by NH Van Der Haar


Ministry: Science, Technology & State Development    

Current Status: Archived

Operation: TAVERN

Relevant Minister: His Grace Colonel H. Wyndham, Viscount of Tattersett and Saxlingham

(Head of) Operations: Doctor Hambling

(Head of) Workforce/Morale: Major G. Emin, Baron of Saxlingham

(Head of) Security/Research: Commandant F. Hockney, Seneschal of Little Keswick


Upon the wishes of His Unquestioned Majesty, it has been decided that Operation TAVERN will launch this glorious empire into space and land upon that celestial object we call the Moon. In my opinion, the agricultural village of Saxlingham is the best location for the launch site. Not only is the geography suitably flat but there has never been a more loyal and stalwart collection of patriots eager to lay down life and limb and pride and purse for a national step forward. Above all however is the secrecy of Operation TAVERN. We cannot reveal this achievement to the wider world until it has already been accomplished.

All triumph to Britannia,

Viscount-Colonel Horatio Wyndham

Operation TAVERN Schedule:

Phase 1: Completed.

Phase 2: Completed.

Phase 2A: Completed, behind schedule.

Phase 3: Completed.

Phase 4: <resolution classified>

Operation TAVERN Phase 1:

For the sake of our most noble endeavours, the community of Saxlingham and its inhabitants have been conscripted, so that they can fully participate in Operation TAVERN. I have included the assessment results below. Morale among our new team is already low after spending much of the previous month deforesting and demolishing their former community to make space for the landing pad, which is being laid now. To offset this, I have installed speakers around worksites to remind the former inhabitants of Saxlingham that this all comes at a great benefit to the nation. The agricultural depots and silos have also been converted to fuel-storage and research stations. I also wanted to thank the 4th Regiment of His Majesties’ Cypriot Grenadiers who serve as the operation’s security. As I write this, from my observation bunker I see the train carrying our rocket arriving to Saxlingham now from the Little Keswick Rocketry Centre. Truly we must be blessed to be able to participate in this glorious endeavour for this nation and the world. I am reminded of Tennyson’s Ode to the Duke of Wellington from that masterpiece, the Approved Book of English Poets, one can only hope to emulate that ‘… last great Englishman’ by seeing this endeavour through! I know, without any doubt that with our success we shall direct the future with one hand and uplift humanity with the other—Major Emin.

Phase 1 Addendum: ‘Saxlingham Population Assessment Results’

57%—Conscripted into manual labour and engineering teams (Note: Cherry Jumpsuits).

15%—Conscripted into logistical duties (Note: Navy Jumpsuits)

9%—Conscripted into scientific and medical teams (Note: we need more nurse uniforms).

6%—Conscripted into tea-making duties (Note: we need more maid uniforms).

13%—Permanently detained in Tillykirk Sanatorium for Mental Affectations.

Phase 1 Addendum: Saxlingham Morale Issue 1

To make way for observation bunkers, we have demolished the local Church dedicated to Saint Cuthbert of Lindisfarne. Some of our religious conscripts grew despondent at this and held a makeshift service of remembrance in the Church catacombs. We only discovered after the cement-pouring had begun and (for want of a better phrase) the zealous conscripts bubbled to the surface. I have ordered that the remaining communion wine be distributed to conscripts as consolation rations—Major Emin.

Phase 1 Addendum: Conscript Health Concern

While hygiene will always be a fundamental part of our glorious culture, the growing rates of libidinous behaviour and ‘wasteful’ pregnancies amongst the conscripts means we must temporarily curtail the routine group showers—Major Emin.

Operation TAVERN Phase 2:

The rocket (named the Lunar Gloriana) has been installed on the launch pad. The Saxlingham conscripts assembled by Baron-Major Emin have proven slow and clumsy. Most of them couldn’t assemble a fruitcake on a Sunday afternoon let along the supporting launch struts to a Level-12 Rocket. Regardless those who demonstrate some skill and work ethic will be incorporated into the auxiliary crew of the rocket. They will maintain continual repair of the rocket and ensure a safe launch and landing upon the surface of the moon—Commandant Hockney.

