Initiative and Mischief in the Ranks – by George Mansford

The soldiers were on parade rehearsing and all had gone well

Then the command to advance in review order was yelled

The long line marched 15 paces and without any orders, halted

It was to demonstrate discipline and that no one had bolted

The ultimate example of military good order and cohesion

Alas, Private Dodger Brown kept walking without apparent


The powers to be scratched their heads on what was to be


Such a clumsy soldier whom it seemed no one claimed as a


He had to be on the official parade for he was to be given a


To change such an important event would be very wrong


Moffitt, an old warrior in the ranks, recently demoted for strife

Stepped forward and offered a solution at the risk of his life

“Give him 15 pebbles and with each step, one he will discard

When the last one drops he will not walk a further yard”

After much huffing and puffing the RSM tried it out

It worked and there was no need for further angry shouts

The big day came and went without a hitch

Moff was a hero and Dodger was no longer in that well known


And so the legend was born of Dodger with 15 stones in the


Soon he was the talk in all the military land

Better still, Moff had been promoted to lead his band


However the story doesn’t end there

Moff lost his stripes and swore revenge with sleeves so bare

Then came a day involving another important parade

At 15 paces the advance came to a halt but Dodger marched


The investigation showed that Moff had done wrong

He had given Dodger an extra two pebbles to carry that day

The RSM was far from pleased and Moff lost liberty and pay

I swear its true cos I was there and Moff remains a great mate

Besides the bastard made it known that I too, often halted too



George Mansford ©June 2011

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