The article in the September 2020 Newsletter by Alan Bell concerning Pay Parades immediately rang a bell in my mind.
I well remember an instance at RAF Bircham Newton when we were assembled in one of the hangars for a Pay Parade. The Paying Officer and the SNCO who was assisting him, were seated behind a table on which piles/heaps of notes and cash were neatly arranged. As the SNCO called the name of a certain Apprentice whose name I have honestly forgotten, he marched forward, crashed to a halt in front of the table and before he could speak his studded boots skidded from under him causing him to crash into the table and see the cash scatter everywhere. The Officer was less than pleased as was the SNCO as the cash was quickly recovered and the table returned to a semblance of normality. Needless to say, there was much barely concealed mirth among the ranks at this fiasco.
As far as I can recollect, there was no unwanted consequence for the unfortunate Apprentice who caused this debacle, other than his own embarrassment I suspect.
On reflection, it was an event waiting to happen since the hangars had been used for many years for their original purpose of servicing aircraft and during that time a film of oil/grease had accumulated all over the concrete floor. Another unwanted effect of this was that on those days of inclement weather, usually in the cold of a Norfolk winter, we had drill indoors. We would have been wearing our great coats and woollen gloves as well as our hobnailed boots. There was many an awkward moment when a young man’s hobnails let him down on this treacherous surface and he would end up in an undignified heap on a cold, concrete floor followed by the inevitable chastisement of the Drill Instructor who could often be seen trying, albeit unsuccessfully, to stifle a chuckle. To be fair, their bark was invariably worse than their bite though we did not always realise it at the time. I remember how difficult it could be to carry out rifle drill while wearing woollen gloves. Apart from not keeping out the cold they did not allow a perfect grip on the wooden parts of the rifle and the result of this was the occasional clatter of a rifle hitting the floor. Happy days.
(Ex 38th Entry).