MESSAGE LEFT ON THE BRITISH ARMY ANSWERPHONE:
Thank you for calling the British Army. I’m sorry, but all our units are out at the moment, or are otherwise engaged. Please leave a message with your country, name of organisation, the region, the specific crisis and a number at which we can call you. As soon as we have sorted out Kosovo, Bosnia, Macedonia, Serbia, Iraq, Northern Ireland, Sierra Leone, The Congo, marching up and down bits of tarmac in London and compulsory health and safety at work training, we will return your call.
Please speak after the tone or, if you require more options, listen to the following numbers:
A. If your crisis is small and close to the sea, press 1 for the Royal Marines.
B. If your concern is distant, with a tropical climate, good hotels and can be solved by one or two low-risk bombing runs, please press 2 for the Royal Air Force. (Please note that this service is not available after 1630 or weekends.)
C. If your enquiry concerns a situation which can be resolved by a warship, some bunting, flags, a damn good cocktail party and a first class marching band, please write, well in advance, to the First Sea Lord, The Royal Navy, Whitehall, London SW1.