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-   -   Can you help me? RAF 1960s. (https://www.pprune.org/military-aviation/616339-can-you-help-me-raf-1960s.html)

Timelord 18th Dec 2018 21:34


Originally Posted by James Blatch (Post 10338592)
FOLLOW UP: The dead man's bar bill appears to have been patchy in its tradition. But would there have been a gathering in the bar that night (regardless of this tradition)? Or would people have gone home to their wives/families?

My experience only goes back to the 70s but every fatality I knew about from then until now was followed by a serious amount of drinking ( and singing and burning pianos in some cases) in the mess that evening. Some went home quietly but most stuck together because hard won experience over the years taught that this was the best way of getting through it.

The RAF has been doing this since at least WW2 but sticking together with mates who have been through the same experience before going home is now, I believe , the best practice amongst the emergency services following a traumatic event.

ICM 19th Dec 2018 11:59

James: I've learned a thing or two from this thread myself, I must say, and I'll probably be a buyer for your book based on its likely Argosy content alone! Something you might want to check out is whether there was a need to build a village at Porton for the testing you mention. The MOD had, and probably still has, Imber village located well inside the Salisbury Plain Training Area (SPTA). It was taken over by the War Office in WW2, its inhabitants were displaced elsewhere, and it was retained for Army training use after the war with a certain amount of additional building carried out. If we were indeed testing 'gas bombs' back then, I'd have thought that was a more remote location than Porton for doing so.

Pontius Navigator 19th Dec 2018 17:53


Originally Posted by James Blatch (Post 10338592)
FOLLOW UP: The dead man's bar bill appears to have been patchy in its tradition. But would there have been a gathering in the bar that night (regardless of this tradition)? Or would people have gone home to their wives/families?

This is probably as patchy too. By curious coincidence I was not on-base when any of the IX Vulcans crashed but there was another tradition you haven't picked up on and that was the dead man's sale. The Effects Officer would recover all Service issue uniforms and kit such as flying kit. The rest of the kit, such as hats and gloves, uniforms and mess kit, would, with NOK permission, be auctioned off people often paying well over the odds. The rationale was that death in service benefits were not generous and a 'wife of' in quarters had 62 days to vacate. She could also become ab outcast as a living reminder of the vulnerability of their men.

There was a 'chick lit' novel written be a British journalist about such fatalities on a USAF F100 Sqn in UK. She got under the skin of the matter and I could read the parallels.

Tankertrashnav 19th Dec 2018 18:04


Thoroughly enjoying the gen, thank you all very much:

@Pontius Navigator
@ARCHIE1
@Brian 48nav
@tlightb
@oxenos
@ICM
@Cornish Jack
@fareastdriver
@charliejuliet
@Tengah Type
@Dougie M
@Timelord
@Retreating Blade
@spekesoftly
@rlsbutler
@alwayslookingup
Goes off to sulk!

(@tankertrashnav ;))

NRU74 19th Dec 2018 21:25

I remember funerals/wakes in the 60’s and 70’s on two separate occasions.
The latter was a young co-pilot killed in a car crash near Marham a long time ago.
The funeral took place at Norwich Crematorium and the Wake was held in the Mess.
We all drank on this young man’s Bar Bill (some of us to excess).
At the next Mess Meeting some months later, the Mess Sec pointed out, in the ‘Any other business’ bit, that there was an unpaid Bar Bill by the late Fg Off Bloggs.
One guy stood up and proposed that it should be written off. The PMC asked for a Seconder and someone complied.
There was a vote, and unsuprisingly, it was unanimous, and the Mess, collectively, paid the bill

MPN11 20th Dec 2018 06:11


Originally Posted by Tankertrashnav (Post 10339516)
Goes off to sulk!

(@tankertrashnav ;))

Well, as you’ve mentioned it, ditto!
@MPN11 :)

Whilst not exactly relevant to the book, I was on a staff visit to Binbrook in the 80s when they lost one of their Lightnings. FlyPro cancelled, and all and sundey repaired to the Bar to drink his farewell. Proceedings were well under way by the time I’d finished my task. Unless my memory has fogged, one of his flying boots (presumably from a spare pair in his locker) was nailed to the Bar ceiling to join others sadly displayed there.

Pontius Navigator 20th Dec 2018 08:52

NRU74, that seems more likely than drinking on the day.

Cornish Jack 20th Dec 2018 11:45

NRU74, that seems more likely than drinking on the day.
Not necessarily - We lost our co-pilot in K'sar when he fell through the boom hatch, in the dark, doing the pre-flight. He died from his injuries and was buried that afternoon. In spite of the 'caring' offer of the local Wg Cdr Fg to provide another co-pilot, our Skipper (Andy Andrusekevic(sp?)), forcefully expressed his opinion and took us all off to the bar. Alcohol can help, at times!!

Brian 48nav 20th Dec 2018 11:58

CJ,

Andy was on 48 on Hercs then wing pilot at Changi,( 67-69 ), Top Man. Just checked my log book for correct spelling, I hope! - Andrusikiewicz.

jete 21st Dec 2018 12:34

Sqn Ldr A to Z as he was fondly known. I think he finished his career in the C130 sim at Lyneham. Top bloke!

