Friday, 20 July 2012

bolton defiant by corgi new model

AA39303 Boulton Paul Defiant Mk.I 307 (Polish) Sqn EW-K N3437The only Polish Night Fighter Squadron to fly alongside the RAF’s own, 307 Squadron was formed on 24th August 1940 as part of an agreement between the
 Polish Government in exile and the RAF. 
 Flying from RAF Kirton-In-Lindsey in Lincolnshire,
 the squadron soon acquitted itself well, flying the Boulton Paul Defiant.  Moving to 


 in 1941, the Squadron succeeded in shooting down a number of enemy bombers, including a brace of Heinkel He111s.
Already outclassed as a day fighter due to its unorthodox turret armament, the Defiant found itself to be a capable night fighter, able to bring its powerful turret armament to bear more easily against lone German bombers operating at night. 
 above bolton by warmaster
The Polish were not however that keen on their mounts and when the Squadron exchanged the Defiants for Beaufighters in the autumn of 1941, the squadron personnel were not too sad to see the single engine fighters depart.
Basically the  Boulton Paul Defiant was a British interceptor aircraft that served with the Royal Air Force (RAF) early in the Second World War. The Defiant was designed and built by Boulton Paul Aircraft as a "turret fighter", without any forward-firing guns. It was a contemporary of the Royal Navy's Blackburn Roc.File:Blackburn Roc.png The concept of a turret fighter related directly to the successfulFirst World War-era Bristol F.2 Fighter.1/72 British Bolton Paul (B&P) Defiant Mk. I
In practice, the Defiant was found to be vulnerable to the Luftwaffe's more agile, single-seat Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters. It became used as a night fighter until it was supplanted in that role by the Bristol BeaufighterFile:Bristol Type 156 Beaufighter ExCC.jpg and de Havilland Mosquito. The Defiant found use in gunnery training, target towing, electronic countermeasures (ECM) and air-sea rescue. Among RAF pilots, it had the nickname "Daffy", probably a diminutive of the word "Defiant"File:Mk1 Defiant.jpg.The concept of a turret-armed defensive fighter emerged in 1935, at a time when the RAF anticipated having to defend Great Britain against massed formations of unescorted enemy bombers.Advances in aircraft design during the 1920s and 1930s had resulted in a generation of multi-engined bombers that were faster than the single-engined biplane fighters in service. The RAF believed that its turret-armed bombers, such as the Vickers Wellington, would be able to penetrate enemy airspace and defend themselves without fighter escort and also that the German Luftwaffe would be able to do the same.
In theory, turret-armed fighters would approach an enemy bomber from below or from the side and coordinate their fire. The separation of the tasks of flying the aircraft and firing the guns would allow the pilot to concentrate on putting the fighter into the best position while the gunner could engage the enemy. Previously the Hawker DemonFile:Hawker Demon ExCC.jpg
 had tested the concept with 59 of the biplane fighters (manufactured by Boulton Paul under a sub-contract) equipped with a powered rear turret while the remainder of the series already manufactured were converted.
Air Ministry Specification F.9/35 required a two-seater day and night "turret fighter" capable of 290 mph at 15,000 ft. It followed the earlier F.5/33 which was for a pusher design with a front turret. F.5/33 had been abandoned as it offered little over existing fighters and the Armstrong Whitworth AW.34 design which had been ordered was not completed.Boulton Paul, who had considerable experience with turrets from their earlier OverstrandFile:BP Overstrand.jpg
 bomber, submitted their P.82 design. Of the seven designs tendered, the P.82 was ranked second after Hawkers but ahead of Armstrong Whitworths twin-engined design. The Air Ministry wanted several designs investigated and two prototypes of each. The Treasury agreed to seven prototypes (2 Hawker, 2 Boulton Paul, 2 Fairey and 1 Armstrong Whitworth). In the event only prototypes of the P.82 and Hawker were built. Production orders were prepared for the Hawker but the Boulton Paul turret had the Air Ministry's attention. Delays by Hawker who were more focussed on the Hurricane led to the P.82 receiving a production order in 1937 and the Hotspur order was cancelled in 1938.
