Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

Operation Bunnyhug

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Winston Churchill

I have crossed out on the attached paper many unsuitable names. Operations in which large numbers of men may lose their lives ought not to be described by code words which imply a boastful and overconfident sentiment, such as “Triumphant,” or, conversely, which are calculated to invest the plan with an air of despondency, such as “Woebetide,” “Massacre,” “Jumble,” “Trouble,” “Fidget,” “Flimsy,” “Pathetic,” and “Jaundice.” They ought not to be names of a frivolous character, such as “Bunnyhug,” “Billingsgate,” “Aperitif,” and “Ballyhoo.” They should not be ordinary words often used in other connections, such as “Flood,” “Smooth,” “Sudden,” “Supreme,” “Full Force,” and “Full Speed.” Names of living people, ministers, or commanders should be avoided, e.g. “Bracken.”

After all, the world is wide, and intelligent thought will readily supply an unlimited number of well-sounding names which do not suggest the character of the operation or disparage it in any way and do not enable some widow or mother to say that her son was killed in an operation called “Bunnyhug” or “Ballyhoo.”

Winston Churchill, in a memo to General Hastings Ismay

Written by nevalalee

July 26, 2015 at 7:30 am

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