Timmy and his Performing Knees
by Anthony Massingham
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Private Timothy Holesworthy – ‘Timmy’ to his friends – should never have made it to the front lines. His poor eyesight, fallen arches, deafness in one ear and extraordinarily knobbly knees disqualified him on all counts. However, when you have friends on the draft board who are also in the medical profession, much can be achieved if you are enthusiastic, determined and willing to share your tobacco ration.
To lighten the mood during a protracted and particularly miserable mud-soaked bivouac, the chaps from B Company decided to put on a show. Assembled in the foxhole was an original and enigmatic collection of would-be tenors, who performed a stirring rendition of the national anthem and a hastily convened Andrews Sisters medley.
Swept up in the excitement, Timmy launched into an impromptu performance of ‘Tea for Two’ accompanied by a confusing choreographic contortion featuring his bared knees, prompting his C.O to order him to put his trousers back on. Because of Timmy’s incomplete hearing, he mistook the command as vociferous encouragement and instead stepped up the performance, welcoming a third, smaller and higher member to the assemblage.
Understandably, the C.O forbade any discussion of the event again, ever. He ended the show with a muffled and embarrassed exclamation that what happens in the foxhole, stays in the foxhole. As a disciplinary action, Timmy’s meat and potato ration was subsequently halved for a week and the cook was ordered to increase the amount of bromide added to his tea.