Things My Father Told Me

I have, over a fairly long period, posted things about Rickshaw Senior in various threads. Strangely, they seem to get a good response and I thought it might be worth while to keep any further recollections in one place.
The old man was a rather larger than life character: explains why it is easy to write of him and not of myself (as I am a very grey man). This dit comes from when we were living in Aden in the early 60s. There is to be a fancy dress party in the Mess at Khormaksa and Senior reckons it would be a hoot to go as a street sweeper (his memsahib, who is all glammed up in a silk sari is less impressed ). Having parked the car, Rickshaw mum goes in to the Mess with the other couple who travelled with them and Senior gets into role. Filthy dhoti, flip flops, torn old shirt, rag tied around the head, a rattan basket, twig broom and a disgusting bidi in his mouth, he sweeps his way up to the entrance. And bumps into a RAFP cpl. the conversation is about what you’d expect. “Oy, Abdul. Where the feck d’you think you’re going?” Senior is well into role and mutters a bit of Arabic and tries to dodge around the Snowdrop who I shall say is rather more robust this time. Realising that the game is over, Senior stands up straight and announces that he is Flt Lt Rickshaw and is a Mess member. The Cpl gives a weary sigh and asks to see Senior’s ID card. Which is when Senior realises that his ID and wallet are at home. Nothing daunted, back to car he goes, drives like a loon back to our flat in Crater, and realises the keys to the flat are in his wife’s handbag. Bugger. Plan B kicks in. Up the drainpipe goes Senior and along the balcony to what he thinks is my bedroom. Through the window he goes, with a cry of “Never fear, Daddy’s here!” And realises he has gone in to our next door neighbour’s flat where he and his wife are spending some “quality time” as an alternative to the party.
That he managed to talk his way out of this is testament to his charm. It did not, however, work on the wife who had been left in the Mess trying to maintain a smile on her face. But that, as they say, is another story.
 
Good one; Osbert Sitwell would have been proud of you.
 
Vaguely related, as it was linked to Greg Davies talking about his on screen "dad" Rik Mayall from Man Down
 
Another dit from the Dark Ages. The old man was on a Beverly squadron. The Bev was a four prop transport with a high mounted wing and a bulbous cargo bay slung below it. On this occasion a bunch of new Loadies are being given. A demonstration of the palletised drop system. Clam shell doors at the rear of the cargo bay are opened and, from a podium at the front end of the bay -called the bandstand - the loadmaster pulls levers and activates the pallet system, a drogue Shute is deployed and out the pallets go, linked to each other.
The old man has a spare length of pallet strapping with him. This is oh so gently wrapped around the ankle of one of the baby loadies and the loose end tucked under the last pallet to be dropped.
The bandmaster does his thing, out the pallets start to go and the old man does an am dram shock horror, pointing to the baby loadie’s ankle and, understandably, panic ensues as the pallets accelerate out of the arse end of the Bev. As the last pallet goes into the wide blue yonder, the loose end is revealed and baby loadie reveals that Adrenalin is, indeed, brown.
 
Still on the subject of air drops, the old man was involved with famine relief in Nepal. We’re now in the era of Fat Albert - so, any time in the last 40years. The DZ has been identified, a GLO is in place, as are numerous Gurkhas to make sure the DZ is kept clear and in comes the Herc. Now Rickshaw Senior has been dropping stuff ever since he built many of the Ruhr car parks and is almost nonchalant as the relief supplies roll out of the back. The one thing he hasn’t factored in is that the air thins with altitude. The DZ is some thousands of metres up. The alternate DZ turns out to be several houses in the village. Thankfully, everybody is at the proper DZ and the village is empty so hurt is limited to the owners of the houses (easily rebuilt with pallets and flattened out ORP tins) and to the old man’s ego.
One poor soul who was less lucky was the supposed Imam who was waiting for food to be air dropped in, and I can’t be too sure about the country, but it might well have been Yemen back in the day when Aden was a Protectorate. Trusting in the almighty to protect him he moved into the DZ and was rewarded with a whole pallet to himself. Now, if you’re acting as a landing mat for a tonne of ORP, what could make things worse? Yeah, it’s a pallet of Bacon Grill. I know, I know, we were a less culturally sensitive lot in those days and anyway, out of date compo has to be got rid of and, FCO, caveat emptor.
 
