The Uniform Parade
Since Asylum II (2010) there has been a Uniform Parade on Sunday morning. It has become a must-see for both steampunks and members of the public. For the duration of the parade (and for an hour or two afterwards) the event places a number of militaryesque/pseudomilitary/uniformed groups centre stage, creating a stunning spectacle.
The Uniform Parade also serves to highlight and remember the sacrifices made by so many of our forebears which allow us our freedom in society, whether we are steampunks or members of other minority groups and however we identify in our daily lives.
Over the years the Uniform Parade has seen several iterations of H.M. Queen Victoria, including one year when she was represented (without his prior knowledge) by the young daughter of SHOUTY MAN himself (see below). Amongst those who know SHOUTY MAN, there were few dry eyes that year.
The parade has grown enormously over the years, from fewer than 30 souls at Asylum III to more than 250 at Asylum VI, in every case under the calm, efficient and calm conrol of our very own SHOUTY MAN. And as the number of individuals has grown, so has the number of groups, recently including the 3rd Foot & Mouth, The Martian Expeditionary Force, Imperial Ætheric Airways, MV Storm Petrel, Royal Steam Navy, Monstrous Crew, Dino Troop and in 2022, Steampunk Sallys. Details of some of the individual groups can be found below.
The English weather has at times been challenging but the troops have always done themselves and the community proud. Don't forget to tune into the MoS Shipping Forecast for the weather forecast for the Uniform Parade this coming year.
The parade always finishes with the Last Post and Ode to the Fallen, prior to an Act of Remembrance and the March Off. The conjunction of frivolity and seriousness, humour and true respect for those who fought so hard and sacrificed so much for the freedoms we enjoy today.
We hope you will enjoy learning a bit more about the wonderful people who take part in the Uniform Parade through the stories below. Maybe one of them will inspire you to join together with some friends and create a new pseudomilitary or otherwise uniformed group who will be able to join in with the parade for Asylum XIV, if not Asylum XIII?
So who is this SHOUTY MAN of whom you speak?
If you are sitting comfortably, I will begin. A soldier since he was 16, “SHOUTY MAN” #nothisrealname became the parade marshal for the Asylum in 2012. He wears the uniform of the 3rd Foot and Mouth and the rank of Warrant Officer Class 2 (his actual rank in the military).
SHOUTY MAN discovered steampunk in 2009, thanks to an internet search whilst in the Falkands. On his return to the UK he became an active steampunk and attended Whitby and Corby events. He attended his first asylum in 2011, where he took part in the parade.
Out in the real world he has organised and led various military and civic parades and he is known for his skills in mounting real medals from the armed forces. He commands huge respect and love within the steampunk community, but please, nobody let him read that bit.
He is recognisable by his red sash and shiny medals. If you hear somebody referring to 'colour' at a steampunk event it is probably him. And if you don’t see him, you’ll hear him.
The 3rd Foot & Mouth
Legend says it was a conversation in the Queen Victoria pub at Asylum I when Major Tinker alighted his horseless carriage outside said public house clad in a kilt and someone said “are kilts Steampunk now?”
A discussion ensued. And so it was that the 3rd Foot and Mouth was born from the mind-altering effects of beer combined with a bit of “I’ve been thinking” and “Wouldn’t it be fun to recreate the Khyber Pass scenes from Carry on up the Khyber?”
And so it was that the following year several be-kilted gents and their ladies decamped to Beddgelert and ascended Snowdon’s Watkin Path (used for the Khyber Pass scenes in the film). This carried on (no pun intended) for the next 5 years. Regimental dinners were had, Victorian weekends were run (Lincoln, Erdigg, Belvoir Castle) and some members were even involved in a radio interview to mark the 50th anniversary of the film in 2018.
The '3rd' (as they are affectionatley known) became the lead element of the Uniform Parade from Asylum II onwards and have gone on to support and enhance countless events ever since - including their recent manifestation as the National Institute of Monster and Paranormal Hunters (NIMPH) at Belvoir and Blists Hill. What next? Who knows! The 3rd represent the essence of Steampunk.
The Martian Expeditionary Force
Making their Asylum debut in force in 2017, Her Majesty's Martian Expeditionary Force (more commonly referred to as the M.E.F.) originally started as both an art project and a way of making friends by 'Brigadier' Bean.
His fake propaganda flyers asking people to 'Remember Woking' made an impact immediately when seen by Steampunks.
Taking their inspiration from H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds, the M.E.F. are Steampunk's tongue-in-cheek answer to what happens after the Martian Invasion, where Britain seeks to take the fight to Mars with whoever it can muster!
While it maintains a core group who parade at Asylum each year, it has also developed a welcoming online community where all Steampunks are welcome.
Whether they'll ever reach Mars is up for debate, but with their 'heat-ray resistant' black uniforms and red brassards, the M.E.F. Parade Troop cut a dash at events including Asylum, Blists Hill, and beyond!
The Monstrous Crew
WHO: We are all Troopers and have no rank other than there has to be a CO (David Friar) to communicate with the Queen's Parade and we have a flag bearer. We are from as far as New Zealand and Spain and as close as Yorkshire/Lancashire and the West Country. We are all committed (and perhaps should be) Steampunks.
We particularly look for Troopers who can wear a hat at a jaunty angle and/or whistle a jolly tune.
Height restrictions apply: less than 9 foot.
WHY: Joint interests in the world of Steampunk, the pseudo military and the Asylum pulls us all together. We also rely upon other team building events such as Croquet and Punknics to bond.
WHAT: Our Uniform is red tunics, dark nether clothing and either a pith hat or peaked cap. We have our own distinctive cap badge and Flag and stand out as the thin red line. We keep recruitment to ideally no more than 15 Troopers able to parade at one time as the Queen's Parade is restricted to 15 Troopers per Regiment.
