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Revolutionary War Recalled

April 15, 2000

LEXINGTON, Mass. (AP) _ Hefting his ``Brown Bess″ flintlock and its shiny bayonet, the British redcoat cuts a fearsome figure, straight out of a history book.

Niall Kynoch, who stepped off a plane from England to step back in time 225 years, is one of some 2,000 re-enactors who have come to the first battlegrounds of the Revolutionary War.

So how does the 32-year-old software developer feel about playing one of the bad guys this weekend at Lexington and Concord?

``This is our country,″ quipped Kynoch, who is from Hook in Hampshire County. ``Bloody hell, this land belongs to King George.″

Tens of thousands of spectators are expected to witness ``Paul Revere″ making a midnight ride and mock gunfire thundering on the green at Lexington, at the Old North Bridge in Concord, in Minuteman National Historic Park and other historic locations.

On April 18, 1775, British soldiers were dispatched to destroy the colonials’ supply depot at Concord. The march was supposed to be secret, but Revere and William Dawes sounded the alarm. At dawn the next day, the two sides faced each other on the village green at Lexington. Eight colonists were killed.

The British marched to Concord, where they destroyed military supplies and then retreated to Boston, peppered by fire from colonials along what is now called the Battle Road. Ultimately, the British suffered 273 casualties, the Americans 95.

For the event, part of the national park is being returned to its Revolutionary War-era look, with pavement removed in some places.

On Friday, participates settled into hundreds of beige canvas tents at a soccer field. Most of the redcoat re-enactors are from America. But Kynoch was one of a group of 17 who traveled from England to take part.

Keith Jepson, 39, a ruddy-faced officer in Kynoch’s unit who has served in the real British Army, said he wasn’t bothered by playing the villain.

``We’re not villains, are we? We’re the good guys,″ he said.

Massachussetts resident Brad Chetwynd, 58, has been doing re-enactments for 26 years. He will play an American militia captain.

Wearing tiny-lensed glasses with 250-year-old frames, Chetwynd said some re-enactors love getting into history and others like the military aspect. He has enjoyed making friends through the hobby.

``I can go down to the green and watch the British column coming onto the green, and you’re back there, you’re really living it,″ he said.

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