Now that's soldiering
Sandhurst Academy Sergeant-Major J.C. Lord, MVO, MBE, in a speech to the British Staff College
"I am going to relate to you something that happened to me which I think highlights this business. In my parachute battalion we had a Corporal Sheriff. He was a good corporal but he had his share of rockets and so on. He didn't make sergeant when there was plenty of promotion flying about but he was a good battalion and a good company man. He joined us in 41, fought with us in North Africa, Sicily and Italy and finally at Arnhem, and it was at Arnhem that he was wounded. We had been in the prison camp for I should think about three months with no knowledge of him at all when I was told that he was in the reception hut, and so I scrounged a few cigarettes which were available, because I was told he was in bad shape, and went up to the hut.
"I shall never forget it. As I opened the door everything stopped: there was a deathly silence and everybody looked round as they do under those circumstances. The hut was full of foreigners of various nationalities, a smell of unwashed bodies and a strange atmosphere. I looked around and saw Corporal Sheriff in some strange uniform — if you could call it a uniform — which had been supplied to him. He was sitting cross-legged on the floor, head hanging down, looking very dejected.
"I walked across towards him and you could have heard a pin drop. I went up to him and I said something to the effect, "Hello Corporal Sheriff, how are you getting on?" And in front of all those foreigners he stood up. It was three months since we had seen one another and he had no particular cause to love me. In front of all those foreiegners he stood up and he stood to attention and you could almost hear their astonishment.
"He turned his head towards me and said, "Hello Sir, it's good to hear your voice." He was blind. Even in those circumstances he was a member of the family, he felt he belonged again and he was back in the bosom of the family. Now that's soldiering, that's spirit, that's understanding. That's all the things I've been trying to say."
- Napoleon Series Archive 2006 – Academy Sergeant Major J.C. Lord, MVO MBE
- ParaData – Warrant Officer Class 1 John C Lord, MVO MBE
- PegasusArchive – Regimental Sergeant Major John Clifford Lord
- Tales from the Academy – ASM J C Lord