They’re ennobling Brigadier Scrubb today, which I suppose follows the line that made Nelson a Lord and Wellesley a Duke but in the case of those two stalwarts of Britain’s devoted war against wine and bendy breakfast rolls they did at least serve in the nation’s armed forces. Scrubb’s rank is company rank and yes I’ve heard the arguments for and against but much as the city boys might want it, the East Narnia Trading Company is not actually a nation state. Its armed forces then are mercenaries and Scrubb’s raising to the peerage only goes a long way to shining a much kinder light on a thoroughly despicable chapter in England’s history.
Even if your reading begins and ends with Jolly Freddie Forsyth then you’ll know something of ‘Dragon’ Scrubb. It was he upon whom the character in Forsyth’s second novel Not A Tame Lion was entirely based.
For those of you otherwise, I’ll be brief. He was born in 1933 Eustace Clarence Scrubb (and he nearly deserved it). A time of highly charged politics Scrubb’s parents Harold and Alberta were vegetarian, non-smoking teetotallers. Meeting in Cambridge Harold was the notorious ‘fifth man’ recruited by the Comintern alongside Philby, Maclean, Brush, and if rumour is to be believed ‘K’. During the Second World War Scrubb was one of those that discovered the first of the slip doorways, in his case the Treader Portal. At sixteen he was well placed to accept an early commission (such as it might be termed) in the hastily formed East Narnia Trading Company, a Company that ventured forth in the name of trade to freely exchange talking wood and fine beaver pelts, faun ivory and mostly-horse meat for what pretty much equated after just one year to a lot of .303 calibre lead. It was Scrubb that put an end to the primitive leader of the primitive land, the heretical ‘Lion of Aslan’ in an epic battle between claw and Centurian tank.
It was then later in the 1960s when with the Slips so opened threats began to come in the other direction and the East Narnian Trading Company hired over many of its most experienced officers and men to the newly formed Unwelcome Narnian Intrusions Taskforce. Scrubb soon rose to take charge of this ‘UNIT’, himself recruiting to the role of Scientific Advisor Dr Susan Pevensie – noteworthy for having once worn lipstick and nylons.
Scrubb so served until faced with scandal when in 1974 evidence came to light that suggested he had personally killed Jon Pertwee (who everyone of course liked but of whom Scrubb warned would ten years later turn into Colin Baker). A defence considered justified to his role in UNIT.
Retired shortly after Scrubb has since dedicated himself to reason, science, the appreciation of ‘firm young knees pounding the Velodrome’ and lobbying for society to recognise the need to have shot anyone suspiciously able to write, paint or otherwise make up things.
Also, talking mice.
Pictured the BBC Biopic The Last Battle. Nicholas Courtney (Scrubb), Liz Sladen (Dr Pevensey)