Photos that make you think.

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
Like the first time I read about Arnold Ridley and his trench raid wounds, hard to re-concile with the part he played in Dad's Army;

Many years ago, when I was much younger and hoovering up Tom Clancy's novels, he was describing one of the characters. He used a line I've never forgotten: "Like many heroes, he was physically unremarkable."

Peter Butterworth, the Carry On actor, auditioned to be in the film portrayal of the wooden horse escape. He was rejected as not having the necessary 'heroic' physical attributes.

Peter Butterworth took part in the real wooden horse escape.
 
Many years ago, when I was much younger and hoovering up Tom Clancy's novels, he was describing one of the characters. He used a line I've never forgotten: "Like many heroes, he was physically unremarkable."

Peter Butterworth, the Carry On actor, auditioned to be in the film portrayal of the wooden horse escape. He was rejected as not having the necessary 'heroic' physical attributes.

Peter Butterworth took part in the real wooden horse escape.
A Fleet Air Arm Albacore pilot.
 
Many years ago, when I was much younger and hoovering up Tom Clancy's novels, he was describing one of the characters. He used a line I've never forgotten: "Like many heroes, he was physically unremarkable."

Peter Butterworth, the Carry On actor, auditioned to be in the film portrayal of the wooden horse escape. He was rejected as not having the necessary 'heroic' physical attributes.

Peter Butterworth took part in the real wooden horse escape.
Posted (on this thread) 23 Dec 2018 by @Sir Arthur #4,299. The attachments are worth a look :

