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Thread: Erks

  1. #1
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    Default Erks

    HI All,

    Why were ground crew called Erks, is this short for anything?

    Regards,

    John.

  2. #2
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    John,
    Mr Wiki (if you believe him!) states:-

    Erk (or Irk) - Aircraftsman (from cockney erkraft).


    I would need to be convinced!

    HTH

    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Hi Peter,

    Thanks for that, its a thought.

    Regards,

    John.

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    The following letter appears in Flight for 19 September 1946. Whether the correct explanation or not I do not know, but it does not appear to have been challenged in later correspondence columns in Flight.

    R.A.F. SLANG

    When Halton Life Was IRKsome!
    A FEW months ago you published a letter from my erudite pen in which I settled for ever the controversy concerning
    the origin of the word " gen." It was invented at Halton and is short for "genuine." Now at that time the life of an aircraft
    apprentice was very irksome indeed. We didn't get Horlicks for supper as they do now. In fact we didn't get any supper at all, unless one was rich enough to dine in the Naafi. (I, personally, was one of the plutocrats as I ran an illicit barber's shopóthreepence for a clip up to the brim of the cap, no credit given, and patronised by the squadron sergeant-major).
    As I said, our life was very irksome and whilst going about the barrack room, chores one would often hear the saying,
    "Join the Navy and see the worldóJoin the Air Force" and scrub it." I say again, life was very irksome, and that, Mr.
    Editor, sub-editors, correspondents, members of the flying services and all who couldn't care less anyway, is the derivation
    of the word irk, not erk.
    Ah, those were the days of wooden aircraft and iron irks.
    L. W. CRAWFORD
    (Ex-Irk).
    [R.A.F. slang, no less than any other form of expression,
    is apt to suffer corruption with the passage of time.óED].

    Errol

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    Default

    Errol, others:

    "Join the Navy and see the worldóJoin the Air Force and scrub it."

    I am not sure of the exact meaning of the word "scrub" in the above phrase.
    Please forgive my ignorance but can you explain?
    Thank you.

  6. #6
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    Hello All,
    In the weeks prior to the annual AOC's Inspection of most Flying Stations there was a flurry of activity - leading up to pre-AOC's inspection by the Station Master, and/or SASO. All sorts of strange Staff Officers from Group were wandering about and - usually - complaining! The word was - for us airmen - "If it moves, salute it. If it doesn't then paint/scrub/brasso/steel-wool it".
    AOCs (same like any visiting Royalty) must have thought that the entire world always smelled of new paint, bleach, etc!
    At my NSA Square-Bashing (Hednesford - of blessed memory!) we were - one afternoon - scrubbing the ablutions floor. The Flight Discip Sgt hove to and issued the edict that he wanted to see the bog floor clean enough to eat his tea off. One smart fart from the east end of London (there's always one isn't there?!) said "Staff, if we do, will you come and eat your tea off it?". I have no idea how many of his "free" hours were subsequently spent in the Sqn Cookhouse Tin-Room - but, I suspect, quite a few!
    Then, as one rose through the system to one's upper level of inability, one looked upon such episodes with humour!
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Last edited by Resmoroh; 29th August 2016 at 16:59. Reason: QSD
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Resmoroh,
    Thank you for the explanation.
    Scrub as in clean was my first instinct.
    Then I second-guessed it to mean scrub as in cancel.
    When I entertained the thought of scrub as in destroy, I thought I'd better get clarification.

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