Friday, 30 November 2012

Books and Stuff

A weekly round-up of my book news

What I've been reading...

I finished A.E. van Vogt, Voyage of the Space Beagle.

I started Walsh & Lowe, The English Whippet, and Anne Tyler's A Patchwork Planet - I've not read any of her work before, but thought the film of The Accidental Tourist wasn't too bad.

Carried on reading Stephen Jay Gould, The Lying Stones of Marrakech.

What I've bought....

W.F. Kirby (ed), Kalevala: The Land of Heroes - £1.50
Tim Tatton-Brown (ed), The Archaeology of Cathedrals - £1.50

Thursday, 29 November 2012

100 Not Out!

This is the Blog's 100th Post!

A Video for Movemeber

Courtesy of Mr Pickle and the Junkshop Quartet.  For more on Movember, see here.

Sir William Parker

Admiral of the Fleet Sir William Parker, GCB, Bart

Sir William Parker was born on 1 December 1781 in Almington, Staffs, the son of Thomas Parker.  He was a nephew of Sir John Jervis, Earl St Vincent

He entered the Royal Navy on 5 March 1793 as Captain's Servant to Capt John Thomas Duckworth, HMS Orion, on which he served in the West Indies and was present at the Battle of the Glorious First of June. He followed Duckworth into HMS Leviathan and was appointed Acting Lieutenant in June 1798, shortly afterwards joining HMS Queen, the flagship of Admiral Sir Hyde Parker.  While on the West Indies Station, he was given temporary command of the sloops Volage, Amaranthe and Pelican.  While in command of HMS Stone (in which he served in the West Indies, the North Sea and the Channel), he captured the French Packet La Legere with a valuable cargo, and, in company with HMS La Constance, the Spanish privateer El Cantara. He was made Post Captain on 9 October 1801.

HMS Amazon in action, by Nicholas Pocok

He took command of HMS Amazon in November 1802, staying with her until February 1812.  He served in the Mediterranean Fleet under the command of Admiral Lord Nelson, who he soon impressed as a fine frigate captain.  At one point Nelson suspected that Sir John Orde, commanding ships around the Spanish coast, was intercepting his despatches and commandeering Nelson's frigates to use himself.  Nelson therefore ordered Parker not to stop for any of Orde's ships - Parker attempted this but was intercepted by HMS Eurydice.  He was however able to convince the Eurydice's commander to turn a blind eye and having delivered his despatches to Lisbon, acted on Nelson's hint that he was not expected back until February by carrying out a cruise that netted him several prizes worth a total of £20,000.  Orde complained about the 'poaching' taking place on his station, but the prize money went to Parker and Nelson.  Nelson remarked of him 'I admire his spirit and resolution to attack… under all the disadvantages of situation; such conduct will some happy day meet its reward.’

Parker and Amazon took part in the pursuit of Villeneuve, but missed out on Trafalgar.  After Nelson's death, Parker continued to distinguish himself.  Amazon was back in the Atlantic in 1806, this time as part of Sir John Borlase Warren’s pursuit of Jean-Baptiste Philibert Willaumez. When Warren's fleet unexpectedly encountered a separate French fleet under Charles-Alexandre Léon Durand Linois, Amazon became involved in the resulting Action of 13 March 1806.  During the battle she hunted down and captured the 40-gun frigate Belle Poule in a running engagement. The Amazon lost four killed and five wounded during the engagement, while the Belle Poule lost six killed and 24 wounded.

After leaving the Amazon, Parker was ashore until 1827, when he took command of HMS Warspite, serving as senior naval officer in the Aegean.  He was given command of the Royal Yacht, Prince Regent in 1829 and promoted rear-admiral in 1830.  In April 1831 was appointed second in command of the Channel Squadron, under Sir Edward Codrington. In September 1831 he was detached on an independent command at Lisbon, aboard Asia where he went to protect British interests during the Portuguese Civil War. When he returned to England he was appointed one of the Lords of the Admiralty.

