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second of the few

English translation: It's an allusion to....

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21:43 Apr 4, 2004
English to English translations [PRO]
Art/Literary - Cinema, Film, TV, Drama
English term or phrase: second of the few
"Dad's Army"

Pike:
I asked them if I could be a Spitfire pilot and they said I'd have to be an ordinary aircraftsman first and see how I got on. Just think - I'll be the second of the few.
lim0nka
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:36
English translation:It's an allusion to....
Explanation:
...the RAF fighter pilots who defended Britain in the battle of Britain - the few: the pilots. The first - the foremost pilots, the first to die, or the first of those pilots (at the beginning). From Winston Churchill's famous wartime speech. The second - is a joke.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 6 mins (2004-04-04 21:50:21 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

the aircraftsmen were the ground support crew, rather than the pilots...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 8 mins (2004-04-04 21:52:06 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

the aircraftsmen were the ground support crew, rather than the pilots...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 8 mins (2004-04-04 21:52:22 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

http://www.winstonchurchill.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 13 mins (2004-04-04 21:57:07 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

August 20, 1940
House of Commons
On August 15, the crisis of the battle of Britain was reached. All the resources of Fighter Command in the South were used. The most difficult and dangerous period of the Battle of Britain was between August 24 and September 6, when the German attack was directed against the R.A.F airfields in the South of England with considerable success. In this speech Churchill coined the phrase \"The Few\" to describe the R.A.F fighter-pilots. The phrase stuck. The final sentence of this speech, including the use of the word \"benignant,\" is a good example of Churchill\'s choice of unexpected and assertive adjectives to make a phrase memorable.

\"The gratitude of every home in our Island.....goes out to the British airmen who, undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of the World War by their prowess and b~ their devotion. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few. All hearts go out to the fighter pilots, whose brilliant actions we see with our own eyes day after day...\"


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 17 mins (2004-04-04 22:00:56 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

based on this was the 1942 film \"the first of the few\"
which Pikewill have watched, and been moved or enthused by:

http://www.reviewcentre.com/reviews47949.html
Although made at the height of WW2, this film is far from mere propaganda. As well as showcasing the fine acting and direction of Leslie Howard, it tells the story of a genuine hero. While the events ...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 21 mins (2004-04-04 22:05:05 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

he is probably also joking about (or imagining himself heroically following the path of the hero of) the film of this title (he\'d be the second) against the backdrop of dramatic real events.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 50 mins (2004-04-04 22:34:01 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

http://21st-century-home.co.uk/dvd/dvd.pl/item-B00006JY5P/sh...
The First Of The Few [1942]
starring: Leslie Howard, David Niven
directed by: Leslie Howard

Rating: **** - Far surpasses most propaganda
Although made at the height of WW2, this film is far from mere propaganda. As well as showcasing the fine acting and direction of Leslie Howard, it tells the story of a genuine hero. While the events of the film are heavily fictionalised, the basic story about RJ Mitchell\'s dedication to the creation of the perfect flying machine, (and then the perfect fighter aircraft) even at the expense of his health, is entirely true.

There have been many attempts to debunk the mythos surrounding the \"Battle Of Britain\" in recent years, largely as a result of social change. This film puts it back in context, as the struggle of a small group of individuals which helped win the war everyone fought.

As the character Crisp (David Niven), loosely based on real-life test pilot Jeffrey Quill, says at the close of the close of the film \"They can\'t take the Spitfires Mitch, they can\'t take them...\".

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 51 mins (2004-04-04 22:34:29 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

http://21st-century-home.co.uk/dvd/dvd.pl/item-B00006JY5P/sh...
The First Of The Few [1942]
starring: Leslie Howard, David Niven
directed by: Leslie Howard

Rating: **** - Far surpasses most propaganda
Although made at the height of WW2, this film is far from mere propaganda. As well as showcasing the fine acting and direction of Leslie Howard, it tells the story of a genuine hero. While the events of the film are heavily fictionalised, the basic story about RJ Mitchell\'s dedication to the creation of the perfect flying machine, (and then the perfect fighter aircraft) even at the expense of his health, is entirely true.

There have been many attempts to debunk the mythos surrounding the \"Battle Of Britain\" in recent years, largely as a result of social change. This film puts it back in context, as the struggle of a small group of individuals which helped win the war everyone fought.

As the character Crisp (David Niven), loosely based on real-life test pilot Jeffrey Quill, says at the close of the close of the film \"They can\'t take the Spitfires Mitch, they can\'t take them...\".

