No eating with your hands, commander says



Want a sandwich? Soldiers better have a knife and fork handy — if they’re in the British army.

Sandwiches and rolls are banned from an officers’ mess in England because the way soldiers eat them is “frankly barbaric,” says an army commander, Maj. Gen. James Cowan, quoted Wednesday in The Telegraph, which cites a report in the Sun.

“Quite a few officers … seem to be under the impression that they can eat their food with their hands,” Cowan says in a three-page letter on standards at Bulford Camp in Wiltshire, home of 3 UK Division.

He also targets the use of language in the military.

“The wanton use of capitals, abbreviations and acronyms assaults the eye and leaves the reader exhausted,” writes Cowan, commander of about 20,000 soldiers and 2,500 officers.

He has a point there. Good thing he doesn’t have to read the All Army Activities messages from the U.S. Army.

But if you think Her Majesty’s armed forces may be too serious, consider this: They have Burns Night, a tribute to the poet Robert Burns. Americans who have been to Burns Night in an officers’ mess can vouch that it’s one of the British military’s most endearing traditions: Pass the whiskey, quote some Burns to your fellow celebrants. Repeat. Until, say, breakfast.

Maybe Gen. Cowan isn’t too serious, either.  A British Army spokesman says the general meant the letter to be “fun.”

See more of the general’s etiquette tips for soldiers at:



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  1. SFC Michael J Hovis on

    This is more of the stupid Liberals in the Military……”cannot eat a sandwich with hands”……….shove it Commander Maj. Gen James Cowan!

  2. Snuffy Smith on

    Hovis also didn’t read that it’s the UK Army. We ‘Mericans eat sammiches any dang way we want!

  3. “Standing on the hill and watching the destruction below was a difficult experience for Julia as she nestled into her husband’s arm. Choose the right company depending on your own needs and interests, not another woman’s.

  4. This is pretty funny. I originally thought it was serious and the logic behind it was for purposes of field sanitation etc. And hey Hovis…. lighten up Francis!

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