Hows your memory?

Discussion in 'The Lamp and Sandbag II - The Tall Story Strikes B' started by OldRedCap, May 24, 2006.

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  1. The meat of this forum gives great pleasure. Much is outside my ken. Lectures on moral responsibility, chain of command, redress of grievance, 7 Questions. WTF? (My lot had 6Ws – who did what to whom, where, when, why and in what manner,)
    Rules of engagement that keep QC amused for hours. We had a Yellow Card in the Canal Zone but no one ever worried about it. The Army seems a grey sort of place. Stagging on. Duff meals and accommodation. The cycle of postings and tours. I do not remember it like that. Can anyone here tell of something that gave them great pleasure or satisfaction? A good course result? Seeing someone you have trained finally get it right after countless drills.
    The sort of thing that still stiffens the grey hairs just above my butt-crack is memory of a Ceremony of the Keys on Casemates, Gibraltar. There were many but we did one for Mountbatten that was just perfect. The shouted answer from the Escort to the question of “Whose keys?” – I can hear it now. There was the day we lay up in ambush under the ME sun waiting for a squaddy who was selling arms and ammunition to locals. He arrived exactly as we had been told, dropped the tailboard on the 15 cwt and got in to sort his illegal load. He came out and we were all over him like blow-flies on cow-shyt. We carted him off, substituted one of ours and then did the same Boo to the buyers when they turned up.
    Midnight moments, watching the Union flag come down at midnight and the guy with feathers in his hat marching away for the last time.
    Standing alongside a hole in the ground looking at his wife and kids. Wondering what sort of God demanded that much payment for a small invoice.
    After many years of criticism for the indignities imposed upon The Queens Uniform, going to meet the Little Lady in that Big House at the end of the Mall when she said not a word about my dress.
    These are all military moments. I had a good civilian career and no commercial triumph equalled them. We did the high fives and put the platinum cards behind the bar but they were nowhere near the same.
    So – what has lit your wick? Maybe it was just that bedroom event with the toffee-nosed tart who looked as if butter would not melt in her mouth demanding more of the same please, please, please. If so – writing needs to be up to RTFQ standards!
  2. OK Old Redcap, since nobody else has replied, I will try to do so.

    Like you, I had a full and satisfying military career with many golden moments which gave me the warm fuzzies. I have now achieved a reasonbably well-recognised civilian position and I attend many high ceremonials throughout the year, every year. Many of these have military escorts and Guards of Honour and, as I look at the young squaddies standing rigidly to attention, immaculate and stern-faced, staring straight ahead, I smile inwardly, knowing exactly what they are really thinking about this bunch of toffee-nosed civvies in white ties and tails...and I envy them. After all these years I still miss the rough and tumble of the NAAFI, the cameraderie of the mess and the pride at watching your recruits pass-out from basic training and all their mums and chums hugging them like they were heroes. I miss the discipline and structure of the army which is totally missing in civilian life and makes management very difficult. Most of all, I miss being surrounded by people who you know you can trust your life to, and you would do the same for them. You do not even have to like them, but you are confident that their training and esprit-de-corps will carry the day.

    Having said all that, I regret to say that one of my happiest memories was totally trashing an MP command post on a NATO exercise in Germany - under official instructions to do so. Not many squaddies have that great privelege. :D
  3. Its been long enough for even the most horrible experiences to become burnished with nostalgia but, in no particular order or significance:
    - watching selection for the Gurkhas in Pokhara.
    - smelling the herbs on a Cyprus hillside as the dawn sun burnt the dew off them.
    - marching en masse into Gillingham, Kent to sort out the thugs who had had the temerity to beat up a xouple of our lads.
    - lying on the roof of a school in the Ardoyne, watching Card 1, No 1 (if you were in Belfast in the mid 70's you'll still know who that was) and hearing the panic in the watchkeepers voice as I asked if they wanted me to kill him.
    - seeing the sun turn the peaks surrounding Kabul pink in the first light.
    - trekking up the east coast of Malaysia and staying in the long houses as a guest, purely because the word was passed from kampong to kampong that I was a British soldier.
    - seeing the regiment that I had trained wheeling on the parade square in perfect (for one moment!) balance.
    - standing by the graveside as the piper platyed a lament for one of my friends.
    - the feeling of oneness with my father when, after my first op tour he shook my hand and said "welcome to the club. You poor sod."
    - brewing up with a hexi stove on a train out of Wales because the buggers hadn't provided a buffet car. (Come on, post holiday in Brecon. We've all gone a little crazy then, haven't we....oh, just me then.)
    - arriving at a certain establishment in Bahnhofstrasse, Hohne, with the assembled officers of the HQ, in Mess Kit, ready to be entertained.
    - leaving the same establishment with the officers on the HQ in Mess Kit, in the company of the GE Civ Pol.
    - the faces of the RMP who realised that the Provost Marshall was one of those being escorted out of the knocking shop.
    - the face of the German postman who stopped at my trench on the IGB and believed me when I told him that the Russians WERE coming.
    - the noise in the village he pedalled into and spread the word.
    - the face of my OC as I tried to explain myself.
    - impersonating that same OC on the radio as I gave radio orders for a Zulu muster overlooking the local FKK lakes....
    - the satisfaction at punching in the first tight, natural grouping with my SLR.
    - its only when I start looking back that I realise how much fun it has been over so long a period of time and, whilst I have managed to avoid anything approaching a succesful (rank) career, I've had one long blast of fun, excitement and just enough fear to keep things interesting.
  4. I have many moments that I sometimes go a little misty eyed at:

    My POP at Ash Vale, proudest moment of my life. :D
    UNFICYP at Blue Beret camp watching the sunrise on Christmas morning.
    CMH Aldershot in the winter, good friends and happy times.
    My father, brother and myself meeting in XMG, rare meeting of the family regiments.
    My mother crying as I left for my first tour of NI. :cry:
    The good friends that I try and stay in touch with after all those years. Bless them.
    Most of all the memories of having done something right.

