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This is a question In the Army Now - The joy of the Armed Forces

I've never been a soldier. I was an air cadet once, but that mostly involved sitting in a mouldy hut learning about aeroplane engines with the hint that one day we might go flying.

Yet, anyone who has spent time defending their nation, or at least drinking bromide-laced-tea for their nation, must have stories to tell. Tell them now.

(, Thu 23 Mar 2006, 18:26)
Pages: Popular, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1

This question is now closed.

My uncle was in the RAF..
and he told me a drinking game he used to play when they were serving in Germany. They all had large wooden clogs in the shape of aeroplanes especially made, and painted in RAF colours. They would go out on the piss in these clogs, and every time someone fell out of their clogs they would have to buy a round. In the early stages of drinking this would be achieved by kicking your drinking buddies in the shins to put them off balance. As the game progressed they would 'spill' beer into each others clogs to make them slippery to wear. In the final rounds as the beer kicked in, not much was needed to seperate an inebriated airman from his outsize wooden clogs.

My uncle still has his...
(, Sat 25 Mar 2006, 14:18, Reply)
Teh Royal Green Jackets
I was in the Royal Green Jackets for a few years. I smoked and drank a lot.
(, Sat 25 Mar 2006, 13:46, Reply)
I was in the ATC for a few years..
...and it was rubbish. I can march pretty well, still can't shine my boots correctly, and had the least pie shaped beret out there.
The best bit were the weekly night excercises where we would run around on an old airfield in the middle of Essex at night.
One such night involved sneaking around trying not to bump into the sergeants and corporals because we would 'get a kicking'.
I managed to evade the nasty men all night (ran into a barbed wire fence at full wack though), and when we all met up with our CO at the end of the night, we were all looking forward to a warm cup of tea and some sleep. No. 'Right you lot, you've got to run back to HQ, and in 2 minutes I'll send the NCO's after you. Anyone who gets caught, gets a kicking.'
And so I ran through uneven ground at full pelt until I twisted my ankle in a pot hole and fell over. I knew that the blood hounds would be able to catch up with me so my best course of action was to lie still and hide until they had run past.
My disguise was perfect, until a six foot tall lumbering beefcake stamped on my right arm as he chased after my peers. SNAP went my arm, and I shouted 'Shit' at the top of my voice. Que all the vicious bastards running towards me as I lay there in agony. Fortunately they didn't then proceed to pummel the crap out of me as one had a torch and could see my arm wasn't point the way it was supposed to be.
At the end of the night I went to casualty where it was confirmed that I had a broken arm. My CO then cancelled all night excercises after that and who got the blame? ME. Bastards.
(, Sat 25 Mar 2006, 13:22, Reply)
An Exercise In Cruelty
I spent 25 years in the service of the Queen (Gawd Bless 'Er), starting off as a snivelling Trainee Signalman at the Army Apprentice College in Harrogate. In the early 70's bullying was a serious business practiced by true devotees of the art, actively encouraged by the resident sadists on the grounds of 'toughening up'. 'If you can't take a joke you shoudna joined' was the mantra of these knuckle-draggers.

I had my fair share of being beaten up by these people, mainly due to my inability to keep my great gob shut, but nothing like the living hell endured by 'Soapy Robinson'. Soapy was a quiet lad, didn't mix well, no social skills, came from a loving family, never been away from home before.........and his personal hygiene left something to be desired. Soapy hummed. His feet bowfed. He sweated a lot and didn't seem to notice the need for regular showers. Soapy was a gunge.

It didn't take long for the vultures to start circling. His room NCO tried to take him in hand, he had to hand in regular laundry bags, he had to sign a bath book, his locker and bed-space was inspected daily. But still he smelled bad....stronger actioned needed, me-thinks.

Those not from a military background will have never heard of a Regimental Bath, and you should count your lucky stars that you'll probably never see it, never mind experience one. The hapless gunge is grabbed by his peers, stripped naked, given a mild-to-severe kicking, then dumped in a bath of freezing water. Soap powder, Brasso, scouring powder, shampoo, liquid soap, lemon juice and anything that might have any sort of cleaning agent is scrubbed into Soapy's skin (paying particular attention to his bollocks), then large bass brooms are employed with great vigor. This is all witnessed by as many baying hounds as can cram inside the bath cubicle, and everyone is encouraged to come along and bear witness to what happens to a gunge. The skin on the back is rapidly stripped raw, the eyes turn bloody and inflamed, bruises sprout like overnight mushrooms. It's not a pretty sight.

