A degree in maths might have helped. ‘Correction of the Day,’
wind charts, slide-rules, log tables, maps of the terrain,
OP reports — all combined (again and again)
to make four 25-pounders point the right way.
B-Troop, ‘officer material,’ we learned our parts:
don’t get VD; take care when choosing your friends;
prefer gin and tonic; wear a hat at weekends;
believe in the Empire (ignore what you know in your hearts).
There was never much sense of who we were — except once,
when the Colonel said ‘You gents are lucky to be here.’
Or — daily — as we lurched from the barrack-room, caps aslant,
‘chattering like monkeys,’ and the A-Troop bombardier
roused his men to their parade-ground-shattering chant:
‘What are they then, boys…???’ … “ED-U-CA-TED CUNTS…!!!”
This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated 27 October 2012