#Sixties lads – Major Monkman’s Commandos
In 1968, Major Monkman, who described himself as a ‘firm disciplinarian,’ puts his platoon of young Commandos through their paces in front of my cameras.
The Major, believed that gruelling assault courses, no holds barred combat training, long route marches, strict discipline and unquestioning obedience could transform ‘long haired yobs’ into ‘respectable citizens’.
“Before I get them they are misfits,” he told me. “Now they’ve had their hair cut short, dress and move sharply, call me ‘Sir’ and obey me instantly.”
To his many critics, these highly disciplined, black uniformed, youngsters bought back unwelcome memories of the Nazi S.S. and even the Major agreed his choice of colour had been ‘a mistake’.
Pictured: The Major’s lads go through their paces. These were shot on Nikon SLR cameras on Kodak Tri-X black and white film rated at 400 ASA. I used a variety of lens from a wide angle 24mm to a longer 135mm.
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