Dougie M 21st Dec 2018 21:13

Andy A to Z was, as were a lot of his compatriots, still unable to master fluent English after forty years of RAF service. In the Herc sim one day after briefing a departure from Akrotiri in the bird migration season, he stepped forward at rotate speed and dumped a pile of APs in the captain's lap. He then pronounced "Emmer gency, emmer gency, Flamingo comes through window, kills Captain. Copilot you have control!" The subsequent immediate actions and checklists were carried out with suppressed giggles.Top bloke as Jete says.

James Blatch 21st Dec 2018 22:38


Originally Posted by Tankertrashnav (Post 10339516)
Goes off to sulk!

(@tankertrashnav ;))

Always a danger when you decide to thank people individually!

So sorry @tankertrashnav and THANK YOU :)


Originally Posted by Pontius Navigator (Post 10339510)
This is probably as patchy too. By curious coincidence I was not on-base when any of the IX Vulcans crashed but there was another tradition you haven't picked up on and that was the dead man's sale. The Effects Officer would recover all Service issue uniforms and kit such as flying kit. The rest of the kit, such as hats and gloves, uniforms and mess kit, would, with NOK permission, be auctioned off people often paying well over the odds. The rationale was that death in service benefits were not generous and a 'wife of' in quarters had 62 days to vacate. She could also become ab outcast as a living reminder of the vulnerability of their men.

There was a 'chick lit' novel written be a British journalist about such fatalities on a USAF F100 Sqn in UK. She got under the skin of the matter and I could read the parallels.

Had never heard of that tradition. So pleased you mentioned it.


Originally Posted by MPN11 (Post 10339913)

Well, as youíve mentioned it, ditto!
@MPN11 :)

Whilst not exactly relevant to the book, I was on a staff visit to Binbrook in the 80s when they lost one of their Lightnings. FlyPro cancelled, and all and sundey repaired to the Bar to drink his farewell. Proceedings were well under way by the time Iíd finished my task. Unless my memory has fogged, one of his flying boots (presumably from a spare pair in his locker) was nailed to the Bar ceiling to join others sadly displayed there.

Thank you @MPN11, and sorry :)

Timelord 22nd Dec 2018 16:40

James, I don’t think anyone has answered your question about uniform to church on a Sunday. I think the answer is no, except perhaps the Duty Officer and NCOs, should they choose to go.

Pontius Navigator 22nd Dec 2018 16:50

TL, you prompt me with a memory.

The norm of the age was to repair to the Mess for a post-church stiffener. The stn cdr other brass would gather too and frequently joined by the padre.

The Jesuit or RC Chaplain was usually a liver-in.

Where uniform would be worn was after a Church Parade though these were rare even in the 60s but drinks still afterwards.

James Blatch 30th Dec 2018 17:53


Originally Posted by Timelord (Post 10342301)
James, I donít think anyone has answered your question about uniform to church on a Sunday. I think the answer is no, except perhaps the Duty Officer and NCOs, should they choose to go.

Thank you. As I suspected.

oldmansquipper 30th Dec 2018 21:31

Being neither commissioned nor a mason in the 60s I cannot really add to the excellent answers on drinking on dead mates bar bills or the subsequent disposal of his property given above.

However in RAFG,, all ranks Friday p.ss ups on the worlds oldest fixed wing Sqn (II AC) were generally known as "Beer Calls". They usually lasted from about 16:00 to 19:00 when erks and zobs would split to their own watering holes. Zobs to the Mess in flying kit and us lot to Snoopies bar in our denims. The entertainment would usually finish around dawn. In our case, it would probably end in Mamas in Weeze.

As for kit disposal, I can confirm that if the deceased was an 'Inventory holder' then any discreapancies found on a closing check would be 'written off'.

Joking aside - the Squadron ethos and the aircrew/groundcrew bond in RAFG was second to none.

Good luck with the book!

oldmansquipper 30th Dec 2018 21:36

In the 60s There were best blue Church Parades on Sunday's at many training camps IIRC.

On arrival at the CofE church the order to halt was quickly followed by another more contravertial one...

"Fall out, the Roman Catholics and Jews"

I don't suppose that is still the case.

Pontius Navigator 30th Dec 2018 21:42


Originally Posted by oldmansquipper (Post 10347618)
"Fall out, the Roman Catholics and Jews"

I don't suppose that is still the case.

Or if a church parade, ie the Service on the parade square, the News and Roman Catholics are to fall out and March to the edge of the parade square and remain facing outward whilst the padre would conduct the Service.

ricardian 30th Dec 2018 22:47


Originally Posted by oldmansquipper (Post 10347618)
In the 60s There were best blue Church Parades on Sunday's at many training camps IIRC.

On arrival at the CofE church the order to halt was quickly followed by another more contravertial one...

"Fall out, the Roman Catholics and Jews"

I don't suppose that is still the case.

Yes, at RAF Cosford (2 S of TT) in 1959-61 the Sunday services were PMUB (Presbyterian, Methodists & "United Board"), C of E and "others"

Haraka 31st Dec 2018 08:29

RAFC 1968
"Fall out Roman Catholics ,Jews and other Heathens"


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