I listen to a lot of podcasts and one of them is from the National Archives. They were talking about "The Great Escape" and of course not the Hollywood version, but what really happened and a lot of interesting stuff about it. So I thought I would have a poke around on the NA website and see what they had.​
What I found really surprised me, and I will never be able to see a Carry On film again without thinking of this!​
So, here goes with a bit of a story.​
Peter Butterworth, of Carry On fame, was not only involved in the "Great Escape" but also the Wooden Horse and there are some amazing, and sad, back stories to all of this.​
Peter Butterworth in uniform:​
Here is the Prisoner of War card for Peter Butterworth at Stalag Luft 3 (another point is that it was always "3" and not "III" but it got hijacked along the way it seems):​
I'll try and shorten it as much as possible (which is why it becomes a bit disjointed) but Butterworth was a pilot in the Fleet Air Arm and flew the antiquated Fairey Albacore and was sent to torpedo bomb a German convoy near the Dutch island of Texel. Jumped by ME109s he crash landed and was picked up soon afterwards and sent for interrogations at Dulag Luft. This was where it started to get more interesting. At Dulag Luft he met up with Roger Bushell and it was here that Butterworth was recruited into MI9 (established to aid and oversee POW escapes throughout Europe). Bushell taught him code writing which was the use of secret codes included in innocuous wording of letters home, that were decoded after a brief stop at MI9.​
These are Roger Bushell's POW cards:​
POW card with black cross to signify dead after being murdered for his part in the Great Escape​
However, code writing was not the only thing on their mind. A tunnel was started in July 1940, finished in May 1941, and Bushell, Butterworth and 16 others escaped from the interrogation centre in what was the first mass POW breakout of WW2. Bushell himself had elected to go out earlier that day and was hiding in a shed with a goat or ram. When "Wings" Day was asked to bless this attempt with Bushell hiding in the goat shed, he is supposed to have asked "What about the smell?". "The goat won't mind," replied another POW. Day approved the plan.​
Bushell made it to within yards of the Swiss border but was caught. When the other prisoners left through the tunnel, Butterworth left a cheeky message pinned to his bunk "What better time to explore Germany than in the spring and on foot!". He was paired with Mike Casey and they were on the run for 3 days before being captured by members of the Hitler Youth and were returned to Dalag Luft.​
After the escape, Butterworth was sent to Stalag Luft 1. On the train journey a case of champagne was allegedly sent by the eccentric Kommandant Rumpel who admired their effort and style and attached an anonymous note that said "Well tried, Gentlemen, better luck next time, even if I'm not supposed to say so."​
At Barth Butterworth assisted in the digging of three tunnels, all of which were discovered before completion and he was then sent to Stalag Luft 3 in April 1942. He already had two years "in the bag" and would end up spending three more years as a POW.​
It was there that he would discover his love of pantomine and acting, which was also a useful cover for all their tunnelling activities.​
Butterworth in a role:​
At Stalag Luft 3, Butterworth became good friends with RAF pilot, Anthony ffrench-​
Mullen, affectionately called "Effie," for the double FS in his name. "Effie" became a priest after​
the war. But in camp he brewed a hooch so powerful that several prisoners were found face​
down on the snow after just a couple of glasses. Butterworth also teamed up with RAF pilot,​
Talbot "Tolly" Rothwell, and together they produced and wrote many plays in a theater that​
they helped build in North Compound, "Tolly" tapping out material on a borrowed German​
typewriter. Music for the plays was written and produced by hugely-talented F/Lt Wylton Todd.​
Also within the same camp, working with Butterworth and Rothwell, were the future actors​
Rupert Davies, Stratford Johns, and John Casson, who was the son of actor Lewis Casson and​
actress Sybil Thorndyke, and who, post-war, played the part of a Salvation Army preacher in the​
movie, On the Beach. All five former POWs remained very close friends after the war ended, and​
they all appeared on This Is Your Life when Butterworth was featured in 1975.​
Tolly Rothwell.​
Having never performed in public before, Butterworth sang a duet with Rothwell called,​
The Letter Edged in Black, in the camp theatre. Some comic repartee followed, which provoked​
enough boos and hisses to have the desired effect of drowning out the noise of an escape party​
working in a tunnel. As productions got underway, the fourth escape tunnel, "George," an​
emergency tunnel, was started under seat #13 which made from Red Cross boxes in the​
auditorium of the theatre and served as its entrance.​
The plays and theatrical productions proved extremely popular and were always a "sell out."​
The productions were yet one more tool for Roger Bushell as noise Of rehearsals served well​
as a backdrop to cover the sound of tunneling. Plotting his own exit, Bushell had deliberately​
involved himself in a production of Pygmalion, playing the part of Henry Higgins, which gave​
him high visibility in the eyes Of the German guards, who watched his dedicated participation in​
camp activities, seemingly precluding his involvement in any nefarious activity in the evenings.​
Bushell in one of the productions:​
On the night of the "Great Escape," Bushell was subtly replaced by his understudy, which​
enabled the determined escaper to slip away through Tunnel Harry. When Bushell and forty-​
nine others were murdered by the Gestapo, Butterworth grieved for them all, including his​
former escape partner at Dulag Luft, Mike Casey.​
Butterworth proved to be a crucial element in facilitating any number Of escapes from the​
Camp. During the infamous "Wooden Horse" escape, he was one Of the vaulters, who endlessly​
