Ruperts. When did you first hear the term?

When did you first hear the term ‘Rupert’, to describe a junior officer?

I believe the first time I heard it used was in 1974. At the time I was in Gibraltar and we had a recently joined subaltern, 2nd Lt Rupert SNU (not actually ‘Unknown’ to me, of course, just that one needs to spare the boy any embarrassment if he happens to read this).

Our young Rupert SNU had managed to earn himself a fortnight’s worth of extras as Duty Officer and we all felt a degree of sympathy for him. Bets were being taken as to the likelihood of the fortnight being extended to a month.

Whilst on Four Corners Guard we rang the Gibraltar Broadcasting Corporation (one man and his dog – she wasn’t that bad, actually) and requested the song ‘Rupert the Bear’, to be played for Lieutenant Rupert SNU, hoping that he would soon ‘get better’. GBC dutifully relayed this verbatim.

Poor Rupert – “Everyone sings his name…” as the song went.

The Adjutant was heard to remark to the CO,
“Well, at least the men seem to like him, Sir, if only for the entertainment value…” to which the CO replied,
“Bugger the entertainment value! I’d rather he simply managed to complete his Duties without some bloody disaster happening! The man’s so wet, you could shoot grouse off him!”

…And that, so far as I am concerned, is the beginning of ‘Rupert’!

Any more for anymore?
I was under the impression it was from the Jock regiments as their officers had tartan trousers like Rupert the Bear.
The first time I heard it was in the book Don't Cry for me Argentina, where it described a cricket match where officers were playing. Who-ever was keeping the scores didn't know the names of the officers, so he put something like "Rupert 1, Rupert 2, Rodney 1, Rodney 2 etc) down as their names.

The officers took offence and demanded their real names be used, and when they were, many of them actually turned out to be called Rupert and Rodney!

I read this book in the mid-80s, so the term must've been coined prior to that; but the book was a big hit with the army, and I guess that's where the publicity for the name came from?
From wikipedia.

Operation Titanic
The paradummy drop over Normandy Operation Titanic is probably the best known operation of its kind. In the early hours of the morning of June 6, 1944 a force of 40 Hudsons, Halifaxes and Stirlings dropped a total of 500 dummies in four separate locations along the coastal interior. Window, rifle fire simulators and two teams of Special Air Service soldiers carrying recordings of loud battle noise were also dropped to reinforce the deception and divert German troops away from the Allies' actual drop zones. The dummies were nicknamed Rupert and were fabricated with sack cloth/burlap representations of a human figure stuffed with straw or sand and not the highly elaborate and lifelike rubber dummies suggested in some accounts and portrayed in the film The Longest Day. They were equipped with an explosive charge that burned away the cloth after landing to prevent the immediate discovery of their true nature. Two Stirling aircraft were lost in the operation and of the six SAS soldiers involved, only two eventually reached safety, the others were captured and remained in German POW camps until the end of the war.

A few of the original dummies are now displayed in war museums. In the 1980s, several more dummies were found in the hangar of an old airfield in Great Britain. They have frequently been offered in auctions and on the Internet.
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
2 Int Corps 10
Forces_Sweetheart Officers 43
The_Tara Weapons, Equipment & Rations 31

Similar threads

Latest Threads