Monday 1 November 2010

The Anglican League, part 3

It was announced that the following Sunday the Bishop of Bath and Wells would lead the services; Bath Abbey in the morning and Wells Cathedral in the afternoon.
An hour before the morning service was due to start, lorries brought uniformed men into the city of Bath. In the end there were 200 uniformed men parading in Broad Street outside St Michael’s Church, where they performed close foot drill for the growing crowd.
The uniform of these men was very different from both the Army and the BUF. Green jackets and dark red berets were something very different. As the men drilled a crowd began to form, in these troubled times word spread quickly, and it did, on this Sunday morning. In the growing crowd, young women handed out pamphlets calling for Edward and Mosley to go. Also in the crowd were recruiters - men looking for new members for the Anglican League. They listened to conversations started by the pamphlets and looked for men who might be talked in to joining.
Just before the service was to begin, the men formed up and marched down Broad Street. By now a large crowd lined the streets. Some cheered; most were surprised that there were no BUF or police around. The soldiers marched into Northgate Street and then into High Street. Here there was a large crowd, some had flags and all of them were cheering. A dais had been erected, standing on it were the Bishop and two local ex Members of Parliament. The Bishop and one of the MPs were also in uniform, (the Bishop in his white collar,) both wearing dark red berets to match the marching men. All three saluted as the column marched past.
The men turned right into Cheap Street, halted, then in single file marched through an archway, across the square and into the Abbey.
By the time the Bishop had changed into his vestments and climbed in to the pulpit, the Abbey was full.
His sermon again called for the King to abdicate and for Mosley to call a new election. He then thanked the men who had volunteered to join the Anglican League. A murmur went around the abbey as this was the first time the name had been used in public.
The Bishop then went on to say he was very pleased to be able to present the first standard to the Anglican League.
As the Bishop came down from the pulpit, a Verger brought the standard from beside the altar where it had been standing. From the back of the Abbey a three man colour party formed and marched down the centre aisle. The colour party stopped in front of the Bishop, and taking the standard from the Verger, the Bishop turned and presented it to the young Second Lieutenant at the centre of the three.
After the Bishop had blessed the standard, the colour party turned and marched out of the Abbey followed by the men of the now-named ‘First City of Bath Battalion Anglican League’.

As the congregation filed outside, two men broke away from the crowd.
‘ Very smart.’ CT said.
‘Yes.’ replied Dick Skeggs. ’Want to join?’
‘No. Fancy a beer?’
‘Oh yes,’ said Dick, ’Thirsty work watching people march about.’

‘How can this happen?’ Prime Minister Oswald Mosley’s anger filled the room. ‘On Friday all I had to deal with were some reds and angry farmers. Now I have the Anglican League. How did this happen?’
‘Sir, Prime Minister, There have been reports. It was discussed last month at the cabinet meeting. It was felt then that the Church of England didn’t have the backing or the will to do anything. Minister Joyce went to see both the Archbishop and the Bishop of Bath and Wells. His report is on your desk.’
‘Where is Joyce? And Lord Winterfield? He’s supposed to be keeping an eye on the Bishop of Bath and bloody Wells.’
‘That I don’t know, Prime Minister.’
‘And what happened to the BUF garrison and the police?’ asked Mosley.

William Joyce knew about the parade on Saturday night, his spies were a lot better than Prime Minister Mosley knew.
‘And now the clear-out can really begin,’ was his only comment.

‘My God.’
‘What dear?’ Wallis Simpson hated having Edward about before she was dressed.
‘I said ‘My God’.’ Edward walked in to the room with a newspaper and a cup of coffee. ‘The Archbishop of Canterbury has his own army.’
‘Will it make any difference dear?’
‘Well at least all my enemies are out in the open now.’

At breakfast on Monday morning, the Bishop was feeling very pleased with himself. The parades had worked brilliantly, in one day he had removed the BUF from Bath and Wells and got the names of over 500 new recruits. Now He had a large power base and enough men to make the Anglican League a force to be reckoned with. He knew he lacked officers and NCOs but hoped that there would be some in the new recruits. Also with Bath free of BUF, He could set up a training camp.

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