TOGAS, SOLDIERS AND SHOWERS By Ray Currier, 2/4 RAR
The year was 1986 – the back end of ’86 to be precise. The Edgar Towner VC Gentlemen’s club had a special membership for the men of the 2nd/4th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment. An unlikely alliance forged from love of alcohol, rum in particular (the ruin of many a soldier and their pay packet) developed between Boyley of C Coy, Petro from TPT Pl and Ray in Sig Pl. This self-absorbed, self-proclaimed ‘hard-as- nails; never-rust’ trio even gave themselves a name – The Syndicate.
In November ’86 as the battalion was winding down from its Operational Deployment Force role, the boozer committee in its infinite wisdom held a toga theme party night one Saturday. The Syndicate was to attend in all its glory and infamy. Plans were set, attendance was compulsory; all members of The Syndicate were to attend. On parade at 1900 hrs or consequences would be administered by the righteous members.
Roll call at H hr discovered that Petro was absent. Where could he be? Why was he late? After five seconds of concern for our missing brother it was decided to ‘fuck em’. We’d go and enjoy the festivities. At approx. 2200 hrs in strolled Petro with his perpetual grin. On questioning from the righteous members, we were informed that he’d fallen asleep. He informed us in an indignant manner that we should’ve woken him.
Unbeknown to Petro, the consequence for this tardiness had already been set.
How did we impress upon a member the importance of punctuality?
How could we ensure this act would not reoccur?
What would have happened if we’d been on operations?
All that remained was the execution of the sentence. With a nod to other associates, Petro was seized by several willing participants and dispatched to a pole in the beer garden adjacent to the quiet area. At the same time electrical tape was retrieved from behind the bar and Petro was secured to the pole by interlocking his hands and feet around it.
We then formed a circle around our brother and commenced to chant Ring A Ring O’ Roses whilst urinating on a hostile member who began spitting and yelling obscenities. A quick squirt from a one-eyed python put an end to that.
During all the laughter and merriment; and through my alcohol- induced haze, I experienced a moment of clarity and realised to my absolute horror what we were doing.
“Stop pissing, stop pissing,” I yelled.
“Why?” was the chorus response,
“The prick’s wearing my shirt.” Needless to say, a fresh round of laughter erupted.