Forget Star Wars “A New Hope”, read all about it in Woman’s Weekly, in November 1938:
With the unfortunate capture and shameful imprisonment of the Bishop of Hereford by the satanic forces of the B.U.F., command of the remnants of the bishop’s Suffragen Militia fell to the Archdeacon, the Right Reverend Cyril Talbot-Ponsonby. A kindly, caring somewhat other-worldly soul the Archdeacon was ill-suited for the rigours of combat command, and at the recent Battle of Bredwardine Bridge suffered a nervous collapse during the battle. He was quickly hurried away to safety and the tender ministrations of his housekeeper, Mrs. Crumbletee, who revived him with a hot water bottle and frequent cups of cocoa laced with communion wine.
At this moment of crisis, as the fascist hordes surged towards the river bank, a new heroine arose. Following in the footsteps of Boudicca and Elizabeth I the Archdeacon’s redoubtable sister, Lady Rita, stepped in to the breach. Braving shot and shell, she rallied the wavering Anglicans and their allies by sheer force of personality. Her gallantry, determination, and the occasional fluttering eyelash, quickly won her the respect and admiration of the men, who were thus inspired to repel the odious Captain Arrowsmith and his minions.
The Rev. Ernest Hamworthy of the Suffragen Militia said afterwards ‘She was an inspiration to us all’, while Roger ‘Beefy’ Bullock of the Archenfield Young Farmers declared ‘She’s a game gal all right !’. The Forest of Dean Free Miners suffered heavily during the attack, but survivor Joe Black stated ‘ We copped a bit of a pasting but there was no way we were going to run with Her Ladyship watching ‘. Acknowledging the hold Lady Rita had over the troops Sam Markitt of the Hereford Small Traders Defence League merely said ‘ She’s a corker !.
Lady Rita modestly declined to comment, beyond stating ‘ the men fought most valiantly and gained a deserved victory’. The big question is will Her Ladyship retain command ? Can the Anglican League afford to ignore this English Joan of Arc ? Only time will tell.
The travails of the Anglicans and Suffragettes in Herefordshire continue…