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Urban Legends, Folklore, Myths, Rumours, and Misinformation
 
Tight fisted pads, Du Maurier tabs and Active Edge breakfasts‏
 
As a single member of the Regimental Smoking Team, my 'weapon of choice' was always the good old Benson & Hedge's, or when out in the bondu of Soltau, Embassy No 1 (due to the availability of only three choices in the back the SQMS's Bedford.....Embassy No1, Du Maurier or crisps....which were difficult to light). Remember Du Maurier? The choice of the 'pad'. You could always spot the pad when out on the lash, from the tell tale red and silver 'flip box', that poor attempt to add a bit of class to an otherwise pikey smoke. Even the local German slappers turned their noses up at them. In fact you could always spot the 'pad' as Du Maurier was all he ever had on him. He'd been on them since the wife started popping out the extra LOA recipients. Happy to scrounge B & H from the singlies at NAAFI break or any other occasion where he'd 'left his fags in the MT', our man (usually a small and painfully under-nourished Jock with pointed features and an outstanding if somewhat 'exotic' porn collection) would get through as many OP's (other people's) as he could before the 5 o'clock stampede past the Provost Sgt. In fairness, the pad never bought Du Maurier through choice (well not his anyway). If  'her indoors' could have got him onto rolly's she would have, so the cheapest 'tailor made tab' must have been a bit of a compromise for them. Besides, he could always scrounge from the singlies and "Huv ye goat a fag oan ye pahl"? could be considered an early start to his resettelment course outside Kings Cross, Victoria or St.Pancras. He was also the sort of bloke who actually looked forward to going on exercise as that was the only place where he would get at least three square a day and when Active Edge was called, he was never far from the front of the breakfast queue. It always amazed me how this man could beat the singlies to the cookhouse, given that we lived 100 metres at most from it and he lived in Elsen Heide?
 
Rinteln and the Wandering Bus Load of Nurses
 
Just a quick one to see if I can shake a few memories amongst those of us who remember the 'never arriving' bus load of nurses from BMH Rinteln. As a JNCO in Minden, I very often, along with the many others who found themselves in an equal state of denial, spent many a night at the Cpls Mess awaiting the arrival of that bus load of QA's from Rinteln who, we were promised, were to attend whatever function we were attending at that time. Needless to say, their driver must have been a new lad who got lost every time they set off from the BMH enroute Minden, Paderborn, Hameln, etc.
Having remained sober for the best part of the night, we eventually conceded that the crimp in our nuts wasn't going anywhere fast, so the next best thing was to face up to the laughing pads (who were responsible for most of the 'sightings') and get as many beers down our necks before last orders....which gave us about a quarter of an hour. I reckon that I saw more SOXMIS cars than QA laden 52 seater coaches during my entire service in Germany, which spanned over a decade. In fact, I believe that there was even a special card issued to single soldiers which instructed you to ring Herford Mil 2223, in the event that you saw such a vehicle.
I often wonder if they are still out there, travelling the autobahns in search of a good time. They'll all have aged by now. The image of a coach load of middle aged former nurses doesn't quite have the same appeal as that 'promised' to us in the 80's, but if you are out there ladies, there's still one or two of us who are quite prepared not to wait until we are tanked up at the end of the night before asking you for a dance, with the promise of a lift home the following morning! I reckon that in about 30 years, there will be reports of spooky single decker white busses, gliding silently through the ground mist outside however many British Army barracks will be left in existence in Germany around that time, with a fat lass sticking two fingers up at the gate guard from the back window, as she finishes off her 'Ginsters' breakfast. We lived in hope, JT.
 
Wolfgang
 
Can I add another 'famous' issue to the list. 'The man, that is the legend, that is (or perhaps was).....Wolfgang', the Soltau Red Shield van driver. How did he know, despite your best track discipline....exactly what part of the area you were 'hidden' in? Did he really work for the Salvation Army....or was it 3 Shock Army? Should his van have been displaying those black and white BFG plates or should it have had SOXMIS plates? Does anyone know how far back he started his 'surveillance' mission? My first recollection is circa 1979. Can anyone top that? Does anyone know where he is today? Is he still alive or, is it a case of on the quieter nights in Soltau, if you listen really carefully.....you can hear the faint sound of a Wolfgang's bell......followed by the much repeated order of "Sergeant Major!!... get those bloody men back under cover!"
JT
 
I have it on reliable authority that he has passed on to that great bratty wagon in the sky. One thing that you may not have known is that the bell on the front of his wagon was nicked by my mob (C Sqn 17/21 Lancers) during troop training on Soltau in 1986. We spun the nut (I remember it was a 9/16ths from the tank tool roll) while he was serving up to a bunch of guys from our squadron. Needless to say he had quite the sense of humour failure when he went on to the next unit's hide and tried to ring it. We had a little brass plaque made and put it on the bell. We then placed it on the wall of our squadron bar in Block 16, Swinton Barracks. For all I know, it may still be in the position of some sqn bar with the Queen's Royal Lancers.
Doug Sword