OP, there’s a book in there - your old man sounds a real character.
My Dad was never in the Forces, as he was a miner during WW2. Although he was a real character, I don’t have similar dits, as he was tragically dead at the age of 56.
I do vaguely remember on one occasion, in my mid teens, I chanced upon his porn stash, hidden away (not very well) on top of a kitchen cupboard.
He caught me red handed returning one of them and gave me a sound thrashing, at the same time whispering in my ear “don’t tell Mum, I have them for medical reasons”! :smile:
 
Still on the subject of air drops, the old man was involved with famine relief in Nepal. We’re now in the era of Fat Albert - so, any time in the last 40years. The DZ has been identified, a GLO is in place, as are numerous Gurkhas to make sure the DZ is kept clear and in comes the Herc. Now Rickshaw Senior has been dropping stuff ever since he built many of the Ruhr car parks and is almost nonchalant as the relief supplies roll out of the back. The one thing he hasn’t factored in is that the air thins with altitude. The DZ is some thousands of metres up. The alternate DZ turns out to be several houses in the village. Thankfully, everybody is at the proper DZ and the village is empty so hurt is limited to the owners of the houses (easily rebuilt with pallets and flattened out ORP tins) and to the old man’s ego.
One poor soul who was less lucky was the supposed Imam who was waiting for food to be air dropped in, and I can’t be too sure about the country, but it might well have been Yemen back in the day when Aden was a Protectorate. Trusting in the almighty to protect him he moved into the DZ and was rewarded with a whole pallet to himself. Now, if you’re acting as a landing mat for a tonne of ORP, what could make things worse? Yeah, it’s a pallet of Bacon Grill. I know, I know, we were a less culturally sensitive lot in those days and anyway, out of date compo has to be got rid of and, FCO, caveat emptor.
Inshalla....;)
 
Rickshaw Senior’s generation were (in)famous for not letting their emotions show. They would run a mile at the thought of “shooting a line” let alone getting in touch with their feminine side (illegal until the ‘60s). So I was taken aback when I visited the old man in hospital following an operation and, as I sat at his side on the bed, he gave a sharp intake of breath and a tear rolled down his cheek. He grasped my hand and whispered “you’re sat on my catheter bag you stupid b’stard”.
 
Accepting that everything post 1945 was somewhat flat for my father and many of his generation, he sought amusement and entertainment wherever he could. It wasn’t just him. When Harry Secombe met Spike Milligan for the first time, Secombe was running down the side of a mountain in Italy in hot pursuit of a 25 pounder that had skipped out of its firing position. He called out to Milligan “have you seen a 25 pounder?” Milligan’s laconic reply was “what colour was it?”
Anyway, following the delivery of the last of the first tranche of C130s, the manufacturers throw a summer bash for one and all, including the ferry crews, of which Senior was one. All poshed up, Senior and Mrs Senior arrive at a huge marquee where a toast master announces them as Flt Lt Rickshaw and Mrs Smith. A sharp dig in the ribs attracts Senior’s attention and his memsahib whispers, in sub-Arctic tones, “why did he call me Mrs Smith?” and is told “that nobody takes their wives to these things”.
Things do not improve. A lady is overcome by the heat in the marquee and faints. Senior leaps to his feet and goes to the rescue. Sweeping the fair maid into his arms, he heads to the entrance. Unfortunately he has neglected to gather her skirt at the knee and, as he heads to the open air, it is evident to one and all that this poor lady had forgotten to put on any knickers (see, nobody takes their wives to these things...) and my father departs to the first, and most genuine, round of applause of the event.
 

Blogg

LE
Recounting the tales of Blogg Senior is a tad difficult. Omerta and all that.

Grandfather Blogg on the other hand is beyond reach and had a rich seam of stories he found amusing or deeply satisfying.

One improving tale involved a large smoking crater, a now missing but not missed young officer, perils of impatience/ ignoring advice, the potentially fleeting nature of life especially when dealing with things that fail to go bang on cue and loss of bowel control by those a bit too close when they eventually do.

"All we found was a bootlace threaded through his arrsehole which was buried with all due ceremony" he would intone with great solemnity and a totally straight face to his by now appalled audience.
 

BratMedic

LE
Book Reviewer
Every school morning my dad would wake me up with "Lash up and stow!!" Apparently it's a navy thing, My dad was a CPO on destroyers, before he became a LFB officer.
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
My old man if I knew where he was would be 6 foot under, however a senior Cpl when young Ugs was a sprog took me under his wing. It was when we were still using Wessex Helicopters and the RAF didn't bother arming them as firing back in South Armagh would then require cleaning the GPMG. The stick emplaned at Bessbrook for XMG, the new helipad was open at XMG so my Dad Acting unpaid decided to have some fun with the skygod. He was first in and sat nearest the door but facing out behind the loadie. The Loadie was familiar and used to show off all of the time by hanging out of the door on his strap with his feet on the edge looking cool he thought. Dad (he's still alive and I see him at the cenotaph each year) decided to grab a handful of the loadies chicken strap. The stick emplaned and the loadie held up the usual jokey signs, pax 10 but sweeties for 6 etc.
Anyhow we soon appeared over XMG and the loadie had adjusted his strap because he needed the extra length to pose in the door when we started to descend. He leaned out as far as he could about 35 degrees from horizontal to count the height down.
As that happened Dad let go of the loop of chicken strap and the loadie all of a sudden gets an extra 2 feet of strap and starts to descend faster than the rest of us. His visor being up we all copped his "Oh Feck!" expression as he starts to wave like some demented swimmer attempting the butterfly stroke for the first time and his feet must have been trying to grip the door lip through his boots.
We heard it was the last time he did that and we also stopped getting aerobatics from them on the way out on R&R.
Serves the silly Cant right was what my adopted dad said when the Pln Sgt found out!
 

