Thursday, 21 September 2017

Admiral Sir Lionel Halsey GCMG, GCVO, KCIE, CB, ADC

Having tantalized some of my regular blog readers with a reference to one of the naval members of the Halsey family in yesterday's bog entry, I thought that I might add a few biographical details about him today.

Lionel Halsey was the fourth son of Sir Thomas Frederick Halsey Bt MP, and very early in his life he decided upon a career in the Royal Navy. After attending Stubbington House School in Fareham, Hampshire (a well-known navy 'crammer'), he joined HMS Britannia as a Cadet in 1885. He became a Midshipman in 1888, a Sub-Lieutenant, and then a Lieutenant in 1894, having served with the Royal Yacht Squadron from 1893.

His next sea appointment was to HMS Powerful, and in 1897 he sailed in her to the Far East. The ship was supposed to come back to the UK in 1899, but during her return journey the Second Boer War broke out, and she was diverted to South Africa to given what support she could. This took the form of a Naval Brigade, part of which – a battery of 4.7-inch naval guns mounted of extemporised mountings – was commanded by Lieutenant Halsey. His exemplary service marked Lionel out for rapid promotion, and he became a Commander in 1902 when he joined the newly-built cruiser HMS Good Hope. Only three years later he became a Captain, and took over command of HMS Donegal.

In 1912 Captain Lionel Halsey took command of the newly-commissioned battle cruiser HMS New Zealand, and during a cruise to New Zealand to show the flag, Lionel was presented with a Māori piupiu (warrior's skirt) and hei-tiki (pendant) which he was asked to wear if the ship ever went into battle. He did so, and it is recorded that he wore them on the bridge of his ship at the Battles of Heligoland Bight and Dogger Bank.

By the time of the Battle of Jutland in 1916 Lionel had been promoted and was Admiral Jellicoe’s Captain of the Fleet, serving aboard the flagship, HMS Iron Duke. When Admiral Jellicoe moved to the Admiralty in November 1916 to become First Sea Lord, Lionel went with him and became Fourth Sea Lord. The following year he was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral and moved to the position of Third Sea Lord. He returned to sea the following year when he took over as Rear Admiral commanding the Second Battle Cruiser Squadron of the Grand Fleet at the same time as becoming the commander of the Australian Fleet. He held these two posts from 1918 to 1920, during which time he received his knighthood.

He retired in 1926 and became an Extra Equerry to the King, King George V. He also took on the role of Comptroller and Treasurer of the Prince of Wales’s household, and when King George died, he moved over to become an Extra Equerry to King Edward VIII. Unfortunately the relationship between the two broke down as the Abdication crisis loomed , and he ceased to perform these duties, only to return as an Extra Equerry to King George V when the latter came to the throne.

He died in 1949, and Arthur Marder (the famous naval historian) wrote of him that he was:
'one of the most popular Officers of his day – a delightful, outgoing, frank person, a fine leader, a very zealous and competent Officer, who might have gone to the very top after the War but for his acceptance of a Court Appointment.'

It is of interest to note that he was a very, very distant cousin of Admiral William Frederick 'Bill' (or 'Bull') Halsey USN, who at various stages of the Second World War commanded Carrier Division 2, Task Force 16, the US forces in the South Pacific Area, and the US Third Fleet.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Well that's one task completed; only a load more to do ...

I've spent the last three days putting together the talk I have to present when I am Installed as the new Worshipful Master of the Veritatem Sequere Lodge in Hertfordshire. It is the Province's Research Lodge, and it is a tradition that the incoming Master gives a talk on a subject of their choosing.

I have chosen to talk about the Halsey family of Great Gaddesden, Hertfordshire. They held the major offices in Freenasonry in Hertfordshire for a period of over one hundred and fifty year, and many of them had distinguished non-Masonic careers in politics and the armed forces. The latter includes a naval captain who wore a Maori war-skirt on the bridge of his battle cruiser at the Battle of Heligoland Bight and the Battle of Dogger Bank!

They don't breed them like that anymore ... or do they?

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Miniature Wargames Issue 414

After some considerable thought, I decided to renew my subscription to MINIATURE WARGAMES for a further three months. As a result I received the latest issue by post yesterday, and have now had the opportunity to read it.

