"Army needs lad culture, so soldiers go and fight the enemy," said General Sir Nick Carter.

The character 'Witty' in 'The Wild Geese' captured the 'everyone knows, no-one cares' attitude exactly.

He might have been accepted by a band of desperate cut throat mercenaries, but he was lucky not to set foot in an infantry rifle company.

Any suspicion of homosexuality was an automatic trigger for violence. I remember an incident of drunken bullying that left a soldier battered and bleeding. An unfounded accusation of poofery, provoked by his friendship with a local civilian, led to a barrack room inquisition and a beating.

A genuine gay was whisked out of the battalion and discharged via the depot. I forget the details, but I think he slept in the back of the guardroom for his own protection until the next flight to the UK. Brutal times.
 

Old_Sparky_RE

Old-Salt
He might have been accepted by a band of desperate cut throat mercenaries, but he was lucky not to set foot in an infantry rifle company.

Any suspicion of homosexuality was an automatic trigger for violence. I remember an incident of drunken bullying that left a soldier battered and bleeding. An unfounded accusation of poofery, provoked by his friendship with a local civilian, led to a barrack room inquisition and a beating.

A genuine gay was whisked out of the battalion and discharged via the depot. I forget the details, but I think he slept in the back of the guardroom for his own protection until the next flight to the UK. Brutal times.
Yes, but in war (Total War as Churchill put it) anyone who could pull a trigger was pulled in to the war effort as the safety of the nation was at stake. It really didn’t matter which way you got your kicks you were needed.
 
Yes, but in war (Total War as Churchill put it) anyone who could pull a trigger was pulled in to the war effort as the safety of the nation was at stake. It really didn’t matter which way you got your kicks you were needed.
Something like 3,000,000 men served in the army at some point during WW2. I don't know what the figures were for the RAF and RN - presumably considerably fewer.

Reading between the lines, the majority of British men spent World War Two as part of the civilian workforce.

Total War... Was that a stark reality or Churchillian rhetoric? Most British people led comparatively ordinary lives between 1939 and 1945, albeit with many restrictions, upheavals and some dangers. Britain - thank God - wasn't the Soviet Union.

As for Gays. I'm sure there were plenty in the ranks and they were no better or worse than anybody else. The wiser ones would have had an outlook of ingrained discretion anyway.
 

Proff3RTR

War Hero
He might have been accepted by a band of desperate cut throat mercenaries, but he was lucky not to set foot in an infantry rifle company.

Any suspicion of homosexuality was an automatic trigger for violence. I remember an incident of drunken bullying that left a soldier battered and bleeding. An unfounded accusation of poofery, provoked by his friendship with a local civilian, led to a barrack room inquisition and a beating.

A genuine gay was whisked out of the battalion and discharged via the depot. I forget the details, but I think he slept in the back of the guardroom for his own protection until the next flight to the UK. Brutal times.
But they happened, and my mob was no different, those of suspect orientation were ‘dealt with’ right or wrong.
 
But they happened, and my mob was no different, those of suspect orientation were ‘dealt with’ right or wrong.
I always thought that blokes in Cavalry regiments were a bit more educated and sophisticated than the average grunt in a rifle company with a much higher pass mark to get into the RAC. From what you say the RTR seemed to be very different. Is that why they were called the peoples cavalry?
 
I always thought that blokes in Cavalry regiments were a bit more educated and sophisticated than the average grunt in a rifle company with a much higher pass mark to get into the RAC. From what you say the RTR seemed to be very different. Is that why they were called the peoples cavalry?

I once spoke to an RTR bloke who said that the RTR is to the Cavalry what the Paras are to the Infantry.

An interesting viewpoint. I have no idea if it had any merit.
 
I once spoke to an RTR bloke who said that the RTR is to the Cavalry what the Paras PWRR are to the Infantry.

An interesting viewpoint. I have no idea if it had any merit.
Heard this version more recently!:-D
 
robust training results in control through respect,
I don't really disagree, but I sometimes wonder about the 'control' thing.

I can think of a Brit GW1 MC winner whose troops flat out refused to follow him into (what turned out to be) an abandoned Iraqi position, and in the same moment I recall the story of a US medal winner Pl Comd* (in his own words, in the Ken Burns history series) got 'real angry' that his men were being killed, and just flat out charged up the hill - and was then astounded to realise everyone else behind him had followed his lead. He was on the verge of tears, it seemed to me, as he told the story.

In neither instance do I detect 'control', hence my wondering about where it fits in the vocabulary when discussing the dynamics between appointed leaders, and those whom they are appointed to lead.

