Grow Up. Stand Up. Do Your Duty

The movie adaptation of Dorothy L. Sayers’ novel The Nine Tailors stars Ian Carmichael as Lord Peter Wimsey, an English peer, and Glyn Houston as his batman and (in civilian life) gentleman’s gentleman, Mr. Bunter. Major Wimsey and Sergeant Bunter met on the battlefield during World War I. This clip from the movie shows in very mild terms the situation in the trenches during the War, and in quite real terms Sergeant Bunter’s devotion to his Lord’s well-being. Both officers and sergeants understood their duty, and did it, with love and affection for God, the Queen, and their fellow soldier. (Sayers’ story is woven into the battlefield scene as Wimsey and Bunter talk.)

“For not even in the Great Rebellion against Charles I did the nobility lose so many of its members as the list of casualties of the present war displays. In the first sixteen months of operations no less than eight hundred men of title were killed in action, or died of their wounds, and over a thousand more were serving with the land or sea forces.

“The returns show that, if the proportionate losses continue—and there is no reason why they should not—a whole generation of the nobility will have been wiped out by the time peace is declared.”[1]

Englishmen went to war without complaint, and they returned home (if they were lucky) to live every day with the physical and emotional horrors of war. They resumed their duties at home–without complaint. Many, if not most sent their sons to war in World War II just over two decades later. All England suffered the privations of both wars. Without complaint.

When WW II was over thousands of Englishmen gathered in Trafalgar Square, and sang “Land Of Hope and Glory.”

* * *

Men, you are not expected to go to war to prove your manhood. You are expected to grow up, stand up, and do your duty to your family and your nation.

Without complaint.

[1]Frederick James Gregg, “The British Aristocracy and the War: The Doubtful Future of the House of Lords,” Vanity Fair, March, 1916, retrieved from

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