Bartholomew W. Bandy
Quintessential Canadian Hero
Menace to Peace, Order, and Good Government?
Bandy is the creation of author Donald
Jack, who won the Leacock
Medal for each of the three volumes Three Cheers
for Me, That's Me in the Middle, & Me Bandy,
"I enjoyed every word... terrifically funny."
on The Bandy Papers
Beginning with Bandy's life in Beamington Ontario
shortly before leaving for Europe and the First World War, the "memoirs" follow his adventures through the war and into the 20's
and 30's, with the last books carrying him into World War Two.
"Jack does more than play it for laughs. Men die on barbed wire and a hand sticks out of the water in the bottom of a shell hole --It seemed to be waving at us cheerfully.
Rollo shook hands with it-- This mingling of humor and horror is like a clown tap-dancing on a coffin, but Jack is skillful enough to get away with it." -Time Magazine
When not busy avoiding death, winning medals, or
oscillating through ranks like a yo-yo, Bandy spends his time
driving his superior officers into apoplectic fits.
"These books represent as powerful an indictment of the bloody waste of war as has ever been written by a Canadian." - J. L. Granatstein
"What the [Bandy] books do is offer is a uniquely Canadian eye view of the 10-year period between 1916 and 1925, during which the world fought a war and this country, like Jack’s hero, came of age."
-Books in Canada
The Bandy Papers
~~Click on the titles to see a synopsis, and click
cover images for publication data~~
Other Donald Jack books
| Three Cheers For Me
Bartholomew Wolfe Bandy abandons medical school for the Victorian
Light Infantry. He survives the trenches only to be transferred
to the Royal Flying Corps after capturing his own colonel in a daring
raid on his own lines. He meets his future wife, Katherine Lewis,
by crashing in her field, and despite his best efforts becomes an
ace. He also lands an aeroplane on the colonel. Three Cheers was made into a 5-episode CBC radio play in 1972 or 1973 (starring Don Harron as Bandy), and recorded on 3 mono LP records by Radio Canada International (copies are now rare or unobtainable). First published 1962. Won the Leacock Medal 1963. Revised and republished as the beginning of a series in 1973.
That's Me in the Middle
To his own amazement Bandy ends up an acting Lieutenant-Colonel
in the Air Ministry, makes an ill-considered speech, flies to Ireland
by mistake, is sent back to the front with the 13th Bicycle Battalion
as a lieutenant, salvages a Rolls whose occupants have no further
use for it, is reclaimed by the RAF and made a major. He and Katherine
survive their honeymoon with only minor injuries. There's also the
matter of the Irish gunrunner and the Bolshevik spy.
It's Me Again
(It's Me Again and Me Among the Ruins)
At his new squadron, Major Bandy engages in pigeon warfare with
his Recording Officer as well as continuing to harass his superiors
over parachutes. Forced down behind enemy lines, he steals a German
plane from under its pilot's nose and is nearly shot down by his
own side. Bandy, again a colonel, is sent to Russia to help the White Russians.
In keeping with his past purloining of vehicles, he steals an armoured
train from the Bolsheviks.
At one time this volume was published in two separate parts; the
first half sold as It's Me Again, the second as Me Among
the Ruins. The two halves were also published together as It's
Me Again, and that's how the latest version is being published.
So, Me Among the Ruins is now part two of It's Me Again.
Me Bandy, You Cissie
Here Bandy recounts more of his experiences as a prisoner of the
Bolsheviks, including marriage to feisty-tempered Dasha. Two years
after everyone else has been demobbed, he's sent back to Canada
and his parents, which and whom he quickly flees for the fast-paced
life of a moving picture actor and stunt pilot, the arms of heiress
and aspiring pilot Cissie Chaffington, and entanglement with the
post-war American underworld in the person of gangster Tony Batt.
The 2009 edition includes Donald Jack's radio play Banner's Headline.
Back in Canada, Bandy reprises and expands some of his Russian experiences
alluded to in earlier works. He runs as a Liberal candidate (wanting
only to get patronage money for his aeroplane-building schemes)
and to the amazement of all concerned ends up not only in parliament,
but in McKenzie-King's cabinet. What with perfecting the design
of his sea-plane, the Gander, and rumrunning for Tony Batt, things
get pretty complicated before the end.
This One's On Me
Bandy and the Gander head for England by way of Iceland, where he
makes the acquaintance of Sigga, a doctor. In England he loses the
Gander in rescuing the heir to the sultanate of Jhamjhar, meets
Sigga again, and is engaged to form an air force for Jhamjhar.
Me So Far
Bandy and Sigga travel to India in the service of the maharajah of an independent principality, where they become entangled
in the politics of the Empire as Jhamjarh struggles with its neighbours, and with the Raj,
to keep its sovereignty. When things go pants, Bandy is in the thick of the action as Deputy Supreme Commander of the maharajah's air force.
Hitler vs. Me
Sometime between Jhamjhar and
WWII, Bandy and Sigga ended up involved in the Spanish Civil War,
on the politically incorrect side for the time, opposing the fascists. Bandy, an instructor with the RCAF, is desperate to
be sent to active service to avenge Sigga. He's also desperately trying
to deny the existence of his toupee. McKenzie-King finally gratifies
the former desire and sends him to England, no doubt believing that
he'll at last be rid of Bandy. Meanwhile, he's coping with B.W.,
his and Cissie's very hostile and resentful son, an American who
joined the RCAF and is now apparently blind. Not one but two Bandys
is more than the war may be able to take. (And there are the two
Churchills, too.) Group Captain Bandy and his son end up shot down
in Normandy, in the hands of the Gestapo and the Resistance, in
June 1944. Bandy never does get a VC and is rather put out about
it: the Victoria Cross is the only medal he doesn't have. Originally published in 1996, Hitler vs Me is now available for the first time in paperback. The new paperback edition also includes an added bonus: Donald Jack's novelette "Where Did Rafe Madison Go?"
Stalin vs Me
At long last -- the ninth and final volume of the Bandy Papers, Stalin Versus Me, in which Bartholomew Wolfe Bandy has one final fling with death, despair, and destruction, in the final year of the Second World War. Click here for more details on Stalin Versus Me.
The Canvas Barricade
In print for the first time, Donald Jack’s comedy The Canvas Barricade was the first Canadian play performed on the main stage of the Stratford Festival (1961). The original cast included
and Bruno Gerussi.
Rogues, Rebels, and Geniuses
The Story of Canadian Medicine, it presents a series of
portraits of Canadian surgeons and physicians that shows the evolution
of medicine from pre-scientific superstitions to modern practices.
Sadly out of print, Rogues, Rebels, and Geniuses is not
only an education in medicine but is almost impossible to put
down, so packed is it with bizarre and ludicrous anecdotes. If
only Bandy had completed his training at medical school...
| Exit Muttering
A two-act play, first
performed in 1962. Described as "high comedy about an unsuccessful
businessman and the three (simultaneous) women in his life".
Sinc, Betty, and the Morning Man
The story of Toronto radio station CFRB and the hijinx of the
odd collection of characters who worked there.