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An Australian TV series about the Gallipoli campaign of 1915 has flopped and that has led to accusations of "Gallipoli Fatigue". This year, obviously, marks the centenary of the disastrous campaign to capture the Dardanelles Peninsula from the Turks and as the Anzacs are a national icon for the Aussies, and New Zealanders, it can be expected there will be a lot of media coverage. The Aussies have long felt hard done by when it comes to Gallipoli, where they believe the cream of their manhood were led to the slaughter by dim and unfeeling Pommie officers. What they seem to forget is that the British officers subjected their fellow countrymen to exactly the same treatment. There was no discrimination. And yet the Gallipoli Campaign remains focus of both Antipodean pride and anger. It's the shame the Scots don't take the same interest in the Dardanelles. It's a toss-up as to whether the Battle of Loos on the Western Front in 1915 or the 52nd Lowland Division's part in the Gallipoli fighting most deserves to be called The Second Flodden. The 9th and 15th Scottish Divisions suffered heavy casualties at Loos; with eight out of the 12 British battalions who lost more than 500 men apiece in the fighting coming from north of the Border. At Gallipoli the 156th Brigade of the 52nd Division lost 72% of its officers and 46% of its men in the Battle of Gully Ravine - 72 officers and 1,271 men dead wounded or missing. Three days of fighting two weeks later cost the 52nd Division a further 98 officers and 2,723 men. The 8th Scottish Rifles was almost wiped out at Gully Ravine. The Scots commander of the campaign, General Ian Hamilton, had sneered at the battalion when it arrived in threatre as being "from the lowest slums of Glasgow, but well officered and will fight well." He was right about the battalion fighting well. But why does coming from a slum area make a soldier suspect?

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It may interest those of you who have already snapped up a copy of the excellent With Wellington in the Peninsula to learn that Balfour Kermack's medal recently sold at auction for £3,200. Kermack wrote account of his part in the Highland Light Infantry's campaigns during the Peninsular War, 1808-1814, and features in several of the book's footnotes. Kermack was one of only 43 rankers from the regiment to earn eight or more bars on his General Service Medal. That included one for Talavera, a battle in which the HLI did not take part. Sadly, Kermack in his "what I did in The War" notes did not explain how he ended up at Talavera, though several members of the regiment who had been hospitalized earlier in the fighting were there as part of a composite battalion. The medal was only expected to sell for between  £1,500 and £2,000. What I find interesting is that poor old Kermack probably never earned anything like £3,200 in his whole life. By the way, With Wellington has gone as high as 21st in the bestseller list for books about the Peninsular War. As one noted critic has already said "You don't get many Napoleonic memoirs as good as this". Naturally, as the book's editor, I heartily concur. End of shameless plug.

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The Islamist terror group ISIS are said to be masters of internet propaganda and luring sad-sack half-wits to join their war in Iraq and Syria. But it turns out they don't need the internet to get their message out when they have friends like the BBC. Last week when Kuwaiti-born Londoner Mohammed Emwazi was revealed as ISIS's top online executioner, the BBC ran footage claiming he had been driven into the arms of the terrorists by MI5 harassment. The guy making the claim, Asim Qureshi of an outfit calling itself Cage, seemed a bit dodgey to me when he made the claim. There was just  something just a little "off" about him. Cage was described as a prisoners' rights organisation. The claim obviously should not have been swept under the carpet and the BBC were right to report it. Where the BBC let themselves and everybody down was failing to put the allegation in context by giving us a little background on Qureshi and Cage.  Had they done that, the allegation might have carried a lot less weight. It would only have taken an extra sentence or two in the script to raise questions about Cage's credibility.  I found it hard to believe that someone who brutally decapitates people on camera was ever really "a beautiful young man".  This was an example of the sloppy and dangerous journalism the BBC seems to indulge in all too frequently these days. It's bad enough when the presenters mis-use words and mispronounce names, which is akin to mis-spelling in the print media. But Cage allegations story is a an example of bad journalism that is going to get people killed. There are just too many sad losers just looking for an excuse for murder.

