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Gen Cowan's Edict - A Reply

Witch hunt? Splendid. Technically I still have a residue of Reserve commitment (HM's last, desperate resort, throwing old fools like me in front of the oncoming tanks of Vlad the Magnificent) so I could attempt to squeeze myself into my strangely shrunken No1 dress and await the firing squad. My last request? A sandwich, naturally.
 
I've seen some witty replies to similar letters in the past. This one fails, it's pathetic. (OP to avoid confusion).
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
I've seen some witty replies to similar letters in the past. This one fails, it's pathetic. (OP to avoid confusion).

Well, you may think so - those of us who are still serving will mainly think it's pretty good - because we have to serve under people like Cowan and at times that can be just a little challenging.

His balloon needs popping.
 
Well, you may think so - those of us who are still serving will mainly think it's pretty good - because we have to serve under people like Cowan and at times that can be just a little challenging.

His balloon needs popping.

Maybe so but that letter isn't very good - as simple as that. Of course that's only my opinion but I've seen similar letters in the past which I thought were excellent.

I don't think my opinion is anything to do with the fact I'm no longer serving. Were I still with the colours it would be the same.
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
Accusing James Cowan of snobbery and / or lack of tact seems like a fair position.

But the para in question seemed to imply either that he is either:

a. A soldier unaccustomed to war fighting and its consequences, unlikely given he is a career soldier, was CO of 1BW on TELIC and an ex CO TFH

or

b. Unaware of, or insensitive to, the injuries of his subordinates. Is this true?


Does a relatively innocuous memo about mess etiquette merit such anger that the above accusations are thrown?

In a reply which plays heavily on a perceived lack of perspective I detect some unintended irony ...

My bold. He may be a pompous non-sandwich eating cock - but, from my personal experience, you most certainly could not accuse him of being either a. or b.

In fact, my second most memorable conversation with him was on that subject and it was clear that the issue of the dead, the wounded and those who have to pick up the pieces was very much something he cared about. It still doesn't excuse what is a bit of a faux pas when it comes to the presentational aspects of UK Defence in the 21st Century.

So yes, I personally think that particular brickbat is undeserved. The rest though? Keep throwing!
 
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Brotherton Lad

LE
Kit Reviewer
My bold. He may be a pompous non-sandwich eating cock - but, from my personal experience, you most certainly could not accuse him of being either a. or b.

In fact, may second most memorable conversation with him was on that subject and it was clear that the issue of the dead, the wounded and those who have to pick up the pieces was very much something he cared about. It still doesn't excuse what is a bit of a faux pas when it comes to the presentational aspects of UK Defence in the 21st Century.

So yes, I personally think that particular brickbat is undeserved. The rest though? Keep throwing!

The trouble is that we all have had such reminders, verbally and in writing issued to members of Messes. It's just part of the culture and always has been. The drama is that it has gone viral.

I do see the funny side.

In fact, I think it's hilarious, but it's really not the end of the world (tomorrow's fish and chip paper, if such a travesty could be allowed in this day and age).
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
The trouble is that we all have had such reminders, verbally and in writing issued to members of Messes. It's just part of the culture and always has been. The drama is that it has gone viral.

I do see the funny side.

In fact, I think it's hilarious, but it's really not the end of the world (tomorrow's fish and chip paper, if such a travesty could be allowed in this day and age).

It's funny alright but it makes us all look like pompous, out of touch eejits. I do remember (and still have a letter somewhere) telling the members of the HQNI Mess in 1984 that setting light to the curtains whilst singing Republican songs at Easter was not seen as good form.

I can't imagine what the media would have done with that info at the time!
 
...On Sandwiches.

The Health and Safety aspect of eating sandwiches with cutlery cannot go unremarked. When licking Marie Rose sauce off my fingers after a seafood sandwich, I've never cut my tongue open.

Think on.
 
...On Sandwiches.

The Health and Safety aspect of eating sandwiches with cutlery cannot go unremarked. When licking Marie Rose sauce off my fingers after a seafood sandwich, I've never cut my tongue open.

Think on.

Well obviously there is an element of danger if you were using a steak knife. Everyone would know you were uncouth if you were using the wrong cutlery. A normal knife isn't shar......

Oh oh oh _ I've just realised I have been spoofed. No-one get Marie Rose sauce now we are on PAYD. Oh very good!
 
It is only the Officer's Mess he is having a pop at.
BUT, I do recall a TV series back in the 90's called "Back to the floor" whereby senior management in a variety of trades actually did go back up the sharp edge, with the added bonus of being filmed doing so.
"Drop In Rank" (broadcast 18 November 1997) - General Sir Hew Pike becomes a junior officer in the Army.

Time for another series perhaps, since things have moved on apace since the good General was commissioned in 1987, a slight increase in junior officer's workload too perchance?
Knives (in right hand) and forks (in left hand), what on earth are they teaching at Sandhurst these days then?
 

Brotherton Lad

LE
Kit Reviewer
It's funny alright but it makes us all look like pompous, out of touch eejits. I do remember (and still have a letter somewhere) telling the members of the HQNI Mess in 1984 that setting light to the curtains whilst singing Republican songs at Easter was not seen as good form.

I can't imagine what the media would have done with that info at the time!

But I see that as cutting edge irony.

As long as it wasn't on Good Friday, obviously. I hope it was a curry lunch to mark the Resurrection.
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
But I see that as cutting edge irony.

As long as it wasn't on Good Friday, obviously. I hope it was a curry lunch to mark the Resurrection.
It certainly ticked every Catholic/Republican Easter box you could think of whether in 1916 or 1984. We had a marvellous time:

- burnt curtains,
- damaged tables,
- big mess bills
- young officers with hangovers

It was funny all right and it led to a perception amongst the Mess staff and guests that perhaps the British Army were apolitical after all which rather worried them..............

My bacon and eggs were thrown down with a wee bang the next day - but it didn't last long.
 
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Brotherton Lad

LE
Kit Reviewer
It certainly ticked every Catholic/Republican Easter box you could think of whether in 1916 or 1984. We had a marvellous time:

- burnt curtains,
- damaged tables,
- big mess bills
- young officers with hangovers

It was funny all right and it led to a perception amongst the Mess staff and guests that perhaps the British Army were apolitical after all which rather worried them..............

My bacon and eggs were thrown down with a wee bang the next day - but it didn't last long.

I think we sometimes undersell our political awareness.

Cheers, my dears.
 
I must admit, I buy the (very) occasional burger from one or other of the fast-food chains and I do prefer to eat them off a plate with a steak knife and fork. Otherwise it seems that the burgers' insides end up on my outsides.
 

Bubbles_Barker

LE
Book Reviewer
I must admit, I buy the (very) occasional burger from one or other of the fast-food chains and I do prefer to eat them off a plate with a steak knife and fork. Otherwise it seems that the burgers' insides end up on my outsides.
That of course would be OK if the Rifles are higher up the order of precedence than the Black Watch.

Are they? I don't care - it has no relevance to what I do. I discarded the order of precedence when I realised it was a mechanism for people to try and categorise me as inferior on the basis of an interview at the age of 16 :)
 
That of course would be OK if the Rifles are higher up the order of precedence than the Black Watch.

Are they? I don't care - it has no relevance to what I do. I discarded the order of precedence when I realised it was a mechanism for people to try and categorise me as inferior on the basis of an interview at the age of 16 :)

Can't argue with that.
 

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