Why do soldiers keep fighting?


“I want to make sure…that you know how I feel about it, so that if anything happens you will not upset yourself too much. There are a crowd of us who have been in tanks all the time since we came here and at different times we could all have had easy jobs on transport but not one has ever taken it. I know why I have not and I suppose the others think the same. It is because of John and Stanley and all the others who have gone, it is a trust we have left and if I stopped now and skulked around until the end I would never hold my head up again and I have a feeling you [would] be ashamed of me a bit too. It seems a long time to keep going but we must otherwise we shall be letting them all down and they will have died for nothing…I am a tank commander, I have told you before I think. I’ve been one for a while and I shall continue to be one until the end. What the end will be I don’t know, and who am I to say, but if it should be the wrong one don’t worry. I’ve played the game as it seemed to me the right way to play it. I have respected the women and given my rations to the little children because they were hungry and I’ve shot the Germans down and laughed because of John and Stanley and in any case they started it.”

Extract from a letter by Jake Wardrop, 5th RTR to his mother. Quoted in Mark Urban‘s The Tank War, the WW2 story of the 5th Royal Tank Regiment told from the perspective of its soldiers.

Joe Abercrombie

It’s time I added to the Heroes. Who better to start with than the author of The Heroes?

Joe Abercrombie writes action packed fantasy that is clever, entertaining, and brutal. His characters are memorable masterpieces.

I recommend you start with The Blade Itself (book 1 of the First Law Trilogy). You will not regret it.

Joe’s website is here.

Good guide

From the current issue (1318) of Private Eye:

“Politicians and journalists are always going to mix informally, as well as formally…The guiding principle should be one I applied during my time as a journalist, told to me when I was a financial writer in the 1970s well before the days of FSA regulation. It was described as the Private Eye test: can you defend what you have said or done if it appeared in Private Eye, not that private contacts or conversations should appear in Private Eye, but could you defend yourself if they did. This always seemed to be me [to be to me] a good and workable guide.”

Witness statement to the Leveson inquiry from Peter Riddell, former political editor of the Times. The square bracketed editorial correction is mine.

Although this is Private Eye patting itself on the back, it’s well entitled to do so given the excellent investigative journalism it continues to practice. Long may this heroic work continue.


I fell in love with the music of Sparks (Ron and Russell Mael) the minute I saw and heard them on the legendary BBC show Top of the Pops in 1974, performing This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us. Almost 40 years later, I still love their music and regularly listen to it. Why? Continue reading