In 1987 we had formal guard mount on Saturday morning at 5/7. I’d decided to go out Friday night for a little socialising and thought I would finish off my ironing and polishing when I got back. I arrived back at base at around 2.30 am, closed my eyes for five minutes and it was 6 am. I was fucked.
My seco, Bruce Gassmann, went ballistic and told me put on what I had and to get ready to cop it. When it was my turn for the dress inspection, the DO and BOS approached me.
I thought, ‘Fuck it. I’m screwed anyway. I won’t lie.’
“Lt Hinchcliffe, did you iron your uniform?”
“No, Sir.”
“Did you polish your brass?”
“No, Sir,”
“Did you shave?”
“No, Sir.”
“Did you polish your boots?”
“No, Sir.
He moved on with the lads, laughing and snickering at my expense.
When he inspected my rifle he asked, “Have you cleaned your rifle?”
“No, Sir,” I replied.
“See me after the mount.”
All the boys had a great laugh and I was shitting myself. I headed off to BHQ and met the DO. He said, “Your honesty has saved your arse, sunshine. I’m letting you off. Just go and re-iron your shirt.” You can imagine the surprise of the guard as I entered the guard room and I had got off Scot-free. I have always remembered his kind gesture.

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