DITA

MIA
My dad told me to always scrape my face in the morning, whether you need to or not, always iron your collar from the outside in to the middle and always order your smock one size up.
 
Results of an airdrop of food in the Sudan below.

To keep the dunny in the Herc clean we'd lay a garbage bag in it and take a massive coronary inducing Elvis style shit in there. It would go on the ramp for despatch when we ran in for the drop.

Any mail and personal items for the UN DZ staff went into similar bags and was kicked off the ramp along with 10 tonnes of Unimix per pass. The local CIVPOP figured this out when they saw them extracting packs of fags, sweets and other items from the bags they'd recovered, so often it was a free for all as they'd race onto the DZ, grab a bag and leg it into the kangene to enjoy their spoils.

Our habit of adding a sack of dung to the load now and then made the whole exercise a bit of a lucky dip for potential goniffs.

Lokichokio 003.jpg
 

ugly

LE
Moderator
On the theme of turd bombing I recall a certain Golf tower having to Create a burn pit due to the contents of the turdis not being double bagged and bursting in the Loadies arms showering the inside of the puma with a weeks worth of mixed fresh an compo jobbies!
The tower crew put a helicopter silhouette on the outside of the portaloo door and the lad responsible was nicknamed sh1tbomber and accredited with kill!
 
Buggered my neck in a bike accident (along with a load of other stupid shit) and eventually ended up with a weak right arm I was unable to raise above my shoulder or grip/pull/push anything. Got invited onto a demo jump into a prestigious agricultural show at night from a DC3 with a load of mil loons. Not going to turn that down so rocked up in pissing rain, kitted up and off we fucked.

Because of the low cloud we ran in and jumped at around 1500' AGL, all free fall of course. Shit for brains goes out the door and for a few nasty seconds is unable to get the pud out to release the pin and chuck the pilot chute. Bit of watery bowel time later the laundry unpacks itself and then the second bit of fuckwittery becomes obvious - can't lift my arm to unstow the brakes. Eventually use my left hand after gripping the left toggle in my teeth to maintain a half brakes configuration. Bit of juggling and I eventually sort out my shit.

Run in to the DZ is fine, dodge a few arc lights on towers, over the roof of the stadium, around a few flag poles and flare to miss that freshly raked pile of cow dung that's going to be carted off once we've landed.

About now the Emperor supplies fresh fuckwittery to further cock up my evening. Turns out the arm is not really in the mood to flare so I get a sort of half brakes thing going and smear into around 200lbs of cow shit heaped up on one side of the show ring.

The up side was that no one would come near me so getting beers at the bar was a simple matter of strolling up and saying excuse me to the densely packed crowd trying to get a drink. Felt like Moses parting the Red Sea. That was the episode that convinced me to go get the neck fusion the chancre mechanic had been nagging me about.

ETA: Enough of this. Back to Sqn Ldr Rickshaw's relationship with His Supreme Bastardness, the Emperor Mong.
 
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Eventually, and in no small way due to the Chinese water torture inflicted by Mrs Rickshaw Senior, our gallant aviator applies for, and is selected for a commission. It’s passing out parade time and, as always, the Mong factor intrudes. Missing are gloves, blue, woollen. Improvisation is the order of the day and Senior grabs a spare pair of socks, blue, woollen and tucks them between his fingers in a facsimile of gloves. Should work, after all, this is a quickie LE parade and then hey ho off to he Mess for tea and medals.
All goes well until we get to the point where the prizes are given out. To his consternation, and the disbelief of DS, fellow candidates and probably the barman in the Mess, Senior’s name is called out. Smart march to the front, cracking salute and then a handshake with the AOC. Carried away with the moment, Senior pulls off his “glove” to shake hands and, like a conjuror at a kids party, pulls about 18” of sock from his mitt. The AOC, to his credit, doesn’t miss a beat, shakes paws, mutters a few words and leaves Senior to extricate himself. Bare handed salute, swift bout and retreats to the ranks, to a commission and to a new career, careering from disaster to disaster.
 
