Men fight for their ‘mates’ — it is the secret of why they so love war

One of the nicest, gentlest fellows I’ve ever met is a man named Mike Dauncey. He’s so terribly polite that he can’t bring himself to swear even in extremis and if you had to guess what he did before he retired, you’d probably say ‘country parson’. In fact, though, Brigadier Mike Dauncey DSO is a bona fide war hero, known as the ‘sixth Arnhem VC’. Only five were in fact awarded at the battle. Mike was put up for the sixth, only to have the letters ‘VC’ crossed out on his citation and amended to ‘DSO’ by one BLM (that’ll be Bernard Law Montgomery) who felt that, heroism or no heroism, five VCs were quite enough for one debacle.

When you learn what Mike did as a young lieutenant, though, you’re left in little doubt he deserved better.

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