Good morning/afternoon/evening Diane. Your life seems to have paralleled mine in some respects. Born in the UK, parents emigrated to Canada (Ottawa) when I was a baby, returned to the UK in 1960 and lived just outside Richmond in SW London until returning to Canada in 1967. I have family in BC in Vancouver and up in the Okanagon and my wife is from Castlegar/Nelson BC. My brother used to live in the Gulf Islands on Thetis Island. His widow still has the house there. I also have an old friend at UVIC--Leslie Saxon, a prof of native languages. Be funny if you ever ran across her. I also lived in DC from 2005-2008 before going to the UK. However, you have me beat on the citizenship front as I only have two--UK/Cda.
I would be interested to hear if you have any tips for visiting the Crimea. My idea for the book is to combine biography and travel and visit all the sites that figured prominently in the life of my g-g-g-grandfather. Obviously Kertch and the Crimea is high on the list of must-do destinations. Regarding the incident involving Skene. Apparently Beatson and his Bashi Bazouks were a rowdy lot and there were several incidents where they entered a nearby town armed and got involved in scraps where people were wounded. There was also bad blood between Beatson and Lt Gen Vivian stemming from the fact that Beatson was ordered to fold his command into the TC and he took this as a personal insult. His men were also told they could not enter town armed. This was taken as an insult by Beatson and some of his European Officers--among them Sir Richard Burton. These tensions resulted in a bizarre stand off with Turkish troops massed outside the town and a British warship anchored offshore ready to lend supporting fire as the Bashi Bazouks and their British officers seemed ready to move on the town ignoring the order to enter unarmed. Burton and two brother officers galloped up to the Turkish commander all full of indignation and all three threw down their gauntlets challenging him to a duel saying their honour had been impugned. It all ended without tears with Burton and Beatson returning to the UK, the Bashis being folded into the TC without further incident (there is a wonderful contemporary picture in the Wallace Collection in London of a Bashi Bazouk by an artist called Vernet (?) which shows this heavily armed rascally fellow making coffee over a fire in what appears to be a captured town. The real telling detail though is when you notice the fuel for the fire is a pile of looted books. The Wallace collection is only a short walk from the High Commission where I worked and I used to go in there on my lunch hour and look at this stuff.
I will certainly Google the WA Army Museum--so glad it survived and seems to be thriving. One of my retirement plans is to do an extended visit to Australia taking in the west and northern territories. We have friends in Canberra and Melbourne.
And thanks for the tip about retirement. Its only my second week but already I am amazed how stuff turns up to fill my day.