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Thread: Writing conventions

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Writing conventions

    Hi All,

    A rather unusual request. One about conventions/semantics.

    I’ve just started reading “Mixing It: Diversity in World War Two Britain” by Wendy Webster, and the Introduction has already annoyed me a bit. Maybe this is more an indication that at the ripe old age of 50 I’ve finally become a GOG (grumpy old git).

    She is talking about various nationalities who fought in the air, whilst based in Britain. She uses P P Pohe as an example (the Maori who was amongst those murdered after the “Great Escape”).

    What bugs me is her statement that “Porokuru Pohe was one of many volunteers from the British Empire who arrived in Britain during the Second World War. He served as a pilot in the RAF”.

    She does state that he applied to join the RNZAF (in context to the fact that when he first applied the rule for the RNZAF was the same as the RAF i.e. that one had to be “British subjects and of pure European descent”.

    My question is…even though Pohe was a member of the RNZAF did he serve IN the RAF? Shouldn't it be WITH the RAF? Am I being semantically pedantic?

    Cheers
    A
    Last edited by Amrit; 12th June 2018 at 17:30.
    RAF Armoured Car Companies 1920-45 http://www.rafacciraq.com/

  2. #2

    Default

    Hello Amrit,
    I hope someone can give a definitive answer but I believe you are right to challenge the description she has given. The air forces of the various governments-in-exile and the commonwealth had contracts to serve with the RAF: they agreed to work within the command structure of the RAF but were separate entities.

    Maybe someone can correct any error in what I have said?

    Bruce
    http://www.filephotoservice.co.uk/
    FILE COPYING AT THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES

  3. #3
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    Default

    Amrit,

    Quite right. In WWII only some 500+ New Zealanders served as members of the RAF (and therefore were IN the RAF). About 10,000 others were members of the RNZAF who served WITH the RAF on attachment only.

    Another common error by such authors as Webster is their reference to the Empire (or Commonwealth) as though Britain (actually England, Scotland, Wales and North Ireland) were not actually part of it.

    Errol

  4. #4
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    Default

    Amrit,

    Somewhat amused by your reference to being of a "ripe old age of 50". EWM QSO, and myself are the same age, and you're making us feel positively "Over-ripe". We were born in a time when, through no fault of our own, we were regarded as "NBBS's" - like it, or not!

    Col.
    Last edited by COL BRUGGY; 13th June 2018 at 01:29.

  5. #5
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    Bruce & Errol

    Thank you for confirming my misgivings. The book itself is well intentioned and pretty well written. But little missteps like this (which probably wouldn't get picked up by most general readers but us nerds can be real nitpickers lol) can make one question how many other mistakes an author has made that I haven't noticed.

    Col

    Being of Indian heritage I can say that there is no such thing as "over-ripe". Things taste better just before they turn (OK, that sounds worse than I meant it to). But I have to ask - NBBS's? I've been trying to work that out for ages. Please enlighten.

    Cheers all
    A
    RAF Armoured Car Companies 1920-45 http://www.rafacciraq.com/

  6. #6
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    Amrit

    NBBS = Natural Born British Subject. Even saying it now leaves a nasty taste in my mouth. Makes you wonder what an Unnatural Born British Subject was!

    Col.

  7. #7
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    Default

    Errol,

    Although Northern Ireland isn't actually part of Great Britain (aka Britain), my friend.

    Pedants are clearly alive and flourishing on the forum these days! lol

    Jonny
    In fond memory of Corporal James Oakland AGC (RMP), killed in action in Afghanistan on 22 October 2009. Exemplo Ducemus.

  8. #8
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    Default

    I am not pedantic, and haven't been so for the last 82 yrs, 4 days, 17 hrs, and 1 minute!!!
    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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