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Soldiers, Sailors and ...?

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Soldiers, Sailors and ...?

Old 8th Aug 2020, 17:49
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In Star Trek they call everybody Sir...
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Old 8th Aug 2020, 18:45
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Originally Posted by Wwyvern View Post
Ref the slide into historic facts, I have a WAFU friend, yes some can achieve that status, who goes on about the "Senior" Service. He goes quiet when I point out to him that the Fleet Air Arm ceased to be the Fleet Air Arm of The Royal Air Force as late as 1937.
Grudgingly, we'll have to give this one (at least in aviation terms) to the Pongoes who were conducting balloon trials at Woolwich back in 1878 with the Navy picking the theme up in 1908 when they finally started looking seriously at Samuel Cody's kites, and shortly thereafter, into airships.

As you say, Wwyvern, there was that "unfortunate interlude" 1918 - 1936 as well as the previous "skirmish" 1912 - 1914 but 1908 was when it all started to take off (as it were) in the Navy and, once the Admiralty had got the concept, they really seemed to go for it.

I like to put it all down to a case of "You can't keep a good dog down" when it comes to the WAFUs remaining as a separate fighting entity................................!

But I'm sure others will have their own views!!!! Cheers, H 'n' H
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Old 8th Aug 2020, 19:58
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Originally Posted by Hot 'n' High View Post
Grudgingly, we'll have to give this one (at least in aviation terms) to the Pongoes who were conducting balloon trials at Woolwich back in 1878 with the Navy picking the theme up in 1908 when they finally started looking seriously at Samuel Cody's kites, and shortly thereafter, into airships.

As you say, Wwyvern, there was that "unfortunate interlude" 1918 - 1936 as well as the previous "skirmish" 1912 - 1914 but 1908 was when it all started to take off (as it were) in the Navy and, once the Admiralty had got the concept, they really seemed to go for it.

I like to put it all down to a case of "You can't keep a good dog down" when it comes to the WAFUs remaining as a separate fighting entity................................!

But I'm sure others will have their own views!!!! Cheers, H 'n' H
The Canadian Forces had very interesting terminology when I was a pilot trainee in boot camp. I remember studying the QR & Os one day and see the formulae for married personnel household moving allowances - and came across the phrase 'when an officer or man is married to another officer or man....'

I am all for gender-neutral naming - but what about NOTAMs? In a futuristic novel I published back in 2016 I proposed the term 'NOTAPs' where P = Personnel.

Just wondering...


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Old 8th Aug 2020, 22:35
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Originally Posted by Lomon View Post
We will soon need gender neutral terms for Warrant Officers and Officers.... Sir and Ma'am just don't cut it in the modern world.
Go German and English... Herr and Her sound the same.
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Old 9th Aug 2020, 08:17
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I’ve thought long and hard about this and if we want to be inclusive of our collective work forces then neither Soldier, Sailor or Aviator is appropriate. Why?

Soldier - implies that everyone in the British Army is intimately involved with closing and killing their enemy on the ground - they aren’t.

Sailor - implies that everyone in the Royal Navy has an at sea role - they don’t. Also, what about the Royal Marines? Sailors? I think not!

Aviator - implies that everyone in the Royal Air Force operates an aircraft delivering Air Power - they don’t.

It is pure elitism if we use these 3x nouns that just does not encompass the 3 Services’ Whole Force and the Chiefs need to all get their heads around the job diversity of their people. I would offer that “Members of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces” is a far more inclusive term if we really want to get it right without missing out large chunks of the individual Services’ people.
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Old 9th Aug 2020, 08:39
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But then you would have to include parts of the police under that heading etc.
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Old 9th Aug 2020, 08:47
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Originally Posted by Lima Juliet View Post
I’ve thought long and hard about this and if we want to be inclusive of our collective work forces then neither Soldier, Sailor or Aviator is appropriate. Why?

Soldier - implies that everyone in the British Army is intimately involved with closing and killing their enemy on the ground - they aren’t.

