The Curmudgeon


Saturday, July 29, 2017

Some Recyclable Corner of a Foreign Field

Dignitaries both British and lesser, as well as a few necessary indignitaries like Theresa May, are set to commemorate the Britishness of the 320,000 more or less significant casualties at the Third Battle of Ypres. A monumental triumph of military Britishness, the British advance commenced with a British artillery bombardment which reduced the local drainage systems to a gloriously unregulated British standard of hygiene and produced a vast landscape of British humour in which thousands simply drowned and in which, perhaps most shockingly of all, even the horses were not spared. Naturally, since the operation was a British one, these practicalities had not been anticipated, let alone planned for; but five miles of territory were gained and the British (for those who came in late) eventually won the war, so it all turned out fine in the end. In a superb access of British good taste, the Royal British Legion has had some of the battlefield mud turned into commemorative pins for the guests to wear at the rah-rah, while they listen to extracts from soldiers' diaries and other works of popular entertainment. It is unclear whether any of the mud so used was analysed for human remains, in order that the relative Britishness of the pins could be taken into account when assessing their future market value.


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