Saturday, 9 January 2016

The Ravens of the Tower

What this has to do about anything I'd be hard pushed to
tell you except that I like ravens, particularly these ones
which I first saw when I was a small child living in London
after the war.

According to legend, if the ravens that inhabit the Tower
of London were lost or flew away, the Crown will
fall and Britain with it.

Posing with the Beef Eaters.

This belief dates back to the dark ages when, after a monumental
punch up between Matholwch, King of Ireland and
Bendigeldfram, King of the Britons the loser's head
was cut off and buried beneath the White Hill (where the
White Tower now stands) facing towards France as a talisman
to protect Britain from foreign invasion.

Over the centuries the superstition has been added to,
amended, tweaked and generally bigged up and to this day
a flock of at least eight ravens is held in permanent
captivity at the Tower where they live like kings.
No point in taking chances after all.

Who's a pretty boy?

But there's one little known fact concerning the Ravens which
dates back to the second world war - the Ravens are all
enlisted soldiers of the Crown.

After the heavy bombing of London only one Raven was able
to survive the Blitz and so Sir Winston Churchill, the Prime
Minister at the time, ordered more ravens to be brought to the
Tower to bring the flock up to it's correct size and from then
on all the birds were issued with attestation cards in the same
way as serving soldiers and the police.

Looks like misconduct to me!

And, just like soldiers, the Ravens can be dismissed for
unsatisfactory conduct.  Caw, stone the crows!

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