Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Spike Milligan's War Memoirs - The Best Account You'll Ever Read About World War 2

Spike Milligan was one of Britain's comedy greats. Like many young men of his time, he served in the armed forces, in Spike's case it was the Royal Artillery. He was a trained wireless operator, relaying orders to gun batteries. Luckily for his fans (and I am one) he wrote down most of his experiences in diaries which were eventually published with added humour. I think they are the best war memoirs I have ever read, and I have read quite a few, including those of Hans Von Luck and Pat Reid. What makes them unique is that they are the memoirs of an ordinary soldier, in the front line. The craic between Spike and his mates is hilarious, what ordinary soldiers in the war were thinking about also comes across well. A dry bed, hot food, a good night's rest peace and quiet. Spike also writes about his superiors, some were good, some not.  Spikes front line experiences came to an abrupt end when he had to advance through a shallow trench in full view of a German mortar crew. The subsequent mortaring and previous shelling when some of his comrades were killed and wounded was too much for him, and he suffered shell shock.

Anyway, I can't recommend his memoirs enough, if you want a book to cheer you up then these memoirs are ideal.