Fun question

makes me wonder about his pension. He was an Admiral, Field Marshal and Air Marshal. Did he earn three salaries and hence three pensions ?

Anne’s bloke, Timothy whatever, he made Vice Admiral as an actual job. Sure, pushed more than a bit but still. So, full pay and pension.

Philip definitely did enough years active service to get some pension, possibly a gratuity back then, possibly an actual pension.

But those Royal ranks, hmm, well?

Not sure:

The Duke of York has asked to defer an honorary Navy promotion he was due to receive when he turned 60, Buckingham Palace has said.

Prince Andrew was set to be promoted to Admiral on 19 February, in line with a policy that sees senior royals treated as serving military members.

But the palace said he had asked the Ministry of Defence to defer it until a time when he returns to public duty.

Does he get paid/pensioned as an Admiral? Or only the rank he achieved properly? Umm, Lt. Commander wasn’t he?

Re pensions Philip is probably easier as Admiral of the Fleet, not mere Admiral – alongside Field Marshal. And there are no pensions there, it’s half pay for life. I think.

I would venture a very assured guess that it won’t be three of those half pays.

But do the Royal ranks come with pay or not? Dunno – Jason Lynch might tho’……

We rather knew this, didn’t we?

“It is necessary to deprive the German command of all initiative, forestall the adversary, and to attack the German army when it is still in the deployment stage and has no time to organise the distribution of forces at the front,” wrote the Soviet commanders to Joseph Stalin. The day on which they did so is by far the most surprising part of the document: 15 May 1941, one month and one week before Hitler attacked the USSR. In the spring of 1941, the Soviets considered attacking the Germans first, writes Sean McMeekin in his latest book, Stalin’s War.

The grand mistake? The only useful way of defending against an armoured invasion being defence in depth? The one thing Stalin absolutely forbade?

Sunk costs are sunk costs

Making peace with the Taliban would be to sacrifice 20 years of blood and treasure
Biden’s peace deal represents a betrayal of Afghanistan, and of the hundreds of British soldiers killed there

“So, what do we do now?” is the only interesting question…..

Wikipedia being helpful

Saw the word “arras” being used and didn’t quite know what it meant. Bit of a castle fortification or something? Turns out it’s a big tapestry hung on a wall. OK. But in looking it up get told this by Wikipedia:

Arras-class aviso, a class of thirty French avisos

Umm, yes, and no doubt when “aviso” is looked up it is defined as one of the 30 that make up the French arras class?

Squaddies are not, in fact, all that bright

A soldier has admitted fraud after taking his older brother’s DNA paternity test so that he could avoid paying child maintenance, Leicester Crown Court hears.

Army private Samuel Robinson, and his elder brother, Christian Robinson, admitted jointly committing fraud by false representation at court earlier this week.

Christian Robinson, 26, had persuaded his younger brother, now 20, to take his DNA paternity test for him so that he could avoid paying his child maintenance fees after the child’s mother made an application naming him as the father.

The ruse backfired when the DNA results came back to show that the man who took the test was not the father but was closely related to the baby.

Isn’t this a fun complaint?

The MoD is facing an exodus of military medics over gender attitudes “30-40 years behind”, a leaked official review has found.

Citing “traditional and hierarchical” behaviours, the Defence Medical Services (DMS) leadership was told more work was required “to understand how to actively engage” with the organisation’s diversity and inclusion agenda.

The review of the DMS, the overarching health and medical body for the MoD, states: “During our discussions, we noted concerning feedback from one area where we were informed that several staff were actively looking for alternative roles due to gender biased behaviour towards them.

“Some interviewees described behaviours in these areas as ‘traditional and hierarchical’ with a perception that these were ‘30-40 years behind what is currently viewed as being accepted behaviour’”.

They’re complaining about hierarchy in the military.

It’s possible, just, that they’re in the wrong career if that’s a problem.

How wonderful

Two other attempts to escape were made during his time there but he never got beyond the camp grounds. He was subsequently sent to Stalag Luft III, near Sagan, the scene of The Great Escape.