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 58 mins (2004-04-04 22:42:20 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Pike is probably also joking about (or imagining himself heroically following the path of the hero of) the film of this title (he\'d be the second) against the backdrop of dramatic real events.

(RJ Mitchell was very much the father of the Spitfire, a brilliant aircraft designer, often working despite rather than with government support)http://www.bbc.co.uk/stoke/local_heroes/g_m/mitchell.shtml

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr 31 mins (2004-04-04 23:15:05 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Relatively little is known about RJ Mitchell, a shy man who, with no formal training in aerodynamics, created revolutionary aircraft throughout the Twenties, breaking several world speed records and winning the coveted Schneider Trophy a record three times in a row.

But Mitchell preferred to remain in the background, always giving credit to others. As he started work on what was set to become his greatest creation, he was diagnosed with rectal cancer. He was just 38 years old. Working on in spite of his illness, Mitchell struggled to produce an aircraft which played a crucial role in the Battle of Britain and helped to assure the nation’s freedom.

Mitchell died in 1937 - just over 12 months after Spitfire took to the skies .......more than 23,000 Spitfires were produced in the ensuing years, but their creator’s name faded into relative obscurity.



--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr 51 mins (2004-04-04 23:34:34 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

an alternative way of looking at it would be that RJ Mitchell - the father of the Spitfire, but not a Battle of Britain pilot, but rather the ultimate \"ground crew\" - was (in truth) the first of the few (as above) - and as ground crew Pike imagines himself as the second (after RJ Mitchell).

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2 hrs 22 mins (2004-04-05 00:05:55 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

(Churchill probably took his inspiration from Shakespeare - King Henry V\'s speech before the battle of Agincourt: \"We happy few, we band of brothers\".)

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2 hrs 28 mins (2004-04-05 00:12:00 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Shakespeare - Complete works
http://www.shakespeare-literature.com/Henry_V/20.html/we few


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 10 hrs 40 mins (2004-04-05 08:23:32 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

potted synopsis in
http://www.dadsarmy.cwc.net/maincharacters.htm


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 14 hrs 0 min (2004-04-05 11:43:54 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

\"Private Frank Pike (played by Ian Lavender)

By far the youngest member of the newly formed platoon at 17, Frank was too young to enlist in the services, but jumped at the change of belonging to the Home Guard, much to his mother\'s displeasure. For some reason this displeasure spread to Arthur Wilson, or Uncle Arthur, as Frank would usually address him. Frank regarded the Home Guard as an extension of the scouting movement, of which he was a keen member, and at times acted as if war was a bit of a game. This outlook changed when he eventually received his call up papers, but after it was discovered that he had a rare blood group, he was unable to fulfil his ambition to be a Spitfire pilot and become one of the \'second of the few\'. Frank Pike usually ended up wet, or covered in mud during the platoons escapades, he was usually volunteered because he was the youngest, despite his protests about suffering from vertigo, croup or hay fever.\"

http://www.dadsarmy.cwc.net/whatisdadsarmy.htm


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 14 hrs 2 mins (2004-04-05 11:45:58 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

a problem with translating Pikes conscious or unconscious jokes is that they are a bit silly, although he is no fool.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 14 hrs 3 mins (2004-04-05 11:46:55 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Pike himself will have been very serious in his yearning to be a Spitfire pilot,whether he is joking or not~ []

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 17 hrs 25 mins (2004-04-05 15:08:37 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

(typo. \'..Pike\'s...\')
Selected response from:

DGK T-I
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:36
Grading comment
Thank you very much!
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +9It's an allusion to....
DGK T-I


  

Answers


5 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +9
It's an allusion to....


Explanation:
...the RAF fighter pilots who defended Britain in the battle of Britain - the few: the pilots. The first - the foremost pilots, the first to die, or the first of those pilots (at the beginning). From Winston Churchill's famous wartime speech. The second - is a joke.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 6 mins (2004-04-04 21:50:21 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

the aircraftsmen were the ground support crew, rather than the pilots...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 8 mins (2004-04-04 21:52:06 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

the aircraftsmen were the ground support crew, rather than the pilots...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 8 mins (2004-04-04 21:52:22 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

http://www.winstonchurchill.org/i4a/pages/index.cfm?pageid=3...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 13 mins (2004-04-04 21:57:07 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

August 20, 1940
House of Commons
On August 15, the crisis of the battle of Britain was reached. All the resources of Fighter Command in the South were used. The most difficult and dangerous period of the Battle of Britain was between August 24 and September 6, when the German attack was directed against the R.A.F airfields in the South of England with considerable success. In this speech Churchill coined the phrase \"The Few\" to describe the R.A.F fighter-pilots. The phrase stuck. The final sentence of this speech, including the use of the word \"benignant,\" is a good example of Churchill\'s choice of unexpected and assertive adjectives to make a phrase memorable.