The articles included in this issue are:
  • Welcome (i.e. the editorial) by John Treadaway
  • Forward observer
  • Send three and fourpence: Good things in small packages by Conrad Kinch
  • Frontier Warfare: Part Two - Rules and Strategies by Chris Jarvis
  • Reinventing an old friend: Part Two by Jon Sutherland
  • Customs Office: Scenery building using 4Ground models and stuff from the scrap box by Roger Dixon
  • Darker Horizons
    • Fantasy Facts
    • Remember the Maine! To Hell with Spain!: Aerial Adventures in an Alternative World by Tony Francis
    • Uhtred and the Fire Dragon by Gordon Lawrence
  • Wargaming My Way by Dave Tuck
  • Creighton Abram's War: Fast-play microscale World War II rules for Battalion/Brigade Level wargames by Robert Piepenbrink
  • Recce
  • Tower of Balsa: The continuing tales of a wargames widow by Diane Sutherland
  • Show report: Claymore 2017 by John Treadaway
  • Club Directory
So what did I enjoy in this issue?
  1. Well it goes without saying that as Conrad Kinch's Send three and fourpence was written about his use of my PORTABLE WARGAME rules, it came out top! His article shows how easy it was for him to create his own version of the game, and his suggested rule changes to make them suitable for re-fighting American Civil War battles make a lot of sense. Furthermore he has included three short scenarios that I will certainly copy and use at some point.
  2. The second part of Chris Jarvis's Frontier Warfare came a close second ...
  3. ... with Robert Piepenbrink's Creighton Abram's War coming third. I don't think that I will stop using my own World War II rules and start fighting battles with these, but it was nice to see someone designing a set of rules for a game that can be fought on a small tabletop.
Not an outstanding issue, but good enough to justify my decision to re-subscribe.

The one downside of this magazine is the continued presence of the Club Directory section. In my opinion it is an utter waste of paper ... and should NOT be in every issue!

A copy of the Derby Worlds 2017 Tabletop Wargaming Convention Official Show Guide also came with this issue.

I won't be going to the convention (competitive wargaming has never held any attractions for me, in addition to which it is quite a journey to get there from where I live), but it was nice to see what demonstration and participation wargames be available to see and/or take part in.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Byzantines vs. Bulgars: Portable Wargame battle reports from Archduke Piccolo

Having created Army Lists for the Byzantines and the Bulgars, Archduke Piccolo has now used them in a couple of battles, which he has reported on his blog.

Judging by the photographs he has used on his blog, the two battles seem to have been full of action.

Battle 1

Battle 2

He has also made several interesting comments about the rules, and made a suggestion with regard to the card-driven unit activation system that others might wish to copy and/or experiment with. I am certainly going to do so ... when I have enough time!

Please note that all the photographs featured above are © Archduke Piccolo.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Open House London: Sunday 17th September 2017

Following on from our visits on Saturday, Sue and I decided to visit some Open House London venues that were somewhat nearer to where we live. We left home close to 11.00am, and by 11.30am we had parked our car in Greenwich in the National Maritime Museum's car park.

We walked across the front of the museum ...

... and into the small adjoining garden, where we were able to visit the Devonport Mausoleum ...

... that originally formed part of the former Royal Naval Hospital's graveyard. The building is actually the entrance to the now-sealed underground burial chamber, and it is adorned inside and out with memorials to some of those buried inside and in the immediate vicinity of the mausoleum.

Edward Riddle wrote A TREATISE ON NAVIGATION AND NAUTICAL ASTRONOMY that became the standard navigation textbook used by the Royal Navy. His son died in an unfortunate accident in his classroom when he injured himself falling off the dais his desk was on.

The inscription on Edward Harris's memorial records that he 'was 18 years a slave in Barbary'!

Inside the grounds of the mausoleum is an oak tree planed to commemorate Captain (later Admiral) Hardy, who served a term as Governor of the Royal Naval College.

Nearby is the tomb of Admiral James Alexander Gordon, another of the Hospital's Governors, ...

... and a memorial to all those sailors and Royal Marines who lived out their days in the Hospital and who were buried in its cemetery, and officers who served as Governors and Lieutenant Governors between 1749 and 1869.

There is also a small but unique memorial to Thomas Allen, Admiral Horatio Nelson's faithful shipboard servant, who although not a sailor, was allowed to end his days in the Hospital.

Only a short way away is the memorial in memory of Captain Thomas Boulden Thompson, who had an illustrious naval career and who later became Comptroller of the Royal Navy, a Member of Parliament, and finally Treasurer of the Royal Naval Hospital.

The final memorial in the grounds is that in memory of Captain John Simpson, who rose from being an apprentice to the rank of Post Captain, and who end his career as Senior Captain of the Hospital.

As we still had plenty of time before we had to leave, we crossed the road and entered the former Royal Naval College (which occupied the former buildings of the Royal Naval Hospital) ... which is now the main site of the University of Greenwich.

Walking through the grounds it is not difficult to understand why it has been used as a location for numerous films.

Most of the tours around the site were already booked up, but we were free to wander around if we liked. Our first stop was to the skittle alley ...

... which is located near to the Chapel's undercroft.

This is now used as a cafe/canteen, and is adorned with several boards displaying the names of naval officers who served at the Royal Naval College as Presidents and Directors, ...

... Staff College Directors and Deputy Directors, ...

... Naval Staff College Directors and Commodores, ...

... and the Joint Directing Staff.

We then went upstairs to the College Chapel, which proved to be lavishly decorated.

In the entrance to the chapel were two monuments to Admiral Hardy ...

... and King William IV (who was known as the 'Sailor King'), ...

... as well as numerous other people who were associated with the Royal Naval Hospital.

As the skies were beginning to darken and we were only a few minutes walk away from where we had parked, Sue and I decided to return home for lunch and a much-needed rest.