Battle of Agincourt

ONCE UPON A TIME, 600 years ago, we had the Battle of Agincourt. Yes, another anniversary and this was on the 25th October 1415 to be exact (okay, sorry, I’m a week late, it was last Sunday).  A great victory by the English under Henry V based on a change of tactics (sort of).

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Henry V (1387-1422)

Henry’s army landed in France on the 13th August 1415. They were not, as someone suggested to me the other day,  transported by his famous ship the Grace Dieu (whose remains are still beneath the River Hamble at Burseledon near Southampton) as she was launched in 1418, or by Henry’s other famous ship, the Holigost (whose remains have just recently been discovered some 50 yard from the Grace Dieu), as she was launched in November 1415.

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‘Morning of the battle of Agincourt’ (John Gilbert, 19th century)

Early medieval battle tactics were simply a head-on charge of heavily armoured horseman followed by a gruesome and savage hand-to hand combat. Aka the chivalry and bravery of Knights in armour. Such Knights would also supply infantry to support their king’s cause in the oncoming furor.  The coming of the Tudors and the use of the long bow was to change this. This is not to say Henry V invented this type of bow as it was used in England before him. The Assize of Arms of 1252 and Edward III’s declaration of 1363 encouraged ownership and early practice of the long bow as it was very difficult to use (requiring great strength/skill to pull).  It was used to great effect at the Battle of Crécy in 1346 at the beginning of  the Hundred Years’ War (which actually lasted 116 years, 1337-1453, but let’s not go there) and also at Poitiers in 1356.

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English yew long bow (6ft 6in, 2m long; 105 lbf, 407 N draw force)

The long bow was, of course, so successful at Agincourt that it allowed a numerically inferior English (and Welsh) force of around 9,000 (which included 7,000 bowmen) to defeat a French force of around 12,000.  There does not appear to be any reliable sources on causalities but it is understood the French losses were high whereas English losses were very low – one account suggests 450 English to 4,000 French. Included in the English fatalities was Edward of Norwich, the Duke of York.

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Edward of Norwich, Duke of York (1373-1415)

Obviously the English were led by their king, Henry, but the French were not troubled by their monarch, Charles VI, as he suffered from a severe psychotic illnesses – that was his excuse anyway (we’ll call him ‘sick-note Charlie’).  The French were therefore commanded by a Charles D’Albret. The battlefield was possibly the most significant factor in deciding the outcome. The land had been recently ploughed and was hemmed in by dense woodland. This favoured the English both because of its narrowness and the thick mud through which the French knights had to pass over making advancement very slow. It also meant that “the living fell on top of the dead, and others falling on top of the living were killed as well” (Gesta Henrici Quinti – anonymous contemporary account). In fact, the French were so tightly packed they could hardly use their swords (account by a French monk, St Denis).

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Battle of Agincourt 

Interestingly the French bowmen seemed to play very little part in the battle. They had been deployed behind the French troops. The French delayed the attack expecting more troops to join them. This gave the English archers time to set up their defensive stakes and by the time the French horsemen charged the English bowmen were ready for them. The French Knights could not outflank the bowmen because of the surrounding woodland, instead they headed into a ‘woodland’ of sharpened stakes embedded into the ground. Not a good option. These stakes caused much injury to the French horses who, in turn, panicked and unseated many of their riders into the mud to be left to the mercy of the English infantry. Once a heavily armoured knight was stuck in the mud he wasn’t going anywhere!

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Mud of Agincourt (Donato Giancola 2007)

Retreating French horses and horseman ran over advancing French infantry, trampling or scattering them.  It was chaos. When the English bowmen ran out of arrows they simple grabbed whatever weapon they had and attacked the French men-at arms. By this time armour had become more of a disadvantage – knights were hot and tired within these armoured suits and could “scarcely lift their weapons” (see St Denis above). They had great difficulty in defending themselves against the much more nimble and lightly armoured English bowmen.

According to one source, Henry, in rescuing his brother, Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester, received an axe blow to his helmeted head, knocking off a piece of his crown. So, clearly he was right in the thick of it, not like the French king, ‘sick-note Charlie’.

King Henry V and The Battle of Agincourt.

Henry rescuing his brother …..

The battle lasted some three hours.

