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The Officers Mess

#1
Officers messes are evolving very slowly and have become confused. Living out officers want a club with antequated rules in which they can entertain if they feel like it (but in reality an eescape place from poor quarters for a family lunch is a more realistic desire). Single and unaccompanied officers want a home that allows them to live like they would in any professional organisation. With yet another move into a cold dark room where the lights dont work, sink is blocked, toilets are crowded, where I have to were a suit to get a drink - when is there going to be a shake up and recognition that we need to change messes to what are needed or lose them........or more importantly their members !!!
 
#2
THE_EDITOR said:
Officers messes are evolving very slowly and have become confused. Living out officers want a club with antequated rules in which they can entertain if they feel like it (but in reality an eescape place from poor quarters for a family lunch is a more realistic desire). Single and unaccompanied officers want a home that allows them to live like they would in any professional organisation. With yet another move into a cold dark room where the lights dont work, sink is blocked, toilets are crowded, where I have to were a suit to get a drink - when is there going to be a shake up and recognition that we need to change messes to what are needed or lose them........or more importantly their members !!!
Your argument is confused. Leaving the standard of accommodation issue to one side, I assume you are indicating that it is mess rules and standards that need shaking up, and that you are a fairly junior member of said mess.

Well do something about it. Sit on a mess committee, perhaps, and influence the PMC. Word of warning, however. The management regime that is currently running messes had exactly the same outlook as you when they were young and naive. Trouble is they got old and acquired the very same values/needs as their predecessors - hence very slow mess evolution. All the same, good luck.

PAM
 
#3
Having done both I can see where you are coming from.

There needs to be a 'meeting of minds'. By all means get on the committee, but I would say that you won't get many of your ideas past the PMC that way. Rather speak to your Commandin Officer; if he is the right sort of bloke, he should listen to your concerns and ask the PMC to look into them.

Just be aware, as PAM (PAW?) says, the current regime went through what you are experiencing now when they were young'uns - don't expect to force much change.
 
#4
There must be ways to combine mess standards with "home" for singlies. I well remember the frustration of having to put a suit on just to grab a pint. It wasn't that in isolation, I seemed to spend all my time getting changed.

Several changes in the course of the working day (barrack dress, combats, PT) followed by shower and change into "casual" civvies. Change into suit to eat dinner in the mess. And then change into civvies again to go out.

Small things, but an irritation nonetheless. At Blandford, the mess had a "scruffs bar" (no more than a hole in the wall!") - where you could grab a pint if you were still in PT/combat kit or suchlike.

If you have some sensible solutions which won't lower the tone of the mess proper (scruffs bar for example) then you might win through. Good luck!
 
#5
Join the RAF, then you can wear jeans and trainers in the mess on a daily basis. If you're a pilot you can even wear your overalls as well! Don't worry if the dress code is red because a 2* is hosting some guests, just stroll into the dining room in faded jeans, trainers and a polo shirt (ironed badly) and no-one will bat an eyelid.

The RAF: we're more than just civvies in uniform!
 
#6
I find it reassuring to see this one rearing it's head...

It was ever thus! People have been complaining about it for generations, I did - and funny old thing, as I got older so my opinion changed.

The Mess is an important place - and (depending on your Regiment) it is also the guardian of important traditions whether you like it or not. So the best advice is try and work around it, try and change it in whatever way you can and try and see it from another point of view, too...
 
#7
In one Mess I was at someone asked the question about whether or not we needed to have the billiard table that was leased from an outside company but seldom used. The CO put it to the vote and most of the live-in singlies and Pads voted to get rid as it appeared on our mess bills every month but was hardly getting any use. The only regular user was the dentist, a Lt-Col, who went to the CO, and told him that an Officers' Mess without a billiard table was unthinkable. Needless to say the table remained.
 
#8
I think the mess is important but I think there needs to be a realistic development plan. As the number of Regimantal messes reduces then there are more shared messes. Single officers need to be able to live in a way they would in any other profession ie have a private life. I have been in at least one mess where to have someone from the opposite sex in the mess she had to be flower arranging!

I got to like lots of flowers everywhere!!!
 
#9
THE_EDITOR said:
I have been in at least one mess where to have someone from the opposite sex in the mess she had to be flower arranging!
That would have been the Army's rules not the Officers' Mess's rules - i.e., no members of the opposite sex in accommodation. I always found it funny that the same officers who policed this rule in the lines when Orderly Officer whinged about it applying to them.
 
