The first impression we get of Bamforth is that he is lazy and unmotivated. It is clear that he does not like Corporal Johnstone by the way he talks about him behind his back. For example when Johnstone and Sergeant Mitchem leave the hut to explore the surrounding jungle he calls Johnstone a creep, a toe-rag and says he wants carving up. He also says that when he leaves the army he would like to meet Johnstone once so he could ‘smash his face in.
‘ He also says that the ‘London boys’ are the best fighters around.We first get the feeling that he does not get on that well with the rest of the patrol when he says to Evans ‘Go back to Wales, you Cardiff creep’. He gets on Smith’s nerves and this is apparent when Smith says ‘shut up about it, I’m fed up of bloody Southerners shouting the odds’.
Even though they haven’t been there long there is evidence of friction between Smith and Bamforth. Bamforth then starts having a go at Johnstone again when Macleish who has just been made Lance Corporal tells him to pack it in. This just makes Bamforth more irritating and when Macleish asks him if he is looking for trouble Bamforth replies, ‘Shut up you scotch haggis. Its not your fault all corps are bastards, we all know that’. What he is saying that since Macleish has become Lance corporal he has become a ‘bastard’. This shows his dislike for higher ranked people.When whittaker said he had something on the radio Bamforth takes the mickey by saying it was music and asking him to turn it up.
When Macleish asks if it was camp Bamforth says, ‘were 15 miles from camp. He’s not marconi. This boy couldn’t get service in his own living room’.
He is implying that whittaker cant do anything right. Whittaker try’s the radio again but gets nothing, when he protests that he had got something bamforth says ‘that’s your story boy you stick to it’. Another sign tat bamforth is a bit racist is when, after Evans makes a joke about Bamforth not being able to get higher up in the army ranks Bamforth replies, ‘That’s all you know you Welsh rabbit you’d be the first to suffer’. Also when Evans’ mother sends him the wrong magazine and Evans says she must have slipped up Bamforth says, ‘Yeah she slipped up all right when she had you’.
The patrol gets annoyed with Bamforth and it is clear when, as mentioned earlier Macleish asks bamforth for a fight. Bamforth tries to demoralize the troops and an example of this is when he tells Evans that his girlfriend is probably up in the mountains with a big yank. Also when Evans playfully offers bamforth a fight Bamforth almost breaks his leg by twisting it around by the ankle and he wont let go of it until Evans says that he is an ignorant Welsh taff. Bamforths attitudes to war is cowardly, he tells the patrol that if a war started near them he would be ‘off like a whippet’ and he tells them that he would get in a wog rowing boat. He also calls the enemy ‘the yellow hoards’ on account of the colour of their skin, which also shows his racist side. He is cowardly about war and racist about the enemy, he also calls them ‘the invading army of he rising sun’.His attitude to his superiors is clear by the way he plays up with Macleish and Johnstone.
It is not clear with Mitchem though and I think he might have some sort of respect for Mitchem but he doesn’t want to show it. With Macleish it could be the fact that he used to be ‘one of the boys’ but he got given the job and Bamforth thought he went creeping after it. I really don’t think he likes Johnstone because he doesn’t listen to him and Mitchem has to step in and tell Bamforth what to do what Johnstone told him.
His attitude towards the prisoner when he arrives is one of mockery. He treats the prisoner like a child by giving him commands like ‘Drop fingers’. He also shows his racist side when he starts to change his words by adding an L after the first letter. For example, instead of ‘fingers on bonce’ he says ‘flingers on blonce’ and also instead of ‘drop fingers’ he says ‘dlop flingers’.
When the prisoner actually obeys him he talks about how the prisoner obeys him like a child. When the prisoner first arrived and Bamforth said he would kill him, when Mitchem stopped him he couldn’t resist frightening him once more with the bayonet.His attitudes towards the prisoner start to change when the prisoner shows him a picture of his family. Bamforth comments on how his wife is quite nice looking and that he has two kids.
He can’t resist having a go at Smith though when the prisoner indicates that he has a baby as well as two children.