• ARRSE have partnered with Armadillo Merino to bring you an ARRSE exclusive, generous discount offer on their full price range.
    To keep you warm with the best of Merino gear, visit www.armadillomerino.co.uk and use the code: NEWARRSE40 at the checkout to get 40% off!
    This superb deal has been generously offered to us by Armadillo Merino and is valid until midnight on the the 28th of February.

Army Officers in an RAF Mess

#1
Shall be attending a course with the Crabs....any suggestions on how to conduct myself at lunch in their Mess? I would not like to offend my host's hospitality by trodding upon any of their traditions.
 
#4
white socks, burberry baseball cap and a total ignorance of both decorum and the english language.

with you being an educated chap i'd suggest you get some famil training. nip down to your local off licence at 10pm and tap up folk going into the shop for a 'bottle o buckie'. you need to speak through your nose and dress with the sartorial elegance of stevie wonder in oxfam, furthermore you should abandon everything you ever leant about manners and civilisation.

you are now ready for an RAF mess - intellectually, but not emotionally.

you'll never be ready emotionally.
 
#5
heloplt said:
Shall be attending a course with the Crabs....any suggestions on how to conduct myself at lunch in their Mess? I would not like to offend my host's hospitality by trodding upon any of their traditions.
They don't have traditions, they have habits.

They get very shirty about the wearing of flying suits in the mess.

They have no decent silver or pictures, just tin replicas of sundry flying machinery and poorly copied prints of the obligatory Spitfire doing something dashing over the channel 60 years ago.

So few of them actually have anything to do with aeroplanes, it can be some sport to ask them, in all innocence, what 'plane they fly.

They have a strange and chippy regard to rank. They all like to be called Sir, yet they call their Seniors by their first names.

No doubt you'll get fish and chips with a bottle of brown ale - make sure you hold your knife like a pen, slurp when you're drinking, belch, fart and generally be as common and obnoxious as you can be: stick to these rules and you'll pass unnoticed.

If I was you I'd book into a local Travel Lodge. You'll be in much nicer surroundings and in much better company.
 
#6
So few of them actually have anything to do with aeroplanes, it can be some sport to ask them, in all innocence, what 'plane they fly.
Ask that as many times as possible! :twisted:

Take lots of change to use in the slot machines!
Many Messes have dispensed with these, as they were monopolised by the bar staff hoping for a £100 payout!

On the plus side, the food and accommodation tends to be far better than Army Messes, even with contractor involvement. Having said that, the food and accommodation tends to be better even in a RAF junior ranks mess when compared to an Army Officers' Mess. :twisted:
 
#7
Seeing as all the usual jokes have already been made, I'll try to answer the question properly (sorry).

Mess etiquette in the RAF is very similar to that of the Army, with most of the irritating little "regimental" quirks removed. So don't worry about silly rules about wearing hats at breakfast, how to address the barman or "Red Trouser Night". On the other hand, like Army messes, there are variations between Messes in terms of dress code at dinner/in the bar and - like many Army Messes - more and more are becoming No Smoking in Public Rooms.

Time spent in reconnaissance is rarely wasted, so get a copy of the Mess Rules in advance and be polite to the Mess Manager as he/she will most likely be on hand to smooth over any early faux pas.

In the bar, the pilots are usually loud and arrogant but frequently sober (as they have to fly in the morning), while the navigators are quiet and bitter but usually p*ssed (they don't). Tech trades will welcome you as brothers-in-arms and will enlist your assistance in winding up the pilots. Historically, I find more pads in the Mess bar in the evening than in Army messes, but they also bring their spouses, so be aware that not everyone present is necessarily "in on the joke". However much we like to lay into our RAF colleagues, remember that it's their Mess and any inter-Service rivallry should tacitly reflect the fact that you are their guest.

IF
 
#8
Queensman said:
If I was you I'd book into a local Travel Lodge. You'll be in much nicer surroundings and in much better company.
You'll probably be all on your ownsome. All the sharp end crabs will be in a four star somewhere like dubai and the penguins will all be married or at home with their "partner".

Take a dog along..that always gets things off to a good start in Army/Crab relations!! 8)
 
#9
I know that thier Seniors Mess is more pumped up than ours. Twice I have been booted out of a crab mess, first for not introducing myself to some old piss-head FSgt at the end of a bar (who does that nowadays...) and secondly for wearing scruffy combat clothes - made the place look untidy. On reflection, I think they dispised a 28 yr old SSgt which would take them an eternity to achieve.
 
#10
bullshit said:
On reflection, I think they dispised a 28 yr old SSgt which would take them an eternity to achieve.
Surely it would take them twenty eight years? Although twenty eight years in a Crab mess could seem like an eternity...
 
