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Cubiss: he kept his hook as sharp as a razor

Cubiss: he kept his hook as sharp as a razor

The best bits are:

[H]e was badly injured when a mine that he was arming exploded prematurely. It removed his right arm to the elbow and destroyed his hearing. He feared that he might have to leave the Army , but Field Marshal Lord Slim, Chief of the Imperial Staff and Colonel of the West Yorkshires, intervened and Cubiss was granted a regular commission. 

On one occasion, appearing in the officers’ mess without his prosthetic arm, he was asked by his CO whether it was giving him trouble. Cubiss replied that he had been reprimanded for not saluting properly and so, turning round to show the ribbon of his MC, he had detached it and left it with “a flabbergasted, pear-shaped officer”, offering the advice: “Why don’t you have a go with this?”

Thereafter Cubiss adopted a hook.


He went to Belfast as deputy commander 39 Brigade. His hook, prominently displayed as he went through the streets, was highly polished and as sharp as a razor. He was mentioned in despatches at the end of his tour.

Pomposity and pretentiousness received very short shrift from him. When a general, a stickler for punctuality and held in no great affection, paid an official visit, Cubiss arranged for all the clocks in the camp to be put forward by five minutes. The great man arrived to find Cubiss, a picture of exasperation, tapping his watch.


A short tour at Shape (Supreme HQ Allied Powers Europe) followed. As Chief of Crisis Management Staff, he said that his personal inclination, in the event of a crisis, was to “Nuke ’em till they glow.” Fortunately, he had no occasion to make a formal recommendation to this effect.

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