Sunday, February 26, 2006

Trieste had its funny moments

Photo shows: Ron and a view of Trieste from the Goldoni Tunnel

During the period October 1945 to January 1947 I was stationed in the Trieste area.

The end of the war had seen my unit, the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars, change from its wartime footing to its original pre-war role of a prestigious cavalry regiment.

Fortunately for me I had achieved the lofty rank of Corporal and as Tech Corporal to A Squadron was allowed to get on and do my job without too much parade bashing and bull-s***t. Part of the price I paid for this dispensation was being on several committees connected with the welfare of the regiment, one of which was the subtly named ‘Canteen and Cookhouse Committee’ and which included in its ranks the O/Rs Messing Officer.

We used to meet once a week and had a chance to air our views and make recommendations about future menus.

One day someone asked “What about chips for a change?’

The Messing officer said, “The only problem is the shortage of frying oil, unless you don’t mind the cook using horse fat”

This immediately produced shrieks of disgust from the committee until the Messing Officer said, “ I don’t know why you’re protesting so much. You’ve been eating horse for weeks now!”

After a shocked silence he went on to explain that at a recent Gymkhana, organised by the regiment, one of the horses being entered had broken its neck and a decision had been made not to waste the meat.

Thinking back, we never got our chips after all!

As part of the Regiment’s ‘peacetime’ procedure we used to have morning parades in which the whole regiment took part and the CO took this as an opportunity to address us on matters of importance.
On one occasion he told us that he had been annoyed to hear of his troops complaining about the size of their portions at mealtimes.
He went on to say that civilians back in England were still having to live on very restricted rations and to shame us all he was having set up at the entrance to the dining hall a table on which would be the civilian’s rations for a week.
Having delivered his sermon for the week we were then dismissed to our duties.

The very next day the whole regiment was abruptly summoned on an unscheduled parade to be faced by an apoplectic CO.

Some had stolen the ‘civilians rations for the week’!!!!!!

I can’t remember what terrible punishment he meted out to us for this heinous behaviour but I still remember the colour of his face when he made his announcement.

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