Military Sutlers

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Queensman, Apr 27, 2010.

Welcome to the Army Rumour Service, ARRSE

The UK's largest and busiest UNofficial military website.

The heart of the site is the forum area, including:

  1. Whilst reading the thread on the Shirt OD on another forum, I came across the word 'Dacron' and was instantly transported back to Gibraltar in the mid '80s.

    Sutlers. Do they still exist?

    I first came across them in my first posting after Sandhurst in Omagh. Anwar Afzal was the Emperor King whose evil empire, I think, was Province wide. His levees served with patience and a sort of grim humour in the camp. The 'Golly' or 'Choggy' shop on camp selling dodgy burgers and nutty at all hours of the day and night. Many hours were spent sitting in the ARF hut, boots and INIBA on, being gently kippered by the rest of the team chain smoking and watching poorly recorded filth on the video - Gupta, Muckergee, Sooty and other less PC names, seemed to have an inexhaustable supply of sticky vids under his counter.

    Once in Gib we had the pleasure of meeting Mr Khatak's fine body of, what we later discovered were no more than, slaves! These chaps lived in absolute squalor in the old stables behind South Barracks - I had to inspect them once and do a Bedding Check with the CQMS: a haunting experience. Each Company Block had a Golly Shop. The camp barber was one of the flock and there was an army of others who spent 12 hours a day sitting cross legged making uniforms or doing the tailoring.
  2. We would have starved in the GCH without the choogy's shop
  3. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    Choggy's in province were replaced by the NAAFI EFI in about 1988. No loss really but no real benefit in the change apart from a minor improvement to hygene!
  4. I believe that an enclave is alive and well in Episkopi. The same family business, so I was told by a former garrison commander, that followed the British Army out of Egypt.
  5. Not in my experience. NAAFI acted like complete c*ts when they replaced the Choggie Wallah's in 8 Bde. Their attitude was very much like that of an ill disciplined occupying force. They really were appalling. It was utterly shameful. They did the very same in BFG when we lost the Church Army.

    Once NAAFI had 'cornered' the market they then started to lay down their own rules which didn't fit in with patrolling troops timetables. The Choggie would get out of his bed (usually just down behind the counter) to serve the lads as they came in at all hours in the morning. NAAFI's surly corporate attitude towards its captive audience was only matched by the attitudes of its shop staff.
  6. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    No real benefit then! Pretty much what I said, the choggies were never as helpful as most people seem to recall. They were horrid little grots but replacing them with the Naafi wasnt an improvement apart from hygene!
  7. My Brother-in-Law is an Officer in the RN & happily recounts being told "no steam, no raundry - you fuckoffee" by the Chinese laundrymen...
  8. I know not who they are or what they do but I do believe there are Sutlers in Dhekelia as well.
  9. I once witnessed an 18 stone stoker running up the main drag on HMS DANAE, screaming, being chased by the No 2 Laundryman, waving a rather nasty looking meat cleaver and shouting "you no call me flucking slope eyes, you flucking plick"

    It took about 3 people to corner him and stop him slicing the stoker up, very funny indeed.

    On the carriers we used to have the fleet number one (the big boss), laundrymen (about 10 of them), a tailor and a cobbler, but the powers that be got rid of the cobbler, can't remember why.
  10. We were talking in the mess with one of the HK Chinese crew on the good ship Sir Laughalot. He was working there as his job was a chippy, as well as chief toilet unblocker and also head honcho on the flight deck.

    When asked where he came from, as many in the mess had served in HK, he replied that he came from Aberdeen. Two of the infantry (I won't say which regiment) who had overheard this remarked that it was strange, as he didn't sound Scottish at all. 8O
  11. You haven't quite grasped that last post have you? Shall I spell it out for you? The Choggies were a damn sight more helpful than NAAFI.
  12. PIRA saw fit to target them, killing a few in the Province, God rest their souls.
  13. They shot a young lad on the A2 near Coleraine I believe. Accused him of being a Brit spy of all things.

    P.S. For Ugly's benefit...that's PIRA doing the shooting...and the young Choggie doing the dying. The 'A2' reference is to the road...not the rifle.
  14. Yes, they certainly seemed to follow the drum.
    Decades ago, I was talking to the char-wallah in our camp at Paphos-Ktima about and mentioned our char-wallah in Penang whose sign above the door had a name like Ghulham Hassan. The camp tailoring concession was held by another lot, Kudabax or similar.

    He said, 'Yes, that's my cousin'. He went on to say that most of the char-wallahs came from the same village in Pakistan (no wonder he was a cousin!) and simply followed the British Army.

    On a similar theme, the passing of 'Jenny' the Chinese woman who led the side party for ships in Hong Kong, was marked by obituaries in the Times and the Telegraph
    Jenny Ng Muk Kah BEM
  15. ugly

    ugly LE Moderator

    Knob, I was there in that era, at least when the robbing gits from the Naafi took over we didnt get to see spud drag the young choggie over the counter for dipping his toes in the sugar bowl!
    Fecking A2 was a road in Kent! 8O
    I certainly have no love for the robbing kuntz of the efi but at least they were clean!