#10
You can't change it. I can't see what's wrong with t-shirt, jeans and flip-flops to have a drink, nor can the rest of the youngsters. Dressing up for dinner and all the other sh!thouse rules only serve to drive me away from where should be my home.

As do crawly-crawly-bum-lick functions put on for the benefit of living-out mess members' OJARs.

The people who like bullsh!t stay in, and create more, and those who don't like it get out.
 
#11
Sandbanks said:
In one Mess I was at someone asked the question about whether or not we needed to have the billiard table that was leased from an outside company but seldom used. The CO put it to the vote and most of the live-in singlies and Pads voted to get rid as it appeared on our mess bills every month but was hardly getting any use. The only regular user was the dentist, a Lt-Col, who went to the CO, and told him that an Officers' Mess without a billiard table was unthinkable. Needless to say the table remained.
Am I the only person who's always been intrigued by the idea of a billiard table, presumably in a billiard room? I'm guessing here, but I imagnie that one plays billiard on it.....
Now, which way should I be heading after dinner if I fancied a game of billiards?...
<Sorry, Sandbanks, not a rant at you at all - just an amused eyebrow at linguistic conventions. I blame the Cluedo board, personally....>

More generally, and just in the interests of banging out a familiar tune on a well-used drum, might there be a reason that accomodation and conventions for members in the Mess are not as they are for travelling salesmen in the executive wing of the local travel lodge ........ might it be something to do with an outward expression of inner values?.........

Ah well, nearly time for my nap.

BtH
 
#12
Born_to_hunt_Made_to_work said:
Sandbanks said:
In one Mess I was at someone asked the question about whether or not we needed to have the billiard table that was leased from an outside company but seldom used. The CO put it to the vote and most of the live-in singlies and Pads voted to get rid as it appeared on our mess bills every month but was hardly getting any use. The only regular user was the dentist, a Lt-Col, who went to the CO, and told him that an Officers' Mess without a billiard table was unthinkable. Needless to say the table remained.
Am I the only person who's always been intrigued by the idea of a billiard table, presumably in a billiard room? I'm guessing here, but I imagnie that one plays billiard on it.....
Now, which way should I be heading after dinner if I fancied a game of billiards?...


I may not be a billiards professional, but I do remember going for the easy pink - a clear requirement to have a billiard table in the mess in order to enable double entendres! :twisted: :D :wink:
 
#14
Ah, some still yearn for the good old days. If they ever existed:

"
"An officer must realise that the habit of drinking too much is not clever, nor is it amusing for other members of the mess; it sets a very bad example. Behaviour in an Officers' Mess will very quickly become common knowledge in the unit; the Sergeants' and Corporals' Messes will model their behaviour accordingly. It is essential that the behaviour in an Officers' Mess should be exemplary, as it has a direct bearing on the discipline throughout a unit."

Customs of the Army, The War Office, February, 1956
 
#15
Concur with Bat Crab - anything goes in RAF Messes. Forget personal hygeine, ignore feelings of anyone else, just turn up in smelly work clothes (aircrew grow-bag detectable at 50 metres). Remember that modern Britain is run by the combined powers of the vociferous minority and yoof.

Ah, the nostalgia for those days when officers were frequently gentlemen and standards were something other than pretty flags!
 
#16
You've got to have a billiard room, otherwise there would be nowhere for the dartboard to be hung. I've lived in a number of messes in my time but can't recall ever seeing anyone seriously having a game of darts, although there always seems to be a lot of holes in the plaster around the board. Perhaps the mess staff nip in for a quick "501" every now and then.
 
#17
Dubb_al_Ibn said:
You've got to have a billiard room, otherwise there would be nowhere for the dartboard to be hung. I've lived in a number of messes in my time but can't recall ever seeing anyone seriously having a game of darts, although there always seems to be a lot of holes in the plaster around the board. Perhaps the mess staff nip in for a quick "501" every now and then.
a dart board in an officers' mess ... which RAF station are you based at?
 
#18
Exactly ! It's always in that strange wooden box with two doors on it, halfway up the wall and sited somewhere near the billiards table...but no-one ever uses it. There's usually a long rubber mat on the floor with the "oche" (?) marked on it. Only purpose seems to be for tripping up the padre on dinner nights when he's playing biliards with the RMO.

The only RAF officers' mess I stayed in had an Argos catalogue on the newspaper table, (next to the Star, of course). Confirmed my suspicions.
 

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