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

BEagle 31st Dec 2018 07:30

The topic of religious persuasion cropped up fairly early in my time at RAFC Cranwell. However, amongst our number were quite a few ex-'Super Techs' who'd been selected from their apprentice training to become officers. Thinking they were clever, they did a bit of investigation...

The CofE contingent had a weekly Church parade at 10:30, inspection and then marched to the god shop. The service went on for ages (brightened up only by the AsCom's very pretty teenage daughter's backside), then we marched back again - with luck we were free by mid-day at the earliest.

The CSFC Church of Jocks and Others gathered a little earlier at 10:00 in the Junior Mess entrance, strolled to their church and were out again pretty quick.

Whereas the RC chaps simply turned up at their church at 09:30, mumbled some Latin and were done and dusted PDQ.... No inspection, no marching and a couple of hours of extra freedom.

So one morning, some of the ex-Super Techs asked to see the RC god-botherer, on the grounds that, after much thought, they'd come to the conclusion that Roman Catholicism was the best chance there was to rescue their heathen spirits. The RC sky-pilot was astonished and was almost on the point of ringing the Pope, or similar, to spread the good news.... But even he began to smell a rat. He told the would-be converts that instruction in Roman Catholicism would involve many hours of study and prayer - so were they really sure they were prepared to submit themselves to such hard work, given all the other pressures of Flight Cadet training.....the instruction would take place on Saturday afternoons.

Needless to say, there were quite a few more CofE cadets marching to church the following week!

nipva 31st Dec 2018 12:18

'Whereas the RC chaps simply turned up at their church at 09:30, mumbled some Latin and were done and dusted PDQ '

And we atheists didn't parade at all.

BEagle 31st Dec 2018 12:30

Our Junior Entry Sgt had a solution for so-called atheists and agnostics. He told them that they would have to attend the same parade, inspection and march to the church as the CoE cadets, but would then be required to remain outside standing easy until the service was over...

Some of the quickest conversions since Paul on the Road to Damascus soon followed...

Pontius Navigator 31st Dec 2018 12:35

Did I mention that RC padres used to live in? As they were celebrate they were not entitled to a MQ.

I recall two. One was Irish and available to his flock every night in the bar. He would have given Rudolf a run for his money.

A years later we had a Jesuit priest and he gave us serious thought on converting. He too would minister in the bar too. In fact he went one better and volunteered as bar member but his bishop objected.

Geriaviator 31st Dec 2018 15:33

AT RAF Khormaksar in 1951 the Church Parade was a major occasion requiring best uniforms and maximum bull, putting my Dad in bad form for the preceding week. The Station Parade was one of my most vivid childhood memories albeit with a painful sequel. Our late and much missed friend Danny 42C said it was one of his favourite stories on the Brevet thread, you should still find it at #3558 on p176 or try here

James Blatch 31st Dec 2018 16:16

Thanks for the additional colour all - very helpful hearing from those who were there at the time.

I was brought up on the tale end of the church going era for many families, hated it at the time, but quite enjoy the odd service now - a love for some of the hymns and quiet time must have sunk in.

As for the questionable statements regards religion etc, you should know that I have no intention of white washing the past, so some language and observations, normal for the time, are included without apology.

Regards the Argosy, I got hold of the pilots' notes, which have been very helpful to add to what I've learned here.

MPN11 31st Dec 2018 19:42

I confess ( ;) ) never having attended a Church Parade since ... ever? 1965-1994. Am I damned?

Dougie M 31st Dec 2018 19:45

As a point of interest. In the mid 60s there was an RC Padre at Khormaksar called Father Sean O'Shea. each month we would fly him on the "God Special" to minister unto his little flocks in Riyan, Salalah and Masirah, all in one day. At the bar in Masirah he would indulge in a few brandy and Benedictines, most apposite and regale the crew and interested bystanders with stories of his ministry. "What about hearing confessions from the desert outpost troops?" we asked. "It's rather like being stoned to death with popcorn" he replied,

Tankertrashnav 1st Jan 2019 11:13


As they were celebrate they were not entitled to a MQ.
One of your more amusing typos, P-N !

Mind you, from what I can gather, not All RC priests are as "celebrate" as they are supposed to be ;)


I confess ( https://www.pprune.org/images/smilies/wink2.gif ) never having attended a Church Parade since ... ever? 1965-1994. Am I damned?
When I went to my sister in law's requiem mass about 10 years ago I told the priest after the service that it was the first time I had been to mass since attending the RC service after my passing out parade at Feltwell in 1964, and had been in Latin. I dont think he was too shocked, although he expressed a wish that one day I might return to the fold. Did a few C of E church parades when serving, including a memorable one at Durham Cathedral when I was terrified of slipping on the cobbles and making an idiot of myself as we marched up the hill to the Cathedral.

Fareastdriver 1st Jan 2019 11:23

!960 to 1978, dodged the lot. The only parades I went on were my Passing Out Parade at South Cerney and my Wings Parade at Oakington. The closest I got to a real one was standing behind the reviewing stand and in all the rest I was in the fly past.

mcdhu 1st Jan 2019 19:41

And then there was the expectation that an officer new to a station would leave his card at the stn cdrs house and would be invited to afternoon tea some time thereafter. This slowly faded away in the mid to late 60s when 'living out' was beginning to be countenanced - especially at Benson where, with 2 large Argosy squadrons, TQF and other units, the mess was simply not big enough to house all the 'singlies' - great area for pubs and restaurants. Happy days.
Cheers all,
mcdhu

Pontius Navigator 1st Jan 2019 21:38


Originally Posted by mcdhu (Post 10349078)
And then there was the expectation that an officer new to a station would leave his card at the stn cdrs house and would be invited to afternoon tea some time thereafter. This slowly faded away in the mid to late 60s when 'living out' was beginning to be countenanced - especially at Benson where, with 2 large Argosy squadrons, TQF and other units, the mess was simply not big enough to house all the 'singlies' - great area for pubs and restaurants. Happy days.
Cheers all,
mcdhu

Two cards, one in the Mess and one for Mrs Stn Cdr. Given an aircrew complement on a bomber base of 180 or so and over 200 all told, there would be a turn over of about 70 per year and Mrs SC would have been pretty busy.

