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The demolition of Christopher Lee

Community Veteran
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Registered: 30-08-2007

The demolition of Christopher Lee

The guy is hardly cold as the historians begin to demolish his wartime reputation:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3165860/How-film-legend-Christopher-Lee-heroic-war-record-cl...
I am not for one minute suggesting there is no truth in the allegations, in fact the detail is compelling that Lee was less than honest about his military record.
But couldn't it wait a decent period before this sort of thing is publicised. This is not in the same category as Saville or other similar investigations, Lee has simply fantasised somewhat possibly to the point where he came to believe his own lies.
I have personal knowledge of this; my own father spent most of WW2 as a PoW in Germany. many years after repatriation he began to style himself surname MM (Military Medal) a high ranking award. I was too young to realise this, but my mother disapproved to the point of serious arguments.
When twin brother and I joined the Air Training Corps our dad a while later volunteered to join the same squadron with the rank of WO1. He purchased a chestful of medals from a local second-hand/junk shop claiming them for himself, two of which were India Stars, a place dad never visited. He wore these medals on public ATC parades with great pride, which led to even more bad feeling with Mum.
I only found out about this much later when I worked with a keen medal collector and researcher, mentioning dad's alleged MM he went off and researched it. He told me later that there was no record of anyone of my dads name ever being presented with an MM.
Even later after dad died I mentioned this to my ageing Mum, who broke down and told me the whole sordid story and how ashamed she was whenever dad went out with the medals on.
Its not something I'm particularly proud of and never spoken about it before. But it shows its not only the famous who lean to fantasising about their past.
Experience; is something you gain, just after you needed it most.

When faced with two choices, simply toss a coin. It works not because it settles the question for you. But because in that brief moment while the coin is in the air. You suddenly know what you are hoping for.
5 REPLIES
cyrilclark1
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Re: The demolition of Christopher Lee

Thanks for sharing that Petlew -  no-one else has yet responded so I thought I would.
Where was your father captured and was he a professional soldier?
After all those years spent as a PoW your father would have returned to Britain with very confused feelings. A PoW camp was a comparatively 'safe' place to live out the war but I guess those feelings of safety would have been tinged with the guilt that he had been captured and that others were now fighting the war for him.
A work colleague once told me that during his years spent as a PoW his greatest problem was dealing with the incessant boredom.  I suppose that is when fantasies start to become reality.
As you and your brother grew older your father would have wanted you to feel proud of him. Your joining the ATC and perhaps being among some other medal winners would have strengthened that need and of course, once the lie had been told it needed to be continued and built on.
I am sure your father wasn't a bad man but just another victim of war.
Cheers.

 
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Re: The demolition of Christopher Lee

@cyrilclark1,
That's a very sensitive and accurate response to petlew's post.
A number of soldiers who survived the war find it hard to talk about their personal experiences even though we are talking about events that took place over 70 years ago, and when talking about it the upset it causes them is clearly visible.
I doubt any group of men could be as close to each other when fighting an enemy and your life depends on both your actions and the actions of your mates.
I feel sure some have felt guilty at having survived or felt they could have done more, each person as an individual will deal with it in their own way.
As a result of recent conflicts some soldiers find it difficult to cope once discharged and sadly take to drink & become homeless.
nanotm
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Re: The demolition of Christopher Lee

the hatchet job in the paper is strange for a number of reasons, the primary one being as an Intel officer who was recorded as being attached to the various units he claimed to have been with in the time periods he mentioned its highly likely that his reluctance to talk about any of it is indeed down to the official secrets act (which didn't or doesn't cover many of the operators within those units) that he mentioned working with /for various other special groups is entirely possible that he was despite not being a member of those units or groups, and as a sneaky beaky its also likely that he wouldn't of been added to official unit diaries so as not to expose him should they be captured and he remain undetected doing his job.
such things far from being abnormal were/are considered good practice, and to slag someone off because some youngster who wasn't even borne at the time claims it does not seem feasible is entirely spurious given there are many apparently similar scenarios that are recorded fact (with photo's and everything) also without MOD records existing to corroborate them.
as to people enhancing the truth surrounding their service, its entirely normal for people to feel it necessary, hundreds of thousands of people tell tales that don't relate to themselves directly in such a fashion as to be understood to be talking about something they had gone through, it was and still is common for those who survived such things to gain medals they didn't earn and wear them with pride as they remember fallen comrades who did earn them, it was such a problem at one stage to require an edict to specifically allow it that was later rescinded unless they were a blood relative (and then you had to wear them on the wrong side).
I wouldn't ever belittle anyone who wore a uniform in service to the country no matter what tales of daring do they told, even if it was blatantly obvious they couldn't possibly have taken part, someone did and someone remembers it that's what matter most!
just because your paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you
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Registered: 06-11-2007

Re: The demolition of Christopher Lee

I still don`t know what I got a medal for........
Probably for being in the right place, at the right time... for the right amount of time...
I only wore it once, on parade. I never did sew the "bar of ribbon" on my uniform, so the officers did not know I should have been wearing the medal...
nanotm
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Re: The demolition of Christopher Lee

I got a couple like that and missed out on a few because of records being different from what happened.....
just because your paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you