Taking up Maxie Beare's suggestion to offer some recollections, here
Whenever we have foggy weather (like the last few mornings here in Nottingham),
I am reminded of two particular occasions in the mid. 1950's when my
prospects of promotion in the RMB were nearly scuppered.
The first was at Stonehouse Barracks, Plymouth taking part in the Corporal's
course. Our course instructor told us to have our gas masks at the ready
for the following morning parade at 0800hrs. So we dug into our kitbags,
(probably never had cause to wear them, since being issued on joining
as Band Boys) and duly lined up in the colonnade with them slung over
a shoulder. As expected the CSM barked out the command 'on gas masks'.
After considerable fumbling and curses came the command '0n your right
marker, quick march'. The ensuing shambles must have been a sight to
behold, as bandsmen made desperate attempts to locate the 'right marker'.
We were scattered all over the parade ground. Why should this be you
may ask, well the eye pieces had misted over. We had either forgotten
to use the de-misting gunk, or as is more likely it had dried out in
the small round tin. Who can remember them? I reckon the drill staff
knew this would happen, and we ended up with a light-hearted rollicking.
The second occasion was a couple of years later at Deal, on the Band
Sergeant's drill course and yours truly was pretending to be a drill
instructor on the dreaded North Barracks parade ground. My task was
to drill a squad of Royal Marine recruits (not bandsmen). I remember
it was a real pea souper that morning, as I sent the squad off in quick
march time towards the end of the parade ground. To my horror they disappeared
into the fog and out of sight. I think the CSM or it may have been the
feared RSM Franks (anybody remember him and Captain Blood) said something
like, 'what are you going to do now Corporal ?). What could I do except
bellow out 'about turn' and after a few seconds, fortunately for me
the squad appeared again quite miraculously much to my relief, and I
Gerry Taylour RMBX2742