Christopher Joll & Anthony Weldon
ARRSE Rating
4.5 Mushroom Heads
In this highly entertaining and informative book, Christopher Joll and Anthony Weldon have captured the careers, accomplishments, follies and the occasional crimes of over three hundred of the officers and men who have served in the seven Regiments (two Household Cavalry and five Foot Guards) of the sovereign's personal troops. The pages of The DRUM HORSE IN THE FOUNTAIN will reveal a whole parade of remarkable and unusual characters... In the world of the arts - theatre, film, music, and writing - and sport there are many notable, and some surprising, Guardsmen including two Oscar winning film stars - one of whom was drunkenly responsible for dispatching a Drum Horse into "The Fountain" in front of Buckingham Palace. And some of the most eccentric men ever to have been let loose on the public including The irresponsible officer in charge of the Tower of London guard who had to break back into the Tower by climbing the mast of a barge on the Thames and then onto Traitor's Gate; The VC who rallied his troops with a hunting horn; The officer Who dressed as a nun to entertain the Duke of Wellington; The unfortunate officer who Queen Victoria thought was addressing her when he was actually trying to admonish his unruly horse - she was not amused; Traitors, conmen, bigamists, a purveyor of `honours for cash' and three accused of murder - as well as at least five murder victims, one of whom died in a Chicago bootleggers' shoot-out. On military service the officers and men of the Household Division have earned forty-four Victoria Crosses; been founding members of SOE, SAS, Commandos, operated behind enemy lines and pioneered military parachuting; acted as spies, double agents and spy masters; been supported through the fiercest fighting of WW2 by a remarkably loyal tea-lady in her NAAFI wagon. As well as Prime Ministers and politicians, churchmen also feature prominently with a Cardinal who, had he lived, might have been Pope; an Archbishop of Canterbury, known as `Killer', with an MC (as well as four padres awarded MCs), a bishop, two monks, three Lord Priors of the Order of St John, and two Grand Masters of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta (who rank as Cardinals). Were this not enough, amongst actual, as well as aspiring, royalty and their progeny - legitimate and otherwise, there was the aristocratic candidate for the throne of Albania (who, although almost blind, fought as a regimental officer in WW1 without actually enlisting). ...and, not to be forgotten, are one regimental wolfhound in the 1930s which dispatched the Italian Ambassador's greyhound, three bears (one stuffed), two WW1 milking cows who took part in the 1919 Victory Parade, one monkey with the rank of Corporal of Horse and a very alert goose called Jacob. The story of a film star who lost his horse in the fountain whilst returning to barracks somewhat worse for wear .. who was he? His identity is in the book I shan't spoil the supprise by mentioning it here . .

Well what a delightful book , a pleasure to read. Its a book that you may read from cover to cover or take an individual themed chapter at random. Its very nicely laid out and does what it says on the cover. No need to say more, a most worthwhile addition to any military enthusiasts collection I cannot see how you would ever get board of reading these tales for years to come, it contains a plethra of " not a lot of people know this " Facts and Tales . If you know someone who is or was in the Household Division or even if you have watched the Changing of the Guard get a copy, perhaps for Christmas. Its making me smile as I type this review four and a half mushroom heads I am so pleased to have had it for review.

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