\"The gratitude of every home in our Island.....goes out to the British airmen who, undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of the World War by their prowess and b~ their devotion. Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few. All hearts go out to the fighter pilots, whose brilliant actions we see with our own eyes day after day...\"


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 17 mins (2004-04-04 22:00:56 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

based on this was the 1942 film \"the first of the few\"
which Pikewill have watched, and been moved or enthused by:

http://www.reviewcentre.com/reviews47949.html
Although made at the height of WW2, this film is far from mere propaganda. As well as showcasing the fine acting and direction of Leslie Howard, it tells the story of a genuine hero. While the events ...

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 21 mins (2004-04-04 22:05:05 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

he is probably also joking about (or imagining himself heroically following the path of the hero of) the film of this title (he\'d be the second) against the backdrop of dramatic real events.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 50 mins (2004-04-04 22:34:01 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

http://21st-century-home.co.uk/dvd/dvd.pl/item-B00006JY5P/sh...
The First Of The Few [1942]
starring: Leslie Howard, David Niven
directed by: Leslie Howard

Rating: **** - Far surpasses most propaganda
Although made at the height of WW2, this film is far from mere propaganda. As well as showcasing the fine acting and direction of Leslie Howard, it tells the story of a genuine hero. While the events of the film are heavily fictionalised, the basic story about RJ Mitchell\'s dedication to the creation of the perfect flying machine, (and then the perfect fighter aircraft) even at the expense of his health, is entirely true.

There have been many attempts to debunk the mythos surrounding the \"Battle Of Britain\" in recent years, largely as a result of social change. This film puts it back in context, as the struggle of a small group of individuals which helped win the war everyone fought.

As the character Crisp (David Niven), loosely based on real-life test pilot Jeffrey Quill, says at the close of the close of the film \"They can\'t take the Spitfires Mitch, they can\'t take them...\".

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 51 mins (2004-04-04 22:34:29 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

http://21st-century-home.co.uk/dvd/dvd.pl/item-B00006JY5P/sh...
The First Of The Few [1942]
starring: Leslie Howard, David Niven
directed by: Leslie Howard

Rating: **** - Far surpasses most propaganda
Although made at the height of WW2, this film is far from mere propaganda. As well as showcasing the fine acting and direction of Leslie Howard, it tells the story of a genuine hero. While the events of the film are heavily fictionalised, the basic story about RJ Mitchell\'s dedication to the creation of the perfect flying machine, (and then the perfect fighter aircraft) even at the expense of his health, is entirely true.

There have been many attempts to debunk the mythos surrounding the \"Battle Of Britain\" in recent years, largely as a result of social change. This film puts it back in context, as the struggle of a small group of individuals which helped win the war everyone fought.

As the character Crisp (David Niven), loosely based on real-life test pilot Jeffrey Quill, says at the close of the close of the film \"They can\'t take the Spitfires Mitch, they can\'t take them...\".

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 58 mins (2004-04-04 22:42:20 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Pike is probably also joking about (or imagining himself heroically following the path of the hero of) the film of this title (he\'d be the second) against the backdrop of dramatic real events.

(RJ Mitchell was very much the father of the Spitfire, a brilliant aircraft designer, often working despite rather than with government support)http://www.bbc.co.uk/stoke/local_heroes/g_m/mitchell.shtml

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr 31 mins (2004-04-04 23:15:05 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Relatively little is known about RJ Mitchell, a shy man who, with no formal training in aerodynamics, created revolutionary aircraft throughout the Twenties, breaking several world speed records and winning the coveted Schneider Trophy a record three times in a row.

But Mitchell preferred to remain in the background, always giving credit to others. As he started work on what was set to become his greatest creation, he was diagnosed with rectal cancer. He was just 38 years old. Working on in spite of his illness, Mitchell struggled to produce an aircraft which played a crucial role in the Battle of Britain and helped to assure the nation’s freedom.