First Opium War

He left the Admiralty in 1841, and was appointed commander-in-chief of the East Indies and China Station. Parker sailed for Hong Kong and assumed command of the squadron on 10 August 1841, raising his flag in the Cornwallis.  In this role, Parker commanded naval forces during the First Opium War, supervising operations from the capture of Amoy to the pacification of Nanking.  He was advanced to GCB and created a Baronet in recognition of his services.

In 1845 was Commander-in-Chief, Mediterranean Fleet. In May 1846, because of his knowledge of Portugal and its politics, he was given the additional command of the Channel Squadron while still remaining in charge of the Mediterranean. He was briefly (for a week) First Naval Lord in July 1846 but gave up the role due to ill health. He served as Commander-in-Chief, Plymouth from 1854 to 1857.

In 1863 he became an Admiral of the Fleet. He died on 13 November 1866 from complications from bronchitis, renowned as the last of Nelson's captains. He was buried in his parish churchyard near his home at Shenstone Lodge, and a monument to his memory was erected in Lichfield Cathedral.

Parker's medals and other items relating to him were sold by Morton and Eden on 29 November 2012.  They were

 In addition, Parker was a knight of the Order of St Ferdinand and of Merit (1815).

Sunday, 25 November 2012

The Word from the Trenches Is...

The Daily Telegraph has an interesting article about the many words that entered common currency during and after the First World War
the war brought military slang into the mainstream, imported French and even German words to English and saw words from local dialects become part of national conversation.

William Temple, Archbishop of Canterbury

William Temple, 98th Archbishop of Canterbury
Archbishop Frederick Temple
William Temple was born on 15 October 1881 at The Palace, Exeter, residence of his father Frederick Temple (1821-1902), then Bishop of Exeter (and himself later Archbishop of Canterbury).  He was educated at Rugby (where his father had been headmaster) and Balliol College, Oxford.  At Oxford he was President of the Union and showed an interest in social issues by working at the university settlements in Bethnal Green and Bermondsey.

On graduating, he took a post as Fellow of Queen's College where he became involved in the Workers' Education Association (founded by the great Christian Socialist FD Maurice), being it's president from 1908 to 1924, and the Student Christian Movement.  He was ordained in 1909 by Randall Davidson, Archbishop of Canterbury (after the Bishop of Oxford demurred because of Temple's views on the Virgin Birth).  He was headmaster of Repton School from 1910 to 1914.  In 1915 he was appointed an honorary chaplain to the King and in 1916 he married Frances Gertrude Acland.  He was a secretary of the mid-war National Mission of Repentance and Hope and a leader of the Life and Liberty Movement, an unofficial body designed to stimulate change in the governance of the Church of England.

He was appointed a Canon of Westminster in 1919, and in 1920, Lloyd-George nominated him Bishop of Manchester (which gave him a seat in the House of Lords in 1925).  Here he became involved in the ecumenical movement and attended the Faith and Order Conference at Lausanne in 1927 and was chair of the Conference in Edinburgh in 1937 - he was later to be instrumental in founding the British Council of Churches and eventually the World Council of Churches.  In 1929 he was enthroned as  Archbishop of York.

A member of the Labour Party from 1918 to 1925, he was one of the leading voices of social Christianity in England - he led the Oxford Conference on Church and State in 1937 and the Malvern Conference of 1941, in 1932 he was chosen to preach at the opening of the Geneva Conference on disarmament.  His most influential work was his 1942 book Christianity and the Social Order.

In 1942 he became the 98th Archbishop of Canterbury. Before his early death in 1944, Temple did much as one of the moral leaders of the country in wartime, though his did, of course, court controversy with those who prefer the church not to stray into the political arena.  He spoke in favour of reform of the banking system and was one of the movers behind the Education Act of 1944 and the establishment of the Welfare State.  He spoke out against antisemitism and was a founder of the Council of Christians and Jews.

