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The army is changing by the day :'(and the most exclusive club in the world seems to be going the same way.

What ever happened to the old adage "What happens in the mess, stays in the mess".

Obviously, there are times when the police need to be involved, but in general, WOs' and SNCOs' should be able to sort their differences out amongst themselves.

Red Ken would welcome views or am I a dinosaur?


Red Ken
I don't think 'gun running', 'money laundering' or 'racketeering' are subjects which can 'stay in the Mess' RK..........but then again in the RHF, they probably do ;D  

Are we to assume that 'one' is in the shit, due to a recent 'skirmish' in the ante room? ;)
I wouldn't say that ma-sonic, there was a bit of an "incident" which in the good ole days the PMC, PEC, whoever, would have sorted.

Now it seems that anyone who wants to improve their standing (for whatever reason), takes it outside the mess without any consideration of the consequences.

It seems to be even more prevalent where individuals are going for commissioning boards!!!  :eek:

Does anyone else think there's a connection?

Red Ken
do you not think the Mess of today is another world of perhaps your fathers time, or even 15 years ago?

I remeber being a young sprog waitering on (no ED pay then) and the mess staff was all military less for a few black hands.

Now, having just suffered 3 months in a UK mess, it is totally civvi (SODEXO?) and run like any business, therefore the ethos of the mess is undoubtably going to go that way is it not?

Also, with drink driving, TV, local clubs, family commitment etc, mid week bar attendance is just a handful of sad singlies or course personnel, however when I spoke to my old dad who was an RSM, he said every night is a mess was full and weekends were heaving.

My point is that the control and running of the mess has gone to civvi contractors so in time it will be just be another bar with limited membership, also society has changed and I feel that many Mess members just see it as either a pain in the arrse or as a cheap watering hole.

Sad days.
Well said bullsh*t,

It wasn't really the point I was trying to make but I totally agree.

On the subject of Sodexho, I think they're marginally better than the service we got with Gardener-Merchant a few years ago.

I visited the Redford Mess in Edinburgh a few years ago and the food/service was non-existant.


Red Ken
Let's not forget gents that as with all Civvy companies.....the contract goes to the lowest bidder.

I have some inside info on a certain company that runs certain messes in a certain part of the world (if you know what I mean).  They undercut other bids by so much so that they would definately get the contract, knowing that they could not provide a decent level of service.

Bring back the all military run mess.  Military mess manager, military chefs etc just like the GOOD OLD DAYS!!!!  The civvies are just interested in doing the minimum amount of work for the most money that they can get and sod the needs of the members.  Hang 'em all I say..............



Nice One, Hang 'em High!

Our Hotel Manager, retired matelot, should be flailed over a gun carriage, he runs the Sgts Mess like he owns it! Luckily the RSM has him taped and the conflict is amazing!

We eat in the same Cookhouse as the Toms and get the same menu, apart from added extra messing- whatever that means!

We are only a few years away from a American style O Club, which the Officers and SNCOs will have to share! You mark my words........( Carried out screaming!!!!!)


Hi All, Prior to leaving the forces after 22 years I was a Mess Member for 12 years and yes, it is and should be the most exclusive world wide club.  What other club gives you membership to all other NATO countries WO's and SGTS messes (or equivalents).  We should be respecting our messes and not use them just for cheap watering holes.  Civilian contractors do not have a clue exactly who or what they are dealing with within the Mess.  They couldn't care less as long as the bottom line is met........profit, profit, profit and bugger the members.
Trouble is that the "Mess" is no longer "THE EXCLUSIVE" club it was....

Face the facts:

An MOD Civil Servant of any rank is entitled to use and or even stay in the Mess.

So the Regtl Typing pool have greater priviledges than for instance the MT Cpl.

I'd quite happily give up the mess, its just a pain in the proverbial nowadays....

With regard to the original question....it should stay in the mess if it can be dealt with by RSM etc.

Lets not forget however that more often than not its the CO who actually runs the Mess with the RSM as secretary really..as its he/she that sign the grants etc.

Agree with Mutley - I was fed all the usual Cr*p about getting into the mess and it being the most exclusive club in the world - only to find that when I got there, every civil servant - bar those that are - ahem " Officer Status" ?? are members.  ....... You need to look no further that to see why the mess is dying  :'(
I have only ever been fortunate enough to step foot inside a Sgts mess on a couple of occaisions at Gut. I have to say that I enjoyed the visits immensly as the members made the night.

That being said I am firmly of the view that the character of the mess is determined by the members and PMC. If there is something going on there then it will attract the members in, regardless of who has the management contract. Running at a cheap cost may restrict the menu choices and cut back on the maintenance and service (which are all lamentable), but the culture is something that can be changed/determined. If the RSM/PMC makes it clear that what goes on in the mess stays in the mess, then that is what happens. Equally, if he decides that there needs to be some life in the mess it is up to him to do something about it. A monthly mandatory drinks night with full attendance and other events will soon gather a life of their own if they are things members want to turn up to.

I agree about the use of the mess by non-members. Thankfully i don't have the typing pool decending on my mess on a frequent basis, and I can imagine the resentment that causes when as you say, a visiting MT Cpl would be told to bugger off. Civil Servants of Higher Executive Officer grade or higher usually get admitted to the Officers Mess, but I believe it is at the discretion of the PMC. I know in Gut the teachers at the local British forces school (who I think were Civil Servants at the time, or considered in the same manner at least) were made honorary members of the mess when the RAF where in residence and we allowed them to continue those rights when it became PRB. I'm not sure if the invitation was ever extended on to others though. That honorary status did not give them unlimited access to, or any say in the running of the mess however. They didn't get invited to formal events such as Regimental or Mess dinners, and they had to "warn in" in advance if they wished to visit. They did get invitations to parties, and balls and the like which was all good news to the mess coffers.