HOW: From researching the dusty Regimental archives the first Murder of Monsters colluded under a cloak of darkness and brooding sea mist at WGW April 2016, to the chunter of vampires, wailing of werewolves and murmuring of Goths. One Trooper thought of the name from the cartoon script, Monster Crew. Others added that we should all be in red tunics as coincidentally 3 of us were.
By Asylum 2016 a dark pact was entered into with an Antipodean, a Cestrian and a Yorkhireman (must be a joke there ..... went in to pub......?) determining that at least the first rank of the Monstrous Crew should be in red tunics and they shall parade at the Asylum and indeed took part in our first outing in the then all-comers parade in the Castle.
After more recruiting by 2017 we sported cap badges and by 2019 our battle colours were proudly unfurled and have yet to be lost in battle.
I will leave you with our Regimental Motto:
ALLI FACIENT VOBIS FACIAM
(Do unto others before they do unto you).
The First Imperial Dino Riders - The Queen's Own
It all started a Thursday. It was one of those days where all that can go wrong did. Somehow, with the heavenly help of Charles Babbage and Lady Lovelace, everything was back on track and production running again by End of Day. It was a true miracle. So my work mates and I did what every normal IT professional would do, we went to the pub.
A few days later, my downstairs neighbour told me that I had a box delivered and that she had "saved it for me". I thanked her and took it home. I wasn't expecting anything, but the mystery was quickly solved when I opened the box and was greeted by a big googly eye and a tuft of green fur… I remembered then browsing Amazon, that famous Thursday.
I thought about sending it back and getting a refund, but the Asylum was coming and I already had a few pieces of uniform around...and so it was that I rode it, as a one-off lark on the Sunday. I was even able to sneak into the Uniform Parade, and it was a blast. I thought it was the end of it, but on the Monday people were asking me where the dino was. Maybe there was something there…
Then I had a conversation with Nigel. We agreed on a loose uniform based on some common kit, a red jacket, a pith helmet and of course a green regulation dino. Now there were 2 of us, things were getting out of hand. We started recruiting friends (or blackmailing them into joining, according to some miscontents ) and soon enough there were 10 of us ( French, British and even a couple Belgian); we were a Regiment, "The First Imperial Dino Riders". And we proudly marched in the Grand Parade on the Monday!
The next year we were asked to do escort duty for the Queen at the Uniform Parade and hence The Regiment was now officially "The First Imperial Dino Riders - The Queen's Own".
Whatever the cavalry may say, WE are the senior service, by a few million years.
And the morality of this story? Just because you don't remembering ordering something on-line, it could still turn out to be the start of something big!
M/V Storm Petrel
M/V [Motor Vessel] Storm Petrel – the last of the South Atlantic class of airship whalers - her crew eke out a meagre existence through a life of piracy, smuggling and blockade running. This isn't the glory days of old, with chests full of imperial gold falling to dashing filibusters. This about finding just another month's worth of fuel, food or water, holding on to that hope that just one of these prizes might contain something more.
We've existed in our current guise a group for the last 6 years or so. Drawing inspiration from the grittier side of steampunk (and let's be honest, The North Water & Firefly), we wanted to show the complete crew of a single airship, as a whole entity. We also like to bring a little nautical and aeronautical flair to events, so we also exhibit large scale displays & props at some events.
We're not really a military type group, at the heart of it – but we do have a snazzy brown boiler suit for a uniform, and most of us can more or less walk in step, so we got involved in the parade in 2022 for the first time.
Shouty man has somehow managed to convince Queen Vic we're loyal privateers rather than actual pirates, but hopefully they won't figure that out anytime soon..."
Imperial Ætheric Airways
Imperial Aethyric Airways are the premier luxury travel and adventure service, serving the Empire and beyond! We debuted at the inaugural Steampunks in Space event in Leicester.
As the years have passed, the membership has slowly increased, with our core values summed up by our motto, Juniperus Spiritu Ad Astra - By Gin, to the Stars! (Please note, the Latin was translated whilst we were thoroughly exemplifying the motto, and we make no guarantee as to its accuracy)
We don't actively recruit, but if you turn up in a blue suit with a Union Jack (we're nautical after all) motif or bustle, we will probably stick a badge on you.
Also, we stamp passports with our logo. If you're travelling anywhere, do it in style with Imperial Aethyric Airways!
Dear Brethern and Sistern!
As General of the vastly expanding Steampunk Sallys Army of Salvation - I am grateful for this opportunity to share something of who we are and what we are about.
Firstly, we hold no link or association whatsoever with any specific religion or religious organisation, like The Salvation Army or Church Army. We never collect money or accept donations on their behalf.
The goal of our great Army is to change this sad world one smile at a time. I am so extremely proud of all my new Salvation Sisters who work tirelessly to lift up the fallen and convert the masses (just like my corset). Our Sisters have signed the pledge of poverty, chastity, misery and obedience with days off every second Tuesday.
Our motto challenges the drunkards, backsliders and Spittoon users; ‘Lips that touch liquor shall not touch ours!’ And in respect to our first convert Sister Anna who carried the Banna’, All Sisters take on the name Anna in her honour and choose a surname to reflect their personality.
Like Sister Anna Kissed - who plays our big bass drum.
You may see us spreading the joy at a Steampunk event near you and if you would like to help in our mission to scrub up wicked men with boozy urges please contact me or my second in command ( the Army mother) Sister Anna Key.
We raise our tinklers in your honour and shake em like a Polaroid picture!
Sincerely under the flag,
Sister Anna Bollick