Any stories of when Potential Officer familiarisation visits 'go wrong'

#1
Many of you will be aware that potential officers are often given a trip to a Regiment or unit to see what life is like in the Armed Forces, spend some time with the people and generally get a better idea of what life is like in the military. These are often young, keen and impressionable types, and often they are quite 'strange'. Surely there has to be some cracking tales of when things didnt quite go to plan?

My own entry comes via someone I know who told the tale of how Potential Officer (PO) 'Smythson' was visiting in an infantry Regiment with a view to being sponsored by them through RCB. Hosted by the junior officers, they were in the pub 'meeting the lads'. An NCO came over and introduced himself to the PO, and asked if he wanted a beer, to which the reply was a negative (didnt drink or some such garbage apparently). A few minutes later he came back from the bar with beers for all, including the PO. On handing him a beer he replied in his strongest possible tone of command 'You WILL respect me Corporal'... Cue awkward silence, shuffles and then apparently the previous dead cert offer of sponsorship got lost in the post.

Anyone got any better tales than this?
 
#2
Gunner PO visit.

Much booze.

Lad woke up in the phase 2 block having broken in and found a room/flat with an empty bed in and wrapped himself in the issued blue duvet cover.

He went on to a very well respected time in the Infantry and is a genuinely excellent soldier and officer.

He also smashed the ranking of whatever drinking challenge was behind the bar in the Mexicans officers mess.
 
#3
PO visits a Unit in Belize whilst on Gap Yah.
During night out at local pub/brothel, there is a whip round to get him some company. He disappears for a long while...
When inquiries are made, the message comes back -"More money please!"

Very sadly, he had a fatal accident later on in his travels and so never took up the place he was to be offered.
 
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#5
I remember doing a fam visit with the SPS once (don't ask) and I think most of it was spent on the assault course, waiting for the useless wastes of space ahead to get on with things. Turns out that the funny horizontal-cargo-net-frame-thing is a pretty comfortable place to lie back and enjoy a bit of sun whilst a PO tries to get her head around the concept of descending a rope.

The less said about some of the PFT times the better.
 
#6
None
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
#7
Not exactly a PO visit but someone on my RCB managed to get a bit grumpy and punch a hole in the wall of the snooker room. The same course also featured a character who caused considerable alarm by using his lecture to inform the DS that he liked role-playing and was a Hobbit half-thief.

While on that course too, at the initial briefing we were told to take great care of our valuables. Apparently a few courses earlier, someone was convinced that their wallet had been stolen and forcefully insisted that everyone be shaken down, only to discover said wallet in the bottom of their bag while the dragnet was in full swing.

In PO terms, the most obvious black spot being tipped that I recall was to an individual who, for some unfathomable reason, decided to sing the Sex Pistols version of the national anthem in a Bavarian pub during an adventure training exercise.
 
#8
Have memories of potential officers spending a few days at sea with us. Seem to recall several ‘Mr Bean’ type characters wearing chinos and blazers. They had their meals in the junior rates dining hall and appeared to be at great pains trying to act as if they were at a silver service meal. Some of the accent affectations were hilarious.
 
#9
Not a PO but in the Sappers there was (is?) a tradition of sending newly-commissioned officers off on an 'attachment' for a few months before attending their special-to-arm training.

Whilst in Berlin such an individual was inflicted on me to host.

IA drill in the mess was to suggest a repeat of the hackneyed "let's dress one of the mess staff up as the OC" ideas.

Instead, I suggested a local variation on the theme.

We would have Rudolf Hess to dinner. But only after he (the 'Young Officer') had been in place for two weeks, and only with some subtle preparation, such as being shown into the 'Secrets' room and given a spoof copy of the classified Hess file to read.

Cutting a very long story short*, the young officer completely fell for it, a good night was had by all...until when we finally introduced him to 'Bill M', who had been playing Rudolph. The YO had a sense of humour meltdown.

Not long afterwards, we all repaired to the central British Officers' Club on Hitlerplatz**. Amazingly everyone else there had already heard about it and the young man was teased again.

He remained with us for another 8 weeks or so, and then went onto his YO course***. Only to be met by the DS asking about meeting Hess!

Now he could have used that story against himself (most of us were spoofed in some such way) and probably got a beer or two out of it for the telling. Instead he continued to sulk and indeed resigned his commission shorty afterward.

