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April 03, 2005

Now, things militant, vice naval

I've been remiss in my posting duties regarding things Commonwealth, despite the best efforts of my handler in the Forces. And while the post title suggests otherwise, there will be a Naval tie-in here, as well.

First - there is this nicely done report on the Battle of Moreuil Wood, which I was supposed to post I think in consonance with some regimental commemoration of the Strathcona's, but somehow, the cheque has gone missing, so I'm a little late. It *is* a good read about Canadian Cavalry in action in WWI, regardless. And, lest we forget - they still stand in Harm's Way - as an ally of the United States.

The Strathcona's can be a fun bunch... see how they deal with illegal parking?

Captain H also keeps me supplied with interesting obituarys of ordinary warriors who have done extraordinary things. And, frankly, nothing beats Brit Obits.

First, Commander Peter Meryon:


Commander Peter Meryon , who has died aged 84, was the first naval officer in the Second World War to salvage secret documents from an enemy submarine; later he was to find himself on the wrong end of an attack by a secret German guided aircraft.

The secret aircraft referred to here is the Mistel.

Read the obit for the details - but I found it fascinating that even after the war - people had trouble believing his story:

This incident first came to public light in 1988 when Meryon wrote to The Telegraph's Peterborough column. Initially, the Imperial War Museum was sceptical, believing that the Germans had no such capability; but then a researcher interviewed some German pilots who had been involved, and a book about these bombers was published in 2000.

Go figure. The full obituary is here.

The next obituary concerns regards Bobby Wills, scion of privilege who still served (a concept somewhat lost on that crowd these days - at least in the US). And how many of us with any significant length of service don't have a story similar in tone to this?

Back in England, Wills was in the leading vehicle when his brigade made a night move from Salisbury to Warminster. In the darkness, uncertain whether he was going the right way, he stopped at a small group of men standing beside the road to ask. "You are on the right road," their spokesman confirmed.

"How do you know?" Wills pursued, "are you a local?"

"No. I am not."

"Then how can you be sure?"

"Because I am Major-General Fox-Pitt commanding the brigade," came the answer.

Read the rest here.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I say to you, Peter Merton, and Bobby Wills.

Lastly, to wrap up a story from last week - we offer this.

You can do avalanche control Utah-style, or you can do avalanche control in Canada-style (scroll down to avalance patrol).

A Battery Det #1 firing at an avalanche on the first day of firing, shooting over 100 targets, firing approx. 142 rounds in 7 hours.

That is a shooting opportunity any cannoneer would die for!

CAPT H. does me a service with these missives, which is why I don't get too picky about the late payment for the Lord Strathcona's Horse ads.

That last sentence is going to get me mercilessly flogged and fact-checked...