn before reveille: A booming morning

Post  Edward Torrington on Sun Jun 17, 2012 7:34 am

Edward looked the older man right in the eyes. Even though he didn't consciously invoke them, the long line of the earls of Gleve was looking over his shoulders.

"I would prefer if you were not, but Colonel Duff will demand an apology. If you'll permit me to say so, that remark about the Irish was not in the best of taste."

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Re: June 28th, early dawn before reveille: A booming morning

Post  Henry Fraser on Sun Jun 17, 2012 7:43 am

"I suppose you are right. But then, he was openly mocking me, my experience, my men and the board. Had he been a lieutenant, then you would be talking to him now."

He looked at the young engineer.

"Thing is, I don't want to apologize...not only will I lose the repect of my men, which is my more dearly then that of the army, but I will also lose all self-respect."

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Re: June 28th, early dawn before reveille: A booming morning

Post  Edward Torrington on Sun Jun 17, 2012 7:55 am

Edward's eyes became very cold, and his hand clenched around the hilt of his sabre. The man was practically saying that his choice which side to support had been influenced by the opponents' respective ranks? The muscles in his cheeks became very prominent for a moment, but then he fought the urge to slap his glove into the man's face.

In a very calm, very reasonable voice, he asked:

"And to be cashiered for something that developed out of a simple misunderstanding would be in any way preferable?"

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