Redruth in Cornwall has become a stronghold for socialist factions but overall control has been sought by two factions, Redruth Redcoats and Redruth Socialist Brigade (Redshirts). Until now, this infighting has only been shown through political means, debates and rallies. Now its turned ugly with small skirmishes breaking out.
The Redshirts have made a direct challenge for overall command of Redruth and all socialist factions in the surrounding area. This was been spurred on by the advice of the Russian military advisers attached to the Redshirts. They advised the command of the Redshirts that the socialist factions needed to be commanded by one group/commander if they were to make any significant advance towards a socialist-led Cornwall.
Early skirmishes have been nothing more than street fights after political rallies and speeches. These have been mainly led by younger members of opposing factions and have been nothing more than scuffles. That was until the skirmish following the speech made by a local right wing socialist, Alfred Penversey, who advocated direct military action against the Redshirts. He indicated they were merely puppets of their Russian masters. What happened has gone down in history as the battle for Penryn Street.
Redruth Redshirts (Socialist Brigade)
This faction has backing from Russia and as a result they have been able to equip themselves very quickly with modern weapons and equipment. Their uniform is brown with a red shirt or jacket, hence the name Redshirts. They have suddenly become a potent force within the South West, which is troubling the Kernow faction and the Royalists in Cornwall.
They have developed links in South Wales and further north. It is believed by Royalist agents that members from the Free Liverpool state, along with two former Russian officers, are training them in urban warfare. They have also built a smuggling operation between Redruth and Ireland.
So far they have set up operations in Redruth taking control of the town and have implemented defences. They also send out patrols on a regular basis in the countryside around Redruth, clashing in small skirmishes with Royalist and British Union of Fascists (BUF) supporters.
The Battle of Penryn Street
A small group of Redshirt supporters attended the speech by Alfred Penversey. During the speech they jeered and shouted abuse at Mr. Penversey and this provoked some of the younger members attending to engage in scuffles. It was when Alfred accused the Redshirts of being Russian puppets that a shot rang out. No one was injured, but following this a group of teenage supporters charged the area where the shot had sounded from.
As the teenagers charged into a group of Redshirt supporters two further gun shots were heard. Suddenly the scuffle broke apart as two teenagers were shot – one was on the floor dead with a bullet hole in his head, while the other had been hit in the shoulder. After the initial shock and pandemonium had broken out, there were shouts for the murderer to be hung. The Redshirts crowded around the shooter, but as the lynch mob moved closer to them the shooter fired in their general direction. Slowly they backed down the street as more supporters came to aid both sides.
It seemed that the incident might end there as the two sides didn’t seem to want to clash. Then a petrol bomb was thrown towards the Redshirts from the socialists side. It was at this point that fighting broke out. The local socialists have always claimed that they didn’t throw the petrol bomb and suspicions have always been that the Redshirts had engineered the situation to topple over into a full-blown military conflict.
Once the news had spread across the town that the Redshirts had killed a boy, socialists and non-socialists flocked to the side of the local faction. Soon fully armed faction members on both sides were arriving. Gunshots could be heard across the town as the battle for Penryn Street began. It raged for roughly three hours with several people killed and injured. The better armed Redshirts gained control of the situation and this gave them sufficient excuse to declare the commanders of the opposition criminals.
They quickly acted on the victory of Penryn, by declaring martial law in Redruth and taking command of the town. Other local factions either sided with the Redshirts or declared against them.
After Penryn Street
With the town now under martial law, the Redshirts slowly locked Redruth down looking for various faction commanders and those who they knew would give them trouble.
The Thresweld Siege
One such person was a local former military officer and current police sergeant William Thresweld. He had been informed that some Redshirts were on their way to arrest him, so armed with a rifle and pistol, he holed himself up at his house waiting for them. As one of the Redshirts approached the building, William killed him with a head shot. He then fired four shots from his pistol at the group of Redshirts standing in the street hitting a further two. The remaining members quickly took cover and sent for assistance. William held them off for several hours until a well-armed group of Redshirts, under the command of Arthur Garrity, stormed the house under the cover of machine gun fire. Once inside the house Garrity was killed at close range by William before William himself succumbed to a hail of small arms fire.
In Portreath, an unauthorised smuggling operation was being carried out, supplying arms to the socialist factions in Redruth and Camborne area. The authorities and BUF got wind of the operation. A Royalist infantry company, along with a section of BUF were sent in to shut the smugglers down.
A small unit of socialists had been stationed in Portreath to aid the smugglers. They intercepted the Royalists. The socialists managed to capture an officer and senior member of the BUF. Falling back to a small public house with the captured personnel, a stand-off ensued between the Royalists and socialists around the pub. This gave the smugglers time to disappear along the coast and avoid capture.
Whilst this was going on, some of the Portreath locals had armed themselves and organised a small attack on the BUF, who had taken it upon themselves to set up base in the local police station. A small skirmish broke out between the locals and BUF resulting in several deaths, mainly among the locals.
The Royalists decided to try and storm the Public House. The initial attack was unsuccessful and one of the hostages was killed in the process. The Socialists then tried to force their way through the besieging royalists using the surviving BUF hostage. This tactic worked until the BUF commander shot his own man who was being used by the socialists as a human shield. Then all hell broke loose and all sides opened fire. The intense fire fight lasted no more then 30 minutes and resulted in numerous deaths.
The Royalists had failed to shut the smuggling operation down, but they were now in control of Portreath. The smugglers moved their operation to Porthtowen.
With Redruth in the hands of the Redshirt Brigade, a core element of other local socialist factions relocated to Camborne, setting up a headquarters there. This leaves a stand-off between the Redshirts and rival socialist factions. The area between Redruth and Camborne has become a no man’s land being fought over in small skirmishes.
This has allowed elements of the BUF to slowly move into the area setting up small bases of operation. Their prime task is to infiltrate the local population and create more chaos. Their prime goal is the destruction of all socialist factions without becoming embroiled in the local conflict. The hope is that the socialists will destroy themselves without the BUF having to do much and not be seen as the hand that wielded the axe. The intention will be to move into the area in the aftermath and restore order and stability.
During this period another faction rose within the boarders of Cornwall, the Methodists. No longer able to tolerate the rise of the BUF and the Druid-led Kernow factions, they decided to act against this intolerance and paganism. They also wanted to bring about prohibition within Cornwall, banning the demon drink and closing down all public houses. This, their prime goal, is something they’ve managed to do around the area of Helston and Hayle. They have modelled themselves along similar lines as the Anglican League, mobilising several small units within the southern area of Cornwall.
A leading figure within the faction, Thomas Trevellian, saw the incident at Redruth as an opportunity for the Methodists to make their mark on the political landscape of Cornwall. He has led a large group of fighters up to the area around Praze-An-Beebie establishing a base camp there. His aims and strategy are unknown at this point but it seems like they plan to make a impact on the situation that will make everyone sit up and take notice of the Methodists.