Difference between revisions of "Dai Dickins"
m (1 revision: Discworld import)
Revision as of 21:56, 23 September 2012
Sergeant "Dai" Dickins served in the Ankh-Morpork City Watch during the events of Night Watch, where he was stationed at the Dimwell Street Watch House. Hailing from Llamedos, he belonged to a sect of druids so strict that they did not even have standing stones. It was also taboo for him to swear, which is a disadvantage for a sergeant, were it not for the ability for sergeants to extemporise ("You sons of mothers!", etc...). Dickins is the archetypical Sgt-Major or drill instructor character from the Napoleonic Wars to Vietnam, whose gruff exterior hides a heart... maybe. He is the size, shape, appearance and Military Specification of a Sergeant: cone-shaped, with a long, fierce mustache. Having many years' experience in the Regiments, Dickins is an obvious second-in-command for Sgt-at-Arms Keel. He molds the rabble of Treacle Mine Road into a semblance of an army and teaches them their marching song: "All The Little Angels." He was killed at the battle of Treacle Mine Road by Captain Carcer's men.
The stern and unyielding Welsh sergeant, who communicates his authority to the men despite having such a strict religious background that he cannot swear at them, is straight out of the film Zulu (1965) , but has an even longer lineage in the tribal folklore of Welsh army regiments. Another referent is actor Windsor Davies, who played an equally domineering Welsh sergeant-major for so long on British TV that his performance (played for laughs in Army sitcom It Ain't Half Hot, Mum , BBC TV 1971-78) sank deeply into the public consciousness. So deeply, in fact, that the question becomes - did Windsor Davies style his performance on a Welsh sergeant-major, or do all Welsh NCO's consciously style themselves on Windsor Davies' TV character of RSM Williams? The two have become inextricably mingled... A non-Welsh example of the type occurs in Onward Virgin Soldiers by Leslie Thomas where the recruits are taught unarmed combat by a staff sergeant who belongs to The Norwich Wayfarers a strict religious sect that forbids swearing. As a result he never uses a word ruder than "bloomin'" and won't let the men do so either. As he demonstrates his skill on the first day by beating up the platoon bodybuilder in front of everybody and claims to be able to "Paralyze you with a touch of my big toe", the men listen. He also insist that they sing Sunday school choruses. The image of a squad of squaddies all running to the training ground singing "Jesus wants me for a sunbeam" is one that sticks in the mind.