Thursday, 18 June 2009

Tales from the Academy – milling

RC, sadly no longer with us, was a gentle young man and one of the nicest people anyone could meet. He was also a gifted boxer. Terry Downes, World Middleweight Champion in 1961, considered him the best amateur he'd ever seen. He was unusual in that he could knock out with either hand. He had had a lot of experience before going to Sandhurst, fighting in amateur matches and fairground booths.

One day, not long after his arrival at the academy the cadets were milling, practising their technique. The PTI (Physical Training Instructor) looked around for a suitable candidate for his demonstration and his eyes fell on RC. Now RC was well-built, big and strong; he looked and walked and carried himself like a boxer – he was a prime example of a pugilist. The PTI, himself a big man, called him over and said, 'Come on now, sir, hit me.'

RC protested, 'Excuse me, Staff . . .' but the instructor was insistent. 'No, come on, sir, hit me – hit me as hard as you can.'

Once again RC said, 'Excuse me, Staff, but . . . ' only to be interrupted once more by the PTI. 'Come on sir, hit me.'

The rest of the cadets were agog for they knew RC's capabilities. Reluctantly RC did as ordered and threw a punch at the PTI who fell to the floor, pole axed. When the instructor gathered his wits and rose groggily to his feet, he gazed glassily at RC and said, 'You've done this before haven't you sir?'

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