Friday, 27 March 2009

Hatch Beauchamp

This feature, about the lovely village of Hatch Beauchamp was scheduled to appear in today's "ProperGander"

Those of us fortunate enough to have studied Somerset's rich history will know of the valour of Lieutenant John Rouse Merlot Chard of the Royal Engineers. One hundred and thirty years ago he was left in command of 150 brave British soldiers at Rorke's Drift. His opponents were 4000 zulus. Outnumbered ten to one Chard fought on bravely. His mortal remains are buried at the fine little church in Hatch Beauchamp. All who know the area that still bears his name will understand why the name Chard is synonymous with courage. Chard South is political home to the very able leader of our County, Jill Shortland. For Jill and her predecessor Cathy Bakewell it has taken Rorke's Drift-style determination to face the enemy this week at a brutal battle of words in Hatch Beauchamp itself. Dear Cathy suffered insult and verbal bruising at the hands of a cornered reprobate in a hearing that is still unfinished. She showed the mettle of the Chard breed, however, and kept me informed via her trusty Council Blackberry of all the blood-curdling developments taking place in that most attractive of venues - the splendid Farthings Hotel. A strange place for a trial, you may think. But life is strange. If only Blackberry had been available to Lieutenant John Rouse Merlot Chard. As the 'last man standing' it is always my difficult duty to bear the weight of responsibility for prosecuting such actions. I stand by everything I did in taking on what my name-sake Corporal Jones would have called the rebel "fuzzy-wuzzy" from Chard North. Lieutenant Rouse earned the VC. I am sure that when the full transcripts of these hearings are available my efforts will also deserve intense scrutiny and public recognition of some kind.

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