Thursday, 13 December 2018

Murdoch: Last Of The Summer Wine (A ripping yarn of sharp practice in Upper Canada) Episode 3 [Back after the now customary annoying "mid season" break]

James Pendrick peered out from the hedge line where he had posted his small band of local woodsmen, just as Major Brackenreid had ordered. He thought he saw movement amongst a small clump of trees but could not be sure until there was the distinct glint of sunlight on metal at the edge of the tree line. "There they are lads," he shouted. "Take them down!" His men obliged, and the American riflemen who had been making their way through the wood  (as sneakily as only Americans can) suddenly found themselves on the wrong end of some extremely accurate musket fire. 

But the riflemen in the woods were only part of a larger problem for Pendrick's men. Further to the right, some militia were trying to make their way around the flank. They were crossing the creek covered by two parties of flank company men from Major Magnum's regiment.

As the sound of musketry broke out to his right, Major Brackenreid was still considering what to do about the force of regulars to his front. They moved across the lake road in open column and just kept going, much to the Major's consternation: "Bloody hell, Higgins," he shouted to an equally perplexed sergeant. "Where are they going?"

In truth, Major Thomas Magnum was embarking upon an attempt to outflank the British left, but he had been temporarily overcome by a recurring reverie which had plagued him since his youth. His mind drifted off into a dream of high waves, crashing surf and natives garlanded in flowers and playing small stringed instruments. The column kept marching dutifully behind him.


As the first of Pendrick's men fell to the rifles an exhausted George Crabtree finally arrived with his voltigeurs . "Take position here lads, and don't move any further forward or we'll go out of shot." he called to his men as they reached the right of Pendrick's position. "Let's make those bluecoats think again"

Meanwhile, Captain Rockford was of the opinion that this was going to be easy. Leaving the small body of militia behind him, he led his flankers towards what he thought was the open flank of the Canadian position. 

George Crabtree had other ideas! An exchange of musketry saw Captain Jim and his fellow Americans advancing back to the woods just as the amazingly similar-looking Brett Maverick caught up with his militiamen.

"Good grief," thought sergeant Crabtree." From a distance, those two American officers could almost be the same person duplicated. Sometime in the future, I bet we'll be able to do that, sort of copy people like cuttings from a twig". He could imagine Captain Murdoch slowly shaking his head, smiling kindly and giving his usual unsupportive response: "Really George, I don't think that will ever be possible. By the way, did you know the Greek word for twig is κλών, so if it were ever done it should probably be called clonify rather than copy, but honestly George.......". Sergeant Crabtree thought as brilliant as Captain Murdoch was, he could be somewhat lacking in imagination as far as the future of mankind was concerned.

Back at the hedge line James Pendrick was pleased with his men's performance. It was as if some omnipotent being had thrown some amazing dice, possibly coupled with an inability to read it's own rules properly - the American rifles had been silenced, reduced to two men skulking in the pine clump. "I am pleased with your performance men," he said.

But there is no ying without a yang, as sergeant Crabtree was about to find out. Just as he was starting to compliment his men on driving back the Americans, a stray bullet from the retreating flankers glanced off the side of his head. As he fell into unconsciousness, all he could think was "This is becoming a a bit of a habit!" 

At the lake road Major Magnum snapped out of his reverie and ordered his column to form line to the left and advanced towards the junction................


  1. Oh you have got to finish the yarn now, I'm interested to know what happened - oh, that's right I was there. Get it done man!