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Bobnyc

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    The African Queen

    Just to add an obsessively trivial note – the Novel the African Queen is vaguely based on a bizarre real life incident in World War 1 – a German Gunboats did indeed control Lake Tanganyika at the start of the war. In 1915 the a British Navy expedition 28 men, and two motor boats (named Mimi and Toutou ) was dispatched from England – the 28 were not, as might be expected, the cream of the British Navy - they were mostly a collection of misfits and oddballs that the Admiralty felt they could easily spare on what they no doubt privately thought was a suicide mission – (they were going to have to drag the boats some 500 miles to the lake from the nearest railroad.) The most eccentric of the party was the commander one Geoffrey Basil Spicer-Simson who was heavily tattooed and preferred to wear a woman's skirt in the tropics among other traits. After heroic and desperate efforts they managed to get the boats to the lake and had some success but like so many actions in World War One ended in futility and controversy when Spicer-Simson refused to obey orders to support another force and he was sent home in vague disgrace. A truly black comedy could be made of the true story well told in the book Mimi and Toutou Go Forth: The Bizarre Battle Of Lake Tanganyika by Giles Foden.
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