Char Wallah’s a couple of questions

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Rumrunner, Dec 6, 2006.

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  1. Char Wallah’s a couple of questions

    During my service (62-83) we had Char Wallah’s in our unit in Cyprus, Hong Kong and Northern Ireland and good value for money they were too. In Cyprus they operated out of tent, in Hong Kong out of a two man room in the living accommodation and in Northern Ireland out of Portakabins and various tin shacks.

    Thinking about them now, I wonder, did they pay any form rent or possibly donate to unit funds, and are they still performing a service for today’s Army?

    Any info appreciated.
     
  2. Char Wallahs, Choggies or whatever you care to call them -

    An asset to the Her Majestys Forces and saviours of many a Hungry Soldier - ready to go where no purveyor of Butties and Burgers has gone before and to serve in all Theatres of Peace and War!. Frying Pans at the High Port and with Shouldered Spatula they were a sight to Strike fear into the Heathen Masses and send them running for cover as they shot drops of hot Pork dripping in their direction!.
    Although no Choggie gained the Famed Status of Wolfgang of Soltau fame, they shall be remembered affectionately by those they served -

    Unfortunately, as I understand it - this fine body of feeding men have faded into oblivion thanks to the corporate efforts of NAAFI (No Ambition and F*** all interest) and PAYD (Pay as you Dine)

    May the Noise of the Fat slapping in their Frying pans lighten my weary heart and increase my Waistline when I get to Heaven!!
     
  3. That makes for really sad reading LIMA. I'm willing to bet they would have done a great job for the guys in the “sand” and doubled perhaps as interpreters as well? I wonder how many years of history went down the tube with their demise?
     
  4. Ah the joys of the wog shop in the Grand Central Hotel Belfast; they were great characters, Mukagee, Pershuti and all of the others. Sadly in 1973 one of their number was murdered by PIRA in Derry, it does occur to me that his name is probably not remembered officially on any memorial. (memo to self to look into this!)

    Sorry I digress; I was lost in the smell of egg banjo's, burgars and onion, and that rather week nescafe coffee they used to make for us.
    When 49 Fld Regt RA left in July 73 to go back to Germany I do recall they were devastated to find that the cost of their consession in GCH had gone up a considerable amount by the incoming regiment.
    Great guys all of them, I think they might have all been Bengali's, anybody remember?
     
  5. Certainly a few, i think 6 paid with their lives whilst in Ulster, murdered whilst picking up supplies.
     
  6. One was killed on the 26th May 1973, he was the choggi at Blighs Lane, in Londonderry killed on the Lone Moor Road. He was called Noor Bazkhan aged 45 from West Pakistan.

    And no he isnt remembered anywhere, well except by us on here.
     
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  7. Poor bugger, he was known as "Jimmy", (I expect they all were) have remembered that tonight sat here thinking about them all.
    It does bring a smile to my face when I think of Purshuti asking me, "Mr ***** do you have any magazines I can look at!?!"
    Scarletto, thank you for looking that out for me.
     
  8. no problem mate, trying to find a photo of him, but well no luck yet.
     
  9. I have just emailed the custodian of the memorial gardens at Palace Barracks to see what channels I need to go through to get them recognised.
    I shall of course keep arrsers informed.
     
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  10. Absolute quality post LIMA, top drawer ha! ha!
     
  11. The sub-continent tradition of ministering to the forces' 'inner man' may still be alive in the MidEast, albeit at higher social strata of cholestoral. Some of the Pakistani crew in my compound caff in Jeddah had been nicely esconced at a Sultan of Oman's Officers' Mess before their catering company gave them their periodic shunt.

    I heard fond tales of Johnny Watts ('Oh yes, General Watts, sir: velly fine man!') and one Brit contract officer they clearly considered had been in the sun too long. Apparently, he kept demanding that his curry be hotter until even they couldn't oblige. It must have been disappointing to swap their like for the large number of sun-withered pool-rat compound gossip-monger wives they inherited.
     
