Unusual War Efforts: Attack of the Easter-bunnies!

General CP Deedes_Rabbits

General C.P Deedes, Major of the Kings Own Light Infantry at the time. Credits: http://www.bbc.co.uk/arts/yourpaintings/paintings/general-sir-c-p-deedes-18791969-69660

On this day in 1915, the then Major CP Deedes, member of the King’s Own Light Infantry, currently G.H.Q (General Headquarters Staff) at the War Office, received a very unusual letter suggesting a new alternative “method of warfare”.

Rabbits. Around 200-300 Rabbits as a guideline.

Rabbits at War-1

Credits: King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry

Rabbits at War-2

Credits: King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry

This is a real letter, sent to the war office in April 1915, suggesting that rabbits be used as a weapon in trench warfare.

The unique idea was to train the rabbits to enter the trenches of the Germans by “feeding them at night on a diet, similar if possible, to what the Germans have.”

These bunny warriors would then be able to carry either smelling or sneezing gas, or even bombs on their “errand of destruction”.

The aim of this – “to play havoc with the enemy” and therefore “put the men out of action for a time, and enable us to attack”.

This may sound incredibly insensitive to us now, however the unknown author justifies this by writing “the above idea is not very humane, but at these times one has to drop sentiment, and adopt all sorts of ideas”. He even goes further to say if the plan proves ineffective, the rabbits could be used for a more savoury suggestion…!

Meet the Horse: Alfie

alfred

15.1HH  Traditional Gypsy Cob

Do not be fooled by Alfie’s colouring. The humble black and white cob is seen in many battles throughout history. A true jousting star. Alfie’s short stocky frame and bulging muscles along with his tonnes of personality make him a fantastic mount. He is an amazing stunt horse and has taken part in displays up and down the country. Although he never forgets his roots as a riding school pony back at base camp.Easter Joust  - April 2014_11_Alfiealfie3

Meet the Horse: Rupert

rupert

16.3HH Irish Draught

Star of stage and screen Rupert has taken part in many productions from centre stage in Falstaff at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden to leading Cavalry charges at the Horse of the Year Show. Rupert is a brilliant jouster , as steady as a rock, a lovely kind horse who never lets you down.

Rupert and Andyrupert in armourEaster Tournament 2013020413_61_RuperthorseEaster Tournament 2013020413_116_Rupert

Meet the Horse: Aramis

aramis

15HH Dales x Irish Draught

Small but mighty with his tail swirling like a propeller, Aramis is quite a sight. If you keep your ears open you can even hear him squeal with joy when he sets off down the list. This horse loves jousting more than anything and it shows in his work. An amazing tv and film horse who is also in Poldark showing on BBC at the moment.

Aramis2celt 077

Meet the Horse: Dylan

dylan

15HH Dales

A determined little tank who will joust whilst conserving energy. Will do the minimum required them plod back to his stable for his hay net. But still gets winning results, a very clever little horse who at the moment is playing Elizabeth’s horse on Poldark. He has been in many TV and film productions but also takes part in our trick riding and stunt shows , specialising in jumping fire and fighting dragons!!

Picture 263Easter Tournament 2013020413_109_DylanEaster Tournament 2013020413_110_DylanEaster Joust  - April 2014_10_DylanDylan2

Meet the Horse: Ted

ted15.1HH Irish Cob

Ted or Tedward Bear as he is so valiantly known behind the scenes, is a true gent. Having turned his hoof to everything from being a county show cob to pulling wagons of potatoes whilst filming, or pulling a roman chariot. Ted has seen and done it all. Unfazed and unimpressed, he runs straight and true down the list and has won many a competition at the Royal Armouries.

ted in action

Easter Tournament 2013020413_117_Ted

Mark Caple won the Queen’s Jubilee Horn in 2014 riding Ted.

Knight on horse

Royal Armouries jouster Andy Deane riding Ted

Easter Tournament 2013020413_130_Ted

Mark Caple won the Queen’s Jubilee Horn in 2014 riding Ted.

