Best Book Publishers UK | Austin Macauley Publishers

By: Mike Huss

It Must Have Been the Compo

Pages: 320 Ratings: 5.0
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It was autumn of 1964 – with one war about to end and one about to start – although no one knew about that yet. So imagine you have just turned 19, a young soldier, a Staff Clerk by trade, who, having volunteered to serve in Aden to be with your fiancée, are given your ring back the night you arrived there! Furthermore, you are about to discover that the Army’s maxim of ‘soldier first – tradesman second’ is about to be put into practice.

Now in your role as a soldier, you are to be issued with a rifle and bayonet – no bullets! Because that nice Mr Healey thinks you might shoot a citizen of an oil-rich state, causing all sorts of problems. So, much better a dead soldier than an annoyed oil-rich nation. Now, if your imagination has carried you this far, see if you can carry on as well as ‘Jack’, our hero of this first of a trilogy. See how he is to find himself, although only a private soldier, a confidante of generals, a correspondent with a prime minister, an instructor of RAF officers and a bogeyman for the top military policeman. It is also worth reading to find out how he is the only man to escape a poo shower of gargantuan proportions generated by a pyromaniac with 20 gallons of petrol, lots of used ‘compo’ and a hidden ingredient. Could you survive as well as Jack or would you go sick?

Mike was born in London and raised happily in Surbiton. He left the grammar school at 18 and joined the regular army straight from school. He volunteered to serve in Aden so as to join his fiancée who had been posted there. She gave him the ring back the night he arrived! He was then stuck in war zone for two years and the book is largely a summary of his time there as expressed in the person of his alter-ego hero, ‘Jack’. He met his wife, Janet, in Aden.

A varied career with a N. Ireland Training Board, a group training association, being Personnel Director and Tribunal Advocate resulted in writing the Dear Doctor employment law column in Sunday Times for 10 years. This is his first venture into fiction.

Customer Reviews
2 reviews
2 reviews
  • John Whitworth

    I picked this book up waiting for a train as my grandad was in the Army at roughly the same time as the author and I'd often been amused by his tales.

    'Jack' is an intelligent boy stuck in a school who doesn't know how to value him, and through the cadets joins the army. The story's well told, and even though it's full of the sort of action and Army japes you might expect it's surprisingly tender in its portrayal of a young man finding both love and his place in the world. Although he's stuck behind a desk in Aden, his talents mean he's often roped into situations well above his rank.

    I really enjoyed the book- it kept me more than entertained on the train- as it's well written and well-paced. You'll come out with a new appreciation for army slang, but you'll also marvel at how often officers' incompetence nearly proves fatal...

  • Billie Meyer

    Young Jack Hughes gets his eye in early, using neighbours washing to target nipple-holes in her bra which is blowing in the wind. This early promise develops through school Army Cadets and, later, Her Majesty's Army. Outrageous anecdotes are written in a fast-moving, highly pictorial style with many laugh-out-loud moments. We leave Jack at a pivotal point in his life as he embarks simultaneously on married life and Officer Training. The story cries out to be adapted for stage and screen, and I can't wait for the next book in the series.

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