The 1958 comedy film The Square Peg featured the Pioneer Corps. The story follows the exploits of Private Norman Pitkin and Private Wilfred Grimsdale during WW2. Sir Norman Wisdom starred as Pitkin. Also in the popular sitcom Dad's Army Captain George Mainwaring managed to secure a commission in the corps in France 'during the whole on 1919.

  The Square Peg

It is the Second World War and Norman Pitkin (Norman Wisdom) is proud of his role in the war effort. He is a road mender for the council until he is recruited into the Pioneer Corps. From the beginning, the worst fears of the Commander are confirmed. Trying to turn Norman Pitkin into a soldier is like trying to fit a square peg in a round hole.



(Norman Joseph Wisdom)  

Born: 04-02-1915

Died: 04-10-2010

Birth Place: London, England


With his trademark trip, he's been a household name for over 50 years. But life was not always easy for this king of British comedy - and hero of Albania.

Wisdom was born in humble circumstances and had a tough childhood, until he joined the army at the age of fourteen, as a bandsman with the 100th Hussars. In the army he learned to play music, and became known in shows for his distinctive physical comedy.

After he returned to England, three months before the end of the War, he took part in a charity show at Cheltenham Town Hall. Afterwards, in the dressing room he was advised, by Rex Harrison, to become a professional after he left the army. He took this advice and never looked back.

A naturally gifted musician and performer, he made his stage debut in 1946 and appeared in variety, concert parties and summer seasons throughout Britain, as an inadequate but well-meaning character in ill-fitting clothes.

He was signed to Rank and by the fifties became Britain's most bankable box-office star, making his film debut as a Shadow Boxer in 'A Date with a Dream'.

Wisdom's comedy films were so low budget that they appeared to have been filmed in someone's basement, but each one of them made a fortune. Like Jerry Lewis, Wisdom would punctuate his slapstick set pieces with excessive doses of pathos (frequently screaming and crying in his efforts to pluck your heartstrings), and also like Lewis, Wisdom was reliant upon a tall straight man, the sober-sided Jerry Desmonde.

Comparatively little known outside Britain, Norman Wisdom won the hearts of Broadway-ites by starring in a 1966 musical version of H.G. Wells' 'Kipps', titled 'Walking Happy'; and in 1967, Wisdom scored as a bethumped burlesque comedian (teamed with, of all people, Jason Robards Jr.) in the American film 'The Night They Raided Minsky's'. He received a knighthood in 2000.

Sir Norman Wisdom died peacefully at a nursing home on the Isle of Man on 4 October 2010.