The P.82 was a monocoque design constructed by bolting the sections together. This was the same as BP had used on other aircraft. The design had room for small bombs in recesses in the outer wing. Some of the development work from their B.1/35 tender carried over into the P.82
The central feature of the P.82 was the four-gun turret based on a design by French aviation company SAMM which had been licensed by Boulton Paul for use in the earlier Boulton Paul Sidestrand bomber but eventually installed in the "follow-up" design, the Boulton Paul Overstrand and Blackburn Roc naval fighter.The turret, 'Type A' was an electro-hydraulically powered "drop-in" unit with a crank-operated mechanical backup. The Defiant was armed with a powered dorsal turret, equipped with four 0.303 in (7.7 mm)File:.303ammunition.jpeg
Browning machine guns. The fuselage was fitted with aerodynamic fairings that helped mitigate the drag of the turret; they were pneumatically powered and could be lowered into the fuselage so that the turret could rotate freely. The Brownings were electrically fired and insulated cut-off points in the turret ring prevented the guns firing when they were pointing at the propeller disc or tailplane. The gunner could rotate the turret directly forward and transfer firing control of the guns to the pilot, with the guns firing along each side of the cockpit canopy. However, in practice this was rarely done as the turret's minimum forward elevation was 19° and the pilot did not have a gunsight.
The gunner's hatch was in the rear of the turret, which had to be rotated to a side to enable entry and exit. There was not enough room in the turret for the gunner to wear a seat-type or back pack parachute so gunners were provided with a special all-in-one garment nicknamed the "rhino suit". To quote Frederick "Gus" Platts, air gunner in 230, 282 and 208 squadrons, "The Rhino suit we had to wear on Defiants was a bear but I couldn't come up with an alternative, even though it killed dozens of us. I forget the details of it but we could not have sat on our chute or even keep it nearby as in other turrets, so you wore – all in one – an inner layer that fitted a little like a wetsuit of today. The chute fitted around this, and then the dinghy and the outer clothing. There was inner webbing and pockets that literally fell apart (I presume) when one bailed out".
The first P.82 prototype (K8310) was rolled out in 1937 without its turret, looking like the Hawker Hurricane, although it was at least 1,500 lb (680 kg) heavier. A clean, simple and compact monoplane structure had been achieved with main landing gear retracting into a broad mainplane section. The pilot's cockpit and rear turret were faired into a streamlined upper fuselage section. Fuel was carried in the wing centre section along with a large ventral radiator that completed the resemblance to the Hawker fighter. With a 1,030 hp (768 kW) Rolls-Royce Merlin I, the newly named "Defiant" prototype first flew on 11 August 1937, nearly a year ahead of the Hotspur. A second prototype, K8620 equipped with a turret was modified with telescopic radio masts, revision to the canopy and changes to the undercarriage fairing plates.
Completing its acceptance tests with the turret installed, the Defiant reached a top speed of 302 mph (486 km/h) and subsequently was declared the victor of the turret fighter competition. Apart from detail changes, the production Defiant Mk I looked similar to the two Defiant prototypes. As Boulton Paul were busy producing the Blackburn Roc naval turret fighter, the Defiant's service entry was delayed to such an extent that only three aircraft had reached the RAF by the start of the war. The Mk I was powered by the Rolls Royce Merlin III (1,030 hp/768 kW or 1,160 hp/865 kW)with a total of 713 aircraft built.P.85
The P.85 was Boulton Paul's tender to Specification O.30/35 for the naval turret fighter. A version of the Defiant for Fleet Air Arm (FAA); it had a deeper fuselage and leading edge slats for lower landing speeds required of carrier aircraft. The engine would be either a Bristol Hercules radial or the Merlin. Despite a higher estimated top speed, the Blackburn Roc was selected. With Blackburn already busy producing other projects, the detail design and production of the Roc was given to Boulton Paul.The only FAA use of the Defiant was as the target tug versionP.94
