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Monday, 27 August 2012

Historical Literature which I can't get enough of

A ways back, I mentioned Bernard Cromwell. My posting may mislead readers into thinking I do no care for his work. On the contrary, I devour all of his Sharpe novels.
I recently bought Sharpe's Battle, which I will begin reading shortly. My reading habits generally follow a pattern. I will read all of the books of a series which I have, then I will begin reading another series.
For example, I have read all of Julian Stockwin's Kydd novels. Being stuck in Japan, this is a close as I will get to reenacting. I plan to collect all of his works until he stops writing.
Cromwell's Sharpe series likewise, I will slowly collect.
The only series which I couldn't really tuck into was the Master and Commander series by O'Brien. I think it was the fact that he was writing his work from the perspective of an officer which put me off.
I admire officers, but not the 18th century high society types.
The Horatio Hornblower series I have not read, but I did collect the first four films of that series.
(Ian with some of our Pirate and sailor books. Thanks to Julian Stockwin for his works)
The other series which I have read is the Harry Potter novels and I also collected the films. As well the Osprey Military books I also collect. I may soon have to ship some of my books home.
To add ambiance to our bedroom, I have a poster of Bluenose II on my wall.

 And Ian has two pirate ships in our bedroom window sill to add his own touch.
I read before I go to bed. It helps calm my mind from all of the stresses of life. (Command card courtsey of Julian Stockwin)

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Salamanca 1812 refight

I've fought this battle in miniature about 3 times. I have published one scenario on the website and have also added two video clips on my youtube channel, japanesehighlander.
The first time I fought this battle was when I was up in Toyama, on my living room floor. It was interesting, but I quickly found out that the way I had based my troops didn't leave for flexible movement. I had based each unit as a brigade, which was fine when deploying as a column but it wasn't so great when I then deployed them in line to fire as I then had to try and fit my units together.
I then rebased all of my units save for one on small bits of wood most measuring about 3cm long each.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

The Boso Folk Village, Chiba, Japan

The entrance to the park.

As part of my son's summer homework, we did some cultural explorations.
This was an old style Japanese geletin dessert.

Making a grass mat coaster.

Ian prepares to dig into his sweet.

Making a calander.

It's all in the details.

Leena eating soba, made in the village!

Ian tucks in again.

Leena works on her calander.

A skirmish on the Scottish borders 1650

This was a border battle in the Scottish borders area. Ian's English army was attempting to cross into Scotland as part of the 1650 campaign.
The Scots musket block attempted to advance and blow great holes in the English pike block, but they got bogged down in their advance. The English then rode them down with Horse and pike. The Scottish were unable to recover from this setback for the rest of the game and eventually fled, leaving the border wide open.

Sailing with Yoshida!

Today my good friend and co-worker, Yoshida-sensei took my family and I for a sail on Tokyo Bay outside Yokohama. It was an excellent day!
The Yokohama Bay Side Marina mascot

Leena looking cute.. again

Yoshida takes us out to sea

Hi Leena

Oil tanker

A proud sailor

Leena and Emi before we hit a big wave

Checking the ropes back into harbor

Assisting Capt. Yoshida come back into harbor.

Waving to the other ships.

Leena waves

More cute

Looking for jellyfish

Preparing to dock

Checking out the cabin

See you again Yoshida-sensei!

Lest we forget. A pilgrimage to the Commonwealth War Cemetary in Yokohama, Japan

August 19 is the anniversary of the Battle of Dieppe which was a disaster for the Canadian Army in 1942.
Another disaster which befell Canadian troops was their defence of Hong Kong in 1941. The main troops for this campaign came from the Royal Winnipeg Grenadiers and The Royal Rifles of Canada.
Unknown to me, there were many Atlantic Canadians who fought in that battle. Here in Japan, there are about 12 of them buried in the cemetery in Yokohama.
I took my Japanese wife and two children and Japanese co-worker through the cemetery to pay our respects. What I felt was a place of peace and love. It was a beautiful sunny Sunday summer afternoon. It was 31c. The graves are tended well, a beautiful landscaped area set in the middle of a busy Japanese city. The sad fact is that many Japanese are unaware of what the place is. As my family walked through, we talked to some of the Japanese. There was a few young couples reading. I asked an old woman if she knew where the Canadian section was as we became lost. We made back to the front gate and found a map. The Canadians are buried with several New Zealand troops. She then followed us and was surprised to find that I was looking for the graves of men who were from my part of Canada. My teaching co-worker was moved by my desire to pay respects to my countrymen.
One of the most sad aspects of the burials are the dates. Most of these men died between 1943-45. After being defeated in Hong Kong, they were marched into POW camps and their personal hell began. The official Japanese position during the war was to use Allied prisoners as slave labourers. These men died either slaving away in the coal mines of Northern Japan, the dockyards and were killed either by abuse, starvation, and allied bombing on the sites they were working on.
I took it upon myself to photograph the Maritimers who I could find. In future, when I have the chance, I will go back and take more pictures.
One of the most touching moments was when both of my children knelt at a cross and with hands together, prayed for the souls of these brave men, some hardly out of their teens. In an upper section were the graves of Commonwealth troops who died during the Allied Occupation of Japan, and those who died of wounds received in the Korean War (1950-53). What brought tears to my families eyes were the graves of children of service personnel who died during the occupation. Some were only days old.
My children laughed and played in the shade, running and saying Hello to soldiers who to them are names on bronze plaques. I was wearing my Royal Artillery t-shirt, and my son then realised what my shirt meant. He then went through and pointed out gunners who had died, and then found Maple Leaves for the Canadians. My wife wished that wars would stop. The men and boys who are there at rest are about the same age as my teenage sons.
I hope that with this posting, I can touch those Canadians who are unable to travel to Japan to visit this special place.
Below are the graves which I took. Please leave polite comments and I will try to get back to you.

