By Graham Hampton.
The time of year if memory serves me right was
mid to late 1986 at 8th/12th Medium Regiment.
We achieved (unintentionally of course) what we
believed to be a first of its kind.
Many have been made to resit an SI on course or
even god forbid redo the entire course again.
Many have been made to perform their duties on
guard again due to being found asleep against
the wall somewhere deep within the Regiment in
an isolated dark place. However the
8th/12th Medium Regiments Sergeant's Mess was
made to resit an entire Dining In Night due to
our somewhat rowdy behaviour.
It all began like
any other Dining In night. Dress up
in our Mess Kit, some with medals hanging
proudly on their lapels. Prior to taking our seats
we of course had pre dinner drinks in the mess
bar where we chatted about this and that as we
often did to pass the time. The
Dining Vice President mingled amongst us
advising all "5 minute to go" which was our
notice to ensure that we attended the toilet
prior to taking up our seats in the dining room
essentially locked up for a period of up to 3
hours of compulsory idle chatter in a dimly lit
room waiting for the head table to take the
first mouthful of anything before we could
commence ourselves, in which case if you were
the last to be served it was probably cold or
near enough to being cold.
night started well and the Dining Vice President
was a newly promoted Sergeant as is often the
case, what a learning curve. Among
that were present as I remember it were people
like Fred Gebbett, Graham Floyd, Andy Devine, Al
Green (RSM & Dining President), Jim Sprice, John
Butt, and many many more. The
official guest for the evening was the Battery
Commander of Headquarter Battery, Major Hugh
Polson (I think).
right from the beginning seemed to go on and on
and on between courses however what made it worse
was that the drinks waiters were seen on a less
seldom basis than one see's an eclipse.
Therefore when we were fortunate to see a drinks
waiter one tended to take the full bottles from
him and request even more. From
memory I had a stash of some 2 red and 3 white
at my feet, others were more adventurous than I
whilst some simply stuck with the 1 bottle.
Now imagine if you will with a plentiful stock
of wine the evening started to become engaging
with loud and humorous discussions occurring not
only between those that sat around you but also
those on the other side of the U shaped dining
setup. At one point I remember Fred
Gebbett the then BSM of 103 Medium Battery
asking the Dining Vice President (who was a
newly promoted Sergeant of 103 Medium Battery)
to "come over here" and as only a newly promoted
Sergeant attending his very first dining in
night would do, he got up and went over to his BSM.
I distinctly remember the Dining President and
RSM of the Mess asking the Dining Vice President
to return to his chair and "Take 2" was also
spoken loudly. Not long after that
approximately 15 minutes at most Fred Gebbett
once again call out to the Dining Vice President
to "come over here" and yet again the Dining
Vice President left his seat and enroute to his
beloved BSM was ordered to return to his chair
and "Take another 2". This went on
until I think he eventually received a total of
8 extras which the other more senior Sergeants
were most appreciative of.
With the night was coming to an end and I had
accumulated not only a belly full of wine but a
wide selection of bottles at my feet.
The Dining President stood up and invited the
Guest (the BC HQ Bty) to coffee in the anti
room. Unfortunately for me when
we all stood up I knocked over at least 3
bottles of wine which spilt quickly out of their
bottles backwards under my chair and into the
narrow passage between my chair and the wall
behind me which incidentally was the chosen
route for the Dining President and his Guest to
exit the dinner.
You can imagine
the Dining Presidents face when he passed
through this flood bound area behind me and gave
me a concerning look to say the least thinking
that I had urinated on the floor under my chair.
continued on and I some how survived to wake up
in my bed the next morning at home remembering
bits and pieces of the evening before.
Monday the BSM HQ Bty Graham (Flood) Floyd
entered my office just two offices from the
RSM's office and advised me that the RSM wanted
to see me. Prior to departing Flood asked
if I had urinated on the floor at the dining in
night which brought back a range of memories of
which this was not one of my actions.
Enter the RSM's office only to be asked the same
question. After some lengthy discussions I
emerged with 7 extra Duty Officer duties and
advice that we would be re-sitting the dining in
night and I had best be on my best behaviour.
The seven extra
duties completed I attended the re-sit of the
dining in night and again have never attended
such a sober, quiet and quick dining in night in
all my life. The principal topic of
discussion was "has any other Mess ever re-sat a
Dining In Night?" To this day I have
never known any other mess to be required to do
History in the
Those wishing to
assist me with who was in attendance on the
night please contact the webmaster and let me
know so that they can be listed. In
particular who was the Dining Vice President and
the Guest (BC HQ Bty). One final
thing - once the BC HQ Bty found out about the
re-sit he actually asked the RSM if he was
required to attend as well!!!
POST SCRIPT !
script was forwarded to me via email and the
writer, Warrant Officer Class One (Retired) Jim
Sprice ex Regimental Quartermaster Sergeant of
8/12 Medium Regiment has requested to remain
I donít know why
or how, but I read with interest your story of
the re-sit Dining In Night of the 29 August
1986. Why? You may ask. Because I
was one of the causes of that event taking place
and due blame should be placed at the feet of WO
Class 1 Al Green. He allowed us to be plied with
too much alcohol on the night of the original
sitting which if memory serves me right was only
about 4 weeks prior to the re-sit.
How come I should remember the date of the
re-sit? Why it was my last night in
the Army and at 12 Midnight my uniform was torn
from my body and I believe that Al Green may
have had something to do with it and at some
stage I was hand cuffed.
Letís go back to
the original Dining In Night.
I was sitting at
the top of the right table next to the King
table. To my right and at the extreme left of
the King table was sitting the RAEME WO1 whoís
name I canít recall.
On the Monday
after the Dining In, I heard there were extra
duties handed out to all and sundry by the RSM
and on conversing with the RAEME WO, I asked him
what were all the extraís for. He told me that
the RSM could not control his mess because of
all the Yahooing. Gee thatís a bit
odd I said, normally things quieten down after
the RSM sayís something. The RAEME chap said the
RSM spoke on many occasions but there was one
bloke that could not keep his big Blah shut and
the Sgtís just kept up the loud banter. I said
oh yeah who was that, he said a WO1, who was
that, I again enquired and he said YOU.
I went up to Alís
office and said to him that I believe I owe you
an apology and volunteered my services for extra
duties. He said donít worry about it youíll get
yours. I thought that all would be forgiven
because I had just given him a brand new dress
uniform that I did not get to wear.
Well he made me
Dining President for the night and I was later
told it was the quickest dinner any one ever had
for a formal dinner and the rest is history.