For those wondering about Andy’s military creds:
When war broke out in 1939, Smythe became a machine gunner and saw action both at the siege of Tobruk and in the El Alamein campaign. He rose to the rank of sergeant and came home with campaign medals for both Palestine and North Africa. He had no home leave during his entire ten years abroad – not even when his father died in 1940 – but only a few spells of R&R in Cairo.It’s typical of Smythe’s modesty that he would describe this period as nothing more than “the Northumberland Fusiliers and the German troops [chasing] one another up and down the Western Desert”. And yet, as Smyth Herdman points out, Smythe would also rate these army years as one of the biggest influences in his life.He gave Andy precisely this wartime experience too, establishing in various strips that Andy had driven a Bren carrier in North Africa, that he’d been a sergeant in the Northumberland Fusiliers, that he’d fought in the same battles as Smythe himself, and come home with medals on his chest. Andy never forgot his army years any more than Smythe did, and was still calling himself “an ex-soldier” as late as 1990.