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I recall phoning home in the early seventies to tell my ma that I had joined the Army. “Oh darling” she gushed. “How wonderful. When do you go to Sandhurst?” Naive youth that I was, I told her it was better than that. I was going to be a rifleman in the Infantry. There was a prolonged pause and she then said that I had better talk to my father. Senior came on the line Andy said three words. The first was you and the last was idiot and we went to radio silence for the next six months.
It’s passing out parade time at Depot the Prince of Wales’ Division. Back in the day, attendees were a mix of family and friends and locals who had nothing better to do. Free tea and wads might have been a factor. There had been the usual stands, allowing mothers to become distraught, seeing their beloved sons kicking the crap out of each other in the unarmed combat demo and for fathers to mutter that it was all much easier than in their day.
The grande finale is the parade itself and Rickshaw is one of the khaki clad cohort getting more and more wet waiting to get it done and get away.
There is a sudden frisson in the ranks and somebody asks if it’s the inspecting officer arriving. A quick squint let’s me see a blue uniform making its way through the assembled crowd and I realise that Senior has rocked up in SD, gongs suitably shiny. He has also bought his memsahib with him. She hasn’t hoisted in that there is a parade like this every six weeks or so and is dressed either for Ascot or Sandhurst. Take your pick. Rickshaw is mortified and thankful that he is totally anonymous in the No 2 Dress heap.
Rickshaw Senior told me the next bit. My ma was bleating that she couldn’t see me and kept on nagging Senior to find me. Suddenly, from the group of single mum’s who have bought their b’stards along in their pushchairs, comes a loud shout of “Ooh look, Theres Rickshaw, one in from the right hand marker, front rank (strange how familiar she was with military terminology, eh?). ‘Ello Rickshaw you lanky streak? Cooee!”
It was a long time ago, I was young and innocent, I had beer goggles on and, well, you understand gentle reader. Senior tells me that he didn’t know whether to tell the Mem that he had been proven right, that the private education had been wasted or to roar with laughter. In the end, for once, he was discreet and simply pointed me out to my ma. Much later, over a beer or two and having been told to get away from the front windows of our RAF quarter in case the neighbours saw a pongo in residence, he confined himself to remarking that he, at least, had confined himself to doing the wild thing with humans. Soul of tact that fellah.
 
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ugly

LE
Moderator
Eventually, and in no small way due to the Chinese water torture inflicted by Mrs Rickshaw Senior, our gallant aviator applies for, and is selected for a commission. It’s passing out parade time and, as always, the Mong factor intrudes. Missing are gloves, blue, woollen. Improvisation is the order of the day and Senior grabs a spare pair of socks, blue, woollen and tucks them between his fingers in a facsimile of gloves. Should work, after all, this is a quickie LE parade and then hey ho off to he Mess for tea and medals.
All goes well until we get to the point where the prizes are given out. To his consternation, and the disbelief of DS, fellow candidates and probably the barman in the Mess, Senior’s name is called out. Smart march to the front, cracking salute and then a handshake with the AOC. Carried away with the moment, Senior pulls off his “glove” to shake hands and, like a conjuror at a kids party, pulls about 18” of sock from his mitt. The AOC, to his credit, doesn’t miss a beat, shakes paws, mutters a few words and leaves Senior to extricate himself. Bare handed salute, swift bout and retreats to the ranks, to a commission and to a new career, careering from disaster to disaster.
I recall a similar crab tale from lifes like that or similar in readers digest whilst wasting time in a dentists waiting room.
Said senior crab had to take the morning station parade after the whole station had been rifted for dress by some visiting bigwig. Duty senior crab cant find his officers brown leather gloves and decides carrying the leather baccy pouch will suffice instead of wearing them. He cycles to the square or where ever the parade is and dismounts. Proceeds to take the parade and confides in his 2 I/C afterwards and enquires as to if anyone had noticed.
The reply was they were too busy staring at your bicycle clips on your ankles to notice!
 
In a printer’s tray hung on the kitchen wall, sits a small chunk of metal. It’s about three centimetres long and is roughly diamond shaped. There are sharp edges, evidence of the metal having been milled and having been explosively destroyed.
Rickshaw Senior gave me this many moons ago, nonchalantly saying that, if he hadn’t moved, I wouldn’t be here and, in all probability, nor would he. Engaged in building the Ruhr’s car parks, Senior was busy working out the next turning point. As he slides over the bench in the nav’s bay, there is a “ping” and he notices a small triangular year in the bench where he was sitting. Looking up, there s the piece of metal I now have in front of me, smoking hot: a piece of flak from an 88.
I have written before at my disbelief and admiration for men who could sit in an aluminium tube, flying in formation whilst the population of Germany flung everything their armaments factories could produce at them.
 

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