RAFairman's Blog

An RAF Airman's Blog

It’s a Wind-Up…

Over the years I have seen, participated in, and borne the brunt of a lot of wind-ups.  It’s part of service life, and let’s be honest, is a cracking good laugh.

Many, many of these are far to detrimental to the individuals involved or are far to scary to write about here, but some of the best I have seen – or been involved in include these pearlers…

When deployed away in Italy in the mid 1990’s an individual didn’t want to take out all his albums on cassette  – so produced compilations of his favourite songs.  The gang we hung about with took to playing cassettes in the vehicles that took us to work.  Another fella enjoyed listening to “Africa” by Toto. Now, I don’t know if you know the song – but it’s not the best tune I can name…and we always moaned when it came on.

Our hero was lying in bed listening to his favourite songs – trying to drift off to sleep – when all of a sudden he sits up in bed, bolt upright. The other lad had stolen his tape and halfway through the second side, at the end of one of the songs he had recorded Toto’s Africa on to the tape – and then replaced it back in the box ready to be played.

A second wind-up was on another deployment, when the squadron had a couple of days off.  One lad decided to go away for the weekend and see a bit of the country – and his room-mate decided that whilst he was away, his boots could do with a polish.  Well, actually he decided that the tourists BOOT – just the right one – needed a damn good polish. And so decided to bull it up to parade standard. Over three days he polished and polished and polished. He bulled the  whole boot so that it gleamed. The Grenadier Guards would have been proud of this boot is was so shiny.

Unfortunately the left boot was left for the weekend sitting on the floor and so by the time the tourist returned he found his pair of boots – left foot as he left it, dull and workman like – and the right one gleaming like a new pin.

A third involved a certain Flight Sergeant slowly and gently letting the front tyres down on a corporals car. Not to a dangerous level, but enough so that whenever the corporal checked his tyres they needed topping up. Eventually, the corporal decided that there must be something wrong with his tyres and went out and bought two new ones to the cost of £145…

Another was locking a room-mate out of his room, whilst on detachment at RAF Valley.  The poor chap was late getting back from another bar and his room-mate wouldn’t let him in. The late-comer spent the night in one of those children’s playhouse trees – you know the sort, pub beer gardens have them.  They have a slide built in and maybe an “arm” sticking out with a swing hanging under it. Anyway, the guy spent the night curled up in the base of the tree.

Once I saw an airman’s entire bed space moved out on to the balcony of the block that he was living in. Bed, wardrobe, chest of drawers, bedside table – with bedside light – and even a little mat he had by the side of his bed – all placed perfectly outside.  I saw him standing there with his beret pushed back, scratching his head wondering…how…?

As I say, there have been many, many more – most involving bodily fluids in some way – or involving events that COULD be considered to be inappropriate…but I will leave them to your imagination.

The point is though, that they are all about morale. Some may be a bit disgusting, some may even be a little bit painful, some even expensive, but they all do their little bit to increase morale and make places that little bit more tolerable.

We go to some terrible places (as well as some good ones!) and see and do lots. We work hard and play hard – and it’s in that playing that people learn more about each other and become better able to work together. I don’t think that ANY of the wind-ups I’ve seen have ever been malicious, and pretty much ALL of them have been taken with good humour, because it’s that humour that makes the services what it is.

I think the old adage is true…”If you can’t take a joke, you shouldn’t have joined…” and it’s funny that the ex-servicemen that I talk to all say the same thing. They miss the armed forces, not particularly for the jobs that they had the chance to do, not for the places that they went too, but for the people.

You see it’s the craic that makes service life what it is. And it’s the wind-ups that makes the craic what it is…

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2 thoughts on “It’s a Wind-Up…

  1. Oh! I meant to add…If you have any examples of quality wind-ups you’ve seen or been involved in…leave a comment here…

  2. Like RAFairman during my service with the RAF there were many wind ups taken and given in good humour. The one I recal the most was given to someone who well shall we say most deserved it for his own actions. This individual had for no other reason than his own amusement been winding up most if not all his work mates individually for a good 6 months to 1 year. Thus what goes around comes around as they say we all had a reason to get him back collectively. Being only junior airmen/women at the time we thought it best to inform our SNCO’s of what we intended so as not to ruffle any feathers. To our suprise, they had also noted this individuals willingness to wind folk up, so didn’t just agree we should do it but went along with us in the planning and execusion of said plot. Basically he was told him he had been selected for VIP door opening duties on a forthcoming VIP visit to the station (There in fact was no such visit taking place) This didn’t matter one jot when everyone was on side. We had orders typed up and distributed (well in fact he was the only one that received a copy) but when he asked at the post room, oh yes we sent that set of orders out last week. He as you would expect had to have his uniform (No 1) and himself in best gleaming order and to make sure he got this right he was inspected by the Station Warrant Officer (who was also on side) so he ended up having to exchange his shirt for a new one at clothing stores get a hair cut etc, I think he was sent to a few places around the unit to pick up white gloves etc. Then there was the dress rehersal stood outside the Officers Mess (the Mess Manager was in on the act) waiting for the staff car to arrive, standing to attention opening the door with one hand whilst saluting ( I think we had a junior officer as stand in VIP) smartly as VIP exited into the mess. Oh and not forgeting the station photographer taking photo’s (well he would in the real event). Finally it came to the day of the real (fake) VIP visit, he had practiced, was smart as a new pin stood outside the Officers Mess awaiting said VIP staff car to arrive. Back at the MT section guess who the MT driver let in the back of the car for the ride to the mess, yes that’s right 3 of his fellow work mates who he had been winding up of late. Unfortunately I could not attend, but it didn’t matter cause the Photographer captured it all including the penny dropped moment when he realised he’d been had, and strangley enough he never did wind people up after that for at least 6 months when I was then posted elsewhere!

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