After Winchester we went to Tidsworth on Salisbury Plain. There was one officer there who was especially popular with the lads. He was a dapper-looking gent, well turned-out with a dark pencil moustache and tidy hair. He was a 2nd Lieutenant at the time, I believe, and a cracking officer but he was better known to the rest of us as the gentleman thief, Raffles. The film had come out just before the war and posters were still around. The officer was the suave sophisticated film star, David Niven.
After one exercise we gathered around him for a debriefing session but we all wanted the gossip from tinsel town. He was comfortable with fans but he had trained at Sandhurst before the war and he was no adjusting back to military life again. He had just appeared opposite Olivia de Havilland in Raffles, but it was ‘Ginger’, his co-star in Bachelor Mother, he talked about most and we all knew who he meant. There was a good deal of joking around before one of the lads chirped up with, “I bet you wish you where anywhere else but here sir?” There was a momentary pause then he said, “Let’s just say I’d sooner be tickling Ginger Rogers’ tits.”.
- Dennis Avey | The Man Who Broke Into Aushwitz