Whilst at Stalag Luft III he met Talbot Rothwell, who later went on to write many of the Carry On films in which Butterworth was to star.


Butterworth was one of the vaulters covering for the escapers during the escape portrayed by the book and film The Wooden Horse. Butterworth later auditioned for the film in 1949 but “didn’t look convincingly heroic or athletic enough” according to the makers of the film.



Camp comedy, in both senses, was peculiarly British in tone but a sense of humour was not unique to British prisoners. The German PoW sent to work in the garden of one Mrs Graham of Boscombe was most helpful in 1945 but in the spring, after he had been repatriated, the crocuses came up in the middle of her lawn and spelt “Heil Hitler”.

Just one of those oddities

Wilfred, a builder whose deafness had spared him the horrors of the Great War

No, don’t worry where that’s from, not relevant to the point.

Why is it that deafness, flat feet, bone spurs, possibly adenoids or whatever, means you’re exempt from being conscripted into dying for your country? A rational societal planner – which is what conscription purports to be, what with reserved occupations and so on – would have the lame and the halt at the front collecting the lead poisoning and the fit and healthy young things back home siring the next generation, no?

He might have made the top

A decorated two-star general has been forced to leave the British Army after being found guilty of lying about his relationship with a female subordinate, The Telegraph has learned.

Major-General Chris Bell, 48,

This might be a little out of date but there comes a point where it’s up or out. Do your 2 or 3 year posting, gain promotion from it or that’s it, pension time. This usually starts at age 55.

But as you can see, there are only a couple of steps left to the top there. And he’s 48. He coulda been a contender.

On the other hand this is part of what the system is at this level. A vicious competition to see who will make it to that top.

No, they missed

The US army has developed a supergun that has fired an artillery shell over a distance of 70km, hitting a target “on the nose”.

Believed to be the longest precision-guided cannon shot in history, it was the equivalent of firing a shell from London to Basingstoke or Luton.

It’s Slough that has to be hit. Come along, any fule kno that.

Umm, well, yes

We all get the point of military of diplomatic peeps getting rent allowances and all that. The career path, the norm in fact, is to be moving every couple of years. Sometimes moving continent – one three year period for Worstall pere saw jobs in London, Wash DC and Naples.

The same system of allowances for those who stay in the same place for 30 years?

Some staff have worked overseas for 30 years and live a lifestyle which meets the income they have been earning for decades. At present a British head gardener working overseas on a salary of £27,000 also receives in the region of €1,900 a month (€22,800 a year) in overseas living allowances covering rent, living costs and payment for being away from family in the UK.

It’s a little more difficult to justify those allowances, really.

Dangerous thing to say these days

The Royal Air Force has admitted for the first time that black applicants are significantly more likely to fail its selection tests than their white counterparts.

Documents seen by The Telegraph reveal that white and Asian applicants to the RAF consistently score up to 36 per cent higher than black candidates on tests of technical skills and spatial awareness.

Defence chiefs have insisted the Airwoman and Airmen’s Selection Tests (ASTs) had been proven not to be biased against any ethnicity, and blamed the disparity on “underlying inequality” in education.

“It is also important to recognise there can actually be true differences between groups,” the RAF added in a statement.

Differences between groups? Anathema!

What would be interesting would be to see the gender differences as well. For we do tend to think that – on average – there are differences there in such things as spatial awareness.

BIS Test of Spatial Aptitude 2015-2020
Ethnicity declared / five-year average score

Any Chinese Background 60.1

Asian Indian 50.1

Black African 40.6

Black Caribbean 44.0

Mixed Black Caribbean And White 51.4

White British 55.4

Other military peeps know more than me

OK, so brave bloke, well done.

An off-duty soldier who tackled a gunman to the ground when he threatened shoppers in Southampton has been awarded a bravery medal.

Good, such things should be recognised.

