Back in 03, following the victorious return from places sandy I was AQMS Weapons in the LAD of a Scottish Cavalry Regiment (you know who you are), suffering under a particularly nasty ASM (full of little man syndrome, limitless careerist stab-in-the-back-itis, and in possession of an offensive wife), who’d been posted in shortly after our return to Germany. His lack of operational experience grated on him, and hearing “Well we did it this way in Iraq” from everyone in the Regiment and LAD on a daily basis probably didn’t help.

I was tasked with producing the Engineering Management System, a collection of descriptive instructions for all processes used in the workshop, laid out as SOPs. Mainly through my own fault, but partly thanks to the vindictive poison dwarf with the big badge’s Machiavellian efforts, I managed to get in the shit with the OC for not producing this new REME panacea document on schedule. I got dragged into the ASM’s office, and threatened with sacking, reduction in rank, flogging round the square and being rubbed in all the shit in creation etc. So I set to producing the document with a will. It took three weeks of late nights and weekends, but I got the bloody thing completed, and my excommunication from the Corps was averted.

What was most frustrating was that I was 100% certain that the EMS was yet another pointless exercise in REME navel gazing, and once published would remain untouched until the next TECHEVAL (the TECHEVAL process is one of those self licking lollipops with REME inspecting REME on how far up their own arses they can climb), when the dust would be blown off it and top level bluffing would be commenced by all. So for the last entry, I made a little addition...






1. I think that we need to hit the ground running, keep our eye on the ball, and make sure that we are singing off the same song sheet/ At the end of the day it’s not a level playing field and the goalposts may move; if they do someone else may have to pick it up and run with it. We therefore must have a golf bag of options hot-to-trot from the word “go”. It is our train set but we cannot afford to leave it on the back burner; we’ve got a lot of irons in the fire right now.


2. We will need to un-stick a few potential poo traps but it all depends on the flash to bang time and fudge factor allowed. Things may end up slipping to the left, and if they do we will need to run a tight ship. I don’t want to reinvent the wheel but we must get right into the weeds on this one. If push comes to shove we might need to up stumps and then we’ll be in a whole new ball game.


3. I suggest we test the water with a few warmers into the bank. If we can produce the goods then we are cooking with gas. If not then we are in a world of hurt. I don’t want to die in a ditch over it, but we could easily end up in a flat spin if people start getting twitchy. To that end I want to get round the bazaars and make sure the movers and shakers are on-side from day one. If you can hit me with your shopping list I can take it to the head honchos and start the ball rolling.

4. There is light at the end of the tunnel and I think we have backed a winner here. If it gets blown out of the water however, I will be throwing a track. So get your feet in my in-tray and give me chapter and verse as to how you see things panning out. As long as our ducks are in a row I think the ball will stay in play.

5. Before you bomb burst and throw smoke, it is imperative we nail our colours very firmly on the mast and look at the big picture. We’ve got to march to the beat of the drum. We are on a sticky wicket, so we’ll need to play with a straight bat and watch out for fast balls.


6. I’ve been on permanent send for long enough and I’ve had my ten pence worth. I don’t want to rock the boat or teach anyone to suck eggs. If the cap fits, wear it but it may seem like pushing fog up a hill with a sharp stick. As long as we’ve picked up all our monkeys and parrots we can come up smelling of roses and all our shit will be in the same sock. So it’s two up with bags of smoke, and if it ain’t raining it ain’t training.
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As eagle eyed and ancient Arrsers may have noticed, the vast majority of this tripe was stolen with pride from a thread all about military clichés which I as a new reader of Arrse had found amusing. I figured that nobody in the LAD would read the whole way through the EMS, but if they did I’d buy the first bloke who came to me a pint. So with a chuckle to myself and a realistic view of the worth of all my efforts, I passed the whole damn thing on to the OC and ASM, who rubber stamped the lot and slapped their copies on the bookshelves in their offices, where they slowly gathered dust. Copies were then sent to all section heads of the LAD, where everyone gave them a good ignoring.

The TECHEVAL team came round a couple of months later, and being the “Engineering System Manager” (ESM) I ensured that their hard copy of the EMS had SSOP 2.3.9 tactfully removed (TECHEVAL team members not being renowned for their sense of humour). The inspection went swimmingly, and the EMS, being the new Testament of Awesomeness in REME, came in for particular praise. The ASM’s career radar was by this point twitching like a dog’s cock on a bestiality porn set, and he inserted himself into every conversation about the EMS, taking the lion’s share of the credit, as he was in the running to be the next Corps ASM (He didn’t get it, happily).

