THE INSPECTION By Simon Ralph 3 Pl A Coy 8/9 RAR early 1982
Being back in the barracks in the early 1980s was normally always boring. With Labor in power, there were the usual Defence Force cuts, so little ammunition to waste or money for adventure-training stuff. There was some initial excitement when The Falklands started, but it was soon apparent that the Brits were going it alone on that one. With few courses going on and if the training program was a little lacklustre, it usually meant duties, area beautification, sport and a lot of wasted time. This meant countless room inspections.
On one occasion, we had just got a new Platoon Commander for 3 Platoon A Coy 8/9 RAR. His name was Damian Negus, who turned out to be a pretty good bloke and an outstanding hockey player, who was constantly away playing Tri Service Hockey.
So it came down to his first big inspection of the lines. Four-to-a-room lockers were open (you know the drill). In he came – I yelled out, “Stand fast, salute,” as you do. I introduced myself and had a bit of a chat. He looked at my locker, which was all good and made his way through to the other two guys, who were Privates Nigel (I love Blondie and a drink) Clayton and Rick (Lizard) Caldwell. He looked at Nigel’s locker, had a chat again, and turned to meet Lizard… Well, he saw hanging, attached to the ceiling, a piece of cotton with a ping pong ball sticky taped to it at about head height. Negus couldn’t help himself and began flicking it backwards and forwards. He asked Lizard, “What is this, Pte Caldwell?” to which Lizard replied with a big grin on his face, “It’s a FUCKWIT CATCHER, Sir.” There was a pregnant pause, and to his credit he saw the humour and we all had a laugh. End of Inspection.
Radios function perfectly until you need fire support.