The first Defiant prototype had not been initially fitted with a turret and therefore had an impressive top speed. In 1940, Boulton Paul removed the turret from the prototype as a demonstrator for a fixed gun fighter based on Defiant components. The armament offered was either 12 .303 in (7.7 mm) Browning machine guns (six per wing) or 4 20mm Hispano replacing 8 of the Brownings. The guns could be depressed for ground attack. By that time, the RAF had sufficient quantities of Hawker Hurricanes and Supermarine Spitfire and did not require a new single-seat fighter. With a calculated top speed of about 360 mph (579 km/h) at 21,700 ft, the P.94 was almost as fast as a contemporary Spitfire although less manoeuvrable.In October 1939 No. 264 (Madras Presidency) Squadron was reformed at RAF Sutton Bridge 
to operate the Defiant. Initial training and development of tactics began with other aircraft as it only received their first Defiants in early December at Martlesham Heath. They began night fighter training in February 1940. The squadron tested their tactics against British medium bombers – Hampdens File:Handley-Page 1919.jpg
andBlenheimsFile:RAFBristolBlenheimWWIIColour.jpg – and 264's CO flew against Robert Stanford TuckFile:Robert Stanford Tuck.jpg in a Spitfire showing the Defiant could defend itself by circling and keeping its speed up. By March, 264 Squadron had two flights operational with Defiants and No. 141 Squadron received its first Defiant. When the Defiant was first introduced to the public, the RAF put out a disinformation campaign, stating that the Defiant had 21 guns—i.e. four in the turret, fourteen in the wings and three cannons in the nose.
The first operational sortie came on 12 May 1940. Defiants flew with six Spitfires of 66 Sqn, and a Ju 88 was shot down over Holland. The following day, in a patrol that was a repetition of the first, Defiants claimed four Ju 87s, but were subsequently attacked by Bf 109Es. The escorting Spitfires were unable to prevent five of the six Defiants being shot down by a frontal attack.
During the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk, the Squadron was forward based at RAF ManstonFile:Luftwaffe Photograph Of RAF Manston 1939.jpg
 one of the 16 Squadrons that No. 11 Group had available to cover the evacuation. On the 27th 264 Sqn claimed 3 He 111 and 2 damaged. On the 28th, shortly after take-off ten Defiants were attacked by about 30 Bf 109s – forming a circle, six German fighters were claimed for the loss of three Defiants.
The Defiant was initially successful against enemy aircraft. Its best day was 29 May 1940, when No. 264 Sqn claimed 37 kills in two sorties: 19 Junkers Ju 87 Stuka dive bombers mostly picked off as they came out of their dives, nine Messerschmitt Bf 110 twin-engined heavy fighters, eight Bf 109s and a Ju-88. One Defiant gunner was lost after he bailed out though the aircraft made base to be repaired.
Initially, Luftwaffe fighters suffered losses when "bouncing" flights of Defiants from the rear, apparently mistaking them for Hurricanes.The German pilots were unaware of the Defiant's rear-firing armament and encountered concentrated defensive fire. With a change in Luftwaffe tactics, opposing fighters were able to outmanoeuvre the Defiant and attack it from below or dead ahead, where the turret offered no defence. Defiant losses quickly mounted, particularly among the gunners who were often unable to leave stricken aircraft. The additional weight of the turret and the second crewman plus the aerodynamic drag gave the Defiant lower performance than conventional fighter aircraft. According to the bookThe Turret Fighters by aviation historian Alec Brew, 264 Sqn. developed a counter against single-seat aircraft such as the Bf 109. By flying in an ever-descending Lufberry circle, Defiant crews sacrificed the advantage of height but eliminated the possibility of attack from underneath, while giving 360° of defensive fire. This tactic was used successfully by 264 Sqn. but when the Defiants of 141 Sqn. were committed to combat a few months later during the Battle of Britain,File:Battle of britain air observer.jpg
 it chose to ignore their advice with devastating consequences. On 19 July 1940, seven out of nine Defiants of 141 Sqn. sent to cover a convoy off Folkestone were shot down by Bf 109s of JG 51 and the remaining two only survived, one badly damaged, due to the intervention of Hurricanes of 111 Sqn. The Hurricanes reported that the Defiants had shot down four Bf 109s.Although 264 Sqn. claimed 48 kills in eight days over Dunkirk, the cost was high with 14 Defiants lost. The actual German losses were no more than 12 to 15 enemy aircraft; the turret's wide angle of fire meant that several Defiants could engage the same target at one time leading to multiple claims.
