Saturday, 10 January 2009

Samuel Johnson's Dictum....

......."Every man thinks meanly of himself for not having been a soldier".

Seldom truer than after reading the obituary of this man.

What a fellow. RIP.

13 comments:

The Refuser said...

Idle thanks for making me aware of this chap. As you say what an obituary. RIP

electro-kevin said...

At the time of Desert Storm my dad said, "Kevin. I think it would be good for the country if you joined the army. The IRAQI army."

It is my to eternal regret that I wasn't a Royal Marine. The truth is that I would have been no good in the forces.

Yes. Fine obit indeed.

Tuscan Tony said...

For those short of time:

"the youngest son of...Valerie, youngest daughter of Sir Claude Champion de Crespigny, 4th Bt, a noted jockey, balloonist, all-round sportsman and adventurer"

"he held the record for the most falls in one season on the Cresta Run in St Moritz"

"Smiley moved to Spain, where, for 19 years, he grew olives"

We shall not see their like again.


Tear in the Tuscan eye this evening.

45govt said...

Now that is what you would call a full life. Where are the modern equivalents, apart of course from yourself, my dear Idle?
I wonder what he thought of the present outcome of the efforts of he and his comrades, and I wonder we never took the trouble to terminate that Philby bastard.

Thud said...

just the reading of his life is exciting and exhausting...God bless him.

William Gruff said...

For more on the post war campaign in French Indo-China read the excellent account, written by an English born American author, of Major-General Douglas Gracie's time there.

I read the book nearly twenty years ago but have forgotten the relevant bibliographic details, unfortunately.

idle said...

I don't doubt for a moment that you would have hacked the Marines, E-K. Your masochistic weekending in a bivvy bag under Yes Tor is proof enough that you would not have beeen temprementally unsuited. The taking and giving of orders is something almost all people get used to, given the right stick and the right carrot.

Even I mastered Shuttlecock bend at the Cresta, Tuscan. That Smiley came out so often (and presumably at more dangerous spots as well) is testimony to his speed. I go down the cresta like a moped up a hill climb.

45, given that my most dangerous foreign travel of the past 12 months has been a pubcrawl in Cape Town and trying to locate the idle girls at 1am in the St Lawrence Gap on your fair island, I hardly look as though I'm the man to fill Smiley's shoes.

WG, I am fascinated by French IndoChina 1945-1975. I will look up Gracie.

Elby the Beserk said...

Bless him. They are always very moving, the obits of the old men of the forces. We are losing something very valuable. Tip of the hat to them all, including my old man, who commanded a tank in North Africa for two years, and was off to go behind enemy lines in Burma when the war ended. Had he done so, the odds were I wouldn't be typing this today.

nomad said...

Why do these derring-do scions of the aristocracy all seem to lead such charmed lives?

I was in the Arab World at the same time as he was - and met a few of these "adventurers" who would appear out of nowhere and then disappear again for weeks on end; one of them, a fluent Arabic speaker used to go falconing with the local bedu desert dwellers in his spare time. But in those days it really was mainly just sand, unlike today with large sprawling cities all over the place. I can't image a few guys in Land Rovers "capturing" Baghdad or Tehran these days!

A truly amazing fellow. RIP.

lilith said...

Wow! They don't make them like that any more :-(

Old Holborn said...

Life is for living. You get one.

New Labour/ Beast of Clerkenwell version - Life is for sitting in front of the 52" Plasma on an Argos sofa, belching stella, munching cheesy Quavers, wearing Primark nylon tracksuits and waddling to the benefit office once a week. And then you die.

DARWEN REPORTER said...

They don't make heroes like they used too!

Thud said...

Idle....my father in law is ex nva...scary guy!