jumped over a vaulting horse in East Compound while the tunnelers toiled away beneath the​
box before successfully getting away.​
Years inside the wire nurtured Butterworth's creativity necessitated by the long periods of​
boredom. When all else failed, he and his friends conducted spirited bedbug races after gathering​
up the bugs they found in their mattresses. They lined the furtive insects up and gave them​
a liberal sprinkling Of the German bug powder provided to exterminate the biting beasts.​
Carefully analyzing the behavior of the bugs, Butterworth concluded that the bugs that ate the​
most powder formulated to kill them seemed faster and stronger than those that didn't eat it, an​
astounding finding for those who were continually riddled by the biting vermin.​
plays and productions so much enjoyed in the camp came to a halt when Butterworth,​
Rothwell, and the others were force marched out of camp on the road to Spremberg. A young​
boy there decades later recalled watching the RAF prisoners arrive on the train platform and​
remembered them blowing on their often red bare hands to warm them. Loaded onto​
boxcars, they took the northern route, while the Americans took the southern. The men Of​
North Compound were sent to Marlag Milag Nord, a previously closed and condemned prison​
camp, where they prepared to stay in primitive conditions until the end of the war. To help pass​
the time in those last days, and to raise spirits, Butterworth started giving drawing classes to his​
fellow prisoners.​
Random pictures of Butterworth as a POW:​
The prisoners from North would move yet one more time before they were liberated in May​
1945. They were marched to Lubeck, Germany, and along the way they were strafed by RAF​
planes that mistook them for retreating German soldiers, killing several prisoners during the​
attack. Emotional scars from that attack remained with Butterworth for the rest of his life. From his son Tyler Butterworth:​
"After the war in the 1960s, when I was just a small boy, I was walking with my father along​
a canal path when I saw a Spitfire in the sky nearby. Excitedly, I waved at it and to my total​
surprise and delight it wheeled round and came belting along the canal, very low right towards​
me before pulling up and away into the sky. I turned to share this with my father, but he'd gone!​
He came out of the bushes a little later saying he'd needed to relieve himself, but in fact, he'd​
been crouched under a bush hiding from the plane."​
After the war, Butterworth found fame as an actor and had a greatly successful career starring​
in countless television programs and movies. He pioneered children's television for the BBC in​
the 1950s, and during his career worked with many great actors, including Sean Connery, David​
Niven, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Zero Mostel, Phil Silvers, Buster Keaton, and many others.​
Post-war, many prisoners, who had been involved in the camp theater productions,​
continued their theatrical pursuits in civilian life. "Tolly" Rothwell would go on to have​
tremendous success as a television and film writer, and Butterworth sometimes performed in the​
films that Rothwell wrote.​
He starred in sixteen episodes Of​
the popular "Carry On" series, playing a different character in​
each episode, all written by his dear friend, "Tolly." He was a​
particular favorite in one of the episodes, "Don't Lose Your​
Head," a parody of the French Revolution, when he played a​
character named, "Citizen Bidet." In general, Butterworth's​
persona was one of an eccentric, bumbling, slightly diffident,​
well-intentioned, chap who usually got things wrong. It was​
such a wonderful contrast to the code writing, tunneling POW​
who endured nearly five years behind the wire.​
In the 1960s, the talented actor also appeared in the "Dr.​
Who" series, produced by the BBC. Administrator for the​
film production there was Ayton Richardson Whitaker, also a​
former POW at Stalag Luft 3. Butterworth once auditioned​
for a British-produced movie, " The Wooden Horse," the story of the unusual escape out of Stalag​
Luft 3 he had assisted with, but he told he didn't look enough like a prisoner of war to get​
the part. To compensate for the rejection, the director, Jack Lee, named the character played by​
British actor, Leo Genn, "Peter," after Butterworth.​
One scene from a later production he was in involved the placement Of three actors down​
in a ten-foot-deep vertical shaft the film crew had dug. The actors climbed down from a ladder​
placed there, and on cue, the men, including Butterworth, cast as escapers, were to emerge. The​
crew filmed at night, and authentic searchlights swept the black sky, guard dogs barked, and​
actors dressed as goons stood about. The director shouted, "Action!" and the actors emerged​
one-​
by-one. It went well, and he shouted, "Cut!" But Butterworth had kept running and disappeared​
into the nearby woods. Elhey had to stop filming and go find him. All his old instincts kicked in,​
and suddenly, in his mind, he was making a real run for it, no doubt resulting from what years​
behind wire does to a former prisoner.​
Always waiting in the wings for Butterworth his wife, British actress, Janet Brown who​
became famous for her impersonation of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s and​
90s. The Butterworths had two children.​
Peter Butterworth's role, coding letters for M19 during his years of confinement, was​
recognized by the British government after the war commending him for his secret and​
remarkable contribution to the war effort. Years of sending home the coded letters provided​
intelligence that helped direct the war. Promoted to L/Cdr after the war, he was afforded the​
honor of having his name listed in Mentioned in Dispatches (MID), since he was recognized in​
an official report written by a superior officer which was then sent to the high command due to​
Butterworth's gallant and meritorious action in the face of the enemy. The accolade appeared in​
the London Gazette as well as a public acknowledgement of the citation.​
So, I hope you find it as interesting as I do!​
 
