RAF slang

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from RAF Speak)
Jump to: navigation, search

The Royal Air Force developed a distinctive slang which has been documented in works such as Piece of Cake and the Dictionary of RAF slang.[1]

The following is a comprehensive selection of slang terms and common abbreviations used by the RAF from before World War II until the present day; less common abbreviations are not included.

Often common colloquial terms are used as well by airmen, as well as less savory ones. In addition some terms have come into common parlance such as " I pranged the car last night".

Other slang was used by British and Empire air forces. There were a number of codes used within the RAF, not now under the official secrets act, some of which are included.

It is followed by a list of nicknames of aircraft used by, or familiar to, the RAF.

A[edit]

  • Ablutions - Area in barrack-room airmen go to for washing and/or using toilet.
  • Ablutions Orderly - Washroom/Toilet cleaner and maintainer.
  • AC Plonk - Aircraftman Second Class (AC2), was the lowest rank in the RAF (also known simply as Plonk).
  • Ace - Dating from World War I. Five or more 'kills' in fighter air combat.
  • Admiral (the) - The officer in charge of air-sea rescue boats.
  • Air Commode - Air Commodore, lowest ranking of Their Airships (also known as Air Toilet).
  • Air House - Air Ministry, or Air Force Department of the Ministry of Defence.
  • Air maids - Air-sea rescue boat crew (as opposed to mermaids).
  • Air Toilet - Air Commodore (also known as Air Commode).
  • Air Tragic - Air Traffic (also known as The Tower).
  • Airships, Their - Officers of Air Commodore rank and above. Float serenely at high altitude, buffeted by assorted winds and oblivious to the implications of, and confusion caused by, the edicts following their astral deliberations.
  • Albert Square - RAF Lyneham, home to most of the 'Fat Alberts' or Lockheed HC-130s.
  • Anchor - A parachutist who waits too long to drop.
  • Angels - Altitude, given in thousands of feet (thus "Angels 13" is 13,000 feet).
  • Anvil - The sound-proofed, darkened box that Scopies sit in, staring at a screen apparently to warn of any incoming Bogies.
  • Archie - World War I term for anti-aircraft fire (Ack Ack).
  • Arse End Charlies - Evasion fighters flying at the back of a formation or rear gunners (sometimes known as Tail End Charlies).
  • Arsy Tarsy - Aircrew reception area (they keep you waiting).
  • Aspirin - Codename for jamming German navigation aids. (See Battle of the Beams.)
  • Attaboys - Air Transport Auxiliary (As used by Americans, many were women).
  • Aviate - To show off flying in the air.
  • Air Loadmaster - Or ALM. See Loadies.

B[edit]

