The heat was on
ARMISTICE Day tomorrow, which we wish to mark with some of our favourite Diary stories about the Army over the years, including the reader who had a school project on the Second World War and who interviewed his own father as he had served. He told us: “I reached the point where I felt I had to ask, in a somewhat quiet voice, whether he had ever killed anyone. My dad answered in an equally quiet voice, ‘Probably. I was a cook for some time’.”
TB or not TB
MOVING on from the war, a reader who served in Aden was on the troopship taking him there when they were given a lecture on keeping healthy, in which they were warned that half the local women had VD and the other half had TB. “So we looked for women with a cough,” he told us.
Vote for it
MANY Scots also served in Afghanistan in recent times, and a returning soldier told us his platoon was going out on patrol when one of the grumbling troops jokingly told the officer: “We took a vote and we’d rather go to the canteen.” “I’ll explain,” their officer replied. “We’re here to defend democracy, not practise it.”
ANOTHER soldier who served in Afghanistan told us one of his mates got such a slagging for putting up a picture of his much-loved Peugeot hatchback with alloy wheels while all the rest of the squad sported pictures of their girlfriends.
The car chap eventually snapped back: ‘Laugh if you want – at least my car will still be there when I get back.’ “As he comes from Milton, that was a pretty big boast,” says our contact.
A MUM whose soldier husband served in Afghanistan told us her five-year-old daughter asked if it was not about time she had a baby brother. Mum told her it was a nice idea, but perhaps they should talk about it with dad when he came home from his tour of duty.
“Why don’t we just surprise him?” asked the little one.
A SOLDIER back from Afghanistan was proud of the fact that he had earned his corporal stripes and suggested that the picture of him as a private patting the now-deceased family dog on top of his parents’ television should be updated.
His confidence was shattered somewhat when his mum replied: “Well, you see, son, we really keep the picture there as a memento of Buster.”
OUR request for National Service stories reminded an Edinburgh reader of reporting to RAF Bridgnorth in Shropshire for his basic training. “I still remember square bashing,” he told us, “and the drill corporal shouting that if you made an error, he would pull off your arm and beat you to death with the soggy end.”
Bit of a charlie
FINALLY, entertainer Andy Cameron swore to us that a slightly deaf private doing his National Service was on guard duty one night and shouted out: “Who goes there?” Continued Andy: “On hearing the reply, ‘Army Chaplain approaching’ he fired his rifle. As the private turned over the body he muttered, ‘Aye, Charlie Chaplin my backside!’”
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Carry on Sergeant