This morning, let’s wish Happy Birthday to perhaps England’s greatest and most decorated military hero. No, not the Duke of Wellington. Nor Lord Kitchener of Khartoum. Not Lord Nelson, nor Viscount Slim, Haig, Mountbatten, nor Montgomery. None of them.

Happiest of Birthdays to Colonel Sir Harry Paget Flashman, VC KCB KCIE CdLH MoH, born this day, 1822. The erstwhile bully of Rugby School went on to unlikely fame (if not fortune) in Afghanistan in 1842, the Sikh War, the 1848 revolution, the Crimea (where he participated in the Charge of the Light Brigade), the Indian Mutiny, John Brown’s Harper’s Ferry raid, both sides of the American Civil War, Maximillian’s Mexico, Little Big Horn, Natal (at Isandlwana), the Peking Legation, and a few other places. The tall, dark, handsome soldier left a trail of accidental heroism, scandal, and empassioned paramours across just about every continent.

Each and every account of his adventures is worth the read.

Happy Birthday, Flashy.

Posted by UltimaRatioReg in Books, History

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  • Andy (JADAA)

    I have been given to understand that his entries in Blake’s Peerage have been permanently exorcised once the linkage to the Blackadder family line were discovered.

    Happy birthday, Sir Harry!

  • JohnByron

    Alas, Saint David of Petraeus lacks both the raffish charms and the deep diplomatic skills of our Harry. Sir Harry would laugh at COIN, preferring a modern form of WOG bashing (we could call it counter-terrorism to make it more palatable to those of tender feelings). And he would make the mysterious Middle East entirely scrutable. Where is our Flashman when we need him!

    URR: great credit for recognizing true genius.

  • Forrest Cantrell

    Flashman proves the adage: better to be lucky than good.

  • Old Air Force Sarge

    Happy Birthday Sir Harry!

    They don’t make them like you anymore.

    More ’tis the pity.

  • UltimaRatioReg


    Grazie for the comments. Next question:

    Which is our favorite Flashy adventure?

  • Old Air Force Sarge

    Flashman at the Charge. ‘Nuff said. The quintessential Flashman.

  • jwithington

    I gotta admit…who is he and where can I read more about him?

  • UltimaRatioReg


    You may google “Flashman”, or George McDonald Frazier. Amazon has most of those works. Start with the very first one, “Flashman”. After that, read them in any order you like, but they are written sequentially.

    And enjoy.

  • If you enjoy Sir Harry’s adventures, do acquaint yourself with Poul Anderson’s Captain Sir Dominic Flandry of the Imperial Naval Intelligence Corps!

    “He had not been truthful in claiming indifference whether he lived and died; not while a supple young woman stood clad in sunlight, and blooded horses stamped on the ringing plains of Ilion, and smoke curled fragrant about coffee and cognac on Terra. But half the pleasure came from these things being staked against darkness.”

    — “The Game of Glory”, 1958