Tag Archives: Operation Market Garden

Off to Berlin, again

I am off to Berlin, again! I know it’s incredible for a Cat to visit the capital of a nation that he doesn’t particularly like so often, but the more I tell the Germans and in particular Berliners that I dislike them the more they ask me back!

Is there a cunning plan here? I wonder if they are trying to win me over by paying for my visits with luxury travel and five star hotels? Or are they just trying to wear me down? Who can tell what is behind those honest blue eyes under that pure blonde hair, I can’t for one, but that is mainly because the buggers are so tall I can’t look into their blue eyes pure or not!


So here I go for another four days of noisy Berliners I know it won’t be fun. The worst thing about Berlin frankly is not the place it’s the lifts (elevators to some), the lifts are, I have to say here, very much like lifts all around the world, some have scary glass sides, some are dark places with mood music for murderers and most, if not all, of the lifts in Berlin are filed to the brim with large tubby female Germans in their late teens and twenties making the sort of noise that if it came out of an aeroplane would ensure that it never flew again.

Here I was going to ramble on about Berlin and complain a lot, but I think that in the above two paragraphs you my dear cuddly readers can see my point! So instead of a tirade I thought that I would tell you about a little known fact, I heard from a reliable source, yes ok it was my good friend Ginger who’s reliability does occasionally come in to question on an hourly basis! But here it is anyway

Apparently there is a rogue British soldier whose shadowy presence haunts the people of Berlin (which thinking about it is probably the reason they are so loud), who doesn’t know that the war is over.

Private Tommy Strand fought his way from the Normandy Beaches to Berlin in the WWII. Now the fact that there were any nations other than the Americans fighting at Normandy may come as a surprise to people who only watch Band of Brothers or any Spielberg movie including the one whose name I can’t remember at the moment but had the name ‘Ryan’ in the title I think.

British at Normandy

Anyway, Tommy Strand always seemed to be part of the next ‘big push’ and the only break the poor devil caught was that he wasn’t part of Operation Market Garden the peabrain plan of the idiot general known as Mad Monty.

Instead of landing in Arnhem and becoming a prisoner of war Private Strand marched and fought his way to the heart of Germany and the capital, which is Berlin for those of you who are only scan reading this blog.

As you can imagine along the way many of the soldiers who fought and forced their way into Hitler’s front garden were affected, millions lost their friends, hundreds of thousands lost their lives, many sadly lost their minds and when the fighting stopped and the Germans almost to a man and woman decided that Hitler’s ideas were not so bloody clever and they had only been following orders anyway it was difficult for the occupying soldiers to adjust.

For poor demented Private Strand it was more than difficult, it was impossible and with his gun of the same name strapped to his back (no not a Strand Gun, a Tommy Gun duh!) and a weeks forth of Corned Beef sandwiches Tommy Strand went native which because Berlin was completely flattened was in effect ‘underground.’

For years Tommy Strand haunted the occupying armies and defeated Berliners by firing his machine gun at night, stealing cigarettes, Beer and Corned Beef sandwiches from the NAAFI which is a sort of trading organisation for the British Forces that not only feeds soldiers but also sells them cheap cigarettes and booze at rates so attractive that it almost encourages lung cancer and alcoholism and of course alcohol and cigarettes are two things that can get a soldier into trouble is they are caught using them on duty.

At first the British Army working with members of the local police, retired SS Officers and others, who were not lucky enough to be Rocket Scientists and were stranded in Berlin, searched for Tommy but the searches only turned up chewed crusts from Corned Beef sandwiches and empty Beer bottles.

It was as if Tommy Strand had become a ghost and would, because of his cleverness at not being found, become something worse a legend and so to avoid embarrassment it was decided in Whitehall and Downing Street that Private Tommy Strand would just simply have to disappear and be ‘unremembered’ a technique which had been learned from the British Allies across the Rhine.

And so in the late summer of 1945 it was decided that Private Tommy Strand should be ‘disappeared’ from memory and any official documents, but never from the nighttime in Berlin nor as the scourge of NAAFI, nor from the mind of some of his superiors who secretly and unofficially continue searching for Tommy, one of the reasons that there are still military bases in Germany, I am afraid I can’t tell you the ‘other’ reasons.

NAAFI Stores

From time to time a clever photographer would catch sight and if he was lucky ‘snap’ Tommy Strand in the daylight, on a Corned Beef sandwich run. You would think that a soldier dressed in antique battle dress carrying a similarly antique machine gun would be easy to spot but you have to remember Tommy was clever and not spotted or as the British Army discovered easily found either and of course these were simpler times as were the people, they believed Churchill after all, to say nothing of the other chap with the moustache of course.

Below is the last know picture of Private Tommy Strand in front of the Brandenburg Gate in the spring of 1963. It is believed that soon after this picture was taken Tommy ran out of bullets for his treasured and ever so noisy machine gun and worse the British Army no longer kept stores of that calibre in their ammunition dump under the old Reich Chancellery – oops I may have said too much there!

Soldier in Berlin

The picture below which was recently declassified shows British Military Police searching for Tommy in 1989. It wasn’t long after this picture was taken that the search officially petered out, many said that the reason for the search being called off was that Tommy was just to wily, too clever for the searchers, as one Major said “I admire Private Tommy Strand in a way, you know, clever bugger, bloody clever, he probably has a very big hideout somewhere, I admire that too! Oh is that the time, must dash Tea in the officers mess in five!”

