Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Things They Didn't Teach at Sandhurst in 1980


"An officer should be comely, spratly and above all else, confident in his own dress and bearing. He should, where possible, eat a small piece of meat each morning with molasses and beans. He should air himself gracefully when under fire and never place himself in a position of difficulty when being shot at. He should eat his meals comfortably and ahead of his soldiers, for it is he whom is more important tactically on the battlefield and therefore he who should be well nourished. His hair should be well groomed and if possible he should adorn a moustache or similar facial adornment. When speaking to his soldiers he should appear unnerved and aloof and give direction without in any way involving himself personally in the execution of arduous or un-officer like duties. He should smoke thin panatellas except when in the company of ladies where he should take only a small gin mixed with lemon tea. He should be an ardent and erudite gentleman and woo the ladies both in the formal environment and in the bedroom where he should excel himself beyond the ordinary soldier with his virulent lovemaking prowess. These I say to you are the qualities of an officer that set him apart from the lay person and the common soldier."

Lt Gen Hubert Worthington, Commander In Chief, 5th Royal Indian Mountain Division, Bombay, 2th December 1907

26 comments:

Lilith said...

Phwoar, would I have liked to meet Lt Gen Hubert! :-)

idle said...

Next time I am down visiting family in Somerset I will buy a pack of panatellas and carry a small flask of gin 'n tea. I might grow a moustache as well. Look out for me in Bruton and Shepton Mallet, lil.

Trubes said...

Ooh! I say Idle. Any chance of you visiting Liverpool also ?

idle said...

Trubes, the only time I have spent in the one-eyed city was in about 1982/3, commanding a squadron of Green Goddesses during a firemen's strike. No one got hurt.

But I will strike North after Somerset and take in Merseyside as well, as long as you can assure me that the girls are not all like Colleen McLoughlin or Cilla Black.

Lilith said...

Oh DO Idle :-) Love the flask of gin and tea.



P.S "Virulent" lovemaking could be a bit scary. I didn't think they had HIV in those days.

Mermaid of Moorgate said...

Do you have a fine facial adornment too? Do you address the troops with aloofness? Do you nonchalantly brush off your severed arm nerve-endings with pure sang-froid and say: "A mere scratch m'dear boy, a mere scratch?"

I think we should be told

idle said...

I indulge in pogonotomy daily, merms. Listening to the utterly ridiculous Archbeard of Canterbury reminded me that I am a pogonophobe, too.

I have a very good joke about sang-froid which I will post on this blog, after the HMS Apollo incident that I promised, which the Tuscan says I will get around to in early summer.

I was cooler than a cucumber and dry as toast as one of Her Majesty's officers. I was attacked only once by one of my own men.

Trubes said...

Idle: Why do you call Liverpool "The one eyed City"? Je ne comprend pas!
There are lots of lovely ladies around Liverpool but you won`t find any 'Down Town' on Friday or Saturday nights.
I`m impressed that you were here during the Firemens Strike, in the 80`s, commanding your Squadron, well done you. At that time I was living on the Wirral, so wasn`t around to hurl any bricks at you. Tee hee !
This is a diverse City and attracts a lot of negative
publicity, thanks to the likes of Cilla and Colleen, neither of whom live here, nor contribute in any decent way, to 'up' the profile of this magnificent City.
Those two would be regarded as "Common of muck" and not as useful, by my dear departed Mama.
If you do re- visit the City , and I sincerely hope you do, you will find it a changed place. There is so much going on, including the re-development of the shopping centre, backed by Lord Grosvenor of Grosvenor Estates, (the weathiest Land owner in the UK), it would be difficult to describe in a few words. As it seems, I`ve used rather a lot already !
If you google skyscrapercity, that may enlighten you a little to the current and exciting develpoments in Liverpool.

Hope all is good at Idle Turrets

Di.xx

idle said...

Trubes - One Eyed City: there's only one i in Liverpool. The same is said of Birkenhead, where my maternal great-grandfather was born.

