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The Captaine-Generall

Brigadier Peter Young

I am, as you may have gathered from previous postings, a massive Civil War and Sealed Knot geek. I've been a member of the Sealed Knot since I could walk, since I could talk, and certainly long before I could make any sense of what was going on around me. And all throughout that time, I've heard stories of 'the Brig'. Most of these stories are hand me-downs, some (sadly less and less) were from people who had actually met the great man, all of them were hilarious.

I am talking, of course, about Brigadier Peter Young, the Captain-Generall, the founder of the Sealed Knot. Young had a favoured career in the commandos during the Second World War, taking part in a number of missions and campaigns of great historical note - the Dieppe Raid being just one of them. It was with great delight, when researching primary sources for my undergrad dissertation on the development of airborne forces in WWII, that I discovered a report from Young during his drop into Sicily during Operation Husky. Young noted that he'd dropped through a barn roof, broken his leg, and then had a platoon of 20 Italians surrender to him while he was incapacitated. Needless to say, I managed to find an excuse to include this in the dissertation, even though it didn't quite fit...

I won't go into a full history of the Captain-Generall here, there are plenty of people in other places that would do him a lot more justice than I am capable of (Alison Michelli in her work Commando to Captain-Generall: The Life of Brigadier Peter Young, for starters). So why write the article at all, I hear you ask?

Well, as you may know, Young became a historian after his time in the armed forces. He was head of Military History at Sandhurst between 1959 and 1969 before retiring to focus on writing his histories full time. Most of his work focused on the Napoleonic Wars and, of course, the English Civil War. It was a garden party to publicise the publication of his book on Edgehill (a very informative read if you ever get the chance!) that led to the founding of the Sealed Knot. I don't know, and I'm sure that some people could tell me, what it was that made him realise that this was an idea for more than a one-off fancy dress session.

Young's influence was felt throughout the birth of the new society. He was appointed (or appointed himself) Captain-Generall and oversaw various aspects of the re-enactments. This would later be superseded by the Board of Directors. So what are you wittering on about and what else have you got to add?

Well, once again the Bluecoat Broadsheet sheds some light on the early days of the society.