Last edited:
Pic1 is a still from the famous Geoffrey Malins film. It is definitely staged. Don’t draw any conclusions from it.
This is from the same film, but is definitely not staged:
default.jpg


I can't help myself - I see the look on the face of the bloke carrying the wounded (dying, so we are told) soldier, and imagine him cursing inwardly,and very angrily, at the bloke behind the camera.
 
This is from the same film, but is definitely not staged:
default.jpg


I can't help myself - I see the look on the face of the bloke carrying the wounded (dying, so we are told) soldier, and imagine him cursing inwardly,and very angrily, at the bloke behind the camera.

It's a haunting picture in many ways.

We will probably never know the true identity of the man, but he may be a Dubliner who's brothers joined the IRA in 1920 and who was court matialed on charges of being absent without leave and “violence to superiors"!


War throws up some strange heroes and even stranger tales.
 
Pic1 is a still from the famous Geoffrey Malins film. It is definitely staged. Don’t draw any conclusions from it.
This one is not from the Malins film, nor is it thought to be staged: rather it shows Witshire Regiment soldiers attacking at Thiepval on 7 August 1916. To my eye, they look like they're wearing the 1916 equivalent of CEFO (weapons, web equipment, small packs - and, even then, there's a couple of blokes without packs)

default.jpg


Source: Britain's Memory of the Battle of the Somme
 

Bordon/hants

War Hero
It's often described as very peaceful.
Like bleeding out, I had a ruptured liver and spleen years ago in an RTA (Yank knocked me off my motorbike as he was on the wrong side of the road, so nowt new).

Anyway, after they eventually realised I was not doing well at the local hospital, (I had a couple of bad obvious fractures / bleeing injuries they were concentrating on despite me telling them I had the most pain in my abdomen, I was concious the whole time)

I had a blue light run for 16 miles to PMH Swindon, with the ambulance crew keeping me awake and even grabbing my face all the way and shouting to keep with them.

I just wanted to sleep and was not fussed.

Have a hazy recall of a corridoor, worried faces looking down and lights whizzing by on the ceiling , then woke up in a room full of bleeping lights the next day.
 
A mate of mine was helping an owner take a boat to Spain doing watch and watch about across the Bay of Biscay. It was a flat calm moon-lit night and they'd just handed over the watch when my mate heard his name shouted from a distance. He rushed into the cockpit and saw the owner well astern. So he turned around and picked him up. The bloke had been having a pee at the backstay and lost his balance - he laughed it off and took the micky out of my mate for taking it so seriously.
The next night and in almost identical weather and light conditions my mate heard his name shouted and rushed on deck, nearly having a heart attack, but the owner was in the cockpit and told him that he was turning around because they had just gone close past a big empty RIB and he was going to grab it. They looked for an hour and couldn't find it. Stay on the boat.
During the 2002 Clipper race a crew member went overboard (held on to a spinnaker sheet during a kite peel, not clipped on), through a fantastic piece of seamanship by the skipper they were picked up after half an hour or so. The person in question later said that they were in two minds as to whether to inflate their life jacket and delay the inevitable, or get on with drowning ASAP.
 
Guy 2nd right over the bags, he's got something strapped to his helmet. Any ideas?
I first thought it was a fur Mohican (not so silly if you think he could be a Canadian soldier).
The only thing I can find online is this forum:


post-13708-0-22346100-1575914738a.jpg


It is very unusual and I have never seen anything like it in other photos.
This is a well documented photo from a series of photos taken at the time and they are British soldiers.
I'm going with, he is a Canadian on attachment with Mohawk ancestry!?
 

4(T)

LE
I first thought it was a fur Mohican (not so silly if you think he could be a Canadian soldier).
The only thing I can find online is this forum:


View attachment 631550

It is very unusual and I have never seen anything like it in other photos.
This is a well documented photo from a series of photos taken at the time and they are British soldiers.
I'm going with, he is a Canadian on attachment with Mohawk ancestry!?




Probably just one of many experiments in identifying Officers, NCOs, specialists or units for coordination purposes Some units had metal tags or tape on their backs, or painted symbols on helmets.

Alternatively, perhaps its just this individual's "lucky hat" or a running joke in his section.
 
In keeping with the title of the thread, this photo has got me thinking.

Picture the scene.
Dawn on the Somme. The 3rd Battalion the Light Loamshires stand to.
The unmistakable voice of the RSM booms out over the still air, comming from the direction of C company (home of the Canadian attachment).
" LANCE CORPORAL RUNNING BEAR......WHAT THE **** HAVE YOU GOT ON YOUR HELMET!?"
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
Like bleeding out, I had a ruptured liver and spleen years ago in an RTA (Yank knocked me off my motorbike as he was on the wrong side of the road, so nowt new).

Anyway, after they eventually realised I was not doing well at the local hospital, (I had a couple of bad obvious fractures / bleeing injuries they were concentrating on despite me telling them I had the most pain in my abdomen, I was concious the whole time)

I had a blue light run for 16 miles to PMH Swindon, with the ambulance crew keeping me awake and even grabbing my face all the way and shouting to keep with them.

I just wanted to sleep and was not fussed.

Have a hazy recall of a corridoor, worried faces looking down and lights whizzing by on the ceiling , then woke up in a room full of bleeping lights the next day.
Mate, that's alien abduction.