It's like a feeding frenzy. Because Soapy is a gunge, he becomes outside the laws and social practices which normally regulate behavior, even in lunatic asylums like AAC Harrogate. The kicks and punches become more vicious, they vie with each other who can land the most telling blow...it's all 'allowed' you see, nay, encouraged.... cos the unstated goal is to make poor Soapy so terrified and beaten down that he'll slink off down to the Guardroom and resign from the Army. A 'Reggie Bath' can last from ten minutes to a couple of hours. It takes a very strong man to resist.

I personally witnessed young Soapy take three Regimental Baths and he still stuck it out. He was a pariah, totally friendless, even his room-mates ignored him completely. After a night on the piss some bright spark would suggest 'Hey, why don't we nip upstairs to Bravo Troop and beat Soapy up? Gungey Bastard needs a good kicking!!!' And off they'd go, drag Soapy out of his pit by the hair and administer a good hiding. Nobody lifted a finger, nobody said anything to the Permanent Staff, the recruit NCO's either turned a blind eye or joined in with a will. Soapy kept to himself, practically lived in the shower, always obsessively washing his kit, ironing his uniform, spraying deodorant like a man possessed and keeping his head well down at all times. Didn't make a hap'orth of difference, his card was well and truly marked, his ostracism and pariah status endured.

What finally turned my stomach was Soap's 18th birthday, a Friday in the summer of 1973. Soapy had been out in Harrogate for the night (by himself, of course), then came back to the darkened barrack blocks around 11pm, cos he had to be in for 'bed check'. Bravo Troop was on the second floor, but Soapy stopped on the ground stair-well by the notice boards, then just slumped in the corner crying quietly. The Regimental Orderly Sergeant found him there and then asked what the fuck he thought he was doing out of his room after bed-check. Soapy just told him he couldn't go up because he didn't want to get beat up on his birthday....he just needed one day off from it. He'd phoned his mum earlier that day and she was the only one in the world who knew it was his birthday, and the only kind word he'd had in weeks.

The Orderly Sergeant escorted him to his room, parked him in the corridor, then told his room-mates what he'd found and suggested we might like to lay off him for the moment. Soapy then came in, quietly undressed and crawled into bed...the Orderly Sergeant left........

Ten minutes later the Gungey Bastard was installed inside a matress cover, hung out of the third floor window while the resident nutters beat him with bumpers and brooms chanting 'Die you gungeball, die!!!'

Soapy never did resign. He completed three years at Harrogate and was posted out into the Regular Army just like everyone else, a qualified Electronics Technician. I saw him again at Catterick in 1979, and went across to talk to him, chat about old times. I told him I couldn't believe he'd made it through all that, I couldn't have taken half the shit he did, and then I stuck my hand out and said:

'I'm really sorry for all you went through, Soapy, I wish I'd said something at the time...no hard feelings, eh?'

He told me to go fuck myself.
(, Sat 25 Mar 2006, 13:18, Reply)
Don't ask, don't tell
One of my closest friends came back from basic training to tell us this lovely story.

He was awoken at 2 in the morning and told to fall into formation, which in this case meant a line.

Standing before the entire unit were 3 people, the drill instructor and (since names weren't provided) Pvt. 1 and Pvt. 2. Two guys my friend had come to know pretty well. The following dialogue was completely unexpected:

Sgt: Pvt. 1, tell your unit what you were doing tonight in the showers!

Pvt. 1: I don't want to say, sir.

Sgt: Tell them now, dammit!


They had to do "up-downs" until the sun came up. Along with anyone caught laughing.

Needless to say, their unit was very tired come sunrise.
(, Sat 25 Mar 2006, 12:18, Reply)
Back In Soviet Russia Part II.
Also, my great grandad was in the KGB. He spent years in counter-espionage, where he could've been shot on a day-to-day basis, but all that happened was he met my great grandmother while undercover at her university. He did end up getting shot, but this was after he'd been rewarded with a cushy post in the Travel bureau. Why did they shoot him? Aparantly he played tennis every week with a guy Stalin thought had enough power to try a coup. Not that that means much since by that point Stalin suspected everyone who had an indoor office and two secretaries, and indeed anyone who was taller than him.

