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Thread: The Officers’ Mess and the Sergeants’ Mess

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    Default The Officers’ Mess and the Sergeants’ Mess

    The Officers’ Mess and the Sergeants’ Mess

    Am I right in thinking that the RAF was the more democratic of the three services and was the first of the three to integrate, partially or fully, the officers and the Sergeant Pilots, Sergeant Navigators and Sergeant Gunners.

    Studying the crew lists in the ORBs of RAF squadrons in WW2, from the National Archives, I can see that there were often crews made up completely of Officers and other crews made up of NCOs

    I have the idea possibly gained from Len Deighton’s excellent novel ‘Bomber’ that in Bomber Command you had the anomaly sometimes of a Sergeant Pilot, with years of experience and a hat full of missions behind him, maybe even on his second ’tour’ and with six officers fulfilling the other roles in the aircraft.

    So, when the crews returned, in the early hours of the morning, from a mission over Europe the officers went off to their Mess for drinks, breakfast and to unwind, while their Sergeant Pilot went to his own Sergeants’ Mess…

    I believe I read somewhere, that possibly by 1943, the RAF decided this anomaly needed addressing ?

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    Default Re: The Officers’ Mess and the Sergeants’ Mess

    Hi

    The RAF never 'officially' combined the Officers and Sergeants Messes, although small detachments of pilots/crews may have set up their own facilities at times. Also some small units often had a combined Mess (one example I have been in was RAF Staxton Wold)

    After WW2 (1946) the RAF attempted to create separate Messes for Ground SNCOs and Aircrew NCOs and introduced a separate rank structure for Aircrew - Aircrew I - IV and Master Aircrew. This was abolished in 1950 with aircrew reverting to the ranks of Sgt and Flt Sgt but WO was replaced by Master Aircrew.

    Malcolm

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    Default Re: The Officers’ Mess and the Sergeants’ Mess

    It apparently was common, at least in fighter units, for officers and sergeant pilots to share a mess in the Western Desert. Elsewhere, I have read of considerable tension between the rapidly promoted wartime NCOs and the "old lags" who spent many years climbing the promotion ladder. Also, in the early war years where gunners were non-NCOs, they were still rostered for such ground work as night guard duties despite whatever flying they had done.

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    Default Re: The Officers’ Mess and the Sergeants’ Mess

    Unirank messes were common overseas. No high command, own rules!
    https://www.facebook.com/Franciszek-Grabowski-241360809684411/

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