Liebegg or How I Became Lieutenant Within Minutes

I received a phonecall a few days back. It was about the two upcoming Company of St. George events: The time-consuming Nykøbing-Event and the military meeting in Castle Liebegg in Switzerland. Both happen in August and that is why some of our members will not attend both gatherings.

We had talked about Liebegg before and it has been decided that I would be the quatermaster again. I had the pleasure of serving as quartermaster last Summer in Gruyères, when standard quartermaster Christian missed the event because he was wandering nervously about a local maternity ward.

Back to the phone call: Our Lieutenant Mathieu can not take part in Liebegg and so we spoke about alternative candidates. Suddenly, my name was mentioned, I was dumbstruck and the next moment I had been promoted Lieutenant.

Mathieu - the Lieutenant leaving a big hole to fill for Liebegg (Photo by Anne Embleton)

It was only after having finished the discussion that I started to realise what I had just engaged in. I was cursing myself for not having paid closer attention to Mathieu's role. What has he been doing anyways? I think portraying the lieutenant means the following: He is the military leader. This is obviously and very important for Liebegg, since we plan to do canon shooting above all and there is also going to be a display of a strictly organised camp. And this is where the Lieutenant's sure instinct comes into play: We are used to displaying soldiers and mercenaries. But every member is a volunteer. He is sacrificing his holidays, he is putting on woolen clothes in the Summer heat, he gets up early in the morning, he does night shifts, canon exercises in burning heat and patrols in full armour. This sounds exhausting and it actually is exhausting. But if you are really motivated, then it is a lot of fun. The Lieutenant has the key role in this - together with the master gunner.

But this is all only a part of the job of a Lieutenant of the Company in my eyes. The other aspect is the equipment. The Lieutenant displays an officer's rank and he should therefore be an example in regards to costume and equipment. A real figurehead of the Company: an excellent display of living history. Mathieu came to life in my inner eye: I had always admired his equipment, the selection of cloth, the cut of his clothes. Everything very accurate to the detail. My own equipment is not up to par: My hose has seen better days; mended on the knees and around the bum, my dagger has a rough wooden handle, the pouch misses one of its metal fittings and then the shoes, where the sole comes off... I doubt they would survive another event. Very soon I felt like PigPen - the character from Peanuts - who is always surrounded by a cloud of dust. This may be suitable for a normal soldier like myself - but for an officer?

Thomas aka "Raubi" - the man aiming to fill that position (Photo by Erkki Pursi)

And does my armour fit an officer? The breast plate by Per Lillelund-Jensen is a reenactor's masterpiece: The perfect copy of an item in the collection of the National Museum in Zurich. But it has a rough finish with scratches on the surface - like the original in fact. And it is very likely it is the armour of a common soldier. The same is true of my helmet: a lovely piece, but nothing but an iron hat; the helmet of an ordinary halberdier.

But there are also rays of hope around my equipment: Lately, I received my new boots by Stefan von der Heide. They are buckled boots based on finds from Constance. And Andreas Petitjean has sent me a message that he has finished my new pouch. Two weeks ago I received my new sword: an elegant one-hander. At least in the case of the sword, I know it is lieutenant-level: Mathieu has sold it to me.

But no chance for new clothing. In fact I do have a few meters of a plant-dyed twill - ideal for hose - but unfortunately it lies in Frankfurt - out of reach for the time being. So I will have to use my Chaperon and my long green jacket with fur trimming. That one reaches the knees: Together with the high boots it will cover the rotten hose.

You are welcome to come and see the Company camp in Liebegg. The event is open to the public on Saturday August 21 and Sunday August 22, 2010. A drink to all those who have read this blog post and actually show up!

By Thomas Rauber, Veteran Company member.


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