The Snowflake Generation

1987 one of my training screws came in pissed, beat up a member of my section, and stuffed him in a gray boot locker, told us to leave him there till the morning. When he got out of it he had a broken arm. Back in the day COs used to send their worst NCOs to depot to get rid of them, and ironically the best volunteered. I thought that had changed until I had a short but painful stint at Pirbright as a Screw. (Inf glue required as the platoon Sgt got caught CDT, disco biscuits and sniff). Some of the All arms instructors were shocking. Never did Phys with the troops, unfit, overweight and lacked leadership qualities. Some tried far to hard to be Inf. RE and RA best of the bunch, RMP and AAC, RLC mostly awful. Although the female RLC Sgt who took over after 6 months was dynamite. Most Bullies I knew were shite soldiers anyway. Those who made it all the way were generally, nasty, hard bastards, fit and able to reduce your moral to zero. Horrible combination of a creature mostly found patrolling the corridors of the Inf Battle school Snr/Junr tac wing. Probably the last place to change in the late 90s. Being a good Cnut steady “C” pass on both courses required a fair amount of dedication and preparation on my behalf. No hiding at that place .. was I shite .. probably, depends on who you ask.

I could see as a recruit that Infantry basic training wasn't bringing out the best in people. For all the talk about teamwork, camaraderie, and looking after each other, there was an underlying dog eat dog mentality and some extremely selfish and callous attitudes.

There was also a lot of talk about individual initiative, but relentless drill, bulling, and block cleaning (plus a set piece 'monkey see monkey do' approach to field training) pretty much stifled it's development.

To the limited extent that leadership was taught, it involved shouting at people to make them do what you wanted...
 
1987 one of my training screws came in pissed, beat up a member of my section, and stuffed him in a gray boot locker, told us to leave him there till the morning. When he got out of it he had a broken arm. Back in the day COs used to send their worst NCOs to depot to get rid of them, and ironically the best volunteered. I thought that had changed until I had a short but painful stint at Pirbright as a Screw. (Inf glue required as the platoon Sgt got caught CDT, disco biscuits and sniff). Some of the All arms instructors were shocking. Never did Phys with the troops, unfit, overweight and lacked leadership qualities. Some tried far to hard to be Inf. RE and RA best of the bunch, RMP and AAC, RLC mostly awful. Although the female RLC Sgt who took over after 6 months was dynamite. Most Bullies I knew were shite soldiers anyway. Those who made it all the way were generally, nasty, hard bastards, fit and able to reduce your moral to zero. Horrible combination of a creature mostly found patrolling the corridors of the Inf Battle school Snr/Junr tac wing. Probably the last place to change in the late 90s. Being a good Cnut steady “C” pass on both courses required a fair amount of dedication and preparation on my behalf. No hiding at that place .. was I shite .. probably, depends on who you ask.
You OK fella?
 

45x45

On ROPS
On ROPs
You OK fella?
Yep, luckily I got out alive and quite unscathed, apart from knackered knees and damaged kidney. I won’t bore you with the details, we do tend to look back wjth rose tinted spectacles and say “character building”. When it was really a bit shite.
 

45x45

On ROPS
On ROPs
I could see as a recruit that Infantry basic training wasn't bringing out the best in people. For all the talk about teamwork, camaraderie, and looking after each other, there was an underlying dog eat dog mentality and some extremely selfish and callous attitudes.

There was also a lot of talk about individual initiative, but relentless drill, bulling, and block cleaning (plus a set piece 'monkey see monkey do' approach to field training) pretty much stifled it's development.

To the limited extent that leadership was taught, it involved shouting at people to make them do what you wanted...
It was more a case of “if you can put up with the bull , and keep up on the runs then you are OK” That’s why the clever lads got out in training. Being a kid from a housing estate in the valleys, I had nowhere To go. Would I do it all again? Not a chance, I would have done my A levels, gone to Uni and lived a peaceful and prosperous life.
 
It was more a case of “if you can put up with the bull , and keep up on the runs then you are OK” That’s why the clever lads got out in training. Being a kid from a housing estate in the valleys, I had nowhere To go. Would I do it all again? Not a chance, I would have done my A levels, gone to Uni and lived a peaceful and prosperous life.

