Sunday, 8 January 2012

Proposal to The Oldie: 1

The splendid monthly The Oldie was started as a retirement project by the founder of Private Eye when he felt the time had come to pass on the editorial baton to a younger journo.

Amongst the regular features which appear within its diverting pages are articles entitled "Who was ...?" and "I once met ...". The magazine thrives, not only because many of its contributors write for it more to be appreciated by their co-pensioner peers than to seek vulgar pelf.

Subject:Proposal: I Once Met ...
Date:17 October 2011 14:06:34 GMT+01:00

Colonel Wintle, one-eyed maverick warrior ... jailed in Tower of London in 1940 for drawing revolver on senior officer in thwarted attempt to get French air force to England ... jailed in Wormwood Scrubs in 1955 for debagging a shyster solicitor ... won case (without aid of lawyers) against said shyster in 1959 in House of Lords ... chat show favourite in late fifties/early sixties (Desert Island Discs, This Is Your Life, &c &c).

Self on annual university air squadron camp in 1956 in Kent ... pub, Saturday evening ... old buffer comes up ... "Heard you chaps talking about flying: had a bit to do with RAF during war: I'm Colonel Wintle" etcetera ...  invited to his place Sunday AM ... showed us WWI tunic he was wearing when machine-gunned ... showed corresponding scars on chest.

Fast forward 55 years ... doing MA in Biography ... choose Wintle as subject of my final thesis ... read his autobiography, get his army service record ... wounded by exploding shell, not machine-gun bullets ... were scars my False Memory Syndrome? ... Wintle's record as practical joker and hoaxer ... did he produce bullet-riddled tunic as prank on impressionable young students? ... has any other reader been hoodwinked by Wintle? ... or know where his diaries and papers are now, helping quest to establish the truth about his exploits in Vichy France?

Tony Randall
Dial House, Bristle Hill, Buckingham, MK18 1EZ
01280 821388

Many thanks for your email about Colonel Wintle. Why not write him up as a "Who was …?" piece? 600 words or so. We don't commission pieces, and all depends on the Ed, so I can promise nothing.

Best of luck, Jeremy Lewis

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