Christmas Traditions

I wondered if any Regiments, Corps or sub units have any long standing Christmas traditions?

Having opened the floodgates for the obvious pvss takes, I was thinking back to a battalion I served with, who every Christmas would hold a Battalion Christmas concert. It was a parade so all attended. My role in the affair was a very minor one, with each company putting up two acts I played the straight man to a well known battalion character. C Comapany however put six Jocks on stage with a motor bike dressed as the Village People. To this day I don't know if it was a pvss take on the RSM or if they didn't realise that the VP were gay.......

The point of my rambling though is to highlight the lot of the junior officer at Christmas. The subalterns rarely elicit much sympathy but there is one occasion when they are called upon to muster personnel courage and forbearance not often required when on service....anywhere. Anywhere that is except when detailed by the Adjutant, at the request of the RSM, to entertain at the Regimental Wives Christmas Party. My God, I've seen front row forwards reduced to shambling, incoherant wrecks at the prospect of being the star turn at the Wives Christmas Party. Individually, of course, the ladies are terrific girls - on masse, they're a threatening, intimidating force from the Dark Side.

One particular December the Adjutant named the unlucky four. "Good luck chaps, it'll all be over by Christmas." One innocent amongst our number suggested doing a skit as Lenny Henry's character "Theophilus P. Wildebeeste, " the lounge lizard crooner. Two and half minutes we gave his survival time so that was scrapped. Then an officer of Geordie extraction came up with a cunning plan........

We arrived at the Lions Den, having fuelled up with liquid courage and one officer was in an especially poor state. Announced, we strode onto the stage to heckling, shouting and jeering but the Ladies soon settled down to the Junior Officers Game of Festive Bingo with a first prize of 2 tickets to New York. Well, it sounded a good plan in the mess.

On the numbers went with growing tension and a quiet buzz in the room until the final cry from the Geordie officer, "All the 8's, 88," at which point 220 excited wives sprang to their feet screaming, "HOUSE!" Silence. They looked around, then the penny dropped...................... they'd been had, and we'd been rumbled. 220 wives wanted a flight to New York or they wanted some dead bodies. Daley Thompson couldn't have beaten us out of that hall; by crikey we were lucky to escape with our lives.

The sad postcript is that the subaltern who had imbibed too much crashed his car into a tree in his haste to escape and was left with cuts, bruises and a very very big bill............. still, better than being eviscerated by 220 angry women..

Any other interesting traditions?
Before I consign this rabidly unpopular thread to the dustbin, ("Regimental Christmas Traditions; how dull is this bloke?"), I would like to share with you a little festive warning I've stumbled accross.

We all do, no matter how hard we try; we all miss the target to a bigger or lesser extent; it's just a question of by how much.

Ahhhhmmmmmm, so, to all you brave lads out there heed this!

Some things are just too good not to share.
Well, just one more given I've just remembered one of the highlights of Christmas in one Regiment in which I served, or passed through; The Annual Christmas Officers Mess v Sergeants Mess Hockey Match.

This was a blinder. Fancy dress was mandatory, the Sgts Mess turning out as St Trinians and the Officers Mess as funnily enough, St Trinians as well in the year I played, which led to a little confusion but with the RSM being referee it didn't last long, (except amongst the junior officers).

The generally more accepted rules of hockey were ammended for the purposes of the game. To add a little festive cheer there was a sin-bin to which miscreants would be sent for offences such as trying too hard, scoring, leering etc etc. The penalty was in the bin, consume one can of lager, turn around 10 times and stagger back on.

The event concluded with a kind invitation to the Sergeants Mess to spend the afternoon completely erasing any memory of what had occured either at the match or in fact in life previously.
"Gunfire" (Tea and Rum) drunk Christmas morning while I was in the RA
apart from the concert thing above they're all Gunner things mate. I never realised the rest of the Army was so joyless and unimaginative ................... !!!!!!!!!!

Agree fcuk um!!
We used to go on Patrol!
Christmas Day in Ulster! Such festive fun.... walking round the cheerless streets to the friendly seasonal greeting 'Fcuk off ye Brit bastards'.

I remember moaning once that I was spending yet another Christmas 'in Province' only for the QM to say 'shut yer sodding neck - I've done 15 tours and this is my ninth fcuking Christmas over here!' Not surprisingly I did as I was bid and offered him another armour-piercing mince pie.....
Bumper said:
apart from the concert thing above they're all Gunner things mate. I never realised the rest of the Army was so joyless and unimaginative ................... !!!!!!!!!!

Notm strictly true. The Rifles little book of war stories has an acxcount by someone in the 1st Devons that dewscribes tea and rum on Chrisitmas morming 1914 just before caffols and buns with the hun.
One Christmas Tradition that I have never gotten over was, as a cockney Scots Guardsman, the inevitable call into the RSM's office in Chelsea B a few days before leave every year and the rather loaded question "Where is it you live again Corporal PMU?"