Perry Sarty was from Mersey Point, Nova Scotia

This soldier had the same name as myself, Roderick.

Howard Bent was from Waterville, Nova Scotia

Angus Jacquard was from Little River Harbour, Yarmouth County, Nova Scotia

John Gee was from Arthurette, New Brunswick

Elmer Cole was from Sussex, New Brunswick

Irvin Ray was from St. Mary's River, Nova Scotia

Leo Bottie was from Ardoise West, Nova Scotia

Lloyd Roblee was from Sackville, New Brunswick.
I have also contacted the Royal Canadian Legion about these pictures.
The phamplet which was at the site lists as this:
Yokohama War Cemetery was begun by the 38th Australian War Graves Unit in 1945, and the graves of POW casualties from throughout Jpaan were concentrated into this, the only Commonwealth War Cemetery in the country. It is located 6 miles (about 10km) south of Yokohama, in Yuenchi Park, Hodogaya. Unusually for a Commonwealth war cemetery, it has four main sections; UK, Australian, Indian/Pakistan and a combined New Zealand and Canadian. In total there are 1,555 Second World War burials, including one Dutch war grave. There is also a plot containing 171 servicemen who died during the Allied occupation.
The Yokohama Cremation Memorial houses and urn which contains he ashes of 335 Commonwealth, American and Dutch casualties who died as Prisoners of War in Japan and whose remains were cremated. Of these, the names of 284 are known and are inscribed on the walls of the Memorial. Also in the cemetery stands the Yokohama Memorial which bears the names of 20 Indian casualties who dided in Japan and whose place of burial is unknown.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Third week of vacation, last one before back to school

Sunday August 5, saw us go to the Sanrio Puriland or otherwise known as Hello Kitty Land, in Tama city, Tokyo. The big draw for this attraction was that it was indoor, thus air conditioned! A good thing since the outside tempreture was around 35c!
To commerate Queen Elizabeth II Diamond jublilee, they had this small corner on a book shelf devoted to her majesty. Since myself and my two children are Canadian citizens, we felt we should remember our soverign.

This was an interesting sight. A bear in the boys toilet. As you went in to do your business, you could hear this bear singing while on his "throne".

When you opened the door and said hello, he would then growl at you! Imagine some little boy who needed to wee wee and saw this in the toilet! Talk about giving a kid issues!
The shot below came in sideways but is Leena with a British Hello Kitty

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Battle of Camden, August 16, 1780

As my summer vacation enters it's second week, I am hard at work studying but also enjoying some gamming. Today's action is part of the Southern Campaign.

Camden August 16, 1780                      

23rd, 33rd, 71st, Volunteers of Ireland/105th, Tarelton's Legion, Loyalist militia


1st Maryland, 2nd Maryland, Delaware Regiment, North Carolina militia, Virginia Militia

The battle began with the Royal Artillery firing on the American centre and on the American artillery. After the initial volley of gunfire, the American line became disorganised. Amazingly, their militia stood their ground!

The second round of the battle began with the Americans advancing and exchanging musket volleys with the British line. The American skirmishers deployed to the American right to halt the advance of the Loyalist brigade. After a devestating volley on the 33rd Regt, the Americans gave a bayonet charge with momentarily caused the British line to fall back. The Light Dragoons were soon forced to deploy into the line to prevent a huge gap opening. On the British fourth turn, they then deployed and flanked the American left.
This move destroyed the American rifle units and caused half of the militia to become casualties. The American centre took a hard hit from the Royal Welsh. The Loyalists also hit the American right hard redeeming themselves in the eyes of the British commanders.
The British then hit the American left with a charge and fire from the Light Infantry.
The Americans then attempted to shift their line away from the pressure from the left towards the Loyalists on their right.
Eventually, the British pressure on the American line became too great, and they were forced to flee the field. Lord Rawdon was left in possession of the field and thus became victor, much like in history.
(Photo courtsey of Kerry Delorey)
Please see japanesehighlander on youtube for a video clip of this battle.

Louisbourg 1758 Landing

(from Osprey British Light Infantryman of the Seven Year's War) This was the initial attack on the beachhead.
(Gerry Embelton's work of a Light Infantrymen, courtsey of Osprey Wolfe's Army and Canadian Military Heritage website) This member could be of the 15th or 28th Regiments.

(photo courtsey of Flintlock and Tomahawk blog)

45th Regiment

(photos courtsey of Kerry Delorey)
Today's action was the amphibious assualt by the British on Kennington cove in June 1758 on the shores of Isle Royale to begin the siege of the Fortress of Louisbourg.
40th Foot and Royal Navy sailor at Kennington Cove

The Colors of the 15th, 45th, 60th regiments

Colours of the 78th Fraser's Highlanders.
(Photos courtsey of Kerry DeLorey)
Chartrand (2000.49) writes that the British began landing troops beginning at 4am. The Royal Navy gave covering fire and the troops went ashore. However, it wasn't just a matter of rowing, the seas were rough and this was being done under fire. The French occupied prepared position which had been dug back in the summer of 1757. Their fire was enough to halt the landing. Wolfe who was in a boat was able to notice a very small cove which was not covered by the French. He then led the Left division which consisted of several Grenadier companies, light infantry, rangers, and 78th Highlanders. This force was able to flank the French lines which collapsed. This is now a video clip on my youtube channel japanesehighlander.