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No sandwiches for the troops, that's an order: UK army chief

London: An army chief has proposed that soldiers should not be served sandwiches because ‘a gentleman or lady always uses a knife and fork’. Major General James Cowan from the British Army issued the note after he noticed officers were eating sandwiches with their hands and failing to stand when commanders entered the room.

Major General Cowan
Major General Cowan

His three-page letter criticised standards at Bulford Camp in Wiltshire where he said he had seen many “frankly barbaric” techniques and habits displayed by soldiers and officers. The note, addressed to ‘Chaps’, said: “Quite a few officers in the divisional mess seem to be under the impression that they can eat their food with their hands. The practice of serving rolls and sandwiches must stop.”

Finds men eating with their hands barbaric and sent a three-page long note asking his officers to behave like gentlemen
Finds men eating with their hands barbaric and sent a three-page long note asking his officers to behave like gentlemen

The letter penned by Maj Gen Cowan, who is in charge of 20,000 soldiers and 2,500 officers in 3 UK Division, mostly based at Bulford, also criticised poor grammar and writing, advising against the ‘wanton use of capitals, abbreviations and acronyms’ because they can leave the reader exhausted.

His note gave a string of etiquette tips. A spokesman for the Army insisted the three page note was meant to be taken as fun. They said: “This note was part of a light-hearted correspondence between a commander and his officers about an expected code of behaviour.”

Gen Cowan’s tips on etiquette
>> Sandwiches: The practice of serving rolls and sandwiches in the mess is to stop. A gentleman or lady always uses a knife and fork

>> Knife and fork: The fork always goes in the left hand and the knife in the right. Holding either like a pen is unacceptable, as are stabbing techniques. The knife and fork should remain in the bottom third of the plate and never be laid down in the top half.

>> Successful marriage: The secret of a successful marriage is never to sit next to your spouse at dinner, except when dining alone at home. It displays a marked degree of insecurity.

>> Grammar: The wanton use of capitals, abbreviations and acronyms assaults the eye and leaves a reader exhausted.

>> Major General James Cowan in UK wants all food eaten by hands to be banned
>> Also criticised soldiers’ poor grammar
>> Added key to a good marriage was never sit next to your spouse

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