All in all a good result perhaps: if you can't take a joke etc...

* Preparations took 3 weeks and it took a whole day for the wind up to develop, involving the classified docs clerk, all the living in members of 38 Sqn RE and of B Sqn 14/20th, the entire mess staff, the Alert Troop of the 14/20th, two civilians acting as Hess and his nurse, and a section of the local TA troop (408 Troop) as his 'guard'.

** It's been called something else now for quite a while for some strange reason.

*** Now - finally - called the RE Troop Commander's Course rather than the patronising term used at the time.


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#10
Not a PO but in the Sappers there was (is?) a tradition of sending newly-commissioned officers off on an 'attachment' for a few months before attending their special-to-arm training.

Whilst in Berlin such an individual was inflicted on me to host.

IA drill in the mess was to suggest a repeat of the hackneyed "let's dress one of the mess staff up as the OC" ideas.

Instead, I suggested a local variation on the theme.

We would have Rudolf Hess to dinner. But only after he (the 'Young Officer') had been in place for two weeks, and only with some subtle preparation, such as being shown into the 'Secrets' room and given a spoof copy of the classified Hess file to read.

Cutting a very long story short*, the young officer completely fell for it, a good night was had by all...until when we finally introduced him to 'Bill M', who had been playing Rudolph. The YO had a sense of humour meltdown.

Not long afterwards, we all repaired to the central British Officers' Club on Hitlerplatz**. Amazingly everyone else there had already heard about it and the young man was teased again.

He remained with us for another 8 weeks or so, and then went onto his YO course***. Only to be met by the DS asking about meeting Hess!

Now he could have used that story against himself (most of us were spoofed in some such way) and probably got a beer or two out of it for the telling. Instead he continued to sulk and indeed resigned his commission shorty afterward.

All in all a good result perhaps: if you can't take a joke etc...

* Preparations took 3 weeks and it took a whole day for the wind up to develop, involving the classified docs clerk, all the living in members of 38 Sqn RE and of B Sqn 14/20th, the entire mess staff, the Alert Troop of the 14/20th, two civilians acting as Hess and his nurse, and a section of the local TA troop (408 Troop) as his 'guard'.

** It's been called something else now for quite a while for some strange reason.

*** Now - finally - called the RE Troop Commander's Course rather than the patronising term used at the time.


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Is there a kindle version of this?
 
#11
Not a PO but in the Sappers there was (is?) a tradition of sending newly-commissioned officers off on an 'attachment' for a few months before attending their special-to-arm training.

Whilst in Berlin such an individual was inflicted on me to host.

IA drill in the mess was to suggest a repeat of the hackneyed "let's dress one of the mess staff up as the OC" ideas.

Instead, I suggested a local variation on the theme.

We would have Rudolf Hess to dinner. But only after he (the 'Young Officer') had been in place for two weeks, and only with some subtle preparation, such as being shown into the 'Secrets' room and given a spoof copy of the classified Hess file to read.

Cutting a very long story short*, the young officer completely fell for it, a good night was had by all...until when we finally introduced him to 'Bill M', who had been playing Rudolph. The YO had a sense of humour meltdown.

Not long afterwards, we all repaired to the central British Officers' Club on Hitlerplatz**. Amazingly everyone else there had already heard about it and the young man was teased again.

He remained with us for another 8 weeks or so, and then went onto his YO course***. Only to be met by the DS asking about meeting Hess!

Now he could have used that story against himself (most of us were spoofed in some such way) and probably got a beer or two out of it for the telling. Instead he continued to sulk and indeed resigned his commission shorty afterward.

All in all a good result perhaps: if you can't take a joke etc...

* Preparations took 3 weeks and it took a whole day for the wind up to develop, involving the classified docs clerk, all the living in members of 38 Sqn RE and of B Sqn 14/20th, the entire mess staff, the Alert Troop of the 14/20th, two civilians acting as Hess and his nurse, and a section of the local TA troop (408 Troop) as his 'guard'.

** It's been called something else now for quite a while for some strange reason.

*** Now - finally - called the RE Troop Commander's Course rather than the patronising term used at the time.


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Is there a kindle version of this?
Why? Do you want to colour it in?


