Alistair Te Ariki Campbell

The Brigadier’s Secret Weapon

‘Sir, beg to report that a private soldier
      has been in the condition that reflects badly
            on the dignity of the Maori Battalion.
He was alone, some distance in front
        of his group, and when seen he was wearing
              an expensive fur coat and a Borsolino hat.
His rifle was carelessly slung over
      his shoulder, sir, and he’d chucked his pack
            into a pram along with other things he had
nicked along the way. As he wheeled the pram along
      he was heard singing the German National Anthem.’
          ‘I see, Staff Captain — and what conclusion
have you reached?’ ‘He was full as a boot, sir.’
       ‘Precisely, Staff Captain. Now look here,
              the man is a prototype of a new secret
weapon that we propose to let loose on the enemy.
        Imagine, if you will, a thousand doughty Maori
                warriors in this cunning guise, wheeling
prams loaded with high explosives, and possibly
       a small man — if the size of the pram permits —
              into the enemy camp. The enemy won’t know
what struck them, and the war will soon be over.
        It’s a variation of the wooden horse device.
             I expect a gong for this. What do you say
about our little secret, Staff Captain? Speak up
        man — don’t be shy. You must be as excited as
                I am.’ ‘I think he was full as a boot, sir.’

Author’s Note


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