During World War I I
In order reprimand an entire Company for some infraction of rules A Commanding Officer would call the FORMATION to" ATTENTION" while on the Parade Ground. Then walk off without giving the command " Dismissed" or "Stand AT- Ease" Consequently --- The Company was "Frozen " in the position of "Attention" until the Officer saw fit to relieve them.
Just before supper each evening The Battalion stood the formation called "RETREAT " the Lowering of the (flag ) Colors. The Battalion is called to "Attention- Present Arms" The Bugler Sounds the "TO THE COLORS" Then a Canon is Fired with a blank Round. Followed by The Bugle Call " RETREAT" as the flag is lowered. The ceremony over, the commander call out " ORDER- ARMS-Dismissed" and troops flow into the mess hall for supper.-----
On one such occasion in 1943 -I was standing in such a formation and just as the canon was to be fired-- Some idiot cut loose with an extremely loud FART that was heard throughout the ranks. No one cracked a smile. The formation continued without incident. After the flag was lowered and folded, the commanding officer turned and walked off the field. He returned 30 minutes later and as if nothing had happened -He called "Dismissed" Standing at "ATTENTION" For 30 minutes while holding a 11 pound rifle in front of you and moving nothing but your eyelids, can be a very grueling exercise in self control. (We got the message) Supper was cold. That evening.
NO MORE GAS WAS EVER EXPELLED AT A FORMATION
----- Ed Braun
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