Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Battle of Dorking - 1871

I first came across this book in Dorking library in the early 1990's when I was researching local history/natural history on Ranmore Common in Surrey for a university project. The common is above Dorking and great for reptiles especially Adders....naturally I got sidetracked immediatly I came across this book and an old copy it was too, in the 'not to be lent section.'

Looking at my Blog list I see that Historical Wargaming blog 'hub'mentions a game 1871: The Battle of Dorking, which can be downloaded, all the details are on the blog site. Basically it follows the book which was about the fictional invasion of Britain by Germany in 1871.

The book was Written by Sir George Tomkyns Chesney (1830-1895) 'who was a British Army general and brother of Colonel Charles Cornwallis Chesney. Educated at Blundell's School, Tiverton, and at Addiscombe, he entered the Bengal Engineers as second lieutenant in 1848. He was employed for some years in the public works department and, on the outbreak of the Indian rebellion of 1857, joined the Ambala column, was field engineer at the battle of Badli-ke-serai, brigade-major of engineers throughout the siege of Delhi, and was severely wounded in the assault (he received a medal and clasp and a brevet majority). In 1860, he was appointed head of a new department in connection with the public works accounts. His book Indian Polity (1868), dealing with the administration of the several departments of the Indian government, attracted wide attention and remains a permanent textbook. In 1871, he contributed to Blackwoods Magazine a highly influential short story called The Battle of Dorking: Reminiscences of a Volunteer, a vivid account of a supposed invasion of England by the Germans after their victory over France' (Amazon Biog description)

Another tangent using all those early Perry Franco Prussian war figs in a box in the loft? Helion figures?? What British figures to use in home garb not the usual colonial figs? Any suggestions ????....don't think with all my current projects I could take on another one but interesting all the same and something to think about at work! Also look at Matt's Blog Waterloo to Mons which this subject fits well and truly into and his links give a good list of potential figure suppliers!

Figures in the above pictures include some of my fathers original toy soldiers, an 'Astra' fort gun and some Unfinished (what a surprise!)Wargames Foundry Perry Prussians which had escaped the loft.

I have just ordered a copy of the battle of Dorking on Amazon plus the superb book on the Artwork by Roy Cross the artist behind the best of the original Airfix box tops for the nostalgia trip!!

If you ever visit Dorking it has a gem of a traditional model shop called logically 'Dorking Models'


christot said...

I love all these fictional accounts of an invasion of Britain at the end of 19th/early 20th century. There were a lot of different bits of fiction like this around. My favourite was "The invasion of 1910 (written in 05) about a German invasion via east anglia. I'd love to game these conflicts, with a set of rules which reflected the authors opinions of how the inevitable war would be fought, rather than the way it ultimately was fought.

legatus hedlius said...

Dorking models is excellent and there is a very good militaria shop across the road.

Fraxinus said...

Chris thanks for the tip off about the 'invasion of 1910' this kind of alternative history has always held an interest. The Dorking game download of 47 pages looks good will try it out soon.

LH ...Dorking models has been my mecca for 35yrs+ seldom see the smiling welcome from old Tony these days as I'm not often in the area...the proprietor and the shop appeared in the book Airfix 'celebrating 50 years of the greatest plastic kits in the world' by Arthur fact my father got Tony to sign the copy he bought me from there for christmas 10 years ago! His shop was one of the first to stock 'eastern block' aircraft kits in the 70's, and Tony's scratchbuilt Warships are window display ever!

Anonymous said...

I recall a film about some "yachting Brit types" on a map making expedition foiling a Prussian plan to invade GB many years or two of the guys from Brideshead Revisited were in it I believe (Jeremy Irons & "cannot remember his name"). I was particularly struck by their yacht...all wood planks and beautifully varnished. As for Brits HLBS used to do some lovely turn of the century figures in Home Service uniform. Plus I am sure there must be some VSF stuff out there!


legatus hedlius said...
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legatus hedlius said...
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legatus hedlius said...

Grr having trouble getting a link in!

The film is The Riddle of the Sands (1979) based upon the book by Erskine Childers which was written in 1903. It's story of a plan to invade Britain by Germany is heralded as the first modern spy novel and was also, it's claimed, important in getting the Royal Navy to develop Scapa Flow as a Naval base. Certainly, a year after The Riddle of the Sands was published the government decided that the Royal Navy needed a northern base to counter the growing threat of the Imperial navy.

Also near Dorking is Box Hill Fort, one of string built in the late nineteenth century. You can walk around the outside of it. It's just next to the National Trust car park.

Anonymous said...

LH-Your knowledge of film titles I have forgotten is once again amazing!

I have just remembered the Redoubt range of British in Home Service uniform. Too big for Foundry but good with my Helion Prussians-Oh Dear!

This post has also got me wanting to go yachting again-something I have not done in years, go visit the library and see how many of these titles I can find AND visit Dorking!

Fraxinus said...

Riddle of the Sands, a great film I got a copy very cheaply on Amazon last year the yacht is exactly my dream ship too, still I have a fibreglass 14ft rowing boat with outboard & a hole in the hull on the River Stour so that will have to do!! Will have to check out Box Hill Fort I am fascinated by fortifications and will post some pics of the 'Grand Shaft' and 'western heights' in Dover soon awesome defence works.

Matt I also have found out that Redoubt do a few figs in 28mm Black hat do some 18mm from their Victorian sci fi range and Wessex games I think used to like HLBS....there seems a huge gap in the market will summarise on the blog soon as a follow up on the Battle of Dorking.