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However, with hindsight , it seems that the drinking culture was seen as the lesser of two evils compared to drug use. Sitting in a pub in Barry Island with some mates when in walked a large Welsh policeman.In saying that you have to remember the Septics with their Vietnam fiasco and the prevalence of drug use and the problems that arose in the field. Fortunately he was a good chap who just said "I'll be back in 10 minutes lads, I suppose you'll have left by then".By the time I left in the mid '90's that too had diminished somewhat. I certainly wasn't insinuating that anyone was rolling back to work at 1300 canned.I just had the impression that for a period of time it became quite acceptable to partake, and, as always, one or two overdid it.By the time I left in 1997 it was frowned on to have a pint with your lunch, and then return to work.I'd like to say, looking back, aahhh those were the days, but I'm not convinced that the service is now the worse for controlling alcohol consumption.I never saw anyone drunk in the 2 years I was on that team, there was never any "trouble" and I suspect that most of us learned the "art" of how to drink sensibly from our SNCO's who were always the last to leave at 1300 hrs.
At Swinderby and Halton at aged 17, getting hammered was totally normal, and sociably acceptable by everybody from the top down, despite the fact you were underage.
The furniture in the 'Pigs Bar' at Tengah was bolted to the floor for obvious reasons! Fortunately there were a couple of dog handlers hovering outside and on seeing them the Paras upped and left, in a semi orderly manner.
The IT company I joined in the early '70s also had a drinking culture, especially among middle management.
Yes, you were given special coloured epaulets if you were over 18, but they were just shared amongst the under aged chaps (lasss were treated quite differently in those days).
Everybody knew it went on and provided you did not get into trouble it was unofficially accepted.