Now, to try to read between the lines:

The officer in the Royal Logistic Corps, who currently serves as a Quartermaster in 101 Logistic Brigade,

I didn’t know that officers would or could be quartermasters. Sure, the function, but I thought the British army reserved that word for sergeants and WOs. Or maybe nomenclature has changed or summat. But this:

Capt Williams, 42, of Salisbury,

This isn’t a commentary on the bravery nor the individual. Rather, it’s an exercise in deductive reasoning. Or, even, the value of general knowledge.

Williams laddie was once Private Williams. To be a Captain – army style – at 42 is a dreadful record for a commissioned entrant. So dreadful that I’m not sure it is possible. Culling of someone promoted so slowly would already have happened. It’s not possible to join up old enough for that to be part of a normal promotion path either.

However, that looks about right for someone who joined as a squaddie, rose to sergeant, non com, WO etc and then made the leap to commissioned. The age of the Captain makes us think that he’s done the rising through the ranks thing. The very fact that he’s 42 and not a Major is what makes us think so.

I think at least, would argue that even if wrong the preponderance of probabilities would lead us to that conclusion.

No particular point to this other than that it’s fun to see what can be gleaned from odd bits of knowledge about the world out there – promotion prospects in the Army leading us to this conclusion about this medal earner.

This makes great sense

Drones that could be used by the military for suicide missions are being developed with the backing of the Ministry of Defence, the Telegraph can reveal.

The development of “drone swarm” units for UK military service, announced by Gavin Williamson last year before he was sacked as Defence Secretary, could now take to the skies within six months.

The MoD hopes to deploy multiple small Uninhabited Air Vehicles (UAV), better known as drones, to overload enemy air defences, conduct cyber attacks and provide live images to control centres that could be located thousands of miles away.

Some aircraft could even be modified to carry weapons or act as ‘suicide drones’ to loiter over a battlefield and attack targets that break cover.

You could even argue that there should be hundreds and thousands – it’s possible to make cheap enough drones these days after all, £100 for something really simple – that flood an area.

We’re going to get back to that point about the bomber always getting through of course. Even if that’s true, without effective countermeasures, you still needs boots on the ground to actually occupy a place.

But you can imagine how, given current civilian drones, you could stick a few hundred grammes of HE, a few ball bearings, to something really cheap and directable to make any area of ground uninhabitable. A few hundred of those directed from an armchair in Wiltshire could make any area of the Hindu Kush controllable.

Don’t say it’s the full solution – see boots – but it’s certainly doable with current tech.

So damn young

A recent comment here was about how much Guy Gibson had packed in before his death at the age of 26. A more minor example:

Jungius, now a sub-lieutenant, commanded an assault landing craft that in July 1943 took part in the invasion of Sicily, followed in September by landing the first troops on to the European mainland at Messina.

18 when he did that…..

Women in the Navy

Some did say that this was all going to get a bit tangled:

A Royal Navy commander harassed her boss who she insisted was in denial about her sexuality and in love with her, a court martial has heard.

Commander Sally-Anne Bagnall is accused of harassing her boss, Surgeon Captain Elizabeth Crowson, by launching a relentless “romantic pursuit” despite being repeatedly rejected.

An advantage of a resolutely single sex and heterosexual Navy – not that it ever was resolutely hetero in every detail nor even single sex given some of the Georgian stories – was that this situation just never arose. Even in today’s it isn’t supposed to – no bonking up and down the command chain.

But the real O Tempora, O Mores point, the Eheu Fugaces Labuntur Anni thing to mourn, is that anyone who can’t sort out some bint making mooncalf eyes at her shouldn’t be a Captain in the first place. That’s what’s gone wrong.

Interesting complaint

Unknown Warrior likely to be white soldier because of ‘bias’, research suggests
The National Army Museum suggested bias may have influenced the selection of the body whose remains were interred at Westminster Abbey

The British Unknown Soldier might be British.

You don’t say, eh? And that is actually the complaint. All the documents refer to finding a “British” soldier to bury in Westminster Abbey so of course it was racism.