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The 15 Greatest Understatements Of All Time

It is not, perhaps, entirely surprising that more than half of these people are British.

1. The mildly important scientific discovery.

2. The malfunction.

3. The unfavorable development.

4. The problem with the ships.

5. The friendly encounter.

6. The “problem.”

7. The mess-up.

8. The fast man.

9. The cause for distress.

Through quick thinking and skill by the plane’s pilots, Flight 9 was eventually able to make a safe emergency landing in Jakarta. Moody described the final approach to the runway with terrible visibility as “a bit like negotiating one’s way up a badger’s arse.”

Many passengers penned notes to their loved ones in the event that the landing proved unsuccessful. The most memorable was from Charles Capewell, who wrote simply, “Ma. In trouble. Plane going down. Will do best for boys. We love you. Sorry. Pa XXX” on the cover of his ticket wallet.

10. The afternoon stroll.

11. The sticky situation.

This may also be a rare example where understatement has actually been fatal. Brodie’s comment was made to the American major general Robert H. Soule, who wanted to know how the regiment was doing. Unused to British understatement, Soule ordered the regiment to stand fast, thinking that the situation must be manageable. In truth, Brodie’s regiment of 650 men was surrounded by 10,000 Chinese troops.

12. The ungenerous act.

13. The serious evening.

14. The depressing outlook.

15. The tight corner.

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