He died at Westgate-on-Sea, Kent, on 26 October 1944.  He is regarded by his admirers as one of the greatest leaders of the Church of England.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

This Week's Interesting Obits

Ivor Allsop

Ivor Allsop
Leading authority in the Yorkshire longsword folk-dance tradition.
Guardian 22 Nov 2012

Reis Leming
Reis Leming (d. 5 Nov 2012).
American airman awarded the George Medal for rescue work in the 1953 floods.
Daily Telegraph 18 Nov 2012

Friday, 23 November 2012

Books and Stuff

A weekly round-up of my book news.

What I've been reading...

Finished Darwin's Armada, which I enjoyed very much and  would recommend to anyone.  The voyage of the Beagle is well-trodden ground, but less well-known are the travels of Darwin's later allies Huxley, Hooker and Wallace.  A good read.

I had another go at Edmund de Waal, The Hare with Amber Eyes.  I'd been given it last Christmas by someone who knew I was interested in nesuke and I read half of  it some months ago before resting it.  I persevered with another fifty or so pages, but I've given up.  Despite all the praise it's got, I just find it turgid and the author's 'journey' into his family history dull.

Started Stephen Jay Gould, The Lying Stones of Marrakech, which is up to his usual standards.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

It never rains, but it pours...

The planets have trundled along in their tracks and come along to one of those conjunctions that cause medal collectors to pull their hair out - yes, the winter auctions are with us.

For some reason the big four auction houses have their quarterly sales around the same time, which always causes a glut of choice.  This time it seems worse than usual.  We have the following sales coming up.

22 November Spink
29 November Morton and Eden (Sotheby's)
12/13 December DNW
13 December Bonhams
Each play to their own strengths - Morton and Eden have a large section of World Medals and Orders, which are always eye-catching a attract the big spenders (particularly in the last twenty years, the Imperial Russian orders, which are favoured by oligarchs).  DNW go for both quality and quantity - in a massive sale of 1715 lots they have a Boer War Victoria Cross, two George Crosses, George Medals and more other gallantry medals than you can shake a stick at.  They are also dispersing a large collection of lifesaving medals, which look interesting.

As I say, we're spoilt for choice.  Fortunately, I can't afford to buy anything so it isn't a problem for me.

A Sea Gallantry Medal group of three awarded to Quartermaster Robert Matthews, S.S. Cymric, awarded three life saving medals for saving life on the St. Cuthbert, 1908

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Interuption to Normal Service

Apologies to anyone who's called in lately to see any of the 'regulars' - Sunday's Dead Bishop, Monday's Moustache or Wednesday's Royal in Medals.

I've not posted these because I've been unwell and have spent most of my time wrapped up in a duvet.  As I'm no longer able to have the pleasure of a hot whisky and lemon, I've had to do with the company of a good book and warm whippet...

Saturday, 17 November 2012

This Week's Interesting Obits

Sir Rex Hunt (d.  11 Nov 2012).  Former Governor of the Falkland Islands.
Daily Telegraph 12 Nov 2012 
Guardian 12 Nov 2012
Independent 12 Nov 2012

Birger StromsheimBirger Stromsheimone (d. 10 Nov 2012).  Norwegian SOE operative, one of the Heroes of Telemark.
Daily Telegraph 15 Nov 2012

Friday, 16 November 2012

Books and Stuff

A weekly round-up of my book news.   Not a lot to report this week - I've not been well.

What I've been reading...

Finished Jim Butcher's Grave Peril .

Carrying on with Darwin's Armada and The Voyage of the Space Beagle.

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Royals In Medals: Prince Charles Update

I've only just posted on the Prince of Wales, and already, I'm having to update it!

