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The clue to these exercises is in the height issue.

 

 

This is a marvellous piece of drill. You start with a large number of men who are to parade as a squad.

 

The eyes of the audience are drawn to the men at each end. In order to avoid a hotch-potch of tall and short soldiers scattered randomly. They are sorted by size by the command "Tallest on the right, shortest on the left in single rank SIZE!"

 

Having sorted them by size, if there is a gangly, incapable-of marching idiot at the right, the squadron sergeant major will swap him with the tallest marching-capable man - who is in all probability the next man in line. The man now on the right is designated Right hand man.

 

The senior NCOs will get among the men and sort them. In one long line, the SSM will give the command "From the right NUMBER!" and the troops will call out "1" "2" "3" ... and so on. The last man will call, for example, "120 last man SIR!" This will take several goes because there is always somebody who thinks he should have the same number as the man to his right and somebody else asleep.

 

The SSM then gives the word of command, "Odd number one pace forward, even numbers one pace step back MARCH!" Imagine this in your head: we have two pretty much evenly matched lines of men with the tallest on the right and shortest on the right.

 

"Odd numbers turn to the right, even numbers turn to the left. Squad leftandright TURN!"

 

The two lines now face away.

 

"Form three ranks. Quick MARCH!"

 

The Right hand man does not move. the front rank marches toward him and take up position to his right, two to his right, then behind him repeating until we now have three ranks again,. (The rear rank wheels and follows the last man in the front rank) but now the tallest men are at both ends. One of the senior NCOs will help the men arriving back in three ranks by indicating to them, "Front, Centre, Rear, Front, Centre, Rear" and so on.

 

If the number of men does not divide by three, adjustments will be made to the left hand end of the squad, always retaining three men in the left-most file, since the squad does not want to appear to have holes in it - even if it does.

 

The SSM will then get among the men and adjust them so that the Private MacAuslans of the squad are in the middle rank out of sight of the viewing public.

 

This is a marvellous sequence of events (so long as you can count and jump when it's your turn) but only carried out before a serious piece of drill. We used it to derive our squadron parade prior to the presentation of a new guidon (cavalry standard) by HRH The Princess Margaret, Colonel-in-Chief of 15th/19th The King's Royal Hussars. In fact we decided who was going to parade in the February, arranged ourselves as described above and retained that shape until the parade in the July.

 

It always takes place outside of the vieweing public, which isn't surprising because there is a lot of "I an bigger than you" "No you're not" Get on with it, no need to discuss it" banter. It's a shame really: a marvellous exercise in getting things just so.

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mystery1.jpg

 

In first bland insert - Dancing Boys

 

In second blank insert - Tassles and TuTus

 

In third blank insert - Fifth

 

OK so I may not have got it quite right .................... but the mental picture appeals to me :-D

Edited by Marmite!!
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In first bland insert - Dancing Boys

 

In second blank insert - Tassles and TuTus

 

In third blank insert - Fifth

 

OK so I may not have got it quite right .................... but the mental picture appeals to me :-D

 

 

So you were hoping for some sort display like this at Purbeck then?

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Conjures up a complex scenario.

 

But this is not normal drill. It is intergrated with some equipment alluded to in * Note

 

Yes ad05t read the n6te and the64gt. Don't you just love it when yer ThinkPad's NumLock is wrong?

 

Yes I read the note and thought wtf?!? But the answer I gave was entirely accurate wrt the drill command and I wasn't going to miss the chance to post my reply. I am curious to see the answer.

 

wrt to "is it something to do with pallbearers?" No. you will only have six pallbearers to a coffin (you might get eight if the departed was particularly tall, and the funeral party will not be selected from hoi polloi. When I got invited (to volunteer, actually) the funeral party was composed entirely of senior ranks - Sergeants and Staff Sergeants. We didn't need that sort of drill movement to organise six of us to carry the coffin.

 

I have absolutely no idea now my own entry has been ruled offside.

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