Who was the real McAuslan?

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by joey_deacons_lad, Jan 15, 2010.

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  1. Being a big fan of the McAuslan series i got to thinking as these novels were only semi-autobiographical then the real people obviously existed and i was wondering weather the might of ARRSE could dig up any more information on the likes of Wee Wullie and the great man McAuslan himself. Im willing to bet that someone on here knows someone who served around then and may have heard some lamp swinging possibly false stories to share.
  2. I'm McAuslan!
  3. In one of the McAuslan books, GMF goes on to write that he bumped into his old CO from his time in the Battalion. Over a drink, said CO (sorry, forgotten name) identifies McAuslan as being aspects of two of three different jocks. Not got my brain fully working but other characters are, I think, based on old colleagues; the two I remember being the Provost Sgt (McGarry) and the huge Jock who carried an Afrika Korps soldier out the desert but never promoted due to his propensity for drunken violence.

    Brilliant books. As is "Quarted safe out here".

    Edited - read the OP, you tool! Sorry, huge Jock is "Wee Wullie".
  4. Hah! Just what I needed - a good excuse to go and dig out the set for another read.

    I seem to recall that GMF always maintained that McAuslan was based on several characters: and Fraser revisited the character some years later when the scruffiest soldier in the British Army was then the scruffiest civilian in the British Isles?? I think he did that piece for a newspaper article.
  5. The Light's on at Signpost

    GMF clears the whole WEE WULLIE character up in this rather good book.

    Mind it was written in 2002, have a think of his observations on Afghanistan and Mr A Blair.

    Now GMF experience of the Gordons was different from James Kennaway.
  6. Just dug out my copy the CO was Lt-Col R.G (Reggie) Lees and with the officer known as Errol i looked for former Gordons officers who fought in the Congo but nothing so far
  7. Leafing through "The Sheikh and the Dustbin", Fraser describes Errol thus: "He was a Highlander, but his red tartan and white cockade were not of our regiment"..... Now for the white cockade, I thought that Errol could have been a Royal Scots Fusilier, but the RSF wore Mackenzie tartan, and that certainly isn't red.

    One thing that I wonder is whether there was in fact a photo taken of the Gordon's football team on its grand tour of Malta that Fraser mentioned in "The General Danced at Dawn"?
  8. GMF frequently describes the Camerons tartan as being red, especially in Flashman and the Mountain of Light, but they wore a blue hackle I think.

    Maybe he's another amalgam of various characters?
  9. Auld-Yin

    Auld-Yin LE Reviewer Book Reviewer Reviews Editor

    Although virtually everyone who has served knows of a 'McAuslan' I think that GMF took great care to disguise the characters in his books as, while the books are hilarious, he would not want to hurt any of the people he served with.

    Unlike many Arrsers!
    • Like Like x 2
  10. I believe Errol's regiment, as alluded to by GMF, was the Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders (79th) who wore the Cameron of Erracht tartan - referred to by other Scottish regiments - as the 'corned beef' tartan.
  11. Do remember the 2 HLI Battalions wore hackels not sure which way round but they were Red and White, McAuslan also I think came from Maryhill which was the home of the HLI depot until the amalgamation in 1959.
  12. Andy_S

    Andy_S LE Book Reviewer

    RE: The above:
    Indeed, MacD-F IDed the regt and the CO in the last book of the series and the omnibus edition. Would be very interested to read it if anyone manages to track down the civilian MacAuslan.

    Captain Errol is an interesting case study. MacD-F might have purposely mis-described the tartan and/or other details in order to throw readers of his trail. For eg, I have recently been made aware that one of those named in in my book - whose demise I lifted from a privately-published first hand account (fully cited and footnoted, naturally) - was not on the battalion roll. Clearly, his name was changed by the original writer to avoid upsetting his family/rels.
  13. AlienFTM

    AlienFTM LE Book Reviewer

    IIRC, according to the omnibus, the CO asked GMF about MacAuslan because he had identified MacAuslan as one of two soldiers. GMF admitted that MacAuslan was a composite of AT LEAST two soldiers
  14. Andy_S

    Andy_S LE Book Reviewer

    MacDonald-Fraser was a tremendous loss: He was a first-rate (and under-appreciated) scribbler.

    McAuslan was fine fun and shows just how good MacD-F was as a yarn spinner, but I would suggest that his greater achievement was to got a whole new, post-colonial generation of historians interested in the British Empire.

    Some maintain, of course, that General Flashman, VC, was a fictional invention, but such naysayers are speaking utter balderdash. Bloody world's full of dashed fools. Why, there are even those who deny the existence of Sherlock Holmes! Scoundrels, the lot of 'em.
    • Like Like x 3
  15. Does the book that describes Capt Errol as holding a MC and MM along with a story about him being busted to private, during which time he won the MM? Could this be a clue, are there that many MC and MM holders?