Friday, June 12, 2015

Fullbore Friday

Sometimes we forget that we are surrounded by those who served.

We hear plenty about those who did not serve, but claim they had for psychological, monetary, or professional gain - but we often miss the order of magnitude more that served yet go about their lives more or less keeping it to themselves.

Service was part of what make them what they are, but does not define them. Most had standardesque service, some exceptional - but most do keep it to themselves unless it comes out in context of a conversation.

A perfect example is the man who, after a great and full life, recently passed on to his reward; Sir Christopher Lee.

Let's go to BadAssOfTheWeek for the right vibe:
He's also a 6'5" tall world champion fencer, speaks six languages, does all of his own stunts, has participated in more on-screen sword fights than any actor in history, served for five years defending democracy from global fascism as a British Commando blowing the shit out of Nazi asses in World War II, and became the oldest person to ever record lead vocals on a heavy metal track when, at the age of 88, he wrote, performed on, and released a progressive symphonic power metal EP about the life of Charlemagne ...
...
Christopher Lee was born somewhere in England in 1922. His mother was an Italian Countess who was actually descended from the line of Charlemagne, and she was so important that she was allowed to wear the royal seal of Frederich Barbarossa and so MILF-y she had her portrait painted by something like a half-dozen famous Italian artists. One of Lee's ancestors on that side was the Papal Secretary of State who refused to attend the coronation of Napoleon and is buried in the Pantheon in Rome next to Raphael (the painter not the ninja turtle), which seems like kind of a big deal. Lee's father, meanwhile, was a distant relative of Robert E. Lee and was multi-decorated war hero who'd served as a Colonel in the 60th King's Royal Rifle Corps during World War I and the Boer War. Growing up, Lee studied Classics at Wellington College, where he was also a champion squash player, a ridiculously-badass fencer, and spent his spare time playing on the school hockey and rugby.
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... in 1939 when Christopher Lee quit his day job, caught a boat to Finland, and decided to enlist in the Finnish Army to help them fight off the Soviet invasion of Finland. Lee got geared up to kick some commie asses up and down the frozen wastes of mid-Winter Finland, but didn't see much action, returning home in 1940 to deal with a much bigger and more England-centric problem: Nazis.

Christopher Lee enlisted in the Royal Air Force in 1940, where he worked as an intelligence officer specializing in cracking German ciphers ... In North Africa he was attached to the Long Range Desert Patrol, the forerunner of the SAS, ... After working with the LRDP, Lee was assigned to the Special Operations Executive – better known as Winston Churchill's Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare – a group that did shit like lead a twelve-man assault that destroyed the German top secret nuclear weapons development facility in Norway and assist brave Eastern European partisans and rebels sabotage Nazi supply lines to prevent them from bringing reinforcements up to fight the Soviets. ... Lee doesn't talk much about his service (when pressed on the subject, he reportedly asks his interviewer, "Can you keep a secret?". When they excitedly say yes, he leans in close and says, "So can I."), but we do know that by the time he retired as a Flight Lieutenant in 1945 he'd been personally decorated for battlefield bravery by the Czech, Yugoslavian, English, and Polish governments and was good friends with Josip Broz Tito, so draw your own conclusions.
Well played, sir. Well played and well done.





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