264 Squadron lost three aircraft on 26 August (two to ace Hpt. Gunther Lutzow of JG 3) and five on 28 August (to JG 26), with the deaths of nine crew members. With these losses, the Defiant - which had been intended from the start as a day and night fighter - was transferred to night fighting and there the Defiant achieved some success.
Defiant night fighters typically attacked enemy bombers from below, in a similar manoeuvre to the later successful German Schräge Musik methods. Defiants attacked more often from slightly ahead or to one side, rather than from directly under the tail. During the winter Blitz on London of 1940–41, the Defiant equipped four squadrons, shooting down more enemy aircraft than any other type. The turret-fighter concept was not immediately discarded and the fitting of Defiant-type turrets to BeaufighterFile:Bristol Type 156 Beaufighter ExCC.jpg
 and Mosquito night fighters was tried to enable these aircraft to duplicate these methods but the effect on performance proved drastic and the idea was abandoned. The Defiant Mk II model was fitted with the AI Mk IV airborne interception radar and a Merlin XX engine. A total of 207 Mk II Defiants were built.
After trials in 1940 with the School of Army Co-operation to assess its capabilities in that role, the Defiant was tested as a high-speed gunnery trainer with the Air Ministry agreeing to continue production. The Defiant was removed from combat duties in 1942 and used for training, target towing, Electronic countermeasures and air-sea rescue.
Two types of Electronic Countermeasures equipment were carried by the Defiant, both countering the German Freya early warning radar. The first system to be deployed was "Moonshine" which re-transmitted the radar's signals to simulate large formations of aircraft. As each "Moonshine" transmitter only covered part of the Freya's frequency, a formation of eight Defiants were needed, giving the appearance of over 100 aircraft. As the system required formation flying, it could only be used in daylight, where it could draw German fighters onto British fighters leaving another area relatively free for a British bombing raid. A "Special Duties Flight" was set up in May 1942 to use the new countermeasures equipment, with "Moonshine" being used for its first live test on 6 August 1942. Subsequently it was used operationally as part of "Circuses" against coastal targets and on 19 August in support of the Dieppe Raid.The Flight became No. 515 Squadron RAF on 1 October 1942, operations with "Moonshine" continuing until November 1942
515 Squadron continued operations with the second countermeasures system, "Mandrel", a noise jammer which overwhelmed the signals from Freya. Individual Defiants were sent to orbit positions 50 miles (80 km) off the enemy coast. By using nine aircraft a 200-mile (320-km) gap could be made in the Germans' radar coverage. 515 Squadron flew its first mission using Mandrel on the night of 5/6 December 1942, continuing to use its Defiants for jamming operations until the spring of 1943, when it began to receive twin-enginedBristol Beaufighters which had longer range and could carry more electronic equipment. The Defiant flew its last jamming mission on 17 July 1943, with one aircraft being lost out of four sent out that night.
In air-sea rescue the Defiant was equipped with a pair of under-wing pods that contained dinghies. A further 140 Defiant Mk III aircraft were built; this model lacked the dorsal turret and was used as a target tug. Many of the surviving Mk I and Mk II Defiants also had their turrets removed.
In this final target towing variant, the Defiant ended up with a number of overseas assignments with both the RAF and Fleet Air Arm in the Middle East, Africa and India.Further deployments occurred to Canada, where the Defiant was used as both a target tug and trainer with the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.
Defiants were also used for "special" work including tactical evaluations with the RAF Gunnery Research Unit and the Air Fighting Development Unit (AFDU) at FarnboroughFile:Farnborough2008-073.jpg.
 Two Defiants were issued for ejection seat development work; to R Malcolm Ltd and Martin-Baker. On 11 May 1945, Martin-Baker used Defiant, DR944, to test their first ejection seat with dummy launches.[5]
The last operational use of Defiants was in India, where they were used as target tugs.File:Boulton Paul Defiant.png