Prince Charles was today (his 64th Birthday) awarded the New Zealand Armed Force Award for his service as Air Commodore in Chief of the RNZAF, a post he has held since 1977.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Royals in Medals #6: The Prince of Wales

Charles, HRH the Prince of Wales, KG, KT, GCB, OM, AK, QSO

Prince Charles was born on 14 November 1948, the eldest child of the then Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh.  At birth he was second in line to the throne and styled HRH Prince Charles of Edinburgh.  On the death of his grandfather, George VI, in 1952 and the accession of his mother to the throne, Charles became heir apparent and took the titles Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles and Prince and Great Steward of Scotland.  He was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester on 26 July 1958, though he was not invested until ten years later.  I shall blog about Charles' investiture and the title Prince of Wales another time.

He was educated at Cheam, Buckinghamshire, and then Gordenstoun, Moray, (whose harsh regime he is supposed to have disliked intensely).  He spent two terms in of Geelong Grammar School in Victoria, Australia, which started his love of Australia (in the 1970s he was touted as a potential Governor-General).  In 1967 he went up to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he studied archaeology and anthropology; he also spent some time at the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth.

Charles undertook pilot training with the RAF, qualifying in jets, before joining the Royal Navy.  He served on surface ships, before qualifying as a helicopter pilot with the Fleet Air Arm.  He commanded the minesweeper HMS Bronington in 1976.

The Prince of Wales is seen as somewhat worthy heir to the throne.  Although he had enjoyed his period as 'the world's most eligible batchelor', by the time he married Lady Diana Spencer he was seen as old-fashioned and out-of-touch.  This was no doubt due to the influence of his 'uncle' Earl Mountbatten, who installed a self-image somewhat at odds with modern life.  Attempts for him to lighten up appeared (and can still appear) embarrassing and stilted. The disastrous marriage to Diana did little to improve Charles' image, and it is only in recent years with the apparent rapport he has with his sons and the support of his second wife that he is seen to have relaxed.

Prince Charles is forthright in his views, not shy of speaking out for causes he believes in (particularly in the environmental field)  He has at times been accused of interference and crossing constitutional lines.  He supports many charities, most notably through his foundation The Prince's Trust.

Honorary Military Appointments

Prince Charles has held the honorary ranks of Field Marshal, British Army, Admiral of the Fleet, RN, and Marshal of the Royal Air Force since June 2012.

United Kingdom
Colonel-in-Chief, Parachute Regt

Several of these units (indicated by the span dates of Charles' appointment) are no longer in existence.
  • Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Regiment of Wales,1969–2006
  • Colonel, Welsh Guards
  • Colonel-in-Chief of the Cheshire Regiment, 1977-2007
  • Colonel-in-Chief of the Gordon Highlanders, 1977-1994
  • Colonel-in-Chief of the 2nd King Edward VII's Own Gurkha Rifles (The Sirmoor Rifles), 1977-1994
  • Colonel-in-Chief of the Parachute Regiment
  • Colonel-in-Chief of the 5th Royal Inniskilling Dragoon Guards, 1985-1992
  • Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Dragoon Guards
  • Colonel-in-Chief of the Army Air Corps
  • Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Gurkha Rifles
  • Deputy Colonel-in-Chief of the Highlanders (Seaforth, Gordons and Camerons), 1994-2006
  • Royal Honorary Colonel of the Queen's Own Yeomanry
  • Colonel-in-Chief of The Queen's Dragoon Guards
  • Colonel-in-Chief of the King's Regiment, 2003-2006
  • Colonel-in-Chief of the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment), 2003-2006
  • Royal Colonel of the Black Watch, 3rd Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland
  • Royal Colonel of the 51st Highland, 7th Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland
  • Colonel in Chief of the Mercian Regiment
  • Honorary Air Commodore of Royal Air Force Brawdy, 1977-1992
  • Honorary Air Commodore of Royal Air Force Valley
  • Commodore-In-Chief of Plymouth, Royal Naval Command
  • Honorary Commodore of Her Majesty's Coastguard
  • Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Australian Armour Corps
  • Colonel-in-Chief of Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians)
  • Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles
  • Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Regiment of Canada
  • Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Canadian Dragoons
  • Colonel-in-Chief of the Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada
  • Colonel-in-Chief of the Toronto Scottish Regiment (Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother's Own)
  • Colonel-in-Chief of the Air Reserve Group
  • Honorary Commissioner of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police

