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RAF CLUB

Old 24th May 2012, 23:56
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Originally Posted by DC10RealMan View Post
If the RAF Club wishes to attract more members to maintain its viability and has to resort to advertising for Civil Servants, why does it not open its membership to existing non-officer RAF personnel?
Because, like the modern day Officer the rest of the RAF would look at the deal on offer and very quickly work out it is pants and only the "status" motivated few would fall for it
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Old 24th May 2012, 23:58
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Originally Posted by Basil View Post
Just looked at online booking tomorrow, Friday 25th May for two people, two nights.

Travel Lodge: 239.90 Room only. WiFi 10/24hrs
RAFC: 240.00 B&B Free WiFi

No contest!
Now add your annual subscription fee and the real cost is
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Old 25th May 2012, 01:01
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[QUOTE][/why does it not open its membership to existing non-officer RAF personnel? OK, who's going to stick his head above the parapet and answer that one?
Come on Beags, or Pontius, this seems right up your street! QUOTE]

Ok TTN, not one of your preferred respondees but of the same vintage at a guess.
I've been lurking on this thread for a while and as I've been a member of the Club for some 40+ years since my attestation in 1968 (AOTS Church Fenton) and have continued now some 10 years since retiring in 2002, I feel qualified to comment.
In my opinion the history, the location and the facilities offered make it an undeniable asset for those lucky enough to be members. Although my usage of the club has only been once every couple of years (on average), I am happy that I have had my moneys worth.
I last used it a year or so ago and I booked in an old schoolmate (we were attending a reunion) who happened to be an ex FAA Bucanneer pilot. He was extremely impressed and as he had no knowledge of any similar RN facility, he enquired if he could apply for membership.
In light of this my suggestion is that membership of The RAF Club (OFFICERS for the use of) be offered to all serving and retired COMMISSIONED aviators of British or Allied forces.
In closing, can I suggest that all those moaning detractors, as well as the lesser oiks who do not qualify for membership, kindly poke off from this thread and join something like the Travel Lodge Club or similar, if you can even qualify for that.

XFT (now expecting some incoming)
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Old 25th May 2012, 01:41
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Applying the same principle to a London club, one of my corporals on a romantic weekend with his wife does not wish to stay somewhere where he might see me and a load of other JOs smashed at a sqn reunion... And vice-versa.
Who on earth takes their wife or girlfriend to the fg Air Force club for a romantic anything... Of course, that might explain all the dewy eyed bovines most of the officers seemd to end up hitched to.

XFT:

The RAF Club (OFFICERS for the use of)
It might come as a shock to you but in the RAF you upper crust chaps make up a minority... So you should probably find a name that more reflects the meke-up of the club. As to the rest of your bait... Amateurish at best, stick to lurking...

Last edited by Airborne Aircrew; 25th May 2012 at 01:48.
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Old 25th May 2012, 03:54
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I last stayed in the RAF Club in about 1978 if my memory serves me correctly; the experience was dire. I think I tried to on several occasions after that but I could never get in due to the fact that most of the rooms were taken up by people at MOD using it as cheap London accommodation during the week. To add insult to injury, the dress regulations were archaic,and when I married a WRAF Air Traffic controller, she wasn't allowed into one of the bars. For the amount I was paying, I considered the whole place a joke,and for the "female in the bar" issue, I, along with a fair number of others, resigned.

Yes, it's a prime piece of "Real Estate". It's a place the RAF should be proud of and it needs to be preserved for generations to come. But come on, it needs to get with the times.

I left the RAF in 1988 and went into Civil Aviation. In the late 90's, a fellow company pilot that I'd served with on a couple of stations tried to persuade me to rejoin. I looked into it but the fee was exorbitant and with the experiences I'd had in trying to get into the place previously, coupled with the quite ridiculous dress regulations, I just laughed and tossed the whole package in the bin. I mean, come on, who wears a jacket and tie for breakfast?

Whilst throwing open the membership to fellow Navy and Army Pilots is one thing, suggesting that the membership be expanded to include Civil Servants is a joke. I would doubt many could name a RAF aeroplane other than the Spitfire or Typhoon, a Squadron other than 617 and few would have any grasp of the hardships and sacrifices that many of the members of the services have had to endure at various times over the last 90+ years.

In my case, I never went to war (I just spent about 6 months of my life sitting on QRA and saw a few Russians now and again), but to anyone that's been shot at in the Middle East or Afghanistan, or anywhere else before, or after come to that, it's an insult.

It seems to me that the RAF as whole needs to canvas opinion as to where is sees IT'S club going in the future, both from present AND past Officers. I for one would rejoin in a heartbeat if I thought it was good value for money. I would need to be convinced that I had a fair chance of being able to stay there at most times and not be blocked by people using the place a convenience. And I would also need to be convinced that it's thrown off it's "Fuddy Duddy" image and I could go there with a guest, reasonably and smartly attired and feel comfortable and not as some "Junior Officer Riff Raff" that didn't make it to the higher echelons................

And what better way to try and sort things out than launch an opposing campaign? And if you want a person to front it up that the majority of RAF people know and respect, why not try and enlist the support of Cliff Spink for a start?!!!
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Old 25th May 2012, 06:22
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I could never get in due to the fact that most of the rooms were taken up by people at MOD using it as cheap London accommodation during the week.
Fewer people at the Monastery these days, so fortunately fewer use the Club in the manner you describe. But this could well pose a problem if too many MoD civil servants are allowed to join.

To add insult to injury, the dress regulations were archaic,and when I married a WRAF Air Traffic controller, she wasn't allowed into one of the bars.
Fortunately, that archaic 'old duffers only' bar is no longer.

