Guy Crouchback's disillusion: Crete, Beevor, and the Soviet alliance in Sword of Honour

Gallagher, Donat (2011) Guy Crouchback's disillusion: Crete, Beevor, and the Soviet alliance in Sword of Honour. In: Gallagher, Donat, Slater, Ann Pasternak, and Wilson, John Howard, (eds.) A Handful of Mischief: new essays on Evelyn Waugh. Farileigh Dickinson University Press. Co-published with Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, Plymoutn, UK, pp. 172-219.

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Abstract

[Extract] The trynnous voice of fashion nowdays decrees that the crux of Evelyn Waugh's trilogy Sword of Honour (1965) shall be the evacuation of Crete in 1941. Antony Beevor has taught "everyone" to believe that during that evacuation Waugh's commanding officer, Colonel Robert Laycock, behaved badly. Ordered to provide a rearguard and to leave after other fighting forces had embarked, Laycock (Mr. Beevor says or implies) led a third of his commandos to the beach "early," withdrew the rest ofthe troops from their defensive positions soon afterward, "lied" to colleagues that he had received relevant orders, and "jumped the queue" in front of higher priority troops all this despite Layforce's having received no orders to leave Crete. As for Waugh, Beevor claims that he 'falsified the War Diary' to conceal Laycock's "arrogant disregard" of orders. The deceit allegedly caused him to develop a bad conscience, which led him to rail neurotically against the British effort on Crete and, later, to expose his own and Laycock's shame in Officers and Gentlemen (1955).

Item ID: 19029
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
Keywords: Crete; Waugh; Beevor; Laycock; evacuation; sword of honour
ISBN: 978-1-61147-048-2
Date Deposited: 16 Nov 2011 23:11
FoR Codes: 20 LANGUAGE, COMMUNICATION AND CULTURE > 2005 Literary Studies > 200503 British and Irish Literature @ 25%
21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2103 Historical Studies > 210305 British History @ 50%
21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2103 Historical Studies > 210303 Australian History (excl Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History) @ 25%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology @ 75%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970119 Expanding Knowledge through Studies of the Creative Arts and Writing @ 25%
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