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Piers and Lin du Pré are the owners of the Fleming 55 Play d'eau, based in Beaucette Marina, Guernsey in the Channel Islands at N49° 30’.197 W002° 30’.350.

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Josiah comes of age to travel

Josiah waits for the command to ‘Fire!’
click to enlarge

Our grand, grandson, Josiah, had reached 12 years old and was able to travel unaccompanied on a plane.

Happy Birthday, Josiah

So, our present was a ticket from the mainland to Guernsey’s International Airport!

Lin and I arranged a hectic three days for him on the island. The weather wasn’t good enough to go boating or dinghying, so we planned to fire a cannon and protect the SW shores of Guernsey by manning a huge restored gun near Pleinmont Point.

And that was in between eating far too many ice creams.

Castle Cornet

After explorations of the alleyways, fortifications, cannons and look-outs of Castle Cornet we found where the 1799 noon day cannon was to be fired.

Two members of the Guernsey Militia marched to the cannon and whilst one trained his telescope on the town clock to check the time, the other loaded and primed the 25 gram charge.

At precisely noon, the command to ‘Fire!’ was given and the cannon was fired.

The noise was unbelievable. We all jumped, shrieked and giggled.

Special Treatment

In the machine gun turret before running into the tunnels
click to enlarge

Having cleared and secured the cannon, the soldiers marched towards us and asked for Josiah in a loud voice. ‘Would you like to see the cannon, young man?’ asked the Sergeant.

The next 20 minutes saw Josiah being told the history of the cannon and instructed in how it’s loaded and fired.

After some drill practice, the Sergeant gave the order for Josiah to look sharp and march to the front of the cannon, load it, prime it, march back and take the firing lanyard.

Even though this was a practice with no live charge, the Sergeant gave the order, ‘Fire!’. Josiah pulled the lanyard smartly back, unable to restrain his giggling.

Protecting the SW shores

With cannon firings and explosions, and death and destruction now strongly coursing in his blood, we walked to a huge restored German gun near Pleinmont Point. There was no stopping Josiah. He climbed down into the trenches and ran around tunnels and secret passages that surrounded the recessed gun, leaving Papa Bear (Piers) struggling to keep up. ‘Oh, come on, Papa Bear. Keep up!’

One moment Josiah was in a machine gun turret, the next in a tunnel. Finally, he found the gun. The rest is photographic history.

The holiday came to an end far too soon, and we delivered a tired Josiah into the arms of the air hostess for his return to England.

Makes this modern Airsoft seem somewhat trivial, doesn’t it?

Piers and Lin
from the saloon of
Play d’eau
Fleming 55

(click on the photos below to enlarge, and use the left/right arrows)

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