#11
Regrettably, many RAF messes have all but dispensed with any attempt at dress standards, but smart clothing should still be taken in case of a VIP visit or suchlike. I am currently living-in at a fast-jet station, and many of the junior aircrew not only wear flying suits in the mess, but don't bother to change after work - I suspect that they think (wrongly) that the females in the bar will be impressed.

Flying stations generally retain service chefs and stewards, and the standards of both food and service will usually be excellent.

Currently many messes will be full of University Air Squadron officer cadets - wretched little tics (less the attractive females, naturally). It will be like Big School at the end of term...
 
#12
I know that thier Seniors Mess is more pumped up than ours. Twice I have been booted out of a crab mess, first for not introducing myself to some old urine-head FSgt at the end of a bar (who does that nowadays...) and secondly for wearing scruffy combat clothes - made the place look untidy. On reflection, I think they dispised a 28 yr old SSgt which would take them an eternity to achieve.
Very true - there is some animosity between the older "crusties" and younger SNCOs, partly due to the bizarre trade group system the RAF runs for non-commissioned ranks (with vastly varying prospects of promotion and different Pay 2000 scales) and partly due to the seperate stream for "airman aircrew" which places capable junior ranks (and direct entrants) straight into SNCO aircrew slots with the inevitable "plastic sergeant" jibe. And, when you stick an Army SSgt or WO2 who is younger than many RAF Cpls(!) then some of the older SNCOs can get a bit agitated.

Some Sgts Messes are perceived by the younger members as private drinking clubs for the CMC and cronies but, as usual, there is probably fault on both sides and particularly with the RAF for simply taking too long to promote capable JNCOs.
 
#13
heloplt said:
Shall be attending a course with the Crabs....any suggestions on how to conduct myself at lunch in their Mess? I would not like to offend my host's hospitality by trodding upon any of their traditions.
Having lived in or been a member of a selection of RAF Messes for a total of about 3 years the answer is - you conduct yourself like an Army Offr/SNCO in an RAF Offrs'/SNCO's Mess. Therefore don't be tempted to lower your standards of dress to make them feel less uncomfortable that they seem to be happy to be seen wearing man made fibres in public or waering a shirt with a single button cuff, a chest pocket and without collar stiffeners. In one RAF Mess an RAF Regt Offr was proudly asking me what I thought of his new suit to which I answered "It's amazing what you can find in a Sue Ryder shop these days." Only his former aquaintance with my sense of humour saved me from a beating.

The same Mess had a little sign as you walked through the main door that was turned either green or red. If it was red it meant that there was a grown up in the Mess (Sqn Ldr or above) and that you be dressed correctly in the public rooms. If it was you green you could be even slacker than usual. I always made a point of turning it to red and then leaving it there even if I was only picking my mail up.

The same Mess also had an invisible line that ran through the middle of the bar. One side of the line was designated the scruffs bar. So if you were stood on one side you had to have a collar and tie and if you were on the other you could be in jeans and a T Shirt.

Under no circumstances should you lower yourself to playing on the fruit machines. Always take every opportunity to take th p*ss out of blokes in the Mess in flying suits.
 
#14
May or may not currently be in or around a RAF mess. Here are some tips.

1. Wear your uniform in the bar past regulation hours. Make sure it's got all your relevant unit badges and it looks smart, but clearly warn. The only time these crab feckers wear CS95 is for their equivalent of ITDs (which they do in a morning and requires them to do 9 press ups, 12 sit ups and level 6 on a bleep test ISYN) so their uniform looks like it's straight from the bag.

2. Make up alternative quals that are signified by your badges. People (ie some of the thicker dorises and Uni Air Sqn types) still think i'm wearing the "Army Birdwatching Club" badge, the "Army Ten-Pin Bowling Team" badge and a battle honour flash that signifies the Battle of Mingfar in Korea, where the colours mean: "Over the sand, Over the mountains, through the blood, over a little stream, through the blood again, back over the mountains and back over the sand again." I cannot overstate how gullible some of the crabs are.

3. Chat their women up. nuff said. Play the self depreciating army type, who doesn't need to big time it and the waafs flock to you. Nothing fcuks a crab off more than seeing his girlfriend laugh at a joke told by a dashing army type.