In the uniform of the Royal Pacific Islands Regt
New Zealand
  • Air Commodore-in-Chief of the Royal New Zealand Air Force
Papua New Guinea
  • Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Pacific Islands Regiment

Orders, Decorations and Medals


Order of the Garter
Royal Knight, 1958.  Prince Charles automatically became a member of the order on his installation as Prince of Wales, but was not installed until 17 June 1968.

Order of the Thistle
Extra Knight, 1977

Order of the Bath
Great Master and Principal Knight Grand Cross (GCB), 1975

Order of Merit
Member, 2002

Commonwealth Orders

Australia.  Order of Australia
Knight (AK), 1981
As Charles was not an Australian citizen, his appointment would have required the award to be honorary. As future sovereign of the order, this was felt to be inappropriate.  To overcome this issue, an enabling amendment to the constitution of the order was made. Hence, the Prince of Wales is a full member in the General Division, not an honorary appointment (as is the Duke of Edinburgh).

New Zealand.  Queen's Service Order
Extra Companion (QSO), 1983

Grand Commander: Star, Obverse

Malawi.  Order of the Lion
Grand Commander, 1985

SaskatchewanOrder of Merit
Hon Member (SOM), 2001

Papua New GuineaOrder of Logohu
Royal Chief, 2005

Commemorative Medals

 Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal 1953  
File:Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal ribbon.png  Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal 1977
Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal ribbon.png  Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal 2002
QEII Diamond Jubilee Medal ribbon.png  Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal 2012
New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal ribbon.png  New Zealand Commemorative Medal 1990
Independence Medal (Fiji) ribbon.png Fiji Independence Medal 1970
PNG Independence Medal.png Papua New Guinea Independence Medal 1975
  Nepal, King Bihendra Coronation Medal 1975
The Netherlands, Queen Beatrix Inauguration Medal 1980

Long Service Awards

CD-ribbon.png  Canadian Forces Decoration (CD), with two clasps, 1982
File:New Zealand Armed Forces Award ribbon.png New Zealand Armed Force Award, 2012

Wearing insignia of the Order of St Olav (Norway)
Foreign Awards

Diana, Princess of Wales


Diana Frances Spencer was born on 1 July 1961 at Sandringham, Norfolk, fourth child of Viscount Althorp (who became 8th Earl Spencer in 1975).  Her family was particularly disfunctional, and Diana had a unhappy childhood both before and after the divorce of her parents. 

The Spencers  rented a home on the Sandringham Estate, and Diana was a playmate of Princes Andrew and Edward.  Prince Charles had a relationship with Diana's sister, Sarah.  Her engagement to the Prince of Wales was announced in February 1981, and they were married in St Paul's Cathedral by Archbishop Runcie on 29 July 1981.

The couple had two children:-
Diana was a devoted and demonstrative mother, traits which did much to boost her popularity with a public used to the public coolness displayed by the royal family.  In many respects, she was a breath of fresh air.  She was an extremely active member of the royal family until her separation from Prince Charles in December 1992, after which she reduced her official duties.  However, these did continue until her death and, in addition, she used her high profile in support of charities and other causes close to her heart.

Despite the official announcement of their separation describing it as 'amicable', this was far from the case.  Charles and Diana had been ill-suited on many levels, and difficulties had soon arisen.  Both had affairs, and each blamed the other for the break-up of the marriage - a battle of proxies soon started in the press.  Negotiations for divorce were started in 1995 and finalised in August 1996.  As part of the settlement, Diana lost the style 'Her Royal Highness', but remained a Princess of the United Kingdom.

