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PostOld Harrovians Visit Western Front (Nigel Jones, UK, 10/01/12 3:49 pm)
Knowing of JE's interest in the Great War, I thought I'd report on a weekend tour of the Western Front I just made, guiding a party of Old Harrovians (Old Boys of Churchill's school--and the alma mater of characters as diverse as Byron, Nehru, various Arab kings, various Prime Ministers apart from Churchill [including Peel, Palmerston and Baldwin], and of course the son of Bo Xilai).
Regarding the latter, incidentally, several Old Harrovians (OHs) confided to me that the reason the victim in the Bo scandal, Harrovian Neil Heywood, got killed was that he threatened to blow the lid on money laundering schemes carried out, not just by Bo but by the entire Communist Party leadership, so he really had to go. The figure mentioned that he had allegedly managed to squirrel away abroad for them was £800m (Roughly $1,000,000,000). I wonder what the Great Helmsman would have made of what his descendants had done with his legacy!
The tour itself was conducted--most untypically--in bright sunshine and azur skies. We toured Ypres, Ploegsteert wood (where Churchill was stationed during his six months commanding a battalion in the trenches), the Somme, Cambrai (where we saw an excavated British tank Deborah), and finally Le Cateau, where the war began and ended, because the 1914 battle there was commanded by an OH General, Smith-Dorrien.
Our tour guests were a mixed bunch (couple of bankers, couple of lawyers, and an Inner London cop and a few wives brought along for the ride), but all intensely proud of the old school, to the extent of them standing up around the hotel table in Arras and treating us to a medley of the old school songs!
JE comments: I've said it before, but someday I hope to tour the Western Front with Nigel Jones. If we go to Ypres, I'll expect rain.
Louisiana High School (Missouri) is no Harrow, but it's calling its Old Boys (and Girls) home. I'll be traveling to Missouri next Saturday, for my 30th HS reunion.