Myths and Legends - Page 1

The following are a series of short stories that have humoured me somewhat. (I MAY have embellished them slightly...but not very much!!) If you have something similar to tell, why not let me know!


A Ford Ka and Betamax video player

Norman Howe was from Plymouth and certainly not the sharpest tool in the toolbox. He arrived in A Squadron in the early 1980s with the amazing story that he had handled 200 stolen Betamax video players. The Betamax video player for techno fobs was in the forefront of technology at that time, and it was approximately the size of a Ford Ka!!!

His mum arrived home from work one evening to find that her 3 bedroom council house in Swilly, (a rough part of the aforementioned city), now resembled something like a Curry's Superstore. Doing what any self respecting mother would do, she immediately phoned 999 and asked for the Police. They, true to form turned up the next day. Their excuse was it seems - they were waiting for sufficient back up prior to entering the estate that Norman lived on!

After a 3 day siege, during which 25 of the video players were transported from Norman's house to Milbank Police station as an incentive for Officers to remain at the crime scene after the hours of darkness, Norman was eventually arrested by members of the SPG. The SPG only agreed to enter the premises on the understanding that they also would be allowed to keep a Betamax video player each. Of course, Norman denied all knowledge of handling the stolen goods claiming that he thought they were Christmas presents for him and his 199 siblings!

Norman was duly charged and made his appearance at Plymouth Crown Court in a rather smart suit which he had shop lifted the previous day from Debenhams. On advice from his solicitor, Dodgy Denzil, he pleaded Guilty, although he was unsure what this meant. The Judge, admiring Norman's simple but smart look gave him an easy choice, the Army or Jail. Norman after some consultation with Dodgy Denzil decided upon the Army.

It was early 1986 and the the last firing period before the RAC Regiment/Cyprus tour. A Squadron were on Battle Run 6 and hosting a visit by Brigadier (Armoured). It was lunchtime and Norman and I were sat at the base of the range tower eating our range stew. We were approached by the visiting party, Brigadier (Armoured), a couple of hangars on, the CO, Adjutant, RSM, OC, SSM, Squadron Gunnery NCO (Alan Wright), SI(G) and the RSMI(G). I got up and saluted fairly smartly but Stormin' Norman simply carried on eating totally unperturbed at such a high ranking delegation! The ensuing conversation went something like this:

BRIGADIER (Armoured): "Hello there young...... (looking at Norman's name tag) are you today ...enjoying the range period I expect?."

NORMAN: "Well its OOOOORRRRIIGHT Suuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrr..I am a bit knackered like..........ammo bashing....'tis bloody hard work Suuuuurrrrrrrrr...'twas easier shifting 200 bloody Betamax video players from the back of a lorrrrrrryyyyyy."

BRIGADIER (Armoured): "Quite...umm Betamax video players, what does one do with them........never mind.... the ammo bashing has to be done.........tell me...what are you doing when the Regiment goes back to Bovington?"

NORMAN: "I am going with it Suuuuurrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!"

Stunned silence.......CO thinks to himself 'Oh No why me!', the Adjutant does not fully understand what Norman meant, the RSM shoots the SSM a look that would kill a T3 at 1200 metres. Squadron Gunnery NCO, Lefty, quickly goes up a state to STATE RED (Actually this is now getting out of hand!!). I nearly choked on my range stew trying to stifle a laugh but ever mindful of the fact that it would be unwise to remain off guard with Lefty rising through the states as quickly as he was, and Norman, he was trying to sell one of the hangars on a Betamax video player!

After a short while Brigadier (Armoured) wrongly thinking that Norman was joking starts to laugh uncontrollably. This lightened the moment and everybody else started to laugh as well, except Lefty who is still hovering at a midway point between STATE ORANGE and STATE RED and the Adjutant who really does not understand what is going on at all.