  • Babies Heads - Steak and kidney puddings. Provided as nourishment during exercises.
  • Bag - Parachute or anti-exposure suit.
  • Bags of Mystery - Sausages, rissoles, etc. with uncertain contents.
  • Bag Up - To vomit into the sick bag provided in the aircraft.
  • Balbo - Large air formation.*Banana-Boat - Aircraft carrier.
  • Bandit - Enemy aircraft.
  • Bang On - To be correct, or a direct hit.
  • Bang Out - The action taken by a jockey when he has to eject: the explosive egress system bangs him straight through the canopy on his rocket propelled seat.
  • Banjoes - Fried bread with usually egg and ham in it usually served during exercises.
  • Basher - Man, chap, fellow in a particular trade e.g. "stores basher".
  • Battle Blues - Ordinary uniform, AKA battle dress or (pre-1970s) "Hairy Mary's" (from the rough blue/grey wool construction).
  • Bay - Component servicing area e.g. "Engine Bay".
  • Ballooniacs - From World War II. The RAF Balloon Command personnel. (Now hot air balloonists who show up as a blob on radar).
  • Bean Stealers - Married Officers who hang out at the officers' club most weekdays.
  • Bed Pack - A squared-off assembly of 2 sheets and 3 blankets wrapped tightly in a fourth blanket. Pillows were placed on top and the pack had to be tight enough to bounce a coin off of. This could be a daily or weekly occurrence depending on whether you were a recruit or more senior - sometimes called a box bed.
  • Beehive - A close formation of bombers and fighters.
  • Beer Call - Free beer for all, a chance to settle any disputes, fighting accepted.
  • Beer Lever - Joystick.
  • Beer Tokens - Money, Pay.
  • Bellyflop - Landing without an undercarriage (see Pancake).
  • Best Blues - Number One Uniform.
  • BENGO (abbreviation) - Baby ENGineering Officer (On first tour after training).
  • Benjamin - Jammed German bomber raid.
  • Benny - Resident of the Falkland Islands, named after the character in the soap opera Crossroads who always wore a woolly hat as most male Falklanders seem to. Later on, following an admonishment from a Rupert, changed to 'Still', as in 'still a Benny'.
  • Biffy - A latrine.
  • Bimble - To go for a walk.
  • Big Badge - An officer who tends to outrank him/herself.
  • Bind - Not a nice job.
  • Bird Table - The conference room/table hang out for operational discussion.
  • Bishop - Chaplain (usually Anglican).
  • BINGO - Coded message that mission must be aborted and return to base (RTB) due to lack of fuel etc. Originated from the cockpit cross-hatched low fuel warning indicator that looked like a Bingo card.
  • BINGO Field - A diversion airfield for aircraft on BINGO, especially applicable to carrier borne aircraft.
  • Binding - Complaining.
  • Biscuit - The original palliasse or straw mattress. Each was a 3 ft x 3 ft canvas quilted, straw filled, grey coloured object of which three were issued to each junior rank in order to soften a wooden slatted bed frame when laid end-to-end.
  • Black-outs - Knickers worn by the WAAF, navy-blue winter-weights.
  • Black Top - Night fatigue wear.
  • Blanket Stacker - The Suppliers Trade (Store-man).
  • Blarts - WAAFs and other females on station.
  • Blats - Local currency of any country you are in.
  • Blighty - The United Kingdom (from Hindi).
  • Blitz time - The ETA for bombing.
  • Blood wagon - Ambulance.
  • Blower - Supercharger, or telephone.
  • Blowing chunks - Vomiting.
  • Blue (the) - Desert.
  • Bluebirds - WAAF.
  • Bluies - Aerogram letters usually given free to the military on detachment.
  • Body Snatcher - Stretcher Bearer.
  • Bodge Tape - Also known as Gaffer tape. Fixes anything.
  • Bogey - An unidentified aircraft, assumed hostile until proved otherwise.
  • Boggy Truck - Aircraft servicing vehicle used to empty their toilets etc.
  • Bondu - Area of waste ground inside or just out of air field for discrete activities.
  • Bone Dome - Aircrew Helmet.
  • Bone N - Rubbish Bin.
  • Bomb Dump - Explosives storage area (ESA).
  • Bomb Head - Armourer.
  • Boomerang - Aircraft returned early due to snag (originally RAF Bomber Command).
  • Bounce - A come-back maneoever in air combat to get in a counterattack.
  • Brain on a Chain - Dog Handler.
  • Brassed Off - Unhappy (in the extreme).
  • Brass Hats - Commanding officers.
  • Break Van - NAAFI canteen van.
  • Brown Jobs - The Army (also "pongos" and "squaddies").
  • Bubble dancing - Laundering, or washing up.
  • Buddy Buddy - Military supportive team of two men. In the RAF usually refers to flight crew checking each other's kit before take off.
  • Bull Night - Usually weekly night when the aircraftsmen have to clean/polish up their accommodation/ablutions/work areas.
  • Bull or Bullsh*t - Rubbish! or to bamboozle and browbeat.
  • Bumper - Implement with broomstick handle aircraftsmen must use to make waxed floors glisten prior to inspection.
  • Bumph - Useless paperwork.
  • Bundoo - Uncivilised postings.
  • Bungalow - Stupid.
  • Burner - Afterburner on a jet.
  • Burton - "Gone for a Burton" - killed in action (from an old beer commercial for Burton Ale).
  • Bus - An aircraft.
  • Bus Drivers - Civilian airline pilots (Originally Bomber or Transport pilots).
  • Buzz the Tower - A low fly past by a throttle jockey.

