I'm thoroughly enjoying the 'Bandy' series - well researched background and written with confidence and a great sense of fun. As an author, I know this is a difficult balance in a novel about a time of war but Donald Jack manages it superbly well.
Well pleased with this book and the speed of delivery. I was delighted to find the 3rd Bandy Papers book having read volume one (Three Cheers for Me) and volume two (That's Me in the Middle) and found them to be so amusing. I can recommend them if you want a good laugh from start to finish.
"Brigadier Soames doesn't. Bandy has run him over in a staff car, stolen his piano and jumped on his prize peacock from 8,000 feet. And he's carrying on with the Brigadier's wife. The adjutant doesn't like him either. Not onyl has Bandy countermanded his orders to have the coal painted white but he's requisitioned his magnificent private loo for the ultimate mess trophy. They both resort to aerial warfare, though not the sort that has brought Bandy such distinction in the skies over the Western Front. The Brigadier orders him to test lethal prototype parachutes and the adjutant blots Bandy's copy-book with a highly trained dive-bombing pigeon. And Bandy? He just emerges triumphantly from one disaster to to lurch straight into the next, wearing that crazy, ever-broadening smile which announces: IT'S ME AGAIN!"
Back in the air, this time commanding his own squadron, Bandy is at his best. Already proven as a marksman and skilled aviator, his task is to turn one of the worst performing squadrons around. In this, Volume Three of the Bandy Papers, the third of the series to be re-published by McClelland and Stewart, Bandy's experience in battle and in politics work wonders as he nurtures his disheartened pilots back to form. His actions in one particular battle are of such heroic proportion that he is taken away from the frontline squadron and sent on a promotional tour of Canada, his home and native land. Desperately sea sick and back in social circles his blistering incompetence rears its ugly head again. He disgraces himself so badly that his tour is cut short and he returns, by sea again, to Liverpool. While waiting for his ship's turn to dock, he hears news that his Katherine is gravely ill. He is rushed off the vessel but he reaches London too late. With nothing left for him in England, and the war in France winding down, Bandy is again promoted and sent to Russia to act as air advisor to the forces against the revolution. His relaxed attitude to protocol and his tremendous experience are a great asset to the poorly disciplined Russian soldiers. His role as air advisor is a bit of a red herring as there are no aircraft there. He attaches himself to a commando unit and they embark on a highly successful mission, with Bandy calling the shots. As I wrote in my reviews of Three Cheers for Me and That's Me in the Middle, this instalment recaptures the pace and flavour of the first book. Katherine's death is a sad moment, dealt with touchingly by Donald Jack. We are given one of the few glimpses of what really goes on inside Bandy's heart. Twenty years ago when I read this book for the first time, and having experienced the brilliance of Vol. I, and the slight downturn of Vol. II, I was overjoyed at the resurgence in Vol. III. When I bought Me Bandy, You Cissie I wasn't too hopeful. I didn't believe the momentum could be kept up, especially as there was no more war, where Bandy seemed to be in his element. But Vols. IV and V are excellent books and I only hope that McClelland and Stewart carry on their re-issuing of these fantastic stories.