Online Dictionary of Royal Marines Slang

#2
crab - member of the RAF - from crabfat, the nickname for a blue-grey grease used by sailors, since RAF uniforms are that colour.

Only partially true as I understand. The colour (crabfat blue) was/is the same colour as 'blue unction', a 'remedy' for the stuff used to clear pubic lice a hundred years ago. When the RFC/RAF got issued their kit towards the end of the First World War the colour matched that of blue unction, hence the obvious link. Nowt to do with sailors in my understanding, but as always ready for correction.
 
#4
crab - member of the RAF - from crabfat, the nickname for a blue-grey grease used by sailors, since RAF uniforms are that colour.

Only partially true as I understand. The colour (crabfat blue) was/is the same colour as 'blue unction', a 'remedy' for the stuff used to clear pubic lice a hundred years ago. When the RFC/RAF got issued their kit towards the end of the First World War the colour matched that of blue unction, hence the obvious link. Nowt to do with sailors in my understanding, but as always ready for correction.
I'm with you on that one Guzzler! Never heard the greas one before.
 

Seaweed

War Hero
Book Reviewer
#5
I think the bit about 'used by sailors' is a confusion over ship's side grey paint being called grey crabfat because of its shade being like the unction referred to above.

Allegedly the Crabs' uniform originated in a load of cloth ordered for Tsarist Russia and left on our hands when the roof fell in.

And it may have been Jack, as being rather quicker and brighter than Percy, who labelled the RAF 'Crabs'.
 
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