Page 53 - The Chapka 2016
P. 53

 Whilst sweeping dust from the BATUS tank park on a hot windy day in July 2016, I was called over by my Squadron Sergeant Major. Walking over with a slight sense of bewilder- ment and confusion wondering who from the troop had been arrested the previous night, I strolled over and stood rigidly to attention. Luckily no-one had been in trouble and it was for the news that I was to be The Royal Lancers Corporals’ Mess PMC. I took this news with the fear of failure and excitement of what I could achieve sitting equally on my shoulders.
Soon after our return to England I conducted the handover- takeover process with Corporal Bailey and that was that. I was in ‘The Seat’ - a seat that I have moaned to countless times about why tea and toast wasn’t on and why the bar wasn’t open.
Almost immediately we were getting our heads round withdraw- ing mess funds and stocking the bar. We knew we needed to get people in the mess regularly so we decided Wednesday nights were when the bar was to be open. Thursdays were out because of the Commanding Officer’s PT sessions on Friday. One of the boys from Germany told me how they used to have ‘Free Food Fridays’ and clearly everyone these days is conducting wacky races to get home so the PEC and I instigated this on every other Wednesday. The first time included the 18 feet of subway to be devoured by mess members. As it turns out that is a substantial amount of scoff so one third of it was donated to our grateful guard-force.
This carried on along with the regular running of tea and toast, and the mess started to get its identity back. We had Corporal Pipe paint a Royal Lancers mural in the smoking area, we gut- ted and cleaned the entire place and dug out some lovely old pictures to put up. Each week, more people came to support the mess on a Wednesday and slowly we got some identity back.
Our next task was to turn our hands to the Christmas ball. A far larger undertaking than the PEC or I had ever imagined. As di- rected by the Regimental Sergeant Major, we were to be in mess dress which everyone was happy with and we decided against an uncomfortable, formal sit-down meal. Many nights we spent planning how we wanted it: we ordered props for the entrance
to turn it into an ice cave (including a champagne reception); an ice sculpture of the motto; a real life reindeer; a DJ; band; and, an incredible magician by the name of Steel Johnson – an ex Royal Marine. For the week before, the team barely slept with so much could that could potentially go wrong. If one part didn’t turn up the whole thing would collapse. Luckily for us, the party gods were smiling and everything went swimmingly. To a man, every mess member and guest thoroughly enjoyed themselves. The only bad part was cleaning three kilos of cheese out of the carpet, but we got pretty nifty with a carpet cleaner by the time it was done so every cloud, eh?
All in all, it has been a fantastic experience, a challenge and now a massive weight off my shoulders. I can look back with pride at what all of the committee have achieved and it was a pleasure to serve the JNCO’s of the Regiment.
Good luck to Corporal Ellerby and the new committee from
D Squadron.
   I've had the time of my life, and I've never felt this way before
Water luge
Care in the community

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