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The Book of Heroic Failures, was written by Stephen Pile in 1979. It is a book written in celebration of human inadequacy in all its forms.

My favourite story took part in 1978. During the fireman’s strike in England, the British army took over emergency fire-fighting and drove the "Green Goddess" rather than red fire engines.

On January 14 the soldiers were called out by an elderly lady in South London. She wanted them to retrieve her cat who was stuck up a tree. The soldiers arrived with impressive haste and they very cleverly and carefully rescued the cat.

The lady was so grateful that she invited the squad of heroes in for tea. Later as they drove off making their fond farewells and enthusiastic waving of arms, they actually ran over the cat and killed it.

Point: They could have been heroes but ended up as failures!

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