I have had numerous requests from readers wanting to know "what is going on with Sir Graham and Shannon at this time?" Therefore in order to share with everyone the exciting things going on with this couple...I am adding this "NEWS-LETTER" to my website.
THEIR NEW HOME IN
First of all they have finished the renovations to their new home in Concord. They now have a beautiful gourmet kitchen, in which they both love to cook. Shelley and I have already had several scrumptious meals with them, and you couldn't experience anything better in the finest restaurant in Boston.
Shannon also has the most comfortable, well equipped, professional art studio anyone could possibly want...in their attic space. They added two sky-lights which flood the space with natural light. Plus the electric lighting added can be adjusted to any level desired. Shannon says, "I can paint anytime day or night, or all night...as I have done several times!"
On our last anniversary (46) for Shelley and I, Shannon unveiled a beautiful portrait of us. If you saw this portrait you would swear we must have posed for hours! Actually Shannon painted it from a recent photograph in order to preserve the "surprise."
Shelley and I are very excited to be going to Ireland this September to spend a week with them at their cottage outside Dublin. It will be our first trip to Ireland and a lot of sight-seeing plans are being made.
THEIR COTTAGE IN
Shannon asked us to list the things we would like to do on our visit. I told her that one of our favorite performers is Enya the famous Irish singer. A few years ago she was in a bidding war with Michael Flatly, the lead Irish dancer of Riverdance fame, for a Dublin castle...and she won! I told Shannon we would love to have our tourist photo taken with Enya's castle in the background.
Shannon told us she had painted a very large portrait of Enya specifically for this castle. She said it is the largest portrait she has ever painted. It hangs over the large fireplace in the main hall, and several of her Irish landscapes hang in other rooms of the castle.
Shannon said, "Enya and I have become close friends and I am sure that Enya would love to meet two of her most loyal and faithful fans of over twenty years...who also happen to love castles...as your web-site poem "Castle" proves. I would love for you two to meet Enya and see her portrait, which I consider one of my very best works."
FUTURE EVENTS COMING UP
The year 2025 will mark the 250th anniversary of the battles of Lexington and Concord and it will be quite a celebration! Sir Graham and Shannon are right in the middle of all the preparations. Both of them are serving on Commissions designed to plan for and oversee all of these events. Sir Graham says that even though everything is many years in the future, those years will go quickly with everything that needs to be accomplished.
INFORMATION ABOUT THESE EVENTS AND CELEBRATIONS
AS THEY RELATE PERSONALLY TO SIR GRAHAM AND SHANNON
*Sir Graham has been asked to premier and read his epic poem of these battles at an event scheduled the night before the re-enactments. Composing this poem is the culmination of many years of dedicated research. He says that the decision to wait a few years instead of publishing now, only gives him more time as a perfectionist to make absolutely positive he wouldn't change even one comma or period to this long poem.
*For this same event Shannon has been commissioned to complete a series of eight mural-size paintings relating to Aril 19, 1775. They are both very excited about this event! I told Shannon I would love to see a painting of the Redcoats unloading by moonlight from their barges into knee deep water at Phipps Farm. She said her husband had already made that request, because it relates so much to his Journal. She completely agreed with him that this scene, which has never been captured, should be the first painting of the series. After the celebrations this group of paintings will hang permanently on public display in the State House.
*There is an Academy Award winning Hollywood producer with strong ties to New England, who is staying in close touch with Sir Graham. This producer very much wants to produce a full length movie about April 19, 1775. Including all of the intrigue and political maneuverings of that time as it relates to that day. He says, "A documentary is not what I am talking about...but a well financed, well acted first-class movie. With excellent screen play and the best special effects possible." He said this movie would strive in every way to compete with the amazing reality of the battle scenes from "Saving Private Ryan." Which begins with the landing of troops on the beaches of Normandy, scenes of which are so real...they are hard to watch!
This producer, who also has written many successful screen plays, is already writing the screen play for this movie. He says at least two studios and several investors are very interested in this project. Sir Graham told the producer that he would absolutely love to play the part of a British soldier in this film. After reading Sir Grahams' Journal, the producer said that Sir Graham deserved a part in that movie more than anyone else! Can you imagine the "deja vu" Sir Graham would be experiencing during filming! This movie would premiere as a huge event in Boston the night of April 18, 2025.
