The Army Eccentric; An Evolutionary Accident

Discussion in 'The Lamp and Sandbag II - The Tall Story Strikes B' started by Bumper, Nov 4, 2008.

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  1. Given my last topic took off with all the aeronautical characteristics of a heavy brick, ("Unintended Consequences," don't read - it will only ruin an almost perfect non-event), I have high hopes that we might make high single figures with this one. I've done a search and although the odd barking box of spanners gets a mention I haven't seen a dedicated thread to that marvellous national treasure; the Eccentric, specifically Army eccentrics.

    Most Army eccentrics are thought of as loony RSM's, obsessed with locking up inanimate objects, family members or animals, or relics from Colonial days when they ruled 2.3m square miles of the Sudan with nothing more than a teapot, a good forward defensive stroke and the right attitude.

    We've all come accross others though and I'd like to record some here, just for posterity and for the deluge of readers who have been waiting all morning for something to comment on in which we've all been bit players to the stars of the show....................

    Years ago I met a Cavalry Officer, which anyway gets us off to flying start, who really was over the edge. His hobby was to inflate met balloons, tie them to his waist and scale buildings by his fingertips given his near weightless state. Such activities have since been made famous by the Darwin Awards but I think this one surprisingly beat the odds and survived.

    On one Op Banner tour, a particularly strict, robust but short BW RSM caught the attention of his Jocks in an unusual way. Not for him carrying a rifle and trying to look like A.N. Jock. When travelling with the CO to an incident he would jump out of his vehicle, leave the protection thing to the signallers and walk up and down the street with his Browning on his waist and his pace stick, in a camouflage material sleeve, pointing and waving at poor fire positions or dress of the unfortunate Jocks on the cordon. No lights on there then....

    I heard the just the other day of a 13/18th officer who was definately a few Brady's short of a bunch. This man had a pristine, labelled and documented Lego collection in his room. Lego FFS! Subsequently transferred to the RLC apparently.

    One well known Gunner officer of 70's/80's vintage was on a shoot and when one of the guns looked down to see a square hole in his wellies just where his big toe would be, he asked, "******, what are the holes in your wellies for?" He replied with utmost sincerity, "to let the water out, obviously."

    any more................?
    • Like Like x 1
  2. Bumper,

    I cannot match your examples of eccentricity, I can however bump up your thread count.

    My rather uninspiring examples include the Engr Lt Col who was still wearing puttees as recently as 2004; and the still serving Cav Lt Col who, whilst instructing on TEWTS, insisted on raising his arms in a shotgun pose every time wildfowl came within vision, and taking imaginary potshots at said fowl.

  3. Thanks! What was there not to love about puttees? I also knew a cavalry officer, 17/21st, I think, who's stepfather (completely shot away this one), had to pay a visit to the local magistrate in Yorkshire. So incensed was he when grouse shooting, at a hot air balloon that floated past disturbing his birds, that he started shooting at the balloon.
  4. We had a 2ic who had a very strange approach to dress, essentially a tie had to be worn on all occasions, including in the field and on ops. In camp the tie would be worn with his SD shirt, JHW, lightweights and shoes, yes lightweights and shoes. In the field he adopted a more "rough and ready" look wearing an OG shirt (not KF I noticed, that would of been eccentric) with a No 2 tie (tsk, enlisted man uniform, terrible) with spray on combats (early 80's double lined type)

    I also knew another officer, Cav type, who insisted on wearing a bright yellow cravat whilst on patrol, just the sort of thing to blend into the surrounding area of South Armagh I felt.

    We did have another officer who would pop out of an SF base in NI, adopting a limp and a dodgy accent to try to infiltrate the local populace, but he wasn't eccentric, just a cnut.
  5. I recently gave a lesson on a course on how to wear puttees, and yes I was able to get hold of 20 pairs of the buggers.

    It went quite well and they felt good on , so much I wanted to wear them all day. Hardly any on the audience knew what they were mind.

