Saturday, 20 July 2013

Arnie, Kirk and Chitral Charlie

A mixed but welcome bag of goodies

Today has seen a few new additions to the collection (using up some spare Father's Day change) - a pair of Blu-Rays and a rather intriguing book. The two films I picked up from Sainsburys came from their two for £10 selection. There are some others of interest in the range that have been secreted away by SWMBO and my daughter from my birthday and Christmas so that will be something to look forward to.

Spartacus needs no introduction and I have owned this film on VHS and DVD but wanted the Blu-Ray version for the sheer spectacle of massed extras - none of this CGI created stuff - in high definition. I have always found the story of Spartacus to be an interesting one and have several books on the subject. It may be something I game in due course using my Command and Colours Ancient collection but that will be one for the future.

Predator I really enjoyed and in my opinion was one of Arnie's better films. Besides, any film featuring Jesse Ventura with a minigun has to be worth watching!

Chitral Charlie - the Rise and Fall of Major General Charles Townshend by N.S. Nash (Pen and Sword ISBN 978 1 84884 276 2) traces the career and controversy surrounding the commander in charge of the Imperial forces that surrendered to the Turks at Kut in 1916. The book is subtitled The Life and Times of a Victorian Soldier and The Slow Rise and Swift Fall of Major General Charles Townshend KCB DSO which is probably a fair assessment of his career.

I have a weakness for what I call 'the human side of history' or rather the human side of those historical figures we read about when we study our campaigns and battles. In this case my interest is around what made him act the way he did during the Kut episode, more especially during the aftermath. All that was good about his previous career was undone by his behaviour and apparent indifference to the fate of his men during the siege and after and so I was pleased to finally have a biography of the man to try and understand why he did what he did.

It is a sad fact of military life that soldier's lives are often the price paid for the failings or shortcomings of their commander.


Geordie an Exiled FoG said...

I'll have to read up on the WWI Kut affair, shades of Singapore?

David Crook said...

Hi Geordie,

I do not know enough about Singapore (other than the outcome) to make a comparison but will let you know!

All the best,