Memories of the Rli
Copyright© 2014 by Dreaded
As a young 17 year olds and full of shit we were beyond a doubt the naughtiest bunch of reprobates ever. We were in excellent physical condition and most of us had experience of camping and being "in the bush". The equipment we were issued was ex 2nd world war and was really a pain in the arse ... The webbing looked good but one 120 mile walk at the end of our time in training troop proved it was totally inadequate ... All the pouches were slip on and after the first day of walking hard with full kit, sweating up a storm and getting wet in a river, it all fell apart ... Seriously horrible and uncomfortable web belt that twisted up into a rope that cut your hips apart and water bottles that dangled down and banged on your arse ... The pack was a bag that had 2 straps sewed on that cut in to your shoulders like a bloody knife ... No we did not have H frame packs yet ... they had only just been designed and only the snobs at SAS used them ... That walk and the last few weeks of training troop in the C.O.I.N. phase of training made me realize that huge steps had to be made in my comfort levels or I would have a shit time in the Commando...
We had a cobbler that floated around the Battalion fixing boots and re-treading them with cut up Dunlop SP49 tyre treads ... don't laugh, car tyre makes the best boot soles out ... I grabbed hold of the old man on my leave before joining the commando and he just grinned at me and got my waist measurement ... I handed over my webbing to him and gave him my deadline and went out on the town for my last 5 days of freedom...
That first leave was one that I will never forget ... I had a brilliant girlfriend that really took me in hand and looked out for me ... Very sports orientated she was the countries number 1 junior squash player and number four women's player ... Shit she wiped the floor with me ... not that I was bad but Ali was in a class of her own much like our Ladies number one who stayed at number one for many years ... That break was good fun and a great time was had by all except for me on my second last day ... I rode a Yamaha 250 scrambler that for its time was damn quick ... I was on my way back to Camp when I was wiped out by a little old lady in a Morris Minor ... Shit, Shit Shit!!!!! ... To understand you must remember this was 1974 – all major intersections were controlled by a policeman, smartly turned out in Karki with highly polished leggings and white gloves directing traffic, standing on his trusty elevated platform ... These guys knew their intersections as they stood there during traffic hour every morning and afternoon of the year ... I was about 10 cars back in the middle of the road when he put his hand up to stop the crossing traffic and as he pointed to the first car in our