 

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I think writers who don't want to answer questions about their work should perhaps steer clear of library book clubs. The problem with book clubs is that not everyone is a willing reader of the title. The club decides on the book to be read that month and usually it's a majority decision. Over the months things even out when it comes to the choices and someone would have to be very lucky to be stuck month after month with books they hate to read. And some books that look as though they maybe interesting turn out to be duds. Rousing and positive endorsements from other writers and experts on the back cover are often suspect - I've come across several books in which the supposedly disinterested endorser appears in the acknowledgements as contributing the book in question. But back to authors and book clubs. Authors are used to dealing with fans of their work; the sort of people who show up for readings and book signings.  There would appear to be some authors who regard questions about certain plot devices and choices in their books as criticisms, rather than genuine inquiries about puzzling directions taken by the book. Local colour is all well and good but Ian Rankin doesn't have Inspector Rebus visiting Edinburgh Castle every second chapter.  Would you be surprised to learn that one author actually complained to the library about being asked questions about her books? And would you be surprised to hear that the library discouraged book club members from quizzing the next author who was brave enough to come to one of their meetings. Personally, I'd rather authors didn't come along to the meetings. It's very hard to discuss their books honestly and frankly with them sitting there. This is particularly true when they turn out to be so precious that questions are interpreted as criticisms.

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When I was reading the late John Keegan's Intelligence in War  I was surprised that he really downplayed the damage Soviet agent Kim Philby did to the United Kingdom during and after the Second World War. Philby not only headed MI6's anti-Soviet unit, British stupidity meant he was in charge of hunting himself down, but then became the United Kingdom's liaison with the intelligence community in the United States. It would be hard to think of a two jobs in which a Soviet agent could do more harm to his fellow citizens. When a Soviet agent in Turkey tried to defect to the British and expose a number of traitors, his file was turned over to Philby and he had the poor man killed by his buddies from Moscow. But the thing that disturbs me most about Philby was how he joined and then rose through the ranks of MI6. He pretended to be a Fascist. He got his foot firmly on the ladder by filing pro-Fascist pro-Franco stories to The Times during the Spanish Civil War. Now, I would have thought Communists and Fascists would have been equally unwelcome when it came to safeguarding British interests. But apparently not. It was only in the 1950s when rumours surfaced that Philby was not a Fascist but a Communist who had tipped off fellow Soviet traitors Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean, and triggered their flight to Moscow, that he was supposedly "let go". Philby, Burgess and Maclean were all privately-educated Cambridge graduates who the English Establishment were confident could be counted as "one of us". So was fourth traitor Sir Anthony Blunt. None of the four was really held to account for betraying us - unless you count Philby, Burgess and Maclean having to live in Communist Russia. This might all be ancient history but for one thing. In the same way that the English Establishment circled the wagons during the economic recession of the 1930s to protect its privilege, many would say it is doing the same again now. The spivs, barrow-boys and chancers of the Blair and Thatcher Years have gone and the "decent chaps" from Eton and good families are back in the driving seat. It would be  interesting to see what would happen if a working class person was ever placed in the position to thoroughly betray their country. Wouldn't that be an interesting experiment? I think that such a person would be watched like a hawk and wouldn't go undetected for anywhere near as someone from the "right" background.

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Canada now has more kilted regiments than Britain. Britain's down to only one, the Royal Regiment of Scotland, while around a dozen cities in Canada are home to kilted units. Granted, they are all reserve units. Canadians were recently reminded just how much some units still cherish their Scottish connection when a kilted reservist from the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada was shot dead at the National War Memorial in Ottawa by a sad-sack loner who had converted to some perverted branch of Islam. Years back I came across a bunch of lads from the Vancouver-based Seaforth Highlanders of Canada. Not one of them was anyone's traditional idea of a Highlander. At least one looked Hispanic and all the others obviously traced their roots to China or the Indian sub-continent. But they all assured me they wore kilts on ceremonial parades. But even though the ethnic mix in the reserve units carrying on the Scottish names of regiments is very varied, they still show an interest in the the British Army regiments which inspired them. As well as the Seaforth's and Argylls, Canada also has a Black Watch and two regiments of Camerons. I was reminded of the strength of these links when I saw that the Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada is throwing its weight behind the appeal for the proposed new Royal Highland Fusiliers museum at the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow. By the way, the Canadian cousins have long been a kilted regiment. The Highland Light Infantry regained their kilts in 1947 only to lose them again in 1959 when they merged with the Royal Scots Fusiliers to form the Royal Highland Fusiliers. Bizarrely, the government of time insisted on putting the new regiment in trews against the wishes of both the HLI and the RSF. It was only when the RHF became the 2nd Battalion of the Royal Regiment of Scotland that the kilts were restored.  For more information about the appeal - Museum Appeal.