"Brilliant" remarks the Brigadier as he turns to the CO and says "Going with it....brilliant..I do love a comedian". The Adjutant still does not fully get the joke, (a Public School education may prepare you for Buggery but not for the simple things in life!) and he makes a mental note to quiz Norman later and then giggles like a girl. Lefty runs around the back of the Marquee and punches Woody Woodward in the face twice before he gets to lower his anger state to STATE GREEN, only then does a satisfied grin appear across his face. Woody, albeit bloodied, just sensibly keeps quiet and wipes his splattered nose with a bit of flannelette. The visitors moved on to try and find somebody semi sensible to talk about gunnery......and failed miserably!!


You may or may not remember the Active Edge crash out system! Active Edge was designed to test the Regiment's ability to 'crash out' of barracks at short notice in order to deploy to pre-prepared defensive positions to repel and delay the Soviet Pact's 3rd Shock Army from reaching Dunkirk in a couple of days. As with most futile things it was a total pain in the ass!

Rocket Ron SelwoodOn one particular Active Edge, Ron Selwood who was the MT Corporal had wind of the fact that it was going to happen. Ron along with many other 'pads' decided to remain in camp and briefed his driver that if he was required he would be in the back of his Stalwart having a kip on top of the rolled up cam net. Briefing over, Ron disappeared to one of the Squadron bars who were all open for business as usual.

Ron was last seen in A Squadron bar at 0100 finishing off a bottle of Asbach brandy before being pointed in the general direction of MT Hangars where with great difficulty he managed to get up and into the back of the Stalwart. After a quick pee in to the louvres he lay on top of the cam net and was soon asleep!

At 0230 Barker Barracks reverberated to the sound of the crash out siren, un-conveniently placed on top of A Squadron block. The Regiment lumbered into life, arms stores were opened and slowly, very slowly we began to look like a threat to the Soviet Union. Tanks were started and driven out of the hangars. Radio checks were conducted and completed once Lefty had sorted his switch positions out!

A team from Brigade arrived to check that we had all of our kit on the wagons. People ran behind the backs of the tanks ensuring that spare track pins etc, which were forgotten were placed on the rear decks in time for the inspecting team to tick their sheets. Word quickly went around the Regiment what they were looking for so Troop Sgts were able to rustle up bits and pieces in order to cuff it!

While all of this was going on Ron was still curled up asleep on his cam net. To be fair to his driver, he did try and wake him, but it proved impossible. So, with a tremendous 'back fire' which the Stalwart was prone to, it was driven out to line up with all of the other dead twats from MT. Ron, blissfully unaware of what was happening was saved from embarrassment by the fact that the inspecting team assigned to MT were all medically downgraded and therefore unable to climb up onto the back of the Stalwart. Instead, they quizzed Bugsy Morrell on his inability to fill in the maintenance book for the trailers correctly and the fact that his petrol cooker failed to work!

StalwartWith the inspection over and everything seemingly OK, the Commanding Officer, Richard Evans, decided that the Regiment would drive past his Office balcony. It was his chance to prove to himself that if necessary we could actually have motored out of camp. Using maps made from rice paper and with Recce Troop marking the route and Flank Protection provided by GW Troop, A Squadron's Chieftains led the way. A Squadron were followed by B Squadron, Command Troop, C Squadron, D Squadron and bringing up the rear the Echelon.

Stalwart Troop were backfiring their way around camp, Ron's driver trying to drive smoothly in order not to awaken Ron, still banging out the Zs in the back of the wagon on the cam net. The problem waaaaasssssss, as it's name suggests, the CO's balcony being somewhat higher than a Stalwart afforded the CO, 2IC, RSM, Adjutant and Op's Officer with the sight of Ron Selwood, lying on the cam net in nothing but his Y fronts, somewhat spoiling what had been a resounding success up until that point in time!!!!!

Ron Selwood a truly amazing character! I will never forget the time he arrived at my flat for a haircut at 10am on a Saturday morning and left at 5pm the following day, having eaten and drunk everything we had in the flat...and the contents of the 'Pink' Schnellie....twice........Rest in Peace Ron!!