Do you find you have problems with the scanners in supermarkets?
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
Posted (on this thread) 23 Dec 2018 by @Sir Arthur #4,299. The attachments are worth a look :

I listen to a lot of podcasts and one of them is from the National Archives. They were talking about "The Great Escape" and of course not the Hollywood version, but what really happened and a lot of interesting stuff about it. So I thought I would have a poke around on the NA website and see what they had.​
What I found really surprised me, and I will never be able to see a Carry On film again without thinking of this!​
So, here goes with a bit of a story.​
Peter Butterworth, of Carry On fame, was not only involved in the "Great Escape" but also the Wooden Horse and there are some amazing, and sad, back stories to all of this.​
Peter Butterworth in uniform:​
Here is the Prisoner of War card for Peter Butterworth at Stalag Luft 3 (another point is that it was always "3" and not "III" but it got hijacked along the way it seems):​
I'll try and shorten it as much as possible (which is why it becomes a bit disjointed) but Butterworth was a pilot in the Fleet Air Arm and flew the antiquated Fairey Albacore and was sent to torpedo bomb a German convoy near the Dutch island of Texel. Jumped by ME109s he crash landed and was picked up soon afterwards and sent for interrogations at Dulag Luft. This was where it started to get more interesting. At Dulag Luft he met up with Roger Bushell and it was here that Butterworth was recruited into MI9 (established to aid and oversee POW escapes throughout Europe). Bushell taught him code writing which was the use of secret codes included in innocuous wording of letters home, that were decoded after a brief stop at MI9.​
These are Roger Bushell's POW cards:​
POW card with black cross to signify dead after being murdered for his part in the Great Escape​
However, code writing was not the only thing on their mind. A tunnel was started in July 1940, finished in May 1941, and Bushell, Butterworth and 16 others escaped from the interrogation centre in what was the first mass POW breakout of WW2. Bushell himself had elected to go out earlier that day and was hiding in a shed with a goat or ram. When "Wings" Day was asked to bless this attempt with Bushell hiding in the goat shed, he is supposed to have asked "What about the smell?". "The goat won't mind," replied another POW. Day approved the plan.​
Bushell made it to within yards of the Swiss border but was caught. When the other prisoners left through the tunnel, Butterworth left a cheeky message pinned to his bunk "What better time to explore Germany than in the spring and on foot!". He was paired with Mike Casey and they were on the run for 3 days before being captured by members of the Hitler Youth and were returned to Dalag Luft.​
After the escape, Butterworth was sent to Stalag Luft 1. On the train journey a case of champagne was allegedly sent by the eccentric Kommandant Rumpel who admired their effort and style and attached an anonymous note that said "Well tried, Gentlemen, better luck next time, even if I'm not supposed to say so."​
At Barth Butterworth assisted in the digging of three tunnels, all of which were discovered before completion and he was then sent to Stalag Luft 3 in April 1942. He already had two years "in the bag" and would end up spending three more years as a POW.​
It was there that he would discover his love of pantomine and acting, which was also a useful cover for all their tunnelling activities.​
Butterworth in a role:​
At Stalag Luft 3, Butterworth became good friends with RAF pilot, Anthony ffrench-​
Mullen, affectionately called "Effie," for the double FS in his name. "Effie" became a priest after​
the war. But in camp he brewed a hooch so powerful that several prisoners were found face​
down on the snow after just a couple of glasses. Butterworth also teamed up with RAF pilot,​
Talbot "Tolly" Rothwell, and together they produced and wrote many plays in a theater that​
they helped build in North Compound, "Tolly" tapping out material on a borrowed German​
typewriter. Music for the plays was written and produced by hugely-talented F/Lt Wylton Todd.​
Also within the same camp, working with Butterworth and Rothwell, were the future actors​
Rupert Davies, Stratford Johns, and John Casson, who was the son of actor Lewis Casson and​
actress Sybil Thorndyke, and who, post-war, played the part of a Salvation Army preacher in the​
movie, On the Beach. All five former POWs remained very close friends after the war ended, and​
they all appeared on This Is Your Life when Butterworth was featured in 1975.​
Tolly Rothwell.​
Having never performed in public before, Butterworth sang a duet with Rothwell called,​
The Letter Edged in Black, in the camp theatre. Some comic repartee followed, which provoked​
enough boos and hisses to have the desired effect of drowning out the noise of an escape party​
working in a tunnel. As productions got underway, the fourth escape tunnel, "George," an​
emergency tunnel, was started under seat #13 which made from Red Cross boxes in the​
auditorium of the theatre and served as its entrance.​
The plays and theatrical productions proved extremely popular and were always a "sell out."​
The productions were yet one more tool for Roger Bushell as noise Of rehearsals served well​
as a backdrop to cover the sound of tunneling. Plotting his own exit, Bushell had deliberately​
involved himself in a production of Pygmalion, playing the part of Henry Higgins, which gave​
him high visibility in the eyes Of the German guards, who watched his dedicated participation in​
camp activities, seemingly precluding his involvement in any nefarious activity in the evenings.​
Bushell in one of the productions:​
On the night of the "Great Escape," Bushell was subtly replaced by his understudy, which​
enabled the determined escaper to slip away through Tunnel Harry. When Bushell and forty-​
nine others were murdered by the Gestapo, Butterworth grieved for them all, including his​
former escape partner at Dulag Luft, Mike Casey.​
Butterworth proved to be a crucial element in facilitating any number Of escapes from the​
Camp. During the infamous "Wooden Horse" escape, he was one Of the vaulters, who endlessly​
