Book by Convoy and the rigger

Would you consider buying this book

  • No, How dare you misrepresent the forces in this way

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters

I announced last year that myself and 'the rigger' had written a book and I was after a bit of help in getting it published. We've spent the last year hawking it about various publishers/literary agents and getting similar responses, generally of the nature "We really like it, but we're not sure who it would appeal to." Anyway, after our last rejection letter last week, we discussed the idea of self publishing. It's not as expensive as it used to be, but it will obviously set me back a few bob.

The book is the story of one lad's chronological journey through the first 7 years of his army career. Sounds a bit boring possibly, but the whole angle of the book is on humour. No serious points are made at any time and the emphasis is entirely on the hilarity that erupts on a daily basis (that's how I remember it, anyway!). The idea to write it sprang from the notion that there aren't too many books out there, that deal with this all important aspect of military life.

I feel that the NAAFI bar is the perfect place to pitch my poll. The book is effectively, a 450 page post from myself and the rigger, and i'm interested to know whether there is any desire to own such a skiffable tome.

Below is a short excerpt from the second chapter. In this portion, Eddy and his mates are undergoing their first room inspection, a few days after joining. Scuse the bad layout, i've just cut and pasted it. Please have a read and vote.



When he came through the double doors adjacent to room one he was accompanied by Corporal Timms, who was carrying a clipboard, self-importantly. It was hard to eavesdrop, whilst trying to stand perfectly still, but the guy outside room one seemed to say the right things and the entourage moved inside, followed by the room NCO. For about five seconds there was relative silence and I thought maybe it was going to be alright. Perhaps they’d go easy on us, it being our first full day and all that. The first sign that this wasn’t going to be the case was a bedblock being thrown into the corridor. It was followed by Sgt Atkins roaring at the owner. Even when it landed in the corridor, it still looked better than mine. The guy outside Room 2 looked round at us and the expression on his face said it all. He looked like he’d seen a ghost and simply mimed the words, “Oh, fcuk.” I had to stifle the urge to laugh, despite my growing sense of dread and the fact that Atkins was only three rooms away. The destruction of Room 1 took about three minutes. I heard the same process being repeated eight times. First there would be a couple of questions from Atkins, the volume rising dramatically with each word. There would be a short nervous answer, interrupted by what sounded like a bear roaring. The unmistakeable noise of furniture being up-ended was next, followed by a short period of silence as Atkins moved to the next bunk. The system was employed identically in rooms two and three. As soon as they’d moved in to next door, Baker came out and stood beside me.
“You’d better get it fcuking right, Nugent.”
I was shaking like a leaf. I felt like I was going to be sick and drop a dog egg into my underpants at the same time. I counted eight sets of the, by now, familiar banging and clattering and readied myself for the onslaught.
Atkins emerged from room three, red-faced and angry. He made a bee-line for me and stopped no more than a pace away. I looked at him and started breathing in to say, “Good morning.”
“Don’t you fcuking look at me sunshine. Do you fcuking fancy me or summat?”
I switched my gaze to a point above his head and shouted,
“Good morning, Sergeant.” I stopped, because he was shaking his head angrily.
“What I think you’re trying to say is ROOM, ROOM, SHUN.”
Steve and the rest of the lads responded immediately to the authority in Sgt Atkins’ voice. I realised my mistake and started to shout,
“Too fcuking late, don’t bother. And never mind the ‘good morning’ b*llocks either, you’ve already fcuked it all up, beyond redemption.”
He turned to Lcpl Baker.
“Get a grip of your blokes, Cpl Baker, or I’ll get a fcuking grip of you.” He moved past us both and into the room. Baker followed him, shooting me a filthy look as he went by. I hadn’t really dropped him in the sh*t, it was all just a big blag between the DS, but I wasn’t to know that. I was just starting to feel sorry for myself, when Atkins screamed.
“Whose fcuking bedblock is this?” I didn’t really need to look, but I did anyway. He had impaled the offending article on the end of his paystick and was inspecting it with grim fascination.
“Jesus Christ, this is the worst one I’ve seen so far. It’s like a fcuking elephant’s nest. Did you have boxing gloves and a blindfold on when you did this?”
“Well you should have done. You might have done a better fcuking job. Bad start, Nugent. Bad fcuking start.”
He lobbed it over his shoulder, like a farmhand shifting straw bales. It bounced off my head and onto the floor at my feet. He continued to move through the room, voicing unsurprising opinions about our hygiene, stupidity and genetic make-up, all done at town-crier decibels. Only Col Mortimer came in for a similar amount of flak as me. He’d had the great idea of disagreeing with Sgt Atkins.
“Whose is this one?” said Atkins, prodding Col’s bedblock.
“Think you’ve done a good job do you?”
“Well, I think it’s sh*te.”
He pointed to a bulge at the back of the arrangement, that shouldn’t have been there.
“What the fcuk’s that? It looks like you’ve trapped Arthur Askey in there. So you think that’s up to standard do you.”
“So, I’m a fcuking liar am I?”
The rest of us were shouting silently, ‘Shut the fcuk up, Col,’ but he’d already stitched himself up. Atkins continued with the theme.
“So, what your saying is you know better than me. A spotty, little Geordie gobsh*te, who’s not even been in the Army for a week, knows better than me, a Sergeant in the Royal Corps of Signals with twelve years service under his belt?”
“I’ll be fcuking watching you, Mortimer. No one likes a smart-arrse. Especially one with a grid like a pizza. Cpl Baker, sort this fine bunch of w*nkers out.”
He left the room, with Timms in his wake, urgently scribbling on his clipboard. As the melee began in Room 5, Baker debriefed us.
“Fcuking cheers, lads. That’s me in the sh*t. Well fcuk youse lot. When I’m in the sh*t, you’re in the sh*t. I’ll get you sparking, don’t worry about that. Right, put your stuff back together and wait for the next corridor call”
We started reassembling our bedblocks and putting the mattresses back on the beds. It looked like we’d been burgled by gorillas. Baker got called out, by the NCO from Room 3 and left us to our own devices. We were all in our own little worlds, panicking about what might happen next, when Paul Jones shouted across to Col.
“I carn’t fackin’ believe you called ‘im a liar, Col.”
Before Col could protest, we erupted into laughter. Fcuk, did we need it.
“What about me, I’ve got a fcuking elephant’s nest,” I added.
This got them all laughing even louder. When Alistair reminded us of the insult Atkins had levelled at him, about his weight, we were giggling like schoolgirls. He did quite a good impression of the Sergeant as well,
“**** me, Mckenzie. You’re a bit of a fcuking blimp aren’t you. When you go to the zoo, do the elephants throw peanuts at you?”
funny you should post this now... i saw some of your old posts a few days ago and was about to pm you to ask whats happening...