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Alfred Wallace on evolution: credit where due

I HAD NOT heard of Alfred Russel Wallace until I saw a fascinating two-part documentary about him by the comedian, Bill Bailey, in 2013. Wallace was a rival to Charles Darwin with regard to the theory of evolution. Wallace first put pen to paper on the topic but Darwin got all the credit.

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Bill Bailey by a portrait of Wallace and many of his (Wallace’s) specimens

In 1845 Wallace read a book, ‘Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation’ (published anonymously in 1844 but was by Robert Chambers) which convinced him that life on Earth had evolved from earlier forms.  As did Darwin, Wallace travelled afar (particularly to the Amazon) to collect various specimens to try and understand how evolution worked.  During his travels, in February 1855, he wrote a paper entitled ‘On the Law Which Has Regulated the Introduction of New Species’ which was published in September of that year. It described how species have evolved over time with some becoming extinct and new ones evolving from earlier forms. It was written at a time when the general belief was that species were unchanging creations of God – so likely to cause some concern within the religious world. Wallace had been inspired by the work of Charles Lyell on geological change. It was Lyell who brought Wallace’s paper to Darwin’s attention.

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Alfred Wallace (1823-1913)

Darwin later mentioned to Wallace that Lyell (who Wallace hadn’t met) had found his (Wallace’s) 1855 paper noteworthy.  In February 1858, whilst in  Southeast Asia, Wallace realised how new species were formed and wrote an essay on it called ‘On the Tendency of Varieties to Depart Indefinitely From the Original Type’.  In June 1858 he sent the essay to Darwin asking him to forward it onto Lyell thinking that Lyell would be interested to learn about his new theory of evolution following his proposals in his 1855 paper.

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Charles Darwin (1809-82)

When Darwin received Wallace’s essay he was deeply concerned. It described the same theory he himself had had 20 years before (although there were some differences) but had never published  and he aired his concerns to his friend Lyell.  Lyell and Joseph Hooker presented Wallace’s paper along with other unpublished material of Darwin’s at the Linnean Society of London in July 1858 – the presentation was called ‘On the Tendency of Species to form Varieties; and on the Perpetuation of Varieties Species by Natural Means of Selection’ but it caused little interest (other than with some noted scientists) (click here to read that paper).  The presentation and documents were published a few weeks later with Darwin and Wallace as co-authors.

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Sir Charles Lyell (1797-1875)

Darwin had begun writing on evolution in 1844 and this 1858 essay of Wallace’s spurred him on to publish. The result was Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection’ published by John Murray in November 1859 [1]. This publication became the focal point of discussion and Wallace’s 1858 essay was forgotten. This left Darwin receiving the kudos for the discovery of the idea of natural selection. Unfair or what?

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You can buy a 1st edition of Darwin’s book on Abe books for around  £150,000 ($230,000)

Admittedly, Darwin had been thinking about the theory longer than Wallace. It had been on his mind since 1838 after he had read an essay by Thomas Malthus on human population growth (‘Principle of Population’ published in 1826), whereas Wallace, as mentioned above, had only been thinking about it since 1845 (but let’s not ‘nitpick’).

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The Rev. Thomas Malthus (1766-1834)

Sometimes life just ain’t fair. However, Wallace did receive his dues for his work in establishing modern biogeography (the study of geographical distribution of living things – but you knew that).

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Statute of Wallace in front of the Wildlife Garden at the Natural History Museum, London (unveiled by Sir David Attenborough in November 2013)

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Footnote:

[1] Darwin’s only reference to human evolution in this book was the understatement in his introduction that “light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history”. He did not address this theory fully until his book ‘The Descent of Man and the Selection in Relation to Sex’ in 1871.

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The famous caricature of Darwin following the purification of his ‘Descent of Man’

That Hamilton Woman: Hollywood fact or fiction?

WHEN I SAY ‘that Hamilton woman’ I don’t mean Emma Hamilton in connection with Lord Nelson, I mean Vivien Leigh in connection with Lord Olivier. Yes, they appeared together in the film That Hamilton Woman! but, of course, they ‘appeared together’ in real life.  And, as with Hamilton and Nelson, it did not end well.

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The film poster

As in the film between Hamilton and Nelson, the relationship between Leigh and Olivier was frowned upon as both were married but not to each other – Leigh to Herbert Leigh Holman and Olivier to Jill Esmond, whilst Hamilton was married to Sir William H and Nelson to Francis (nee Nisbet).