My other great grandad was in the KGB too, but this was after they'd finished up the shooting of people. In fact, he was a veterinarian, and they hired him because they'd executed all the doctors.
(, Sat 25 Mar 2006, 11:34, Reply)
Back in Soviet Russia...
My dad was technically a lieutenant. I say technically because he never did a days army work in his life. The thing is that in those days, everyone who attended university had compulsory military training once a week at the Officers academy nearby. Some people also went there full time but by all accounts they were thick as a hammer.

As my dad tells it, most people slept through the classes - which was okay, since everything they were taught was obsolete anyway. They had one week of field training just before graduation, where they were expected to operate tanks... after having been taught the theory on wheeled vehicles, which worked differently.

But they still all graduated. Because, like I said, Soviet officers weren't required to be particularly intelligent. There's a joke that goes something like this:

Major (yelling at recruits): A Soviet officer has to be able to hammer a nail in with his HEAD! You there! Hold this nail against that wall! BANG.
*nothing happens*
Major: *takes a run up* BANG. What the?
Lieutenant: *runs out and comes back* Sorry, sir, the Colonel was leaning on the other side of the wall!

...in conclusion, In Soviet Russia Army Joins YOU.
(, Sat 25 Mar 2006, 11:19, Reply)
Never call a naval ship a "boat"
On a camp aboard HMS Bristol, one of my friends spent the day banging her head on the low ceilings and at the end of the day had a rather vile headache. We took her to the nearest Petty Officer (great title, I always thought). "What's the matter with her?" says the petty officer. "She banged her head on the boat" I say.


I honestly thought I was about to be thrown in the sea. Luckily, my friend mentioned that the "boat" in question was HMS Victory, and the petty officer's face just sort of clouded up and went and soppy. Boat freak.
(, Sat 25 Mar 2006, 11:07, Reply)
My Great Grandad was in WWI
He got shot in the head at 18 and proceeded to get discharged with a metal plate in his head!

He was told he would only have 5 years to live and was offered a one off compensation payment or a stonkin pension for every year of his life.

He chose the pension, and proceeded to live well into his 90's. Ha! :)
(, Sat 25 Mar 2006, 10:04, Reply)
I was a cadet once.
They tricked me because on the first day I got to use a rifle.

They're all idiots.


/kept the uniform

oh, I lost my belt at one point while on a weekend somewhere. The other idiots in my dorm/room couldn't even make their own beds by themselves.
(, Sat 25 Mar 2006, 9:42, Reply)
Didier Drogba
"sarge I've lost my paint roller."

These were the last words spoken by my mate from the Ivory Coast. Sgt Slaughter piled on him and started beating the shank out of him and pulling his hair and calling him a ninny.

There was nothing us boys could do. Officers were allowed to kill us. We knew this when we signed up. It's the way the army works.

Sgt Slaughter had warned Didier three times to keep his paint roller with him always and this was the last straw. Sarge did have a point, I suppose, if you're under enemy fire the enemy are hardly gonna wait for you to go and get a replacement paint roller are they? No. Course not. They'll shoot your face in.

This didn't stop me feeling a pang of consternation for Didier though. He was a top bloke, and he did the best impression of Sid James you've ever heard.

That night we had a silent game of University Challenge in our barracks in honour of Didier.
It was his favourite show you see.

His paint roller never did turn up.
(, Sat 25 Mar 2006, 9:22, Reply)
FAO : Exclusion
I did the see the "story", that's why I posted it. Short of advertising in the Liverpool Echo for witnesses who were in that office 9 years ago you'll have to take my word for it. As this isn't a popularity contest and there isn't a prize at stake, I've not got anything to gain from making stories up, it's easier to post nothing.

