We’re all familiar with the great World War Two heroes – Guy Gibson VC, Douglas Bader, James Bigglesworth and GI Joe, for instance – however, this issue The Sleaze profiles a hitherto unrecognised wartime hero; Wing Commander Bernie ‘Bugger Me’ Bamford. Bamford’s harrowing wartime experiences as a prisoner of war highlight the appalling deprivations suffered by many of our brave boys in the service of their country. “I’d noticed for a while that certain young chaps were taken before the Camp Commandant every so often”, the silver haired 89 year old recalls. “They were always reluctant to say what had happened to them when they returned to the bunk house.” Finally, it was Bamford’s turn to see the Commandant. “I was marched into his office and told to drop my trousers. All the time he had his back to me. Finally he turned around and gave me the shock of my life!”, Bamford recalls. “I recognised him as having been a prefect at my school. ‘Well bugger me!’, I said, and he did!” Perhaps because of their public school connections, the Commandant took a liking to Bamford and buggered him on a regular basis. “Sometimes he liked to put me across his knee and give me a bare-arsed spanking instead”, the retired flier revealed. “It was nice to have a bit of variety!” Fighter ace Bamford – who had joined the RAF during the height of the Battle of Britain, piloting his Spitfire against the Luftwaffe – was shot down over France in 1942 and captured by the Germans. “This Messerschmitt just came out of nowhere”, he explains, remembering the fateful day. “All of a sudden there he was on my tail. ‘Well bugger me!’ I said ‘The bastard’s going to fly right up my arse!’ And he did! His propeller tore off the rear of my fuselage and lacerated my backside! Somehow I managed to bale out and next thing I knew I was lying in a hayrick with some storm trooper sticking his bayonet up my jacksie and shouting ‘Hands up’. They were bloody obsessed, those Jerries!” Little did Bamford realise, as he was taken away to a Prisoner of War camp in Poland, that his terrible ordeal was only just beginning. “It turned out that they thought the lacerations across my rear cheeks were the result of some sort of caning,” he chuckles. “The devils assumed I was into those discipline sort of games and that I’d be up for some more of the same!”

However, Bamford was not entirely surprised by this turn of events. “My father had been captured by the Turks at Gallipoli in the First World War, and had once confided to me how he and other prisoners had been taken to the back room of an Istanbul coffee shop and relentlessly buggered for two days by several Turkish policemen with huge moustaches and shoes which curled up at the toes. He never fully recovered – after the war he could never walk past a Turkish bath or kebab shop without shuddering. He once climbed on the stage and punched a magician at the London Palladium because he was wearing a fez. To the day he died – he suffered a fatal apoplectic fit when he saw Tommy Cooper on Sunday Night at The Palladium – the sight of a moustache could turn him into a gibbering wreck – needless to say, he could never enjoy Whacko on TV with Jimmy Edwards.” Eventually the Commandant tired of Bamford, turning his attentions to a young Naval Sub Lieutenant instead, and Bamford found himself at the mercy of the Commandant’s cronies. “Buggery seemed to be very big in this particular camp”, he remembers. “Mind you, it wasn’t so different from public school. Canings and floggings were an everyday experience there. It was character building and made a man of you – that’s the trouble with today’s youth, not enough discipline!” Bamford’s military career had also accustomed him to the kind of experiences he encountered in the camp. “When I joined the RAF initiation rituals were de rigueur – I had to run naked through a gauntlet of junior officers wielding hot pokers. My arse was covered in blisters for a week afterwards!”, he told us. “Later on, when I joined my first squadron, we used to play a game in the mess-room between sorties, to ease the tension, in which a chap would stick some object up your bum while you were blindfolded. You had to guess what it was – sometimes we’d play it without blindfolds and bets would be taken as to how many inches each fellow could take. I remember once I had the misfortune to fart whilst the Squadron Leader was shoving a cucumber up my bottom – I was on the verge of breaking my record of seven inches as well! Anyway, it flew out and hit him in the groin – he wasn’t amused, I can tell you!”

Growing tired of the continued ritual humiliation at the hands of his captors, Bamford determined to escape. In January 1944 he succeeded by means of a tunnel. “There was a hairy moment when a searchlight paused over the exit just as I was about to climb out. I had to stop so suddenly that the chap behind me ran straight into my backside. My arse was so raw by that time, it was all I could do to stifle a scream!”, Bamford chortles as he recalls the incident. Making his escape to the East, Bamford eventually met up with the advancing Red Army. His RAF mess-room experiences again proved invaluable, as he found that the Russians played a version of the ‘How Many Inches?’ game. “It was a good icebreaker”, he says. “They were very impressed by my capacity. Of course, they didn’t have many cucumbers, so they had to improvise, with broomsticks, icicles and potatoes. One night this Sergeant bet me he had found something even I couldn’t get up my arse. Naturally, for the honour of King and Country I said I’d take up the challenge. Next thing I knew, the bugger was leading a cart horse into the mess-tent! I could barely walk for a week after that, but I won the bet and their respect!” In 1945 Bamford was able to rejoin the advancing British forces and rejoin his squadron, where he found that his exclamation of ‘Bugger me’ as he’d been shot down had been picked up by the control room and that the nickname had stuck. “I’m happy to say that I was able to put my wartime experiences to good use,” he says proudly. “I was able to institute a whole new and standardised set of initiation rituals for new recruits which are now used across Britain’s armed forces.” Bamford is one of the few servicemen who have revealed their buggering ordeals at the hands of the Nazis. We believe that many more have, through shame, remained silent. “It really must be exposed”, Bamford believes. “It was a despicable thing, underlining the Nazis’ degeneracy and inhumanity. It was in direct contrast to the traditional non-sexual British buggering, which is just the sort of thing chaps do to each other as a form of bonding.”