Saturday, June 13, 2009

Oh, well done

It is with some pleasure that we here at The LawDog Files learn that Christopher Frank Carandini Lee (RAF, ret.) has been made Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Elizabeth the Second.

Mr. Lee was one of the British Volunteers who traveled to Finland to offer their services against the Soviet invaders during the Winter War of 1939.

Following that disastrous little scuffle, Mr. Lee joined the Royal Air Force, and wound up as Intel wonk for the Long Range Desert Group, did some cypher work with 260 Squadron, and pulled a quiet stint with the Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, before ending the war with the rank of Flight Lieutenant.

It should also be noted that he has done some work in the movie industry.

Bravo, Sir Christopher. Well done, indeed.

LawDog

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is there a SINGLE elderly Brit who worked on "Lord of the Rings" who has NOT been Knighted?!?

phlegmfatale said...

He was wickedly delicious as the ubiquitous character in Rasputin. On the extra feature dvd, his commentary includes him chuckling about a comely fellow castmate who had been particularly accommodating. Sounds like he's had more than nine lives, all of them wild. Well done, Sir Christopher!

Roanoke Cop said...

Count Dooku is a real life bad ass. Cool.

D.W. Drang said...

And here I thought he had "just" been a fighter pilot during the Battle of Britain...

KBCraig said...

The Winter War was a "disastrous little scuffle"?

I guess it's a bit subjective, but with the Soviets on the losing end of a 5:1 casualty ratio, I'd say the Finns came out on top.

As is reputed to a Russian general, they "...gained just enough ground to bury {their} dead."

wolfwalker said...

There is a highly amusing bit from Sir Christopher somewhere on one of the LOTR Extended Edition DVDs, probably "Return of the King" since that's where the relevant snippet of film was. Those who only saw the theatrical versions of the LOTR films may not be aware that a scene was filmed in which Saruman's henchman Wormtongue killed his master by attacking him from the back with a knife. That scene is available only on the Extended Edition DVD.

Well.

It seems that Peter Jackson, director of said films, was chatting with Christopher Lee just prior to the Saruman death scene being filmed. Jackson apparently had some slightly inaccurate notions of what happens when a human is stabbed from behind. He thought the stabbee's reaction should be fairly dramatic. Lee gently set him straight. "As it happens," Lee says in a snippet from one of the 'Making of' documentaries, "I do know how a man reacts when he is suddenly stabbed in the back, and it's not very dramatic at all."

Seeing him say that in an almost pleasant, casual way brought home perhaps better than anything else just what he did during the War.

reflectoscope said...

No kidding? Good on the Firm for sorting out some well-deserved recognition, then.

Jim

Anonymous said...

Those "single elderly Brits" are admirable people, no matter what their professions are. These and many more deserve their 'K's. Their courage and ingenuity is without peer, and they often sacrificed their careers right at the time when they were becoming known and successful for a simple thing called 'Crown and Country.'
And, funny, no one heard how they needed compensation and counseling and how their families were suffering and needed special attention from the government.
When their duty was done, they sucked it up and got on with it.
So, anonymous, unless you've a record which is at least comparable, you probably have no right to sneer.
LawMom

PA State Cop said...

Law Mom

Had the priviledge to jump into Normandy in 2000 and 2001 with a Guy named Bruce Cox. He had been a Sergeant with the British Para's and spent the last 9 months on the War in a POW Camp. One of the finest Gentlemen I have the privilege of knowing. The 9th Para Battalion Assocation made Us Honorary Members of the Battalion after the jump. Yes they are truly special people.

Old NFO said...

Good for him!

Jeff Wood said...

I had the privilege of knowing a couple of SOE veterans before they died, and am glad I did so.

I suspect that only we Brits could see at once that only gentlemen could be trusted to wage ungentlemanly warfare properly.

An anecdote. One of my late friends was parachuted first into Yugoslavia, where life quickly got exciting. As Jerry was driven out of the country, the partisans with whom Ian had been fighting said that they, the Communists would now have to fight the Royalists for post-war control of the country, so best that Ian left.

SOE extracted Ian, and dropped him into Greece. The first night he spent hiding under the bed of a local girl, as the drop had been observed, and the Wermacht were searching for him. As the war in Greece began to be wound up, the communists and the others turned on one another to start a civil war, and another extraction became necessary after a warning from Ian's partisans.

This time, Ian was dropped into China, to help the Chinese against Japan. Fairly abruptly, the war on Japan ended for reasons you will understand. You can also guess what happened next.

A postscript. The young lady under whose bed Ian had hidden in Greece had been entirely compromised in the eyes of her village. Her courage was recognised (if Ian had been discovered she would have been shot), but her chances of marriage were gone: she had allowed a man not her father into her bedroom and that was that.

I mentioned gentlemen. On his way back from India, Ian called at Greece, collected the girl and married her. This was the only solution.

Just possibly, someone reading this post will have a twinge of recognition. To help them, Ian was the lad who was caned on his first day at Eton for playing the bagpipes.

militant_marmot said...

Bravo Indeed!

fast richard said...

I'm impressed. You never really know what interesting pasts people might have.

For a fictionalized account of the LRDG I can recommend the book "Killing Rommel" by Steven Pressfield. For a personal memoir by a veteran of that time and place look for "Popsky's Private Army" by Vladimir Peniakoff.