C[edit]

  • Cab - Helicopter.
  • Cabbage - A bomb or someone who loves the more military aspects of RAF life.
  • Cabbage Mechanic - Chef / cook.
  • Cabbage Suit - Combat Clothing.
  • Cabby - A vehicle driver.
  • Canteen Cowboy - Ladies' man.
  • CAT (abbreviation) - Clear Air Turbulence (you don't know it's there until you hit it.).
  • Carrying Carpets - Term to describe the stance of some RAF Regiment Gunners.
  • Caterpillar Club - Those who survived a bail out by using their parachutes were awarded a special 'silk caterpillar badge' by the silk parachute manufacturers.
  • C Belt - Electric shock.
  • CC - Confined to Camp (official title for Jankers; renamed "Restrictions" from 1955).
  • Chain Gang (or heavy gang) - Aircraft handling personnel.
  • Chance Light - An emergency 'stop' light at the end of a runway that could be switched on on request.
  • Cherubs - Altitudes below 1000 feet measured in hundreds of feet e.g.Cherubs 5 =500 ft.
  • Chicken Sh*t - The oil absorbent granules used on the floor by mechanics.
  • Chiefie - A Chief Technician, a technical rank between Sergeant and FS).
  • Chimp - An incompetent tradesman.
  • Chip bag - A field service cap (from its appearance).
  • Choking the chicken - Masturbating.
  • Christmas Tree - An unserviceable airframe which is robbed to keep other airframes working.
  • Chuff and Fluff - Chaff and Flare; passive, defensive countermeasures deployed by military aircraft.
  • Chuff Chart - Daily countdown to show when an individual returns to the UK.
  • Cigar - Airborne transmitter for jamming German fighters.
  • Circuits and Bumps - An exercise in landing an aircraft and immediately taking off again - usually just referred to as circuits or (more modern) TOGAs : Touch-and-go landing.
  • Circular File - The rubbish bin, as in "file that in the circular file".
  • Circus ops - (Mainly WWI) Operations designed to bring the enemy out for combat.
  • Civvy kip - Sleeping in your own bed at home.
  • Civvy street - What you did before or after you were in the RAF.
  • Clag - Playing card game invented in the RAF or acronym for Cloud Low Aircraft Grounded
  • Clapped Out - Nearing the end of useful life.
  • Close the hangar doors - Stop talking "shop".
  • Club - Propeller, usually wooden.
  • Clusterf**k - Complete mess of situation or person. "Well! that was a complete Clusterf**k" or "he is such a clusterf**k.
  • Cockup - A situation that has become extremely disorganized (from "cocked hat" or a typed text being in the wrong case).
  • Colly - Short for Colchester Garrison Military Correctional Training Facility aka "The Glasshouse".
  • Colonel (Gaddafi), The - The NAAFI.
  • Colonel Bird - Woman married to an officer.
  • Colonel bop - See NAAFI bop.
  • Comb out - Target sweep with gunfire.
  • Coming and going - In the early days an aircraft with a radio.
  • Compo Rations - The canned and preserved field rations given to the military on exercises.
  • Coned - Trapped by interlocking searchlights.
  • Conning - Making cotra - contrails.
  • Cookie - (WWII) A special blockbusting heavy bomb.
  • Cooler - Guardhouse.
  • Cord puller - Telephonist.
  • Corker - A mine.
  • Corkscrew - An evasive manoeuver: a sharp dive and turn to one side followed by a sharp climb and turn to the other side. It could be repeated.
  • Corona - (WWII) Counterfeit orders to German fighters.
  • Crabbing along - Flying near ground level.
  • Crate - Defunct or obsolete aircraft.
  • Crewroom - A sort of old-folks home for Lineys. Tea, Pool and daytime TV available to while away the hours whilst your kite is on a trip.
  • Cricket - An enemy night fighter shown on airborne radar.
  • Crown (to) - To be promoted to flight sergeant (badge).
  • Crump dump - The Rhur.
  • CS95 - 1995 pattern combat kit.
  • Cu. - Cumulus cloud.

