WHILE a sense of humour is essential in the army one soldier has taken it a step further.
Martin Semple, 23, of Holmfirth, is a Queen’s Horse Guard, sitting on top of a horse guarding Whitehall, London, by day.
But at night Trooper Semple is HM Comic – using his day job as inspiration for his comedy routines.
Martin plays Lawrence Batley Theatre supporting surreal comic Charlie Chuck on December 11.
He will also warm up for BBC They Think It’s All Over veteran comic Lee Hurst at Holmfirth Picturedrome on December 22.
His comic career started at Crag Rats Theatre, Holmfirth, where, among jobs as a bartender and manager, he wrote pantomimes and comedy murder mysteries.
Feeling somewhat frustrated some years later, Martin decided to join the Household Cavalry aged 21.
He landed the glamorous job as a horse guard at Whitehall and Windsor Castle.
Martin, a former student of Huddersfield New College, said: “There’s some glitz and glamour and you get the girls but there’s lots of polishing of gear and the horses aren’t always that friendly. They try to bite and kick you – that happens daily.”
But it is his day job which has provided him with unique material which has caused his rise in popularity.
He’s played a prestigious midweek slot at London’s Comedy Store and he’s got a fan website on Facebook.
“It’s quite unusual to be a serving soldier and comedian but that is what’s been getting me all the attention.
“I’m not sure if that’s good or bad but I’m hoping to get some attention for my regiment.
“My bosses love what I’m doing.”
Part of Martin’s routine are tales of maniac tourists, elusive policewomen and the horrors of quiche.
Martin, who is based at Hyde Park Barracks, said: “An Italian tourist grabbed my boot and I told him to leave. He wouldn’t so I kicked him and he fell over.
“A policewoman came over to see what the trouble was. I quite fancied her and asked for her phone number.
“She put a piece of paper in my boot and all the lads saw it and were impressed.
“But when I pulled her note out of the boot, it said ‘999!’”
Martin, who will serve in Afghanistan next September, said: “I’m looking forward to it. The biggest thing in the army is a sense of humour, especially in a place like Afghanistan. If you don’t have that it can mentally destroy you.
“I’ll probably be relied upon heavily by my squadron to boost morale.”
In 2008 Martin was named the best new recruit and was presented with a special medal at his passing out parade at Pirbright training barracks in Surrey.
It came after his first application to join the forces was turned down on medical grounds because records showed he had used an inhaler in the past.
But he was determined to sign-up and his hard work paid off when he was given the accolade after completing his training.