THIS was the first time our squadron had done the Italian trip. We'd heard a rumour about a week before that we might be getting the job and everyone was quite thrilled at the idea of the run over the Alps. We were told in the morning that we were going to Turin and so we started at once drawing our tracks and getting the navigation generally weighed up. My navigator was particularly keen on the show because he's something of a mountaineer and has done a fair bit of climbing in the Alps.

The route we were taking worked out at between twelve and thirteen hundred miles there and back. We had to make a bit of a detour to keep clear of Switzerland because we had special instructions to avoid infringing Swiss neutrality.

Briefing was at two o'clock in the afternoon and we took off just as it was getting dark. To start with, the weather was poor and we had to come down to six hundred feet over the English coast to pinpoint ourselves, then we climbed up through what was becoming really nasty weather, and crossed the coast on the other side fairly high. By that time the cloud was what we call ten-tenths—that's to say, it obscured everything, but eventually we got above cloud and then we had the light of the moon which was in its first quarter. Before that it had been very dark indeed.

We were flying blind above cloud until we arrived forty or fifty miles east of Paris and then we ran into clearer weather, the clouds gradually decreased below us until we could see the ground, and when we reached southern France the weather was perfect. It was one of those clear moonlight nights when the stars seem to stand out in the sky and you feel you can put out your hand and grab one.

As we flew on towards the Alps, we could make out some of the little mountain villages against a background of snow, the whole scene resembled a picture on a Christmas card.

The aircraft was going wonderfully well and we cleared the highest mountains we went over by three or four thousand feet. You could see the ridges and peaks, well defined, and the moon shining on the snow was half turning the night into day. Flying over this sort of scenery was something completely new to us and pretty awe-inspiring. The nearest we'd got to it was on the Munich raid when we'd seen the Bavarian Alps in the distance. The navigator came up and pointed out Mont Blanc, away on our port side. He was able to identify it from its shape because he'd actually climbed it, and he was telling us how he was beaten by the weather when he got to within six hundred feet of the summit.

Immediately we got to the other side of the Alps, with no snow about, it seemed by comparison, intensely dark for a bit. It was like coming out of a lighted room into the black-out.

Soon after that we started to glide down, losing height very gradually and arrived slightly west of Turin. Other planes were already over the target because we could see their flares and there was a barrage of anti-aircraft fire in the sky.

Our target was the Fiat works, and the whole time we were looking for them we were still gliding down to our bombing height. Actually we picked the works up in the light of some-body else's flare. They were unmistakable. I've never had such a target before. There seemed to be acres of factory buildings. We almost wept afterwards because we hadn't got any more bombs to give them.

Having located our target we flew four or five miles away, turned round and made our run up over it. The wireless operator came along and stood beside me to have a look at the bombing, otherwise he wouldn't have seen anything from his usual position. He's a bit of a wag and when he saw the light flak coming up from the works he said: "Gosh, look at the Roman candles."

We made two attacks and as we came round afterwards to have a look, the fires which we'd started were going strong. There was a big orange-coloured fire burning fiercely inside one block of buildings. Having finished the job, we climbed to get enough height to cross the Alps again.

Altogether we were over or round about the town for three-quarters of an hour and whilst we were circling to gain height we saw somebody hit the Royal Arsenal good and proper.

Going home, the Alps didn't look quite the same. The moon had almost set then and the mountains had lost their vivid whiteness. The last two hours of the journey home were, frankly, plain misery. It started with the aircraft suddenly beginning to get iced up. I tried to climb, but she wouldn't take it. Ice was coming off the airscrews and hitting the fuselage. We came down to about seven thousand to thaw out and then we ran into an electrical storm.   All this time we were in cloud. It was frightfully bumpy and the aircraft was bucketing about all over the place. At one point the front gunner called me up and said: "Are you quite sure you're flying the right side up, because I think I can see white horses in the sky." That was when we were over the North Sea. When eventually we left the clouds we had to come through snow and sleet and the final bit of the journey we made in a howling gale which reduced our ground speed a lot. Never had we ever taken so long to get inland to our base from the coast, but we got there safely in the end.  