D[edit]

  • Daisy Cutter - Perfect landing.
  • Dalton - Early air navigation computer.
  • Darby - System of radio signal guidance for lost aircraft.
  • Darkie - Radio homing at night.
  • Day Ranger - Daylight ground and air engagement over a wide area.
  • DE - Direct entry Technician. Longer training meaning missing out L.A.C and S.A.C ranks.
  • DI - Drill Instructor. It's rumored that D.I's have over 50 words that mean dirty.
  • Dead stick - Engine failure leading to a glided deadstick landing.
  • Deck - The ground.
  • Desert Lily - Urinal made from a tin can.
  • Diggers - Cutlery - eating irons or KFS.
  • DFC - Distinguished Flying Cross: medal for officers and Warrant Officers.
  • DFM - Distinguished Flying Medal: Other ranks.
  • Ditch - To perform a landing in the "drink" - usually when one's aircraft was unable to fly any more.
  • Dhobi - One's laundry (from Hindi).
  • Dhobi Dust - Washing Powder.
  • Dhobi Wallah The guy who did your laundry.
  • Dog fight - Air combat between fighters (like dogs chasing each other's tails).
  • Donk - Aircraft Engine.
  • Door slammers - Mechanical Transport Drivers on VIP duties.
  • Dope - Aircraft dope: a smelly tightening varnish used on airframe fabrics.
  • Dope On a Rope - Dog Handler or Search & Rescue (SAR) Winchman (The person who is winched down from a helicopter to rescue people).
  • Double Gen - 100% Definite factual information, usually said with both fists touching temples and alongside a punishment; which will be enforced if found out to be incorrect. See "Queens Eyebrows" and "Robocop".
  • DR - Dead reckoning navigation - without landmarks.
  • Drem lighting - Early approach landing lights, used at RAF Drem.
  • Drink - An ocean, sea, river or lake.
  • Duff - Bad or not accurate, as in "duff gen" (inaccurate intelligence or incorrect information).
  • Duffs - Ear defenders.
  • Dumpie or Dumpy - Someone who works in a Bomb Dump or Explosive Storage Area.
  • Dunlops - Aircraft tyres usually on the wheels.
  • Duppel - German code-name for Window.
  • Dustbin (the) - Mid gunners position.
  • DZ (abbreviation) - Drop Zone, area where parachutists or gliders are to be inserted.

E[edit]

  • Egg - A Bomb.
  • Eight eighths - Overcast in modern system of octas (see ten tenths).
  • Eleven - Carmichael Scammel MK XI Fire fighting vehicle.
  • Elsan - Trade name chemical toilet that was carried on many large aircraft.
  • Endex - End of Exercise or a particular task.
  • Envelope - The performance parameters of an aircraft.
  • Erb - Any airman (not just erks).
  • Eric - Helicopter run by Bristows in the Falkland Islands (a reference to Darts Player Eric Bristow).
  • Erk (or Irk) - Aircraftsman (from cockney erkraft).
  • Eureka - A radio guidance system that was used for bombers.

