Sergeants and warrant officers in the British Army have their own mess, with its own strict rules about who can and can’t be invited to mess functions. Tonight we have a simple card invitation issued by the sergeants’ mess of the 9th Battalion Gloucestershire Regiment:This card is printed on yellow card and has never been written out. The only 9th Battalion of the Regiment I can find served in the First World War so I believe this would date from that era.
The following rules on guests in a Sergeants’ mess come from the King’s Regiment but would be representative of most regiments:
- Members may invite qualified male guests to the Mess. They are entirely responsible for the conduct of their guests. Guests are not to be brought into the mess after 22:00
- On no account is any male person in the armed forces below the rank of Sergeant or equivalent to be introduced into the Mess as a guest.
- No civilian guests are to be permitted to enter the Mess without the consent of the Regimental Sergeant Major, or in his absence the Mess President
- The Regimental Sergeant Major and President only are permitted to authorise Mess Guests drinks.
57. Ladies are at no time to be permitted to enter the bar or living accommodation but may be invited into the Mess at the following times:
(a) Daily from 1830 hrs until the Mess closes.
(c) On special occasions.
- Children are only permitted in the Mess on Sunday’s between the hours of 1200 hrs and 1400 hrs. They are not permitted in the bar, dining room and living accommodation.
All messes hold a variety of social occasions throughout the year, hosting the officers or the corporals at differing mess dinners. For these a formal invitation would be sent, the mess using its stock of invitations, such as this one, to make that request.