The difficulties of drill and marching

#1
You’d think that anybody could learn to march, since it’s really only an exaggerated version of normal walking, but when I was in basic training, we had a fella who couldn’t march. He also couldn’t learn to march. It wasn’t as if he was too thick or anything, for he had a couple of GCEs under his belt and a ready and sharp wit about him that everybody appreciated and which made him very popular in the troop.

Chip (I’ll use his nickname so you won’t guess I’m talking about Bob Sunderland) had no difficulty with normal walking, i.e. left leg right arm, right leg left arm, but as soon as he formed up in a troop some sort of weird change came over him and he swung his left arm with his left leg and his right leg with his right arm – very similar to the gait of an orang-utan.

In addition, Chip had very long arms, extremely long arms! At five-ten, he had a reach of 81 inches. He was also directly behind me in the squad and continually kicked the fück out of my heels. I always knew when Chip went out of step because his hands failed to appear at my left and right shoulders in time with mine, since he had to swing them a bit wider to avoid slapping me under the armpits at every step.

Another problem was that I was third from the front in the right-hand row when we were marching by the right. Chip was immediately behind me and behind him were another seven bods. Whenever Chip got out of step, he’d do a hop and a skip to try and get back in. That meant that the bods behind him had to do the same to get in step with him. Then Chip would try again and force everybody behind him in the row to do the same. It was like a continual Mexican wave down the row and invariably put all the rest of the troop out of step.

A lot of people (me included) confuse reft and light, but Chip was by far the worst case I’ve ever seen. I don’t know how many times we left-turned while marching and I glanced over my shoulder to see Chip marching off orang-utan-like in the opposite direction to the rest of the troop all on his lonesome before the gritty scream of the drill-pig grated in our ears. “Sunderland, get your fückin’ arrse back over here, you cünt!”

In the end, Chip was discharged for being unable to march. It was a very sad day for all of us to see him go, for, as I said, he was very popular in the troop.

Anybody else ever have difficulties with learning to march?

MsG
 
#2
Bugsy said:
he swung his left arm with his left leg and his right leg with his right arm – very similar to the gait of an orang-utan.
MsG
We used to call that 'teddy bearing', comical to watch and very hard to do, unless you were naturally gifted in that area, as 'Chip' seems to have been.
 
#3
Drummer_Boy said:
Bugsy said:
he swung his left arm with his left leg and his right leg with his right arm – very similar to the gait of an orang-utan.
MsG
We used to call that 'teddy bearing', comical to watch and very hard to do, unless you were naturally gifted in that area, as 'Chip' seems to have been.
We called it 'tick-tocking', and there's always at least one in every squad of recruits who has this problem.
 
#5
Tartan_Terrier said:
Drummer_Boy said:
Bugsy said:
he swung his left arm with his left leg and his right leg with his right arm – very similar to the gait of an orang-utan.
MsG
We used to call that 'teddy bearing', comical to watch and very hard to do, unless you were naturally gifted in that area, as 'Chip' seems to have been.
We called it 'tick-tocking', and there's always at least one in every squad of recruits who has this problem.
We called it 'tick-tocking' as well. Have to say that it looks fantastically funny if you can get a whole squad doing it at once.
 
#6
Not difficulties with learning to march, more in teaching certain individuals. One individual had such problems with the concept of a left and right foot, I had to place their feet in the correct position physically because they were so dumb.
 
#7
Oh yes, we had a few, but one in particular, he was the only one to fail his drill test. So therefore had to continue calling out the timings. Being the only one shouting "halt check one-two" in the whole troop was probably quite an embarrassment, but he got there in the end, although backsquadded eventually. Good ol' Kumbi, I think he even made it to phase 2 signals.
 
#8
I know it as "tick-tocking" too.