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There are 17 regular infantry regiments in the British Army. Eight of them are single battalion. Five of those eight are Guards units. Since the Second World War all the regiments but the five Guards units have been renamed and subject to amalgamation. Many long-storied units have lost their identities. Efficiency and flexibility has been the reasons given for axing many of the great regimental names to create the new multi-battalion regiments. I guess Her Majesty's Foot Guards must already have been super-duper efficient and flexible. One of the features of the super-regiments is it is easier to axe a battalion once in a while. In recent years, the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders has been reduced to one company and the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers cut to one battalion. But Whitehall is shying away from creating a unit simply known as The Foot Guards and sneakily axing a battalion. One of the problems is that three of the five Guards regiments are named in honour of constituent parts of the United Kingdom. Though, it must be hard to justify the Irish Guards when the part of that island which is still British territory is pretty small. It used to be the most junior regiment would be the first to be disbanded. In this case, that would be the Welsh Guards, formed 1915.  But let's make ending the Guards' immunity from the painful reorganization process the rest of the British Army has undergone a little gentler. How about the regiment with the fewest officers from the area is is supposedly traditionally recruits from gets the axe? But I don't think I'll hold my breath waiting for that to happen.  

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I was more than a little saddened to see that Winston Churchill's memory was being hijacked by the present regime in Britain. My first thought was that wallowing in past glories is not a good response to the challenges faced by a 21st Century nation. My second thought was the historical basis for the hijacking is bogus. The Tory party in the 1930s and 1940s hated Churchill. Many of its members did everything they could to undermine him after be became Prime Minister. He only remained in power thanks to Labour support. Churchill would have loathed the Cameron Conservatives - though a loose-cannon child of privilege, he didn't go to Eton. Churchill was more committed to social equality than Tony Blair ever was. Cameron, his idol Maggie Thatcher, and Blair dismantled Churchill's social legacy.  And let's not forget that the British electorate passed a pretty damning verdict on Churchill after the defeat of Germany in 1945 by kicking him out of power. So, it's a bit cheeky to be lionizing the man now. I have an admiration for Churchill, though the men who during the Second World War steered Britain in the slipstream of American Victory found him exasperating to work with and were hard put to derail some of his crazier notions. And speaking of Americans - the archetypal British Bulldog was half Yankee. He was as much British as Barrack Obama is the first black president of the United States of America.

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The Festive Season often yields some cash in lieu of a present. Some of you may still be stumped as to how best to spend this windfall. I have a suggestion - if you can wait a few more weeks. Why not order a copy of a wonderful new book called With Wellington in the Peninsula? This account of the Peninsular War 1808-14 through the eyes of a rank-and-file soldier in one of Wellington's best regiments is a long lost treasure. Of course, I would say that: I'm credited as editing the first re-issue of the full text since 1827. I recently had to re-read the book in its entirety and to be honest I'd forgotten what a little gem this account of the Highland Light Infantry at war is. Working on the new edition proved to be a far bigger job than I'd expected. While double-checking the narrator's story I came across three other first-person accounts of the Peninsular War from members of the regiment and wove them into the book in the form of footnotes. The book also includes ten specially commissioned maps.  The new edition is due to be published by Frontline at the end of February and Casemate in North America in April. Even if you're not interested in the Napoleonic Wars, this book has much to say about the experience of men at war throughout history.

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The senior officers in the Royal Regiment of Scotland would perhaps take some comfort from the introduction to to an 1878 book I came across recently about the British regiments. The author, a former army officer, was lamenting what he believed was the destruction of the regimental system by the 1873 Cardwell Reforms to the army. They linked regiments together for training and recruitment purposes. In fact the 1873 and subsequent 1881 Childers Reforms, which created two battalion regiments with clearly defined recruiting areas, proved to be the foundation of what are now as the "historic Scottish regiments" which were amalgamated into the Royal Regiment of Scotland in 2006. Actually, it was the First and Second World Wars, and National Service, which saw tens of thousands of civilians put in the tartans of their "local" regiments and cemented the link between specific regions and army units. At the moment, the four remaining front-line regular battalions of the RRoS, still carry names rather than simply being referred to by number. But  only the Black Watch, the 3rd Battalion, still bears a name that veterans of the Second World War would recognise. It is no secret that senior civil servants and military men would prefer to see the end of the individual battalion names and want them referred to by their numbers. Some battalions are keener than others to retain the traditions of their predecessor regiments. Others buy into the whole creating a tradition for the RRoS, if that is not a contradiction in terms. It is a balancing act. But just the jeremiahs of 1873 were wrong, let's hope their 2006 counterparts are also proven mistaken. By the way, 1873 reforms linked: - The 26th Cameronians and the 74th Highlanders; the 42nd Black Watch and the 79th Camerons; the 71st HLI and the 78th Ross-shire Buffs; the 72nd Duke of Albany's and the 91st Argyllshire Highlanders;  the 73rd Highlanders and the 90th Perthshire Light Infantry; and the 92nd Gordon Highlanders and the 93rd Sutherland Highlanders. 

