After the war
So the British army were desperate for men. The Second World War was at its
height and the call to arms went out. First to volunteer was Big Tim O'Toole from
County Wexford, a man of keen eye and acres of street wisdom.
'Would you like to join the tank corps, O'Toole?' asked the recruiting sergeant.
'We've room for a few more.'
'If it's all right with you,' replied Tim, 'I'd rather be a foot soldier.'
'You mean you'd rather slog around in mud up hill, down dale, when you could
be riding around armour clad, living in style? In God's name, why?'
'It's simple,' said O'Toole. 'When the bugle blows retreat I don't want to
be hampered by machinery!'
So O'Toole joined the infantry and was soon attached to HQ and eventually
enrolled as the colonel's batman. He spent three happy years tending to the officer's
needs and at the end of the war it came time to part.
'What will you do when you return to civvy street, sir?' he asked the colonel.
'Music,' said the officer. 'Before the war I was a concert pianist, my wife
is a cellist, my daughter is a flautist and my son plays the piccolo. Why don't
you come round one night and we'll give you a little recital? And what will you
do when you return home, O'Toole?'
'Well, sir,' said the Wexford man, 'before the war I was a professional boxer,
my wife is a lady wrestler, my daughter has a black belt in judo and my son is
a seventh dan in karate. Why don't you come round one evening and we'll give you
a good hiding!'