Archer’s tribute to Agincourt’s band of brothers

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HISTORY credits England’s longbowmen with pulling off one of the country’s most stunning military victories ever.

When he rallied his troops at Agincourt, Shakespeare’s Henry V famously referred to “we happy few, we band of brothers.”

It is this spirit sculptor OH Boyd is aiming to reflect in a sculpture, destined for a museum at Agincourt, site of England’s famous victory against the French in 1415.

“The French lost up to 20,000 of the cream of their aristocracy and we only lost 112 men - although 4,000 died of dysentery and starvation on the way.

“The archers went there to die; but they weren’t going to sell their life cheaply.

“I wanted to reflect the companionship of archers in the best way I can - a bubble of companionship in that butchery,” said Mr Boyd, who is also an archer and took part in archery competitions at Agincourt, during last year’s 600th anniversary celebrations.

When it is finished sometime next year, the sculpture will have three archers, hewn from yew, about to shoot their arrows.

Mr Boyd, whose studio is in Barton-upon-Humber, hopes a bronze cast will also go on the battlefield itself. Surprisingly, the French, are very proud of that part of their history, he said, adding: “but then the French have a history of nobbling aristocracy and we did it for them on the battlefield.”

There’s a little known East Yorkshire element to the story of Agincourt. Banners of St John of Beverley had been carried into battle since the 10th century, and Agincourt was no exception. The victory boosted the Saint’s reputation as it came on October 25, the feast of his translation and Henry V later paid homage at the shrine in 1420.