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Most journalists lead boring lives. What really got up my nose last week were the accusations of cowardice and gutlessness levelled at media organisations which decided not to run the Charlie Hebdo images of the Prophet Mohammed in so called "solidarity" with the satirical magazine's murdered journalists. I found the "holier than thou" types making the accusations against fellow journalists both arrogant and silly. They know, as we all do, that there is almost zero chance that they will be executed one-by-one in the repeat of last week's murders in Paris. So what makes them so brave. Nothing. They are playing at being brave. They know that there is no question of them dying to defend someone else's free speech, even if they disagree with what is being said. I think the accusations of cowardice  could be fairly made against a media organisation which was planning to run the cartoons and decided not to after the murder spree. But attacking media outlets for exercising their right not to run potentially offensive images is stupid. In the same way I would not criticise someone for deciding to run the images, I would not condemn someone else who decided not to because they are simply  not their cup of tea. To me, that's what Freedom of Speech is all about. It all reminded me of the aftermath of the murder of Irish journalist Veronic Guerin in 1996. Suddenly, it seemed, half the journalists in Britain were writing about how dangerous their work was - even if it was only writing a gardening column for the local weekly. Self-dramatising, self-important, twaddle. Here's a good rule of thumb - a scary number of the journalists who really do put their lives on the line for the sake of the job do indeed wind up dead. According to the Committee to Protect Journalist, 61  definitely died in 2014 as a result of their work.

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The problem with recycling old events and packaging them as news is the danger of being scooped. Perhaps that's why news organisations marked a couple of recent anniversaries so early this year. I'm thinking of the 10th anniversary of the tsunami that killed more than 200,000 people on Boxing Day 2004 and the 100th anniversary of the Christmas Truce between British and German troops during the First World War. The media started running tenth anniversary stories in early December and I'm sure I heard Truce stories in November. The problem with News is that the media has a short attention span, so, events are surrounded by a flare up of white-hot saturation coverage and then forgotten. There is little calm later analysis or follow-up. But both the anniversary "stories" I'm talking about were stale, stale, stale. In the case of the tsunami most were interviews with survivors who had been interviewed a decade before. A more interesting story would have been the damage done by the self-interest of so-called non-governmental aid organisations. Basically, as far as they were concerned it didn't matter what they did as long as they were seen to be doing something and doing it quickly. Long term meaningful help was not a priority for many aid organisations. Instead the priority is income-generating publicity. In the case of the Christmas Truce the stories basically involved reading out some diary or letters from participants. No attempt was made to look at how widespread the fraternization between the troops actually was. A couple of years ago few people were even aware of the Truce and now it has reached mythic proportions. In view of the unimaginative coverage of both events, I can see why media outlets were scared of being scooped and marked the anniversaries so far ahead. It's only four years until the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing, expect the first commemoration "stories" before 2015 is over.

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I have a pal who decided that women were not getting a fair kick of the can when it came to jobs in his office. He was responsible for hiring and he went out of his way to make sure vacancies were filled by women. Eventually, he was the only male in the office. His female colleagues decided they would be more comfortable in an all-women work environment. They conspired to get rid of him. He only just kept his job. I was reminded of this by a couple of job adverts I saw recently. Both mentioned recipes. Now, it's possible that this was a heavy-handed attempt to demonstrate that the successful job candidate would be joining a "fun" organisation. But there is a more sinister implication. Could the mention of recipes be code for "males need not apply". I know a lot of guys who like cooking and might welcome a new chocolate chip cooking recipe or one for banana-bread. But I also happen to know that both the departments advertising the jobs are 100% female at the moment. I would have thought these days any office that was 100% one gender or the other would raise a red flag. But apparently not. I've said it before and I'm prepared to say it again - discrimination of any kind is wrong and that includes so-called positive discrimination.

