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Forces Majeure

by | 18th, September 2002

‘THE army is always complaining about being undermanned, and has tried various methods to boost recruitment, such as letting overweight cry-baby teenagers into the parachute regiment and allowing pregnant grandmothers to join frontline troops.

”One second he was there,” says Sgt Alan Bark of Private ‘Vanishing’ John Tench, ” and the next he wasn’t”

They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and the latest cunning plan is a real cracker. The Times reports that soldiers who go absent without leave will now be allowed back in the army, in a move that ”aims to reconnect the runaway soldier and the military”.

There are thought to be about 600,000 deserters, many of whom live in rural communities, where they sleep in trees and live off the carcasses of sheep slaughtered during the foot-and-mouth epidemic. Others work as consultants on reality TV shows.

Most leave the forces for relatively trivial reasons, it transpires. ”Sometimes soldiers go Awol because they have overslept and missed a train at the end of their leave,” explains Colonel Eccles, of the Army personnel unit at the Adjutant General’s office.

And others, such as those in the Territorials, enjoy the uniforms and the camping, but make themselves scarce when a war comes along.

But if any old soldiers out there are reading this, and you fancy three square meals a day and football every afternoon, then do get in touch. They miss you, you know. They really do.



Posted: 18th, September 2002 | In: Broadsheets Comment | TrackBack | Permalink