I know you should never read Amazon reviews of your books, but I gave way to temptation. The latest review reads as follows:
“I learned quite a bit I didn’t know before but the validity of much of it has to be called into question by the author’s description of Les’s time in the army.
He states that Dawson played the piano for the officers mess on ‘Cambrai Day’ because it was such an important day for a tank regiment like the Queen’s Dragoon Guards and that it is celebrated by all tank regiments.
Sorry to inform you Mr Barfe but the Queen’s Dragoon Guards are not, and never have been a tank regiment. They’re an armoured cavalry unit, which means that they were trotting along on horses during the Battle of Cambrai and didn’t switch to tanks until circa 1939, that of course was before the 1st King’s Dragoon Guards and the 2nd Dragoon Guards (Queen’s Bays) amalgamated in 1959 to form the Queen’s Dragoon Guards. You could’ve found that out on Wikipedia.
Only the Royal Tank Regiment celebrate Cambrai Day – because they’re a ‘tank regiment’.”
I’ve just consulted both my book and Dawson’s own first volume of autobiography, because it’s been a while. At no point do I refer to the ‘Queen’s Dragoon Guards’. I refer, correctly, to the ‘Queen’s Bays (2nd Dragoon Guards)’. Also, at no point do I call them a ‘tank regiment’, even though, by my reviewer’s admission, they started using tanks in 1939. I merely refer to Cambrai Day marking the anniversary of the first use of tanks in battle. In fact, show, don’t tell. Here are the relevant passages, as they appear in the book.
“After the six-week training period, Dawson went to Dale
Barracks near Chester to join the Queen’s Bays (2nd Dragoon Guards)
as a trooper…One day, at a loose end, he sat at a mess piano
and began to pick out tunes by ear. Soon he was proficient enough to
entertain his associates. The talent came into its own on Cambrai Day,
celebrated in tank regiments on 20 November each year to mark the
Battle of Cambrai in 1917, the first time that tanks were used seriously
in warfare. It was Cambrai Day 1950 when Dawson was hauled into the
officers’ mess at Fallingbostel and instructed to play drinking songs
for the officers. His playing passed muster and ‘from then on…life
became quite tolerable’.”
Honestly, if you’re going to be a pissy fucking pedant, at least get the fucking thing right.