And mind your language or I'll tell your Mum.
(, Sat 25 Mar 2006, 8:34, Reply)
nearly got me
After years of bumming around doing nothing, decided it was time to do something and went off to join the Army. Did all the paperwork and they gave me a train warrant to go away to basic training. What did I do? Smoke dope till 4am the night before at the 'goodbye' party with mates, and missed the train next morning. Still, was for the best - i'm living in california now on a not so slim salary, plus I dont have to deal with bombs or go shoot people in Iraq daily. Good work Miss Fate :)
(, Sat 25 Mar 2006, 8:28, Reply)
The "Division"...
I was in the US Army AIRBORNE, in what was known as "THE DIVISION". ( The "PARAS", to you Brits.) Anyways, when in "THE DIVISION", you were supposed to be the ideal soldier, always vigilant, steadfast and true. This meant even while performing the most mundane tasks. While dusting the tops of the drop ceiling panels, ( the side you don't see, but since it's the "DIVISION", you clean them anyways), I had my back to the door of my room. A major faux pas. I didn't see the NCO enter the room so I couldn't aknowledge, by way of a specific vocalisation, his presence. For the next six months, whenever HE saw me, I was to be doing what you Brits call "press ups".This was to teach me the importance of vigilance; I was to see him (or any other superior) first , thus making it unneccessary for him to tell me to "drop". I'm now quite the vigilant/twitchy bastard.
(, Sat 25 Mar 2006, 8:01, Reply)
Forces love
dunno if its the same for all forces but... i was in the ATC for a while myself and i went out with a girl from the TA for a year or so. what it taught me is that whichever girls join these things are bound to be slappers. i know of at least 4 within these two small squadrons that regularly got drunk n fucked some random guy there. the one never even got drunk. i lost my girl to some army guy while she was on a camp, bound to happen, so many horny guys and so few filthy bitches. only sickening thing is that in the TA the guys are sometimes 10yrs older!

apologies for length... nah, its the quantity the sluts are after!
(, Sat 25 Mar 2006, 0:44, Reply)
Right to fire
When you are in the army and are issued with a firearm, yuo are also given a small card which gives instruction for protection of a barracks for if you go on stag (Guard duty) - when in Germany the card includes instructions for challenging possible members of the RAF (That's Red Army Faction) or the IRA - "Halt oder ich schießen" (Halt or I will shoot)

We were told by the issuing NCO at this barracks how to pronounce this as apparently, one timid young private was on duty one day at the camp when he was accosted by a drunken german gentleman hurling abuse. After a while the private loses his rag, brings out the card and reads off the instruction - however he misprounounced it and rather than saying "Halt or I will shoot!" it actually came out as "Halt or I will shit!"

This seemed to work as the inebriated chap was disarmed and proceeded to fall over laughing, as did the corporal at the guard house.
(, Fri 24 Mar 2006, 23:30, Reply)
The Sun story...
I used to go to school with the lad who pretty much kick-started the whole "UK Troops mistreating Iraqi prisoners" malarky that the newspapers seem to lap up.

Imagine my horror and delight as I picked up that day's "Sun" to see his squirming mug on the front. He'd gone to a local photo shop to have the pictures developed of him and his pals abusing Iraqis, like you do. The woman who developed them failed to see the funny side and alerted the police and the whole sorry mess began. He never was the sharpest tool in the box but this feat achieved new depths of idiocy.

He now cleans windows for a living.

Edit: I got a bit bored and found some links on this... www.albasrah.net/maqalat/english/kelly/Kelly.htm
and news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4294765.stm#bartlam
(, Fri 24 Mar 2006, 23:13, Reply)
The joys of the navy
I'm not in any of the armed services and hopefully never will be, but 2 of my cousins are in the Navy. Their opinions of such a "career" vary on an almost weekly basis.

Luckily, when they're home on leave, they usually have a funny stuff to tell.

My cousin Carl was air-lifted off his ship around 13-14 months ago. His appendix was causing him pain and they weren't due to dock for another 2 weeks. So the 'copter was brought in and took him to the nearest hospital.
It turns out that Bangor hosptial in Wales in rather nice. His brother, mum, dad and I went to visit him... not before we'd wandered round Bangor town centre and been to KFC before hand though. (He was less than impressed with us using his illness to travel a few miles and go shopping.) Eventually he cheered up and told us of how he'd had his testicle sack pierced in Belgium a couple of weeks before-hand. Did I say he told "us" ? I meant he told "us and the whole damn ward".
Apparently he walked into a tattoo/piercing shop in Belgium, slapped his cock out onto the counter, pointed at his bellend and said "pierce that!" to the dude who worked their.
Seeing as he didn't speak much English, the dude had to resort to drawing a cock on a piece of paper and putting an X through the bellend section.
Not discouraged by this, my cousin took the pen off him and drew a ring in the ball-bag. The dude behind counter gave my cousin the thumbs-up, took his £30 and proceeded to fullfil the request.