Sailor - implies that everyone in the Royal Navy has an at sea role - they don’t. Also, what about the Royal Marines? Sailors? I think not!

Aviator - implies that everyone in the Royal Air Force operates an aircraft delivering Air Power - they don’t.

It is pure elitism if we use these 3x nouns that just does not encompass the 3 Services’ Whole Force and the Chiefs need to all get their heads around the job diversity of their people. I would offer that “Members of Her Majesty’s Armed Forces” is a far more inclusive term if we really want to get it right without missing out large chunks of the individual Services’ people.
An interesting rundown although, to apply some perspective, virtually every person joining the Royal Navy, and Royal Marines, is liable for sea service.

So far as the use of "Aviators" is concerned, perhaps a perfectly gender-neutral alternative expression would be "Oakleys"......

Jack
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Old 9th Aug 2020, 08:53
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LJ,

Disagree. The dictionary definition of ‘soldier’ has nothing to do with ‘closing with and killing the enemy’: the word quite literally means ‘one who serves in an army’. The definition of ‘sailor’ is indeed related to seafaring, but can you point to more than a very slack handful of RN roles where there is absolutely no chance ever of being ordered to serve afloat, even if only on attachment? Both of those words are gender-neutral, have centuries’ worth of common usage behind them, and are readily understood by everyone. The idea that they should be dropped just because the RAF a) thinks it needs to, and b) can’t, come up with a better alternative to ‘airmen and airwomen’ leaves me absolutely stone cold, I’m afraid, and I’m not even a soldier or a sailor.

I’m of the view that if there is no existing word that works for the RAF - ‘aviator‘ is just wrong, especially in a service where (like it or not) the long term future will see a greater proportion of uninhabited platforms - then a new ‘made up’ word should be created. But ‘airmen and airwomen’ is just fine by me. It means that anyone saying it automatically spends more time talking about the Air Force than the other services and it even subtly advertises the fact that all roles are open to women.

Last edited by Easy Street; 9th Aug 2020 at 09:07.
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Old 9th Aug 2020, 10:07
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The word ‘mankind’ includes all members of the species. Therefore, this is a analogous to ‘airman’ applying to all who serve in an Air Force. Any sensible English speaker knows that ‘airman’ applies to all.

I am a total grammar pedant and am a stickler for unambiguous descriptions. However, even I acknowledge common interpretations and meaning such as this.
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Old 9th Aug 2020, 10:41
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On a different but related point I understand that the desire to rename the RAF College 'The Royal Air Force Academy Cranwell' has now been dropped because someone has pointed out that the acronym (RAFAC) has already been taken by the air cadets...
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Old 9th Aug 2020, 10:46
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This about sums it up....

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Old 9th Aug 2020, 11:11
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Old 9th Aug 2020, 14:48
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Originally Posted by LOMCEVAK View Post
The word ‘mankind’ includes all members of the species. Therefore, this is a analogous to ‘airman’ applying to all who serve in an Air Force. Any sensible English speaker knows that ‘airman’ applies to all.

I am a total grammar pedant and am a stickler for unambiguous descriptions. However, even I acknowledge common interpretations and meaning such as this.
Many will sympathise with that, but I fear that the only people who can now make that argument and have any chance of getting away with it are our elected masters. It would need one of them to stand up and say “enough of all this: this is how it’s going to be“. I suspect there are political analysts working out whether it’s worth the Tories taking such a stand (on cultural issues in general, not this specific one!) to win votes among the ‘no-nonsense‘ traditional working classes. They probably don’t have many votes to lose among those concerned about social justice, let’s face it. But too much ground has already been given on these matters among the higher echelons of officialdom (Civil Service and military) for anyone else to dare suggest such a thing.