If you meet the owner of Grosvenor Estates, suggest you address him as His Grace the Duke of Westminster. He got promoted quite a few years ago!

I accept what you say about Liverpool. It can't possibly as bad as its reputation.

killemallletgodsortemout said...

How refreshingly un - PC!!

Scroblene said...

Idle/Trubes - Interesting link re Liverpool.

I still wonder wherther we should develop there, it is difficult though, because the city has it's own mafia, and you can waste an enormous amount of money to get nowhere.

I think the answer is don't ever give up on a city - look at Belfast for instance!

Apart from that, Gin, then tea, then lovemaking seems a great idea for days with a 'd' in the spelling...

Trubes said...

Idle: My maternal Great Grandmama was born in Birkenkead.
I have met Gerald Grosvenor on several occasions, regarding Charitable works. He did not, at that time, really stand with Pomp and Ceremony, with ordinary mortals such as myself !
His dear Mamma addressed, in those days, as 'Your Grace' by anybody she wished to speak to. We used to share the same Hair Dresser in Chester. She was a delightful, gracious lady and talked of her son`s forthcoming marriage to 'Tally'.

Tuscan Tony said...

I (as Lilith also suggests) always thought virulent meant virus bearing - difficult to imagine the Lt General intended that officers should be raddled with pox as a matter of pride and principle.

Other than this minor quibble, sound advice I would say.

electro-kevin said...

I would love a copy of the Officer's Handbook - listing etiquette such as how to cut cheese properly. So useful in combat.

idle said...

How to attack a whole stilton was always a major bone of contention in the mess, E-K. Some said spoons, other said it should be shaved horizontally.

Some arrivistes had an idea one should hollow out a bowl in the top of the cheese and pour a glass of port into it. Frightful.

Tuscan Tony said...

"I was cooler than a cucumber and dry as toast as one of Her Majesty's officers. I was attacked only once by one of my own men.
"

"How to attack a whole stilton was always a major bone of contention in the mess...Some arrivistes had an idea one should hollow out a bowl in the top of the cheese and pour a glass of port into it. Frightful."


Two of the finest quotes on the blogosphere. More power to your port-spoon, Idle! I hava bottle of Warre's 1975 which was a leftover from a Year tasting I hosted a while back at The Wine Library, EC3 - I can assure anyone interested that it will never be used to douse a stilton.

45govt said...

His Grace General Grosvenor is he not, or Westminster or whatever.

We had one of those stiltons filled with port at a shoot once. Arriviste or not, it was nearly the end of me, as port is altogether too moreish for my loose self-control. Frightful as you say!

idle said...

45 - indeed. Major General His Grace the Duke of Westminster is the full mouthful.

By all accounts he is loved by all territorial yeomanry soldiers.

I have taken to eating my stilton with pears (ideally, a very sweet pear poached in a fruity red wine). I commend this dish to the house.

Trubes said...

Idle: A semi- ripe pear stuffed with Stilton and wrapped in Proscuitto then baked in the oven is a favourite at Chez Trubes. I serve it on salad leaves with toasted pinenuts and sprinkled with Balsamic Vinegar.
Deliceux.

I was going to mention about The Duke of Westminster being the Commander in Chief of the Territorial Army but you pre-empted me. He is, as you said, very highly regarded in the T.A. particularly on Merseyside.
He seems to have a great affinity with Liverpool and I`m sure, the residents of the City, will be eternally grateful in times to come, for his unyielding support of the City.

Trubes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jordan H Jones said...

This man is possibly one of the greatest men I have ever heard of. His piece of prose ranks as one of the best I have ever read. My only query is, at what stage does one sit and contemplate such brilliant thoughts, then commit it to paper? Something must have caught his mind. As my wife rightly points out, how does he know that officers, as brilliant as they are, know that they are better at wooing women than laypersons and common soldiers? Is there anecdotal evidence of this and if so, how did the Lt GEN come to such a valid conclusion? As one who has once stood in the ranks, yours is not to reason why. Regardless, utterly brilliant, and should well be recorded in the annals of history.

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