It seems to happen an awful lot with rifle drill as the inability to swing one arm always seems to confuse folk. A particularly snotty cadet Sgt from my sqn spectacularly tick-tocked during a drill comp on the Woolwich Bks parade square. After months of prep to look as good as we could, how we laughed... :roll:

I think the biggest rabble I've ever seen was when I was on a cadet annual camp and we (a couple of hundred cadets) had to march on grass. Arms and legs everywhere... :D
 
#9
Picture the scene, the South Parade at the RA Depot at Woolwich in 1973 and my intake from 59 (Asten) Bty, 17 Trg Regt was rehearsing for our Passing Out Parade...

The RSM was the legendary "Screaming Skull", aka P***y S****e (he must be well in his 70s now...) and he was on top form, encouraging not only the recruits, but our DS, to higher glory and effort. Not even the Troop Commander was safe... Smart as a carrot in his SD shirt sleeve order, side hat and carrying his sword, he led us around the march past perfectly.

Then it happened...

"Mr Ch****ll Sor, don't forget on the day, it's right elbow tucked right in and forearm holding the sword parallel to the ground and swing the left arm as normal, Sor!!!" (without drawing breath and bringing traffic to a stop on Shooter's Hill)

Well, it was the Kiss of Death.

The poor Subby couldn't stop "Tick Tocking", getting more and more flustered as the RSM got more and more enraged. Drill Sgts were summoned and the poor soul was marched up and down the length of the South parade, trying to undo the mental curse placed upon him by the "Screaming Skull"...

He was never given the chance to display in public his amazing lack of resistance to the suggestive words of the RSM, as our Passing Off Parade was rained off for the first time in many a year, by one of the most violent thunderstorms I'd ever seen.

Ah well, "Happy Days" eh?
 
#10
We had a 'Company Robot' in our platoon and while we all marched to the beat of the drum, he marched to the echo of the beat of the drum.

Still, his mum was dead proud of him.
 
#11
One of our lads tick-tocked with himself as he marched up to the OC to collect his first stripe. The CSM and the RSM called him in for chat about it after parade. Silly bugger.
 

old_fat_and_hairy

LE
Book Reviewer
Reviews Editor
#12
You have never seen tick-tocking until you have watched a gangly, red-haired recruit do it at the quick march, and then at the even faster double past. At about 180 to minute, at the old Rifle Depot in Winchester. Most of us cried with laughter, but the provo sgt, thought he was going to have a heart attack. Bless 'im.
 
#13
Drummer_Boy said:
We used to call that 'teddy bearing', comical to watch and very hard to do
Actually, I found it very easy to do and as you say, comical.


Problem was, going back on the parade square and not doing it afterwards 8O
 
#14
One lad on my basic training just couldn't grasp the concept of what was left and what was right. He was made to call out the step on his own, confidently shouting LEFT each time his right heel hit the ground. Then to overcome his tick-tocking decided f**k it I'll just swing both arms at the same time which to us became known as Teddy Bearing. Unfortunately his section was always at the front of the line, and mine at the back, so watching people trying to keep in time in front of us was more like watching the river dance.

I personally have to put in a hell of a lot of effort to demonstrate tick-tocking when I'm teaching drill. Confuses the hell out of me.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
#15
Teddy bearing and great fun to watch!
 
#16
Bugsy - you should be Licensed by the Police for making me laugh like that,you reminded me of a time,when EXACTLY that happened...

Chaos and confusion - even knocked the Band out of cadence as well...


Thanks for the belly laugh Bugsy !
 
#17
There are and always will be people that through natures sense of humour that are different to rest of us. The inability to swing one arm back as that leg moves forward is another of those instances. We had a number in our unit when we were doing basic training and it did not matter what punishments were given mother nature had the last laugh
 
#19
We called it camel marching and i have never, never, never done it.Apart from the one bloody time during a medal presentation and the presentation was being filmed.Guess who about turned after the presentation and camel marched/tick tocked away. Someone, somewhere has it immortalised. :oops:
 

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