27 NOVEMBER 1959, Page 14


SIR,—How does the legend grow? On page 30 of Mr. Lampe's Pyke the ,Unknown Genius I find: An assembly of public schoolboys listened

intently as Geoffrey told them about his es- periences in Germany . . . 'he paused before drawling out his conclusion 'When things were at their worst' in Germany I was never so com- pletely miserable as here in Wellington.'

He didn't. I recall that lecture very well and also one sly dig at Wellington. When 1 was being taught French by an Englishman who didn't know French or a Frenchman who didn't know English I went oil into thoughts of something more worth while, I was 'in the Surrey lanes. I did the same at Ruhlebc.n. dreamed myself away in cruises off the coast of Norway. The entirely fictional conclusion is probably based on this, the nearest that he came to it, the only time that he referred to Wellington at all

I have also, sir, been told that on the Siam railway of death one prisoner told another,.'This is hell.' To which the answer was, 'But not so bad as . . . Stowe, Marlborough, Rugby.'

Each of the three occasions cited a different school according to each teller of the tale.

How fiction does go down as history! And in- cidentally how many know that neither Wilhelm nor any 'other German ever referred to a. 'con- temptible British Army'?—Yours faithfully,