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22nd Regiment of Foot - 18th Century Reenacting
Let's Call it Humor
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Let's Call it Humor

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Lighten up!  It's humor!  Isn't it?

There exist in the regimental archives many photographs which can only be described as "other".  I felt it my sacred duty to share these images to dispel any notion that we British reenactors are all a bunch of stodgy, anal, thread counting, authenticity Nazi,  bookworms.  In fact, we are all of that and more.  We are like a box.  We do have sides.  Just turn us over and, after the little bugs and mice have scurried away, you will see our humorous side, or our sensitive side.  You probably want to shy away from our crazy/obsessed side so lets just stick with humor on this page.  A lot of this stuff is inside humor so if you don't get the joke join up and we will educate you.  Otherwise no apologies.

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The Captain, Sir Thomas Vilardi

          OK.  Let's start with the officer class.  Rankers have made fun of officers in every army that ever existed.  After all,  we do re-create THE COMMON SOLDIER OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION so we should be no different.  Above is a picture of Tom Vilardi in his prime.  He has yet to have eaten his first baby lovingly prepared by Hessian musketeers. (See the link to Hessian Bob's recruitment pages in our links section.)   We have some pictorial documentation of his development to this high standard of authenticity and then the resulting slide into insanity.

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The Young Guns

     Who are the youngsters in the above picture, you ask?  Why, they are some of the most respected and accomplished members of the BAR and the British Brigade today.  That is John Lopez second from left on the parapet, then Tom Vilardi and facing them can be none other than the mysterious Don Hagist the founder/past commander of our recreated unit and historian extraordinaire.  I  can't identify the lad on the far left, (His bleached bones probably lie in some secluded corner of Tower Hill Park in Lexington)  and I don't know the year or location of this shot.  Anyone who can help with those questions will win an all expense paid trip to the next Vilardi Death March.  Look at them as rankers, their bright and shinny faces all full of hope and without a care in the world, so unlike their future as harassed and overworked officers.

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Tom and John

Above is a nice picture of Tom and John at Franklin 1998.  There are few if any pictures of Don in my archives but I think I have one some ware.  Don was not active in the field very much after I joined the unit and has since left the country under a cloud of suspicion and moved to Ireland.  Sort of funny that the Regiment left Ireland to come to America for the AWI isn't it.  I think Don's presence in Ireland marks about the 10th time the Regiment has occupied Irish soil.  Here's to Don Hagist for upholding Regimental tradition.  Remember the Battle of the Boyne!
Poor John Lopez had a promising career as an officer and after making Ensign in the 22nd he purchased his way up to a staff position in the BAR.  Unfortunately   either liquor or a woman ruined him and he tried to leave the army but was captured by a Captain Potsdorf of the Prussian service and the last time I saw him he was once again back in the uniform of a private soldier.  German this time.  He actually looked much happier.

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Setting the Standard

As an NCO, Tom always strove to maintain the highest standards of authenticity possible.  Here is an example of how this attitude is continued off the field of battle and into a camp impression.  Although there are some historical inaccuracies, we see Tom eating a traditional meal consisting of unleavened bread, vegetables, sliced hard meat, and his favorite, cheese.  Of course, what proper British NCO would be caught dead without his beer ration, drunk from a vessel painted in the colors of the union flag.  As Tom says, "Beer and Cheese are proof that the King loves us and wants us to be happy!"  Notice that the 42 Royal Highland Regiment has brought their Regimental Mascot. 
It should be pointed out that this is an image of an event from several years ago and I noticed a lantern stand in front of the tent that has regimental coats drying on it.  We living historians are always setting the authenticity standard  higher.  We didn't stop doing research back in 1976!  The BAR has come out firmly against lantern stands and has labeled them as official anachronisms.  You will never see a lantern stand in a 22nd Regiment camp  today, though just a few years ago they were quite the thing.  They do make nice hanging basket holders for the home though. 

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Ensign Lopez takes one for the Regoment

Here is an interesting picture, and not just because I'm in it.  One of the draw backs of being an Officer is that not everyone likes you.  Sure we have good officers who look after us and tuck us in at night but many officers get their men killed.  This leads to some hard feelings.  Enlarge the above picture and take notice of the old woman giving Ensign Lopez a wicked right to the ribs.  The sound of the punch connecting causes Private Lackluster and Sergeant Brian Pain of the real 22nd (Cheshire) Regiment to wince.  While Captain Vilardi looks over toward the beer cooler with some concern.

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And another

Oye, Brian, what's that in your mug then?  Tea? You may wish!
Here is an interesting dynamic and another example of the thankless aspect of being an officer.  Notice how, instead of coming to the aid of the Officer, Pain and Lackluster turn away and try not to laugh as Ensign Lopez takes another right, this time to the solar plexus.  The Captain seems concerned with other matters, perhaps something in a fly covered bag in the corner of his marquee.  Is that dried blood on his white gloves?

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The Surprise

The Regiment reacts with horror when Captain Vilardi reveals the bloody head of Captain John Mills of Motts Continental Artillery and the Princeton Battlefield, which he plans to present to the Trenmere branch of the Cheshire Regiment Association.  His madness is completly revealed to the men as he shouts "The only good Doodle is a dead Doodle!" 

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Sergeant Pain steadies the men with a stern look and a quiet word.  He's seen worse in Malaya.  It seems that all that responsibility, attention to detail, being let down by people who said they were going to events and didn't, newsletters, drinking binges, tempting camp followers, my God the PRESSURE took it's toll and pushed Tom over the edge. 
Don't worry about Mr. Mills though, I've heard that he is still giving lectures on the effective ranges of artillery and that they are quite improved.

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Happy Tom

Don't worry about Tom either, with the right medication and a well cooked baby under his belt, he continues to lead us on to glory.

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