Page 80 – 81 / 1941 – 42

Left Hand Page

‘The Chunkel’, camp magazine, ‘Book in the camp’, by Unknown

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.

Portrait of his Excellency

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 their lives toiling in obscurity; self-sacrificing in their devotion to

Right Hand Page

Dates and names – unknown and ‘Ship Ahoy!’ Hippodrome Programme, April 1942.