Imagine hearing that story in a packed hospital ward, knowing that everyone is discreetly listening in.

His brother isn't much better in terms of competence.

Apparently the deck of certain ships has to be painted in a certain type of paint. Paint that has been mixed with a type of grit to prevent people from slipping... makes sense.
One day my cousin and 3/4 of his crew-mates are putting more of this paint down in the needed area's on the deck in the nice sunshine.
Some fool accidently knocked the big-ass tub of this paint over and gallons of the stuff go everywhere. In a panic they use turps and a couple of large brushes to sweep/push the spillage off the deck.
Problem solved.... well.... sort of.
About 20 minutes later a helicopter lands on the ship and the crew of the helicopter proceed to tell the commanding officers and the Captain that there's a large grey streak following the ship for the last 2 miles or so.

Apparently the paint, turps and seawater kind of balanced each other out and instead of mixing into the sea/dissolving... it just sorted of floating there. Resulting a a huge grey line.

My cousins' comments on this story?

"We got a bollocking for it, but it was well funny."
(, Fri 24 Mar 2006, 22:46, Reply)
its a mans life
im in the army. we have such a lack of co-ordination that noone knows where people are or what they are supposed to be doing. i didnt bother to turn up for work today and im none the worse off for it. huzzah!
(, Fri 24 Mar 2006, 22:41, Reply)
I loved it in the TA
Seriously had the time of my life - I've a few stories to tell, which I will over time, but for starters you can have this.

Although I was a musician, we would have to play proper soldiers once in a while, and back in 92 we went on two week camp in Northern Germany. I was pretty useless at everything (with the exception of shooting), but I had lived in Germany so could speak the lingo. One particular day we were out on the grenade range - on these ranges they have little sheds on stilts where a local civilian is paid to sit and make some noise if a grenade does not fully explode. Also in this hut is a telephone, which the person has to man. The gentleman on this day, apparently quite common for these range employees didn't actually speak English.

Anyway I was some was away being briefed on something or other, when one of the sergeants from some distance away hollers my name(for clarity, he'd served as a regular for 22 years before joining the TA, so knew a thing or two) . So I set of at double pace to where he is standing with the Major and the range warden. Upon arrival I can see the Sergeant is close to tears, trying not to burst into fits of laughter. The major, a bright bloke I thought and just 26 years old then proceeded in his posh accent to address me:

"Drummer Charlton - can you translate what this kraut is saying - can't understand a bally word of his lingo - he's been shouting the same word at me for 5 minutes and I haven't a damn clue what he is on about"

So I turn to the German gentleman, ask for him to explain in my best german, and he proceeds to lift his hand to his ear thumb outstretched, and his little finger pointing towards his mouth and very slowly and loudly proceeds to say "TEL-E-FON"

"Sir I believe there is a ph.."

I was not allowed to finish my sentence.
(, Fri 24 Mar 2006, 22:37, Reply)
My Dad was in the army
he says it was shit
(, Fri 24 Mar 2006, 22:26, Reply)
My sole experience of the army
Is from people I have known in it. One guy, a Geordie, tells me his only visit to London was to Whitehall for some kind of official dressing down.

Another person I used to work with was invalided out after having a washing machine dropped on his head while serving in Ulster.

Yet another person who I went to uni with was an absolute nutter. Went to Sandhurst he did, and dropped out three days before the end to come to uni. Berk. Last time he came to visit me when I was still at uni, we all got very drunk and proceeded to strip starko and go round the halls hugging people. This by the way was this time last year and it was bloody cold.

Then there was the para who on his first day at my uni got blind drunk and decided to abseil down the sides of one of the halls. Fair play really.

Odd thing is, they all say I'd make an excellent officer. I'm not sure whether to take that as a compliment or insult.
(, Fri 24 Mar 2006, 20:31, Reply)
Iranians. They're a bit mad.
It's pretty much obligatory in Iran that if you're male and over 18, you have to serve two years in the Army.