I mean, come on, who wears a jacket and tie for breakfast?
That is no longer a requirement - casual dress is fine. And breakfast is truly superb.

Last edited by BEagle; 25th May 2012 at 06:24.
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Old 25th May 2012, 06:45
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XFTroop ... spot on


BEagle ...
And breakfast is truly superb
... oh true, very true!!
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Old 25th May 2012, 07:13
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As someone who will be staying there within the next 72 hrs and Mrs LJ will be staying there on a London night out within the next week, I feel I should add my two-penneth in support of the Club.

It might have dress regs that make some people's toes curl - but maybe some inward navel gazing is required as to your own personal standards? After all is a shirt, a pair of smart trousers and shoes really too much to ask? It is after all a Club and if you want to see more restrictive rules have a look at those listed here: List of London's gentlemen's clubs - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

I also like the idea of Mrs LJ staying somewhere safe and away from the detritus of society that can frequent cheap hotels (prostitutes, drug pushers and people who have no respect for others).

Yes, they don't always have a room, but so do other places I have to book. I also slide in there without staying for a cheeky pint or lunch or even breakfast, knowing I won't have to queue and the quality is a known quantity. That is also a perk of membership as is the library or just using it as an RV for friends or colleagues.

I have been a member for 24 years and hope for a further 24 - well done RAF Club

LJ

Last edited by Lima Juliet; 25th May 2012 at 07:14.
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Old 25th May 2012, 07:16
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BusterHot: The Club has moved with the times and I suspect that you would not recognise it from your experiences of over 30 years ago.

As I've pointed out on similar threads a year or so ago, I hosted my foreign Staff Course syndicate and their wives to afternoon tea in the Cowdrey Lounge. They were gob-smacked and subtley taook photos of everything and bemoaned the fact that none of them (save the Italian) had anything like this in their respective Home states. Even the dour German Luftwaffe Colonel appreciated the many homages to British Air Power that adorn the walls. He made a very telling comment: 'we are not allowed to celebrate courage and bravery - even today.'

Several of them have returned to London and I have fixed accommodation for them at the Club.

Soft power, I think it's called.

PS: LJ Yep - I've had some awful experiences at otherwise good hotels with misbehaving clientele.

Last edited by Whenurhappy; 25th May 2012 at 07:18.
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Old 25th May 2012, 07:28
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Just a shame that us "moaners" are the reason the RAF Club is on its knees. Modernise or die. Sadly it is at deaths door.
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Old 25th May 2012, 07:47
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AY - But the club isn't on its knees - not by any stretch. It generates a healthy surplus, facilites are being constantly upgraded and occupancy remains extremly high. Go there any day of the week and sit on one of the comfy leather chairs by the Gates and watch the activity - a constant flow of people arriving for seminars and meetings, folk checking in and out, Officers and their families arriving for Lunch, fresh from investitures at the palace, members dropping off/picking up luggage...apart from the military uniforms, this could be the lobby of an up-market London hotel.

The Board - all RAF personnel - are anticipating falling membership numbers in the decades ahead and are planning for this. In spite of the fiscal crisis, Club membership across London remains very boyant.
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Old 25th May 2012, 07:53
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Ron Cake wrote

"...... risks revealing part of the upper torso. While such a display may be acceptable on the squash court it is not appropriate for Club rooms particularly where ladies may be present."

Ye Gods! presumably these easily shocked ladies go around London with a bag over their heads...................... some people need to get out more
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Old 25th May 2012, 07:59
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Busterhot,

I salute you Sir! I once had an altercation with a Domino's manager in 1994 and have boycotted the company ever since - but 34 years and counting! Now THAT'S how to hold a grudge!
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Old 25th May 2012, 08:21
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If the Club is fine then long may it continue under the fashion on which it has survived.
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Old 25th May 2012, 08:27
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Applying the same principle to a London club, one of my corporals on a romantic weekend with his wife does not wish to stay somewhere where he might see me and a load of other JOs smashed at a sqn reunion... And vice-versa.
Good heavens, since when have corporals been permitted romantic weekends....what has the Royal Air Force come to?

and Heathrow.....irony and humour not your strong point?
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Old 25th May 2012, 09:16
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AY - exactly.

Because of the Club undergoes near constant change and innovation it has survived. Contrast that with the Cavalry and Guards (next door) that had to be bailed out by its members when the lease came up for renewal 10 years ago. Indeed the RAF Club considered taking over their premises!

Over the years I have attended 3 weddings at the Club, numerous dinners, 'Air Environment' seminars and conferences, farewell breakfasts, you name it...as well as staying there as often as circumstances permit. Indeed, when I arrived in London from overseas over 20 years ago, it was my weekend retreat from Mess life until I got established.

There have been minor niggles but overall it is a place I feel at home in and would rather pay money into a not-for-profit organisation that delivers a superior product than paying monies into some Hedge-fund owned global chain of hotels.
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Old 25th May 2012, 09:44
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Hell, I may even dabble in renewing my membership myself...
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Old 25th May 2012, 13:59
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And last night's cheapo (see Post No 21) turned out as even better value - got upgraded to a double at no extra cost!!
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Old 25th May 2012, 14:47
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A couple of years ago whilst a serving Cpl, I had a very nice lunch in the Club...

A room had been hired out to a training company for a course I was on.
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Old 25th May 2012, 15:45
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RAF Club

I totally agree I have been using the club for over 40 years and I am certainly NOT an old "Duffer!" Excellent value and something very special in that part of London. Believe me it has changed with the times and fully deserves the support of its members. Use it or loose it !!
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