Western Mail, Thursday 27 April 1933, page 2
NOT A COMPETITION
Dear "Non-Com." - Most soldiers will know the meaning of "Getting the Stick." It means that the smartest man chosen by the officer inspecting the guard before mounting same is excused guard duties and is the Colonel's orderly for the day. The following happened at the mounting of a guard of one of the battalions in Kitchener's Army early in 1915.
The guard was due for inspection by the adjutaut at 9 a.m. At two minutes to the hour the guard was a man short, but just before the hour struck the missing man came rushing on to the parade ground. He was unshaven, had a dirty rifle, dirty buttons, and dirty boots. It was too late for the sergeant of the guard to do anything and he had no option than to let him fall in with the rest but placed him in the rear rank. It so happened that he would be the last man to be inspected.
The Adjutant having inspected the front rank, remarked to the sergeant that so far he thought it was going to be difficult to choose the smartest man on parade. He eventually came, to the man who had arrived on parade late. "Good Lord, man!" said the Adjutant. "Whatever are you doing on parade in this state?"
"It's quite all right, sir," was the reply. "I'm not competing!"
D.L.I., Lake King.
Those in the story:
Alfred Leete's recruitment poster for Kitchener's Army
Kitchener's Army = The New Army, often referred to as Kitchener's Army or, disparagingly, Kitchener's Mob, was an (initially) all-volunteer army formed in the United Kingdom following the outbreak of hostilities in the First World War. It was created on the recommendation of General Horatio Kitchener, then Secretary of State for War.
Narrator D.L.I. = Unidentified