The Grand Victorian Tactical ran for ten years at Ringwood State Park, organized by the Royal Sussex. The torch has been passed onto a new crew and another NJ state park, Fort Mott in Pennsville, hosted its own Boer War weekend. The turn-out was very strong, as the last two GVTs had seen a significant surge in numbers and interest in this era, and the Royal Sussex fielded both a military wing (including two fine new recruits, Dan S., and Ian C.!) and our WWI VAD contingent adapted itself, like last year, to be Army Nursing Service personnel. The Army Nursing Service was established in 1881 while the Voluntary Aid Detachment did not exist until 1908! This was our largest and most comprehensive medical display, with half a dozen cots ready to receive the injured and those needing relief from the heat. And it was a hot, humid event! The Boer presented little threat than the atmosphere, but that could not be helped. All in all, the British camp was a large and sophisticated one with the Royal Sussex's ANS outpost between them and the Boer camp which was posted near the entry of the park itself. Fort Mott was a defensive installation to protect the Delaware River and so it afforded a lovely view all around. On Saturday there were two skirmishes fought, in which the Boers emerged victorious over Her Majesty's forces, and they gained victory yet again at the Sunday skirmish. Fortunately, the weather was less humid on Sunday than Saturday and after the skirmish, the army held an inspection for the men's health and ended with a cricket game for all those interested in playing. Congratulations to the organizers of the Fort Mott Boer War event and best of luck in the future. The Royal Sussex supports you!
For the first time, the World War One branch of the Society made an appearance at the New-York Historical Society for their living history weekend. This year, they have an emphasis on the First World War because of the centennial of America's entry into the conflict, but we are proud to be the first British representatives for the NYHS! Big thanks to Mr. JM Wasko for having us. Our display was two-fold: one military and one medical. We had three VADs with us, Sharon, Kim, and Meredith, and Captain Van Vliet as the full complement. The program ran from 11:00 to 4:00 and we were met by many visitors of all ages and backgrounds. Many of the visitors were already very familiar with First World War history and it is always a delight to interact with visitors who have a particular interest from the outset. In addition to our own display, the NYHS had an exhibit on World War One art in the adjacent gallery. Among those in the collection were some works of John Singer Sargent. The NYHS always treats us like gold and we are thrilled to have been able to be a part of their summer programming.
Athena represented the 35th Regiment at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia for us! The NCC always draws in thousands of tourists from around the world. The units present always have excellent public interaction and a never-ending barrage of photo requests. If you want to feel like a celebrity, that is the venue!
in New Jersey, the state had failed to reach a budget on time and the government was closed over the weekend and following days after. As a result, all state parks and programs related to the state were shut down. Ringwood State Park had had its Independence Day celebration suspended for the same reasons in 2006. So, unfortunately, there was nothing to be done about it. Luckily, an agreement was made and a budget adopted, but too late for Ringwood.