Saturday, May 18, 2024

The Missing Dinner Plates

April 15, 2010 by  
Filed under Memoirs

When moving from one camp to another, the awful business of handing over a complete inventory of all camp equipment to the incoming quartermaster became a nightmare. Any shortages would have to be paid for by the outgoing soldiers.

Everything had to be laid out in its correct order, counted and signed for in the usual Army method.

On one such move, preparing for the eventual hand-over, I discovered that about a hundred white dinner plates were missing. I made everyone’s life a misery searching for those damn plates. They were never found.

Help came from an unexpected quarter. The N.C.O. from the Transport platoon came forward and informed me that he would fix the hand-over. No problems, just leave it all to him and with the help of the storeman, the problem would be solved. I never knew how he worked the double shuffle, but the camp was handed over without any shortages. So no charges could be made against my Company.

On reflection, I cannot think why I did not cotton on to the fact that the chap who painted all the signs on our vehicles had volunteered to help. After all, I did know he was a civilian sign-writer. It took me weeks to work out the fiddle, and put a stop to it. The procedure was for a Guardsman to remove a plate from the mess, hand it over to the sign writer who, for just five shillings, handed it back, suitably painted with the Divisional sign on its surface. A truly novel souvenir. It seemed a shame to break up his little scam.

Some of my friends still have those plates. Alas, as I was the quartermaster responsible, it was kept well hidden from me, so no souvenir.

A hundred plates at five shillings a time – twenty five pounds was a lot of money at that time.


One Response to “The Missing Dinner Plates”
  1. Alan Parry-Booth says:

    But not all of the twenty-five quid was profit………..don’t forget the paint,
    brushes and turps.