The Sergeant-Major; a biography of R.S.M. Ronald Brittain, M.B.E., Coldstream Guards

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3 Thoughts.

  1. I met the Sgt Major a number of times when i served in the RAMC National Service 1954 a true gentleman and a professional soldier.

  2. Commissioned January 1950.I was not on parade that morning as i had to see the dentist. When that was finished I went to the parde ground where my unit was being inspected by a mounted guards officer and RSM B.. I marched up to them, saluted, hand on rifle but, and said .Permision to join the parade sir.. RSM Brittain ordered me to fall in in the back row and fix my bayonet. Off I marched to my position thrust my rifle forward and with my right hand slapped my right buttock to get my bayonet but it was’nt there. I had forgotten it So I went into the attention position as the rest of my unit. The mounted officer and RSM Brittain came by and RSM B growled at me “I told you to fix your bayonet Sir”. So once more i went through the motions. Rifle thrust forward, buttock slapped then back to the attention position. The inspection was finished and nothing was said. What had happened? I don’t know but I like to think that RSM B overlooked my inability to fix my bayonet ? Why was I not marched off to the guard house and charged with something. Either RSM Brittain had not seen that I had no bayonet or that he overlooked my failure to perform becuase i went through the motions in a very disciplined and military like manner.. What do you think?

  3. You have my sympathy and admiration. In a similar situation, it was not until I was on parade at Mons O.C.T.U. that I realized that I had omitted to replace the bolt in my rifle. When the order was given for me to present my rifle for inspection I similarly went through all the correct motion. Fortunately my rifle’s barrel was spotlessly clean, as was my thumb nail that reflected the light up the barrel, and RSM Brittain failed to notice there was no bolt in the rifle. Be assured I never made that mistake again.

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