"East London Sir"

"So not far to travel then?"

"No Sir"

"Not as far as say Glasgow or Aberdeen?"

"No Sir"

"So you won't mind doing Barrack Guard on Xmas day to allow the other lads to travel home to bonny PorridgeLand?"

"No Sir"

"Good Man, off you go then...."

I would turn to the right, gain height and head off to my seasonal post. Every Bloody Year!!

Would not have missed it for the world though!!
1962 My first Christmas at the RAF Regt depot at RAF Catterick. Being Scots I had volunteered to do the Christmas stag so that I could get home for Hogmanay. Well I had imbibed a little too much in the NAAFI on Christmas Eve and was sleeping it off when at about 9 in the morning I was shaken awake by the orderly officer who filled my pint mug with "Gunfire" which was more rum than tea but I did not complain. Yes this was a very pleasant tradition, pity it was only once a year. At noon we repaired to the airmen's mess for our Christmas Dinner which was served to us by the Officers and NCO's and I have never forgotten the sight of the much loathed and feared Discip Flt Sgt wearing a white pinnie carrying plates of food to ribald remarks. That was a very nice tradition although the authors of the more rude remarks found themselves on jankers not long afterwards.


Book Reviewer
For 15/19H, Christmas came early every year. At the high point of the first Peninsular Campaign on 21 December 1808, two days before the retreat to Corunna started, 15H slaughtered two regiments of French cavalry at Sahagun before breakfast.

Consequently, thereafter Christmas started on Sahagun Day (with warmers into the bank the night before, when all the serious drinking was done).

Wake up to gunfire served by the senior officers. Supposedly tea and rum, but in fact they brought half the Mess liquor store with them along with containers of tea and coffee and provided an a la carte service.

Followed by a run. (Remembering Alanbrooke Barracks, Paderborn in particular, it was once round the outside of the camp perimeter. The Paymaster, who strolled in in his own good time, told his then nanny, my now wife, that he had never seen so many pavement pizzas on one walk into work.) A mile and a half maybe? It got the lungs working. (I think the run may have counted toward the Aggregate Cup - see below.)

There was an annual inter-squadron sports competition, The Aggregate Cup, which culminated in the final of the Football competition, which always seemed to decide the ultimate Aggregate Cup winners.

Lunch in the cookhouse, again served by the officers, with two cans provided. First time in Paderborn I had just transferred from B Squadron FHQ to Command Troop. The tables had been pre-laid with a prawn cocktail (which was the height of elegance in the 1970s) in every place setting. I managed to organise myself to be the last man in HQ Squadron: away to my left stretched places for C Squadron. However C Squadron had just finished 18 months in Cyprus (Armoured Car Squadron) and had been given block leave because 3 Armd Div did not activate until 1 January 1978. I and the guy opposite had a competition to see how far we could work wer way down the line of prawn cocktails before they started serving main courses.

Main courses started. My former troop leader and vehicle commander walked past me carrying food. I ambushed him and started. I had just finished when the adjutant came to our table and started serving main courses to Command Troop. I swiftly sleight-of-handed my dead plate off to one side and sat looking angelically at him and got a second main course. I cannot remember anything after that apart from sloping off to sleep off the food. Sadly no room for beer that afternoon (I'd had me fair share the night before anyway).

Functions in every bar in the barracks that evening. That would be NAAFI Pigs' Bar, NAAFI Lounge, Corporals', Sergeants' and Officers' Messes, Squadron Bars, Band Bar and LAD Bar.

After that, Christmas was just another day sleeping off the beer.
Christmas dinner served by SNCOs in full mess kit, (Usually about a week before christmas), followed by the traditional mince pie fight.
I remember one year the RSM stood on a table and announced that there was to be no food thrown around the cookhouse. Just as he finished speaking the colonel got him right in the ear with a mince pie. Clasic.
scoobydont said:
Christmas dinner served by SNCOs in full mess kit, (Usually about a week before christmas), followed by the traditional mince pie fight.
I remember one year the RSM stood on a table and announced that there was to be no food thrown around the cookhouse. Just as he finished speaking the colonel got him right in the ear with a mince pie. Clasic.
Christmas dits in June? Well done Penfold. :roll:
Cant beat being kicked out of your scratcher at stupid o clock by the seniors with a lovely cup of gunfire every christmas! Followed by a little run before watching an intersquadron soccerball match, pile into the scoffhouse for dinner again served by the seniors under the strict instruction that anyone caught throwing food would suffer the pain of death! All washed down by a christmas do in the NAFFI and ending up with a circle of 15 naked sappers passing round bottles of wine with sappers getting babooned if they stepped out of the perfect circle!

I love the Corp!

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