After the distraction of the Referendum, I promised that my next blog would explain what links a pair of identical twin harpists, the Heavy Metal band Iron Maiden, historian Terry Brighton, the number of the Beast of the Apocalypse, a bottle of beer — oh, and the Charge of the Light Brigade.
To start with, here are the identical twin harpists, Camille and Kennerly, The Harp Twins:
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When I got up this morning, I firmly intended to write about what connects Light Brigade-historian Terry Brighton, the number of the Beast of the Apocalypse, the Heavy Metal band Iron Maiden, a pair of identical twin harpists, and a bottle of beer.
But you’re going to have to wait for that one because I got distracted by, yes, the Referendum.
In the last month or so I’ve noticed that “Charge of the Light Brigade” has been the metaphor-of-choice for describing the EU Referendum (so much more sophisticated than Turkeys voting for Christmas or Frying Pans and Fires).
Here’s one, from Inside-Poland.com:
As Great British Cock-ups Go, Brexit is on a par with the Charge of the Light Brigade
“As own goals go, Brexit was a classic. Not since Lord Cardigan pointed his handful of troops at a heavily defended Russian artillery unit and gave the order “up and at ’em, lads” has there been such a spectacular cock-up in the name of ‘defending British interests.’ “
(“As Great British Cock-ups go…”)
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Finally, after many months, we have some firm evidence about the alleged epitaph to the station-master “James Bosworth” who, according to the Wikipedia article on The Charge of the Light Brigade, had been run over and killed by a railway engine: “In his younger days he was one of those who had fought at the Battle of Balaclava and survived.”
I wrote about this rather sceptically last year, after which Nick Miller got in touch with some very useful info: “James” was in fact “John”, and he certainly wasn’t in the Charge, but he had fought in the Crimea, had been a Station Master, and had indeed been killed by a train. But it still remained to be seen whether his gravestone (which Nick had tracked down to a cemetery in Southampton) did in fact say:
Though shot and shell flew around fast,
On Balaclava’s plain,
Unscathed he passed, to fall at last,
Run over by a train.
Nick has written once again to say that he has now visited the grave. Continue reading →