"Rommel?" - "Gunner who?" - Spike Milligan (G)

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"Rommel?" - "Gunner who?" - Spike Milligan (G)

Post by Little John » June 10th, 2019, 6:25 pm

I got given a pile of Spike Milligan books. "Rommel?" "Gunner who?" being the first one I have read. I have read Spike before, 'Puckoon', 'A Dustbin of Milligan' and 'Adolf Hitler, my part in his downfall' so I had an idea of what to expect.

I was quite a fan of the "Telegoons" as a child (probably something most people here would have missed (just) and, Like Python, its probably an acquired taste. Reading this, I now understand where the humour came from. It was a way of dealing with the horror of war. Everyone seemed to share the same sense of humour and everyone in this book seemed exceeding quick witted.

As the title suggests, its about Spikes time fighting Rommel and The Afrika Corps in North Africa. Spike was a gunner so didn't do a lot of hand to hand combat but he still had his moments. The book is an historical record or sorts but mostly focussed on the people and the 19th Battery 56th Heavy Regiment RA. Every now and then, without warning, there is a short glimpse of the reality of the situation. People die, people break down, people try to cover their fear by cracking jokes. So, in a way, these short glimpses are more profound than a book that is just about the war itself.

Someone suggests to Spike that he could feign madness in an attempt to get out of the Army. Says Spike "But that's how I got in". There is also the tale of how he first met Harry Seacombe - by accidentally dropping an artillery gun over a cliff and narrowly missing Harry's tent pitched at the bottom of the cliff Spike was firing from.

Just for your education and hopefully amusement (and my nostalgia) here is an episode of the telegoons on youtube:

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Re: "Rommel?" - "Gunner who?" - Spike Milligan (G)

Post by SRD » June 11th, 2019, 8:05 am

I love the bit about the Captain's tea. "Well bugger I down dead"
Children are like Slinkys - not much use for anything, but it always brings a smile to your face when you throw them down the stairs. Chinchilla

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Re: "Rommel?" - "Gunner who?" - Spike Milligan (G)

Post by Little John » June 11th, 2019, 8:52 am

I'm always amazed how much of it has stuck in my memory. I was talking to a bloke who had just come back from Japan recently and I said "Its a long way, you'll have needed a ladder". And he had a problem finding his accommodation and was going around knocking on doors trying to ask people where it was so I said "Its always next door in China" - despite the fact that he was talking about Japan. But then they all look the same to me. ;)

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