Category Archives: World Wars

Was P.G. Wodehouse a traitor?

PGWodehouseP.G. Wodehouse, creator of Bertie Wooster and the butler, Jeeves,  has been one of the most  popular writers of English comic fiction for decades. His books remain in print and are frequently adapted for television.

But during the Second World War he became deeply unpopular in Britain, owing to his alleged siding with the Nazis, and his work was banned from libraries and the BBC.  In 1940, he was living in Le Touquet, an enclave of Englishness on the French side of the channel complete with golf course and club. Being by all accounts extremely unworldly, Wodehouse appeared not to have noticed the outbreak of war, and the invasion of France. That is, until German troops arrived in Le Touquet and he was interned for a year (spending some of the time in an asylum for the mentally ill).

On his release he agreed to do a series of programmes on the Nazi radio station. Listening to these now, they sound like little more than dotty ramblings, and he utters no word of support for the German cause. But he did not denounce it either, so his broadcasts caused outrage in Britain.

Wodehouse himself says he agreed to do them to re-assure his fans that he was still alive, PGWodehouse.2and it is unlikely that he was a Nazi supporter (his story, Code of the Woosters, suggests he rather disapproved of Nazism). However his actions provoked an enquiry by MI5 after the war. This resulted in a decision that, whilst he could have done more to disassociate himself, he had not consciously assisted the enemy, so should not be prosecuted. The author subsequently went to live in America, where he continued to write. His reputation as a great comic writer was soon restored.

However, what is easily proved by reading his work (and is seen by some English language purists as a heinous treachery) is that he was prsonally responsible for a great number of American words and phrases entering common English usage this side of the pond:

Awol, bender, buckle down, hook line and sinker, on the blink, sitting pretty ... These words and phrases, and many more, first came to the attention of British readers via his books.

If you want to read more about American words used in Britain, a new book has been written by Matthew Engel, That’s the Way it Crumbles . If you want to read more of my work, please go to one of my Amazon Author pages: 

http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00RVO1BHO

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Prices range from £/$0 – 15.00.

Remembering war-time in Coventry

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Coventry city centre after the Blitz

Dusk on the 14th November 1940 in Coventry UK was just like any other chilly evening during the early stages of the Second World War. Then came the air-raids. Hitler had decided to blitz Coventry with bombs. He hoped to devastate the city and in doing so, break the morale of the British people. He devastated the city all right, but he soon found the Brits then were made of sterner stuff.

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The bombed cathedral

 

My short play Not Tiggerty Boo Tonight commemorates the Coventry Blitz through the eyes of a teenage girl who set off for the cinema that night, only for the cinema to be bombed. The play is being read at one of the theatres in Coventry on Friday 11th November (Armistice Day).

Also being read is a short play, Dancing Cheek to Cheek, which gives a picture of the life of ordinary people in 1939. They were still feeling the effects the First World War whilst harbouring a growing expectation of another war.

So, if you’re in Coventry, and have the time, why not pop along to the Criterion Theatre, Earlsdon, Coventry? The plays start at 7.30pm, with the bar open from 7pm. Free admission.

If you can’t make it, but would like a copy of either script, you are welcome to send me a personal message, giving your email address, via Facebook: 

facebook.com/pages/Margaret-Egrot/1374506486178952

Brief details of these two plays, and others, appear on another page on this blog, as does information about my published stories and novels.                                                                                   Look out for bargains! The anthology Festive Treats which contains a story I wrote (Mary’s Christmas) is currently free. The YA novel, Girl Friends, will be free to download on the 15th and 16th of November, and the YA novel, And Alex Still Has Acne, will be free to download on the 6th and 7th of December. All excellent virtual stocking fillers!!!

http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B00RVO1BHO

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00RVO1BHO