Between ourselves there was always something going on. And we were not ’bored’ with each others company. The best antidote for boredom – and many aspects of Army life – was a well developed sense of humor; or, more important, of the ridiculous. And despite the task or the time some humor could always be found in any situation that was good for a laugh or apposite comment, often delivered quietly in the ranks. One I remember fondly was ‘if you can’t stand a joke you should never have joined’.
There was always something to read: we purchased local papers and had from home, several week old local and national newspapers, along with magazines and periodicals. These were swapped among us. And I always had a book of some description.
This is a personal and private matter. We did have compulsory church parades on occasions like Armistice Day and Gunner Sunday. I can recall the Church of England members and the like were given talks by an army Chaplain at Stanley Barracks. From my perspective, the only benefit to these was that they were given in the cool Church, and we were not then on fatigues or out in the hot sun on the square practicing riot drill. Some were excused these parades or talks on grounds of their own religious beliefs.
At Stanley there was a garrison Church and this I attended for certain events such as Harvest Festival, which with familiar prayers and hymns was a reminder of home. I also attended occasionally at the Anglican Cathedral in Victoria. I was not however impressed by the quality of the clergy or choir.
I vaguely remember too some individual from a church organization appearing from time to time whilst I was at Woolwich and engaging us in talk.
15. Sexual Morals
The Army wanted us to stay fit and healthy and after the gruesome films we were shown and horrific lectures given in basic training on the dangers of sexual diseases I was very wary of even thinking of attempting any sexual adventuring. To ensure we were FFI (free from infection) regular parades were held on the road outside the medical quarters where on the order, shorts or slacks and underpants were dropped around our ankles, and with a jungle hat on our heads and nothing else, our genitals were closely examined by the Medical officer. These parades were quite amusing. At the order, shorts and slacks were put back up.