 

Meet the Horse: Patrick

Patrick (2)17HH Irish Sport Horse

The second of our coloured horses, though he couldn’t be more different with his long legs and hogged mane. You can see his sporty breeding from a mile away. With muscles designed for the hunting field, the short sprints needed for the joust are a breeze for this gentle giant.

Meet the Horse: Tino

driff 00516.1HH Lusitano x Irish Draught

With his beautiful dun coat Tino is sure to catch your eye. A brilliant trick riding horse who is also trained at liberty. He has competed in both show jumping and dressage. Tino’s greatest battle in life is against the dreaded enemy …food….as you can see by his rather cylindrical shape he is losing the battle. However he has taken home many a victory on the jousting field.

tino2 tino3Tine center

Meet the Horse: Albert

albert16.3HH  Irish Draught x Thoroughbred

Albert is one of the tallest horses in the competition. He has previously graced the public with his presence at the Great Yorkshire Show in ridden Hunter classes and has also been on the big screen in Brideshead Revisited and The Kings Speech and on the small screen in Emmerdale and presently in the BBCs adaptation of Poldark.    At home he enjoys eating, sleeping and doing quiet hacks. However he is still as sharp as ever when called to battle.

ATT00001Easter Tournament 2013020413_3_Albert

 

Meet the Jouster: Nicky Willis

Age: 45P1090613

Height: 1.85m (6’0)

Weight: 76kg

Jousting since: 2008

Team: England

Personal best/highlight: crowned as 2013 Joust Champion at the Tonsberg Tournament, part of the Oslo Medieval Festival in Norway. Career highlight – competing in a jousting tournament for the first time ever at Hackaland in Belgium in 2010.

Strengths:  a very empathetic rider and likes to treat each horse as an individual by playing to their particular strengths. She is also a strong team player and savours the sportsmanship of competition jousting.

Weaknesses: naturally left-handed. Tall height can sometimes be a disadvantage, especially on smaller horses where the leg contact is more difficult to maintain.

Motto: Qui dicit non u puellae (Who says it is not for girls!)

By day: Manages ‘Horses 4 History‘ in Northamptonshire, which trains and supplies horses for film, TV and live action events of all kinds.

By knight:

Originally from South London, Nicky started riding when she was 11 years old as a member of the South London Pony Club, where she competed in various events and exams. From 1988 – 2006 Nicky ran her own livery yard in South London where she started breaking in and schooling horses. Her horse supply work started with the 1415 medieval re-enactment group and her first joust was at the Tower of London in 2008.

Nicky has worked with horses in a variety of capacities and across many disciplines, including ridden and driven, for more than 30 years. Her first taste of the world of historical horses was back in 1997. Her career in historic equitation truly took off in 2001 when she was selected to train for and take part in a televised chariot racing contest in Spain. Since then her career has taken her to many parts of the world and over the years she has been privileged to work with the likes of renowned horse trainer and stuntman Tony Smart, Royal Armouries, English Heritage, Royal Historical Palaces and British Open Equestrian Championships.

Nicky is also very experienced in the world of film and TV, having supplied horses for and appeared in the likes of Pride and Prejudice, Robin Hood, War Horse and recently the TV series Crimson Fields.

Nicky has been involved with horse supply to the Royal Armouries for their flagship international jousting tournaments since 2003. She started jousting in 2008, and in 2010 joined the International Jousting League – becoming a jouster in her own right. In this capacity she went on to compete across Europe and beyond, as far as Australia!

Easter 2015 will be the very first time that Nicky has competed as a jouster at the Royal Armouries, and she is the first British woman ever to do so; she is relishing the prospect.

Nicky has taken part in:

  • 2010 Hackaland, Belgium
  • Horsans European Championship, Denmark
  • 2011 Hackaland, Belgium
  • 2012 Winter Fest, Sydney
  • Abbey Medieval Festival, Brisbane
  • Skive Europesn Championship, Denmark
  • 2013 Kyral Caste, Melbourne
  • 2014 Castellapertole, Italy

To see Nicky in action, book your tickets to the Easter Tournament on our website or by calling bookings on 0113 220 1888.

Day tickets cost from £10 for adults and £5 for concessions!

knight on horse