According to the TECHEVAL team the EMS was the “best they’d seen” to that point, with good structure and covering processes not included in other units’ versions (at least one more than they knew about, obviously). And so they asked for an electronic copy to pass on as best practice to other units. It was at this point I had a crisis of humour versus courage. Should I send a dull and effective electronic copy of the EMS in and be safe, or throw caution to the wind, keep in SSOP 2.3.9 and lob a covert two fingers at the back of the ASM, as well as potentially scuppering his careerist stealing of credit? A sword of Damocles would be hanging over my head for the remainder of my time at the unit, but as the aforementioned dwarf had already made it clear that as far as he was concerned my promotion ceiling had already been exceeded, the Emperor took hold and I posted disks of the unexpurgated version off to Brigade ES.

As is the way with these things, the whole thing blew over and I happily forgot about the episode. The ASM was commissioned and he and his dreadful wife left to be detested in Tidworth or somewhere, and presumably sneered at by the DE officers. As far as I know, nobody ever read the “Preparation for TECHEVAL” SSOP, and I eventually left on promotion to ASM (still not clear how that happened) running an ECI Team in England. Occasionally I would see an EMS on the shelf in the LAD of a unit I was inspecting, and check to see if it contained SSOP 2.3.9, with no luck (my version had ended up being touted as Best Practice in Germany for a short while, but hadn’t made its way back over the Channel sadly). In 2010 I left Regular Service.

I joined the TA a couple of years later as a WO2 (a REME Battalion, and my first ever posting to REME second line), and the first Annual Camp was to Sennelager for field firing. As the only stab armourer who was deemed current and competent, I ended up spending a fair amount of time fixing bent guns. At one point I needed to change a rifle barrel and didn’t have the spares or tools, so I grabbed a minibus and went over to 3 Bn REME in Paderborn, which was on stand down at the time. I eventually got given the keys to the Armourers Shop, went in, robbed as much kit as humanly possible (old habits die hard) and fixed the rifle. Looking round the office, I noticed a very dusty and probably forgotten about 3 Bn REME EMS folder on a shelf. I took it down for old time’s sake, turned to the back, and to my joy found SSOP 2.3.9 in all its glory! Whoever had produced the EMS for the unit very sensibly hadn’t even bothered to change the unit title, as it obviously hadn’t been looked at since being placed on the shelf.

So what’s the moral of this tale? Dunno really, but for me it was enough to know that in my own small way I’d poured a little grit into the gears of REME bullshit, and better yet, I’d got away scot free. SSOP 2.3.9 is now on my library wall, just to remind me that it's a fair assumption that most of what you read is bollocks, but some of it might be funny.
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Book Reviewer
I cannot help but be reminded of James Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan - Wikipedia .

Brudenell was a fine rider and, inspired by the decisive role of cavalry at the battle of Waterloo, his wish was to purchase a commission in a fashionable regiment and serve as an army officer.
He obtained command of the 15th The King's Hussars — at a reported premium of £35,000 (equivalent to £2,930,000 in 2015)— on 16 March 1832.[15]

Parliamentary business, in the form of the hotly contested Reform Bill campaign, delayed his taking command until May. His youth and inexperience, compared with that of the battle-tested officers whom he led (some were veterans of the battle of Waterloo) drew his naturally punctilious nature to manifest itself in petty-minded bullying.[15][23][24] In 1833 he was publicly censured for "reprehensible...conduct" in a court martial held to determine charges he had laid against Captain Augustus Wathen, a subordinate. Brudenell was dismissed, by order of King William, early in 1834.[25] He had, however, influence at court and he asked his sister Harriet, married to Queen Adelaide's chamberlain, Lord Howe, to get the decision reversed. He pestered senior officers and politicians until in March 1836 he was allowed command of the 11th Light Dragoons (later restyled the 11th Hussars), notwithstanding the view of his commander-in-chief, Lord Hill, that he was "constitutionally unfit for command".

Whatever happened to him?
I cannot help but be reminded of James Brudenell, . . . . . . . .