    OK I have probably just gave my identity away to anyone on the course
  6. [but he wasn't eccentric, just a cnut.[/quote]

    v v funny
  7. There have been more than a few like that. They're B. dangerous and can lead to you having holes where you shouldn't have them, stupid prats
  8. indeed! Reminds me of the officer who when warned by the Mounted Police in Banff not to go climbing replied, "nonesense, all you need to climb a mountain is a stout pair of walking boots and the right attitude." He didn't make it back sadly.
  9. I seem to remember that we used to shorten the tape on the puttee in order to reduce the time it took to wind the damn things on. Did this form part of your lesson, or did you stick to the un-modified puttee? In addition, did you advocate wearing trousers tucked inside the puttee, or alternatively the use of elastics, modified No2 Dress braces, or weights?
  10. This should develop into a good thread as there has been a shed load of serving guys who would have been committed to an asylum if they hadn't been in the Army. Wellyhead has highlighted an important point on this though - namely that there can be a fine line between eccentricity and just being an absolute prick.
  11. Bloody good point you guys are making. Perhaps I haven't thought this through and need to categorise these loons. Examples might be,

    The Lovable Eccentric - Generates good humour amongst the troops regardless of rank and generally is an uplifting personality to have around. The sort of man troops like to follow.

    The Dangerous Eccentric - The sort who plays around with pyrotechnics and weapons, (to "improve," them), who reads yank mercenary magazines and spends hours sharpening long knives in preparation for 3 months public duties. Generally avoided by, or shot at, by troops.

    The Stupid Eccentric - The utterley clueless and vacant individual who although somewhat endearing, and a friend to all the subalterns because he's on never ending extra's from the Adjutant, generally has to be protected from himself, and the enemy, by his NCO's. Should NEVER be allowed near live ammunition.

    The Obsessive Eccentric - The individual, usually harmless, who sees every posting and job as an opportunity to pursue his real love and joy in life which is usually a completely batty and innocent pastime like the Lego referred to above.
  12. Bumper,

    If I may add another category:

    The Wannabe Eccentric - This chap is not actualy eccentric, he is just a normal bloke in ordinary circumstances, however having seen a proper eccentric heralded as a British institution he decides to go for it and start doing eccentric things. The problem is of course that you either are or aren't eccentric and any attempts to be eccentric just make Wannabe increasingly disliked by all ranks for being a c0ck until, normally after a bit of a booze up, someone tells him the error of his ways.
    This either results in ever more stupid behaviour in an effort to be eccentric and a repeat of the cycle until beatings are issued or the realisation that he is not eccentric and a return to normality.
  13. 10/10! Now you mention it I can think of dozens but not many funny incidents because mostly, they weren't funny. Here's another question, where do you draw the line between obsessional eccentricity and professionalism? I'm thinking for example, of the NCO who returns from his PTI course who suddenly morphs into goody two shoes, super hero, mega fit madman whose mission in life becomes the conversion of all around him to the same cult with an evangelical zeal last seen at Gallilee. The sort who then treats chips with the same disdain most people reserve for heroin dealers. Or the bloke who returns from an All Arms Drill course having been inducted into their weird sect, who then believes, truely believes, that achieving that perfect bull is like finding a cure for cancer.
  14. ...and the one who does the NBC instructors course and thinks that all training should revolve around NBC tasks and is genuinely puzzled why others don't adore the subject like he does. These were possibly more prevalent in the 80's and 90's though...


  15. They are all common examples, I have another - less often seen example of the course induced obsessive:

    The Health and Safety c0ck - He was sent on the course because nobody wanted to do it and you have to have a certain amount of H&S trained people. He returns from the course and believes that despite the fact that nobody listened to him before he left his advice will now be heeded. He spends ages boring the cr@p out of anyone he can get near to about what you can't do or informing you that the sticker on your plug is out of date*. After a brief period he is back in his box and ready to be dispatched on the next unpopular course\detachment.

    *Why the fcuk do we send people round sticking things on plugs after a 'visual inspection'?