The Mess Bell and Why

Discussion in 'Seniors' started by The_Aged_Sinner!, Jan 12, 2006.

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  1. Many Regiments and Corps Sgts Messes have a bell by the bar for which the penalty of ringing said bell means the ringer buys a round of drinks for the Mess. It can either have been rung deliberately (promoted, posted, new baby etc) or by accident (tough but u still pay)!

    Question is: From where did this tradition come, particularily in Sgts Messes of the RLC?
  2. oldbaldy

    oldbaldy LE Moderator Good Egg (charities)
    1. Battlefield Tours

    Every mess I've ever been in. Oh and Rugby clubs & hockey clubs & soccer clubs.
    Don't you get out much?
  3. You'll find them in most (if not all) British Legion, RAFA and RNA clubs, and Commonwealth equivalents, and every RAF and RN mess/wardroom, so it's not something novel?
    Some Matelot will claim it's a Navy thing, which is quite likely.
  4. ...and don't you just love the bells strategically placed at head height at the busy end of the bar. Bonus!!
  5. in civvie clubs and some pubs it has been used to indicate last orders and drinking-up time.

    even still i avoid the bell like the plague.
  6. Last night I asked our 86 years old Major late RE if ringing the bell had been a pre WW II practice.
    No was the answer.
    I then asked if he had any idea where and when the practice started. No, but it was 'not uncommon' before he left army in mid/late 50's.
    Definately did not occur in UK Officers mess at start of war and not on Troopship to Far East or in Indian Army messes 41-45.
    He is intreged by the idea and says he will look up some old material he has.
    Other older men who where presant added following, it was normal in Hong Kong bars/private clubs in early 60's and common in S.E.Asia during this era.
    The general feeling was that it originated in Far East, was of Military origin and probably Navy. Maybe a substitute for Up Spirits when all would receive their tot on Up Spirits being Piped. A bell being used when no Pipe was available.
  7. A twist to the bell thingy in our mess saw a length of cord tied to the bell clapper and then ran to the bar door handle which happened to open out the way, on a busy night much hilarity ensued every time someone new came in. Somehow I dont recall how these nights ended! Usually a cheap night to boot.
  8. Many German pubs (not the local disco or sqaddie pub, more the Stammkneipen run by Germans for Germans) have a bell. I am far too unqualified to offer a, err, qualified opinion, but maybe the post war presence in Germany was also a factor.

  9. Bell was introduced into RMP Cpls mess in Gibraltar sometime early 53. Cannot remember exact reason but it is in my mind it was something to do with RM Band from HMS Vanguard who made the mess their home from home whilst waiting Coronation Regatta.
  10. After a remembrance day parade, we invited the local constabulary (N Yorks - Harrogate) to the mess for a curry lunch which, in spite of the solemness of the occasion, degenerated into an almighty urine up - let's just put it down to letting off steam!

    A games afternoon ensued, you can picture the scene, hoardes of seniors & policemen in best rig, accompanied by their families all togged up after being at church. The competition is drawn and it is decided that the RSMs 9 year old son will play pool against the head policemans (can't remember what rank and will not try to bluff) 10 year old daughter to decide the winner.

    In a nail-biting finish the policemans daughter pots the final black and the mess erupts - in the middle of this carnage I sidle up to a very young and very attractive policewoman and gesture for her to ring the bell - which she did. The bar fell silent as she continued ringing - then it dawned on her as the chants of 'get them in - get them in - get them in' breaks out.

    Alright, I'm not a complete fatherless, I went half'ers with her.
  11. We used to have one on our squadron bar.

    Fcuking thing.
  12. Encountered a curious one in a REME bar, a bell fashioned from an artillery-piece round, (Possibly GW1), all polished up with a very distinct '(((dong)))' sound. "Hit the round, buy a round" was the most overly-used phrase in that mess!!

    Cheers Easy!
  13. The bell at my last unit had a length of wire attatched with a crocodile clip at the other end. If you happen to turn your back on it, you could easily find yourself clipped on and getting the beers in as soon as you moved.

    Particually good when you've had so much you can't see, or stand still!
  14. No help to you whatsoever in determining the origin of this but..........

    Parachute descents from the balloon cage and through the floor aperture when trainees would strike their helmet on their way through were said to "Ring the Bell" Likewise descents from the Beverly boom aperture when an overburdened para launched himself forward enough so as not to catch the back of his PX1 was just as likely to strike his helmet on the edge of the flooring and "Ring the Bell!"
  15. Cough to it mate.

    A night on the lash and the lads swiped it as a Mess trophy :lol: