Over at Curated Secrets, Stephen Klimczuk takes a brief wander through Clubland, mentioning the illustrious Bernard Fergusson, who was known for “the skill with which he could toss his monocle in the air and catch it in his eye”. Stephen’s co-author on Secret Places, Hidden Sanctuaries, the Much Hon. Laird of Craiggenmaddie, chimes in on the commentbox, bringing to light that “when he was serving under Orde Wingate with the Chindits in Burma, among the supplies dropped by the RAF to those doughty warriors was a supply of monocles for Fergusson, since the damage/loss rate was so high in the jungle.”
Fergusson has always fascinated me, not only because he was the Chancellor of my university, but also because he has the best claim to the throne of New Zealand should the Land of the Long White Cloud ever decide to dispense with the House of Windsor. Lord Ballantrae (as Fergusson was ennobled) served as Governor-General of New Zealand, his own father served as Governor-General of New Zealand, and both his grandfathers served as Governor of New Zealand before the antipodean kingdom became a dominion. Rather appropriately, his son and heir is currently serving as Her Majesty’s High Commissioner to New Zealand, which is now the highest office of the British government in those islands.
Stephen mentions other fun stories of Clubland, such as the waggish response of the dinner guest who was kept waiting for Hermann Goering at one club before the war: “‘I have been shooting,’ said Goering. ‘Animals, I hope?’ was the quite reasonable question in response.”