Monday, 23 June 2014

700th anniversary of The Battle of Bannockburn.

The 23rd and 24th of June see the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockbun.The crucial battle in the Scottish fight for independance from England. A 500 year old copy of a poem celebrating the victory, "The Brus" has been restored in time for the anniversary celebrations.

The battle was unusual for medieval battles in lasting more than a day. The Scots used "combined arms" tactics to good effect. The schiltrons (blocks of men armed with spears, ) wore down the English infantry and cavalry. The English archers who could have, should have, shot the schiltrons to pieces were themselves scattered by Scottish cavalry. The English losses were 4000 to 11,000 foot  and 700 cavalry.  The Scots lost 400 to 4000  men  in total. One cannot help thinking that had Edward 1 been in command instead of
his effete  son Edward II the result would have been different. 

In hindsight we see that Bannockburn was one of the few battles won by the Scots over the English. The results of such battles as Flodden (1513), Dunbar (1651) and Pinkie (1547) were more ytpical in being English Victories. (I have not mentioned Culloden  (1746) because this was not a straight Scots v English war but a rebellion / civil war with more Scots supporting the Government than supported the rebels.)

The victory of Bannockburn ensured Scottish Independence until the Act of Union in 1707. Whether we are likely to see an independent Scotland again is a moot point. But since 1707 the success of these islands on which we live has been due to all the nations which make up the British family of nations. From the wild and romantic Celts to the stubborn and reserved Anglo-Saxons. The greats of literature, Byron, \Keats, Wilde, Burns, Dylan Thomas ,Shakespeare, Scott , Dickens even Behan. The field of scientific endeavour, Stephenson Watt, Faraday, Boyle and Ernest Walton. Sadly many great Irish contributions to history were not made to Britain but to other nations. The"wild Geese" at Fontenoy brought victory to France and fame and honour to Ireland.

Let us honour the dead of both sides at Bannockburn. Let our final words on these events be forever

No more Brothers Wars.

2 comments:

Unionist said...

Edward Hammer of the Scots was one of the best monarchs this country has ever had, a huge contrast to the limp wrists we have now.

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