A Very British Civil War in Pembrokeshire 1938: Armour of the Fish Guards

Hello. This is Huw Puw, reporting once again for The Fish Guardian.

This week I’m reporting from the bustling metropolis of Fishguard; not so much ‘Land of My Fathers’, but more ‘Land of My Aunties’…

Regular readers will remember that in my last dispatch I was still assigned to the Army of the Republic of Cantref Cemaes, chasing fascists up hill and down ladies’ outfitters.  It was fun for a while, but frankly I needed a break from the endless death, destruction, cross-dressing and startled bleating from surprised sheep.

Imagine my relief then, when my editor replied to my request, “Stick it where the sun doesn’t shine, Puw!”  He clearly meant Fishguard, so I packed my bags and set off for home.  Ah, Fishguard, Fishguard; so good they named it er, ‘Fishguard’…  Yes, it’s a strange name.  Were Fishguard’s founding fathers guarding fish?  If so, from whom?  Or were the fish themselves the guards…?

The ‘White Eagle’ Flag of the FWA

I digress.  So, while heading for home, I passed through the village of Dinas, now turned into a military encampment by the Free Wales Army (FWA).  The men of the FWA’s senior regiment in the area, The Fish Guards, looked resplendent in their smart green uniforms, though their general demeanour seems to be of Blackshirts who’ve eaten a bit too much Cawl and whose shirts have turned green in the wash…  Strangest of all is their stylised ‘White Eagle’ symbol, emblazoned on their flags and armbands, which looks like a slightly limp asterisk.

I digress again.  One of the Fish Guards’ officers recognised me – he’d led the FWA platoon that fought alongside Cantref Cemaes’ 9th Regiment at Penclippin Farm.  After the inevitable moment where he clearly knows me, but I neither know nor care who he is (it happens a lot), he invited me to come and see the latest new wonder-weapons that would win the war for the FWA.

I could hardly contain my excitement…

Just as I got my camera out, an armoured column came rumbling along the road.  The FWA’s ‘Glyndwr’ Light Tank came first, which I’d seen before.  However, The FWA have clearly been taking notes during their attachment to the Army of Cantref Cemaes, as trundling along the road behind it came yet another wheeled and turreted armoured box – a design theme that seems universal to all armies in the current round of unpleasantness.  I pretended to look interested as the FWA officer told me that the excessive height was in order to enable it to fight over typical tall Pembrokeshire hedgerows…  Ingenious.

Based on a Thornycroft parcel van, the thing is called ‘Jemima Fawr’ (‘Big Jemima’) and is named for the Fishguard ‘heroine’ of 1797 (a feminine noun doesn’t really seem appropriate for that six-foot cobbler and pub bouncer who beat l’escargot out of twelve French soldiers single-handed).  Not to be confused with the Republic of Cantref Cemaes’ ‘Jemima’ Light Tank, which was named after a duck.

The dull, grey, mottled paint-scheme is, I presume, meant to reflect that dull, grey, mottled landscape (and indeed people) of the landscape around Fishguard.

The Jemima Fawr’s armament is apparently a Vickers machine gun in the front, with another machine gun in the turret, allied to a 4-INCH(??!!!) gun.  I think he must be exaggerating…  My Aunty Dilys tells me that it’s not uncommon for men to claim that they have four inches when they actually have two…

Nevertheless, I look forward to seeing it fire it’s main armament – especially if they don’t tie it down and chock the wheels first…

However, the best was saved for last…  Being towed behind Jemima Fawr was the ‘Mabinogion’ Mk I Mobile Gun Emplacement.  This has been designed with the FWA’s fortress doctrine clearly in mind.  As is well known, the FWA at Fishguard has established a string of defensive positions from Wolf’s Castle to the Preseli Hills that they have named the ‘Mabinogion Line’.  However, they ran out of cash very quickly, so the ‘Line’ is more of a ‘Dotted Line’…

The Mabinogion Mobile Gun Position is therefore an ‘ingenious’ solution to the problem: If there isn’t a fortification in front of the enemy, you bring the fortification to him!


The Mabionogion has a single crewman, which I imagine makes it easier to identify bodies than in a tank and provides them with a handy, ready-to-deploy coffin.  The Mk I shown here is armed with a 37mm gun, which is apparently capable of penetrating even the toughest Blackshirt’s black shirt.  The Mk II is apparently armed with a machine gun.  I’m further told that the Mabinogion is based on a Danish design.  The Danes have apparently developed these in response to the growing threat from Herr Hitler’s Germany.  If they’re as good as the FWA claim, the Danes should have no trouble at all in repelling a German invasion…

This is Huw Puw, reporting from Fishguard for the Fish Guardian, signing off.


All the models shown are from the collection of my good (and much-abused) friend Martin Small.  The Jemima Fawr was converted by Martin from a plastic Thornycroft parcel van model (he didn’t tell me who made the original model).

The Mabinogion is completely scratch-built and really is based on an actual thing he saw in Copenhagen!

The Glyndwr was built by someone in eBayland.

This entry was posted in 28mm Figures, Painted Units, VBCW - A Very British Civil War, VBCW Welsh Nationalist. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to A Very British Civil War in Pembrokeshire 1938: Armour of the Fish Guards

  1. Rhys says:

    Fantastic builds, you’ve outdone yourself. Your style of writing is incredibly entertainging too. Look forward to having a few games with you guys in Carmarthen over the summer. All the best

  2. Graham Knight says:

    The mobile emplacement is very similar to the German ww1 trench version that was on rails and could be moved from shelter after the bomardment is past. There is one in the Brussels Military Museum – I have a picture somewhere and will try to locate it.


    • jemima_fawr says:

      Thanks Graham. Yes, this thing really was something that Martin spotted in the Danish Army Museum. I think that quite a lot of nations experimented with mobile pillboxes – the RAF certainly had some and the USA apparently deployed some in the Pacific (mainly for defence of the Hawaiian Islands). The Germans also deployed a larger version along the Siegfried Line.

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