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Just how low can the BBC World Service sink? Most hostage situations are about gaining publicity. So why would the BBC spend 90 minutes or so in two hours of broadcasting on Monday's hostage taking in Sydney, Australia? The facts could be summed up in four or five sentences. So, the BBC filled the rest of the time with speculation and bizarre interviews with people who had seen police cars near the coffee shop where the hostages were being held. Police at the scene of a hostage-taking - Hold the Front Page! What the BBC was basically saying through its prolonged and unenlightening coverage was that if you are a maladjusted loner, take some hostages and we'll devote three-quarters of our news programming to giving you publicity. Sadly, news broadcasting is becoming less about the facts and more and more about what social media is saying about events. A friend down in the United States was complaining that the BBC World Service news is now being carried by his favourite radio station in the morning. At first, my national pride was hurt. But then when I thought about it, he had a point. The time is coming when the pompous and self-satisfied National Public Radio network in the United States is going to be a more reliable news provided than Auntie Beeb. A couple of months back in the space of an hour the BBC World Service told me that Oscar Pistorius's defence team had requested a psychiatric report on the legless killer during his trial in South Africa and that rogue Toronto mayor Rob Ford was expected to announce that day whether he was going to run for re-election. Neither was true. The BBC World Service is taking a wrong turn. It's attempting to be social media on the wireless. Why would any professional media outlet ape social media? The internet is where I go for social media, the wireless if where I go for news.  I'm not saying that the Sydney hostage-taking should have gone unreported on the BBC; just that when there is little to report, then report little. I can't help but wonder if the hostages had been taken in Islamabad or New Delhi  whether so much time would have been devoted the covering events. People like us?

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A couple of days ago while looking for some on the interweb I came across an appeal from some guy who wondered where he could download one of my books for free. I wonder if he would have gone on the interweb asking if anyone knew of a shop where the guy behind the till was blind and deaf because that would make it easier to steal. Perhaps he would. I followed the link suggested by one of his fellow creeps. I was delighted to recognise it. Anyone who downloads from the site is almost certainly going to regret it. Put it this way, it's not just a book they're getting. The only legitimate free book downloads I know of involve publications that are long long out of copyright. Quite often there are a couple of pages missing due to whoever scanned the book being in too much of a rush. None of my books are out of copyright. There are no legitimate free copies available for download. Maybe some musicians encourage free downloads of their tunes. But musicians have diverse sources of income and perhaps their business model includes offering free downloads. But most authors have only one source of income. I wonder if that creep was stupid enough to give that "free book" download site his credit card number so he could subscribe to their "service".

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I wonder if bank robbers have a problem with the eye-holes on their balaclava ski masks stretching. If you roll the ski mask up, the eye holes get stretched. I know this not because I rob banks but because I live in a sometimes cold country, Canada. We've just had a heavy dump of snow, it looks like about eight to nine inches so far today and it's still coming down, and the temperature is -20oC (knock off another -10oC for windchill) and so it's time to think seriously about Winter-wear. I couldn't help noticing that the eye and mouth holes on my white balaclava are getting a bit big. I'm not worried about being recognised, the reason bank robbers wear them, but every micro-square-inch of bare flesh exposed to the elements is an invite to a frost-bite. And I take frost-bit seriously. A couple of years back one frigid lunchtime I took my gloves off to wrestle with the handbrake of a car which had become stuck. The gloves were only off very briefly and though I was aware of a tingling in my finger tips, I thought I'd got away with it. Next days those finger tips looked like bleached white ripped rags. What to wear when the temperature plummets and the snow gets deep can be a challenge. Wading through freshly dumped snow soon builds up body heat. Not enough clothing, you freeze, too much and you end up at your destination covered in sweat. And footwear is also a challenge. Out here on the Canadian Prairies nearly everyone has what I like to call Snow Wellies. The foot part of them is rubber and then they reach wellie-high up the leg in some kind of water-proof fabric. They usually have a felt-like insulating liner and tie-off at the top to keep the snow going down them. Army surplus ones are much in demand. The problem with them is that they have extra-wide soles. A size 10 boot has something like a size 13 sole and acts a bit like mini-snow shoes. They're great when snow needs to be waded through. But once you get into a building; well when's the last time you saw anyone walking the hallways in snowshoes - even mini-ones?  Sun glasses are also a good idea. The Ski Set has long been aware  of how much light bounces off the snow but it was news to me my first full winter in Canada. So, snow-blindness is an issue. And we get a lot of sun during the winter here on the Canadian Prairies. Ah, what to wear!