 1572620d0ca7bab3ba3b4a02573ef333Vivien Leigh and Lawrence Olivier in the film (trivia: Nelson never wore an eye-patch, just a sun visor on his hat)

Hollywood dalliances were frequent but taboo amongst already married couples as the public did not approve. It could mean the end of both party’s careers. Leigh and Olivier got away with it for awhile having begun their affair in 1936. Olivier later said that “I couldn’t help myself with Vivien. No man could. I hated myself for cheating on Jill, but then I had cheated before, but this was something different. This wasn’t just out of lust. This was love that I really didn’t ask for but was drawn into.”  Oh, well that’s okay then!! The public didn’t realise the affair was going on because Leigh and Olivier were both in Hollywood for other reasons – Olivier was making Wuthering Heights (which he didn’t enjoy doing but that’s another story) and Leigh was seeking the Scarlett O’Hara role in Gone with the Wind.

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Viven Leigh as (appropriately)  Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind

However, the industry was aware of the affair and Leigh failed to be cast alongside Olivier in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca because it was thought a good idea to keep them apart (work-wise anyway) until their divorces came through.  And the same applied to Pride and Prejudice after that. That’s showbiz!

They managed to appear on Broadway in Romeo and Juliet by some chap called Shakespeare but only because they financed it themselves, investing nearly all their savings. It was a commercial disaster.  In August 1940, once their divorces were through, they married – each other. They made That Hamilton Woman! the following year.

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Olivier and Leigh – the ‘happy couple’

All went well until 1953 when, according to Olivier, Leigh went into manic depression and became exceedingly difficult to live with.  Michael Munn’s book on David Niven, ‘The Man Behind the Balloon’, makes mention of Niven’s concern over Leigh’s health, “David’s reference to Vivien Leigh’s illness was based on first hand experience of seeing her in the grip of what was once called manic depression but is now known as bi-polar disorder.  He had to called Stewart Granger one night when Vivien became ill while filming Elephant Walk” [1].  Munn then describes Granger’s version of the event (also from Granger’s autobiography ‘Sparks Fly Upward’) which is very similar to Niven’s recollection of an incident with a famous starlet he calls ‘Missie’ in his chapter ‘Our Little Girl (Part 2)’ in his book, ‘Bring on the Empty Horses’.  Niven does not actually say who ‘Missie’ is but, based on Munn’s (and Granger’s) book, she is clearly Vivien Leigh.  Niven doesn’t mention Granger’s involvement and to add to the intrigue, Olivier in his autobiography , ‘Confessions of an Actor’ involves Danny Kaye in the incident.

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Olivier and Leigh returning to London after her ‘breakdown’

As a result of Leigh’s illness, Olivier fell into the arms of the English actress, Joan Plowright.  Olivier once said, “Even when Vivien was at her worst [with mental illness], I was never unfaithful to her though she was to me … [but] I became a philanderer through necessity …”.  Oh, again, that’s okay then!  He divorced Leigh in 1961 and immediately married Plowright.  In 1970, Olivier was made a Life Peer – Baron Olivier of Brighton (where he used to live in the Regency built Royal Crescent).  He died in 1989, aged 82 (still married to Plowright).

And Leigh?  She was reported to say she “would rather have lived a short life with Larry [Olivier] than face a long one without him.”  Well, sadly this was to be true – she died of tuberculous in 1967 aged 53.  And Lady Hamilton?  She died of amoebic dysentery at the age of 49 whilst in poverty in Calais in 1815.

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Footnote

[1] This is a bit confusing as the ‘breakdown incident’ happened in Los Angeles, whereas Elephant Walk was being filmed in Colombo, Ceylon.  Also, Leigh was indeed ill during filming and Olivier flew out to see her, but as she was obviously ‘involved’ with Peter Finch, her co-star (and had been since about 1948), Oliver was supposed to have flown back alone. Leigh did return home as her part was taken over by Elizabeth Taylor. Oh well, that’s Hollywood I suppose.

Matinee idols: a role for men – but is it worth it?

CARRYING ON WITH the Hollywood theme from last week (‘Sir’ Douglas Fairbanks Jr), in case you didn’t know, the term ‘matinee idol’ is always connected with male actors. Quite conceivably the term could also apply to an actress – but it does not. This may (and probably does) upset feminists, but in saying that, it’s not really a term used to describe movie stars today.  But why does (did) it only relate to men?