I'd have gone to more QA discos. Then I'm easily pleased - - well, one part of me is.
 

Dread

LE
American lawyers have a new snowflake: the woman representing Smollet accused the judge of lunging at her: despite no-one else in the courtroom seeing a thing (including several lefty newspapers). When her demands for a mistrial were dismissed she ran off in tears with her mother (who was in the public gallery).

Is this bitch for real?
1638787262586.png


All the evidence provided so far makes Smollett look more guilty than a puppy next to a small steaming poo.

 
There was a lot of bullying in the Infantry at one time. British youth cultures were violent and very tribal in the 70s and 80s. Football hooliganism was endemic, gang fights were regular occurrences, and there was political violence on the streets. As all that calmed down a bit, lager louts started going on the rampage every weekend. Those were the demographics that the Infantry inevitably had to recruit from. People who think that modern knife crime is the end of civilisation have very short memories.

Infantry barracks were rough places with a lot of nasty drunks and violent nutters. Post a couple of fresh faced teenagers to Germany and put them in a platoon full of blokes in their twenties, with two tours of Ireland under their belts - and there is huge potential for bullying. Some new lads were de facto slaves for their first 6 months in battalion. Ordering the new lad to make the brews or sending him to the NAAFI is one thing. Kicking him out of bed at 03:00 to go and buy schnellis, forcing him to do all the block jobs, lend out money and kit etc. also happened routinely. There was plenty of drunken violence, hazing and persecution in some platoons, plus a lot of low level workaday unpleasantness. Officers were more remote from their men and had a 'hands off' approach compared to today. NCOs frequently maintained discipline with their fists, which set the tone for the senior privates. The junior ranks of some battalions were genuinely hostile to new lads.

Young blokes will always establish a pecking order based (initially) on physical prowess and capacity for violence. The extent to which that becomes a problem boils down to the quality of leadership, general satisfaction in the Battalion role, and wider morale. The tedium of garrison life and regimental bullshit exacerbated problems with bullying. Some units were definitely a lot better than others.

I joined the infantry in 1976 - basic training at Bassingbourn barracks before being posted to 2nd Bn Queen's Regt.

I came away from my basic training with a clear impression of what a good NCO should be. The Pl Sgt (Royal Anglian) ran the platoon, with three or four Cpls (RRF, R Anglian and Queen's Regt - one of whom I met later when he was a Sgt in the SAS). All of the Cpls pushed us hard but led by example, and they did everything with sense of humour which allowed us to laugh even when under pressure. All of them were good role models for me and one of the R Anglian Cpls was outstanding - I'd have followed him anywhere. There was a great atmosphere in the platoon and they did actually turn us into a group of individuals who could work as a team.

The only bully I can recall was one of the Provost L/Cpls. Our accomodation block was opposite the guardroom and he like to catch us going in and out of the block. After one incident the cpls from my pl had a word with him, no violence involved but implied if he misbehaved, and he left us alone after that.

I was posted to my Bn in early 1977. Again a fine pl Sgt, several very good jnco's (admittedly one of whom was later in trouble for bullying but that was after my time) but I never had any problems with any of them. The CSM (C Coy) was one of the best blokes I have ever worked for. He looked the part, walked the walk and talked the talk and worked the company hard, but he took an interest in all of his soldiers and looked after them. I was in a bar in Gib with a couple of mates when the CSM can in with his wife. We said good evening to him and he told us to relax, introduced each of us to his wife (each by name) and bought us each a pint. After a few minutes of chatting he and his wife went off to another table and left us to our evening. Great bloke.

In 1979 I did my Jnco cadre and spent 6 weeks being beasted by another excellent WO2 and some of the best ncos in the Bn. It was probably the hardest thing I ever did - non-stop phys and exercises but, again, they led by example. We did screw up badly on one occasion on an overnight exercise and the punishment was watching the empty 4 tonners driving off before tabbing the long way back to camp. At the end of the cadre he congratulated all of us on our efforts and made us feel like we had earned our first tapes. Incidentally a couple of years later, I was on the ranges at Lyyd & Hythe with the Int Corps when the WO2 drove past. He screeched to a halt and came over - said hello, asked how I was doing and spent 10 minutes chatting about the Bn and my new job.