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The Royal Highland Fusiliers museum on Sauchiehall Street in Glasgow is an interesting place. But the regimental trustees would be the first to agree that they are forced by lack of space to cram perhaps too much into the very limited space they have available for display. That's why they have launched an appeal to fund a move to bigger premises. The regimental trustees are the custodians of artifacts and documents relating to two of Scotland's oldest regiments. Perhaps part of their problem is that both the Royal Scots Fusiliers, the third oldest Scottish infantry regiment (counting the Scots Guards), and the second oldest Highland Regiment, in the form of the Highland Light Infantry, lack the glamour attached to many of the other units. And that might make the fund-raising drive tougher than it should be. When I was researching Scottish Military Disasters, several of the regiments were very very helpful: only one ignored me completely. It would be unwise of me to pick a favourite museum or archivist. In fact, not only would it be unwise but it would also be unfair. I'm not even going to name a top three. But I will say that the RHF have some tremendous tales to tell and I whole-heartedly support anything that improves their ability to get their story out. For more information about the appeal -  Museum Appeal.

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Remembrance Day is a big deal here in Canada. It is marked not on the nearest Sunday but actually on November 11th and is a public holiday in many parts of the country. There are ceremonies at war memorials across the nation. But the grandest of all is at the National War Memorial just outside the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa. Following the recent murder of a member of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders of Canada while on ceremonial guard at the memorial by a loner sad-sack convert to Islam, this year's commemoration attracted a bigger than usual crowd. So, maybe not a good day for a someone to allegedly dress up in a military uniform and pretend to be a serving soldier. An even worse idea to be interviewed on national television while wearing that uniform. And even even worse to wear one of the highest awards available to members of the Canadian military for bravery. Straight away geniune members of the military called "fake" and many of them howled with rage. It's a criminal offence in Canada to wear military medals that have not been earned or to impersonate a member of the army, navy or air force. Jail time , if found guilty of the alleged offences, seems a bit severe but a fine would probably in order to show society's disapproval. I know a lot of people here in Canada wonder what all the fuss is about. Years ago I tried to follow-up a tip that a frequently quoted in the media and supposedly highly decorated veteran was really a navy cook. What harm is he doing, I was asked by the people who controlled the purse strings I needed loosened to pay for a couple of searches of military records I wanted done before outing the old fraud. The answer is plenty. He was filling folks' heads, including young soldiers, with nonsense about war. War should never be undertaken lightly and the last thing people need is fakers muddying the waters with their fantasies when decisions that put people in harm's way are to be made.

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You don't need me to tell you that the First World War was a turning point in British history. In fact it may have been THE turning point. The conflict is all too often portrayed in British popular memory as futile. I can believe that my great-grandfathers were duped by their political masters and social betters and herded like cattle to the slaughter grounds. As two of them were killed in the war and the other two died long before I was born, I never had the chance to ask them what their thoughts were when war broke out. What did they believed was worth risking death to defend? But the First World War was not an exercise in futility. The Germans were stopped. It's too often forgotten that the German commanders who pillaged and murdered and created so much havoc during the Second World War had learned their trade during the First. The populations of German-occupied France and Belgium were enslaved and starved. Hostages seized by the Germans to ensure local good behaviour were murdered. One of the greatest libraries in Europe was torched. The only things missing from equation were Death Camps. The Kaiser's Germany was a vigorous and lusty parent of Nazi Germany. The Treaty of Versailles was indeed a mistake. It was harsh enough to create resentment in Germany but not harsh enough to prevent the Germans resuming the work they had started in 1914. If you want to talk about harsh peace treaties, have a look at the one the military dictators who ran Germany imposed on the Russians in March 1918.

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Calling film buffs everywhere. In the deep dark recesses of my mind I seem to remember an old British black and white film which featured in the climactic scene a Centurion tank busting its way into a bank.  It was obviously a robbery caper and I have a feeling that the bad guys did not get away with it. Can anyone remember the name of the film and/or anything about the plot? I used to think that the film might have been called Robbery Under Arms. Then I decided that was the name of a Stanley Baker film about a gang trying to steal an army payroll around the time of the Suez Crisis. Wrong yet again, the Stanley Baker film I was thinking about is called A Prize of Arms. Anyway, without any idea of the title of the tank-in-the-bank film or what year it was made, or who was in it, I haven’t managed to get very far. I am beginning to wonder if I dreamt the whole thing and there's no such film. Anyway, if you know anything about this film, hit the comment button below and let me know.

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