New uniforms for this year’s Sham Fight

The joint armies at a previous Sham Fight in Scarva. Credit: Rowland White/PressEye
The joint armies at a previous Sham Fight in Scarva. Credit: Rowland White/PressEye

The armies of King William and King James will have new uniforms at this year’s Sham Fight in Scarva on 13th July.

About 24 re-enactors take part in the pageant each year in what has become an important event on the Northern Ireland cultural calendar.

This year the re-enactors will be wearing new uniforms, tunics and other clothes that will give them an even more authentic look from the period of the Williamite Wars.

King William (John Adair) is looking forward to the event, on what will be his 25th appearance as the King.

“It has been a great honour to play King William all those years,” he said.

“There is a terrific response from the public, when we arrive at the battlefield on horseback. This year we will have new uniforms so that will be something extra on the day.

“We wanted to improve on our uniforms and did quite a bit of research to ensure the new ones were as close as possible to what the soldiers of the day would have worn.

“Every year I go to a laundry and ask them to spruce up my uniform. That always gets a few interesting looks from the staff and anyone in the premises at the time. I suppose they don’t get many uniforms for a king but they always do a good job.”

The Worshipful Master of the organisers RBP 1000, Sandy Heak, is delighted that the Sham Fight has become a major attraction.

“It is an amazing day,” he said.

“Simply put, it is the biggest one-day event at a single location in Northern Ireland. Nothing else comes near. We have around 100,000 people in Scarva every year and they love it.

“We work extremely hard to ensure they have a good time and this year will be no exception.”

Members of the public who want a sneak preview of the new uniforms will be able to see them for the first time on Friday 24th June at 7pm when an archway in Scarva will be dedicated.

“Some of our soldiers will be there in the new uniforms but I don’t think there will be any battle,” said John Adair.

“We need to keep that for the big day itself.”