*There is one other amazing announcement that will be made by Sir Graham at the time he premieres his poem. This announcement is the culmination of many years of research on his part while living in London. These years of research were based on nothing more than a hunch...which paid off!
You remember the next two paragraphs from the pages of Sir Grahams Journal about what happened with him in Concord: While walking towards the North Bridge he paused to note in his Journal how history tells us we don’t really know which side fired the famous “Shot Heard Round the World.”
This mysterious first shot set off a volley of gunfire between British forces and Minutemen, resulting in dead and wounded on both sides. The American War of Independence had officially started.
Even though Sir Graham had closed the Journal to return it to his satchel, he felt compelled to open it again. Without even thinking about what he was going to write, almost as if the words were being dictated to him….he wrote these words: “In your sub-conscious you know…that you saw where the shot came from and who it was that fired it. In fact, you personally knew the soldier who fired it, he was your very best friend.” Sir Graham was shocked by what he had written. Reading and re-reading the message over and over, Sir Graham felt the enormous impact of what the words implied.
Sir Graham says he couldn't wait to tell me that a couple of months ago and for over a week he had been in the basement of Parliament searching through some very old archives of military records, particularly of soldiers who served in Boston in 1775. He happened to stumble on a very brief reference to an incident which was documented but marked "classified." This incident was the death-bed confession in 1840 of an eighty five year old, well decorated career officer of the British Army. In his confession he stated that at the beginning of his military career as a twenty year old new recruit recently arrived in Boston from England, that he with about 700 others participated in that very fatal march to Lexington and Concord on April 19, 1775. He said that at the North Bridge...he was the one who fired that first shot. The "shot heard round the world." He said it was the culmination of complete battle inexperience and also being extremely nervous and on edge.
He went on to say, "I (John) remember that day like it was yesterday! I was at the end of a line of soldiers on the bridge facing the rebels, who were a little distance away on a slope next to a road leading towards the bridge. I was standing right next to the handrails on my right and my best friend Richard was next to me on my left. I was observing this group of rebels which numbered about 400. This means that we were outnumbered about 4 to 1. At this time they were all putting fresh flints in their muskets. I pointed this out to Richard and told him I figured they were getting ready to start firing. When I heard a loud shout from the rebels, I reacted by firing at them. So, of course Richard saw me fire my musket. But, there was so much going on that nobody else seemed to see the discharge, but many reacted to the sound by firing their muskets at the rebels, killing and wounding some. The Rebels returned our fire, killing and wounding several of our soldiers."
"Richard immediately insisted that we keep the firing of my musket secret. He said he didn't know what the official reaction to me firing my musket without command might be. We never mentioned it to anyone. It was a secret we both kept, the rest of our lives."
The deposition of the confession continued: "After the exchange of gunfire between us and the rebels, they continued to advance down the road towards the bridge. We were ordered to abandon the bridge and move back into Concord. As we left the bridge Richard and I turned right through a field in which stood a large home. As we ran through the yard, Richard and I noticed at least a couple of persons inside the house watching us through a window. We moved on past the house and continued to Concord which lay about a mile away."
Sir Graham says that when he read this part of the deposition he remembered this amazing quote from his Journal: When arriving at the North Bridge and seeing the historical house called the “Old Manse” standing about 300 feet away in the field to the left of the bridge he exclaimed, “Amazing! It is still standing!” It was only later that he learned the house had been standing during the battle at North Bridge. In fact a couple of family members (Ralph Waldo Emersons' grandfather and father) living there at the time actually watched the battle from a side window facing the bridge. Sir Graham says he had never seen or heard about the house before, so how did he know it was…”still standing?” Sir Graham says, "I guess this explains in great detail, exactly why I remembered this house."
Then "John" continued to remember, "Later that day while we were in Concord there were so many rebel forces arriving that the decision was made to start marching back to Boston. The rebels continued to fire on us as we marched, and at a left turn in the road just outside of Concord, the rebels had set up an ambush. When they opened up and started firing, my friend Richard was shot in his left front shoulder. He was barely able to lift his musket, and turn towards his right. His return fire killed the rebel who had shot him. Richard was seriously wounded, but gratefully it was a glancing wound not directly through the shoulder. He credited me with saving his life by stopping the bleeding and assisting him. After hours of weary marching under fire all of the way, we finally made it back to Boston on that horrible day."
