Saturday, 27 February 2016

Squaddies getting away with a weekend's unofficial leave


I would love to know if anyone out there has come across this story, or one like it. It goes something like this:

It is wartime and lots of soldiers are always on the move and frequently seen at major railway stations. There are always some who, being stationed at least temporarily close to home, take every opportunity to visit home whether they have official leave to do so or not. Mostly, the army turns a blind eye to what is going on. So long as every returns to barracks or billets when they are on duty, it doesn't much matter.

Once in a while, however, there is a crackdown and patrols of redcaps – military police – will be waiting to check the papers of all soldiers attempting to leave to station. On one such occasion a young NCO who was fortunately and coincidentally on leave with an official pass, spotted the plight of a group of squaddies whose plans for a night with their girlfriends were about to be thwarted. He marched up to them, barked an order to fall in, and marched them towards the exit. He saluted the redcaps, waved his own individual pass at them and marched the whole group off the station.

“Left turn!” he called when they came to the junction a short distance from the station. And as his troop marched one way, he hot-footed it the other way to the bus station and home.

If you have ever come across any version of this story or one like it, I would love to hear from you in the comments. And then, comments or not, I will post a follow-up telling you why I am expecially interested in this story – and one or two others as well.

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