F[edit]

  • F&F - Fire and forget missile. Can also be file and forget.
  • FAC (abbreviation) - Forward Air Controller.
  • Fairies - Aircraft avionics tradesmen (and women)). Those highly skilled and heroic engineers who understand the magical workings of airborne radio, radar and navigation systems.
  • Fan - propeller.
  • Fatigues - Tedious work airmen have to do, which is not part of their trade skills, also any clothing required.
  • File 13 - The rubbish bin. "Place in File 13, please.".
  • Fire Picket A week long duties assisting the RAF Fire Section often on a bright red bike.
  • Fireproof - Innumerable.
  • Fireworks - Heavy anti-aircraft fire.
  • Five Finger Spread - The action of using an open palm to try and stop vomit.
  • Fella - An insult that comes from basic training where PTI's and Rock Apes would shout this.
  • Fish Heads - The Royal Navy.
  • Fizzer - Disciplinary charge.
  • Flag it - Being told by an officer that your confessed offence doesn't matter.
  • FLAK - From the German FLug Abarhr Kanone. Heavy flak was anti aircraft fire from weapons with a LARGE caliber, and light flak from weapons with a SMALL caliber e.g. machine guns. It had nothing to do with the intensity of fire.
  • Flamer - Shot down in flames.
  • Flaming onion - World War I German Anti-aircraft tracer shells.
  • Flap - A chaotic event.
  • Flare - The final landing posture (e.g. thelanding flare angle)for an aircraft.
  • Flare path - Kerosene or sometimes electric landing lights each side of a runway.
  • Flicks - Searchlights.
  • Flying Brevets - The wing badges on the breast of aircrew uniforms: double wings for pilots and a single wing for other crew.
  • Flying Fish Heads - The Fleet Air Arm.
  • Fold up - Sudden crash.
  • Football feet - Using too much rudder (in addition over designed rudders cause 'Dutch yaw').
  • Four Fans of Freedom - C130 Hercules
  • Frozen to the stick - To be scared stiff in flight.
  • Frozen List - Being reserved on the same place on a list for allocations - usually married quarters.
  • FNG (abbreviation) - Falklands New Guy; somebody in first week of tour down south.
  • FOG (abbreviation) = Falklands Old Guy; somebody in last weeks of tour down south.
  • FOD (abbreviation) - Foreign Object Damage/Debris; often caused by Gash on a runway.
  • Full Bore - Flat out.
  • Full Chat - Maximum revs- As in 'there I was, engine at full chat...'
  • FUNG (abbreviation) - F***ing Useless New Guy.
  • Fruit Salad - Medal ribbons on a uniform.

G[edit]

  • G suit - Anti G-force pressure suit.
  • Gallopers - Warrant Officer rank badges.
  • Gardening - Sowing mines in water from a low height.
  • Gash - Scrap material on the ground, usually metal, and general derogatory term.
  • Gat - Slang for personal/individual weapon abbreviated from 'Gatling gun'.
  • Gate - Maximum power.
  • GEE - An early ground control radar.
  • Geoffrey - A person who works in the General Engineering Flight (G.E.F).
  • Gen - Factual information.
  • Gen office - Place where you can find information from staff usually on the right to claims.
  • Gherry - Wheeled transport, originally animal drawn.
  • Gibbon - Alternative slang term for RAF Regiment personnel due to the fact that their arms seem to drag on the floor like a gibbon. See "Rock Ape".
  • Gimpy - Standard issue belt fed General Purpose Machine Gun (pronounced Jimpy).
  • Gizzit - Item acquired by legal or illegal means as a souvenir.
  • Glasshouse - Alternative name for "Colly".
  • Gravelbasher - A PE instructor.
  • Goolie Chit - A scrap of cloth issued when flying over hostile territory, which a downed aircrew would offer as a reward to the natives to return them to the nearest Allied unit unharmed. Also known as a blood chit.
  • Gone in - An aircraft Crash.
  • Gong - Service medal.
  • Gonk - Sleep.
  • Gopping - Dreadful.
  • Grand Slam - The 10 ton earthquake bomb designed by Barnes Wallis.
  • Gremlin - A mythical creature that lived on certain aircraft and caused mechanical failures at the most inconvenient times and then could not be located as the source of the problem.
  • Get the green - An OK for take off sometimes by a green flare. Green lights on aircraft instruments showed the systems were functioning properly.
  • Gravy (the) - The Atlantic.
  • Greens Standard work/flying clothing now worn by airmen.
  • Gripper - Ground Equipment mechanic or technician.
  • Grocer - Equipments officer.
  • Ground Wallah - An officer who did not fly.
  • Groupie - Group Captain.
  • Grow Bag - Flying Suit. From NCO Aircrew who join up and are promoted to sergeant on completion of training. Take a flying suit, fill with trainee, add water = Instant Aircrew.
  • Greenhouse - The cockpit with its windows.
  • Gubbins - Equipment (After the man who invented the lawnmower).
  • Gucci - An impressive item: "That new laptop you have looks well Gucci.".
  • Guinea Pig Club - Those who were badly burned on ops and went to the East Grinstead hospital for experimental plastic surgery.
  • Gunk - Oily engine goo, also its proprietary cleaner.
  • Gussie - Officer.
  • Gym Queen - Physical Training Instructor.

