Not Anglicans, But Anglians


A few days ago Sadly No! rightly made fun of Andy McCarthy after he scoffed at the spelling skills of UK Islamists who waved banners protesting against Royal Anglian soldiers. “That would be ‘Anglican'”, McCarthy intoned. Alas, a correction soon followed:

Our friend Andrew Stuttaford informs me that I’m in error.  The regiment in the video is from East Anglia in the U.K.  I regret the error.  It doesn’t change the essence of the post.  What’s depicted in the video is disgraceful.

But it’s not just Americans who have trouble here – Jade Goody famously asked about the foreign nation of “East Angular”, and the “Anglican” goof is widespread, even on Army websites. The latest Private Eye has some other examples (1232, p. 9):

Sky News’s Eamonn Holmes is the latest culprit, but many other hacks have made the same gaffe on the BBC News channel and regional news broadcasts…Last Friday, the Daily Telegraph‘s Middle East expert Con Coughlin also had members of the second Battalion The Royal Anglican Regiment parading through the centre of Luton.

But it’s not just the media. The British Army’s own “Army in Education” website draws teachers’ attention to the “organized learning activities” at the “Royal Anglican Museum”. And according to the recently launced official website of the royal family…the Duke of Gloucester “holds honorary military appointments with the Royal Anglican Regiment” among many others.

The Eye suggests that this common mistake is the reason why the Islamist fanatics targeted the parade, as they were under the impression this was a “Christian” regiment sent out to attack Muslims. That seems to me doubtful, given that the Muslim extremists in fact do appear to know the difference between “Anglian” and “Anglican”.


6 Responses

  1. On the basis that simpler explanations are often to be preferred, might we not locate the confusion between “Anglian” and “Anglican” in the pretty-near universal use of spell-checkers?

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