Despite its brevity, Ken Ross’s article on Dan Davin’s memoir of Paddy Costello (NZRB Spring 2019) contains a quite remarkable number of factual errors. By my count, there are 18 – there may be others beyond my ken, so to speak – the most egregious of which is the claim that “the peak of the current memoir is the account of the public reconciliation between Freyberg and Montgomery: that is worth the price alone.” In fact, what Davin described, at page 58, was the public reconciliation between Freyberg and Churchill.
Readers wanting to find more accurate information about Costello might wish to consult the website kiwispies.com, where they will find several articles written about him by me, the first dating from 2012.
Ken Ross replies:
Dear old Monty, barging in like that! Of course, it was Churchill and Freyberg who reconciled then, with Monty as witness, on the rostrum with them. Afterwards, Freyberg wrote to his stepson that Churchill “patted me on the back like a dog”.
The two Kroger passports were issued by the New Zealand Legation in Paris on 3 May 1954. Not in 1953. The NZSIS is the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service, not our Secret spies, as the editors inserted.
I am well experienced from Denis Lenihan’s previous critiquing of my Paddy Costello articles in the New Zealand International Review that our respective readings of the same information often result in contrasting assessments. But, finding another 15 factual errors in the review is beyond this Ken.