LAST time the marriage between war and comedy proved wildly successful was around the time Dad’s Army was popular.
But ex-serviceman Denis Mattinson hopes the market for black humour is still going strong after self-publishing his fictional army tale to raise money for charity.
Mr Mattinson, 74, will donate £1 from every copy of his novel sold – The War That Never Was – to the Royal British Legion.
He said: “When I retired I got arthritis and when I couldn’t sleep at night I would mess about on the computer and I started to write.
“I’ve written several books on different genres and then I was inspired to do the one about the army and help the ex-servicemen.
“I’m not trying to make much out of it, I just want to do it for the lads. I’m an ex-soldier myself and with the war in Afghanistan, more lads are going to need help.
“I’ve never had money so I’m not really bothered about that, it’s just if I can help in a small way, I shall do so.”
The former shop owner retired nine years ago and swapped trading imported birds for writing a number of short stories and humorous books.
He decided to base his latest work on his experience as a squaddie during the Malayan Emergency – a guerrilla warfare between the Commonwealth and the military arm of the Malayan communist party which raged on from 1948 to 1960.
Mr Mattinson, of Wood Row, Methley, said: “I was there for three years and that’s what inspired me to write the book.
“It’s called The War That Never Was because it was never officially declared, even though it lasted 12 years and 35,000 British troops were deployed there.
“The story is about army life but follows two Yorkshire lads and their careers. Even though the places are factual the characters and plot are fictional. It’s quite a good comedy.”
The plot focuses on an odd-couple pairing – a classic ingredient in comedy sketches – where the main characters, JJ Johnnie and Jonathan Drewe tempt fate by opening a high-class brothel just as the army bosses come to town.
Mr Mattinson said: “It’s based on lads from different backgrounds – one is qualified as a solicitor and the other is an ex-pit lad and they’re forced to work together.
“I like a bit of humour in everything I do so I have got plenty of jokes in and they get up to all sorts of scrapes.
“When one of them proposes to open a gentleman’s club in Taiping, that’s where all the comedy comes in.”
The War That Never Was can be purchased for £7.95 by calling Denis, who will personally hand-deliver a copyfree, on 01977 515518.
Alternatively it can be purchased directly from Russells Newsagents in Castleford.