In 2017 I arranged a tour of Lincolnshire to see as many places which were associated with the famous Dambusters 617 Squadron with friends in the Bentley Drivers Club and during that tour one of the chaps presented me with a large toy black dog to acknowledge the hard work I had put into organising the trip.
It then became a tradition that we awarded the dog to a fellow member as we saw fit every year or so and everyone who received the dog looked after it until it was time for it to be awarded to another chap in the club, although this never became an official Bentley Driver Club award.
Last Sunday at our Christmas lunch the black dog was awarded to another fellow and at no time was the name of the dog mentioned, in fact it was referred to as the Guy Gibson award but I was later led to believe there was some uneasiness from a couple of the children and one of the adults attending as to the implication of the dog’s name.
Personally, I’m very much against this modern trend to change and remove things from history as proved by the situation here where people were concerned about the dog’s name and yet at no time was there mention of his name, they have already removed the dog’s name from his grave but everybody still remembers his name.
Those of you who read my blog on a regular basis will know that some time ago I had to say goodbye to my beloved dog Theo, I was heartbroken when he went and think of him still on a regular basis for he holds a very special place in my heart and I imagine that would be how Squadron Leader Guy Gibson must have felt about his dog.
What seems even sadder is that the dog was run over and killed on the very night when Guy Gibson and fellow members of 617 Squadron were risking their lives on the famous Dambusters raid.
Guy Gibson did not survive the war and as someone who has also lost a very cherished dog I can’t help imagining how he would feel if he could look down now and see how people are treating the dog’s memory just because he was innocently named Nigger.
I am a retired actor, although to be honest I only retired because I wasn't getting any work due to losing my agent when I became a full time carer to my mother who had dementia. and the option of becoming an unemployed actor/waiter at my age was ludicrous, especially as my waiting skills are non-existent.
Having said I’m retired, I don’t think there really is such a thing as a retired actor for I am still available for work, I just don’t have an agent or any connections with regards to obtaining any worthwhile work.
I have over the years done student films when there is nothing else available, always low paid (if at all) the only incentive was always the promised copy of the finished film for your show reel which nine times out of ten always failed to materialise.
I spent many years looking after my aged mother and shortly after her death I was lucky enough to run into an ex-girlfriend of many years ago and our romance blossomed once again, resulting in us getting married in 2013.
My move to the countryside inspired me to write The Diary of a Country Bumpkin which tells of my continuing dilemmas in dealing with the rigors of the countryside from the unexpectedly large number of pollens, fungal moulds and hay products waiting to attack the unsuspecting townie.
I enjoy writing, see my play Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori on The Wireless Theatre Company, The Plays Wot I Wrote and The Battle of Barking Creek both available on Amazon.co.uk and am very fond of classic cars so my ideal occupation would be acting in a film I had written set in the 1930s/40s, we live in hopes.
I am delighted to say that since venturing to the countryside where space is not quite the premium it is in town, I have due to the availability of two double garages acquired more classic cars to form a small collection the pride of which are a 1947 Bentley Mk VI and a 2000 Bentley Arnage.
My various blogs and websites are continually evolving and I’m sure that by following the appropriate links you will find something which will edify or amuse.
I have written a number of different books all available on Amazon, so don't be shy should you feel the urge to purchase. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mr-Joe-Wells/e/B06XKWFQHT/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1
Coincidently, today I read a poem by Warsan Shire that includes the word Niggers. There are instructions for teachers which include: “Please note that this poem includes language and topics that require special consideration from the teacher and students. We believe that the best way to prepare to encounter these topics is to create a class contract outlining guidelines for a respectful, reflective classroom discussion. Teachers should read Addressing Dehumanizing Language from History and plan how they approach the “N” word when reading and discussing Shire’s poem.” There seem to be some who now go out of their way to be shocked and horrified by historical fact and want to obliterate the memory!
Sadly, there are people nowadays who get shocked on behalf of others who haven’t taken offence, it’s an innocent dogs name. God forbid there should be a situation where the name Theo should be associated with something evil and I was told I could not use my dog’s name, for whoever tried to stop me would be told exactly why I would continue to use the name.
….and what pronouns are you using now?
I was reluctant to answer this question as I have no idea what the politically correct answer may be, especially as I’m identifying as a banana at the moment!
I didn’t know thee were a peeler!
I was about to say – needless to say I agree with you completely, but sadly it’s no longer needless. We need to spell out where we stand.
Very well said, Joe.