I was listening to a radio version of Dad's Army recently, which questioned how Captain Mainwaring had actually become a 'Captain', and it reminded me of my own father (who slightly resembled Mainwaring).
Father didn't really talk much about his activities during the war, but I think he was in The Home Guard, and was also a Special Constable. However, towards the end of the war he (who had studied Accountancy to a certain level) was commandeered to find the source of some quite serious fraud that was going on at a couple of nearby Army transit camps.
When he was interviewed for the job, the (Surrey Light Infantry?) officer amusingly asked him what rank he thought he should be given; Private or Captain? Father suggested that being a public school man, it would give him more kudos if he was a Captain; so 'Captain' he became.
I have no idea if this was ever actually made official, or written down anywhere; I suspect NOT, as he didn't wear a uniform, but when he visited the camps to inspect the books, he was apparently told to introduce himself as Captain 'Magnon'.
He very quickly found where the fraud was taking place, and a couple of Officers were eventually court marshalled. His job was done, and father returned to being plain Mister again.
He had been a quasi-Captain for about two weeks (?). My father told me this story just a few months before he died, otherwise I would never have known. I do vaguely remember him telling me about his role in fraud-busting, but not the bit about his rank.
p.s. I have always found his story a bit baffling, but just recently I learned that BBC War Correspondents were also given the honorary rank of Captain, so I'm now convinced that his story was absolutely true. He seemed to find the episode quite comical, but maybe that was the whiskey colouring his tale.
In Tenerife one of our neighbours, who only came over for the winter, called himself Colonel (can't remember his surname now). He didn't look like a fighting man, being quite short and stout. Rather like Mainwaring, actually.ReplyDelete
We had a neighbour who insisted on being addressed as 'Colonel'. In fact he'd been a Lt Colonel.Delete
It's court martial. The hearing is held by a Courts Martial. You can even hyphenate it should you feel the need.ReplyDelete
I'll leave my poor speling; I should have known beter.Delete
Ravilious was given the rank of Captain in the Royal Marines. Rank gave the war artists access to observe without having to explain themselves.ReplyDelete
Yes, war artists were another group with honorary ranks. It helps!Delete
Very important work. The stories of WWII are rapidly fading.ReplyDelete
My late father didn't have much to tell. He didn't do any fighting.Delete
I've listened to those BBC Radio 'Dad's Army' programs so many times I almost have them memorized. Great entertainment by a fantastic company of actors. Wish they had made more.ReplyDelete
They were all based on the TV originals, but great fun.Delete
What a wonderful story to have! I always wonder how embezzlers think they are going to escape for the long term. We just had a woman here, a notary, who has embezzled for years, nearly a million dollars from multiple people, including the state. It took one victim to say, 'hey...something is going on. The investigation began and the house are cards fell in on itself very quickly.ReplyDelete
I believe the fraud was glaringly obvious, and my father solved the mystery in very short time.Delete
We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills and in the accountancy offices and we shall never surrender!ReplyDelete
He wasn't one who was sent off to fight the enemy then. Lucky him.ReplyDelete
Very lucky. I don't think he'd have been very good at it either.Delete