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Douglas Fairbanks Jr – matinee idol

Well, back in the good old ‘hey-days’ of Hollywood of the 1920s-50s, the majority of ‘middle class’ women  were homemakers who had more time on their hands than men to go out during the day to the cinema (I know that’s not the case today so don’t shout at me, I’m just reporting on the origin!).   Accordingly, midweek matinee audiences tended to be 90% female – simply because men were at work and children at school.  As a result, movie producers and theatre owners used them to measure an actor’s popularity.  The actors, in this case, were obviously men. When an actor proved that he could draw a large crowd of women he was considered a matinee idol.  This was because – and I say, rightly or wrongly – in those days, the practice was based on the assumption that women were interested in only one thing – men.

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Don’t ‘shoot the messenger’ – this information is taken from a book I read by Warren G. Harris.  However, what I have read about matinee idols, the assumption works both ways.

I can tell you from experience that matinee idols do not exist today. A few years ago I was up at Oxford when the film Troy was first released. This will be popular I thought, so the day before my viewing I went into the cinema and bought a  ticket for the following afternoon – being a student I had an afternoon free. Well, when I went along the next afternoon the cinema was completely empty – I had it entirely to myself!  Sorry Brad Pitt, you are not a matinee idol.

Anyway, I digress.  So ‘matinee idol’ came to signify an actor with exceptional sex appeal.  For that he had to be handsome, romantic and, as Harris added, “not a boy, but not too blemished by age either.”

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“Hi, I’m a film star”

Now, as a 1920s-50s matinee idol you might think you had it made in Hollywood.  Yes and no. A number of such idols did not make old age. This was usually due to alcohol or drug abuse, or overdoing in other ways leading to heart failure of some sort.  For example, Gig Young (64 -alcohol/suicide (64 ain’t old!)), William Holden (63 – alcohol/accident ), Douglas Fairbanks Sr (56 – heart attack), Gene Lyons (53 – alcohol),  Alan Ladd (50 – drugs and alcohol), Errol Flynn (50 – heart attack/alcohol), Montgomery Clift (45 – drugs), Tyrone Power (44 – heart attack), John Gilbert (38 – heart attack/alcohol),  Robert Walker (32 – drugs), Wallace Reid (31  – drugs).

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Montgomery Clift                                                     Tyrone Power 

It’s a bit pointless having all that fame and money only to die prematurely (although Errol Flynn was practically penniless when he died).  Mind you, I suppose you are remembered for your good looks.

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Errol Flynn died penniless just as he was forced to negotiate the lease to another of his beloved yacht Zaca in 1959

Gary Cooper made it to 60 before dying of cancer 1961, but in 1931/32 and again in 1951, handsome, rich and famous,  he  suffered a nervous breakdown.

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Gary Cooper – nervous breakdown at High Noon

Cary Grant fortunately did not die young (he was 82 when he died in 1986) but in commenting on a question about stardom in 1938 he said, “Does it bring you happiness? Yeah, for a couple of days. And then what happens? You begin to find out that your life is not your own any more, and you’re on show every time you step out on the street.”  He suffered depression on-and-off for several years (particularly badly in 1933/4).   Stewart Granger said to Betsy Drake, Grant’s third wife  (he had five), “Cary Grant is exactly not what he appears to be. He isn’t carefree, debonair and relaxed at all; In fact he’s the opposite” [1]. To the average cinema-goer, the knowledge that Grant was a bad-tempered depressive, and by 1957, experimenting with LSD for psychotherapy purposes, would have come as rather a shock.  In his book on Grant, ‘Haunted Idol’, Geoffrey Wansell observed that Grant’s fourth wife, the 25 yr old Dyan Cannon (Grant was then 60), “… discovered what perhaps she should have guessed before, that her husband’s only too famous public charm was left at the parties or the dinners they sometimes went to; it seldom accompanied him home.”  But that’s showbiz.

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Cary Grant  – bad-tempered depressive …..

And many of these ‘popular’ stars struggled with their marriages. Between top matinee idols Douglas Fairbanks Sr & Jr, Errol Flynn, Tyrone Powell, Clarke Gable, Cary Grant, Gig Young and Tony Curtis, they had 33 wives.

On the subject of Tony Curtis, he was one of the more lucky ones. He managed to live until the age of 85 despite having been a  cocaine addict and suffering advanced cirrhosis due to alcohol abuse, and he also survived a heart attack.

