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 Post subject: "And They Blessed Rebecca" (VBCW in Pembrokeshire)
PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 3:27 pm 
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Hello. This is Huw Puw reporting from Christ knows where for 'Look Out Wales'.

As I reported last week, I find myself posted to the ramshackle hullabaloo that is the Army of the Republic of Cantref Cemaes, as they prepare for a fresh offensive: avbcw-in-pembrokeshire-some-units-t2168-50.html

However, things have taken an alarming turn for the surreal with the arrival of the regiment's 'Special Company' - 'Merched Beca' or 'Rebecca's Daughters'. The Colonel tells me that 'Special' in this instance means Special Duties such as reconnaissance, raiding, patrolling, assaulting, etc. However, having seen them, I have to say that the expression "My Mam says I'm 'Special'" springs immediately to mind.

As reported previously, the 'Twm Carnabwth' Regiment places great store in the history of the local people and they like to carry forward the traditions and arbitrary grudges of their ancestors. However, much as I like history, some things can be taken a little too far and in the case of Rebecca's Daughters, I think they might be using 'tradition' as an excuse to express some personal issues...

To recap; it is now almost 100 years to the day when in 1839, the men of Cemaes took up Bibles, axes, cudgels and the contents of their Mam's knicker-drawer and led by the semi-mythical 'Rebecca', marched to smash the toll-gates (and in some cases, the skulls) of the rich.

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Insurrection is all very well, but why the transvestism?! Once again, the excuse for all this cross-dressing lies in tradition.

The original 'Rebecca', Twm Carnabwth, was known to be a keen advocate of the tradition of 'Y Ceffyl Pren' or 'The Wooden Horse'. This was an ancient ritual of vigilante punishment and humiliation, exacted upon adulterers, wife-beaters, nagging wives, petty criminals, men who failed to buy their round and those who 'looked at my sheep in a funny way'. This tradition also has parallels across Britain, such as the 'Rough Music' of Western England.

Those carrying out Y Ceffyl Pren would always dress in women's clothing and would blacken their faces as a means of concealing their identity. However, there are always those who carry things too far and Twm Carnabwth probably had a whole wardrobe of outfits for all occasions. It is rumoured that Twm Carnabwth was almost late for the first riot at Efailwen due to being unable to choose which handbag and shoes to wear.

Nevertheless, the 'Rebecca Riots' spread like wildfire across Wales and were only eventually stopped by the combined forces of the Yeomanry, regular Army and the newly-raised Fashion Police.

So here were are 99 years later, with the modern-day equivalent of Rebecca and her Daughters. Some of them have gone for the traditional look - Welsh ladies' stovepipe-hats and bonnets with shawls, while others have simply raided their Mam's wardrobe.

I don't know what they do to the enemy, but by God they frighten me... In fact, I CAN imagine what they do to the enemy and that frightens me even more!

Here are a few photos of them taken during training. I was told to photograph their good sides, or they'd scratch my eyes out...

Here are Rebecca and her Daughters in full battle-array:

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The flag of the company is based on the famous London Illustrated News woodcut of the first Rebecca Riot:

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The modern-day 'Rebecca' is well-known raconteur and descendant of Twm Carnabwth from Mynachlog-Ddu, otherwise known as Eurfryn Plasymeibion:

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Rebecca wears a very smart mink coat, befitting of an officer:

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The 'Daughters' all prefer to be known by noms de guerre. The unit standard-bearer goes by the name of 'Blodwen':

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'Dilys' mam was kind enough to give him her very fashionable (for the 1920s) lilac 'flapper' dress, cloche hat and string of pearls:

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'Cicely' has kept things traditional, with a grey flannel skirt and stovepipe hat:

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'Eilir', the company machine-gunner, has gone even more traditional with the full Welsh ladies' outfit of stovepipe hat, bonnet, skirt and red flannel shawl:

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'Elsie' presents a terrifying spectacle in 'her' baby-blue Victorian bonnet:

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'Megan' again favours the stovepipe hat, topped off with 'her' mam's pink housecoat (just in case the camp needs dusting):

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'Bronwen' has opted for a simple ensemble of skirt and headscarf:

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'Lilian' has gone for a bonnet and headscarf:

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Finally, 'Gwenda' has opted for the shawl-with-apron look:

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This is Huw Puw signing off.

[Models are all Musketeer Miniatures, designed by Paul Hicks, converted by the lunatic Martin Small and painted by me]
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 Post subject: Re: "And They Blessed Rebecca" (VBCW in Pembrokeshire)
PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 3:56 pm 
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Totally in keeping with the VBCW. Top work sir.

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 Post subject: Re: "And They Blessed Rebecca" (VBCW in Pembrokeshire)
PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 5:17 pm 
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Excellent and well executed. The best that is VBCW.

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 Post subject: Re: "And They Blessed Rebecca" (VBCW in Pembrokeshire)
PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 6:21 pm 
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These "ladies" would scare the beejesus out of me if I saw them coming. Excellent conversions and painting.

Jim


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 Post subject: Re: "And They Blessed Rebecca" (VBCW in Pembrokeshire)
PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 6:59 pm 
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Diolch yn fawr i chi!


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 Post subject: Re: "And They Blessed Rebecca" (VBCW in Pembrokeshire)
PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2014 7:11 pm 
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I'd run for my life if I saw that lot heading my way! :shock: Top stuff, sir! :beer

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 Post subject: Re: "And They Blessed Rebecca" (VBCW in Pembrokeshire)
PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 7:33 am 
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The children of Rebecca will be proud of you and it is good to see a historical reference being used this way.

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 Post subject: Re: "And They Blessed Rebecca" (VBCW in Pembrokeshire)
PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 9:56 am 
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Quite superb as usual - great idea, beautifully realised. I fervently hope they're on my side in the up-coming battle in Herefordshire (although preferably not standing too close to my WI.

Doug

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 Post subject: Re: "And They Blessed Rebecca" (VBCW in Pembrokeshire)
PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 1:12 pm 
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Doug,

Yes, they're on the side of truth, justice and Sir Gilbert (though not those three things at the same time, obviously).

The Golden Valley WI have nothing to fear, as the Daughters of Rebecca wouldn't want to risk being seen in the same outfits. For shame!


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 Post subject: Re: "And They Blessed Rebecca" (VBCW in Pembrokeshire)
PostPosted: Wed Aug 06, 2014 7:40 pm 
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Looks like my terriers had better watch out!
Great stuff as always sir!

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