Military Police searching

Others believe that because of the thaw in relations with the Soviet Empire and the fall of the Berlin Wall, which increased the search area enormously, the military simply lost interest in finding their errant private, who if he had stayed in the military and taken advantages of the comprehensive training and various education packages available could have rise through the ranks.

As a Colonel (who wished remain anonymous) said.

“If Private Strand had stayed in the Army and not gone awol by now he may well have been a General and in charge of the search for himself, err himself. Mind you he would be 74 today and that is a bit old even for a General!”

Now I bet you didn’t know that did you!

About the Author

The Cat Portrait2

The Cat is one of the most successful feline authors in the history of Catkind. His sharp elegant wit has produced the bestselling book ‘Getting Out – Excerpts from a Cat’s Diary’ and of course the much plagiarised gag of the same name which appears on all of the funniest joke sites on the internet.

Copies of the Cat’s masterpiece of feline literature ‘Getting Out – Excerpts from a Cat’s Diary’ and his latest wonderful book ‘The Cat’s Travelogue’ can be purchased at a bookstore near you or from the internet at Amazon.com and here for the Travelogue The Cat’s Travelogue Paperback Edition or at what The Cat calls his www – wickedly wonderful website here www.thecatsdiary.com where you can not only learn more about me the genius Cat but also play my games they are all paw picked by me and have been described as “exactly what free on-line games should be, fun, free and fantastic.”

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We’re A Bit Worried Here!

It’s Ginger! Well it would be wouldn’t it, he seems to have slipped away during the party, not it is ok not that sort of slipped away like when people talk about you after you have frozen in the path of an oncoming car for too long, not he popped out with some friends.

I have uploaded the most recent picture of Ginger I could find in a hurry it is from his failed or as he put it “yet to be refined” walking on air experiment.

Gingers walking on air experiment.jpg

Actually one or two of the slack mouths around here said that Ginger and his friends had gone off somewhere to enjoy an eight of Catnip but I don’t think that can be right he hates the stuff, well since the overdose that is!

I have every faith, including probably a lot of misplaced faith, that he will turn up somewhere, he always does, unless he is angry for some reason then he can sulk for ages but don’t worry his butt is worse then his bite, if you know what I mean and I think I do!

The trouble is that it is still snowing here and has been since before Christmas and it is cold enough to really annoy any brass monkey, so if Ginger is outside he could be completely Cap’n Scott by now couldn’t he? If you know what I mean!

It was something of an anniversary for the good Cap’n Scott and the lads recently, I believe it was one or two hundred years since they decided to see if you could get to the South Pole just wearing a string vest, knitted mittens and a smile.

Sadly some Norwegians had beaten him to the South Pole in a Volvo and left what they thought was a funny note “We beat you here” it said, obviously Norwegians are better at Polar exploring than telling jokes.

But the good news for Cap’n Scott and his chums was that when news of their deaths reached Britain they all instantly became heroes. It is the British way to make heroes out of failures and legends out of disasters, hence Gordon of Khartoum who faced millions of really annoyed ‘fuzziwuzzies’ as people, such as the good people of Khartoum, were called back in ‘Chinese Gordon’s’ time (that was his nickname, no I don’t know why either).

It is understood that General Gordon who instantly became “Gordon of Khartoum” died because of an unfortunate clerical misprint and a dreadful diplomatic error!

It is believed that the thousands of people who gathered outside General Gordon’s offices waving spears and wearing frowns were actually complaining about their gas bills and had simply gone to the wrong address – the one at the top of their gas bills.

Chinese Gordon, annoyed at the noise outside went out to meet the rabble with a loaded pistol which he emptied into the crowd.

Not long after General Gordon’s death the gas company quietly changed the address on the gas bills and the British government instructed all British residents living in foreign countries not to answer their doors with a loaded pistol.

Needless to say in true Dunkirk spirit General Gordon was brought home and buried with full honours, his actions were rewritten and a painting was produced to ‘assist’ the new ‘facts’ and another British legend was born.


Of course it isn’t only personal disasters that the British celebrate, bless them, by rewriting history and creating heroes, just read about British military history and you’ll learn all about The Charge of the Light Brigade, Dunkirk, Operation Market Garden and many more glorious military escapes, and of course the idiots involved and in charge of those farces were all promoted!

To tell the truth – and of course Cats can be relied on to do just that, which is at times a bit of a chink in our character armour as far as I am concerned – this good looking Cat has a bit of a soft spot for poor old Cap’n Scott because he was obviously a bit of a character as I am sure were his pals, if you want to read an extract from his ‘alternative’ diary there is a little snippet in my wonderful best selling book “Excerpts from a Cat’s Diary” which is available at all really great bookstores and of course Amazon.com.

There are quite a few snippets of diary of famous British failures who of course are national heroes in the UK, well I had run out of things to write and so I thought, now what would Livingstone say here and the rest is a best seller.

By the way Ginger has just turned up, he wasn’t outside at all, apparently he had another of his little ‘episodes,’ he said that he slipped into the airing cupboard and got entangled in a pair or probably two pairs of ladies (I presume) tights!

I wonder about Ginger sometimes, he has been wrapped up in nylons for three days and didn’t try to very hard to escape, that is odd isn’t it, it isn’t just me, is it?

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