A couple of Defiant pics this week - nothing to do with the story

Saturday, 7 July 2012

parliaments campaign in the west country

Robert Devereux was the son and heir of Robert Devereux, 2nd Earl of Essex, the courtier and soldier from the later reign of Queen Elizabeth I. His mother was Frances Walsingham (1569–1631), the only daughter of Sir Francis Walsingham, Elizabeth's spymaster.
The 2nd Earl led an unsuccessful rebellion against Elizabeth in 1601. He was subsequently executed for treason and the family lost its title. However King James I chose to restore it after he became King of England. In 1604, Robert Devereux became the 3rd Earl of Essex. The young earl became a close friend of Henry Stuart, Prince of Wales, who was three years Essex's junior.
Essex was married at age 13 to 14-year old Frances Howard; he was then sent on a European tour from 1607 to 1609, apparently without having consummated the marriage. Meanwhile, his wife began an affair with Robert Carr, Viscount Rochester, a favorite of King James I. After Essex's return, Frances sought an annulment on the grounds of impotence. Essex claimed that he was only impotent with her and had been perfectly capable with other women, adding that she "reviled him, and miscalled him, terming him a cow and coward, and beast."The divorce was a public spectacle and it made Essex a laughing-stock at court. The annulment was granted on 25 September 1613, and Frances Howard married her lover, who had been made 1st Earl of Somerset, on 26 December 1613. Three years later the Somersets were tried by a panel of Lords for their part in the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury; Essex sat as a juror in the trial of his former wife and pressed the King to send her to the scaffold.Both were condemned to death, but the sentence was never carried out.
On 11 March 1630 Essex married Elizabeth Pawlett, daughter of Sir William Pawlett, of Edington, Wiltshire, past High Sheriff of Wiltshire and cousin of William Paulet, 4th Marquess of Winchester. Elizabeth was introduced at Court during the Great Parliament of 1628/29 just after her father died, as the eldest unmarried daughter needing to marry to improve her family prospects. Back from travels in military service on the Continent (see below)
Robert was also pressured to marry again (and quickly) to show the Court the humiliation from his first marriage could be overcome. This marriage was also a disaster and failed, though not as publicly. They separated in 1631, the Countess remaining at Essex House in London, Robert "playing soldiers" at his estates. There was a child later produced from the union, however dying very young. However, the father was largely suspected by the Court to be her alleged lover, Sir Thomas Uvedale (from the alleged prompting of William Seymour, 1st Marquess of Hertford., Robert's brother-in-law who leased part of Essex House in London, and expected to inherit if Robert had no issue). Elizabeth, through her funeral oration (years later) by her second husband Sir Thomas Higgon vigorously denied this. In 1645, Essex was given File:Somerhill - - 191792.jpgSomerhill House near Tonbridge, Kent, which had been sequestrated by Parliament from Ulick Burke following the Battle of Naseby.

Frances Howard
It has recently been suggested that Essex suffered from male hormone deficiency, leading to failure to consummate his first marriage and produce an heir in his second.However, portraits of Essex show him with a prolific growth of facial hair. He also had a tendency to aggression leading to quarrels and threats of duels. Both these characteristics are counter-indicative of hypogonadism.
In 1620 Essex embarked on what was to be an undistinguished military career prior to the start of the First English Civil War. Between 1620 and 1624 he served in Protestant armies in Germany and the Low Countries. In 1620 he joined Sir Horace Vere'sFile:Horace Vere, Baron Vere of Tilbury by Michiel Jansz. van Miereveldt.jpgexpedition to defend the Palatine. In 1621 he served with Prince Maurice of NassauFile:School of Michiel Jansz. van Mierevelt 001.jpg, in 1622 with Count Ernst von Mansfeld (battle of Fleurus, 29 August 1622).In 1624 he commanded a regiment in the unsuccessful campaign to relieve the siege of Breda. And in 1625 he commanded the failed English expedition to Cadiz.File:Francisco de Zurbarán 014.jpg Despite the lack of distinction, this period of his life gave him a good working knowledge of continental war methods and strategies, even if most of his own experience was limited to defensive operations.
Following a period of little distinguished activity in the 1630s, Essex served in the army of King Charles I during the first Scottish Bishops' War in 1639.File:Bridge of Dee Aberdeen.jpg However he was denied a command in the second, which took place in 1640. This pushed him further into the arms of the growing number of the King's opponents in Parliament.
When Charles convened the Short Parliament in 1640 he had ruled without Parliament for 11 years. He was forced to call another one to raise money to fight insurgencies in Scotland and Ireland. However many Parliamentarians sought to use the new Parliament to bring the King to account. Relations between Charles and his Parliament quickly broke down.

Robert Devereux depicted as Captain General on horseback, an engraving by Wenceslas Hollar

Robert Devereux depicted as Captain General on foot, an engraving by Wenceslas Hollar

Bust of Robert Devereux.

