Thursday, April 05, 2007

Suits U Sir

When I was a lad I can remember meeting a dapper and distinguished ex-Royal Flying Corps pilot, from the 1914-18 war who used to drink at the Bungalow hotel in Birchington. In his eighties then, He used to tell me stories of dogfights with the Hun above the battlefields of Flanders.

And then there were other family friends, "Joe" Fairley, who was the inspiration behind the character 'Bulldog Drummond, Bill Elledge, a model hero against the Japanese in the bloody battle of Kohima, my father's best friend, John Brown, a Mosquito pilot and mentioned in a book, for the part he played as a "pathfinder" in the raid against the Nazi rocket site at Peenumunde. There were many brave men like this to be found around Thanet and a few still survive quietly in the shadows of a lengthening old-age.

I do wonder how they would have watched the news of the last 24 hours and reacted to our captured service personnel telling the world's media that the Iranians are really nice people and more.

I don't doubt the former because I also have found Iranians to be delightful and hospitable people but hold on a minute, since when do our captured soldiers and sailors start playing a PR role for the Iranian Revolutionary Guard?

I'm at a loss to explain what I have seen and the brave men I mentioned earlier would, I'm sure, be deeply ashamed to have seen this level of comfortable cooperation with such a manipulative enemy.

Am I simply too old fashioned in my views or is their a sense of our national pride going out of the window alongside several cheap suits and a set of imitation Gucci luggage, courtesy of the President of Iran?


Jeremy Jacobs said...

What a brilliant post Simon. I wish your blog had more coverage.

My father was at Kohima as well but two days after the most fierce fighting. Why not pay him a visit during your campaign?

Will we see you at Hartsdown Park on Monday?

Anonymous said...

I'm often suprised that some of these ol' boys and ladies are more open minded than expected. Perhaps the wisdom comes in the 80s & 90s? For myself (maybe lacking wisdom...I'm only 41)these current service men & woman on appearance lack maturity, and have that horrible spin you see on shows like The Apprentice. That said, all these ol' boys never were paraded before cameras to a worldwide audience. Where I was bought up, our road was built in the 20s and most the ol' boys there moved in and stayed and by the time I came along about a third of the road was still occupied by these WW1 vets and spinster sisters who had never married because there weren't enough men left after that war's carnage. A lost world now.
p/s saw someone ask why the guys were given sharp suits but the lady was given something that made her look like a late night Walmart shopper. Horizontal stripes just so did not do it for her!

Anonymous said...

All is not what it seems anymore, Simon. We live in a Britain that for 10 years has accepted without a murmour, CCTV everywhere; WMD that were never found; Chief of General Staff who failed to resign but was happy to attack his political masters after resignation etc etc. The truth of the recent Iran fiasco will be buried for another 30 years. I suspect that 'our boys and gal' knew where they were and regarded it as a 'fair cop guv' situation; probably advised to do so. The point you make about the old boys with their stories of derring-do belongs to an age where there was integrity in Government; sadly this is no longer the case.

Norah Batty said...

Yes but you must bear in mind that in 30 years time, when the files are opened on the Iraqi war and the truth will be known regarding Tony Blair, he will still be alive and will face fierce critisism then. Old sins cast long shadows.

Anonymous said...

I too found the display of soldiers and sailors on Iranian tv disturbing. I think the jury is still out on this one. All the marines I have ever met have been as hard as nails, but also intelligent and men of honour. I think we need to let the dust settle first before conducting a post mortem.

As for Iran. Well they continue to humiliate us and forge ahead with their nuclear program. One day we will have to get medieval on their collective ass. Sadly it seems the will to take the kind of action required is no longer there. The Iranians know they can kick sand in our face and we just take it.

Excellent post by the way!