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Half a League Onward

History at Large, Salisbury, Wiltshire

Half a League Onward
devised by George Fleming

presented by
the Friends of Burcombe
in association with
History at Large

Salisbury Arts Centre

Friday 7th March 1997


are a group of people, variously involved in the Arts, who live in Burcombe or the local area. They first came together over two years ago to raise money for St John's Church, at a time when it was in urgent need of repairs to its fabric. Since then, the Friends have given a number of performances - evenings of poetry, prose, music and song - all in aid of the church. The group expands and contracts, as the exigencies of the performances demand, and new faces are constantly appearing. Tonight's performance is in aid of the Village Hall Fund.


Our aim, tonight, is to be instructively entertaining (or entertainingly instructive!). In our approach, we are combining techniques of the stage and of the lecture hall. We offer you a lecturer, actors, singers and what we hope is an impressive programme of slides and sound effects.

But, first and foremost, we are telling a story. Like many good stories, this one may now and then appear to go off at a tangent. We hope that it will all come together, at the end of the day, to tell you what happened, why it happened and why it is still remembered.

For the curious thing about the Light Brigade is that it IS still remembered. Still part of our national folklore, long after Tennyson's poem has ceased to be compulsory reading in British primary schools. Yet other epics in the British Army's history have been totally forgotten, by all but the enthusiast. Who, for instance, would dream of making a large budget movie about Minden? Or Corunna? Or St Valery?

Perhaps, tonight, we can shed some light on "the reason why"!

This project first took shape sixteen years ago and has been offered to audiences in various forms and places since. The pictures are from the National Portrait Gallery, the National Army Museum, the National Gallery and a number of other Museums and Galleries visited by me during this period. Many are from educational filmstrips sold by companies such as The Slide Centre and Woodmansterne. But the list is so long and diffuse that I would be sure to leave someone out, even if there was room to print it! The same applies to various institutions who gave me permission to copy material held by them - most notably the Museum of the Royal Army Medical Corps, who let me copy their slides of the Waterloo wounded, used in the second Act. This was in 1978 and may serve to illustrate the point being made above. To all who have helped, at various times, may I now express my thanks - and apologies where appropriate!

George Fleming

The research for Half a League Onward was carried out in the early 80's. Most of the "primary" sources quoted were consulted in the National Army Museum and the Museum of the 11th Hussars, in Winchester. To them, and to the Army Library Service, many thanks also.

All portraits used are of the people actually mentioned in the narrative and most of the pictures depicting events are also genuine portrayals.


Narrator - George Fleming
Readers - Izzy Ford, Sue Paramor, Neil Whitton, Jack Leeming, George Goulding, Graham Paramor

"...and one man, in his time, plays many parts!"

Singers - Sue Paramor, Dave Rawlinson
Sound - John Beauchamp
Vision - Bob Bregazzi
Lighting - Steve Lucas


Simon Tubb, who will be standing in for George Goulding in case of emergency
and Steve Lucas, performing the same duty for Bob Bregazzi
Bob and Ann at Manor Farm Meats for acting as Box Office
Robin for help with Front of House
Imperial Meats for photocopying
Philip Peel for use of slide projector
Florissa and the Village Hall team for providing sandwiches

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