Notes From the archives: Special Order of the Day, by Martyn Horton, Light Infantry Archivist
Fifty years ago, the four-remaining county light infantry regiments amalgamated to form one regiment, the Light Infantry. As a young soldier (I use word soldier loosely in my case) we were expected to know our regimental history. Every year, certainly in the second battalion, there was a platoon competition with physical and military skills tested over a number of days. We were all examined and were expected to know our regimental personalities and history, especially Vesting Day, 10th July 1968.
While I was delving into the photographic archive I came across the special order of the day, written by General Sir Geoffrey Musson, to commemorate the historic event.
Musson was commissioned into the KSLI in 1930 and commanded 2 DCLI between 1943 and 1944 winning the DSO for his leadership. As I looked further into the archive I came across a series of photographs taken of a visit by the general to what I think is 1 KSLI in Malaysia, just prior to the battalion becoming 3LI.
General Musson is being given weapon training by senior NCOs, their uniform appears to be the sort worn in tropical climes which make me think this is indeed Malaysia. One photograph in particular grabbed my interest as it showed a young Mel Grindley, then a serjeant, instructing General Musson. I remember him as Captain Grindley when he was the Quartermaster of 2LI in the mid 1980s, I don’t suppose I ever thought of him as being a young senior NCO, to me he was always the QM, in charge of certain aspects of the battalion’s logistics. Sadly, Mel Grindley died in 2011 aged 67.
As always if anyone can shed any light on these images please get in touch especially if I’ve got the battalion and location completely wrong; unfortunately, only the names of those pictured appeared on the reverse, not the date or location.