* ETA: Karl Marlantes. Quit Uni, volunteered for VietNam. 12 Months with 1st/4th Bn USM 1968-69
Navy Cross - for the action I referenced, also:
Bronze Star (x1)
Navy Commendation Medal for valor (x2)
Purple Heart )x2)
Air Medals (x10)

He's coping with PTSD, and his books are first rate.
 
Last edited:
I don't really disagree, but I sometimes wonder about the 'control' thing.

I can think of a Brit GW1 MC winner whose troops flat out refused to follow him into (what turned out to be) and abandoned Iraqi position, and in the same moment I recall the story of a US medal winner Pl Comd (in his own words, in the Ken Burns history series) got 'real angry' that his men were being killed, and just flat out charged up the hill - and was then astounded to realise everyone else behind him had followed his lead. He was on the verge of tears, it seemed to me, as he told the story.

In neither instance do I detect 'control', hence my wondering about where it fits in the vocabulary when discussing the dynamics between appointed leaders, and those whom they are appointed to lead.
A one word with existing English words would be quite difficult. Cohesion?

Who can we nick a suitable loan word from?
 
Yes - no doubt.

But, they were dealt an exceptionally difficult hand to play.

Demographics and social change were against VSOs. One reason why the army was so effective was that it drew on a large recruiting pool of tough, working class recruits. They were amenable to harsh basic training and were generally competent and practical people who were up for a good scrap. The army could - and did - get rid of anyone who didn't make the grade or didn't fit in. Basic training was a filtering process as much as a training process.

By the mid 80s, social attitudes were changing and recruits were more questioning of authority and less conformist. By the early 90s, the recruiting pool was shrinking fast - there simply weren't as many 16 - 25 year olds. They also had more life choices, different expectations - and weren't as robust.

Add decades or relentless government cuts, pressure to meet quotas at any cost, and political interference by people with wokist agendas, and you have a drift towards mediocrity.

The recruiting pool is bigger than ever, the lads that should want to join arent, because of shit management.
 
Yes, but in war (Total War as Churchill put it) anyone who could pull a trigger was pulled in to the war effort as the safety of the nation was at stake. It really didn’t matter which way you got your kicks you were needed.
BBC did an excellent historical documentary on homosexuals in the military (late 1990s?)

Everyone knows, no-one cares was pretty much what came over strongest. That, and the debunking of 'you'll never make a good soldier of a poof'

. . . . and the reluctance of hierarchy to stop persecuting those inclined that way - which was what really made them vulnerable to blackmail and so on in the first place.
 
A one word with existing English words would be quite difficult. Cohesion?

Who can we nick a suitable loan word from?
I'd endorse that: wrote my Camberley Commandant's Paper submission on the subject. Researching it was the beginning of an interesting journey for me, leading eventually to my (at the very least) quizzical take on the value of the regimental (so-called ) system.
 
BBC did an excellent historical documentary on homosexuals in the military (late 1990s?)

Everyone knows, no-one cares was pretty much what came over strongest. That, and the debunking of 'you'll never make a good soldier of a poof'

. . . . and the reluctance of hierarchy to stop persecuting those inclined that way - which was what really made them vulnerable to blackmail and so on in the first place.

The army was dead set against gay men serving right up until they were forced to accept the change. There are a few threads on here with pictures of correspondence from officers saying the world would end if they were allowed to serve.
Added to the fact quite a few lost their jobs in the late 90s (which is why the law was eventually changed).
Even 20 years after the ban was lifted, the amount of openly gay men int he Army is well below the national average.
 
I would guess that Shit Management (or perception thereof) may well be what makes people leave - but probably not what stops them joining in the first place.

In todays digital age it is. Everything from FYB to having soldiers on your Facebook page, its much easier for people today to realise that Frank was a lying bastard who didnt got skiing/surfing all the time.
Coupled with the fact stories about sexism, bullying etc are more widely reported.
 
In todays digital age it is. Everything from FYB to having soldiers on your Facebook page, its much easier for people today to realise that Frank was a lying bastard who didnt got skiing/surfing all the time.
Facebook??

My children (early 20s, and one of them an army type) tell that FB is for old people (those above 30) and da yoof doesn't go near it anymore (except for Messenger).

It's all TikTok now innit bruv.

If people are being turned off by FB, are they old before their time and therefore not the sort we want anyway? Or are you just less in touch than you thought?
 
Facebook??

My children (early 20s, and one of them an army type) tell that FB is for old people (those above 30) and da yoof doesn't go near it anymore (except for Messenger).

It's all TikTok now innit bruv.

If people are being turned off by FB, are they old before their time and therefore not the sort we want anyway? Or are you just less in touch than you thought?

Facebook grows bigger nearly every year, so despite stories that its declining, it isnt. Almost every soldier (young and old) that I know has Facebook.


Yet apparently no one uses it. :roll:
 

Latest Threads

Top