Phase 2 Addendum: ‘Auxiliary Crew of the Lunar Gloriana

As far as the public is concerned, this auxiliary crew does not exist. The public will only ever know of 2 crewmen, who are currently touring the provinces on a media tour. They have been specially chosen to be the unblemished faces of our glorious step into the future—Major Emin.

Phase 2 Addendum: ‘Crew of the Lunar Gloriana

1. Lord-Sergeant Harold Alexander ‘Hal’ Highmoore, 23rd. Marquess of Waterden

2. Junior Fusilier Viviana Danvers. Our lion-hearted heroine of the Battle for Antioch.

Further Note: An additional 35 conscripted, auxiliary crewmembers from Saxlingham will be onboard and responsible for propulsion, navigation fuel and supplies.
Phase 2 Addendum: Saxlingham Morale Issue 2

Cholera has spread amongst the conscripts. Given the heavy snow we are currently experiencing, I have begun moving the conscripts out of their tent shelters and into empty storage depots for the remainder of winter—Dr Hambling.
Phase 2 Addendum: Animal Test Subjects

The various animals we had hoped to send up on the Lunar Gloriana all died during the recent fortnight of heavy rains and winds. Rather than simply dispose of them we have recycled them into extra conscript rations to help increase morale—Major Emin.

The refined fuel used in the Lunar Gloriana has been causing deep scarring and lesions on the conscripted labourers. We have given them better quality protective gear, but fatality rates remain high. The fuel functions best when be inserted manually into the onboard oxidizers. As our science team can find no other solution, I have increased auxiliary rocket crewmembers to 65 to compensate for the inevitable loss of life—Doctor Hambling.
Phase 2-A Addendum: Saxlingham Conscripts Morale 3

To try and raise morale, we took conscripts on an excursion to the Goderich State Aviary & Chicken Farm. This had to be concluded early after some conscripts were caught eating the provided birdseed—Major Emin.
Phase 2-A Addendum: Saxlingham Morale Issue 4.

Somehow, the conscripts have discovered they will become auxiliary rocket crew once we move into Phase 3. This is bad enough, but they also know how unlikely it is they will return. I have informed them that their sacrifice is ultimately for the ultimate triumph of Her Majesty’s Nations. I have increased security patrols and begun playing patriotic music to hopefully ease sour moods—Major Emin.
Phase 2-A Addendum: Operation TAVERN Document Storage.

It has been decided that previous information leaks to the conscripts was caused by a mishandling of documents by the logistics teams. All non-essential documents, research, and information about Operation TAVERN, Saxlingham and the Lunar Gloriana will be stored in an offsite, remote archive. No more mistakes—Commandant Hockney.
Phase 2-A Addendum: Saxlingham Morale Issue 5.

The (planned) demolition of Saxlingham grain depots and this year’s harsh winter has disrupted our rations supplies in the region. The Ministry for Agricultural Affairs have increased rations of nicotine products and encouraged staff to promote cigarettes as a reward for good behaviour—Major Emin.
Operation TAVERN Phase 3:

Decades of research, Years of planning and Months of labour. Every crooked back and calloused hand in service to our previously unimagined goal, this launch. Yesterday, His Lordship, Sergeant Highmoore and Fusilier Danvers guided guests of the state on a tour of the Lunar Gloriana and launch site. This crew have impressed me already and will be crucial in the eventual media campaign after their return to Earth. Highmoore’s calm and resolute disposition and Danver’s beauty and idealistic (if slightly lower class) patriotism make them a winning team. We even found a few healthier-look Saxlingham conscripts to make some comments about unity. Regardless, by the time this Operation is completed we will have, more visually pleasing town of Saxlingham in its place. Admittedly there were always going to be issues, the loading of auxiliary crewmembers was slow and difficult without additional security. Some last-minute repairs were needed on the launch mechanism. The Lunar Gloriana required an urgent last-minute polish after a dusty wind. However inevitably the moment came. To the pounding beat of Handel’s Zadok the Priest and filmed for billions to (later) see, the Lunar Gloriana roared itself into space. All we can do now is keenly await a response from our pilots—Colonel Wyndham.
Phase 3 Addendum:

