Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Tales from the Academy – Company Night and a Dip in the Lake

In the 1960s officer cadets were assigned to companies in Old College, New College or Victory College. Now there are only two colleges, Old and New, and the intakes are no longer entirely male.

It was then the custom to have a Company Night, which was a fancy term for a pub crawl. Dettingen Company had a memorable night – and morning after – in the early 1960s.The cadets, full of enthusiasm for a good night out and unused to large quantities of drink, no matter how they might boast of their capacity, enjoyed a raucous evening with their Sergeant Major and returned to the Academy in high spirits. In the general hilarity their unfortunate Warrant Officer found himself tipped unceremoniously into the lake.

The cadets rose for parade the following morning with sore heads and bleary eyes. The Sergeant Major, their entertaining and jovial companion of the previous evening, brought them to attention and then ordered them to march into the lake where they remained for some considerable time while he advised them of his views on the proper attention and respect due to Warrant Officers in the British Army.

The shivering cadets, in their soggy service dress uniforms, listened abjectly as they were berated for their appalling lack of judgement. Those nearest the bank were more fortunate than their companions further back for the water only reached their belts rather than their chests but the lesson was thoroughly learned by them all. There was no repetition of the exercise.

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