Woopert,   Some good and valid points..........However, compulsory drinks nights is not the cleverest of ideas in this day and age.  I have seen this done and it usually leads to resentment by the majority of members.  If it is compulsory, then the mess incurs the cost of providing transportation from the quarters, civilian homes etc. to the Mess.  I was PEC of the AAC Mess at Middle Wallop for 2 terms (voluntary, I might add!) and it was my experience that if you want members to attend you have to provide substantial and regular entertainment not just for the members but the members wives and children.  Creating a family atmosphere in the mess attracts members and their families (especially Sunday lunches).
Loyalty goes both ways(up and down the ranks) therefore it is up to the RSM to show loyalty to all mess members and i'm sure they will return it. As for a free for all as to what goes on in the mess, i disagree with
some points.
Why do people have to wait until they have had 10 pints before they have the courage to discuss a problem they have with a work colleague? This to me is a guise of cowardise and anyone who uses the mess to inflict physical damage to another mess member in the hope that he/she can get away with it doesn't deserve to be there.  
Some question were asked, I cannot answer them all but here is my own personal insight

Q. Is an MOD Civil Servant of any rank entitled to use and or even stay in the Mess.

A. Maybe so in some messes, If this is the case then someone better inform the mess managers throughout the Corps. I know in some low key messes this may be the cacse, even with Sodexho in charge do the rules allow this?

Is the trouble is that the "Mess" is no longer "THE EXCLUSIVE" club it was....

Face the facts:

Q. So the Regtl Typing pool have greater priviledges than for instance the MT Cpl!!

A. The Regtl Typing pool should not be allowed in the Mess

Q. I'd quite happily give up the mess, its just a pain in the proverbial nowadays.

A. Promote the mess through your own good feeling and it will become vibrant again.

With regard to the original question....it should stay in the mess if it can be dealt with by RSM.

A. Dont be scared of the RSM, the RSM is there to ensure all mess members enjoy membership with no compromise. If you have compromised the mess then look at your own integrity and loyalty to your very own special club.

Q. I was always told that it was the one place I wanted to be, sometimes it can be difficult. Not due to those who are proud, mostly because of the few who are p****d off with something that has happened outside of the mess environment.

A. There are plenty of times when this in not the case, but very few. Support the mess, it is there for all of us

Q. Lets not forget however that more often than not its the CO who actually runs the Mess with the RSM as secretary really..as its he/she that sign the grants etc.

A. No, No, No The presiding member advises the CO or officer placed in charge of the minutes, You can vote 95% of mess business without the CO blinking an eyelid. This does not make it invalid, simply that the CO agrees with the conduct of the PMC and the mess members, and the trust placed in them
As far as Civil Servants using Messes is concerned, this is usually at the discretion of the CO, though a few non-civil service contractors may have Mess membership built in to their contract.

There is a system of Equivalent Military Rank (EMR), which is used exclusively for messing and accommodation - it does not confer any rank. It is loosely based on the rank that a member of the forces would hold if he were doing the job. This translates less well in some jobs than others. For example, all the civ nurses in BFG have an EMR of Capt, yet if in the Army they most would be NCOs. The Civil Service also use EMR, mostly for housing abroad.

Recently one Officers Mess where we have staff living kicked out all the resident civil servants, because they have no right to live in the Mess and the space was needed for serving personnel.

In some garrisons in Germany the MoD civil servants have there own messes and can't join the military ones.
Muttley said:
Trouble is that the "Mess" is no longer "THE EXCLUSIVE" club it was....

Face the facts:

An MOD Civil Servant of any rank is entitled to use and or even stay in the Mess.

So the Regtl Typing pool have greater priviledges than for instance the MT Cpl.
An MOD Civil Servant of any rank/title is entitled to use the mess as you quite rightly state. The Regimental Typing Pool do have priviledges in so far as messing status is concerned, but that is all. The Civil Servant rank structure is based on equivalent ranks. That is to say that a D grade is equivalent to a WO (I think) etc etc. This is purely however, for messing purposes only. It would be naive to think that a civvy D grade who could be in his/her mid 20's would be 'equivalent' to a Warrant Officer who has potentially completed approximately 18 - 20 years of service and who has almost reached the pinnacle of their career (in the WO's & Sgts mess).
Viro, we used to have a resident head-the-ball in Berlin who was the dental receptionist with granted officer status. This she thought, allowed her to be called Capt L*** !! She used to threaten squaddies with orders, etc, etc, because she truly believed she was an officer !! I believe some civil servants and civvies granted such status do believe they are that rank for any purposes including ordering soldiers around. I agree they can use the mess for lunch, but for accommodation or anything else, no.
My TA admin office has a similar civvy clerk who every one refers to as "The Brigadier". But that's probably only because she is a snotty cow who can never be wrong.
i think because the mess in run by civvies that means we have to alter our behaviour is a pathetic excuse. the real reason we dont get away with as much nowadays is because all the WO's and officers are scared stiff of getting done in a court of law. my previous mess was civvy run and they totaly understood all the shit they had to clean up in the morning.

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