Monday, January 29, 2018


Life is replete with anecdotes about people ... some amusing, some serious ... two of my favorites. 

Churchill at a pre-war dinner party and in his cups was accosted by a society dowager who said "Mr Churchill, you are drunk, disgustingly drunk" to which Churchill replied "Madam, you are ugly, disgustingly ugly, and the difference between you and me is that in the morning I will be sober".

Rear Admiral Tom (thumb) Phillips and the then Air Marshal 'Bomber Harris' were good friends.   Phillips had no great appreciation of air power and believed in the invincibility of the battleship.   Early on in WW2 Harris said to Phillips "Tom, one day you will be standing on a box on your bridge (he was very short) with your ship going down having been blown to bits by dive-bombers and torpedo-bombers and you will be heard to say ... f**k, that was a very big mine".     For the record ... Admiral Phillips commanded Force Z comprising HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse and four destroyers that set sail from Singapore on 9 December 1941 to intercept the Japanese ships landing troops in Malaya.  On 10 December both capital ships were sunk off Kuantan by air power.   Phillips went down with his ship.

And another one concerning Churchill from an old friend of mine in Cambridge.      Churchill was in the carsey to be told that the Lord Privy Seal wanted to speak to him.    Churchill said "Tell him he'll have to wait ... I can only deal with one s**t at a time".

Love the hear your favorites .....


RosscoWlg said...

Yep fascinating comments or whatever but like everything they only give a limited version of the man, bit like Lord Eggbutt, Lord E, or is it lorde)

A fatefully flawed character who the Americans realised about 1943 and who Stalin had been well onto him by well before that.

A bit like Key... good front man but nothing behind that mask and it took 6 years to find out. ( Have I got a deal for you....Congolese Govt debt, great deal, includes trip to Hawawii) Clearly Churchill was above that but you count up his failings through WW1, the Depression years, and WW2 and the ledger don't look great.

Perhaps as journalist and author he was in his element but above that...way past his pay grade?

The Veteran said...

RosscoWig ... thank you but appreciate if you didn't threadjack my posts. This is about amusing anecdotes. Nothing more and nothing less.

RosscoWlg said...

I have his book of quotes and I enjoy reading them including the ones you highlighted, so apologies if I "threadjacked" your post, it was unintentional, I was just trying to add balance to a controversial figure in relatively modern history!

Perhaps you should have made it clear you didn't want comments as my crystal ball is clouded currently with NZ First/Labour machinations.

I humbly apologise and withdraw :)

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Churchill was the right man at the right time. All his mistakes and errors of judgement equipped him for the big job.. He came through with flying colours. In my opinion his greatest accomplishment was the wooing of Roosevelt who, against popular American opinion at the time, provided Britain with essential life saving support.

The story of Churchill I like most concerned his visit to Montgomery in the desert.

The two great men sat down to lunch in the general's private mess tent. The batman brought in the soup and Montgomery chided him - 'Corporal, your thumb is in the soup!'

To which the reply - "Don't worry, suh. The soup's not hot.";

Anonymous said...

This was s story I heard in the Buea Mountain Club in the '70's, I have no reason to disbelieve it.

The time was the late '50's...Up in the hills near Mamfe Cameroon was one of the last old time District commissioners who lived alone apart from a cook and a house boy in a isolated barn of house whose access road was sometimes impassable . At that time it was generally accepted that there would be a reunification between French and British Cameroon so a Parliamentary delegation was sent from London on a fact finding tour and old Jimmie, the DC, received notice of the intended visit by runner with forked stick...he was expected to entertain the delegation, which included two ladies of high birth.

This worried Jimmie as the last time he had entertained was many years ago when his wife was alive and who took care of protocol and staff training. So Jimmie started to train his houseboy by having him set the table for ten every night and when he served the soup he would move around the table and pretend to serve soup to the invisible guests and so and so forth for the rest of the courses....things were looking good.

Except for one thing, his accidental language. You see Jimmie had served in the war as submarine officer and many years deprived of female company had turned his language er, colourful. In those days there were still people appearing in court for using obscene language in a public place (NZ also) and it was a social gaff of the highest order to swear in front of ladies. with the help of his friends he developed a system of counting to three before replying to question in order to think ahead.

The dinner went extremely well with house boy gliding around laying and removing plates and conversation flowing.....except at the laying of the pudding course he just stood there with an expectant look on his face..."Why do you stand there Isaac?".. "Oh Massa I d'wait for fuck off now."

Lord Egbut

The Veteran said...

This one from colonial Malaya. In the 1920s two cadet planters arrived from England and were assigned a bungalow on the estate where they were to learn their trade. The bungalow came complete with a cook-amah, a wash-amah and a kebun (gardener).

All went well although they noticed that the sherry decanter was being drained at an alarming rate. They called the servants together and told them that if they were ever found to have imbibed sherry they would be dismissed. The sherry decanter continued to diminish. The two planters thought 'we'll fix them' ... next time the decanter needed replenishing they peed in it topping it up. It still went down. Exacerbated they called the servants together yet again. 'This drinking of the sherry must stop and stop now' they said. The wash-amah said 'Tuan, we're all Muslim, we don't drink alcohol'.

The cook-amah then piped up with 'Tuan, my old Memsahib Missy always told me to flavor the mulligatawny soup with sherry'.

Paranormal said...

Some (many) years ago there was a new high rise (for Fiji) built in Suva.

A few weeks after the building was opened, complaints started rolling in to the owners about how slow the lifts were. Being conscientious, the owners called in the engineers to solve the problem. After much research, planning, and costing, the engineers came back with the solution a few weeks later.

The conversation went something like: We can fix it but its going to cost tens of thousands of dollars, possibly hundreds of thousands to make the lifts go slightly faster.

Of course the owners were not willing to throw more money at what was already an expensive building. So the engineers said, "well there is a cheaper option...".

So the cheaper option was taken, mirrors were installed in the lifts. To the owners surprise the complaints stopped.