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‘Books in the camp: Henry Esmond and Portrait of his Excellency’.


Henry Esmond

A ‘Classic’. Don’t run away it’s readable. Author: William Makepeace Thackeray. Subject: The personal history of Henry Esmond. Background: The racketeering days of the first Duke of Marlborough. The ill-fated aspirations of the Pretender James III.

Those who cannot stomach criticism of ‘Winston’ should be warned. Thackeray’s portrait of Churchill’s illustrious ancestor Marlborough is not complimentary. “A man who would not deign to sell his country for less than two million French crowns.” “Urged by his wife, the first lady of the Queen’s household, his avaricious propensities know no bounds” (Quotes from a camp reader’s viewpoint.)
Says Thackeray as defending counsel: “Could you see every man’s career in life you would find a woman clogging him or clinging wound his march and stopping him, cheering him and goading him on, or fetching him daggers and whispering ‘Kill, yonder lies Duncan, and a crown and an opportunity.’

Thackaray was probably belly-aching. He himself was hamstrung by a load of debt and a wife who was a mental invalid.


By Stephen McKenna.

How does the English country house; the tradition of Service; the things that are ‘done’ and not done; produce that tangled web of monarchy, oligarchy, democracy and imperialism which we call British Constitutional Government? Mr McKenna affords us quite incidentally a penetrating insight into this fascinating problem in an extremely readable account of the life of a soldier-peer and colonial administrator.

Was Viscount Alster such a dull dog as his official biography would lead us to believe? Is there a ‘man’ behind the dry as dust entry in Who’s Who? The author sets out to show us how an aristocrat, temperamentally unfitted to follow a military tradition to which he was chained by Family, nevertheless sacrificed his life, love and personality on the altar of ‘what was expected of him’.

The public schools produce snobs, but they also produce heroes – real heroes; men who, although they accept blindly as divinely ordained our system of poor and rich rigid class divisions – poverty with charity – riches with responsibility; nevertheless are men of high integrity and undoubted courage; prepared to spend (continued on Page 14)

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Final copy of ‘The Chunkel’
[TOP] First page (Editorial, etc.) [BOTTOM] Front cover.


Business Manager: Jack Wood

Editor: Alan Roberts

Art Editor: Ronald Searle

Editorial board: George Sprod, Bernard Champion. Jack Fowler



We make no apology for rushing into print. Somebody had to do it sooner or later.

A magazine in a prison camp is a dubious venture. It can cause a furore or just a tired yawn, or degenerate into an official document. It may even succeed – as we hope to do – in being interesting, progressive, possibly slightly radical, and yet contain itself within the bounds of a silent censorship.

We have not been censored. We have not even been approved. But we feel we bask under Nelson’s blind eye.

Those who – running their eyes over the editorial board – anticipate a slightly spicy scurrility or at best an irresponsible outspokeness will be disappointed. We shall try to be reasonable without being merely pathetic. Our aim will be to enlighten and amuse and, within the limits necessarily imposed by our status as prisoners of war, to provide forum for the expression of all progressive opinion.


After nearly five years of world war all humankind yearns for a just and lasting peace which it no longer believes possible. Paralysing thought and action is the disillusionment of a generation which shared Wilson’s vision of a brave new world and then lived to see the tragedy of the post-war years.

Is it all to happen again? Those who think have no illusions. Those who think in isolation despair; despair of ever [unknown] into life the great masses who alone can make their dreams reality. The escapists – escape; with as much success as a goat on a tethered rope. Life continues to present its problems and in grappling with them the black pessimism of the intellectual is of no more avail than the fatuous optimism of the man who never scratches his head.

We sound a call to those who are not afraid to face the future. Keep thinking! Keep trying! The problems of the world must find an answer. When fools and idealists give up the ghost the devil

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