Donald MacInnes: A declassified peek at AA Milne's First World War propaganda

Tales from the Water Cooler

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The Independent Online

In light of the revelation that “Winnie the Pooh” author AA Milne wrote propaganda during the First World War, we take you to a Whitehall bunker in early 1916.

Brigadier C R Robin sat staring at the unopened file on his desk. It was stamped “Reelly Top Secret”. He looked up and glared across the room at the squat figure writing in a notepad.

“What are you scribbling, Pooh? This bloody war won’t win itself, you know. Tell me it’s not another dashed shopping list.”

Captain Winston Pooh stopped writing and looked up. “We’re out of hunny, sir. What the hell do you expect me to do? Are my men supposed to fight with… with jam in their bellies? We're not animals.”

A nervous, pinkish face appeared around the door.

Robin looked up and barked: “What is it, Piglet? We’re busy.”

The diminutive corporal swallowed and spoke. “Word from the front, brigadier. From Eeyore, sir. He says it’s not looking good. Quite bleak, in fact.”

Pooh looked at the brigadier. “We have to send Agent Orange, sir.”

“Dammit to hell, Pooh! I’m not sending Tigger on another of your cursed missions.” He looked down at his clenched fist. “Only so much one man can do.”

“He’s not a man, sir. He’s a Tigger. And if I sent him to hell, he would bounce there and back before tea. Now let me get on with my job!”

Pooh pushed past Piglet and walked out.

Robin gave a half-smile.

“One day you’ll break one rule too many, Pooh.”