Naval Service view of the RAF

Seeing as the RAF's getting a few mentions may as well open a separate thread for you lot to vent your views and banter. Plus, I'm sure there's more than a few views about the Movers if ARRSE is anything to go by...



War Hero
Must..... contain..... myself......... &^$%%&@£)($((*^YTYFDNNEEHXX Cf

And breath.

The RAF. Where to start.

I found them jobsworths of the highest order.

1. Northern Ireland. I spent to many hours waiting for an RAF Helo to arrive, when it does always the wrong HLS.

2. RAF St Mawgan. Working at JMF. Living in the mess. Could not understand the stovepiping of officers and their jobs. We had a Catering Officer (DE graduate), god knows how many Adminers, Loggies and well the list goes on.

3. Manning. JMF had 1 x RAF Clerk. We lose her for 6 months as she has to go to the Falklands as part of her Operation Rotation. What?????

No I have to stop.


The RN and the Army have had centuries to build up a relationship based on banter, slagging, common history and tradition and also a measure of mutual respect. The RAF lay outside of this relationship and, frankly, rarely do themselves any favours by being such a bunch of humourless, classless sods. They even nicked Jack's word for soldiers FFS!


Lantern Swinger
I love crabs. Mostly. But I'm a bit biased.

I spoke to a Lt Cdr last week and mentioned my dad's ex RAF and he said: "Oh....never mind, eh?" Genius.


Lantern Swinger
Re Crab Air: Many years ago I was watching Flight deck operations and a pongo spoke with me and asked what I was doing. I explained and hethen asked what I thought of the RAF, being a born diplomat I answered "Very bureaucratic" and he replied " I and my colleagues think so too . I looked at his rank slide and saw he was the boss pongo (CIGS).
Must be careful because my late father was RAF (he won the war - the Japanese surrendered three days after his arrival in India), as were two of my uncles. So many experiences, good and bad, but here are three of them:

The Good - Arrived at Riyadh with consignment of Tornado nose wheels in Tristar for onward flights to join ship at start of Op GRANBY. Fully cammed, booted and spurred but no ammo for Browning issued at RAF Innsworth. RAF VC10 Tanker Sqdn in terminal building had big box of 9 mil and said take all you need. In between Scud alerts, charged both mags but warry appearance caused Embassy reception committee (dressed in shorts and flip-flops) some consternation when C130 arrived in Dubai.

The Bad - Diving Team deployed with vehicles to Cyprus in C130. Had my carefully saved RAF-issued apple (crabapple?) confiscated on arrival at RAF Akrotiri. During checks for return flight, RAF ground staff discovered next to no acid in vehicle batteries. Apparently, RAF Lyneham had drained acid for safety reasons before departing UK but RAF Akrotiri under no obligation to top them up again on arrival Cyprus. We had been driving around for two weeks blissfully unaware of this.

The Ugly - Tristar full of sailors returning from Gulf for mid-deployment Christmas leave during Op ARMILLA. Top brass and families waiting at RAF Turnhouse (Edinburgh) to greet them. Two hours before ETA (delayed owing to late departure), pilot announced that aircrew running out of hours so plane diverted to RAF Brize Norton for crew swap. As a Pompey native I was chuffed but most on board were Scottish Navy.

Apart from that, the RAF does have some funny habits. I was once refused a pint of beer in the mess at RAF St Mawgan and had to settle for two half-pints. Mind you, you couldn't even get a lunchtime half-pint at RAF Pitreavie when it was used as FOSNI's staff mess.

With a few exceptions like the Rockies (RAF Regt), a wide gap seems to exist in the RAF between the frontline minority of aircrew and the vital yet 'rear echelon' ground staff who support them - sort of a knight and squire approach. In the RN we are all potentially 'frontline', sinking or swimming in the same ship or submarine. The same sort of thing applies to most Army units. The RAF also seems to breed an overly administrative, procedural attitude, often more civilian-like than military in approach. However, this also means they are masters of staffwork and PR.
Worked with serving RAF types in Saudi, up to and beyond GW1 - found them to an okay bunch.
Also worked with some during my time passing through Aden to Singers - still okay bods - had a fantastic pee-up in the Sgts mess in Changi :thumright: (even though I was but a baby sailor :) ).
Now, as for the 'retired' types working for BAe - some of the biggest p***cks I have ever met.
Some of the ex-Zobs (both ground and Flying) seemed to think that they still had their ranks on their sleeves :pukel: .
whitemouse said:
Some of the ex-Zobs (both ground and Flying) seemed to think that they still had their ranks on their sleeves :pukel: .
Some of the defence industry appears to be like that in all honesty. When I was looking for work a couple of firmss had a very clear idea of where I would slot into their organisation, and sure enough it was one grade below where my then boss would have slotted in etc.

It did seem messiest at the SO3/ Warrant Officer level where there was a bit of friction.

All very aware of what rank had been worn in the service and it was almost as if they'd never taken the uniform off.

Glad I didn't go that direction.
The RAF...

Seem to look after their own very well - fantastic food, non-transit accommodation good (though the other 2 services are catching up), and lots of admin does actually mean you can talk to someone on station who knows something about you pay/pension/expense etc query - rather than having to phone some damn civilianised, centralised helpdesk who know **** all.

However - movers (the face of the RAF to the other 2 services) have in the pasty appeared unprofessional. I know someone who has just returned from Ops and they said there does appear to be a tide of change there. Despite flight times bouncing all over the place, the passengers were actually kept informed!! Shock, horror for those who've flow Crab Air in the past!!

RAFP - some OK, many are jobsworths.

Of the 3 services, they appear to have the worst front line/rear line mentality. To be fair, you get some of this on a CVS too.


Book Reviewer
sgtpepperband said:
LTCOOTB: Erm, 'cos that's where they do their training?! :roll:
But why so many snowdrops in comparison to the other two services? Could it be that they keep getting back-classed and forced to stay? :)

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