Monday, September 17, 2012
Inventive Genius - an article by "Young Dig"
In America, “Ricochet” Rogers would probably be called “the inventingest man ever.” In our particular section of the AIF (Australian Infantry Forces), he was labelled with a variety of epithets.
The “Affair of the Colonel’s alarm clock” did not make him over-popular. The Colonel, who was of a progressive nature, ordered “Ricochet” to rig up a modern system for sounding Reveille, and “Ricochet” did so, with the above-mentioned clock, and an old public address system, and various other odds and ends.
After a few mornings of this, the unit was ready to go to any lengths to get a bugler. However, "Ricochet’s” popularity was restored when the clock suddenly refused to go off at any other hour other that 0700 no matter how persistently it was set for 0630.
Soon after this, it was reported that “Ricochet” was working on a new type of machine-gun. His researches abruptly ceased, however, when he sent a volley through the wall of the Officer’s mess. He told us sadly that the officers lacked “true scientific detachment.”
His interest in things mechanical lapsed for a time, but he concentrated his attention effectively on other matters. The excellent “rum” he made is remembered to this day.
When he tired of that, he tried a spot of practical joking and, for his manifold sins, was given the job of batman (assistant to an officer).
One fine day in Libya, his officer irritably told him to decorate the dug-out, and relieve the horrible monotony. So “Ricochet” procured a small but venomous snake and an empty Chianti bottle, put the former in the latter, and placed them on what served as a table. What his officer said and did provided “Ricochet” with material for a most amusing one-man, one-act play, which he performed for us at the earliest possible moment.
But that Nemesis, which was never very far behind him, has caught up with him at last. He was working on a projectile to explode mines at a distance by means of a peculiarly toned whistle. Unfortunately, he wasn’t far enough away from the one that did go off.
Latest reports from the hospital say he is near recovery, and is working on a revolving stage – for the operating theatre.
“Young Dig” (AIF)
The cartoon from the article "Inventive Genius" by "Young Dig" ( Ray Davie/ Jock)
Cartoon drawn by Les Dixon.
Unfortunately, this article also has no date/place of publishing, but once again I would estimate it to be in the 1944-45 time frame. Les Dixon was the cartoonist at Smith's Weekly from 1942 to 1949 which may indicate where this story was first published.
Hope you enjoyed this amusing little anecdote.