WHAT IS AN AIRMAN?
An Airman is an earthly yet mysterious creature, and there are many varied
types of almost
every nationality with no two ever exactly alike.
They are found everywhere, in NAAFI’s, in messes, under, on top of
& inside aeroplanes,
in guardrooms, in cinemas, on sports fields, on their beds, on trains & buses, and out of
Airmen are of many colours: white (on arrival from the UK), varying degrees
pink, red, blue (with cold), and sometimes green with envy when their friends gain earlier
An Airman can be as wise as Solomon and as dim as the preverbial lamp, as
lightning and as slow as the long-awaited boat, as rich as Rockefeller or as poor as a
He likes cigarettes, beer, cards, girls in general, pay parades, pin-ups,
Doris Day, Marilyn Monroe, NAAFI break, YMCA suppers, indulgence passages,
tough gangster books, stand-downs, football, Test Matches, UK Trainers and letters
He doesn’t care much for writing letters, ceremonial & colour-hoisting
music, guards, RAF policemen, “jankers”, inspections, “bull”, vouchers and standing
No one is so late to rise or so early to bed, and no one knows more about
football or less about the perambulations in Station Routine Orders.
He is Confident with four aces in his hand, Impatience in a meal queue,
a propeller on his arm, Dejection with an arrival certificate, and Joy when it is turned
over and becomes a clearance chit.
No one else can stuff into one pocket a battered packet of Woodbines, an
RAF Form 1250,
a cricket ball, several unanswered letters, a dilapidated comb, two empty mineral water
bottles, a number of green bakalite tokens, a knife, fork & spoon, a piece of paper
authorising a late or early meal, and a copy of the latest Hank Janson publication.
You can get him out of the guardroom at 05:40 hours, but you can’t
move him from
the NAAFI at 10 o’clock on pay night.
He is a composite of all the virtues & vices, a leave-seeking, tea-drinking,
individual in dirty overalls, K.D., or a blue uniform and his one ambition is to become
But, midway through the morning, when your work is getting monotonous, the
almost unbearable, and you have only the shattered remnants of your dreams left, he can
bring a smile to your face and hope to your heart by bursting into the office or workshop,
and shouting those magic words, “NAAFI UP”.
Sent in by Mick Sargent
who found this amongst some old papers but has no idea who
the author was but expects it was by ‘one of the lads out there’
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