In this, the first of Spike Milligan's uproarious recollections of life in the army, our hero takes us from the outbreak of war in 1939 ('it must have been something we said'), through his attempts to avoid enlistment ('time for my appendicitus, I thought') and his gunner training in Bexhill ('There was one drawback. No ammunition') to the landing at Algiers in 1943 ('I closed my eyes and faced the sun. I fell down a hatchway'). Filled with bathos, pathos and gales of ribald laughter, this is a barely sane helping of military goonery and superlative Milliganese.
Rommel Gunner Who?
The second volume of Spike Milligan's legendary recollections of life as a gunner in World War Two sees our hero into battle in North Africa - eventually. First, there is important preparation to be done: extensive periods of loitering ('We had been standing by vehicles for an hour and nothing had happened, but it happened frequently'), psychological toughening ('If a man dies when you hang him, keep hanging him until he gets used to it') and living dangerously ('no underwear!'). At last the battle for Tunis is upon them...
Mussolini his part in my Downfall
The fourth volume of Spike Milligan's legendary account of his time in the army during World War Two begins as he and his regiment land in sunny Italy in 1943 ('The ship touched the beach very gently, so gently I suspect it's not insured'). After a bout of Sandfly Fever, from which he soon recovers ('I'm ready to be killed again'), our plucky hero is piddled on by a farm dog ('Mussolini's revenge?') before forging his way inland towards the enemy and the sound of guns ('We're getting near civilisation'), where matters suddenly take a dark turn.
Where have all the Bullets Gone?
Back to those haunting days in Italy in 1944, at the foot of Mount Vesuvius, with lava running in great red rivulets down the slope towards us, and Jock taking a drag on his cigarette and saying, "I think we've got grounds for a rent rebate."' The fifth volume of Spike Milligan's unsurpassed account of life as a Bombardier in World War Two sees our hero dispatched from the front line to psychiatric hospital and from there to a rehabilitation camp.
The sixth volume of Spike Milligan's off-the-wall account of his part in World War Two sees our hero doing very little soldiering. Because it's 1946. Rather, he is now part of the Bill Hall Trio - a 'Combined Services Entertainment' inflicted on unsuspecting soldiers across Italy and Austria - and is largely preoccupied with the unbearably beautiful ballerina, Ms Toni Fontana ('Arghhhhhhhhh!).
The seventh and last volume of Spike Milligan's memoirs sees our hero returning from war and Italy ... but to what? Aside from shooting large, inaccurate guns at Germans, all he has done for five long years is blow a trumpet, tell rude jokes and write and perform sketches for the entertainment of bored and murderous soldiers - who on earth is going to pay a civilian to do more of that