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Tony ‘Lucky’ Curtis

Needless to say in the 1930s Clark Gable was a matinee idol and, apparently, his female fans were the most demonstrative since Rudolph Valentino’s in the 1920s. However,  in 1935 he was running neck-and-neck with  Shirley Temple for the No 1 spot in the box-office popularity stakes.  But Shirley Temple was not a matinee idol …….

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Shirley Temple – matinee idol?

Despite this popularity,  Gable only won one  Oscar for best actor – not for Rhett Butler in Gone with the Wind (he was nominated but lost out to Robert Donat in Goodbye Mr Chips) – but for his portrayal of Peter Warne in It Happened One Night in  the 1935 Academy Awards.  Depressed and drunk after the tragic death of his actress wife, Carole Lombard, he gave the Oscar away to his godchild, Richard Lang.  Several years later, shortly after Gable’s death, Lang returned the Oscar to Gable’s last wife, Kay Williams, with a note addressed to John Gable (the then newborn son of Clark and Kay, born 5 months after Clark’s death) saying, “It is only in your possession. The real Oscar is your Father’s alone forever from all those people who gave it to him with supreme thanks for giving us a part of himself.”   Nice touch Rick.

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Clark Gable with his Oscar for It Happened One Night

And the postscript to this Oscar: In adulthood John Gable experienced financial problems (he had inherited a fortune but it was tied up in bonds and annuities).  So in December 1996 he put his father’s Oscar up for auction at Christie’s much to the great dismay of the Hollywood establishment and the Academy of Motion Pictures.  This was not the ‘done-thing’ as Oscars were earned by merit not purchased.  Fortunately it was bought by Steven Spielberg at the auction for $607,500 and he presented it to the Academy for display in its museum in Beverly Hills.  Good old Steve!

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Nice one Steve!

That’s enough Hollywood trivia …. and doom and despondency (sorry about that) for one week.

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Footnote

[1] What is it with these ‘perfect’ Hollywood stars?  Robert Lacey in his biography of Grace Kelly says, “But the truth about Grace Kelly was that she was, in some very important respects, quite the opposite of what she seemed.”  (She was a very naughty girl).

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Cary Grant and Grace Kelly – both quite opposite from what they appeared to be ….

Whilst on the subject of Grace Kelly, let’s move from ‘doom and despondency’ and finish on a lighter note which also comes from Lacey’s book.  At  a pre-wedding party Prince Rainier was perhaps feeling over-exuberant  with the love of his wife-to-be. He said to his priest, Father Tucker, “Isn’t it amazing how fluently Grace speaks French?”  Tucker replied, “My Lord Prince, I knew love was blind, but I didn’t know it was deaf as well.”

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I told you last week I had come to the end of vol 2 of Artemus Smith’s notebooks …….

 

Non-national Knighthoods

HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN can confer knighthoods to non-British nationals known as honorary knights (and honorary dames for females) but such honoured individuals cannot prefix their names with ‘Sir’ (or ‘Dame’) but can add the appropriate letters after their names (usually KBE – Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire – or DBE – Dame Commander ……).  Nor do they go through the accolade or ceremony of having the sword touched upon each shoulder.

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No sword tapping for non-British knights

Now, I knew all this but until I recently read the wonderful Douglas Fairbanks Jr’s biography I wasn’t aware as to why (mainly because I had never bothered to think about it). Fairbanks Jr was suitably honoured in 1949 – and rightly so. We all know him as a swashbuckling Hollywood action man actor but there was much more to him than that.  He was awarded his knighthood for his tireless efforts to gain US support for Great Britain during the early years of the Second World War (before Pearl Harbour of course) and, among other things, for his services to the Co-operative for American Remittances to Europe (C.A.R.E.), a war relief organisation.  But, being an American he could not call himself Sir Douglas.  Why not?

