The Tale of Arthur Pease

In case you missed it, Ex Bootneck commented on Arthur Pease in this post:

As a Marine I once visited my old work mates from the heavy engineering yard just before the place closed down, which inevitably led on to an afternoon-&-evening session in the local pub outside of the works gates!

I was sat among some real old and bold iron fighters who had experienced the brutalities of war first hand. As the evening wore on it was a true experience to sit and listen to them, as they never spoke of the past when I was a young apprentice working alongside them. Perhaps the ‘amber nectar’ loosened the chains a little, or the fact that I was now a connection to part of their military past that helped; either way I sat in awe of them whilst they spun their ‘back then’ war stories.

One chap in particular taught, nurtured and educated me through my apprentice journey, his name was Arthur Pease; a kindly man who spoke no ill of any one, and a man of very few words, (which makes learning a trite difficult at times when you are under instruction)

It was quite late in the evening as we (several die hards) were stood swaying at the bar (men stand, ladies sit); when Arthur looked at me and said “do they still teach you how to kill with your thumbs” I looked into his beery-teary eyes and realised he was being serious!

I replied “you mean, ‘as in go for the eyes’ and gouge them out”?

He nodded; I asked if he had been taught that “yes, at Achnacarry”.
(WW2 Commando Training camp in Scotland).

After working with him for almost four years he never once mentioned he was an ex Bootneck, even when I confided in him that I had decided to leave the engineering yard to join the Royal Marines? The light in his eyes was slowly misting over, every one appeared to be going back into what ever memories they had. I lightened the mood by saying we were now taught to kill using a finger and thumb; “the thumb flicks off the safety and the finger is wrapped around a trigger; much more effective and you can take out twenty at a time before reloading”. This raised a cheer and the order of several ‘lucky ones’ (neat double shots of rum).

I often wonder what Arthur and his ilk would think of todays warfare, in particular the way it has changed from ‘up close and very personal’ to ‘up close at times, but not so often’.

As is usual, I will post (most) sea stories. Even those that took place on land. Send ‘em if you got ‘em.