The stuff legends are made of....

Way back then, not as far as some but further than most - I was a 17 year old serving in Germany with an Armoured Signal Squadron. All fairly routine work hard and play hard kind of stuff until one day the funfair came to town….

We got all Amstel’d up in the NAAFI before about 20 of us piled into 2 taxis (5 in each cab – the rest in the boot) and headed for some fine vintage entertainment – German style! We staggered around the fairground making pests of ourselves, as only drunken Brit squaddies on tour can, fancying ourselves as snipers on the pellet gun stall, the make the bell ring stand was a hoot and full pelt dodgems smash extravaganzas. We were able to top up our alcohol intake on the way round too – as beer shops were allowed.

Finally, we came to the last attraction – a huge tent with a stage in front. On the stage was a variety of very fit looking German blokes all dressed in yellow dayglo sateen tracksuits prancing about with various bits of gym equipment. It was a boxing ring trying to attract all-comers to take on their boys – DM 50 to the winner, free ambulance ride to hospital for the loser.

One by one the volunteers were plucked from the audience to fill the various weight categories until they got to the biggest bloke on the stage – the heavyweight. Gasps from the crowd as they eyed up this man mountain and, not surprisingly, a reluctance from anyone to step into the fray. A couple of minutes passed with the ringmaster pleading with someone to come and take on his boy – when suddenly a voice from behind me, in a thick Yorkshire accent, quietly said “I’ll do it”.

I spun round on my heels as the crowd gasped once more and looked at a newly arrived Corporal from my unit who had just spoken. Pop-pop (for that is what I’ll call him) was a big bear of a man - but one that had gone to seed a bit. Truly ancient, at least 32!!, and layers of blubber. He had just failed his BFT a few days earlier – what was he doing? Had the Amstel gone to his head? A couple of the lads tried pleading with him whilst another attempted to remove his watch – as a keepsake of course.

With the card filled we were invited to part with our cash and enter the tent to watch the show. True enough the amateurs took a good pasting from the professional boxers. They made a show of it though, as they danced around their respective opponents, then finished them off, often to the accompaniment of a spray of blood, as the crowd bayed for more.

The moment we were all waiting for finally arrived and fanfares blasted over the loudspeaker as pop-pop was pushed into the boxing ring. They had made him look foolish by giving him a pair of sateen boxing shorts then they made him pull his socks up as far as they would go and finally they’d taken his shirt from him. He stood there, a figure of fun, with his gigantic gut hanging over his waistband.

The music from Rocky I blared over the sound system, lights flashed and the crowd went wild as the big German made his entrance – Las Vegas could have learned a few things from this mob as Grosse Boxhead entered the ring and began his mincing about routine whilst evil eyeing poor pot-pot who cut a forlorn figure in the opposite corner.

The ref called the fighters together and briefed them as to what would happen – they went back to their corners, I noticed a rather excited ambulance crew in pot-pots corner, and an expectant hush blew over the crowd. ‘Ding-Ding’ – both men moved towards the centre of the ring – the German doing the ali-shuffle whilst pot-pot scuffed his feet, arms by his side. The German threw a couple of jabs much to the merriment of the crowd – then it happened… Pot-pot, hand-a-blur, threw a punch at the boxheads face and he went down – it took about half a second and it was all over. The crowd were stunned into silence not truly believing what they had seen

He was duly paid his winners fee of 50 marks and not allowed to have a fight the following night – no matter how much we pleaded. But it only came to light afterwards that he was a former Joint Services Heavyweight champion.

Anyone else found someone who hides their light under a bushel only for it to come out in such spectacular circumstances??
In the late 80's I was a pte in the HQ Coy of a large TA infantry battalion. We were sent to Germany on a large FTX and at the end of it were rewarded with a night off in Minden. Naturally, HQ Coy headed off down to the local R'Bahn to do what sexually frustrated STABs do after almost two weeks living in trenches.

The Recce platoon were co-located with HQ Coy and were a pretty amusing bunch. They had a full-time PSI who really got the team spirit going, with an assortment of ex-regulars including two ex-paras who set the tempo for the jolly japes. One of the lads, however, was a very quiet, studious type. He wore glasses, kept his head down and was a classic "Grey Man." If he wasn't exactly popular with the rest of his platoon they none the less were quite protective of him (i.e. they were the only ones allowed to take the pi$$ out of him). He was also extremely nervous/ shy around women. This also earnt him even more ribbings from the two leery ex-airborne heroes.

Anyway, we had all spent most of our two week's pay on the lash and were staggering down the R'Bahn under the watchful eyes of a couple of Monkey dog-handlers who looked like they'd like nothing better than to let fido rip a STAB's arm off. Eventually we got to a brothel where two extremely attractive toms were sat in the window in their best lingerie, one was a very slim brunette the other a very curvy blond.

The two ex-paras turn to Specs (which is what I will call our hero) and say, "Oi, if you're up to taking those two on, we'll pay."

He just blushes and mumbles "fcuk off will you?"

This just winds them up more. The rest of recce platoon start peeling d-marks from their rapidly dwindling supply and offering even more erotic action for Specs if he's up for it, which leads to him literally squirming with embarrassment. Even I was starting to feel sorry for him to the extent that I was prepared to take up the offer 8)

Eventually, one of the ex-paras wanders over to one of the girls on the door and says (in pretty good German) "how much to give Specs a night he'll never forget with all the girls he wants?" The Tart with a Heart comes up with a very large fee.

By now the Recce Platoon pi$$-taking frenzy reaches fever pitch with silly amounts of money being offered.

Eventually, Specs straightens up.

"Oh, alright then," he grins. He grabs the enormous wad of d-marks and literally sprints Chariots of Fire style into the bordello shouting "INCOMING!!"

He wasn't seen until early the next morning (getting charged in the process) but left the rest of Recce stuck on the R'Bahn at midnight with about twenty d-marks each!

"That wasn't meant to happen, was it?" Said the PSI who (wisely) had stayed well out of it!

The moral of the story is of course always to watch the Quiet One.

Hehehe - spookily enough V - my incident also took place in Minden - in my days you are referring to what we called '10 mark alley' - probably '150 euro alley' now allowing for inflation!!

I've another story to tell about pop-pop, when he got to our place he'd previously spent about 9 years working on 432's, 5 as an instructor (he did the armd veh instr course at Bordon) - but, typically he had nothing documented. FMT 600s only last you the length of your tour and when you move somewhere else you have to get a new one.

We had a right bolshy MT wallah who wouldn't take pop-pop's word for what he'd done previously and insisted that he attend a 432 drivers course - pop-pop complained but to no avail and attended the course (I was also on this course).

We went through the track bashing, vehicle maintenance, cross driving bit with pop-pop looking very bored and then we got to the road driving phase. Imagine the scene, pop-pop driving (fahrschule plates on), bolshy MT wallah in the hatch dolling out instructions over the intercom and 4 or 5 of us in the back, mortar hatch open letching the local talent.

Then it happened, one of these arrogant BMW drivers did the usual boxhead trick of trying to nose out of a side street in an attempt to push into the traffic and pop-pop went straight over the bonnet, hardly even slowed down. Resulting in one brand new but very flat car and a scratch on the panzer - which incidently the army claimed off his insurance.

Now I don't know about you but if I was going to try and nose out into traffic, I'd wait until the 16 ton armoured vehicle passed - especially if it was wearing a 'fahrschule' badge at the time! Needless to say that pop-pop drank long and free that night and another notch added to his legend-like status.

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