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Highly-decorated Commander Fairbanks Jr., KBE, DSC, etc, after the war – and wife, Mary Lee

Well, as his biography says, “Membership in an order of chivalry is one thing and the accolade another; they go together but they are separate.” The reason is historical – it would be if it’s British.  In the good old medieval days when the king relied on his landowners for military support (which included a supply of soldiers), such a landowner would give allegiance to the Crown and, if he didn’t already have one , he may be granted a knighthood (and possibly more land if the war was successful). This was fine when he was a British national but that was not always the case.  For example, in the days of the Crusades (which particularly involved English and French) a man could be a member of an order of chivalry and become a knight of that order (Knights Templars, etc), but he could not swear allegiance to a foreign sovereign if he still owed a loyalty to his own feudal monarch, regardless as to whether that monarch was involved in that crusade. The accolade had only indirectly to do with becoming a member of the order. This meant that as the knight had no bond to the sovereign, as a liege lord, that sovereign could not demand that the knight present himself with his sword and armour (and soldiers) to fight the king’s cause.  Okay, the romantic days of chivalry are gone but the accolade still has implication in law.  With non-British honorary knighthoods the principles remain the same and a foreign citizen has no allegiance to the British monarch and so is not required to respond to the sovereign’s call to arms – and so have no right to the accolade of the prefix of ‘Sir’ to his  name.  Got it?

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That’s the idea in principle.  In practice, this day and age, it also applies to British national knights of course as, bearing in mind the age, etc, of many British knights, they are not going to be very useful if called to arms by the sovereign today (and none of them should have soldiers at their beck and call – well, I hope not).  But that’s not the point.

a rm roger    a mcaine    a elton

To battle  Sir Roger,  Sir Michael,  Sir Elton …. hmm, perhaps not

There are quite a few non-national knights, from arts and entertainment, professional, humanitarian and exploration, politics and government, diplomatic, military, business, religion, and royalty.  As well as Douglas Fairbanks Jr., you might recognise names such as Bob Hope (USA), Steven Spielberg (USA), Edward Kennedy (USA), George S. Patton (USA), Bill Gates (USA), J. Edgar Hoover (USA), Angelina Jolie (USA), Magnus Magnusson (Iceland), Spike Milligan (Ireland), Bob Geldof (Ireland), Bono (lead singer of U2 – Ireland), Terry Wogan (Ireland – although he took British nationality in 2005 and the knighthood became substantive, i.e. he can use ‘Sir’).

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Honorary Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire


POSTSCRIPT

Douglas Fairbanks Jr is one of the few non-national knights who devised his own coat-of-arms with the motto Fides, Conatus et Fidelitas – ‘Faith, Effort and Loyalty’.  Being a Hollywood actor he was rather an exhibitionist – it goes with the job –  and so it was acknowledged by the College of Arms.  I’ve not been able to find a copy of it but below is a Fairbanks Jr bookplate which sort of resembles it:

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Fairbanks Jr bookplate

Another example of his exhibitionism:  He joined the US Navy as a reservist before America entered the war. One of the first orders that the US Navy issued was that officers were not to wear swords.  In fact, if they owned them they were encouraged to hand them in for the scrap metal promotion.  Not Douglas.  He arrived at the house of the Hollywood film producer, Darryl Zanuck, one night for a dinner party with his boat cape and sword.  His excuse was that he had just come from a drill at the Armoury.  The narrator of the tale said, “Well, I know that no one in the whole of California, if they went to a drill hall, would have a sword.  But he thought he looked like Lord Nelson or something. That is the ham in him, unfortunately.”

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Douglas Jr. coming to dinner

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Artemus Smith’s Notebooks

This is the last extract from the 2nd volume of Artemus’ notebooks (followers will recall Dr Artemus Smith was an archaeologist of great courage, determination and fiction) – I’ll let you know if I come across any more volumes or extracts of Artemus’ notebooks:

During a physical examination, a doctor asked my good friend, Sir Alfred Cucumber-Smythe, retired professor of archaeology now living in Canada, about his physical activity level.

He replied that he spent three days a week, every week, in the outdoors, and went on to give an example:

“Well, yesterday afternoon was typical; I took a five hour walk about 7 miles through some pretty rough terrain.   I waded along the edge of a lake.  I pushed my way through 2 miles of brambles.  I got sand in my shoes and my eyes.  I barely avoided stepping on a snake.  I climbed several rocky hills.  I went to the bathroom behind some big trees.  I ran away from an irate mother bear and then ran away from one angry bull Elk.  The mental stress of it all left me shattered.  At the end of it all I drank a scotch and three glasses of wine.

Amazed by the story, the doctor said,  “You must be one heck of an outdoor man!”

“No,”  Alfred replied,  “I’m just a really very bad golfer.” 

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