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Sandbag Reminiscences of Fred (Geordie) Mantey Sandbag
The Saga of Pearson's Ear
I remember the O'Connor incident as mentioned in "Who Stole My Park Drive?. Pearson was forced, talked into and coerced into sending his letter to Col. Lake initially by someone in the MRS staff and later by all his colleagues.
The story as I remember it is:- Sgt. O'Connor had perfected the art of using the brass tips of his pace stick as forceps or tweezers to grab the ear of any junior leader he wished to question. The question was of course the classic for any drill pig "Are you f*****g listening to me?" yelled at approxiamately 137 decibels from a distance of about 2 inches. Silly question really because even the 3 occupants of Bryncrug who understood English were listening to him.
He made the biggest mistake that any bully can make though. He actually tore a fairly sizeable acreage of skin off Pearson's ear which had to be taken to the MRS. I remember on that evening that a permanent staff corporal came into the billet and gave us a free lesson in the very fine difference between a mutinous document and a legal "petition of complaint". He steered us away from mutiny and the document that went Col. Lake was in fact a roll-call of the names of all those who would be willing to make a statement regarding how the said ear became injured.
I learnt later from an absolutely totally impeccable source, a guy who worked in the NAAFI, that the said Sgt. O'Connor had requested to be RTU'ed. This saved the Army and the Regiment a possibly messy Court Martial.
Tony Capper. The every epitome of the stone built slaughter house, was responsible for me scoring my first ever try in rugby. Somehow I accidently got too close to the ball. Tony picked me up and thrust the ball into my hands with the admonishment "Don't drop that please." or words to that effect. Then, with the assistance of some others of our team he rammed me bodily through what felt like about 47 opponents until Mr. Capper threw me face down on the turf and a lots of guys cheered. When the concussion wore off about 3 days later I found out that I'd scored a try which it seems is a good thing.
Whose chimney did we drop two 303 blanks down? I think it may have been retaliation for someone parking a piece of slate on top of our chimney.
The "Over the Wall" incident made me a small fortune in cigarettes. Our room in the Ypres billet was nearest the top gate and fence so during the evening a good number of odds and sods came through, paid a 2 cigarette toll, and then jumped out of our window.
I didn't make my passing out parade in maybe June or July 1961. Well I was there but I was sitting among the parents wearing BD, complete with white shirt and red tie. I had taken a fairly savage dose of pneumonia in March 1961. I was carried to the MRS in a blanket and lay there for 3 days as they waited for me to die or get better until the natural health and fitness which had been kicked into us took over and I got well enough to be transported to some civvy hospital. But I think matron needed some floors bumpered so I was only there for 3 or 4 days as I was x-rayed and had an op. to re-inflate a lung.
Yes I really did have to bumper the corridors but I was allowed to sit down now and again to get my breath back. Literally! All heart and compassion that matron.
I think I was on sick leave for about 3 months until I went to 8 Signal Regiment.

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