Friday, June 27, 2008

I am no military historian but

I know Bernard Freyberg has been criticized strongly
by military historians for the bombing of the Cassino
monastery in Italy during the Second World War,
but otherwise I thought he had a pretty good rep. Not
so, according to veteran British journalist Max Hastings;
at least not in the Italian campaign. Reviewing a new
book called The Day of Battle in the New York Review
of Books (April 3, 2008), Hastings writes of Freyberg:
"He exemplified a key principle about command
appointments: any man possessed of the suicidal courage
to win a VC [which Freyberg did in the First World War] unlikely to possess the judgment or imagination to
make much of a general." Urk. Hastings also attributes
to Sir Bernard, as he later became, the nickname of
"Spadger," which I must say I've never heard before: can
anyone throw light on this? Without, that is, labouring
the point that the word has acquired a more recent new
meaning in Australia for an intimate body part entirely
unconnected with military judgment or valour.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Spadger" is an old English nickname for a sparrow. Quite widely used.