Even the Provost Sgt was regarded highly by most soldiers in the bn - good at his job, did everything by the book, was fair and did not allow his Jncos to abuse their position. He made a point of keeping an eye on the younger soldiers who did time in his nick and often stopped and had a quick chat with them once they were out to see how they were getting on.

On the whole my experience of the infantry (about 4 1/2 years before transferring to Int Corps) was a happy one. There was the occasional ******** nco or private, but on the whole they were professional and good at their jobs. Standards were high, training hard and robust but I don't recall any bullying.

I was lucky enough to have so many good role models from Cpl to Sgt as a young Pte and Lcpl. I simply tried to emulate them and have the same standards to pass onto my soldiers in due course.
 
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I was lucky enough to have so many good role models from Cpl to Sgt as a young Pte and Lcpl. I simply tried to emulate them and have the same standards to pass onto my soldiers in due course.
Cut for brevity.
I was REME mostly attached to RA and found the same experience.
A few bad eggs but mostly good people who wanted their soldiers to succeed.
IMHO much better than civvy street.
 
I joined the infantry in 1976 - basic training at Bassingbourn barracks before being posted to 2nd Bn Queen's Regt.

I came away from my basic training with a clear impression of what a good NCO should be. The Pl Sgt (Royal Anglian) ran the platoon, with three or four Cpls (RRF, R Anglian and Queen's Regt - one of whom I met later when he was a Sgt in the SAS). All of the Cpls pushed us hard but led by example, and they did everything with sense of humour which allowed us to laugh even when under pressure. All of them were good role models for me and one of the R Anglian Cpls was outstanding - I'd have followed him anywhere. There was a great atmosphere in the platoon and they did actually turn us into a group of individuals who could work as a team.

The only bully I can recall was one of the Provost L/Cpls. Our accomodation block was opposite the guardroom and he like to catch us going in and out of the block. After one incident the cpls from my pl had a word with him, no violence involved but implied if he misbehaved, and he left us alone after that.

I was posted to my Bn in early 1977. Again a fine pl Sgt, several very good jnco's (admittedly one of whom was later in trouble for bullying but that was after my time) but I never had any problems with any of them. The CSM (C Coy) was one of the best blokes I have ever worked for. He looked the part, walked the walk and talked the talk and worked the company hard, but he took an interest in all of his soldiers and looked after them. I was in a bar in Gib with a couple of mates when the CSM can in with his wife. We said good evening to him and he told us to relax, introduced each of us to his wife (each by name) and bought us each a pint. After a few minutes of chatting he and his wife went off to another table and left us to our evening. Great bloke.

In 1979 I did my Jnco cadre and spent 6 weeks being beasted by another excellent WO2 and some of the best ncos in the Bn. It was probably the hardest thing I ever did - non-stop phys and exercises but, again, they led by example. We did screw up badly on one occasion on an overnight exercise and the punishment was watching the empty 4 tonners driving off before tabbing the long way back to camp. At the end of the cadre he congratulated all of us on our efforts and made us feel like we had earned our first tapes. Incidentally a couple of years later, I was on the ranges at Lyyd & Hythe with the Int Corps when the WO2 drove past. He screeched to a halt and came over - said hello, asked how I was doing and spent 10 minutes chatting about the Bn and my new job.

Even the Provost Sgt was regarded highly by most soldiers in the bn - good at his job, did everything by the book, was fair and did not allow his Jncos to abuse their position. He made a point of keeping an eye on the younger soldiers who did time in his nick and often stopped and had a quick chat with them once they were out to see how they were getting on.

On the whole my experience of the infantry (about 4 1/2 years before transferring to Int Corps) was a happy one. There was the occasional ******** nco or private, but on the whole they were professional and good at their jobs. Standards were high, training hard and robust but I don't recall any bullying.

I was lucky enough to have so many good role models from Cpl to Sgt as a young Pte and Lcpl. I simply tried to emulate them and have the same standards to pass onto my soldiers in due course.

It sounds like you were lucky enough to be with a top bunch of people in a top drawer Battalion. The culture you described is what it should have been like across the board.
 
It sounds like you were lucky enough to be with a top bunch of people in a top drawer Battalion. The culture you described is what it should have been like across the board.
Generally it is what I saw in my 12.5 years.
I wonder if your username may give a hint as to why your experience was different.
 