My Friend Colonel Wyndham,

Sir, we experienced the thrilling delight of attending your launch this previous week. Not only is your rocket a visual marvel unique in this age, but the whole event was a thorough pleasure. We were very impressed by your crew, the young Miss Danvers and Sergeant Highmoore as well as the strength and loyalty of your Saxlingham volunteers. For future note, my only suggestion would be that you serve chilled white wine or cocktails at these events. The ambient heat of your Lunar Gloriana still has me a flutter as a write this. A stronger inebriant in the short term may benefit those of lighter constitutions in the long term. Regardless, we wish to thank you for your hospitality. I know our lives have both been utterly enriched by our attendance.

Many Thanks,
Her Royal Highness, Princess Adelaide Louise, Grand Duchess of Provence.
Phase 3 Addendum:

Now that the conscripted crew have departed Earth, we can fully inform them of the secondary goals for Operation TAVERN. Bravely led by Sergeant Highmoore and Fusilier Danvers, the inhabitants of Saxlingham will begin this nation’s colonization of the Moon. Regrettably there is only enough space for two returning crewmembers (Highmoore and Danvers, obviously). Through the auxiliary crew’s death, we will lay the foundations of a Lunar Outpost upon which future generations shall thrive—Commandant Hockney.
Operation TAVERN Phase 4:

Tragedy. Initial reports are sketchy about events that took place after the (successful) launch of the Lunar Gloriana. Communications from Highmoore told us that they had successfully left atmosphere and were on track to reach the Moon. Based on what we have recovered after the incident, issues arose after the craft began its descent towards the moon. The rocket did not detach its auxiliary compartments (and crew) before landing. Furthermore, the rocket did not so much land as plough itself with great force into the Moon. The auxiliary crewmember escaped their intact compartments and beheaded Lord-Sergeant Highmoore. Fusilier Danvers was assailed and held prisoner. The first person to walk on the moon was not Senior Lord-Sergeant Highmoore as planned with the carefully chosen words: ‘All the world, shall gaze upon the heavens and think, Britannia!’’ Instead, it was Saxlingham conscript and illiterate pub-owner Prunella Roberts, who mounted the severed head of Sergeant Highmoore upon the Imperial Flag and spoke the words: ‘The blood-sucking bastard is dead! The moon is ours! Long live Saxlingham!’ The former inhabitants of Saxlingham then proclaimed themselves as founders of the ‘Free and Independent Lunar Republic of Saxlingham’. We only know all of this because of the testimony of Fusilier Danvers who was allowed to return to Earth in her sealed capsule. All contact has been lost with the Lunar Gloriana and the staff is now in a panic. This has been an unmitigated disaster—Colonel Wyndham.
Operation TAVERN Concluding Remarks:

All attempts to negotiate or destroy this ‘Free and Independent Lunar Republic of Saxlingham’ have proven hopeless. I have had no alternative other than to institute a CAMELOT-Level Blackout. This nation has never planned to go to the moon. A complete media censorship has been enacted on discussion of this event. All remaining Saxlingham conscripts have been detained in Tillykirk Sanatorium for Mental Affectations. All non-essential staff have been detained in Tillykirk Sanatorium for Mental Affectations. Fusilier Danvers has been detained in Tillykirk Sanatorium for Mental Affectations. For failures in duty and suspected corruption, Commandant Hockney has been detained in Tillykirk Sanatorium for Mental Affectations. At this stage all we can do is pray that we do not fall victim to our enemies on the moon and put all stories of Saxlingham behind us.

Triumph to Britannia and Beyond,

Colonel Wyndham.

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