4. Call all the girls waafs.

5. Yawn whenever aircrew talk to you. When they're talking about themselves or their aircraft, lean behind them and interrupt them by talking to someone else. When they start doing the whole "Left hand shoots down right" thing walk up to them and have the following conversation:

"Say your left hand is you in a harrier/jag/tornado/etc - that's it, hold it out like that"
"Ok"
"And my right hand is a Mib"
"Mig"
"That's right, and I'm here behind you"
"Ok" <Looks around at his mate>
"How would you get out of it without me shooting you down?"
"Well...<dubious look> I suppose I'd make a hard right, bleed off some height for some added speed and see if I can get behind you"
"But say I did THIS" <make a aerodynamically imossible move with your 'Mib'> "and shot you down with guns" <make "nanananananananana" machine gun noises>
"Erm, well you can't, it's impossible, you'd have to do something like this"
At this point, you are tapping into three key RAF/Army dynamics that make this all very easy - especially if they've got a couple of beers inside them: a) aircrew like to talk about themselves and make themselves look superior b) The RAF think all squaddies, of all ranks,are thick and patronise us and c) the rest of them are so dull that as soon as anything vaguely interesting happens in the mess, they all flock round to see whats going on.
<as he guides your mib in a more realistic pattern, pull your hand away, hold it to your chest and look at him with a mixture of fear and homosexual tendencies in your eyes>
"Okay, say i had those guns that point where you look and I shoot you down with those"
"Mibs, I mean Migs, don't have those"
"Side firing rockets?"
"No"
"Lasers?"

String the fool on as long as you can. The non aircrew crowd will love you for stripping a flyboy of his dignity. They conveniently forget that the only meaningful thing done by the RAF is done by the pilots, the rest are hangers on.

6. Turn up to their balls in your mess kit and flirt with wives/girlfriends/guests. Wait til the guy opposite has finished telling the cleavage around him a dull 'War Story' that starts "This one Time, in Saudi..." then shoot him down with a proper sandbag moment.

7. Turn up to families hours with another army officer (preferably a loud beer-drinking antipodean) and get rat-arrsed. Say the f word and c word until you start hearing the ankle-biters getting admonished with "Where did you learn THAT?" and a hefty smack on the arrse.

8. When they make the inevitable "ooh, where's he gone?" gag when you walk in front of a plant, look at them and say "cnut"

9. Be as courteous and gentlemanly with the mess staff as you are in your own mess. It shows them up as the ungrateful oiks that many of them are.

10. Wear different forms of dress every day. Jumpers, lightweights, service dress - they all serve to confuse and annoy.
 
#16
Turncoat's guide to causing mayhem in a RAF Officers' Mess:

1. The best sport to be had is with pilot/flying officers of any branch, as they tend to be new and keen - but beware, as you might get a former ranker. Ask them why they are called "pilot officer" or "flying officer" when they don't fly. There may be some sport with flt lts of the flying branch as they get promoted younger.

2. The pecking order is - fast jet aircrew (pilot then nav), multi-engine and helo aircrew, then in approximate order based on how "operational" the task is. Bottom of the heap are admin officers.

3. Innocently ask aircrew why they get paid extra for simply doing their job.

4. Ask aircrew why they have to have officers to fly whereas the AAC has NCO pilots. If it is claimed the system is more complicated then point to the Apache (see below).

5. Ask aircrew why the think the RAF doesn't have Apache and when the rest of the rotary fleet will be split up between the Army and the Navy. Prepare for some grief about the various clusterfcuks surrounding Apache from those with some nous.

6. Ask JOs of any branch how many men they command. Most RAF JOs have a handful of subordinates at most, if any. Watch out for engineer officers who often have sh!tloads of techies under them at a comparatively junior rank. Point out the responsibilities of a Cpl section cdr.

7. For those really likely to bite, try asking when the RAF will be disbanded and the assets split between the Army and Navy.

8. As pointed out earlier, wheel out the war stories in front of some birds.

More to come...
 
#17
Am attending dining out night for a RAF SNCO soon. SNCO in question is a star, wouldn't want to spoil it, but any ideas for interesting topics of conversation to the Rockapes who will be present in abundance?

V!
 
#18
Thanks to all. Being an American and former Army Warrant Officer Helicopter pilot this shall be a new experience. Lord knows the Australian Army Officers Mess in Vietnam was a change from our standard Mess thus this should prove to be a bit of fun. Remembering that US Army Warrant Officers absolutely delighted in taking the mickey out of "Real Live Officers (RLO's)" in our own mess. I guess the other question that needs answering...being a bit familar with British Army Mess rules....hats on at breakfast and such....Must I take my own serviette and place it in the cute little pigeon hole or will they provide me with one? I don't reckon a well used cowboy hankerchief would suffice? By the way....I did find that a ten year old cowboy boot works miracles in communicating with a former Guards Officer I had the unfortunate luck to share life with while working. I found when he wore that hat and studiously hid behind the newspaper....and ignored me at breakfast....plunking that old cowboy boot into his cornflakes worked a charm for getting the salt and pepper from him.
 
#20
MrPVRd said:
...the seperate stream for "airman aircrew" which places capable junior ranks (and direct entrants) straight into SNCO aircrew slots with the inevitable "plastic sergeant" jibe...
Also referred to as TBHs (tennis ball heads) on account of the fact that they used to turn up in senior messes before their Swinderby buzz-cuts had time to grow out.
 

Latest Threads