One of the Stories I remember from my days at Deal April 1962

Terry Aspinall 779 Squad


One morning Colour Sergeant Dinger Bell took over the squad to assess the progress of our marching skills, it also being a test of our instructor Corporal Geordie Peart capability. In the service everybody is known by nicknames, Whites are Chalkies, Millers are Dustys, the Irish are Paddy’s or Micks, Welsh are Flappers and the Scots are Jocks or just plain tight. Hence, Sergeant “Dinger” Bell, anyway during one of the drill routines, I must have missed a step or something, Dinger picked upon the mistake I had made. Then screaming at me at the top of his voice he declared, that he would break my bloody arm off and beat me to death with the Soggy End. This was a well known terminology used by Marine drill instructors at that time.

Along the bottom of the parade ground was a twelve-foot high brick wall. As a form of punishment for any small parade ground crime or infringement, the whole squad would be ordered to climb to the top of the wall the best way you could and then down again to re-form up once again on the parade ground. Unfortunately, after landing back on the ground, your uniform would be covered in red brick dust. Upon reforming up on the parade ground, the instructor would accuse you all of having a dirty uniform. He would then award you another uniform inspection later that day. Now came the twist, if you did not manage to climb to the top of the wall you would receive an extra uniform inspection because you failed. You would also receive an extra uniform inspection for having a dirty uniform. Therefore, it occurred to me that whatever I did I was going to get that extra uniform inspection. Then again, if I scaled the wall I would have to re-clean my uniform, which would possibly take me a couple of hours to complete. Fine, I thought I would just hang back and not even try to scale the wall. In the mad scramble of forty odd guys all trying to scaling up and down, it was easy to blend in and not even participate in the climb. Fine, I got the extra inspection of my uniform, but at least I did not have to spend three hours cleaning it. The Drill Sergeant finally cottoned on to what I was up to and just grinned at me. I guess he thought I had found a way of beating the system, but he never said anything to me at first. However, on another occasion he did walk past me and said “You think your bloody smart don’t you Aspinall”. He just happened to be the same Sergeant who greeted me on Deal station a couple of month earlier. And I sure he was not to impressed with me at that time.

Taken from 'Almost Total Recall' Terry Aspinalls Autobiography