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What Does RAFA mean to those serving...and those who have served?

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What Does RAFA mean to those serving...and those who have served?

Old 14th Apr 2017, 15:46
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What Does RAFA mean to those serving...and those who have served?

I'm just doing a little study on what the Royal Air Forces Association means to those who are serving and those who have served; indeed those who have never served, but have had a Royal Air Force connection.

As one with a long service history, I never felt I had the need to join, and viewed it as a drinking club (I know that's a wrong perception - nonetheless that was mine). Other thoughts or stories of where RAFA has influenced people in a positive way. Feel free to PM me or start an open debate.

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Old 14th Apr 2017, 16:22
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In Guernsey it was indeed a drinking club to get round the Sunday drinking rules, wonderful building with a specially commissioned RAFA carpet. Few members were ex RAF.

The other perception was RAFBF, officers from its remoteness and push for a regular annual contribution from pay and RAFA, NCO from its visibility on stations.

Last edited by Pontius Navigator; 14th Apr 2017 at 16:36.
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 19:59
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Never felt the draw- I'm a bit Groucho where clubs are concerned...

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Old 14th Apr 2017, 20:49
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When I left the RAF I found the RBL was very helpful. RAFA didn't stir... I have a Life Membership but I don't really support then anymore. Ive been out 18 yrs.
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 20:53
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Left 10 years ago, and have never really felt inclined to join RAFA, RBL or anything else really.

Maybe when I'm a bit older....

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Old 14th Apr 2017, 21:07
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My dad was a 'for the duration' airman and after discharge, was a member of RAFA. He was ill in the 1960s and was offered a place for a fortnight's convalescence at Richard Peck house which was at St Annes and now closed, I think. He was a very loyal member for the rest of his life.
Afterwards, I had a full career in the RAF but somehow, I never got the 'urge' to join. I have an RBL just round the corner and that hasn't interested me either, aside from making Poppy Day donations.
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 21:13
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I've never got involved since leaving, they are very active locally but I feel I did my time and have moved on. That said, as a RAFALO I was hugely impressed with how much work they did behind the scenes and without publicising their efforts.
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Old 14th Apr 2017, 21:13
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Interesting. For those of us 'on the fringe' (I work with Air Cadets, for example) who would you like us to support?

(RAFA to us mostly means flying scholarships, which are a darned sight better than the ACPS these days.)
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 06:16
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Nothing have never gave it a thought.
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 08:11
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Life member, ex RAFALO, ex Vice Chairman of a branch.
It has lost its way and I do not bother anymore.
A personal choice
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 09:02
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Organisations such as RAFA had their heyday when there were literally millions of ex servicemen around in the post war years. Clubs were naturally very "top heavy" with ex WW2 guys, and those of a younger generation could feel somewhat out of it. I once was slightly taken aback when a WW2 Bomber Command nav asked me if I had ever been on Stirlings, and a contemporary of mine who was ex Para got sick of being asked if he had been at Arnhem! Our local RBL started to go downhill when they opened membership to all and sundry, ex service or not, as the core membership started dying off, and the club soon attracted the town drunks who were just looking for a cheap pint. It's now a private club and I don't think it has any connection with the RBL any more. I assume the RAFA clubs have suffered a similar fate. Like others on here I buy my poppy each November and my B of B sticker in September, but that's it these days.
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 12:06
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Looked at it when demobbed in 1946 in Southport. Concluded then that it was a beer-swilling outfit and didn't bother.
Old 15th Apr 2017, 12:54
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I don't think my father was a member but he was very very proud of his RAF WW II service and his four gongs, wore his RAFVR tie and blazer badge, and the RAFA turned out a smart standard bearer for dad's funeral. My wreath for his coffin was a roundel.

Top marks for RAFA from a civvy.
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 12:59
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I took out Life Membership when I retires, but that's it. Here in Jersey it seems to be a cheap place to drink by people with little or no RAF connections (much like our local RBL Club). The RAFA building was sold off to help keep funding the Jersey International Air Display, so they now meet upstairs in a pub out of town.

I was asked by a previous Lt Gov to take over as Chairman. Having looked under a few stones, I politely declined the offer
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 13:34
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I mentioned the RAFA in Guernsey, well there is on in Grimsby and another in Spalding or Wisbech so they are property rich but presumably need membership to maintain the buildings.
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 14:01
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My local RAFA meets in the Conservative Club, popped in there once, many moons ago. After a chat here and there realised there was a subtle pecking order, to be expected I suppose.. Never went back!
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 14:45
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After 9 years retired I have joined RAFA and the RBL. I do not attend much as I live rurally, but both do a hell of a lot of good work and I feel they deserve support. I don't recognise the drinking club bit, at least for my local branches.
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 14:48
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To be honest never felt the need to join (can't think why). Did look at joining the REA when I came out and will do so one day.

Like the rest of the Service/Corp/Regt associations they all do a pretty good job for the respective vets on the quiet but don't really advertise the fact.

As for the RAFA being a drinking club you haven't met the REA...
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 17:23
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Don't think people feel the need to be part of a club like that these days. I'm ex RAF and never felt the desire to join.
Father in Law was a die hard RAFA man. Mrs Cruces and I were dragged down to the RAFA every time we went to visit. I can remember the time when if we weren't in by seven o'clock on a Saturday evening
there wouldn't be a seat. Last time we went up it was nearly empty even though opened to all and sundry.
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Old 15th Apr 2017, 17:42
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TTN, nice to see you can still get a B of B sticker. I thought the Wings Appeal was over, haven't seen it on my patch for years.
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