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July 2009
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Alan Tyers: Andrew Strauss Addresses The Troops At Ypres

July 2nd, 2009 by Alan Tyers in Alan Tyers, England, The Ashes

Right then you fellows, gather round.

Freddie, if you could just put that cask of beer down please. I don’t care if it was brewed by special Trappist monks, Freddie, just put it down over there. Yes, and the monk too. Let him down off your shoulders, please. You can play with him later if you both promise to be quiet.

Now chaps, we’re here in Ypres to remember our ancestors and how bravely they fought in World War One in order that we could enjoy freedoms that we…

…Freedoms which do not, Ravi Bopara, include listening to an iPod during an important memorial and team-bonding session. Bring it here. I don’t care if it is Oxide And Neutrino’s New Grime Dubstep, Ravi, it’s just simply not on. The same goes for you, KP. You must have listened to that ‘My Story: The Life of KP’ audio book a hundred times this summer.

As I was saying, they fought so we can enjoy the freedoms we enjoy today. So can anyone tell me who  the battle of Ypres was between? Anyone?

No, good try there Jimmy, but the Rebel Alliance and the Evil Empire were actually in the film Star Wars. You remember how we talked about some things being true and some being made-up stories?

Yes, a bit like when we say “Ooh you’ve got him guessing there Monty boy” to Monty, well done Priory, very droll, but there’s no need to shout quite so loud.

So can anyone tell me who fought the battle of Ypres? Anyone? Anyone who isn’t Unofficial Vice Captain Cook? No?

Yes, that’s right Unofficial Vice Captain Cook, it was indeed the Allied Forces comprising Britain, Belgium, France and Canada against the German Empire. Now, as it happens, an ancestor of mine, Great Grandfather Roderick Froqhuart-Strauss, was a Subaltern of the King’s Own Huzzahs at the Battle Of Ypres. He was only 14, and he was put in charge of over 500 men. Well, of course, there weren’t 500 of them for very long, ha ha, but anyway I’ve got one of his letters here and I’d like to read a bit out to you chaps.

Dearest Mama,

It is absolutely beastly here, we are losing over a thousand men an hour but we are trying to take the positives from the situation and do the simple things well. I had to shoot a chap the other day for bayoneting his own hand in a ploy to get sent back to Blighty. The CO made me write to Sapper Harmison’s family personally. The enemy have got a fearsome battery trained upon us, and there is one absolute brute who keeps hurling shells at us left-handed. I decided that the time had come for a heroic sacrifice, I mean counter-attack, and sent Rifleman Collingwood over the top to go and sort the blighter out but unfortunately he didn’t last much more than two seconds. On the other hand, that Victoria Sponge you sent was simply marvellous.

Your loving son,


Stirring stuff as I am sure you chaps will agree, and what better preparation for the summer ahead than a few hours to reflect at a site were the English were absolutely slaughtered by Johnny Foreigner.

As Carrier Pigeoned to Alan Tyers

Posted in Alan Tyers, England, The Ashes |

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