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Royal Air Force Club

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Royal Air Force Club

Old 25th May 2011, 11:47
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..
..........surprised an airline pilot couldn't afford it!!
It's a myth - at least it was 40 years ago, in my era - that the hump on the 747 was designed so that the Captain could sit on his wallet.
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Old 25th May 2011, 11:52
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The RAF Club seems to be good value - the Chauffeurs is now nearly 1000 a year and you can't get a room there either because of a group who seem to live there 4 nights a week

The RAC does move a little with the times in regard to dress code - smart casual is allowed in some areas but the RAF has pleasanter staff
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Old 25th May 2011, 11:59
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Jindy,

This argument about being a 'Returned Serviceman' versus a stay-at-home has been the subject of much angst amongst the ex-Service community in Australia and New Zealand. I'm a reasonbly patient person and have spent many hours over the years on 'engagement' activities to get the Air Power message across. I am also a published historian, drawing on personal recollections and offical archives, so I am used to dealing with old servicemen.

But to be confronted by some of crimson-faced buffer, looking like a Walrus, talking of 'fizzers' and 'the Glass House' and what some wee-soaked WO said in the NAAFI at RAF Middleton-on-the-Wold in Nineteen Canteen, who is then critical of the Air Force of today (and alludes that medals are too easily given) fails to gain my respect. He would have been a prat 50 years ago, and time hasn't been particularly forgiving! Several years ago I had lunch at the In and Out Club in St James's,as a guest of a US Embassy official. At the bar I was introduced to a middle-aged 'Flt Lt'. He was a bit evasive about his branch and service history, and it was only later that I learned, quite by chance, that he was an ex VR(T) Officer. He had been clearly 'bigging' it up at the In and Out, and exploiting it for commercial gain (he was in the financial services industry, selling pensions, or some-such). If he had been honest with me - and others, clearly - that he was a VR(T) officer, he would have gained my respect (I'm an ex ATC cadet, and proudly so). Instead, he came across as what our Army colleagues call a 'Walt'. There seemed to be a number of them hanging out at the Rag; perhaps the entry criteria is less descriminating...

Back on topic. I think that we all agree that the RAF Club will need to change and diversify to survive (and good luck to it). But the core, the ethos, has to be the support for members who are serving or retired officers. The problem is squaring that with having to run a multi-million pound business in central London. Not an easy task.
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Old 25th May 2011, 12:05
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"Wee-soaked WO said in the NAAFI"

Words fail me; I rest my case.

How very sad............

I'm going for a walk with the dog.

HB
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Old 25th May 2011, 12:11
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The real trouble would start if you let the Financial Community in - they are really a grim bunch and have no idea how to behave - the RAC bar can be a noisy, unpleasant place in the early evening

Far better to have the non-commisioned IMHO - at least they share the Service ethos
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Old 25th May 2011, 12:58
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HB,

I hope you enjoyed taking the dog for a walk.

How about I said 'a wee-soaked Wing Commander in the Officers' Mess Bar' - it would be equally applicable. I really think you are reading too much into this; I was attempting to illustrate (clearly not enough to elucidate you) that there are some ex-SP who are just plain bores. They would be equally boring at the RAF Club, UJC, VSC, RBL, RAFA.....

Probably like me.

As an aside, 20 years ago as a Flt Lt I took a mate of mine who was a Cpl around the RAF Club (both of us wearing RAF Colours Blazers, if I recall). He just been promoted above me. Damn

Heathrow Harry - I agree totally, and that's why the rules for the Cowdray Lounge must not be relaxed vis a vis business papers, business meetings, briefcases and mobile phone calls.
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Old 25th May 2011, 13:57
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I forgot to say that I'm a long-term fan of the place, having graduated from keen young sprog to knackered old fart (or young PITA to old PITA). I spend a fortune there every December and, aside from having to tolerate Foldy and his mean drinking habits, enjoy every minute. A handy bottle or two of Black Grouse (re-Foldy) overcomes the crticism of bar closing times. The aviation artwork is also reasonable -----
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Old 25th May 2011, 14:34
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Just a quick update - I've had a swift response from the club secretary, and they are already following the thread. They weren't too happy with the photo on P1, and in respect of the comments which accompanied it I must say I agree with them. Let's try and stick to the point guys and not get too personal, or this thread could go the same way as its predecessor. I see the mods have removed a couple of rather snide ad hominem posts directed at me - thanks for that, but as the originator of those posts is a serial offender in that respect I wasn't too worried by them.

I'll keep you posted.
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Old 25th May 2011, 14:56
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Frankly, I can't see the point of spending any more time in London than you absolutely have to, so perhaps my RAF Club membership was shaky from the word go. However, I have to echo others who say that it's extremely difficult to get a room if you're not in the clique of ex-Air Officer regulars who seem(ed) to monopolise the place, and, if accommodation is all you're after, there are nicer places to stay with better availability without paying too much more.