Mitchell died in 1937 - just over 12 months after Spitfire took to the skies .......more than 23,000 Spitfires were produced in the ensuing years, but their creator’s name faded into relative obscurity.



--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 hr 51 mins (2004-04-04 23:34:34 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

an alternative way of looking at it would be that RJ Mitchell - the father of the Spitfire, but not a Battle of Britain pilot, but rather the ultimate \"ground crew\" - was (in truth) the first of the few (as above) - and as ground crew Pike imagines himself as the second (after RJ Mitchell).

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2 hrs 22 mins (2004-04-05 00:05:55 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

(Churchill probably took his inspiration from Shakespeare - King Henry V\'s speech before the battle of Agincourt: \"We happy few, we band of brothers\".)

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 2 hrs 28 mins (2004-04-05 00:12:00 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Shakespeare - Complete works
http://www.shakespeare-literature.com/Henry_V/20.html/we few


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 10 hrs 40 mins (2004-04-05 08:23:32 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

potted synopsis in
http://www.dadsarmy.cwc.net/maincharacters.htm


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 14 hrs 0 min (2004-04-05 11:43:54 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

\"Private Frank Pike (played by Ian Lavender)

By far the youngest member of the newly formed platoon at 17, Frank was too young to enlist in the services, but jumped at the change of belonging to the Home Guard, much to his mother\'s displeasure. For some reason this displeasure spread to Arthur Wilson, or Uncle Arthur, as Frank would usually address him. Frank regarded the Home Guard as an extension of the scouting movement, of which he was a keen member, and at times acted as if war was a bit of a game. This outlook changed when he eventually received his call up papers, but after it was discovered that he had a rare blood group, he was unable to fulfil his ambition to be a Spitfire pilot and become one of the \'second of the few\'. Frank Pike usually ended up wet, or covered in mud during the platoons escapades, he was usually volunteered because he was the youngest, despite his protests about suffering from vertigo, croup or hay fever.\"

http://www.dadsarmy.cwc.net/whatisdadsarmy.htm


--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 14 hrs 2 mins (2004-04-05 11:45:58 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

a problem with translating Pikes conscious or unconscious jokes is that they are a bit silly, although he is no fool.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 14 hrs 3 mins (2004-04-05 11:46:55 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Pike himself will have been very serious in his yearning to be a Spitfire pilot,whether he is joking or not~ []

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 17 hrs 25 mins (2004-04-05 15:08:37 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

(typo. \'..Pike\'s...\')

DGK T-I
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:36
PRO pts in category: 4
Grading comment
Thank you very much!

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Craft.Content
2 hrs

agree  Vicky Papaprodromou
2 hrs

agree  Hacene
3 hrs

agree  chopra_2002
4 hrs

agree  Charlie Bavington: Dunno about Winston getting his inspiration from The Bard of Avon, but the source of "the few" is certainly his "never in the field of human conflict" speech about the Battle of Britain pilots.
5 hrs

neutral  chica nueva: are you sure 'the second' is a joke? second = a person who takes care of someone who is fighting in a boxing competition or, in the past, in a duel (= organised fight) (Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary)
8 hrs
  -> I'm torn between yg Pike meaning it as a joke and him being very serious about following in the path of RJM,the test pilots(s)&BofBpilots.Isuspect the audience might be meant to see a joke,if Pike serious.Second(duel)interesting idea,though I like others~

agree  xxxAlfa Trans
9 hrs
  -> Pike himself will have been very serious in his yearning to be a Spitfire pilot,whether he is joking or not~

neutral  jerrie: With lai'an. Play on film 'First of the few'...second of the few - support/back-up to 'the few'..
9 hrs
  -> I think the film will have been the primary source of the joke,against the backdrop of the memory of Churchill's 1940morale boosting"few"speech (Pike will have watched the film at the cinema in 1942).DadsArmy humour is very gentle&serious about true hist

neutral  Lawyer-Linguist: with laián and jerrie
9 hrs
  -> I tend to go for the play on second(after first),but don't discount(supporter).DadsArmyjokes are very sensitive and in the spirit of the humour and fear of the time,as the writers(and audience)remembered it.(Digress.for LimOnka,many of"the few"were Poles)

agree  Asghar Bhatti
16 hrs

agree  Patricia Baldwin: I´m impressed Giuli..greetings from Buenos Aires!!!
17 hrs

agree  ARTES: Very accurate and informative answer! Good research Dr. Kvrivishvili !
2 days19 hrs
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