The British Soldier Who Killed Nazis with a Sword and a Longbow
Above: “Mad Jack” on the far right, clutching a claymore sword. Photo via WikiCommons
The first thing the Nazi garrison on Vågsøy Island, Norway, would have heard when the British No. 3 Commando battalion landed on December 27, 1941 was the sudden blaring drone of bagpipes. One commando stood at the fore of the landing craft, facing the impending battle and playing the peppy, martial “March of the Cameron Men.” Upon coming to a halt onshore, the soldier jumped from the craft, hucked a grenade at the Germans, then drew a full sword and ran screaming into the fray.
That maniacally fierce soldier was 35-year-old Lieutenant Colonel John Malcolm Thorpe Fleming Churchill, and his stunts at this battle, known as Operation Archery, were hardly the most bizarre and semi-suicidal of his life. Over the course of World War II, “Mad Jack,” as he came to be known, survived multiple explosions, escaped a couple of POW camps, captured over 40 Germans at sword point in just one raid, and in 1940 scored the last recorded longbow kill in history. And that’s just the CliffsNotes on his wartime rap sheet.
For many war junkies and badass aficionados, Mad Jack’s exploits are the epitome of military romanticism. His recorded statements, full of swagger like, “any officer who goes into action without his sword is improperly dressed,” and, “I maintain that, as long as you tell a German loudly and clearly what to do, if you are senior to him he will cry ‘jawohl’ and get on with it enthusiastically and efficiently,” seem like the physical manifestation of some mid-century boy’s adventure tale. The Royal Norwegian Explorers Club found him such a paragon of brawn and endeavor that, in a book released this March, they named him one of the greatest adventurers of all time.
Photo via WikiCommons
Not much is known about Churchill’s youth, save that he graduated from Britain’s premier Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in 1926 and, at age 20, was shipped off to Burma, where he spent the next few years driving his motorcycle around the region. Possibly bored by a long peacetime, Churchill left the army for a period in 1936 and spent some time as a Nairobi newspaper editor, male model, and a bagpipe-playing, arrow-shooting extra in films like The Thief of Baghdad and A Yank at Oxford. By the end of the decade, he’d become so obsessed with the pipes that he took second place in a 1938 military piping competition at the Aldershot Tattoo, causing a mild scandal because an Englishman had beat out so many Scots. The next year, his archery habit landed him a place as Britain’s shooter at the World Archery Championship in Oslo.
As soon as the Nazis invaded Poland and war became imminent, though, Churchill rushed to the battlefield. The longbow came out almost immediately during the Allied retreat to Dunkirk, France, in mid 1940. He took to practicing guerilla tactics, staging raids, and earning commendations for his bravery, even surviving a clipping by machine gun fire. Then, while watching a German force advance from a tower in the little village of L’Epinette, Churchill signaled his attack by shooting a Nazi sergeant through the chest with a barbed arrow, immediately followed by a hail of bullets from two fellow infantrymen in tow.
History has shown us that, in the right circumstances, it can repeat itself.
- UKIP want to keep the ‘wrong people’ out of Britain and attack immigration laws. Who are the wrong people? What constitutes as right? Romanians and the Polish, according to Farage, were his immediate thought in this department. So, you want to get rid of the Polish, Mr Farage, why does that sound familiar?
-UKIP want to forcefully abort disabled children, destroying those who do not fit a perceived 'standard’. Why does this also sound familiar?
-UKIP have claimed that a married woman cannot be raped by her husband. So, regarding women as property and confining their voice/role/rights. Why does this sound familiar?
- UKIP candidates, according to the Guardian, ’have taken to social media sites to rail against Islam as “organised crime under religious camouflage” while likening the religion to Nazism, and suggesting that the murder of the black teenager Stephen Lawrence has received a disproportionate level of attention.’ Let me address the levels of wrong here. My first point: Us and Them mentality. Who is Us? They claim that anyone can identify as British, but they’re clearly showing only if you’re the right type of 'British’: *coughs* white. Farage’s wife is German, so, as I’ve said, the right type of 'British’. My second point: UKIP is trying to erase/ignore the injustices caused to those who fall below their perceived standard - so anyone not white and not their 'British’. Hmm, this sounds familiar. My third point is basically what I’ve been hinting at throughout this little discussion. UKIP, in regards to their comment that Islam is like Nazism (once again demonstrating that there is a right British and a wrong British), I have this to say: who smelt it dealt it.
They advertise that they are not racist on their website, which is the typical stances of any -phobe. 'I’m not racist, but *insert racist phrase here*’
I have written this to the best of my understanding on the topic and have taken from direct quotes and their manifesto. If you’d like to contradict or add, then please do so. I am fallible.
I would also like to say that UKIP does have some good policies, hence why they are a legitimate threat with appeal: -Protecting green space. -More police -Attention to council tax
However, they are, like many politicians, liars and potentially dangerous. They talk about local labour, and pay to have their leaflets made in Germany. They did not even pay their steel band, to show cultural diversity, at their 'carnival’. Admittedly, the steel band stopped playing soon after realising who had hired them.
So, there is my stance and a quick summary of why voting for UKIP is problematic. Do I believe that history can completely repeat itself? No, at least not to the same extent in this case. However, history has shown to repeat itself and I do not want to tempt fate. I also do not want to be in a country that is basically the fart of a much darker and terrifying time.
I seldom, if ever, engage in political debate, but for once I felt this was important.