Short Story Preview: Travel Time – Malcolm Allen
Fort Eustis, Virginia is a US Army training establishment in the southern state of Virginia. It is colloquially known by the ‘inmates’ by the more
descriptive name of Fort Uterus, Vagina. By any standards it is huge, boasting a small airport, a heliport, a small dockyard and, in its prime in the 1970s when I was there, host to 40,000 students a year on a variety of military courses. It also boasted a very nice 18 hole golf course. The year 1976 saw the 200th anniversary of the American Revolutionary War and the birth of the nation. We Brits call it the War of Independence. Anyway, this anniversary seemed to take over the whole of the United States. Everywhere I looked I was reminded of it and the golf course was no exception. The flags on every hole were marked with the words ‘1776-1976, 200 years of the American Nation’ but at that time, of course, the Americans were British and Cornwallis’s British army consisted mainly of Hanoverian and French mercenaries. In reality the Brits thrashed the Huns and the Frogs, as ever. Nevertheless, I felt personally responsible for the humiliation marked by this celebration. Indeed, I believe that the strain of putting against this constant reminder of a British defeat ruined my skills around the green forever.
Thankfully the Royal Navy came to my rescue. The Aircraft Carrier HMS Ark Royal, the pride of our fleet, and we had one at the time, sailed into Newport News naval base just down the road from us. Clearly painted on her sides in huge letters were the words ‘876-1976 eleven hundred years of the Royal Navy.’
But I digress.