Monday, 14 March 2016

By The Left, Quick March

One of those odd coming together of items in the news.  There was the parade of the Gurkhas in Aldershot, being given the Freedom of the District of Rushmoor.  The other was the attempt to slag off Dan Jarvis, Labour MP for Barnsley, a former military man and contender for leadership of the Labour Party.

Barnsley is famous for many things, lesser known ones being that the Light Dragoons and The Yorkshire Regiment both have The Freedom of the Borough, inherited from the former 13/18 Hussars and The York and Lancaster Regiment.

The latter was one of the two regiments in 1968 that disbanded rather than being merged with another.  The other, for whom honour mattered more than civil service practicalities was, of course, The Cameronians.

In the first World War Barnsley had two Pals Battalions, 1st and 2nd,  the 13th and 14th York and Lancaster's who were as good as any.  They were at the Battle of the Somme in 1916, and in the same sector as grandad.

This day in 1916 from a war diary spells it out in detail.  The Labour Party in Parliament these days has very few with military experience and arguably even fewer from the old working class.  The Party of Major Attlee, a brave and gallant soldier, and many others are ghosts of the past from whom their successors shrink.

It is 200 years this year since the Gurkha's first swore loyalty to the King of England in the shape of King George III, then sadly in the grip of dementia and via the offices of the Honourable East India Company.

This was after a military expedition had gone into Nepal in 1815 to stop the raiding of the tribes and to extend British authority.  The Quartermaster to the force was Edward Cairncross Sneyd whose younger sister, Harriet, who married well, turns up often in Burke's Peerage.

Today The Gurkhas are an important part of our defence capability, and the leaders of any part ought to recognise this and of the many implications.  While there is an outside chance that Cameron may be dimly aware, albeit being very confused about Cameronians, but the present high command of the Labour Party will know and care little.

Perhaps Dan Jarvis can spell it out to them.  If a parade ground could be made available for the occasion it might give them a taste for the military.

1 comment:

  1. Barnsley is also famous for the Barnsley chop.