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#12
Not a “cracking” tale but my initial unimaginative plan was to join my county regiment and a visit was arranged. Unfortunately, I came down with a cold on the first day and in between sniffing, sneezing and wiping my nose did not put on a good show. However, I drew my own conclusion that I probably didn’t fit inanyway. There was then a pause for reflection, until a visit to Larkhill came up and I found my true place
Edited to add: the visit to Larkhill was a group visit; we were shown equipment, films, given presentations and up to that point, it was interesting but “so what”. Out on the Plain, wreathed in gunsmoke, I had my ‘Damascene moment”
 
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#13
Not a “cracking” tale but my initial unimaginative plan was to join my county regiment and a visit was arranged. Unfortunately, I came down with a cold on the first day and in between sniffing, sneezing and wiping my nose did not put on a good show. However, I drew my own conclusion that I probably didn’t fit inanyway. There was then a pause for reflection, until a visit to Larkhill came up and I found my true place
Edited to add: the visit to Larkhill was a group visit; we were shown equipment, films, given presentations and up to that point, it was interesting but “so what”. Out on the Plain, wreathed in gunsmoke, I had my ‘Damascene moment”
Norland College?
 

Fang_Farrier

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#14
I recall my own first visit to HQ and Central Group RADC, Evelyn Woods Road, Aldershot.

A group of us were there for initial interviews. Retired to the Mess for Lunch.

As with any HQ there were mainly Senior Officers around. We gathered expectedly, waiting to hear the words of wisdom on military matter or perhaps an informed discussion of the latest dental techniques.

What we got was a heated debated between 2 Colonels about whether one should remove the cling film off a plated meal (if one had missed dinner due to duty or sports etc) before it went in the microwave.
And then a third joined in with conundrum of whether the clingfilm should be pierced with a knife first!
 

Joker62

ADC
Book Reviewer
#15
I recall my own first visit to HQ and Central Group RADC, Evelyn Woods Road, Aldershot.

A group of us were there for initial interviews. Retired to the Mess for Lunch.

As with any HQ there were mainly Senior Officers around. We gathered expectedly, waiting to hear the words of wisdom on military matter or perhaps an informed discussion of the latest dental techniques.

What we got was a heated debated between 2 Colonels about whether one should remove the cling film off a plated meal (if one had missed dinner due to duty or sports etc) before it went in the microwave.
And then a third joined in with conundrum of whether the clingfilm should be pierced with a knife first!
The ACC at it's best, creating debate and conversation throughout the years (normally when we were getting slagged off)
 
#16
We had a public school CCF visit us in Munster in the late 80s so not a PO visit as such. The pupils were in a transit block under the compassionate and watchful eye of Cpl J B%$#, safer pair of hands you couldnt hope for. The teacher in charge stayed in the OM.

As orderly officer I went with him to check on the pupils and do lights out before doing the rest of the rounds. There was some consternation from the teacher on arrival at the transit block to find the good Cpl and his fresh faced, under 16 charges watching a top of the range US grot film "Miami Spice" I think it was called.

Being a responsible teacher the man in charge swore them all to secrecy and hoped it would go away - we eagerly read the Sun and Mail for the next few months, certain that there would be an expose in the press - never happened though.

I like to think that the opportunity to watch high quality hard-core porn was the clincher that decided a few of them to pursue a military career.
 
#17
There was a duty rumour circulating in the 80s about the Green Howards hosting a PO visit in NI. The POs (may have been RMAS OCdts) were being moved in a green vehicle convoy .which was involved in a contact. Probably utter bollox.
 
#18
Usual sketch in Berlin was to take the POs on the town in the most southerly depths of the US sector and abandon them about 0200 or 0300 and then see who made it to the mess for breakfast with sense of humour intact.
 
#19
1980, two POs whom I subsequently served with (one thrown out on Admin discharge). Visit to regt in BAOR, travel by train from Ostend ferry. Unusually, the two POs took an instant dislike to each other and were at each other’s throats the entire visit and this lasted through their regimental careers. One confided in me one day that on the return train trip, he pissed in the other guy’s shampoo bottle while the other guy went to the bathroom. Separately, the other guy told me that he burnt holes with a cigarette in his partner’s suit jacket while he was in the bathroom.
 
#20
Mid 80s when I was on my YO course the Sun ran a front page feature on a Sapper Officer with an unfortunate sir name (as in Mr Vice, The “........”. who’d got drunk and accidentally (allegedly) fallen asleep in a bedroom occupied by a visiting PO.

Headline, The Queens Queen.
 

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