"When the British evacuated Boston, Richard was on a ship to Nova Scotia and then eventually to England which was carrying many of the other wounded from that fateful day. He fully recovered, even though he carried a very large scar on his shoulder. He and I remained friends for the rest of our lives. Me with a military career, and him serving in Parliament. Indeed, until his passing a few years ago, Richard and I were the very best of friends."
Sir Graham said that all he could think about as he read this deposition was the name "Richard" and what he had written in his Journal: After his first visit ended and while checking-in at Logan airport for his flight home, he walked up to the ticket counter and as he handed his reservation and I.D. to the agent said, “I am Richard and checking-in for my flight to Nova Scotia.” The agent glanced at the I.D. and then at the reservation ticket and said, “This ticket is for London, and is issued to Sir Graham Finch.” Embarrassed, Sir Graham said, “Of course, I meant London. I can’t imagine why I said Nova Scotia! And I have no idea who Richard is. I guess I am more tired than I thought I was.” While doing research later he learned that the British had sailed to Nova Scotia when they evacuated Boston. But, he still had no idea where the name "Richard" came from.
He also thought about his birthmark, and what he wrote in his Journal: Sir Graham says all of his life he had a very distinct, large birthmark on his left front shoulder. He remembers that while having his physical as he was joining the military the examining physician asked about what he was convinced was the scar of a high-caliber gunshot wound. The physician was very surprised to learn it was just a birthmark. Recently while doing research Sir Graham was very interested to read that the lead balls fired from muskets left “high caliber” (large) wounds.
As Sir Graham walked from Concord towards “Bloody Angle” and just as he made that left turn where the ambush occurred, he suddenly felt a very sharp burning sensation in his birthmark. His reaction was that he whirled to his right holding his arms in position as if holding a musket, paused as if he was taking aim, and then pulled his trigger-finger as if he had fired a shot. This was followed by Sir Graham experiencing a sense of real panic, which came over him and didn’t let up until he actually moved out of the area.
Then Sir Graham wrote in his Journal: The minute he left the area, verses for his poem pertaining to the “Ambush at Bloody Angle” immediately came to thought and he wrote them down in his Journal. Before closing his Journal, he says that with a deep sadness he wrote the words “I wonder if being wounded would justify killing your assailant?” Sir Graham says that in the years since he wrote that question in his Journal, that he has re-thought "right and wrong" on a much higher level. That what may be "humanly" right, could fall far short of what is "divinely" right.
This document stated that this confession made its way through many channels until it reached the young Queen Victoria who was just three years into her sixty four year reign. She made the decision that the confession should be kept classified and not made public. She was concerned in case there might be any bad publicity or the seeming acceptance of responsibility by the British government. She also didn't want any blemish on a very distinguished, high ranking and illustrious career.
Sir Graham says that after the Revolutionary War this soldier transferred to cavalry and reached a high rank in the British Army. In 1810 he was fifty five years old and had retired from military service. In 1815 Lord Wellington himself requested that he come out of retirement and take command of a cavalry unit in Wellingtons' army. This large army was being prepared in order to meet and destroy Napoleon and his forces. This commander agreed to take command and he and his regiment fought with highly decorated distinction at the Battle of Waterloo where Napoleon and his forces were completely defeated.
"THE LOSER" "THE VICTOR"
Sir Graham says that from what he wrote in his Journal at Concord, “...you saw where the shot came from and who it was that fired it. In fact, you personally knew the soldier who fired it, he was your very best friend.” I figured that since "he (John) and I (Richard) were very best friends, at that time!" then I am absolutely fully qualified and honored to announce his full name before the 250th anniversary, and rightfully engrave his name into history. This will solve that mystery of so many years..."who fired that first shot at Concord?"
Well I think this brings everyone up-to-date on this couple for the last eight months or so since I published his Journal...and carries them well into the coming years...or at least until 2025. If anything significant comes up, I will let you readers know! In the mean time I hope that many more will read and ponder THE REDCOAT. BILL CARAWAN
Recently after learning about
Richard and John's names,
I told Sir Graham...
"All I can say is that those two individuals, Richard and John,
lived one helluva life together as very best friends."
His reply was, "Yes we did."
is published by
WORDS OF WILLIAM™
William F. Carawan
All Rights Reserved
Boston, Massachusetts U.S.A