Going Out With A Bang
from the 1/8/98 U.K. News
Civil war fan's ashes given parting shot
By Tom Leonard
A MEMBER of an English Civil War re-enactment society is to be granted a dying wish for his ashes to be blown from the muzzle of a cannon.
Bill Annetts, a mechanic, rose to become Colonel-in-Chief of the Royalist Earl Rivers Regiment during 27 years' service in the Sealed Knot, which re-enacts battles and sieges. The regiment's most memorable battle honour came in 1645 when 200 men put up a heroic defence of Donnington Castle, at Newbury, Berks.
The castle's ruined battlements will once more resound to 17th-century gunfire this Sunday when Mr Annetts's ashes are scattered by his comrades.
His widow, Joyce, 68, said: "Bill adored his time with the Sealed Knot. It became his life. He travelled all over the country with fellow members and had a wonderful time. He shot himself in the leg with a musket in Jersey during one battle re-enactment, but instead of putting him off he treated it like a war wound. If anything, it encouraged him to carry on. His wish was to be scattered by cannon and we are all too happy to honour that wish. It's what he wanted."
Members of the Sealed Knot will assemble in full uniform in Donnington before marching to the castle. A drumhead memorial service with full military honours will be conducted by the Rev John Cartwright, the regiment's unofficial chaplain. A musket and cannon salute will be fired. Mr Cartwright said yesterday: "There are rules about scattering ashes, but I don't think anybody will really worry about it. I won't, for one."