Gallery 1

A local lad comes to the North Mill to enlist in the new Volunteer Corps. The Major in charge of the muster is seen administering the Loyal Oath. As a local landowner and JP he was asked by Lt Col Strutt to swear in recruits and supervise their training. He had, in his youth, held a commission in the 45th Foot and served in America during the ill fated attempt to uphold the King's authority there. Alas his only battles these twenty years have been those at the festive board and his old uniform appears to have shrunk and it is possible that the moths may be waging an insidious campaign against him. Though he now resembles Sir John Falstaff more than Sir John Moore he can still remember how to command men in desperate battles, should it come to that. Assisted by 'Bardolph', 'Nym' and 'Ancient Pistol' he will lead his men to glory -- or at least the local alehouse!

  To his great surprise and joy the new recruit has been supplied with a musket. Little does he realise it is one of a very few that were privately owned in the town at this time and he will soon have to return it. For most of the first months of training after their formation only pikes were available. These pikes were formed by placing bayonets or other metal spikes on five feet six inch octagonal poles. Of course those who owned firelocks or fowling pieces simply brought them along. Blunderbuss, club, bow and arrow and pitchfork were not unknown at this period.

Recruits are seen here learning the basics of foot and arms drill. The tall volunteer in white is something of an enigma. A well travelled fellow who speaks English and French with equal fluency he has settled in the town and is employed as Mr Strutt's Chief Clerk serving in the Corps in the same capacity. He will say little of his early life and some think he might have leanings toward the other side of the channel. Only time will tell but as one of the most literate people in the town he is proving a great help in attending to the Corps paperwork which the Major roundly declares is 'no business of a gentleman and be damned to all quibblers and scribblers in London!'

  The Volunteers prepare to march off for more drill and refreshment at the Old Talbot alehouse. They are all in excellent spirits. None more so than the wiry figure on the front rank. This volunteer was found by the Major and Sgt Major when they were serving in America. He wandered into their regiment’s camp looking for food. Once of a respectable family a taste for strong drink and fast women has proved his undoing on many occasions since. A bare knuckle fighter in his youth this redoubtable ex soldier has left his home, fireside and carpenters business to re enlist with his old comrades. His skills with wood will be greatly needed but alas his remembrance of drill is hazy. His musket is still slung incorrectly but there is no doubting his keenness. Of such men were the NCO's of the Corps formed.

Britons Strike Home! -- Come on, Boney. Were ready for you!

At the end of a long and happy first Inspection day the Volunteers repaired to local hostelry run by an excellent fellow from far Cathay and partook of a small feast provided by their Officers.