jumped over a vaulting horse in East Compound while the tunnelers toiled away beneath the​
box before successfully getting away.​
Years inside the wire nurtured Butterworth's creativity necessitated by the long periods of​
boredom. When all else failed, he and his friends conducted spirited bedbug races after gathering​
up the bugs they found in their mattresses. They lined the furtive insects up and gave them​
a liberal sprinkling Of the German bug powder provided to exterminate the biting beasts.​
Carefully analyzing the behavior of the bugs, Butterworth concluded that the bugs that ate the​
most powder formulated to kill them seemed faster and stronger than those that didn't eat it, an​
astounding finding for those who were continually riddled by the biting vermin.​
plays and productions so much enjoyed in the camp came to a halt when Butterworth,​
Rothwell, and the others were force marched out of camp on the road to Spremberg. A young​
boy there decades later recalled watching the RAF prisoners arrive on the train platform and​
remembered them blowing on their often red bare hands to warm them. Loaded onto​
boxcars, they took the northern route, while the Americans took the southern. The men Of​
North Compound were sent to Marlag Milag Nord, a previously closed and condemned prison​
camp, where they prepared to stay in primitive conditions until the end of the war. To help pass​
the time in those last days, and to raise spirits, Butterworth started giving drawing classes to his​
fellow prisoners.​
Random pictures of Butterworth as a POW:​
The prisoners from North would move yet one more time before they were liberated in May​
1945. They were marched to Lubeck, Germany, and along the way they were strafed by RAF​
planes that mistook them for retreating German soldiers, killing several prisoners during the​
attack. Emotional scars from that attack remained with Butterworth for the rest of his life. From his son Tyler Butterworth:​
"After the war in the 1960s, when I was just a small boy, I was walking with my father along​
a canal path when I saw a Spitfire in the sky nearby. Excitedly, I waved at it and to my total​
surprise and delight it wheeled round and came belting along the canal, very low right towards​
me before pulling up and away into the sky. I turned to share this with my father, but he'd gone!​
He came out of the bushes a little later saying he'd needed to relieve himself, but in fact, he'd​
been crouched under a bush hiding from the plane."​
After the war, Butterworth found fame as an actor and had a greatly successful career starring​
in countless television programs and movies. He pioneered children's television for the BBC in​
the 1950s, and during his career worked with many great actors, including Sean Connery, David​
Niven, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., Zero Mostel, Phil Silvers, Buster Keaton, and many others.​
Post-war, many prisoners, who had been involved in the camp theater productions,​
continued their theatrical pursuits in civilian life. "Tolly" Rothwell would go on to have​
tremendous success as a television and film writer, and Butterworth sometimes performed in the​
films that Rothwell wrote.​
He starred in sixteen episodes Of​
the popular "Carry On" series, playing a different character in​
each episode, all written by his dear friend, "Tolly." He was a​
particular favorite in one of the episodes, "Don't Lose Your​
Head," a parody of the French Revolution, when he played a​
character named, "Citizen Bidet." In general, Butterworth's​
persona was one of an eccentric, bumbling, slightly diffident,​
well-intentioned, chap who usually got things wrong. It was​
such a wonderful contrast to the code writing, tunneling POW​
who endured nearly five years behind the wire.​
In the 1960s, the talented actor also appeared in the "Dr.​
Who" series, produced by the BBC. Administrator for the​
film production there was Ayton Richardson Whitaker, also a​
former POW at Stalag Luft 3. Butterworth once auditioned​
for a British-produced movie, " The Wooden Horse," the story of the unusual escape out of Stalag​
Luft 3 he had assisted with, but he told he didn't look enough like a prisoner of war to get​
the part. To compensate for the rejection, the director, Jack Lee, named the character played by​
British actor, Leo Genn, "Peter," after Butterworth.​
One scene from a later production he was in involved the placement Of three actors down​
in a ten-foot-deep vertical shaft the film crew had dug. The actors climbed down from a ladder​
placed there, and on cue, the men, including Butterworth, cast as escapers, were to emerge. The​
crew filmed at night, and authentic searchlights swept the black sky, guard dogs barked, and​
actors dressed as goons stood about. The director shouted, "Action!" and the actors emerged​
one-​
by-one. It went well, and he shouted, "Cut!" But Butterworth had kept running and disappeared​
into the nearby woods. Elhey had to stop filming and go find him. All his old instincts kicked in,​
and suddenly, in his mind, he was making a real run for it, no doubt resulting from what years​
behind wire does to a former prisoner.​
Always waiting in the wings for Butterworth his wife, British actress, Janet Brown who​
became famous for her impersonation of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the 1980s and​
90s. The Butterworths had two children.​
Peter Butterworth's role, coding letters for M19 during his years of confinement, was​
recognized by the British government after the war commending him for his secret and​
remarkable contribution to the war effort. Years of sending home the coded letters provided​
intelligence that helped direct the war. Promoted to L/Cdr after the war, he was afforded the​
honor of having his name listed in Mentioned in Dispatches (MID), since he was recognized in​
an official report written by a superior officer which was then sent to the high command due to​
Butterworth's gallant and meritorious action in the face of the enemy. The accolade appeared in​
the London Gazette as well as a public acknowledgement of the citation.​
So, I hope you find it as interesting as I do!​
I only read this morning that he was married to Janet Brown, the impressionist. He pre-deceased her by over three decades and she never married again. She was eventually buried beside him.

