3857 Richard Patterson Remembers: The Great Eight

Above L-R: Roy Naudie, David Foster, Peter Fenton (up), Don Goodwin (down), Bill Love, Marien Cote, Bill Campbell, Dick Patterson. Do they look contrite?  (comment on the class web site)

Article by 3857 Richard Patterson

Ah, the Great Eight (or as others called us, The Rec Room Rubbies). It was just before Christmas exams in Second Year (1954). It was Bill Love’s birthday and that evening we decided to celebrate it in the 2nd year Rec Room on the 2nd deck of Yeo Hall after Roll Call.  I think we had only one mickey of rum among us all (and we were 19/20 years of age.) Dave Foster was not drinking but was sucking on rum and butter cough drops. Someone blew the whistle on us and seniors arrived. We did have the smell of rum on our breathes, Dave, only the cough drops.

We were charged of course. I heard that the Commandant, Gp Capt Bradshaw, wanted us tossed out. Sqn Ldr Tony Golab, the Staff Adjt, interceded and we got 21 days CB (confined to barracks) instead. Perhaps the fact that several of us played football and he was the first team coach (and we had won our league) may have been a factor.

CB included early morning inspection and drill, after classes inspection and drill and often fatigues, inspection after Tattoo Roll Call (at 2210 hrs) plus we had to wear No 1’s to class all day, then get them ready for the next inspection. It was designed to wear us down. In fact, it drove us together. One morning we found Peter still in the sack and asleep just before parade time. We physically lifted him out, dressed him and got him on the square before he really woke up.

At lunch and dinner, we had our own table (for 8) in the middle row. Dave Foster, our poet, wrote us a tune which we sang to the waitresses on our last lunch thanking them for their kindness. The Wing burst into applause. The photo is from our last day on CB.

There were only 21 days to Christmas exams when this started. Some didn’t survive the exams (or had enough). I remember that Dave wrote tone poems instead of answering the exam questions. Bill Love (the honoree) figured that it was time for him to start soldiering for real and went off to an infantry regiment.

One Comment

  • Pete Avis

    April 13, 2021 at 11:34 am

    Bravo Zulu!
    Great salty dip from the 50s!
    Interesting how disipline morphed through the years — 5 Sqn rooks in ’75 were sent in front of a Firing Squad (who fired blanks – as Bobby Hills has recounted)!!! Cheers, Pete

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