Sunday, 22 April 2018


"I've received a very strange letter," said the Bishop. "Here, Rupert, you'd better take a look."

Colonel Rupert Lethbridge-Stewart, better known as "Big X" of the Ecclesiastial Intelligence Service, made a show of reading the strange missive. He had long deemed it part of his internal intelligence duties to have all the Bishop's correspondence steamed open and re-sealed before delivery, and was already familiar with its contents.

"Strange indeed," he said. There was no need for the Bishop to know. "Big X" read aloud:

FROM The Editor, Private Parts Magazine, A Secret  Location, Somewhere in London

Your Grace,

I know that you must be aware of our monthly investigative journal, as the ‘Church Times’ has, in the past, described us as ‘crude, lewd, and very rude’, while the Government’s Chief  Censor, Sir Attila Smashem, has called us ‘a filthy unpatriotic subversive little rag’. I am pleased to acknowledge both descriptions as accurate.

The reason for my letter is to pass on to you an advance copy of an article which, subject  to our secret printing press not being found by H.M.Government in the interim, will appear shortly in our magazine. I think you will find it interesting.

Yours faithfully,
William Tell (Editor)


Our undercover reporter, the intrepid Ivor Bignose, has recently uncovered startling news of the possible fate of Major Miles Straitt-Jackett, the noted Royalist commander recently reported killed at the Battle of Wigmore Hall. Readers may recall that the Major was said to have been ‘blown to pieces’ by a stray artillery shell, and was not seen after the battle ended, though an ambulance was seen leaving the area at high speed with a military escort. Here is Ivor’s report –

"Initially I watched the Special Hospital for Investigating Trauma at Woolwich for several days, managing to take a couple of poor-quality photographs of a mysterious individual, but was totally unsuccessful in trying to gain access to this high-security unit.

I then made my way to a nearby public house, "The Hand and Eye", which is a popular haunt of hospital staff. Masquerading as a wounded ex-serviceman selling matches, I struck up a conversation with a hospital porter, whom I shall refer to as "Igor". After numerous pints of "Old Dropsy", the man gradually became a little more talkative. Steering the conversation around to Major Straitt-Jackett, I showed him the photographs and asked if it was indeed the well known Government commander. Igor's reply was "mothly". When I asked him what he meant, he tapped the side of his nose in a knowing manner and said "We hath the technology, we can webuilth him", and cackled loudly.

I asked how this was possible and  ‘Igor’ belched loudly, and said ‘depenths how many bithts you’ve got’. Then he continued ‘Old Dr. Frank Enthstein wath lucky that lightning thtruck the hothpital generator when it did, all that exthra power’. By now ‘Igor’ was starting to ramble as  the eight pints of ‘Old Dropsy’ started to take effect, and he digressed into  ‘that power cut buggered up the wadio weport of the England game though, jutht ath we got the equalither against thoth Fwoggie bathdards’. At that point ‘Igor’’s eyes closed and his head drooped forward into his ninth pint of beer.

Just then the door burst open and a squad of BUF goons stormed in. After a nod from a man standing at the bar – a fascist spy no doubt – they strode up to me and hauled me roughly outside. It seems suspicion had been aroused by a match-seller’s ability to buy so many pints of ‘Old Dropsy’. Luckily, I just had time to hide the photographs where they could not be found without rubber gloves. When I awoke in a nearby alley some hours later I was thankful to find myself almost unharmed, apart from the two broken fingers, a fractured wrist, four cracked ribs, a black eye and three missing teeth.

Clearly H.M.Government have something to hide at this establishment. Can it really be that Major Straitt-Jackett is alive, or has been revived or even reconstituted somehow ? Only time will tell !"

"Big X" dropped the letter back onto the Bishop's mahogany desk. "That young reporter is very lucky still to be alive, I'd say. To my knowledge, the first photographs from the Special Hospital. The best we've been able to do is some detailed pencil sketches of their type of treatment...."

"....which, I have to say, has a very poor track record. Your Grace, I'd recommend that we keep a close watch on the Special Hospital for the Investigation of Trauma at Woolwich, and await developments...."

with thanks to Alan for the letter and article. All of Ludlow eagerly await developments in the strange case of Major Straitt-Jackett (Deceased?).

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