I think its great material and I would definitely buy a copy myself.... there are very few books with this angle on military life... most military books are accounts of the entire conflict and are written by generals/historians or are the bravo-two-zero style book written by ex-THEM... the only similar-ish books i can think of would be stuff by George MacDonald Fraser and they are set over 50 years ago... his books, while excellent in their own right, do not capture squaddie humour like you have...

I can see the publishers concern about it only having a niche market... although, its equally the type of thing that could really take off... I wonder how many copies they need to sell to make a profit?

is the only option to publish? not sure if this is a good idea but what about putting it up on the internet and charging a fee to download a pdf of the book? i'd certainly prefer to have an actual book on my shelf but a pdf is better than nothing at all...

alternatively what about putting a chapter on the internet and charging people to download it... then once you've sold XXX copies you go back to the publisher and say look this book will be successful as people have actually paid money to read some of it???

we've spoken about this on several occasions mate, and i say publish and be damned sir !!

i remember reading spike milligans war memoirs as a lad and being helpless with laughter from start to finish at the squaddie humour in it, i don't think another author since has captured the very essence of what binds the blokes together in a way that makes it accesible to people who haven't served.

if this book doesn't make it onto the shelves it'll be a f*cking crime...

can i get up now convoy .... my jaw hurts. :D


Having published you have to find retail outlets to stock it and if it's as 'interesting' as it looks, half of them will run a mile if it isn't family friendly. A single four letter word will keep it out of some shops.

The internet has got to be a better bet, almost zero costs, massively better coverage and as juicy as you like. If it goes into a shop at £10, the shop gets 35%, the wholesaler gets 25%, the publisher gets 30% and you get......a quid.
Put me down for three.... one for me one for my old man and a skiffed one for Caits chrimbo pressie :D

Good work mate, pass on congrats to the Rigger

Have you considered an online version in PDF form as an adjunct to the main effort? You can sell chapters by Paypal etc. I'd store them encrypted as well, in case anyone tries to blag the server . Really quite easy to set up, and I can get you some PR coverage as well if you desire.


Awol said:
...A single four letter word will keep it out of some shops...

But not PRI shops! Use your contacts here on ARRSE to break into this lucrative market. 'Soldier' magazine will advertise it, as will in-house rags (like 'The Wire'). I suggest you don't approach 'Focus' - they print TCH's fervid ramblings after all. :D

On a totally unconnected note, your extract reminded me of the time that my own Pl CSgt in Basic ('Chunky Doyle') training had the whole platoon 'showing rooms on parade square with exact dimensions replicated'. Oh what fun we had until 0330hrs... :D

Edited to add: Who is the cnut who voted 'No'?


I'll buy it then big time it down the pub, saying I know the author you know, we're like that. Yeah, that's me on top. Andy McNab, who's real name is Nib and he's married to my mate's old Sgt Maj helped him write the bit about Loughall. I'm in it too but he couldn't use me real name cos of opsec, that's the only reason i went RLC you know, I was too highly classified to do anything else.

You have to publish this mate, those feckers in the real world need to stop reading about autistic boys who've stabbed their dog or about tigers and monkeys in a boat, and start reading real stories about guns and skiffing.


War Hero
If you published it I'd rather buy the book of you and know where the money went AND have a book rather than search it out in a shop or download it
Yes please.


War Hero

Your short excerpt has just brought it flooding back after 11 years....bugger!

You know, I think I would buy it for some light relief!!

Two thoughts.....

1. Market it here, on ARRSE.

2. Find out if Amazon would take it on (forgive me if you have done this already)

I believe that option 1 has some limited scope, but I have heard from a little bird (actually, that's a bit of lie...she's huge) that the CO's are negotiating a marketing contract for the online shop with a company far better experienced in that kind of thing.

But yes, put me down for one. Worth a laugh.

I will have a couple, sounds hilarious, and like you said, there has not been one for ages,especially the recruit angle.

Maybe an E mail or letter to the author Leslie Thomas, asking for his opinion/contacts might help. He can only tell you to **** off, but I doubt if he will. Worth a try anyway.

All the best mate.
I'll have 2, publish soonest.


Might be worth hawking it around the museums too, REME, RE, Chelsea etc...
I've had the privelidge of reading a couple of chapters and can honestly say I had tears rolling down my face with laughter. Between them they seem to have remembered every small part of training and developing as a squaddie, many of the things I had long forgotten and fond memories of laughter and comradery came flooding back.

I'd love to buy a copy if you put it to print or put it online.

New Posts

Latest Threads