ON GUARD By Brendan Henley, 3 RAR
I was thinking about one of my mates from 3 RAR the other day and I remembered this story. We were in 9 Sect 6 Pl B Coy and it was sometime in probably ’86. Anyway, we were on guard duty (a weekday I think) and Nifty (Neville) Denton and I were on roving piquet. Our Pl Sgt, Bruce Phillips was BOS.
On our first piquet after dark Nifty wanted to go to his room to iron some greens for the next day. His room was on the bottom floor of the first B Coy building and second or third from the southern end. We’d been in his room for a while; he was busy ironing while I just watched some TV when all of a sudden we both stopped what we were doing and looked at each other in horror as someone started bashing on the door. Luckily we had locked it. Yes, it was the Sarge. He started calling, “Pte Denton, I know you’re in there. Open up.”
We just looked at each other, grabbed our gear, bolted out the back window and ran straight down past C Coy lines, keeping B Coy lines between us. Then we kept running around Spt Coy’s second building and started up into the main car park where we stopped and caught our breath before continuing on. When we got up to the canteen, we found that the barber’s shop had been left open.
After a bit of discussion it was decided that this was our chance. While Nifty stayed to secure the barber’s shop, I would go and find the BOS. I found him still standing outside our lines on the grass, watching Nifty’s room. I immediately reported that we had found the barber’s shop open and that Nifty was waiting in the shop.
He came straight out and asked, “Have you two been in Nifty’s room?”
“Nah, Sarge, haven’t been anywhere near the lines,” I replied.
He was still looking at me suspiciously when he asked, “Which way did you come?”
Straight away I answered, “Past the main Q, Spt Coy stores, the TPT yard and up through the car park to the canteen where we found the shop open. We were there a little while, while we determined if it had been broken into or just left open, then I came straight away to fine you, Sarge.” All the while I looked the picture of the eager digger who had actually found something on guard. While we were walking up to the shop, he said, “I thought you were in Pte Denton’s room. I saw shadow movement in there.”
“Nah, not us, Sarge. Maybe he left his TV on or something.”
He just looked at me and mumbled, “Hmmmm…”
I don’t think he really believed us even when Nifty’s story matched mine, but there was nothing he could do. I don’t know what the hell tipped us off before he knocked but something did and it saved our arses.
Leaving the TV on as well… It was lucky that we found the shop… We were just damn lucky that he didn’t want to check Nifty’s room because the iron would still have been warm…