Rifle Cleaning - George Souness Recalls

Routine Tuesday Drill Night in the 1970's.
The Sergeant-Major is showing a prospective group of recruits around and espies the Signals Corporal sitting in a quiet corner earnestly cleaning his rifle. Sergeant-Major puffs his chest out and proudly explains to the potential recruits that a soldier's rifle is his most important piece of equipment and all the troops regularly clean their rifles to ensure they remain in tiptop condition. Sergeant-Major beams merrily at the Signals Corporal who returns the compliment and returns to his work.

Previous Weekend
The Signals Corporal and his comrades were live firing on Altcar Ranges. At the end of firing all rifles were clogged and required cleaning. Normal procedure being time, elbow grease, oil, pull through, etc. A 'Mate', however, had a 'Magic Potion', which when added to water, was guaranteed to clear the residue with little effort other than pouring down the rifle barrel. As a Saturday night's entertainment in Southport beckoned the Signals Corporal succumbed to temptation and poured the 'Potion' down the Barrel. Sure enough all grunge came out and barrel and rifling was 'clean as a whistle'. Corporal handed in rifle and had a very good evening! He was in the Butts the following day and suffered a little as bullets 'pinged' overhead due to his over indulgence the evening before; Pernod and Beer don't mix very well!

Earlier on the Drill Night
Following Parade the Signals Corporal is called across to the Armoury to be told that his rifle barrel is rusty as Hell and he had better clean it quick before the Sergeant-Major finds out! Signals Corporal quickly draws his rifle and cleaning kit, finds a quiet corner and is earnestly cleaning his rifle as the Sergeant-Major and a group of prospective recruits approach.

One very happy Sergeant-Major.
Group of very impressed prospective recruits.
One very clean self-loading rifle.
One very relieved Signals Corporal.

George Souness December 2005
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