Yes, I know about the movie

But who knows with storytelling, eh?

He had four sons, three of whom served in the Second World War.

Philip Curtis, who also served in the King’s Royal Rifle Corps (now the Green Jackets) was killed by a land mine in Italy in 1943.

Richard Curtis was an RAF fighter pilot who was shot down and killed over France in 1944.

To his anger, Brig Peter Curtis was posted to Scotland at the time of D-Day, so not to risk a third son from the same family being killed, though he later went on to serve in Africa.

There is also that story of the woman with x number of sons who wrote to the War Office – “You’ve had six of mine serving, you’re not getting the seventh” to get the reply “We quite agree with you Madam”.

An interesting question being, well, how much effort was made to ensure that entire families weren’t wiped out. Was this, for example, something more common in the officer class?

Yes, I know the movie’s about a Private but……

This is rather fun

The Army could phase out petrol and diesel vehicles in a bid to attract ecofriendly recruits, the Chief of the General Staff has said.

Gen Sir Mark Carleton-Smith said today’s military equipment would probably be the last to be “dependent on fossil fuel engines”, and that a move toward clean energy would be beneficial logistically and put the military “on the right side of the environmental argument”.

Fun in an appalling manner, of course.

We can all see the logistical benefits of not having to have tankers of derv or LPG following the tanks around. But there might be that slight worry that trucks of batteries aren’t going to be much better. And fill up times, well, there’s a problem.

But that an actual General is talking about the environmental argument, when did that happen?


Brazilian warplanes dump water on Amazon fires as outcry mounts

Warplanes? F 15s aren’t going to carry much water you know.

Brazilian warplanes have begun dumping water on burning forest in the Amazon state of Rondonia, responding to an outcry over the destruction of the world’s largest tropical rain forest.


A Hercules C-130 plane dropping water to fight fires in the state of Rondonia, Brazil. Photograph: Brazil Air Force/HANDOUT/EPA

Oh, you mean the military fly the standard firefighting planes then?


The Armed Forces has unacceptable levels of sexism, racism and bullying because it is led by a “pack of white middle-aged men”, a major new report has said.

The Armed Forces are one of the few places where you only get to be a manager by having done the job for a couple of decades.

Your promotion into line management being based upon close examination of you over those years by all around you. Those who fail the test – there are any number of Majors and Commanders off running support lines and the like, knowing and known to be never to get any further – stop being line managers quite early on in a potential career.

Can’t have that, obviously, management by competence just won’t do in the modern world.

Quite right too

HMS Queen Elizabeth returns to port after leak on board

Sailors should go over the side. That is what man overboard means, isn’t it?

The real point of this story being:

The UK’s most powerful warship, which cost £3.1bn, has been forced to cut its latest trials short.

Yes, that’s why they’re called trials. Big complicated things, ships. Almost all built to order, each different from the last. Therefore you try them out and fix the problems as they become visible.

In fact, you collect an experienced and special crew to do this.

An odd thing to think of but….

After childhood rheumatic fever spared him from a wartime call-up

The physically not too good don’t get conscripted. Yet – in certain wars at least – being conscripted is to have a very high chance of being killed. Wouldn’t it be better to conscript the less than physically good?

Yes, I do know that’s not how it works and also understand why. It’s just a thought.

Yes of course you know best a century later

British army officers wrongly believed alcohol made WW1 troops better fighters, claims addiction specialist


British army officers wrongly believed WW1 troops fought better if they were drunk in battle, an addiction specialist has claimed.

Senior commanders encouraged drinking among soldiers as they were following medical advice that claimed alcohol made them more effective fighters.

Go live in a trench, under battle conditions, then say booze isn’t a good idea.

Many colonels agreed that the recommended level was too low and would give nervous fighters extra helpings to improve their confidence before infiltrating enemy lines.

Lt Colonel J.S.Y. Rogers, a medical officer to the 4th Black Watch, said in the Report of Enquiry into Shell Shock in 1922: “Had it not been for the rum ration I do not think we should have won the war. Before the men went over the top they had a good meal and a double ration of rum and coffee.”

Quite so. Our modern man:

Speaking at the Chalke Valley History Festival near Salisbury, he said: “There are a lot of myths around. If you want people to charge into the enemy machine guns and you give them a bit of alcohol, it probably makes them a little more likely to do that but on the whole most of the research I have seen shows there is no real evidence that this really helped.