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  12. Their great value to average soldier was willingness to put things on the kattab or debt book. This then became a weapon. If CO suggested he might change things, the kattab was waved and settlement claimed which generally changed boot to last warning. There were a number of mysterious fires which were attempts to burn the book and it was guarded like diamonds.
    They did not only do food and drink. They were fearsome dhobi men as well. I do not think anything was safe on the floor of my bunk without being whisked away for the ritual beating upon rocks. KD shorts and jacket were so feircely starched they stood up on their own like little suits of armour.
    The Cyprus and North African (Libya/Malta) ones were all part of the same family - including the tailors. Great guys.
     
  13. AlienFTM

    AlienFTM LE Book Reviewer

    At the UNFICYP Force Reserve Squadron camp in 76 - 77, the choggie shop was (unless my memory is very seriously flawed) co-located in the same building as the NAAFI, or if not, at least on the same square of land.

    Neither am I convinced that the staff didn't swap between the two as and when their shifts (lol) required. (Is it urban myth that when they complained about doing 24 hours on followed by 24 hours on, they gained a concession to work 12 hours on followed by 12 hours on? When they asked for a day off, they always got yesterday?)

    I thought it very enlightened of them, in particular NAAFI.

    And ISTR the tailor's shop on the other side of the road belonged to the same franchise.

    I mentioned this elsewhere already on the Egg Banjo thread: we have an Indian Industrial Trainee in our team, who tells me the choggie shop lives on in the Indian Army ... manned by Nepalese. I wonder if they are ex-Gurkhas? If so, I doubt there are many tabs run up by Tpr M Mouse et al.

    And PAYD? Shock, horror!!! You mean no more F&A refunds to write out by hand in triplicate when you're duty clerk? Whatever do they do to get through the interminable boredom? Oh hang on. I suddenly remember a member of the PAMPAS team setting up a pilot Unit Microcomputer in our office in 1985 when I was awaiting my posting to the RAPC Computer Centre. I asked him how you started Space Invaders (I was dead computer-literate me: I'd bought meself a C64 cos at 30 years old I suffered severe future shock when they whispered "Computer Centre" in me ear), at which point he hit a button and up came Dambusters. What a great game that was. I suppose that's what shiny-arrses do these days when they're on duty?

    What would I know? In 1971 I spent Wednesday afternoons in Sunderland Poly poking around with their "Computer" (it made Heath Robinson look simple). To this day, my comments haunt me: "Computers? They're all well and good but I wouldn't want to work on them. I mean, what would you do with one?"
     
  14. They got shafted by NAAFI in Derry. 'Smiler' and his crew were dug in at the back of the Clooney Quarters for years. NAAFI insisted that they be turfed out beforehand in preparation for NAAFI's take over of their 'establishment'. 'Smiler' and the lads packed up, but lived in a Portakabin alongwith their stock, opening up shop several times because NAAFI couldn't open their 'new shop' on time. When NAAFI did eventually open up, 'Smiler' and his mates departed for the Station Road Indian Takeaway at Tidworth. I Have no idea if they are still there but I do hope so.

    The NAAFI which replaced the Choggies, was crap, unable to meet the levels of service required by patrols, RUC and Ops Room wallahs alike, certainly couldn't match the prices (no tick either) and whilst they at least employed some of the wives, they just couldn't knock up a burger like the lads did.

    In appreciation for their years of service, 176 Pro Coy presented them with..........a RMP Corps Plaque and tie!........each! Atrocious.
     
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  15. Ah, egg banjos, corned beef and tomato banjos, Spanish omlette banjos in Hong Kong back in 74-75...

    Pay Parade line-up would be Paymaster/WO - BK - Battery Barman - Char Wallah - Dhobi Wallah - Tailor and if you had anything left after that, it was yours to spend!

    I'm all full of wist now... :cry: