Adolf Hitler: My Part in his Downfall (War Memoirs Vol. 1) by Spike Milligan

By Spike Milligan

'At Victoria station the R.T.O. gave me a trip warrant, a white feather and an image of Hitler marked 'This is your enemy'. I searched each compartment, yet he wasn't at the train'. Spike Milligan's at the march, blitzing pal and foe alike along with his uproarious reminiscences of military existence from enlistment to the touchdown at Algiers in 1943. Bathos, pathos and gales of drunken laughter, and insane army goonery explode in superlative Milliganese.

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Still, soon we’d be doing it back to them, on a scale never before imagined. For the love of me I couldn’t get the feeling that I was part of this. Killing of civilians was an outrage I couldn’t swallow on any basis, on any side. In the end there were no sides. Just living and dead. Next morning we got confirmation of the raid. I managed to get through to my father at his office in Fleet Street and he told me all was well with the family. He was a fire warden on top of the Associated Press building and had seen the whole of what looked like St Paul’s on fire.

It was the start of a lifelong friendship. Harry played the piano. Self taught. He delighted me with some tunes he had composed. He couldn’t read music, and favoured two keys, F sharp and C sharp! I. I taught him the names of various chords and he was soon playing in keys that made life easier for me. He was game for a ‘Jam’ any time. And of course, start to hum any tune and Harry would be in with the harmony, and spot on. It helped life a lot to have him around. One day, with nothing but money in mind, I suggested to Harry we try and form a band.

But the most unbelievable ‘act’ was Gunner ‘Plunger’ Bailey, who did an entire twenty minute act with his genitals. It was done on a very professional basis. After lights out a gunner would use a torch as a spot light, which lit the ‘artiste’s’ genitals: the third member of the ‘act’, Bill Hall, sang ‘Bird Song at Eventide as the star manipulated his genitals to resemble ‘Sausage on a Plate’, ‘The Last Turkey in the Shop’, ‘Sack of Flour’, ‘The Roaring of the Lions’, and by using spectacles ‘Groucho Marx’.

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