Thursday, 2 May 2013

Meeting the Troops by Annie Burrows

As a writer of historical romance, Annie Burrows spends a lot of time doing research.  She tells us she needs to know as much about the period in which her characters lived, if she wants them to come alive on the page.  From now on, each month Annie will be telling us about some of this research...

Last month, my search for the perfect scone...oops, I mean inspiration for my books, took me to Ickworth in Suffolk.  I wasn't there to look round the house itself.  Instead I went straight round to the events field behind the rotunda where something extraordinary was happening.

Several groups of historical re-enactors, who share a fascination with the same period I do - the Regency - were gathering to experience what it would have been like to be a soldier during the Napoleonic wars.

The first thing that struck me was just how much wood was being consumed.  Every other tent had its own camp fire, on which the camp followers prepareda variety of interesting-looking food.  Which we weren't allowed to eat due to modern health and safety regulations.

( I was ok, though - there was a cafe up at the house which did serve tea and scones - and fabulous coffee and walnut cake - but I digress)
Though none of the soldiers would let us touch their guns, they were more than willing to explain, and demonstrate, how they loaded and fired their weapons.

I met a naval lieutenant, who explained what he was doing so far from his ship (communications)

                   Watched replica cannon being fired.

And watched a film crew trying to re-create a skirmish between French and British troops.

Now I have all the material I need to create half a dozen military heroes, and at least one Captain in His Majesty's Navy.

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