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Volunteers’ joy a far cry from conscription days

Passing Out Parade at Warwick Camp (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Dear Sir,

If she would allow me, I had to smile at Diana Williams’s diatribe about the enjoyment shown on the faces of 7 Platoon members after being declared victorious at the recent recruit camp.

It was heart-warming to see these volunteers are able to relax a little in their obvious pride of achievement. It seemed a far cry from those idiotic days of conscription when scores of new faces were screamed at by moronic non-commissioned officers as they were chased up to the parade ground from the main gate, lugging their gear.

Those were disgusting scenes reminiscent of public hanging, with spectators watching the demeaning experience from behind the gates.

I wonder if Mrs Williams experienced the joy of serving in the armed services. Two years’ national service before the mast was plenty for me, and I sweated those same parades in the blazing sun of such tourist paradises as Malta, Greece, Egypt and good old Chatham, where the heat was a little less.

Sadly, I never saw anyone in tears or I would have been the first to console them.