Ultimately, as Orwell recognised, linguistic games like these are inherently political. And I think the seniors will be on shaky ground if they try to deal with them without political input.
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Old 9th Aug 2020, 22:04
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Easy Street - if you look at the RNR website it states:

Q. Do all members of the Royal Naval Reserve serve at sea?

A. No, but much will depend on the job role assigned to you. Many Reservists will work ashore, rather than at sea.

So with ~3,000 RNRs then that is more than a “slack handful”. There are also Regulars that only ever serve ashore or go aboard without a role to operate the ship - does that make them a “sailor” or a passenger? Just because I go on holiday to France on a P&O ferry, and I know how to operate a fire extinguisher, doesn’t make me a sailor either!

PS. A couple of definitions from Google on Soldiers:

a person who is in an army and wearsitsuniform, especially someone who fights when there is a war:

A soldier is the man or woman who fights for their government and carries the weapons, risking their life in the process. The word comes from the Latin solidus, which is the name of the gold coin used to pay soldiers who fought in the Roman army.



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Old 10th Aug 2020, 00:48
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LJ, cherry picking search results is desperate stuff, but in any case “...especially someone who fights” doesn’t exclude those who don’t fight. If you really must cite Google then try searching “soldier dictionary”. Guess what comes up in the top result box? “A person who serves in an army”. Anyway, I prefer to go with the Concise Oxford, as close to authoritative as I can get without subscribing to the OED. “Soldier: a person serving in or having served in an army.”

It is quite worrying to see otherwise sensible people scurrying about attempting to redefine such basic terms. It is exactly the sort of anti-intellectualism which Orwell and others pushed back against because of the danger it posed to society (think “2+2=5”).

Meanwhile, anyone in the RN or RNR who serves afloat has to complete shipboard firefighting and damage control training and would be expected to take a full part in such activity. That makes them a bit more than a ferry passenger who knows what a fire extinguisher looks like. You know this.


Last edited by Easy Street; 10th Aug 2020 at 01:03.
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Old 10th Aug 2020, 08:31
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It is quite worrying to see otherwise sensible people scurrying about attempting to redefine such basic terms. It is exactly the sort of anti-intellectualism which Orwell and others pushed back against because of the danger it posed to society (think “2+2=5”).
This we agree on. Not so sure about the rest. The origin of the word Soldier wins the argument for me and being able to react in an emergency on a ship doesn’t make you a sailor surely - otherwise everyone may as well be an aviator then as they know how to blow up a life jacket, open the emergency hatches, operate a fire extinguisher and go down the slides!
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Old 10th Aug 2020, 08:48
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The term soldier, of course, by its very definition, refers to the military. The term sailor does not - anyone wHo sails, be it navy, merchant marine, yacht or dinghy is by definition a sailor. Similarly aviator/aviatrix etc do don’t define serving in an Air Force.
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Old 10th Aug 2020, 09:27
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Originally Posted by Lima Juliet View Post
The origin of the word Soldier wins the argument for me
Were there any members of the Roman Army who didn’t fight? If so, were they paid with something other than a solidus? If the answer to both of those questions is yes then you might be onto something in an arcane etymological debate, if you came equipped with good historical evidence. But one line plucked from an internet search result does not an argument make. And especially not in the face of straightforward, authoritative dictionary definitions. Two thousand years of linguistic (and military organisational) evolution is a rather different beast to an overnight redefinition.

Honestly, this thread started out by asking what word the RAF could use to match the gender-neutral ‘soldier’ and ‘sailor’, and it now has you arguing not to use those two words either. Despite the fact that they are inclusive words which have long been used to bind together members of the respective services across rank and trade boundaries to help form a cohesive whole - a key strength of a fighting service. This is *precisely* the kind of pernicious spreading effect which many worry about in arguments like this.

Last edited by Easy Street; 10th Aug 2020 at 09:41.
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Old 10th Aug 2020, 10:34
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I’ve got time to spare.......

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Old 11th Aug 2020, 08:11
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Originally Posted by pr00ne View Post
Nutloose,

I would suggest that the only person 'looking' at this is the OP with an obvious agenda.
Unfortunately, with that suggestion, you would be wrong. "They" really are looking at it.
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