British & Commonwealth Military Badge Forum
ebay
'Badges/Patches' 'Militaria, Badges'    Medals

 Military Badges

 All British  WW1  WW2 WW1   WW2

Go Back   British & Commonwealth Military Badge Forum > Everything Else > Military Book and Media Reviews

 Other Pages: Galleries, Links etc.
Glossary  Books by Forum Members     Canadian Pre 1914    CEF    CEF Badge Inscriptions   Canadian post 1920     Canadian post 1953     British Cavalry Badges     Makers' Marks    Pipers' Badges  Canadian Cloth Titles  Books
 
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 16-06-17, 04:08 AM
Drew's Avatar
Drew Drew is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Kyoto
Posts: 157
Default Book recommendation: Long 'Un- A Damn Bad Soldier

I have just finished reading Long ‘Un- A Damn Bad Soldier, by Bernard Livermore. I have a feeling some of you ‘old’ hands may have read it already, if so, apologies. What I really liked about the book was his individual take on the kind of everyday occurrences that I have read about in many other personal accounts of the Great War, and also his slightly irascible nature and comical attitude towards authority.

Livermore had quite a typical middle class upbringing of the time- I think he describes himself as “a carefully brought-up little suburban snob”- but found great comradeship amongst the men of the 2/20th London Regiment. He leaves his comfortable job at an insurance company, and joins up with the Queen Victoria’s Rifles, before being transferred to the “Blackheath and Woolwich crowd”. After this, he sees action at Vimy Ridge, before moving to Salonika and then on to Egypt and Palestine. Because of sickness, he finds himself posted to the Army Pay Corps, where he wistfully looks out for the ‘vermillion triangle on sun helmets' of 20th men on leave in Alexandria.

During his time in the army he defies regulations and keeps a diary which he finally gets around to writing-up in 1973. Perhaps it is partly this late date of composition, as well as his personality, which helps to give it a certain ‘uncensored’ feel that delighted me. Livermore missed some of the big actions of his time with the 2/20th due to sickness, but I think it is a very interesting book. Some of my favourite quotes are below.

Referring to his time in billets in East Sheen, ‘Marching, running, slithering about on our bellies in Richmond Park occupied our days until 4 p.m. At 9 o'clock we had a roll call- provided that half a dozen men turned up to answer "Here" when the Sergeant shouted thirty names he was quite satisfied.’ P. 22

On being transferred out of the QVR, ‘We were so bitterly disappointed and disheartened that we refused to take off the Q.V.R. flashes on our shoulders and the black buttons on our tunics and caps. When we were ordered to march at Attention we, as Riflemen, trailed our arms. Separate orders, therefore, had to be shouted at these uncooperative and sullen Riflemen. You can't fight the Army long. About a month later our paybooks were called in and we were formally marked "Transferred".’ P. 47

At Marseille before embarking for Salonika, ‘Outside a cafe was an old violinist who cheered us on our way with the Marseillaise. With happy hearts we responded with the saucy verses of one of our anthems "It's the Wrong, Wrong Way to Tickle Mary'.’ P. 74

Cheers,

Chris
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 16-06-17, 06:27 AM
leigh kitchen's Avatar
leigh kitchen leigh kitchen is online now
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 2,500
Default

Read it decades ago, a good read.
I always remember how he describes the revenge of the shoe-shine boys in Cairo - squaddies walking out in spotless starched whites, decline a shoe shine and end up with a smear of black polish down the leg and a walk back to barracks.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 16-06-17, 07:01 AM
Drew's Avatar
Drew Drew is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Kyoto
Posts: 157
Default

Oh yeah! I was going to mention that part of the book too, but thought perhaps I was getting carried away with my quotations. I think he adds that when the shoe-shine boy and crowd are getting a bit rowdy, 'An Aussie would've kicked the impudent little devil in the backside and dispersed the crowd with a revolver shot. I just paid them the blackmail money...'.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 16-06-17, 09:36 PM
Sonofacqms's Avatar
Sonofacqms Sonofacqms is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 4,343
Smile Nothing changed . . !

Quote:
Originally Posted by Drew View Post
Oh yeah! I was going to mention that part of the book too, but thought perhaps I was getting carried away with my quotations. I think he adds that when the shoe-shine boy and crowd are getting a bit rowdy, 'An Aussie would've kicked the impudent little devil in the backside and dispersed the crowd with a revolver shot. I just paid them the blackmail money...'.
From what I remember my Father saying they were still up to the same tricks during WWII. Similar actions were taken by troops on leave . . !

Rob
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 16-06-17, 10:29 PM
Drew's Avatar
Drew Drew is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Kyoto
Posts: 157
Default

Haha. I bet!
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT. The time now is 03:23 PM.


Powered by: vBulletin
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.