I'm not one of those who has friends that get married/re-married/buried in 'town', I'm not a retired senior officer, and my job doesn't require me to ever visit central London, so I couldn't see the point of continuing my membership and finally got around to cancelling the DD this year.. I was a member for about 33 years, stayed there once, visited maybe 10 times. Nice place; I hope it continues in some form or other.
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Old 25th May 2011, 15:05
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TTN - nothing wrong with the pic on P1, it's the "caption" or commentary with it. Or am I also getting very old

Getting my coat and stick. Dog is outside!
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Old 25th May 2011, 15:09
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I think if the staff in the picture on P1 saw the picture and caption, they might be a little offended. I'm not sure it was meant in that way and perhaps I am being uncharacteristically sensitive!
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Old 25th May 2011, 15:29
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I stayed there on Monday night. Could only get a "basic single", but having to pop along the corridor (in the nice, provided fluffy dressie and slippers) to the loo/shower is hardly an issue. 61.50 on Piccadilly is good value!

Popped down to the Running Horse and, for once, didn't find anyone I knew. However, had a reasonably priced drink and a meal in pleasant surroundings.

I probably stay there half a dozen times a year and, I agree, rooms are getting more difficult to book.
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Old 25th May 2011, 23:07
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VSC

Having failed to commission after my legs gave way (ironic now considering my level of fitness 23 years on) I regret not being able to use the RAF Club. However, I've now been a member of VSC for nearly a year, and am using it this week again.

The refurbished rooms are superb, and the old ones not yet done have a sort of eighties mess nostalgia about them. The place is secure, you know what you are getting, and the restaurant and bar are fine too. Easy for Marble Arch for the Tube and shops.

I like being able to turn up in the Smoke, knowing what I am going to get, for a pretty competitive price. Gets my vote every time. Never tried the UJC, and was always a bit reluctant being south of the river.
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Old 26th May 2011, 07:08
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I have had 2 very good meals at the RAF Club this year. One was for the survivors of my Cranditz Entry. 14 people and an excellent meal served in a private dining room and the other was a smaller less formal group of 6 and again, a very good meal and sensibly priced for the location and the quality of the food and service.
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Old 26th May 2011, 11:42
  #135 (permalink)  
 
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I resigned my membership 10 years ago simply as there wasn't a membership category for people that lived a long way away and didn't get to London more often than once a year in a good year. It just didn't make economic sense and the 'kudos' of belonging didn't overrule the economic sense argument.

That said, I'd be sad to see it close.
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Old 26th May 2011, 11:43
  #136 (permalink)  
 
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Chaps, nearly 30 years ago I was in the UAS. Loved the Officers mess and all it had to offer a poor stud.
Chopped, convinced I'd never be a pilot didn't want to join the RAF, or rather the RAF didn't want me.
Joined the City instead and got myself a PPL.

Many times I found myself in London after work, late, worse for wear and in need of a bed. RAF Club was a non starter, so it was a hotel or a cab home at a ridiculous cost , but it is Central London
Then they changed the rules! I have now been a member for two years and even got married there last year. In that brief time I have stayed there with my young family on several occasions and have always been made very welcome. I have never had any problems getting accomodation and find the staff and atmosphere most convivial.

Maybe I am looking at it with rose tinted specs, but it really is an honour and privilege to be a member. As for costs, I stayed in the Le Meridien ( other end of Piccadilly) three years ago and it was nearly three times the cost of the RAF Club. The food and drink isn't expensive at all by London standards. Ok, the dress rules could be more relaxed and a childrens playroom would be good, but you can't have everything. A colleague is an ex Life Guards Officer and he tells me the membership cost of the Cavalry club next door is twice as much.

Personally I think its good value, but then again I am not retired!

Last edited by rolling20; 26th May 2011 at 12:32.
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Old 26th May 2011, 13:26
  #137 (permalink)  
 
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r20,

I think the point many people are making is that it only makes economic sense to be a member if you use the facilities reasonably often.

My business activities take me to London often enough for me to use the Club every few weeks and, depending where I have been during the day, I sometimes pop in for a drink on my way back to Euston before wending my way home. It therefore makes sense for me to retain my membership and I have been a member for over 40 years.

However, once I retire I will have to review whether, particularly in the light of the revised subscription for "retirees", being a member continues to make sense. I live Oop North, so visits to London will be few and far between.
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Old 26th May 2011, 13:40
  #138 (permalink)  
 
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Next year when I retire if I ever ever have a hankering for membership of any military club or to post thousand upon thousand of WIWO drivel in here then Mrs SFFP has my full and written authority to have me committed.

There is absolutely no cost benefit for anyone once out of the service, or even for those who have never been in the bloody service to retain membership of any of these establishments as there is much better accommodation and eating readily available in London.

When I retire the military will be nothing more than a series of very very happy memories, but I will be a civilian and as such will be looking forward to getting on with my new life
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Old 26th May 2011, 15:22
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1.3 VStall,
Fully understand the point and like I said I'm not retired yet.
I just don't understand the neg comments on what is a pleasant venue. You would be hard pushed to find decent accomodation at the price the RAF Club charges in London.
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Old 26th May 2011, 15:27
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Reading what others have posted some would say you would be hard pressed to find decent accommodation inside the RAF Club for the money they charge.
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