- Letter Writer
- Letter to the Editor, Humour
- RAN Ships
- None noted.
- September 1996 edition of the Naval Historical Review (all rights reserved)
Re page 17 of “REVIEW” Vol. 17 No. 2 of June 1996. “Rush of Blood”.
I did not stand on my head during the Loyal Toast, nor did I say “That’s how we do it down under!” The story is this:
At the final Dining in Night for Course 22 at Latimer (Joint Service Staff College) Buckinghamshire, UK, in May 1960, the Directing Staff followed a procedure developed over the years since the JSSC ran its first course in 1945. The procedure took place after the Loyal Toast, drunk standing up because we had representatives from all Services, civil servants, Americans and other foreigners among the students.
As a farewell gesture, the band played various tunes for the various groups of officers who stood while the tune was being played. For example, the Regimental Tunes for various British Regiments, “A Nice Cup of Tea” for the civil servants, the national anthems of India and Pakistan, “Anchors Aweigh” for the USN, “The Halls of Montezuma” for the US Marine Corps etc.. The nationals stood up for their own special tune (no toast). For the Digs, there were three of us as I recall, the band played “Waltzing Matilda” – no starchy behaviour needed for that!
When the band struck up “Waltzing Matilda”, I walked to the centre of the dining room and stood on my head. As at “CERBERUS” on Dining in Nights the tables were arranged in a large square. The other Digs joined me and stood on their heads too. A Guards officer stepped out and poured a glass of port down my shirt front. There was wide spread amusement – everyone thought the action of the Australian officers totally appropriate. Latimer was always the most tremendously fun place….
“Knocker” (Captain N.H.S. White RAN (Retd).)
(Captain White points out that his confidential report from Latimer emphasises that “…he has, moreover, a considerable sense of the fitness of things… ” Ed.)