Cut for brevity.
I was REME mostly attached to RA and found the same experience.
A few bad eggs but mostly good people who wanted their soldiers to succeed.
IMHO much better than civvy street.
Rapier?
 
It sounds like you were lucky enough to be with a top bunch of people in a top drawer Battalion. The culture you described is what it should have been like across the board.

At the time I assumed the rest of the Army was the same.
 
Generally it is what I saw in my 12.5 years.
I wonder if your username may give a hint as to why your experience was different.

No. There were aspects of the army that I loved, and moments of pure adventure. The funniest and most outrageous and bizarre moments of humour that I've ever experienced also occurred during that time. There were a few exceptionally good NCOs and a couple of outstanding Officers who I was privileged to serve under and to learn from.

The other side of the coin was some seriously toxic individuals, instiutionalised stupidity, and generally shite behaviour. I also saw some acts of soldier on soldier violence that would be front page news if they happened today. There was also the unit aftermath of several more vicious acts that I didn't personally witness. A few of those things still disturb me today. I am not generally a sensitive soul.
 
Generally it is what I saw in my 12.5 years.
I wonder if your username may give a hint as to why your experience was different.

There is a reason for the username. It's a bit personal, but is also interesting and generally relevant within the context of the site. If I feel there's some potential to help other people, I might start a thread about it some point.
 

45x45

On ROPS
On ROPs
No. There were aspects of the army that I loved, and moments of pure adventure. The funniest and most outrageous and bizarre moments of humour that I've ever experienced also occurred during that time. There were a few exceptionally good NCOs and a couple of outstanding Officers who I was privileged to serve under and to learn from.

The other side of the coin was some seriously toxic individuals, instiutionalised stupidity, and generally shite behaviour. I also saw some acts of soldier on soldier violence that would be front page news if they happened today. There was also the unit aftermath of several more vicious acts that I didn't personally witness. A few of those things still disturb me today. I am not generally a sensitive soul.
After 25 years one of the most difficult things to work out was who exactly I was ? I didn’t suffer mentally as much as most, but it did progress into a drinking habit that was a bit heavy. Mostly brought on by myself. Stepped into industry where they would stab you in the back as good as look at you. I think I’ve figured it out, no longer drink and try not to be a typical “ex squaddie”. Like yourself I am proud and also ashamed I didn’t stop things when I could have, I also know I sometimes didn’t for fear of becoming the victim. That I will have to live with on a day by day basis. Some amazing times though. I have forgiven all those who I feel did wrong to me for the sake of my own sanity. If I could go back and stop things I know I would, you can’t change the past.
 
No. There were aspects of the army that I loved, and moments of pure adventure. The funniest and most outrageous and bizarre moments of humour that I've ever experienced also occurred during that time. There were a few exceptionally good NCOs and a couple of outstanding Officers who I was privileged to serve under and to learn from.

The other side of the coin was some seriously toxic individuals, instiutionalised stupidity, and generally shite behaviour. I also saw some acts of soldier on soldier violence that would be front page news if they happened today. There was also the unit aftermath of several more vicious acts that I didn't personally witness. A few of those things still disturb me today. I am not generally a sensitive soul.
After 25 years one of the most difficult things to work out was who exactly I was ? I didn’t suffer mentally as much as most, but it did progress into a drinking habit that was a bit heavy. Mostly brought on by myself. Stepped into industry where they would stab you in the back as good as look at you. I think I’ve figured it out, no longer drink and try not to be a typical “ex squaddie”. Like yourself I am proud and also ashamed I didn’t stop things when I could have, I also know I sometimes didn’t for fear of becoming the victim. That I will have to live with on a day by day basis. Some amazing times though. I have forgiven all those who I feel did wrong to me for the sake of my own sanity. If I could go back and stop things I know I would, you can’t change the past.
I have no bad reactions to being in the Army.
I saw some crap but I saw far more good stuff.
Bullying was occasionally tried and the blokes sorted it out.
I have also been around the block enough to know you need the bad times to show how good the good times were/are.
I wouldn't be encouraging a good friends daughter to join up if this wasn't true.
And as I haven't her or her parents for 2 years she may already be in.
 

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