Beer in a Helmet

Here is a WWII veteran who went back to a French town where he had fought 65 years before, and got one hell of a big surprise.


“There will not be many more obituaries like this.”

So says Natalie Solent at Samizdata, and boy, is she not kidding:

Whether through bravery or chutzpah, Macpherson won the surrender of 23,000 Wehrmacht troops by spouting a series of brazen lies. He presented himself to the commanding officer, Major-General Botho Elster, and assured him that heavy artillery, 20,000 troops and RAF bombers were waiting for Macpherson’s word to attack. In reality he had only the aid of another Jedburgh team. Surrender or die, he urged Elster; the bluff worked. Elster and his troops eventually passed into US Army captivity.

Unfortunately, the Times obit that Natalie cites is behind a paywall, so here’s a bit from the Telegraph‘s free-to-read observance of this great Scot’s passing:

During his interrogation, one of the patrol brought in his unloaded Colt automatic and asked him to explain how it worked. Macpherson showed him by loading a spare magazine, which he was still carrying, and holding up his captors. At that moment, however, he was incapacitated by a severe attack of cramp, disarmed and placed in solitary confinement.

Three days later Macpherson escaped but was caught trying to get away on a motorbike.

Rest in peace, you magnificent swaggering bastard.