Hi, I’m John Deadwood, MP for some place near Reading. Most of you will know me from my fearless and relentless campaigning for Vladimir Putin, but when I’m not busy ignoring my constituents or spouting crap on Twitter, I’m quite the ichthyologist. Yes, that’s right, I study fish! Being from Berkshire, the sea is clearly in my blood and one can’t think of the sea without thinking of fish.
Fish are fascinating creatures and they have taught me just about everything that I know. Here are a few amazing facts about our piscine pals and the role they have played in British military history.
Know Your Plaice
The humble plaice is, admittedly, not the prettiest of fish, but did you know how important a role plaice played in our triumph at Agincourt?
In 1415, things were looking a bit bleak for King Harry’s conquest of France. After months of defeat, disease and surviving on gruesome foreign cuisine, the remnants of our battered army faced a desperate ordeal at Agincourt. Massively outnumbered and surrounded by Frenchies, it looked like a lost cause for Henry V.
However, it is always darkest before the dawn and as the French hordes closed in on our lads, our ever-loyal plaice decided to wrest control. With a mighty cry of “CHARGE! TA-RAN-TA-RA!“, our scaly chums launched volley after volley of arrows, tearing through the enemy ranks to such an extent that Harry and the boys simply had to clean up afterwards. D’Albret and his Froggy hordes had been roundly thrashed by 450 Englishmen and a handful of fish.
The French had been firmly put in their plaice!
Plaice is delicious with a lemon and parsley butter.
Oh My Cod!
The humble cod is a perennial favourite in the Great British fish and chip shop (unless you happen to be a northern weirdo who prefers the infinitely superior haddock, of course). But there is much more to the humble cod than its deliciously flaky texture and lovely flavour!
British cod are tirelessly patriotic and do not enjoy the idea that they may be run from Brussels rather than Eton. A cod will fiercely defend his right to wave a cheap, plastic, Chinese-made Union Jack to the very death.
Many years ago, an army (or is it navy, I’m never quite sure) of proudly nationalistic cod declared war on Iceland after somebody there dared to suggest that Iceland is cooler than the UK. Some years later, we realised that the person in question was referring to the weather and was, therefore, technically correct. But the proud, jingoistic over-reaction of our cod still makes them my number one choice for a fish-finger sandwich, every single time.
Cry cod for Harry, for England and Saint George (who absolutely wasn’t Libyan), says I!
Tales of Herring-do
Cast your mind back, if you will, to October 1805. The Napoleonic Wars were reaching a climactic point and it was imperative that we plucky Brits took control of the high seas. Our fleet met theirs at Trafalgar and the rest, as it were, is history.
The heroism of Nelson, Hardy and Collingwood is widely documented, as it should be, but we are wont to forget the part that our heroic fish played in this pivotal victory.
Whilst our great admirals launched broadside after broadside at the Bucentaure, the Santa Anna and the Santissima Trinidad, a squadron of elite British herring set about destroying the rest of the enemy fleet. Armed with nothing more than the spirit of Brexit, our plucky herring nibbled away at the hulls of the remaining ships and sent a thousand stinking foreigners to a watery grave.
Thanks to their selfless efforts, our glorious nation was free to continue using confusing and archaic measurements for another hundred and sixty-odd years.
We will not forget them. We will forever eat kippers and think of glory!
The German battleship Bismarck was famously destroyed in 1941 thanks to the combined efforts of the Royal Navy, the RAF and our world-beating fish.
Whilst it is widely recognised that the Axis flagship had been previously damaged at the battle of Denmark Strait, few are aware of what happened between there and her final resting place, some 300 miles west of Brest.
A plucky commando group of privately-educated British bass had followed the behemoth for the entire journey, launching stealthy raids at regular intervals. Again and again, they headbutted the Bismarck’s heavily armoured fuel tanks. With each attack, the steel was weakened a little further until finally, its defensive value was reduced to the point where it could easily be penetrated by a few dozen torpedoes.
The bass had damaged the 41,700-ton vessel to such an extent that it could be destroyed in just 100 minutes of intense bombardment. We owe it to these unsung heroes to leave the European Union at any cost to our own well-being.
Sea bass is best enjoyed pan-fried with a lemon caper dressing.
Join me next time when I will be looking into our fish’s contributions to political philosophy, economic theory and medical science.