 Battle of Lostwithiel The Battles of Lostwithiel or Lostwithiel Campaign, took place near Lostwithiel File:Lostwithiel bridge river Fowey Cornwall.jpgand Fowey File:Fowey, Town Quay - - 47111.jpgduring the First English Civil War in 1644.
After defeating the Army of Sir William Waller at theFile:Cropredy, by Cropredy Bridge - - 1297392.jpg Battle of Cropredy Bridge, King Charles marched west in pursuit of the Parliamentarian army of the Earl of Essex, who was invading the Royalist stronghold of Cornwall.Cropredy Bridge
Essex had been misled into believing that he could expect substantial support from the people of Cornwall. When he had reached Bodmin on 28 July, he found that there was no chance of supplies or recruits, and he also learned that the Royalist army was at LauncestonFile:Town Square - - 1286355.jpg, close to his rear. He withdrew to Lostwithiel, covering the port of Fowey. Essex had previously arranged to rendezvous at Fowey with the Parliamentarian fleet under the Earl of WarwickFile:2ndEarlOfWarwickColour.jpg, but no ships appeared. Warwick was unable to leave Portsmouth because of westerly winds.
King Charles's army had been reinforced as it marched, and outnumbered that of Essex by nearly two to one. The first clashes took place on 2 August, but little action took place for several days, as the King waited for all his forces to arrive and Essex waited for the fleet. On 13 August, the Royalists began to attack in earnest, occupying several outposts on the east bank of the River Fowey,File:Golant, River Fowey - - 495276.jpg making it even more difficult for help to reach Essex. A Parliamentarian attempt to send a relieving force under Lieutenant General Middleton was defeated at BridgwaterFile:Bridgwater cornexchange staute and church.jpg in Somerset.
On 21 August, the Royalists attacked Essex's positions north of Lostwithiel, capturing the ruins of Restormel Castle.File:RestormelCastle.JPG Royalist cavalry threatened to cut the Parliamentarians off from Fowey. Essex realised that there was no hope of relief and ordered his cavalry to break out of the encirclement. Under Sir William Balfour, they broke through the Royalist lines on the night of 31 August, eventually reaching Plymouth 30 miles to the east.
The increasingly demoralised Parliamentarian infantry fell back towards Fowey in pouring rain. They were forced to abandon several guns which became bogged down in the muddy roads. On 1 September, the pursuing Royalists captured Castle DoreFile:Castle-dore-cornwall-panorama.jpg, another ruined fortification which the Parliamentarians were using to anchor their lines. Essex left Sir Philip Skippon, his Sergeant Major General of Foot, in command while he himself escaped to Plymouth in a fishing boat.
On 2 September, Skippon, having been told that his infantry were unable to break out as the cavalry had done, and having been offered generous terms by the King, surrendered 6,000 infantry and all his army's guns and train. The disarmed soldiers marched eastward to Portsmouth in continuing bad weather, being continually robbed and threatened by local people. About 1,000 died of exposure and hunger, and 1,000 more deserted or fell sick. Charles meanwhile wheeled about and marched toward London. Other accounts say that Essex managed to get perhaps 2,000 of his cavalry away along the road from Lostwithiel to Liskeard Liskeard, left almost unguarded by the Royalists. 

For the rest of the Parliamentary army, however, the future was bleak. Forced further and further back towards Fowey, they abandoned Lostwithiel on August 31, the day after a poorly organised breakout had failed because deserters had traded the information for good treatment. Faced with inevitable defeat Essex saved his own skin, in filthy weather to hide him taking a small boat from Fowey on September 1. Skippon as said  was left to surrender, which he did after negotiating what seemed like very good terms for his army – the Royalists knew they would suffer heavy casualties had the trapped force been engaged in battle. 

About 6,000 Parliamentarians, mainly infantry, marched out of the area, having abandoned their weapons, with free passage to Portsmouth allowed them. The supplies of this force had dwindled during the Lostwithiel campaign, and on the march many succumbed to hunger and disease, and it is probable groups of stragglers were picked off by the Cornish irregulars who had allied themselves loosely with the king. 

This setback for Parliament in Cornwall, and the last major victory for the Royalists, was reversed by Sir Thomas Fairfax leading the New Model Army at or near Tresillian Bridge,
File:Tresillian-bridge.jpg close to Truro on 12 March 1645File:Truro stmarysst.jpg

The Lostwithiel campaign proved to be the end of Essex's military career. His army participated in the Second Battle of Newbury on 27 October. However the Earl was sick in Reading at the time. His conduct in the West Country had frustrated Cromwell, now the most prominent member of the House of Commons following his military victories and the deaths of Hampden and Pym.
Cromwell had become embroiled in a feud with the Earl of Manchester, who was still his superior officer in the Eastern Association. Essex and Manchester remained sympathetic to the peace party, while Cromwell had emerged as the leading voice in the campaign to fight a more aggressive war against Charles. Following a month of Parliamentary arguments between Manchester and Cromwell, with the former speaking in the House of Lords and the latter making his attacks in the House of Commons, the scene was set for a showdown.