. . . . . . . .Whatever happened to him?
Isn't he the one who changed his surname a bit, signed a record deal with Custard Records, made a few quid, and went to live in Ibiza, smoking dope and surrounded by quality snatch?
Themanwho, I think if you now have time to spare you should drop a few scripts into the BBC for "W1A".
In regards to slipping items into documents, during my last posting at Chertsey, I was tasked, before the days of google search engines etc, with resurrecting to old "REME Technical Reference Manual" with all the useful references to various AGAI's, EMERS, DCI's, AESP's etc that you might need to look at.
As the then Mrs UORMan was very much into horses, there were various references to "free stabling" etc etc.
I wonder if anywhere still has a copy of "morale orders" where fire orders should be. I exchanged a fair few in my last couple of postings/tours. Nobody ever mentioned them even after various obligatory checks...
On the subject of inserting things into documents, a contemporary at a unit I was at west off to Australia on an exchange post - intending never to return. A month or so later he rang me to say he'd been pinged 1. Mess Sec 2. Full Mess Rules re-write. As we'd not long done ours could he send me the new version etc etc.

I hope he read them carefully as I'm sure something got left in about

"REME officers are not to shag fat, ugly female Education Officers who are house-sitting for the OC" You know who you are Ian (and Kate)!
Here's one that might have appeared in several company sites around our fair Capitol last year around Christmas time:

In the event of an outbreak of morale, the following action is to be taken IMMEDIATELY:

1. By the Person Discovering the Morale
· Raise the alarm by shouting: “MORALE, MORALE, MORALE!
· Make a quick attempt to stamp out the morale (do not expose yourself to the source of the morale).
· Ring the Anti Morale Team by dialing 666 on any internal phone.
· Inform the senior manager on site who will take control of the Local Morale Incident Team and sound the Site morale outbreak alarm.

2. By the Local Morale Incident Team
· Report to the senior manager without delay.
· Collect anti-morale contingency pack (extra duties roster, magenta Hi Viz, site specific PPE, brooms, bin bags, iPads).
· Send one person unaffected by morale to meet the Anti-Morale Team at the RVP.

3. By Those in the Vicinity of the Morale
· DO NOT attempt to attack the morale.
· Close all the doors and windows.
· Move under the control of Local Morale Incident Team (LMIT) to a predetermined wet and miserable place until risk of morale is reduced to ALARP.

4. By the Anti-Morale Team
· Don morale-proof magenta PPE, meet LMIT representative at RVP.
· Locate the source of the morale and remove root cause immediately.
· Place all personnel affected by morale on night shift / earlies and dispense verbal disciplinary warnings in blocks of no less than 15.
· DO NOT expose yourself to the source of morale for longer than absolutely necessary.

The above actions should be sufficient to prevent the outbreak spreading. Extra preventative measures that can be taken with Band 5 Authorisation are:
· Withdraw all beverage facilities.
· Mandate anti-morale training exercises on a weekly basis.
· Impose 5S system on all work stations.
· Revoke all access permissions and place a fault on the IM services system.
· Team Talk on the dangers of Morale to be repeated bi-weekly.
· Revoke all building passes & institute new on-line application procedure.



I really must get out more.
Mrs Bomb is not originally British. And at one point she had to apply for citizenship. The nationality test had not yet come into force but it was on the horizon. So, to be safe, we obtained the book "Life in the U.K.", which was the primer for the test. Imagine my surprise (and delight) when I found the following:

Life in the UK explains what to do if you spill someone's pint in the pub. What, according to the book, usually happens next?

A: You would offer to buy the person another pint

B: You would offer to dry their wet shirt with your own

C: You may need to prepare for a fight in the car park

My conclusion was that the civil servant bubbled with this task of inordinate naffness* had the same reaction as the OP and inserted a number of such questions on the basis that his seniors would never actually read it.

* Naff because it is political correctness gone mad. The original version wasn't allowed to include any questions about British History, for example, for risk of 'triggering a snowflake'

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Book Reviewer
He gave us our Cherry Kecks. That's about it. A complete and utter useless bastard. Oh, and a fine piece of silver for the Mess.
He pestered senior officers and politicians until in March 1836 he was allowed command of the 11th Light Dragoons (later restyled the 11th Hussars), notwithstanding the view of his commander-in-chief, Lord Hill, that he was "constitutionally unfit for command".[26] After a leisurely passage with his wife, he joined his new command in India in October of the following year, just in time to enjoy some tiger-shooting before seeing the regiment off for Britain at the end of its long posting.[15] He travelled separately in a hired vessel, disdaining to share the discomforts of the warship carrying his troops. Of the two years following his appointment, only four weeks were spent with his regiment.[27]
From the wiki link (my bold) I find breathtaking.
I was tasked with writing a soldiers guidebook for Kenya - something I took very seriously indeed.

There were small chapters on climate, terrain, languages, politics etc

and one on useful phrases.

I managed to sneak in such necessary gems as '"Love you long time" and "It hurts when I pee"

I wish I'd kept a copy now.

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