Flashman, is not the model to which any parent would wish their children to aspire.

Harry Flashman appears in a series of 12 of Fraser’s books, collectively known as The Flashman Papers.

Fraser decided to write Flashman’s memoirs, in which the school bully would be identified with an “illustrious Victorian soldier” experiencing many 19th-century wars and adventures and rising to high rank in the British Army, acclaimed as a great warrior, while remaining “a scoundrel, a liar, a cheat, a thief, a coward—and, oh yes, a toady.” Fraser’s Flashman is an antihero who often runs from danger in the novels. Nevertheless, through a combination of luck and cunning, he usually ends each volume acclaimed as a hero.

According to Wikipedia, Sir Harry Paget Flashman VC, KCB, KCIE was a fictional character created by Thomas Hughes (1822–1896) in the semi-autobiographical Tom Brown’s School Days (1857) and later developed by George MacDonald Fraser (1925–2008) into the man we have learned to loathe and adore, in unequal measure.

With thanks to Hibernia on the Skids for the summary of medals worn by one Sir Harry Paget Flashman, whose collection of medals includes the following:

First Row

Victoria Cross Indian Mutiny
Knight Commander of the Bath for services during the Indian Mutiny 1858

Second Row

Knight Commander Indian Empire
Queen’s Medal for Afghanistan 1841-42 (ribbon very faded)
Cabul 1842

Third Row

Jallalabad , Afghanistan . Awarded to the defenders of Jallalabad 1842
Sutlej , India 1846
Crimea 1856
Indian Mutiny 1858

Four Row

Second China War 1860
South Africa , Zulu War 1879
Egypt 1874

Fifth Row

Queen’s Sudan 1896
Third China War 1900
Queen Victoria ‘s Jubilee
Edward VII Coronation

Sixth Row

Edward VII Delhi Durbar
George V Coronation
Order of the Elephant ( Denmark )
Turkish Crimea Medal 1856

Seventh Row

Congressional Medal of Honor (USA, post-1904 ribbon)
Civil War Campaign Medal ( USA , second ribbon)
Southern Cross of Honor (awarded by the United Daughters of the Confederacy to Confederate veterans)
San Serafino Order of Purity and Truth (4th class) (no image found, fictional)

Eighth Row

Possibly Iron Cross (Germany, 1870 variety) or Commemorative medal of the Congress of Berlin 1883.
Legion of Honour ( France )
Franco-Prussian War Medal ( France )
Franco-Prussian War Medal ( Germany )

Ninth Row

Indian War Medal ( USA , first ribbon)
Khedive’s Star ( Egypt )
Khedive’s Sudan Medal 1896 ( Egypt )
General Gordon’s Khartoum Star

Nevertheless, it need not be said that the Flashman series is a worthwhile read to any 19th century history enthusiast, or anyone seeking wit, entertainment and good humour.

General Pyotr Wrangel

General Pyotr Wrangel was the father of my Godmother’s husband, Baron Alexi Wrangel. He is the heroic figure to which we should all aspire.

According to Wikepedia, Pyotr Nikolayevich Wrangel was a Russian officer of Baltic German origin in the Imperial Russian Army. During the later stages of the Russian Civil War, he was commanding general of the anti-Bolshevik White Army in Southern Russia. After the White Russians lost the civil war to the Bolsheviks in 1920, he left Ukraine.

After defeats in the Crimea, Wrangel organised a mass evacuation on the shores of the Black Sea. Wrangel gave every officer, soldier, and civilian the choice to evacuate and go with him into the unknown, or to remain in Russia and face the wrath of the Red Army. Wrangel evacuated the White forces from the Crimea in 1920. The last military and civilian personnel left Russia with Wrangel on board the General Kornilov on November 14, 1920. The remaining 140,000 military personnel who remained in Ukraine were killed by the Bolsheviks.

A commemorative plaque dedicated to Wrangel in the village of Ulyanovo in Kaliningrad Oblast
Initially, Wrangel lived on his yacht, Lucullus, at Constantinople. It was rammed and sunk by the Italian steamer Adria, which had sailed from Soviet-held Batum. Wrangel, then on shore, escaped with his life in what was widely regarded as an assassination attempt.


• Papal Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem 1920