The Army Game guide to good soldiering

You’re in the army now… and it’s not good!

TVTimes masthead
From the TVTimes for week commencing 11 August 1957

THERE are right ways and wrong ways of obeying commands. Which comes as a surprise to the awkward squad in The Army Game —they never knew they had a choice. However, on realising the situation, they immediately applied for permission to publish “The Army Game Guide to Good Soldiering”.

(Note : The Guide to Good Soldiering, as here illustrated, is not recommended to serving soldiers).

(Note again : The Army Game will serve up more laughs this Wednesday and every alternate Wednesday).

(Last Note: Cast of our Guide is… The O.C. (Geoffrey Sumner), Sergeant-Major (William Hartnell) … Corporal (Michael Medwin) … Popeye (Bernard Bresslaw) … The Professor (Charles Hawtrey) … Cup-Cake (Norman Rossington).

Words by Eric Linden, following a technical chat with ex-RSM Brittain

Four men lie on the floor. A superior officer stands over them
DISCIPLINE is first instilled by teaching recruits to assume the position of attention: Heels together, toes at an angle of 30 degrees, back held straight, eyes looking slightly above own height, shoulders square. Unfortunately, the sergeant-major referred to guardsmen as an example … and the squad thought he meant the position for ceremonial parades! Get your boots repaired, that man in the middle!
A man swoons into another's arms as his boss takes his pulse
SICK PARADE is for the sick, lame and lazy. Popeye reports under all three headings. The sergeant-major knows his onions, says it’s the liver. Cup-Cake says he reckons Popeye is as sick as a dog. and recommends calling in a vet
Bernard Bresslaw accidentally punches another man in the throat
BARRACK SQUARE DRILL teaches instinctive obedience. “On the command ‘At the halt, on the left, form close column…'” That was as far as Bullimore got. Popeye signalled a left turn (see Highway Code). And the corporal learned what “square bashing” means
Bernard Bresslaw accidentally hits another man in the face with his rifle
RIFLE DRILL (now called rifle exercise) teaches a man to handle his arms. On the command “Slope arms”, the Professor tried to remember what he did last time. Cup-Cake turns his nose up (assisted by Popeye’s “best friend”). The OC reminds himself not to stand so close next time
Three men in uniform sleep on a bed, with their boss looking on sternly
REVEILLE is the time when the sergeant-major stands outside the door waiting for the bugle so he can dash in and shout “stand to your beds.” The squad beat this plan by getting up and dressed an hour early. But the long wait sent them to sleep again…
Three men with shaven heads
HAIRCUTTING is a regular parade to ensure neatness for all ranks. Malicious rumours that regimental barbers don’t know the difference between a basin cut and a Tony Curtis are quite unfounded. As Popeye, Corporal Springer and Cup-Cake can prove, their bloke Is so up-to-date he’s even heard of Yul Brynner!
'Food' is dished up from a rusty bucket.
ANY COMPLAINTS? This well-known pastime is played at meals, led by the Officer of the Day whose duty it is to see that the troops are enjoying the nourishing stuff provideo… provided they all remember that the OC’s pigs are very keen on Hungarian Goulash, too

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