Excerpt taken from Chapter 4, Do it in style get out fast, in More Ports More Storms;
On one occasion, by virtue of an unpredicted passage through the transit area of an airport in a war zone, the army awarded him a Campaign Medal for active service there. This went some way to make up for the one denied him by the sea scouts. In a service career littered with ups and downs, Zander experienced occasional minor ‘ups’, but principally major ‘downs’, the most significant down being his spell of two years National Service, that put his professional career on hold, just when it should have been blossoming.
By the time he was ready for demobilisation, he had advanced to the exalted rank of Lance Corporal. This promotion was ‘awarded’ only six weeks prior to his demob, when he volunteered to become the regimental clerk at a National Serviceman’s ‘back to civvies’ Rehabilitation Unit. Although Zander was convinced that this promotion was merited, every soldier knows that Army Regulations dictate that anyone who does that job, is ‘handed a stripe’ to give him the Army’s power of the NCO over the ordinary Private soldier.
There is also an unsubstantiated rumour that on the train going home to ‘ Civvy’ Street, by the scrape of a razor and the careful application of a pen, Zander’s kit bag was ‘promoted’ from Lance Corporal to Lieutenant Colonel i.e. L/Cpl magically became Lt/Col.
He naturally thought it was reasonable to assume that, if his kit bag had been ‘promoted’, it followed that he too had been ‘promoted’. Thus with a deft flourish of razor blade and pen, Zander had bypassed the non-commissioned ranks, as well as a number of commissioned ranks and been elevated to General Staff level!
Disappointingly, the tools responsible for the quickest rise in the ranks ever achieved by a British soldier, were lost out of the carriage window of the train taking him home – otherwise they might well have found their way into some regimental museum!!