On posting the officer again left cards in the Mess and with Mrs SC but annotated ppc. The cards were a standard size for RAF officers and WRAF officers had a slightly larger one. Cards were engraved and never printed. Apart from one's name, rank etc you could put the name of your Club on them. The Club was of course the RAF Club which served as a permanent address.

Tankertrashnav 2nd Jan 2019 00:06

I called on Mrs Commandant at Catterick shortly after arriving, and went along with another newly arrived chap. They were RCs and had a big family and when we called we were given tea in the company of a couple of her under fives. Rather than the stiff "tea and cucumber sandwiches" occasion we were expecting it turned out to be a riot, which we thoroughly enjoyed. This was in 1965 and by the time I was posted to a new station in 1967 the practice appeared to have died out.

Re "ppc", when we were having a lecture on calling etc, the officer giving the lecture asked if anyone knew what "PPC" stood for. One of our number stuck his hand up and answered "pour prendre congé sir" (to take one's leave). The officer was a bit taken aback that someone had known, and I suspect marked the cadet down as a smart-arse.

ve3id 2nd Jan 2019 00:21

[QUOTE=Tankertrashnav;10348712]One of your more amusing typos, P-N !

Mind you, from what I can gather, not All RC priests are as "celebrate" as they are supposed to be ;)

/QUOTE]
Actually, they will take a married Anglican priest, they are so short. Don't know if he has to sign a declaration of celibacy though!

BEagle 2nd Jan 2019 07:38

I'm not sure when calling cards were no longer needed? In 1968 our copies of Stradling at RAFC still included descriptions of the etiquette involved, but we were told to ignore it.

Quite entertaining to read about all that nowadays, but it seems so quaint and Downton Abbey in this day and age!

MPN11 2nd Jan 2019 09:02

I remember my only use of those expensive calling cards quite well. RAFCAW Manby, 1965, and the long lonely walk to the Commandant's Residence to deposit a card on a silver tray. Was the door left open for me? Did I ring the doorbell? I can only recall being somewhat nervous about the whole process. But I did get invited back.

Rambling and irrelevant recollection ... One Saturday night the Commandant and family turned up in the Bar. Fixing me with his one eye, he called me over. ""Look after these two for me - use my Bar Book.". Accompanied by my fellow plt off, Dave G***e, we entertained his son [16-yo? Interested in target shooting, so good] and daughter [17-yo? Exquisitely gorgeous, so even better]. At closing time, "Cyclops' said something like "If you're going to keep drinking, you'd better come home with me." So we did. And more stimulating chat with gorgeous daughter ensued, in the 1* Drawing Room, drinking 1* booze.. Some hours later (0100-ish?), "Cyclops" re-enters the room. "It's about time you went home. If you want to drink more, come back at lunchtime tomorrow." Which Dave and I duly did.

Much more fun than a cucumber sandwich! :)

Pontius Navigator 2nd Jan 2019 09:38

Browne per chance?

MPN11 2nd Jan 2019 10:14


Originally Posted by Pontius Navigator (Post 10349501)
Browne per chance?

The very same ... but without the 'e'. I see his daughter married a Vulcan pilot :(

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obi...ops-Brown.html

Very much in character!!

On one occasion he gathered together a one-armed colleague and another with a broken leg, and - with Brown sporting his eye patch at a jaunty angle - the trio hobbled arm-in-arm into the officers' mess bar to announce to the new students that they were the staff running the test pilots' course.

Old Bricks 8th Jan 2019 11:45

I was notionally RC when at Cranwell (68-71) but availed myself of the opportunity to not go on Church parade, unlike the CofEs, who were lumbered every week. Even worse, the CofE flight cadets were despatched to Armpit House for weekends of meaningful "g*dbothering", whereas the RCs were ignored. Needless to say, the day came when the Religious Fun Detectors spotted that the RCs had got away with it, and we were all sent "voluntarily" for a weekend in a big country house owned by some diocese in Yorkshire. As you can imagine, this was not universally welcomed, especially when we got there on Friday evening on RAF bus to be met by a super-enthusiastic swinging vicar, who told us that the whole content and timing of the weekend was up to us. When he asked what time we wanted to start on Saturday, the first enquiry was when lunch would be served. It all went downhill from there, especially when the Swinging Vic's statement that there was a bar available turned out to be a crate of bottled shandies. We all escaped that evening and went to local pub, arriving back very late and not in sparkling condition to be greeted by Swinging Vic with major bollocking. Next morning we were all dragged out of bed at 0700 and forced to discuss religion all day. Atmosphere among flight cadets got more and more bolshie, and eventually Swinging Vic phoned Cranwell and had us all transported back to base Sunday morning in disgrace. Monday morning No 1s, no coffee, extra duties, wrath of God (aka Wg Cdr Cadets) etc.....but I don't think they ever tried it again!

Pontius Navigator 8th Jan 2019 16:38

There used to be regular notices about a CofE God bothering course but I don't remember seeing and adverts after the 60s.

Thank you BEagle, Amport House. Maybe they will but some ecumenical and graceless building with a mosque attached instead.


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