The rhythmic beat of the DMS boots striking the concrete echoed across the parade square. As the recruits were brought in line with Sgt. Rudd, who awaited them eagerly, they instinctively began to step short, pre-empting the order for them to halt. Because the command was given as the right foot was passing the left, they took a check pace with left foot and brought the feet together as had been shown, that morning. The sound was like a machine gun, not one sound as it should have been: Rudd immediately exploded.
‘What was that, you shower of shit?’ again, a rhetorical question. ‘Turn around and face your left, stepping off to my timing. By the right, quick march. Left, right, left, right……’ the words were barely audible due to the speed they were being delivered. For the next five minutes, they were bounced up and down the square, until once again, the sweating individuals were brought to a stop, in front of the Drill Instructor.
‘Now that you are suitably warmed up, I will take you a stage further in your drill. We will now proceed to teach you how to change direction at the halt. We will first go through turning to the right. This will be done by numbers, so pay attention to my demonstration;’ placing his pace stick on the floor, he stood to attention, perfectly still. ‘On the command “Right turn,” you will keep both knees straight and the body erect, turn to the right on the right heel and left toe, raising the left heel and right toe while doing so. On the completion of this preliminary movement, the right foot must be flat on the ground and the left heel raised, both knees straight, and the weight of the body, which must be erect, on the right foot. On completion of this first movement, you will shout out “One!”’ He instructed whilst performing the action, ‘you will now perform that first movement, calling out the timing. Listen to my words of command,’ pausing, he drew in breath, ‘the squad will move to the right in threes…..right…turn!’
The formation forced their bodies to the right, holding themselves erect and locking the thighs as they did so, calling out… ‘One!’ at the top of their voices.
‘Hold it’ Rudd commanded, as he prowled through the ranks, correcting anyone not in the correct position. Once he had been round everyone, he once again took his position at the front of the squad. He adopted the first position he had just shown them, before continuing;
‘As you were, watch for the second part. I left you in this position,’ he checked that they were watching him, ‘bring the left foot smartly up to the right, whilst shouting out the number “Two!”’ He executed this second and final part of the turn. The sound of his hob nailed ammunition boots, striking the floor, echoed across the square. The squad copied his example, shouting out the number, “Two” as they did so. The Drill Sergeant practised the squad until he was sure that they had grasped it. He then went on to explain the movement in reverse, for the left turn.
‘Okay, this time we will turn to the left from the halt. Keeping both knees straight and the body erect, turn to the left on the left heel and left toe, raising the right heel and right toe in doing so. On the completion of this preliminary movement, the left foot must be flat on the ground and the right heel raised, both knees straight and the weight of the body, which must be erect, on the left foot. Again, on completion of the first movement, you will shout out the number “One!” Carry that out now.’ The Troop did as it was instructed and stood perfectly still, waiting to be adjusted by Rudd. Once again, after he was happy, Rudd continued.
‘Bring the right foot smartly up to the left, calling out the number, “Two” as you do so. Do that now!’ he roared. Obeying the command, the squad carried out the second part of the movement. For the next ten minutes, Rudd practised them at both left and right turns at the halt. Richard looked around and felt that they were actually getting there. A marked improvement on the morning’s efforts. Some of them even appeared to be enjoying it. Before they could get too complacent, Rudd broke his train of thought.
‘Right, there will be occasions where a body of men require to advance, or retire in the opposite direction. This will also be done in two phases and by numbers. Once again, look in and I will go through each movement. On the command, “About turn,” keeping both knees straight and the body erect, turn to the right-about on the right heel and left toe, raising the right toe and left heel in doing so, but keeping the right heel firmly on the ground. On completion of this preliminary movement, the right foot must be flat on the ground with the left heel raised, both knees straight and the weight of the body, which must be erect, on the right foot. Again, once in this position, call out the number “One!” Listen in to my word of command. The squad will retire, about turn!’ the command was delivered at a higher pitch than normal. After the recruits performed the first movement, they were braced in position. The Drill Instructor made his way round to what was now the front rank. ‘Once in that position, bring the left foot smartly up to the right, and shout out, “Two!” He paused then screamed, “squad, two!” The recruits obeyed as commanded, bending their left legs and driving them down onto the parade square. On doing this, as one, they shouted “Two!” As before, Rudd drilled them in the complete movement for the next five to ten minutes. Acknowledging their progress, he stood them at ease.