Military History with Pete and Gary

No.22

During a recent trip to Ypres in Belgium, we visited the grave of Lieutenant-Colonel Bertram Best-Dunkley VC in the Mendinghem Military Cemetery. We looked him up and recalled the book At Ypres with Best-Dunkley by Second Lieutenant Thomas Hope Floyd, who served in his battalion. We urge you to read it, as it presents an amusing picture of the irascible fire-eating colonel who terrorised his officers: “He was away when I arrived. I am told it is a treat in store for me! He is simply hated. His reputation as a beast is famed. I hear he is a tyrant; nobody has a good word to say for him. I look forward to seeing this extraordinary man. He is only 27! His greeting to Verity when he arrived was, 'Who the devil are you?'”

Floyd’s first meeting was low key:

“I was very interested to see this extraordinary man of whom I had heard so much. He is small, clean-shaven, with a crooked nose and a noticeable blink. He looks harmless; but I noticed something about his eyes which did not look pleasant. He looks more than 27.

“An officer observed that he supposed there were some people who liked the Kaiser, but he was sure not a single soul liked Best-Dunkley!”

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