Two of my uncles did exactly that, and got shot to bits by Sadaam, Rumsfeld and Friends in the Iran-Iraq War in the 80's. One of my Aunts went 'missing' during that time too.

My dad, despite being a prize twat, did the clever thing and got out of there before the revolution (he was 15 at the time), but because of the National Service rule he's not been back since 1978.

Whereas I can never visit my folks in Tehran, because as soon as I saunter through passport control and my records are checked, I'll be issued with combat gear and an AK-47, as all children of Iranian citizens are considered Iranian citizens over there, so I actually 'owe' the Iranian government 2 years of service.

I asked the Foreign Office about this, as I am British-born and have a British Passport. Their response: 'This means nothing. Do not, in any circumstances, enter Iran, unless you are willing to serve in the Army'.

(, Fri 24 Mar 2006, 19:59, Reply)
At school
This slightly plump girl in my form said she wanted to join the army. So naturally, I asked her if she was going to be a bomb, she didn't like that. She didn't want to be a tank either - I checked.
(, Fri 24 Mar 2006, 19:39, Reply)
War! War is stupid...
...And people are stupid.
(, Fri 24 Mar 2006, 19:38, Reply)
My grandad...
...served in the RAF during WW2 in Maintenance, and was told:

"There are two golden rules in this game, Harold, first, go with your instincts; and second, never trust the f**king Americans".

(, Fri 24 Mar 2006, 19:36, Reply)
My time in 'Nam... well, Shropshire actually
As part of my job I had the pleasure of gallavanting off with the RAF on exercise a couple of years ago. I thought I was going to be bombing around with 'Goose' in a Tornado for two days. How wrong I was!

Instead, I sat in a green tent with loads of boxes with flashing lights for 48 hours, and when I did get some sleep (4 hours) during that time, I awoke to the sound of helicopters and shouting. When I managed to get back to sleep, I woke up with a dead bat staring at me.

Despite all this, the guys at the RAF were pretty good to me, and were more than tolerant in having an office bound civilian pottering around in their tent and eating their rations for two days. I still wake up in a cold sweat sometimes, thinking I'm in a cold tent in the Shropshire wilderness.
(, Fri 24 Mar 2006, 19:09, Reply)
I know no one in the army.
However, my mate (i say mate, i mean i know them) really wants to be in the army.
We were doing drama, and we were told to create a situation were ordinary people are put in an extraordinary situation.We got into a group, and all of us decided we should do something about a man who's uncle dies and leaves him billions.Not brilliant, but it was year 8, okay? Anyway, this guy decides it'd be best if it was about terroists on a plane.He would be the SAS man.We vetoed this after we realised that it would be hard to get a man onto a plane which is 40,000 feet in the air.

And this guy, he's about 2 stone heavier than the rest of us.It's going to be interesting watching how his career progresses.
(, Fri 24 Mar 2006, 18:38, Reply)
Members of family were in army but too many stories

A friends neighbour was at Monte Casino and lots of other places during WW2. He says that the first thing which happened when the monastry was overun was that a makeshift gallows was erected and all the women who had been fratenising with the Germans were hung.

A friend worked in a pub used by army and TA. She says the army were well behaved and left at closing time. The TA were a total bunch of wankers who thought being a parttime soldier gave them ownership of the world and everything in it.
(, Fri 24 Mar 2006, 18:35, Reply)
Not me, but...
My grandad fought in World War 2. He and his battallion or whatever were out in France. They were all lined up for the commanding officer who walked up and down the line, picked out my Grandad and another man, gave them one machine gun and said,

"Right, you two take that and hold off the Germans while we retreat."

The Germans didn't come that day. Lucky really, 'cos my Dad hadn't been born by then!

Great Grandad was at the Battle of Jutland in WW1. His ship got torpedoed, which made its gears jam. It ended up enscribing three complete circles in front of the entire German fleet. And receiving 13 more torpedo hits for its trouble. It somehow stayed afloat and was taken back to England to be refitted. Cue some shore leave for the men and nine months later, my Nan was born!
(, Fri 24 Mar 2006, 18:19, Reply)

This question is now closed.

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