A joke Christmas present I received this year was a bit closer to the truth than I would have liked it to be.
When I first joined the RAF in 1*67 (you can work out the missing number!) there was definitely room for the character, the odd ball and even the down right nutcase. However, as long as they were good at their job, they were, for the most part, accepted and tolerated and sometimes even protected from the wrath of the powers that be – normally the Station Warrant Officer!
Of course the long-haired, scruffy, occasionally late for work and sometimes hung-over erk, was still given a hard time by the squadron SNCOs, but generally speaking these ‘herberts’ were seen as part of what made a squadron a squadron and very something very different from civvy street. Nothing lasts forever and this level of tolerance to the non-conformist is no exception and this is where the joke gift, a book, struck a chord with me and really sums up the change I saw in the later part of my service career.
I hasten to add that the change was not in the troops, they were, and still are, I hope, always looking for any opportunity to have a laugh or wind a mate up. It’s the RAF as an entity that has, as this book (jokingly?) suggests, lost its sense of humour.
We’ll have to forgive them mixing an AWACs with a Nimrod on the front cover – I think the book was produced by some Fisheads and they only recognise things that float!