  5. Sir - My Respect!
  6. I am glad that I responded to Old Redcap's request...even if he was a monkey! (No offence meant)
  7. Wild Bill,
    Don't encourage me! I'll spill the beans too early and the pale imitation of McDonald-Fraser's McAuslin books will be strangled at birth.
  8. W_B_F I'm not that old. Passed out from keogh in Aug 78 as a member of Babtie squad.

    Served in quite a few units. PM me and we might talk, or bore each other senseless.

  9. Damn you Wild Bill, I'm now in dit mode and only a slack handful of snivelling servants around who wouldn't know a good dit from a Tesco shopping list. So, with that in mind, more "reasons to be grateful":
    - trekking to the Annapurna basecamp.
    - telling Bob Niarac that leaving him in the Ardoyne was not perhaps the best order I had ever been given.
    - hearing Glasgow apologising for my posting falling through and would another tour in Hong Kong be an acceptable substitute.
    - climbing Sunrise Peak on Lantau Island to see in the Chinese New Year.
    - bicycle patrols along the HK border.
    - going inside the mountain in Bardufoss.
    - hijacking a train in Kenya.
    - driving from Nairobi to Mombassa by night in a Landi and seeing elephant looming up in the headlights.
    - admiring the RMO 1 GREN GDS system for inspecting the "girls" at The Sportsmans Arms, Kenya.
    - Climbing the Eistint in North Norway to watch the midnight sun.
    - impersonating Guederian in my panzer as we drove through Osnabruck, only to have the mayor who was following us swing into Belfast Bks behind us......
    - hearing the mayor explain that it wasn't my impersonations that had got to him, it was the Tom in the back apparently pouring kero out onto the road and flicking lighted matches at it. (Tsk! Those Germans, can't tell a kero jerry can from a water can....)
    - hearing crack and thump for real for the first time.
    - being embarrassed because training takes over to the point where you actually shout out "can anybody see the enemy" rather than "where the fk did that come from"
    - junk trips on the South China Sea.
    - wondering if the roaring sound was SCUD inbound or PATRIOT outbound.
    - dancing 'til dawn at the ball and walking home laughing with friends.
    - not laughing at all when the mess bill for the ball comes in.
    - being summonsed to Div HQ together with my CSM for interviews without coffee and the CSM telling me afterwards that the first red tabbed question to him was "dores your OC like being a major?"
    - hiding a Tom in the DTL I had just dug with an instruction to reach up and tickle the first arse that sat on it, then sending for my Pl Sgt to test the DTL.
    - seeing the Pl Sgt leap vertically, roar, poke into the DTL with a piquet post to dislodge the Tom, then sitting on the thunder box and making himself "go".

    Over 30 years at the game and I'm still finding things to laugh at as well as to rage about.
  10. Reminds me of a subbie of ours who was guarding a polling station located in a school in Belfast the night before an election. He heard voices from behind a door, and could see that the light was on ... he quietly cocked his gat ... steeled himself, kicked the door in yelling blue fcuking murder ... only to be faced with some local elderly ladies at their embroidery class. Subbie: "Ah, good evening ladies!"
  11. Limited response but all class.
    Thanks guys.
  12. This will have to be done in stages ORC, its an effort at my age.

    62, passing out after 16 weeks basic training. Band playing Old Lang Syne , thinking I had actually achieved something and that I knew it all. Partially right on the first, totally wrong on the second.

    Cyprus. First posting. Bloody marvellous. Only single man in the unit to have wheels, albeit a scooter. Lots of mates, if only one at a time. Being introduced to duty free booze and fags, Greek food and Cyprus Brandy.

    The first sound of shots fired in anger. Reporting the same from Larnaca Police Station and due to the break down of sig’s as the night wore on (bloody steam radios) reporting to HQ Cyprus Dist loud explosions occurring, only to discover it was the banging of the airlock on the police station main door. Confessing the same to a fat Lt, receiving a bollixing and then laughing as he dropped to the ground when the door banged. Being arrested by the Civ Pol days before the end of my posting and accused of spying, all for taking pic’s of the Larnaca pier (one position to include two dopes a Bren and about four sand bags! Bailed out by the 2i/c and receiving yet another bollixing.
  13. That's brought the old memory into focus, thanks one and all - I'm now back in time as a craftsman spanner monkey with the tankies out in fally:
    0300 hrs on the ranges changing chiefy power packs in the snow and p!ssing rain.
    sitting in the local bar and seeing a tankie ask for a half a lancer and chips.... the bar being full of 17/21st, my how we laughed!!!
    loads more memories, all rosey as time lessens the pain of the bad times...

    As Wild Bill - civvies grip my ess aitch one tea, I was only an average soldier but my time in makes me, like the majority of us I suspect, a bl00dy good civvy.

    Here's a raised glass!!
  14. Wot. Only half a Lancer? No staying power, Tankies.