Mess Dinners; Advice for Subaltern Organizers of

Annex A

Mess Dinner Sequence (circa 1983)

This checklist was received from a regimental Mess Sergeant of The RCR who was using it in the early 1980s. The period of use is evident in the full range of drinks served and the inclusion of cigars/cigarettes in the dinner sequence.

1.     Sherry bar, beer bar, or punch.

3.     Guest book at entrance to Mess.

4.     Shrimp cocktails, salads, relish trays out and sherry (if served with the soup course) will be pre-poured.

5.     15 min. call

6.     Light the candles.

7.     5 min. call.

8.     Open doors to the dining room and stand there.

9.     Pipers or the band play the Officers into the dining room.

10.     When the pipers leave the dining room or the band stops playing, close the doors.

11.     After Grace has been said and the Officers seated, turn off the over head lights.

12.     After shrimp cocktails or salads are finished, take away the cocktail or salad dishes.

13.     At this time a second pour of sherry may be desired, or the white wine will be poured. If they want white wine, take away the sherry glasses and pour the white wine at this time. (P.M.C. to taste the wine first).

14.     Serve the soup.

15.     After the soup is finished take away the soup dishes.

16.     Take away the sherry glasses if they had sherry with their soup, and if so, pour the white wine at this time. (P.M.C. to taste wine first).

17.     Serve the fish course.

18.     After fish course finished, take away the fish course dishes.

19.     Take away the sherry glasses or white wine glasses.

20.     Serve the red wine. (P.M.C. to taste the wine first.)

21.     Serve the main course.

22.     Top up the red wine throughout the main course.

23.     Ensure they have enough wine to last through the desert course.

24.     After main course finished, take away the main course dishes.

25.     Serve the desert.

26.     After the desert is finished, take away the desert dishes.

27.     Pick up the red wine glasses.

28.     Strip the tables at this time except for the port glasses and trophies.

29.     Serve the port.

30.     Have the piper or the band stand by.

31.     When the dining room has been cleared of staff, warn the P.M.C. that the port has been served.

32.     The toasts will take place at this time, The Queen first.

33.     After the toasts, the ash trays will be taken out to the table.

34.     Side plates and bread knives will be taken out to the table.

35.     Cheese trays served.

36.     Milk, cream and sugar served.

37.     Coffee served.

38.     Mints and Nuts served.

39.     Cigars and cigarettes served (by bartenders).

40.     Take orders for liqueurs.

41.     Ensure the port decanters are full.

42.     When all the liqueurs have been served and the port decanters full, and all the staff left the dining room, the march pasts will be played.

43.     If the pipers are present, he will if requested play the piobaireachd and stop behind the head table, at the same time the head wine steward will be there with the required amount of quaife cups on a silver tray with whisky in the cups and serve them to the C.O. When finished, take away the tray and quaife cups and return to the bar, if the pipers do not play the piobaireachd, they will normally be quaifed anyway, and this should be arranged with the P.M.C. before the dinner starts.

After the pipers have been quaifed they will play the regimental quick march on their way out of the dining room.

44.     At this time the C.O. may request the band master (if present) and the cook, one or both at the same time to have a drink with him. The Mess Sgt will place one or both chairs behind the C.O. and then escort one or both, bandmaster leading or first to the head table carrying one or both glasses of port and serve them to the bandmaster and cook.

45.     The Mess Sgt will stay at the head table until the above procedure is finished, when done he will put away the chairs and glasses.

46.     At this the Mess Sgt will have more coffee served if required.

47.     Speeches and presentations will take place.

48.     When the C.O. gets up to leave, open both doors and stand there until the major part of the dining room has been cleared, and when the dining room cleared start to clean up.