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Welsh Troops To Torch The White House

Canadian enthusiasts are preparing to celebrate a museum re-opening by re-enacting a battle from a war which saw Welsh troops set fire to the White House.

A specialist battle re-enactment group from Hamilton, Canada, is preparing a military tattoo-style demonstration to mark the launch of the Museum of the Welch Regiment’s new home at Cardiff Castle next year.

The Military Living History Group specialises in re-enacting battles of the 41st Regiment, which became the Welch Regiment and is now known as the Royal Welsh.

The regiment is highly regarded in Canada because it helped defend the country from American invasion in 1812. The USA had attacked Canada, then a British colony, because the UK refused to allow the Americans to trade with continental Europe.

In response, Welsh-born 41st Regiment soldiers attacked Washington, setting fire to the White House and taking control of Detroit. They became the only soldiers ever to fly a foreign flag above an American city.

The re-enactment group is run by historian Dr Ray Hobbs, who was born in Pontypridd but has lived in Canada for 40 years.

He said: “We’re bringing over our muskets but also a superb fife and drum band which has won awards.”

Dr Hobbs has been liaising with Welch Regiment museum curator John Dart and Swansea-based historian Jon Latimer, whose book 1812: War With America is currently nominated for the prestigious George Washington Book Prize.

by +Owen Jones