Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Sgt Percie Lambshead MM






A complimentary copy of Bolt Action: Armies of Great Britain arrived this morning. And why, I hear you ask, should you get a complimentary copy?

Well, it goes back to a very agreeable dinner I had with Rick Priestley and John Stallard in Nottingham. We were chatting about WWII and I explained how my father was awarded the MM at Anzio. They asked me to write a short piece for this book, which I duly did. Yo will find it on page 84.

My father's battalion was decimated twice at Anzio. He was in the Cornish Company of the Shropshires because the DCLI, his parent regiment, had been decimated in Tunisia.

It makes one reflect on he courage and duty of my father's generation and all they endured. Could we do that again? Probably, but would we do that again. Now that's a very different proposition. They fought for King and Country. What we would be asked to fight for? Bankers bonuses and the protection of corporate management's offshore tax-free accounts?

As I write this, our loathsome politicians, those not yet in prison, are privatising Search & Rescue. I come from North Cornwall and I have seen the raw courage, skill and duty of the forces helicopter crews who battle out in all weathers to save live.

But in future if you get into trouble you will have to ring the Asian call centre of a foreign company who may get around to doing something about it provided the weather's not too bad and it doesn't affect the bottom line at all. Just have your credit card handy.

I  know, I'm old and cynical but our leaders are responsible for the latter, if not the former.

20 comments:

  1. Very cool! My grandfather was in WW2, he was in the invasion of Normady in the Big Red 1! Took a bullet in the butt digging a fox hole, medic patched him up and they kept fighting. When I was young he told me the horrors of war having to loot bodies on the beach for water, ammo, food, meds, etc...after the war he ended up guarding a great uncle that was in the German Army pending trial for war crimes...

    My brother-in-law's father was in the Gebirgsj├Ąger towards the end, he was little more than a kid, did boot camp, passed and early on got shelled by mortars, split from his company, surrendered to US troops, gave them cigs, chocolate and money to let him go. He stripped his uniform and ran for the border...ended up in the US and started his own buisness.

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    1. I know many Americans had relatives on the other side, like the British Royal family. :)

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  2. interesting to know that piece of history, and you are right it is not the same anymore, not that the past didnt had it issues but not to the same level as it is now, and I hope it is not for the worse the change to a private S&R, even when I understand that it wont be for the better of the public, you know that someone somewhere is benefiting.

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    1. That's the first thing you assume. That one of the political swine is on a promise.

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  3. Very interesting info and how excellent you got to write about it in the book. I can't comment too much on the selling off of the Search & Rescue force, you'd have to delete the comment!!!!

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  4. That's a really cool story and great that its been included in the book.

    My Paternal Grandfather spent most of the war in India serving with the Royal Army Service Corps, so didn't see any action as such. My Maternal Grandfather also joined the army but he suffered with asthma and was eventually discharged... just a few months before all his mates were shipped out to take part in Market Garden! On the plus side he finished the war working at the Royal Arsenal in Woolwich where he met my nan. So I guess I'm lucky he was too ill to fight!

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    1. There is nothing glorious about modern combat. Only psychopaths come out of it unscathed.

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  5. As a sometime mountaineer, the privisation of SAR capability worries me. I don't know anyone flying operationally, but the whole point of our SAR arrangements is to train the Helo pilots to pick up other downed fliers. Ho hum.

    In this country, we are now only a few years away from having personal insurance before hitting the mountains, like one would in Europe or the Americas. But we arn't used to that here, and it will be a problem.

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    1. I have long since stopped trying to understand the minds of politicians.

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  6. Its a very nice tribute to your father to have his story featured in the book.

    I saw this search and rescue story and was puzzled, surely search and rescue work is some of the best 'training' out there for the raf and navy pilots, and helps to keep their skills honed whilst providing a public service. Bizzare.

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    1. Dear Phil, Some bastard somewhere will get a bonus. What else matters.

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  7. Awesome to see Percie make a comeback as a Vet Sarge upgrade ;)
    I remember you talking about him in an earlier post and I thought the same thing you wrote in this one.
    Back then you fought a War and it was for nobel reasons.
    Today you guard a poppy field or rare earth mineral mine in a place that can only be described as hell on earth.
    I come from a military family who has served since the revolutionary war,but I will never ever let my child join nowadays.
    Let banks and big business fight their own battles

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    1. I also come from a military family that stretches back to the AWI, albeit on the t'other side ( see Paoli massacre :) ). But I would not want my daughters to fight for corporate profits.

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  8. That's fantastic John! My Dad was in the RAF during the war so I need to do some more family history research to find someone in the army.

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  9. Great that you got to tell his story in this way, and a lesson for us all. My own family's story was tied up on the home front, with the aircraft industry and the likes of deHavilland, Westlands and Armstrong Whitworth, a very different experience.

    I can't even begin to express my views on the SARs issue though, siuch foolishness!

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  10. That is amazing, John - contemporary woes aside, you must feel awfully proud!

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    1. I've now read the passage in situ: it brought a lump to my throat.

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  11. " I'm old and cynical but our leaders are responsible for the latter, if not the former."

    Would you say the NHS is responsible for the former?

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  12. "Probably, but would we do that again. Now that's a very different proposition. They fought for King and Country. What we would be asked to fight for? Bankers bonuses and the protection of corporate management's offshore tax-free accounts?"

    The cost of peace. In the past, elites knew they would need to recruit the "rabble" to fight for them when they come to blows with the baron next door, the king across the channel, etc. Now their relationships with the elites across the world is much better.

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