• ARRSE have partnered with Armadillo Merino to bring you an ARRSE exclusive, generous discount offer on their full price range.
    To keep you warm with the best of Merino gear, visit www.armadillomerino.co.uk and use the code: NEWARRSE40 at the checkout to get 40% off!
    This superb deal has been generously offered to us by Armadillo Merino and is valid until midnight on the the 28th of February.

Stiff upper lip or historical BS?

#1
Uxbridge: "By God, sir, I've lost my leg!"
Wellington: "By God, sir, so you have!"

In most historical accounts I've read, I've always been struck by the recorded dialogue that took place in battle conditions, or otherwise situations of extreme peril.

These would seem to indicate that our forefathers were either immune to pain, or so religiously drilled by their English masters that they would always utter a well-structured bon mot when most of us would be writhing in agony on the floor, issuing a string of expletives, or possibly soiling our pants.

So what do you think - are we just a bit more girly these days, or are historical accounts written by bluffers?
 

OldSnowy

LE
Moderator
Book Reviewer
#2
There are many contemporary accounts ofthe Peninsular Wars which include graphic descriptions of Soliders recieveing horrific wounds, mutilations and amputations, without making a noise.

They were harder men: discipline was harder, and people were probably simply more used to pain (and death) than wusses like us.
 
#3
I imagine guys rolling around on the floor screaming in pain and fear swearing their tits off when wounded/dying, was just as common back in the old days but wouldn't have been published due to propaganda and general unacceptability of naughty words until fairly recently. Quotes like Uxbridge's stand out because they are so brilliant or tragically hilarious and so are remembered 200 years later, whereas poor young Private Smith and thousands like him who died begging to be saved or cursing the bastard who shot them are forgotten or have heroic final words created for them to make the families feel better.
 
#4
history is always written by the victors normally long after the event, so the truth is like a good old bar story, or an account by the third person on the balcony, if history was truthful we may have to hang our heads in shame: Discuss.
 
#5
You have to look at the shock factor as well I know its not the same but I fell off a motorbike at 70+ mph for about 10-15 mins after impact I hardly felt any pain in fact the whole side of my body was numb the only pain i had was in my hand untill the ambulance turned up then the pain kicked in would a fast moving canonball have a numbing effect for a time after impact?
 

the_boy_syrup

LE
Book Reviewer
#6
The phrase Bite the bullet came from soldiers biting down on a bulet as their legs etc got sawed off

But we Brits have always been like that

Cock a knees in Laaandan got through the blitz and defeated the Luftwaffe with nothing more than 2 verses of roll out the barrel and a bag of boiled sweets

Times were hard I tells ya
 
#7
I imagine guys rolling around on the floor screaming in pain and fear swearing their tits off when wounded/dying, was just as common back in the old days but wouldn't have been published due to propaganda and general unacceptability of naughty words until fairly recently. Quotes like Uxbridge's stand out because they are so brilliant or tragically hilarious and so are remembered 200 years later, whereas poor young Private Smith and thousands like him who died begging to be saved or cursing the bastard who shot them are forgotten or have heroic final words created for them to make the families feel better.
This. Yes, some of the aristrocrats had refined stiff upper-lip to a fine art but most of the squaddies would have had far more colourful things to say upon catching a cannonball.
 
#10
You can still see the same thing today though.

Farmers and forestry guys are frequently lopping bits off or getting appendages caught in large spiky whirry machines and you read a news report that says something like "After getting his arm ripped clean off Mr Jones found it and walked 5 miles to the hospital with his arm under his other arm"

How they did it I have no idea but it was almost definitely not all propaganda and prudery.
 
#11
Could it have been that the squaddies might have been pissed up and not feel the pain so much? Alcohol used to play a big part in the army?
 
#12
You can still see the same thing today though.

Farmers and forestry guys are frequently lopping bits off or getting appendages caught in large spiky whirry machines and you read a news report that says something like "After getting his arm ripped clean off Mr Jones found it and walked 5 miles to the hospital with his arm under his other arm"

How they did it I have no idea but it was almost definitely not all propaganda and prudery.
Im no quack, but I heard that if your appendage is torn/twisted/pulled off then the tubes stretch and seal more at the ends than if they are cut with a blade.. dont know if thats right ? would like to know maybe a medical man (who would recommend a course of leeches) could comment.
 
#13
Im no quack, but I heard that if your appendage is torn/twisted/pulled off then the tubes stretch and seal more at the ends than if they are cut with a blade.. dont know if thats right ? would like to know maybe a medical man (who would recommend a course of leeches) could comment.
I lost a finger due to crushing and it hardly bled but it hurt like **** due to getting gangreene
 
#18
I have a friend who almost lost a thumb in some machinery at his work, it was stuck in the machine for a minute or 2, and he felt no pain, thought it was just going to be a grazed hand. Upon removal it opened up and pissed out blood, THEN he felt the pain! I think the pressure of the machine on his hand probably had something to do with it, but I butchered (accidentally) a finger of mine with a knife and that didn't hurt until the stitches were put in.
 
#19
Wellington and Uxbridge were in a huff with one another and had been for some years. They had a very cold relationship despite Uxbridge being 2i/c to the Duke. Wellington didn't even fill him in on whatever plan he had at Waterloo beyond 'I'm going to sit on this slope and let the Frogs attack'. This was something to do with Uxbridges relationship with Wellingtons sister (cousin?) who he was seeing after her 1st marriage broke down. Thought to be bad form.
 
#20
Wellington and Uxbridge were in a huff with one another and had been for some years. They had a very cold relationship despite Uxbridge being 2i/c to the Duke. Wellington didn't even fill him in on whatever plan he had at Waterloo beyond 'I'm going to sit on this slope and let the Frogs attack'. This was something to do with Uxbridges relationship with Wellingtons sister (cousin?) who he was seeing after her 1st marriage broke down. Thought to be bad form.
No Uxbridge had run off with Wellingtons Sister in Law
 

Latest Threads