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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Young Officers Reports


Rob B

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As we have kicked off with the map reading skills of young officers and lets face it not so young officers!

Lets have a look at what their seniors have said of them at confidential report time.

Cavalry assesment-I woudn't breed from this officer.

Infantry-Works well in wet denims.

or He is supremely confident in his own ability however we don't share his same view.

Rob

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His men would follow him anywhere. Mostly out of curiosity!

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This man would be out of his depth in a car park puddle.

From an annual report of quite a senior firefighter.

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This officer is a pompous frivolous enigma.

This officer goes through life pushing doors marked 'pull'.

This officer puts his p.... where I would not put the ferrule of my umberella.

Greg

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Well the world is full of pillocks; the army being no exception, but here is another report on a young officer, largely produced from statements of the men he led and served, that you might like to contemplate.

The George Cross. Lieutenant Terence Edward Waters (463718) (deceased), The West Yorkshire Regiment (The Prince of Wales's Own), attached The Gloucestershire Regiment.

Lieutenant Waters was captured subsequent to the Battle of the Imjin River 22nd-25th April, 1951. By this time he had sustained a serious wound in the top of his head and yet another most painful wound in the arm as a result of this action.

On the journey to Pyongyang with other captives, he set a magnificent example of courage and fortitude in remaining with other ranks on the march, whom he felt it his duty to care for to the best of his ability.

Subsequently, after a journey of immense hardship and privation, the party arrived at an area west of Pyongyang adjacent to P.W. Camp 12 and known generally as 'The Caves' in which they were held captive. They found themselves imprisoned in a tunnel driven into the side of a hill through which a stream of water flowed constantly, flooding a great deal of the floor, in which were packed a great number of South Korean and European prisoners of war in rags, filthy, crawling with lice. In this cavern a number died daily from wounds, sickness, or merely malnutrition: They were fed on two small meals of boiled maize daily. Of medical attention there was none.

Lieutenant Waters appreciated that few, if any, of his numbers would survive these conditions, in view of their weakness and the absolute lack of treatment for their wounds. After a visit from a North Korean Political Officer, who attempted to persuade them to volunteer to join a prisoner of war group known as 'Peace Fighters' (that is active participants in the propaganda movement against their own side) with a promise of better food, of medical treatment and other amentities as a reward for such activity - an offer that was refused unanimously - he decided to order his men to pretend to accede to the offer in an effort to save their lives. This he did, giving the necessary instructions to the senior other rank, Sergeant Hooper, that the men would go upon his order without fail.

Whilst realising that this act would save the lives of his party, he refused to go himself, aware that the task of maintaining British prestige was vested in him.

Realising that they had failed to subvert a British officer, the North Koreans now made a series of concerted efforts to persuade Lieutenant Waters to save himself by joining the camp. This he steadfastly refused to do. He died a short time after.

He was a young, inexperienced officer, comparatively recently commissioned from The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, yet he set an example of the highest gallantry.

London Gazette, 9th April 1954

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Jack,

Thank you for that, its good that as much as the "Ruperts" are objects of fun (and as a Lt I was still incapable of navigating my way out of the camp gate) they do rise to the challange as did Lieutenant Terence Edward Waters.

Cheers,

Rob

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Jack,

I knew I had read that somewhere before its on page 77, The Prisoner of War in the Red Book "Serve to Lead."

Did you have to do that bed time reading as well?

Rob

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Yes I did and I never forgot it. One or two signposts were there to guide me throughout my time in the army; some I used, some I did not have to. Whenever peacetime 'standards' raised their heads, the ghost of my Grenadier Guards Company Sergeant Major from Sandhurst was there at my shoulder to remind me what they were. Fortunately my generation was spared general war, so I never had to discover if I could have lived up to Terry Waters' standard - thank goodness.

Jack

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I take my hat off to any brave man, but in the original spirit of the thread and to even things out a bit

From the civil side:-

This officer sets himself consistently low standards which he fails to live up to

Of a CSM in the DCLI (a more senior officer is admonishing the author of the original report):-

You cannot describe him as "lacking a personality" Everyone has a personality although his is admittedly not a particularly attractive one

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Fair enough. Here's a genuine quote from a confidential report. He is inclined to be a bit stiff in the presence of the opposite sex'.

Jack

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