Geezers – Up close and personal. On camp with the SAS by Monica Lavers

This book was one of the little ‘surprises’ that Auld-Yin sends me periodically. Often they are interesting, sometimes enthralling. Sadly this one does not merit any such description.

The author is a lady who having lost a couple of high-powered media executive jobs in London and spent some time unemployed, moved to Hereford and took a menial kitchen role on the camp there. She describes in great detail her unfortunate treatment at the hands of the ‘less intellectual’ staff and managers she encounters there, and the failure of her attempts to change the culture. However, the bulk of the story is her second job on the camp, working in the stores. Again the stores seemed to have been incredibly badly organised and run until she arrived to save it from itself, organise it and bring her intellect to bear on it and its staff. Unsurprisingly this caused some friction with the existing military and civilian staff.

I too have limited experience of military procurement, military ways and military confusion. To me, the events described here as ‘shocking’ are really no more than ‘normal jogging’ which most folk learn how to work around.

The writer describes relationships with several troopers and military folk she met, (pointing out their chaste nature, which stretches credibility a very long way) and describing the impact of the work these men do on their family life. None of which is news to anyone connected, however remotely, to the military,

I really can’t understand why this author chose to write this book, other than to earn money from reflected glamour from ‘Them’. If it had been written by a sixteen-year-old for a GCSE essay, I could understand the self-centred, selfish perspective, the simplistic writing style and the lack of empathy with the reader (or indeed anyone but herself.) It's obvious that she has attended a writing course, by the long paragraphs full of 'witty and unusual' comparisons and descriptions. The comments in the blurb are obviously written for another volume, or by the people who sold her the writing course.

Finally, in a lifetime of close and near contact with the British Armed Forces of all disciplines, I have never heard the SAS described as ‘Geezers’, and worst of all, there is not a single mention of a boathouse.

For the first time ever I award a book no mushroom heads. I'll be putting it in the 'pulp' pile at the Charity Shop where I volunteer.

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Book Reviewer
Mr. Kipling put it so much better with his reference to 'plaster saints'.

I WENT into a public 'ouse to get a pint o' beer,
The publican 'e up an' sez, " We serve no red-coats here."
The girls be'ind the bar they laughed an' giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an' to myself sez I:
O it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' " Tommy, go away " ;
But it's " Thank you, Mister Atkins," when the band begins to play
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it's " Thank you, Mister Atkins," when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but 'adn't none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-'alls,
But when it comes to fightin', Lord! they'll shove me in the stalls!
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' " Tommy, wait outside ";
But it's " Special train for Atkins " when the trooper's on the tide
The troopship's on the tide, my boys, the troopship's on the tide,
O it's " Special train for Atkins " when the trooper's on the tide.

Yes, makin' mock o' uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an' they're starvation cheap.
An' hustlin' drunken soldiers when they're goin' large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin' in full kit.
Then it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an` Tommy, 'ow's yer soul? "
But it's " Thin red line of 'eroes " when the drums begin to roll
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it's " Thin red line of 'eroes, " when the drums begin to roll.

We aren't no thin red 'eroes, nor we aren't no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An' if sometimes our conduck isn't all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don't grow into plaster saints;
While it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an` Tommy, fall be'ind,"
But it's " Please to walk in front, sir," when there's trouble in the wind
There's trouble in the wind, my boys, there's trouble in the wind,
O it's " Please to walk in front, sir," when there's trouble in the wind.

You talk o' better food for us, an' schools, an' fires, an' all:
We'll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don't mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow's Uniform is not the soldier-man's disgrace.
For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an` Chuck him out, the brute! "
But it's " Saviour of 'is country " when the guns begin to shoot;
An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;
An 'Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool - you bet that Tommy sees!
Do the SAS get two sausages for breakfast is what we need to know ?

You need to read Soldier I, they can fill their plate.

Obviously this is the most outrageous fairy tale in any SAS book ever written.


Book Reviewer
With a side order of offensive sexist banter apparently.
There was a locally employed German bird in the cookhouse at Harewood panzer kaserne in Herford, a absolute slapper called iirc Tina.
One lunchtime she was lurking around the tables and received some banter that even to her depraved mind was a step too far...
"I am not a poxy slag, I'm a clean girl and have a doctors certificate."
The howls of laughter could be heard in Bielefeld.

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