“It was the opinion of the Black watch medical officer that WW1 would not have been won if people had not been drinking. I think that on the whole the effect of these drugs on military effectiveness was negative.”

Dr Leighton added: “It is probable that it made them braver and more willing to take risks. Whether this always made for more effective operations is open to doubt.”

Which is to be an idiot. Well up into 1917, even into early ’18, the problem with the British Army was that it couldn’t conduct complex operations. The well trained Expeditionary Force was mostly gone and had been far too small for this sort of war anyway. The Pals Battalions Followed, then the conscription army from 1916 onwards. That last really only becoming capable of anything more than a “walk that way men!” after that year and a bit of both training and then experience of the real thing. This all being not so much about the private solder, that’s only a part of it, it’s about having the NCOs with experience.

The booze got them to move forward. The tactic required was to get them to move forward.

Well, Y’know?

Treating our brave soldiers the same as evil murderers turns my stomach

The problem is that brave soldiers and evil murderers are not mutually incompatible groups. If the allegation is that some are both then, well, we’d better try to find out, eh?

Dunno really

Rocket suits could be worn by Royal Navy sailors to ambush rival ships, the Defence Secretary has suggested.

Gavin Williamson enthused about the potential of jetpack-propelled marine units after seeing a flying demonstration at a base in Portsmouth, where he unveiled a £75 million fund for new technology.

Ship to ship encounters tend to take place over the horizon from each other what with missiles etc. Be a heck of a jet pack which manages that.

This isn’t new

Army rejects applicants with acne

My brother tried to join up for years. Continually rejected for acne. Did TA and all that, still couldn’t get into the regulars. Think he was a non com in the TA or reserves or some level of it all. As a qualified chef and doing the catering stuff that’s what they do I think – like Doctors always starting out as Captains.

Not acne as in the odd pimple, acne as in back stuff meaning that pack carrying was going to be difficult. Seems a decent enough reason to be turned down on medical grounds to be honest.

Squaddies are squaddies

Further east than grandpa got”

I’m told this is a real thing.

Could be wrong, but I was under the impression that the Hun (eventually) put a medical unit into Afghanistan, with a protection/security unit attached. Which caused enough internal political grief, what with the post-war constitution and all.

Which the Kraut squaddies promptly added to, getting photographed wearing t-shirts proudly emblazoned with the slogan “further east than grandpa got”.

But in German, obv.

I’m also told that this might be true:

Pcar – so you’re saying that the Battle of Britain Memorial flight has more functioning warplanes than the Luftwaffe!


Both delight for different reasons.

Wondrous logic isn’t it?

Drones caused havoc at Gatwick, so why are governments still spending billions on tanks and aircraft carriers?

Dunno really, perhaps the ability to deliver tonnes of ordinance is still valuable? Or that 100 tonnes of tank does more to take ground than 2 kg of drone?

The disruption caused by reports of drones flying over Gatwick airport in December 2018 was a magnificent illustration of the uselessness of the UK’s big-ticket defence spending.


What a change this is

The Army and Capita have introduced some “significant changes” in the last year, but none have resulted in enough soldiers being recruited, according to the NAO.

The report found that it took up to 321 days for new recruits to go from starting an application to beginning basic training, and that many drop out of the process while waiting

Used to be you drank the free beer, signed up and were marched away with the hangover. Grab ’em as soon as they say yes that is.

OK, we might want a bit more of a consistent desire rather than a transient one these days. But still, nearly a year?

Others around here know much more about this than I. So, what’s the basic problem here? Is it Crapita? Or is something deeper wrong?

Am I being fair here?

A “generation of innovators” has been appointed to run the military in a shake-up of the top ranks of the Army, Navy and RAF.

The Ministry of Defence has announced new heads for the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force and two major promotions in key roles across the Armed Forces.

Senior military sources said the incoming defence chiefs were “innovators” who could ensure Britain’s armed forces would be fit to embrace new technology and a “reformist agenda”.

Innovator” here meaning woke and into the SJW mindset?

Right on Manny

President Emmanuel Macron of France has called for a “real European army” to defend the continent against Russia, China, and even America.

Mr Macron, who has pushed for a joint EU military force since his election last year, issued the call while on a tour of northern France in the run-up to the centenary of the end of the First World War.

“We will not protect the Europeans unless we decide to have a true European army,” Mr Macron said in the interview at Verdun, the scene of France’s most bloody battle.

Dunno really, Nato did pretty well for decades…..