Saturday, 2 July 2016

Mr Kipling Under Fire.


It is a little known fact that the author and poet Rudyard Kipling was a war correspondent and  wrote dispatches for The Times Illustrated during 'The Great Patio War' . Unfortunately his book on the subject - 'Despatches from the Patio' was NOT well received by the establishment or the public as he was very critical at times of 'Army Red' with whom he was attached and is almost impossible to find a copy now , in fact he almost gave up being a writer and was going to join the family run cake manufacturing business. Recently I was lucky enough to come across several photos of Kipling with  a 'Red Army' gun and crew whilst I was visiting a local postcard fair. These were taken I think using a 'Box Brownie' camera and are remarkable as they show  the course of the action which followed . I consulted the diary of Lt. Mackison* . (which of course is a well know book on the artillery in the war) and he recounts " today whilst at gun drill a correspondent of the yellow press arrived to watch us at practise"  He then recounts how they came under fire from a masked 'Black Army' gun !.


He continues - " a shell burst just above our gun and wounded Gunner Wilson" The second photo shows this happening (I believer this photo to have been 'improved' in the printing process ie. the addition of the word 'BANG' by the explosion)


Lt. Mackison then recounts - " without any hesitation the correspondent took the position of the wounded No.2 and manned the gun with great bravery!" They returned fire and a direct hit knocked out the hidden 'Black Army' gun ! . The third photo shows Kipling manning the gun as a stretcher party carries the wounded gunner away . Again it seem that the photo has been altered , with KABOOM added during the printing . So what credence can be given to these photos ? without the evidence of the diary of Lt. Mackison I would have said they were fake - the identity of 'the correspondent' has always been a mystery but I think we can now link it with Rudyard Kipling . There remains the possibility that the photos were later 'staged' to portray the incident , but Lt Mackison makes no mention of this - so we are left with the possibility of a rare sequence of 'action' photographs , I believe the photos were destined for Kipling's book but were not included due to a limited print run . I have presented my findings to Prof. Dobson an authority on the conflict and of course in his usual blustering way he has poo poohed them ! (I think jealousy of my find may colour his judgement!) . I leave it for the reader to use his own mind up  ! .
* With The Guns To The Patio The Diary Of Lt. Mackison  published by Almark 1972





18 comments:

  1. I think Pen & Sword did a reprint?

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    1. Yes I believe they did, though some of the original photos were missing from their edition, Tony

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  2. They are "Exceedingly Good" pictures.

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    1. The quality is remarkable isn't it !? ,Tony

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  3. Blimey - I can hardly believe me mince pies!

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  4. Superb - that Kipling was some chap - I read all the Famous Five books as a kid - he was never the same after he did that deal with Disney.

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  5. Interesting Tony- most mysterious though. Beaut snap shots! KEV.

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  6. Nicely done; explosive special effects

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    1. The wonder of the computer age , Tony

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  7. Is it possible that this incident occurred slightly after lunch and that a rather large gin punch had been consumed thus ..mhmm bracing.. the various gentlemen corespondents and onlookers? Not to suggest that his abandonment of neutrality was not inspired by true enthusiasm.

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    1. What drinking when the sun was still above the horizon !!!? , surely not ! , Tony

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