Saturday, 23 June 2012

Gone but not forgotten

Stop me if I have already told this story, but it is well worth telling a second time and I have been reminded of it by Cro's latest post.

A friend of my sister's who happens to be a Jehovah's Witness (somehow that makes the tale even funnier) was becoming late for an appointment with the doctor, where she was going to be examined for some slight gynaecological problem, so she jumped into the shower after taking her daughter to school then hurriedly dressed, but not before giving her nether regions a quick spray with some feminine deodorant, snatched from the bathroom drawer.

As she was lying on the couch, naked from the waist down, the doctor said,  "I'm glad to see you have made the effort"'  and completed the examination.

She didn't know what he was talking about until she got back home to discover that she had picked up her daughter's party-glitter spray in her haste, and decorated her muff with some very festive sparkle.

Seamlessly moving on to a slightly different topic, next week sees the unveiling of a dedicated memorial to the WW2 servicemen of Bomber Command, 55,000 of whom were killed in action over a relatively short period of time.

There is a lot going on during this Diamond (described as 'Golden' by a BBC radio journalist this morning) Jubilee year, but everyone is pretending to wonder why it has taken so long to recognise the sacrifice made by all the members of Bomber Command from several different countries, when all of the other service memorials were erected quite soon after peacetime.

'Bomber' Harris is usually blamed, but the real culprit is most likely to have been the man who gave him his orders, Winston Churchill, who commanded more bombs to be dropped on the city centres of Hamburg and Dresden in one night than had been dropped on the city of London, during the whole of the Blitz.

I once stayed for about a week in what was the eye of the Hamburg fire-storm, in possibly the only building (dating from the 19th century) to have survived, and it only survived because it was in the eye.  It was a creepy feeling to be in that place which still had blackened walls and was surrounded by desolate car-parks or 1960's housing blocks.  There was an extremely squalid sex night-club right next door.

My friend showed me photos of the dead lying around on the street outside, or slumped over the wheels of lorries - none of them had a mark on them and showed no signs of fire injury at all.  They had all died of asphyxiation because the tornado of fire had consumed all the available oxygen and there was no escape from the area except through it, which was - of course - impossible.

It is probably the guilt associated with the over-kill of the last Allied Raids which have delayed the Bomber Command memorial for so long, but I understand that some mention of the thousands of German civilians to die on the ground is also being included when honouring the dead.  I suppose enough time has passed to allow for that without being spoken of as a Nazi sympathiser.

Some of you may remember that my father was a rear gunner in Bomber Command - the most dangerous job in the most dangerous Service.  He survived a hideous crash in a Wellington near the Kent airfield which was it's base, and he was the only person in the plane when it came down, because a bullet had severed the radio line to the tail and he did not hear the command to bail out whilst there was still time to do so.

I was going to post up the photos of the wreckage (which we only found after his death, hidden inside a leather wallet containing all his driving licenses from about 1930 onwards - he never threw anything away, even spent light-bulbs!) but I already have, and the above picture ticks all the boxes for maximum bad taste.

That bloke from the BeeGees had a knack of getting into every photograph that happened to be taken in his immediate vicinity.  He is even in the main photo of the wedding of a friend of mine - standing between the bride and groom - taken here in Bath on the steps of the Guildhall.  Gone but not forgotten.


  1. Oh, I know Robin Gibb did a hell of a lot to get the memorial built, but I cannot resist a joke at the expense of someone who is unable to defend himself, and the story of the wedding photo is true - he had to be asked to step aside to allow for at least one photo of the happy couple on their own.

  2. I just wish my story had been as amusing as yours.

  3. Mention MY sisters' muff ( s)on line and I would be typing this with my fingers in plaster

    1. It wasn't my sister's - that tale is yet to come (fnarr fnarr).