all the stories associated with the Squadron one event, which occurred
in the late sixties, must truly rank as legendary.
everyone else in the last days of Empire it was the custom of the
RSM of 18 Signal Regiment to leave his official regalia, ie: Sam
Browne, Pace Stick and Best Boots, to be attended to by the "Boot
Boy" on a daily basis. They were placed outside his office
at close of play and normally retrieved the following morning. On
the morning in question however, instead of highly buffed kit all
that could be found was a large metal waste bin containing the charred
remains of the said regalia still smouldering amidst their own ashes.
during the previous evening a member of the Squadron, returning
from a night on the lash and with courage bolstered by copious amounts
of Tiger, had taken the opportunity to redress some imagined slight.
Sam Browne, pace stick and boots had been placed in a bin, sprinkled
with combustible fluid and ignited. Sadly the intake of alcohol
had not only fuelled his heroic spirit it had completely removed
all trace of common sense. Written on the patio, in black indelible
pen, the inscription, "If you want to know who did it follow
the arrows bastard." A convenient trail of black arrows then
led across the road and up the steps into Rawson block.
reaction was swift and predictably OTT. Every member of 249 Signal
Squadron, married personnel included, was placed under "house
arrest", hourly inspections and parades were instigated and
we were marched to and from meals. The hope being that this mass
punishment would entice someone to grass the culprit up.
could they have got it so wrong - a squadron that already had a
superb sense of comradeship and loyalty was bound even closer together
by these shared injustices. No one cracked, in fact we revelled
in it. Back then it seemed that it went on for weeks but in truth
probably it was no more than a matter of days before Keith Olds
returned from leave and put a stop to it.
culprit handed himself into the OC who, true to his word, punished
him within the squadron. He was of course made to pay for replacement
regalia on top of the disciplinary award.
I know the name of the guilty party but will say only this: He was
a member of ASSU Troop and lived on the second floor.
stories are associated with this event but I will leave the telling
of those to others far more eloquent than I.