Diana was killed on 31 August 1997 following a car crash in the Pont de l'Alma road tunnel in Paris.  Her death was followed by an outpouring of public grief.  Her funeral took place on 6 September 1997 in Westminster Abbey, and she was buried in the family estate at Althorp.
With the Royal Family Order and the Order of the Crown

Honorary Military Appointments

  • Colonel-in-Chief of the Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment
  • Colonel-in-Chief of the Light Dragoons
  • Honorary Air Commodore, RAF Wittering

Orders, Decorations and Medals


Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II

Foreign Awards


Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall

Camilla Rosemary Shand was born on 17 July 1947, the daughter of Maj Bruce Shand, MC, and the Hon Rosalind Cubitt (eldest child of Roland Calvert Cubitt, 3rd Baron Ashcombe).  Much has been made of the fact that her maternal great-grandmother, Alice Keppel, was one of King Edward VII's long-term mistresses.

She was educated in London, Switzerland and Paris, and came out as a debutante in 1965.

Camila and Prince Charles started a relationship in 1970, and Charles is reported to have wanted to marry her, being dissuaded by Louis Mountbatten, who had his own dynastic hopes.  In July 1974 she married Major Andrew Parker Bowles of the Royal Horse Guards (The Blues) and a former boyfriend of Princess Anne.  The wedding was attended by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, Princess Margaret and Princess Anne.  Parker Bowles was later Lt-Col Commanding the Household Cavalry (Silver Stick in Waiting to HM the Queen) and, from 1990, a brigadier.  The couple had two children and divorced in 1995; Camila and Charles had renewed their relationship in the late 1980s.

Camilla's role as Charles' mistress became public knowledge in 1992, the Princess of Wales famously declaring that 'there had been three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded' and she became a hate-figure, particularly in the hysteria following Diana's death.  Prince Charles however, declared that their relationship was 'non-negotiable' and the couple settled into an unofficial partnership.  After a period of 're-habilitation' following Diana's death, it was announced in February 2005 that the couple were engaged.  The marriage took place on 9 April 2005 with a civil ceremony at Windsor Guildhall followed by a religious blessing at St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.

Following  the marriage, Camilla became de jure Princess of Wales, but chooses not to use the title 'out of respect' to her predecessor, and instead uses the feminine form of her husband's highest-ranking subsidiary title, the Duke of Cornwall.  The question of Camilla's title was the subject of some controversy among the followers of Diana and the tabloid press: this extends to the title she will use if Charles succeeds to the throne, and it is the currently stated intention that she be styled 'Princess Consort' (though, of course, she will be de jure queen consort).

Camilla has proved herself adept in her royal role and as companion and support to her husband.

Honorary Military Appointments

United Kingdom
  • Royal Colonel of the 4th Battalion of The Rifles
  • Honorary Air Commodore of RAF Halton
  • Honorary Air Commodore of RAF Leeming
  • Commodore-in-Chief of the Naval Medical Services
  • Commodore-in-Chief Naval Chaplaincy Service
  • Lady sponsor of HMS Astute
The Duchess of Cornwall visits The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada
Inspecting the Queen's Own Rifles of Canada
  • Colonel-in-Chief, The Royal Australian Corps of Military Police
  • Colonel-in-Chief, The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada

Orders, Decorations and Medals


Royal Victorian Order
Dame Grand Cross (DCVO), 9 April 2012

Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II
30 October 2007

Commonwealth Orders

Papua New Guinea.  Order of the Star of Melanesia
Companion (CSM), 3 November 2012

Commemorative Medals

QEII Diamond Jubilee Medal ribbon.png  Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal 2012
SCM ribbon.png  Commemorative Medal for the Centennial of Saskatchewan 2005

Edit - 14 Nov 2012

New Zealand Armed Force Award added to Prince Charles awards.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...