A picture, in the spirit of the thread:

Screenshot 2022-01-15 at 12.59.36.png
 

ancienturion

LE
Book Reviewer
And the Staff officers were right behind them.

About 35 miles behind.

A common view of the relationship between senior officers and their men in the Great War is summed up by the phrase: 'lions led by donkeys'. In this view, the senior officers are assumed to be from privileged backgrounds. They were incompetent and unimaginative. They sent men out to be killed while they stayed back in the safety of comfortable dugouts or lived in luxury miles behind the lines. When shellshocked soldiers went missing or failed to advance against fierce defences, they were court-martialled and shot by firing squad.


This view is neither completely fair nor completely accurate. It developed during the late 1920s and early 1930s. Some very influential people began to publish novels and poems that criticised the war. Good examples are books by the British writer, Robert Graves ('Goodbye to All That'), and the German, Erich Remarque ('All Quiet on the Western Front'). These books described the horrors of the war very accurately. The horrors were their focus and they were not intended as history books. Yet this version of the Great War became the accepted one. This was reinforced by films, plays such as 'Oh What A Lovely War!' and the TV series 'Blackadder Goes Forth'. The war was seen as pointless and the generals as useless.
 

Cold_Collation

LE
Book Reviewer
A common view of the relationship between senior officers and their men in the Great War is summed up by the phrase: 'lions led by donkeys'. In this view, the senior officers are assumed to be from privileged backgrounds. They were incompetent and unimaginative. They sent men out to be killed while they stayed back in the safety of comfortable dugouts or lived in luxury miles behind the lines. When shellshocked soldiers went missing or failed to advance against fierce defences, they were court-martialled and shot by firing squad.


This view is neither completely fair nor completely accurate. It developed during the late 1920s and early 1930s. Some very influential people began to publish novels and poems that criticised the war. Good examples are books by the British writer, Robert Graves ('Goodbye to All That'), and the German, Erich Remarque ('All Quiet on the Western Front'). These books described the horrors of the war very accurately. The horrors were their focus and they were not intended as history books. Yet this version of the Great War became the accepted one. This was reinforced by films, plays such as 'Oh What A Lovely War!' and the TV series 'Blackadder Goes Forth'. The war was seen as pointless and the generals as useless.
A problem is that Blackadder Goes Forth has been used in history lessons in some schools, thus compounding some of the myths.
 
