Forgotten Moments in Twentieth Century English History

Number 6: The Cheese Cutter Dawn Raid of 1942

This has passed into history and opinions vary about the exact details. All versions agree that the chief instigator of the raid was Colonel Lionel Macpherson-Strutt, who was at the time a young lieutenant. The raid took place in (according to some accounts) Sonning on Thames. Others insist it happened near Burpham in Sussex. The purpose of the raid was to liberate one gross of cans of baked beans which Macpherson-Strutt and his colleagues suspected were being maliciously withheld by Naafi personnel.

Received wisdom has it, although none of this can be definitively substantiated, that Macpherson-Strutt and his friend Wilson drove to the Naafi at dawn and effected an entry by means of a badly secured side window. Macpherson-Strutt’s Riley was then packed to the gunwales with the cans of beans and the booty was concealed for two or three days under the PE hut at the barracks.

The ensuing midnight feast was enjoyed by the entire platoon but, some say, their guilt was exposed following a severe attack of mass flatulence during the following day’s parade.

(Substance of story taken from “My War” by P Gurney-Nutting)

In the early 1950s the cult film director Ernest Teaser planned to make a film of the whole incident, and David Niven and Margaret Rutherford were approached for leading roles. Sadly financing the film became a problem and the decline of Teaser's career can be dated from this point. Who knows what effect this potential block-buster might have otherwise had on the British Film industry?

Previous
Next