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Pull Up A Sandbag
Sandbag Reminiscences of Rod Burns Sandbag
Tales From The Range
Two episodes that I remember on the range at Towyn occurred in 1964. We had to qualify on a variety of weapons. The main one was the SLR, but other weapons depended on your Corps. My first memory concerned qualification on the 9mm Sterling SMG and the firing point officer was Lt. Norris (Lancashire Fusiliers). For some reason, we were not allowed to fire 'Automatic' on this range and he gave the order 'Single shots, when your target appears - FIRE.' Amongst those on the firing point was a Junior Rifleman in the Royal Greenjackets who was not over-endowed with brain cells who pushed the safety-catch straight to automatic and when the target appeared he squeezed the trigger, letting fly with a burst of about five rounds. Horrified, Lt. Norris called the boy by name who turned to face the officer with a loaded SMG pointing at his stomach and his finger on the trigger!!! To this day I can still see the reaction on Lt. Norris' face. The blood drained away and then realisation and self-preservation took over. "Rifleman G......, I am about to give you an order. Do you understand?" - "Er--- Yes Sir". - "A...bout TURN - Make Safe" (Safety catch, pouch, magazine off etc). I wonder how I can still remember that sequence after more than 45 years when I have difficulty remembering what I did yesterday!!!
The second range recollection concerned the RMP Junior Leaders who had to qualify on the .38 revolver. One member of the firing party fired when the target appeared. Unfortunately, he had, unwittingly, fired an oversized round and this was protruding a few millimetres from the end of the barrel; a fact of which he was totally unaware. He had re-cocked the weapon and was about to fire again when the offending round was spotted by one of the instructors. We were told that had he fired again it may have blown off his hand!!! I heard that the revolver and protruding round was later displayed at the RMP Depot at Chichester but cannot confirm the truth of this.

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