During the 2002 Clipper race a crew member went overboard (held on to a spinnaker sheet during a kite peel, not clipped on), through a fantastic piece of seamanship by the skipper they were picked up after half an hour or so. The person in question later said that they were in two minds as to whether to inflate their life jacket and delay the inevitable, or get on with drowning ASAP.
Sadly despite all efforts even the most accomplished of sailors don’t make it when falling overboard, Eric Tabarly was lost in the Irish Sea on a crewed passage in his yacht Pen Duick, he was seen going overboard but they were unable to find him and thus he drowned.

Some of his achievement, a number of which were single handed
  • OSTAR (Plymouth-Newport) : 1964 on Pen Duick II and 1976 on Pen Duick VI
  • Morgan Cup : 1967 on Pen Duick III
  • Round Gotland Race : 1967 (on Pen Duick III
  • Channel Race : 1967 on Pen Duick III
  • Fastnet Race : 1967 on Pen Duick III and 1997 on Aquitaine Innovations
  • Plymouth-La Rochelle : 1967 on Pen Duick III
  • Sydney-Hobart : 1967 on Pen Duick III (and second in handicap time)
  • Transpac San Francisco-Tokyo (Transpacific) : 1969 on Pen Duick V (with an 11-day lead over the runner-up)
  • Falmouth-Gibraltar : 1971 on Pen Duick III
  • Los-Angeles-Tahiti : 1972 on Pen Duick III
  • 2nd leg of the Whitbread Round the World Race Volvo Ocean Race Cape Town-Sydney : 1973 on Pen Duick VI
  • Bermuda-England : 1974 on Pen Duick VI
  • Triangle Atlantique : 1975 on Pen Duick VI
  • 2nd of the Transat en double Lorient-Bermuda-Lorient : 1979 (with Marc Pajot) on Paul Ricard
  • Transatlantic sailing record from West to East (New York-Cape Lizard), on the multihull Paul Ricard in 1980 in 10 days 5 hours 14 minutes and 20 seconds (previous record was in 1905 held by Charlie Barr on a 50-crewman schooner)
  • 3rd of the Transat en solitaire : 1984 on Paul Ricard
  • 2nd of the Transat Le Point-Europe 1 Lorient-Saint-Pierre-et-Miquelon-Lorient: 1987 on Côte d'Or
  • Transat en double Le Havre-Carthagène (with Yves Parlier) : 1997 on Aquitaine Innovations

 
[SNIP}This view is neither remotely fair nor remotely accurate.[/SNIP]
A minor amendment - I hope you approve.

On all other counts I agree wholeheartedly with your commentary.

The 'Shot At Dawn' movement have embedded a gross exaggeration in the national understanding of the Great War, and it is treated uncritically as factual, even in the skule syllabus.

It focusses on the total number of death sentences that were handed out (from memory something like 3K) and proceeds on the assumption that every single one was carried out.

The fact is that the 'cruel/ heartless' senior officers who were obliged to review such sentences reduced 9 out of 10 of them to lesser penalties. Actual executions by firing squad numbered around 300.

Given that in the 4¼ years of British involvement in the war, some 3,000,000 5,700,000 were recruited into the British army from within the British Isles, then simple arithmetic leads to the fact that only about 0.01% 0.005% of those who served (that's just 1 soldier in 20,000 10,000) was executed, and the likelihood of others being required to take part in, or spectate at their executions was not very great either.

It also overlooks the fact that the officers and men who did the fighting do not appear to have thought the punishment itself (let alone its frequency) to have been either unjustified or in any way disproportionate.

The rest of the WW1/ Lions & Donkeys myth completely overlooks the enormous changes, the adaptations, innovations and inventions that all ranks were responsible for enacting or employing during its course, as well as the fact that - off all the major combatants engaged throughout the fighting on the Western Front - the British Army was the only one whose morale and discipline never collapsed (as did that of the French after the Chemin Des Dames offensive, and that of the Germans even as they were executing the Kaiserschacht in the Spring of 1918 )

= = = = =
Edited to bring my calculations around death sentences and executions into line with more reliable figures for total numbers of men enlisted into the British Army: see my later post #10,236
 
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