Once abroad and with a wider variety of characters in the barrack room and the choices they had in the red-light districts of Hong Kong and Kowloon, one could not fail to hear their often comic tales of sexual exploits and misadventures. As such those tales, the Chinese prostitutes and the districts in which they were found were enough to put any decently minded man off rather than encourage them. A lot of soldiers also believed that the tea in the cookhouse was laced so as to diminish the sexual urge.
I have mentioned the homosexual in the Troop. This was an isolated case and he was a pathetic creature.
The conscript was, of course, subject to military law and discipline. Obedience is essential in the Army and the purpose of ‘drill’ to ensure whatever the circumstances one did as was ordered. Such an organization as the Army cannot function without it. Discipline over petty matters was irksome, but and one could do little about it. At times we experienced some minor tyranny from junior and ill educated NCOs, and from 2nd Lieutenants.
NCOs and Officers had the power of punishment. If a military offense was committed in the eyes of one’s superior one was put on a charge known as a ‘252 or a fizzer’. Offenses ran the gamut from having an alleged dirty rifle on guard, being slovenly on parade with not shiny enough boots, dumb insolence, through being absent without leave.
The punishments or ‘jankers’ as it is referred to in the army vernacular varied, it could be 7 days CB, confined to barracks, a punishment that made little difference to us because we got out so rarely. Another punishment was confined to the Guard Room, the worst part of which was constant heavy fatigues (to which as regular duties were no strangers )and having to parade with all kit in highly bulled condition regularly, and then double march – a very quick pace – around the parade ground at the command of the Orderly Sergeant or Sergeant Major. Punishment for the most serious offenses was time spent in an Army Prison, which was tough.
On being charged one was first brought as a defaulter at a formal parade in best uniform before one’s Troop Captain, the charge made and evidence given with a right of reply. The charge could be dismissed, warning given, but if punishment was levied it was instant and then, I think, the opportunity given to accept it or not. If not accepted it went up the line of command.