Maj. Gen. James Cowan wrote a three-page letter, addressed to "Chaps," criticizing the "frankly barbaric" eating habits he saw on display among soldiers and officers at Bulford Camp in Wiltshire, England, the Daily Telegraph reported Wednesday.
"Quite a few officers in the divisional mess seem to be under the impression that they can eat their food with their hands. The practice of serving rolls and sandwiches must stop," Cowan wrote. "A gentleman or lady always uses a knife and fork."
Cowan, who oversees 20,000 soldiers and 2,500 officers in Three U.K. Division, which is mostly based at Bulford, said he has also noticed many of the diners holding their forks and knives incorrectly, as "holding either like a pen is unacceptable."
An Army spokesman said the note, which also addressed grammar and the proper way for a solider to greet an officer, was meant to be "light-hearted."
"This note was part of a light-hearted correspondence between a commander and his officers about an expected code of behavior," the spokesman said.