Posted by James Briggs on November 19, 2004
Back on 'our' first ever message board page in 1999 the following was posted:
Anyone know where the expression "No names no pack drill" comes from, as in, you know who said something, but you're not prepared to say who it was for fear (eg) of getting them in trouble.
ESC then replied with a suggestion.
Today, in The Times, the following was offered:
"A soldier whose kit on parade was unsatisfactory would have his name taken by the NCO on the orders of the inspecting officer(see Wilfred Owen's poem Inspection), and would be put on a charge before his company commander. The resulting penalty would, at one time, probably have included a period of drill in full kit ("pack drill"). A good parade was one during which no one's kit was below standard, so no names were taken, so no pack drill would ensue. Hence the expression implying that the fewer names named, the better.
Michael Grosvenor Myer, Cambridge"