RAF loadies on the front line?- Westminster Hall Debate


The Westminster Hall debate on 30th Jan included a reference to an RAF Herc loadie finding himself patrolling the streets of Iraq.

"...someone joined the RAF in a specialist role—they had been trained in packing equipment to be loaded on to Hercules aircraft for logistical purposes—and found themselves suddenly taken on a short, sharp training course to go into a peacekeeping role in Iraq on the front line...The concern raised ... was not that it was a deployable skill—they recognised that it would be deployed—but that the person was being deployed to do a peacekeeping role on the streets, on the front line, and that they were not being deployed to use their skill. The concern was that the person was being used not in an RAF regimental role but in a military role with the Army."

I'm assuming either the MP has seriously got the wrong end of the stick or the loadie in question is talking b0llocks - no aircrew in their right mind would end up boots on ground, and no infantry unit in their right mind would welcome them - but wanted to double-check if anyone had heard of this story (raised with the MP of West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine) or anything similar?
I know of specialist lads that have ended up doing shower duty, but that is ridiculous.
I had a mate who was doing some buggery bollox MT job on Telic 5 that swore blind his mucca on top cover duty was an RAF clerk. I found it hard to believe to.
Reading between the lines it sounds like:

Loady told of deployment to Iraq.

Loady does OPTAG (or similar).

Loady puts 2 and 2 together and sh*ts himself at prosepect of street patrols.

Loady complains to MP.

et voila - in the news.
He's a loadie ...... and he's not serving with the RAFReg .... but with the Army.

Well, that MP has really checked his facts before opening his arrse/mouth (interchangeable, MPs, for the use of)


Can't see it myself.Closest a Loady would get to the front line was door gunner in a Chinook/Puma chopper.Besides,most loadies I knw would'nt know one end or a A2 from the other.They,being growbags,get a pistol (9Mil) whereas fast jet crews get Walther 7.65..
Ask on E-Goat.
Media ops/psyops teams and the like are made up of people from different trades in all 3 services and routinely deploy on patrols and ops with infantry troops. Could this be what happened?
Why shouldnt he be deployed ont he ground if he has had some form of training?

i have seen clerks, chefs, VM's and allsorts deploy on the ground in previous operations. We had an RAF officer attached to my team in Afghanistan in 2002 admittedly as a interpreter however he was deployed with a brigade level recce team so had no formal training in advance force operations and he was absolutely superb!


good point on the media/POG - though i suspect the most likely scenario is that some lad was telling war stories to Mummy, probably throwing in a sprinkle of heroic bullshit for effect, and then she got it all blown out of proportion and sobbed to the local MP....

...But I wanted to check before passing judgement. And now I shall heap furious vengeance upon the Parliamentary system for the ill-informed way it misleads the Great British public. The debate is worth a read if you want a laugh - probably on Hansard somewhere.

Thanks all for your thoughts.


and as a parting shot, I've just read on and found this nugget:

[Willie Rennie MP]"...We have reached the conclusion that our troops should—[Interruption.] I am sorry, Mr. Olner; that is my mobile phone.
Mr. Olner: Order. That is two mistakes that the hon. Gentleman has made... "

Gives you faith - military coup anyone?


Am I missing a point here? He is taking the Queen's shilling and therefore if he is needed to get out on the ground and do something then so be it. I accept I am prob over simplifying this issue but I have seen numerous trades 'on the ground' providing top cover, stagging on a cordon or just getting out to give some other over worked soldier a break.

Sorry but this smells of 'Union Rep' stuff.


Couldn't agree more Modfather - I don't question whether or not it should happen, just whether this actually happened - sniffs of BS to me.
when I woz in green, i woz under the impressshun that i woz a soldier furst and my 'trade' sekund. when we woz at peace, i only did my trade and a little bit of soldier when bossman wanted to beest us on ex. but if we woz at war, then i had to be a soldier to and kill peeple.

maybee becoz i iz stoopid, i gets it rong. maybee its diffrunt for crabs in blue.
As an RAF Supplier I never expected to have to do top cover in Iraq (or all manner of other glamorous locations around the world, mainly the sh!tty bits), but seeing as we in the supply trade are in the lowest pay band in the RAF and our complete trade training probably costs the same as the books FJ pilots get for their courses I've accepted it.

Loadmasters on the other hand are expensively trained members of the growbag master race, a trade which also happens to be pretty hard hit for deployments at the mo and under-manned to boot. Shouldn't the question be why isn't he deployed carrying out the task he was so expensively trained to do rather than something he has little experience in, leading to him probably being a burden rather than a help to the people he is working with.

It seem many on here forget or don't know that due to the extremely expensive courses (in both monetary terms and time) 'techies' (who make up the bulk of the RAF) have to undertake to carry out their primary task we have always been 'tradesman first, solider second'. When a techie (or loadmaster for that fact) has been in training for 18 months costing many tens of thousands of pounds to train is patrolling or doing top cover really a good use of resources? Shouldn't the RAF Regiment be doing this kind of thing seeing as they are Force Protection assets apparently?

To be honest I believe it is as some have suggested, completely taken out of context. We all (in the RAF) have to undertake various forms of pre-deployment course, mainly to ensure techies don't shoot themselves in the foot when unloading their rifles. Admin Jaffa's have to undertake one level of course because they aren't expected to go anywhere more hostile than J1 village and people such as Loadies have to under take a more intensive one because if they have an unplanned stop in the middle of the desert they are expected to be able to look after themselves until help arrives via the QRF.


War Hero
If it did occur, I can only assume he was the world's worst loadie and they sent him somewhere they thought he'd do less damage.
Reckon the MP got the wrong end. Only thing I've ever heard of remotely like this involved a wokka mate cadging a lift off a pair of loggies and a flat tyre.
Bert Preast
nail on head my son
No winchweight would ever go willingly to do topcover
most couldn't find the arrse end of a landie , to do topcover
far tooo used to being up front navi-ing for the driver and giving unhelpful tips to the driver on how to avoid potholes and the quickest way to the local 5 star hostelry he's currently residing in.
...someone joined the RAF in a specialist role—they had been trained in packing equipment to be loaded on to Hercules aircraft for logistical purposes

I don't think this story is about a loadie at all. It's much more likely to be a mover from UKMAMS.


ViroBono said:
I don't think this story is about a loadie at all. It's much more likely to be a mover from UKMAMS.
In fairness to ViroBono I suspect he has hit the nail on the head here!
Yep, it doesn't say anything about it being a loadie. My guess too would it being a mover.

Can you imagine a 53 year old Flt Sgt NCA hard targeting across the area?

Having said that, the thought of a 48 year old SAC UKMAMS shiny arse doing the same wouldn't give me that good feeling either if I was the brick comd.
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
L Royal Air Force 12
L Current Affairs, News and Analysis 1
MoD_RSS MoD News 0

Latest Threads