Probus learns of life in the RAF at last talk of 2012

AT the meeting of Ellon Probus Club on 8 November President David Couzin welcome fellow club member Duncan Milne as speaker for the day.

Duncan, a former RAF man, took members on a witty and nostalgic journey through the trials and tribulations of domestic life experienced by servicemen during the 1960s-70s.

At that time marriage, certainly in the army, was not encouraged for young recruits - they were expected to bond with their fellow servicemen and not to be distracted by the whims and demands of wives.

Once over the age of 25, however, marriage was somewhat more acceptable, but low pay meant that married life was at or near subsistence level.

Official accommodation was provided at various establishments but it tended to be rather basic, often remote and subject to strict military rules and inspections. Any damage or defacement to the property or furnishings had to be paid for the men themselves. Where official accommodation was in short supply, as at overseas postings, the RAF used to rent properties or even put staff and their families up in hotels - the standard of the accommodation being determined by rank and seniority.

As the years progressed the military authorities relented somewhat and marriage became more acceptable. This was evidenced by an ever increase in the number of cash allowances awarded to married men and their families.

A number of members added their own personal anecdotes about domestic life in the services.

Arthur Fry commented that airmen due to fly on a mission over Germany were given the luxury of an egg with their pre-take off meal but for those offering ‘a wee white lie’ it was a court martial offence.

The next Probus meeting takes place on January 10, 2013 when Ellon Academy headmaster Tim Mackay will talk on the ‘New school - New Curriculum’.