One for JJH

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by seaweed, Aug 26, 2010.

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  1. seaweed

    seaweed LE Book Reviewer

    Pinched this from the Budgets thread which perhaps is not on his regular round:

    ..but failed to pick up the linky so

    JJH go to Youtube and search on Guards episodes 1-5. Interested in your comments!

    In the History Forunm as it's from nearly 50 years ago.

    From the days when COIN was called wog-bashing.
  2. Can you post a link? I am finding Polish, Singaporean etc.
  3. RP578

    RP578 LE Book Reviewer

    He probably means this series:

    The last couple feature operational footage from Borneo and Aden in the mid 1960s.
  4. Oh dear. I'm old and that makes me cringe. A woodentop Lt at his most Woosterish.
  5. rampant

    rampant LE Reviewer Book Reviewer

    Might as well add Pt 5 too, just for the full set:

  6. This came up before, cracking doc mind, I noticed they didn't ask anyone less than a Sergeant any questions. It was like upstairs downstairs attitude with the Ruperts.
  7. RP578

    RP578 LE Book Reviewer

    There's a preceding unnumbered one as well (see below), but it restricts you to 4 vids per post.

  9. Oooh, there's one for the Big Book of British Teeth.
  10. RP578

    RP578 LE Book Reviewer

    Yeah, I actually bought Breaking Bumbo off the back of your post when I first read that thread. Can't really say that it flicked my switch.

    The Guards documentary first made its appearance on these boards about two years ago and seems to resurrect itself every so often. Here's the original thread which has some interesting debate, including opinions by 'krankenschwester' that the video represents the ideal of a British Army officer:
  11. seaweed

    seaweed LE Book Reviewer

    Yes, sorry about the link, it's YouTube - Guards , didn't realise this had run before and I had a magical hour watching all six from my navy-blue armchair.
  12. Hi RP

    Yeah, I saw the original thread but was too lazy to link to it as well, although there was more to it than the one I posted on.

    Hope you didn't cough up too much for the Bumbo book. I thought it was useful as an indicator of its era, but I was disappointed too, having expected an obscure classic ( such as Room At The Top ) which it clearly isn't. Always strange to read books which were lauded in their time as bold and shocking but have so few echoes of relevance today. I think the documentary says far more than The Breaking of Bumbo, and far more eloquently despite not having been intended as satire.

    It always tempting - especially in the Army I think - to view history and assume a close kinship with those who have gone before, assuming they essentially thought and acted like us. As the documentary shows, they bloody well didn't! Which re-raises the question of how much our institutionalised ancestor-worship ( aka the regimental system ) we are taught to revere is actually relevant. The worst example being the officers captured on film - happy to bang on about the honour of vistory at Dettingen, the class necessary to be a leader, yet in practice happy to visit an assault course in SD and loaf around the mess in St James'.

    You wonder what they would make of the Guards today, let alone the remainder of the Army. I think the regimental system in the post-war incarnation depicted is practically unworkable today, and emotionally spent. Far better to start again as The Rifles have than continually look back.

    That said - the practical, pragmatic, tough Guards units which developed ( eventually ) in WW2 were replaced by a return to "proper soldiering" afterwards as shown in the film. Once we pull out from Afghanistan and significantly contract in size and operational activity, will we be able to resist the same temptation?

    ( Aaahh... Stonker, so nice to see you again... )

  13. RP578

    RP578 LE Book Reviewer


    I was hoping you'd reply as you always raise interesting points in a discussion. Ref Bumbo, well yes. I think the author, by his own admission, had a view of himself as some variant of the Angry Young Man, but attacking the establishment from the other direction. How out of sync those young officers were with life around them is beautifully illustrated in 'Guards3' from 1:33-1:52 into the clip.

    Your point about the regimental system is telling. As a Rifleman myself I was always glad that we forged a a common identity and didn't go down the old titles in brackets route that other amalgamated regiments did. After three years, a number of operational tours and deliberate cross-posting, the single brand has become a reality. I think that the RRS especially did itself a real disservice by making such an issue about titles and hackles at the expense of a common identity. You see it all the time with certain types of TA units that jealously guard and tirelessly propagate ancient titles and heritage, that they often have only the most tenuous link to, and regard their parent capbadge as almost incidental.

    Is the Army habitually condemned to become the playground of martinets at the outbreak of peace? Perhaps, ('Tunes Of Glory' was a great depiction of the leisurely lifestyle that the Army could afford its troops during peacetime soldiering by the way) but then maybe we'll be too small for anything other than practical soldiering.
  14. Interesting that you mention Tunes of Glory. A cracking book, and - oddly enough - another one written by a petulant young man as a Parthian shot when leaving the Army. James Kennaway was from a Guards-ish background ( Glenalmond & PPE at Oxford ) and served in the Gordon Highlanders as a National Serviceman while they were occupying Germany immediately after the war. According to his biographer he "revelled in the privileged life they lead but disliked the regiment, finding in the Gordons internal rivalries and "a pettiness and filth which it is hard to believe". Apparently he was offered an regular commission but told the Colonel that "I would rather serve in the Argentine Police than in your regiment"... Nice!

    Nothing wrong with being an angry young man - from a mill or Millfield - so long as you hit the mark as Kennaway did so well. But annoying when an intelligent and capable young author, fortunate enough to be writing about a hot topic at the ideal time, misses so badly - eg. the guy who wrote The Breaking Of Bumbo and Patrick Hennessy too.

    What would the Guards of the 1960s think of having a TA line infantry counterpart? Or some members of the coalition of petty tribes who make that up surreptitiously sewing RRF TRFs into their collars etc rather than wearing the blue-red-blue? Or of officers having anything but a perfect side-parting, or not wearing immaculate barrack dress in the field?

    ( On the last point, I'm definately with them - we may have lost Basra, but at least if we'd done so in cut down landies, wearing forage caps, pistols on lanyards and gleaming Sam Brownes, we'd have done so in style... :-D )

    But anyway, we digress. I loved the little tea party they were throwing at St James's for plump debs. Those subbies must have been absolute monsters on the lash, eh?