The launch of my latest novel, “The Wessex Turncoat”
A basic essential of an historic novel is that the facts on which the fiction is based are accurate. I needed really dependable people to help me to ensure that the plight of the regiment on which the story is based, was accurately portrayed. I had the great good fortune to find three experts in their fields who were willing to share their knowledge with me.
I was intrigued to know about the participation of Native Americans in the army of George III which tried to subdue the American Revolution and I was lucky to have guidance in this from John Faddon, the curator of the Six Nations Iroquois Museum in Inchiota, USA. I visited John and he explained to me how by supporting the British, a civil war was initiated among the hitherto united Iroquois.
I found no groups in England which re-enacted the American campaign of the regiment, the 62nd Regiment of Foot, but to my surprise, I found one in USA. The commander of the Company is Eric Schnitzer, the historian at Saratoga National Memorial Park. As well as acting as a consultant, Eric invited me to attend a re-enactment of the Battle of Saratoga, a key feature in my story.
However, I could not have written with any authority at all without the generous help of Allan Jones, an expert on the 18th Century British Army. Allan is the commander of a re-enactment group of the 23rd Regiment the Welch Fusiliers. This is a regiment which served with distinction throughout the American War of Independence. It was the only regiment not to surrender its colours to General Washington after the Americans’ brilliant victory at Yorktown in 1783, which ended the war and left America and independent country.
Allan was very supportive of my novel and offered to attend the launch at the Chalke Valley Historical Festival in June 2014. He brought with him two of his comrades in arms, all dressed in authentic copies of the uniforms of the 23rd Regiment.