H[edit]

  • Hack - General purpose communications aircraft (like the horse).To hack it also means to have figured out how to be able to do a task.
  • Hairy Legs - Aircraft undercarriage which fails to retract as requested after take-off.
  • HALO (abbreviation) - High Altitude Low Opening - a combat sky-dive. Also refers to someone who leaves everything to the last minute and then rushes around in a blind panic. Also refers to someone who makes a big deal out of ordinary tasks.
  • Half section - Mate.
  • Hangar Bash - A big party in a hangar.
  • Hang up - Bomb failed to release.
  • Hangar queens - Aircraft that are always U/S and often end up being used for spares.
  • Harry Staish - The Station Commander.
  • HAS (abbreviation) - Hardened aircraft shelter, supposedly attack proof.
  • Heavies - Generally Engines and Air-frame trades.
  • Head Shed - Station commander.
  • Hedge hopping - Evading radar by very low flying.
  • Hip flask - Revolver.
  • HLS (abbreviation) - Helicopter Landing Site.
  • Hockey stick - Bomb loading hoist (RCAF?).
  • Hoop Snogger - A brown nose, a sycophant.
  • Hoosh - High speed landing.
  • Hoover - Fighter sweep.
  • Hopter - Single rotor helicopter.
  • Hot Refuel - To refuel an aircraft, usually a helicopter, with the rotors still turning.
  • Huffy - Unfriendly WAAF.

I[edit]

  • Irons - Knife, Fork and Spoon.
  • Iron lung - Nissen hut.
  • Irving Jacket - Trade name for leather fleece lined flying jacket.
  • Instant Sunshine - WE.177 tactical and strategic nuclear weapons.

J[edit]

  • JAFAD (abbreviation) - Just Another F***jng Air Defence in deference to L Tech/Mech AD Radar Systems tradesmen.
  • Jankers - Punishment after being put on a charge for a service violation.
  • Jelly Tots - Junior technicians.
  • JENGO - Junior Engineering Officer on a squadron.
  • Jink - Sharp evasive manoeuver.
  • Jippo - A gravy or stew also called Jollop.
  • Jockey - Fast Jet pilot, also called a throttle jockey.
  • Jollop - Any sticky mess.
  • Jolly - A free trip at public expense, normally hot and sunny with little required work.
  • Julie Andrews - Contents of a tea/coffee. White none.

K[edit]

  • Kipper kite - Fisheries protection aircraft.
  • Kitchen pass - A night when married men are allowed out alone by their wives.
  • K site - Airfield with deceptive dummy aircraft.
  • Kite - An aircraft.
  • KFS - Knife Fork and Spoon, also known as "irons" in Halton Aircraft Apprentice Speak pre-World War II.
  • KRS - King's Regulations, the rules and regulations governing the Royal Air Force. Eventually replaced by "QR's - Queens Regulations".

L[edit]

  • Ladybird - WAAF Officer.
  • Leccie - Ground Equipments Technician.
  • Left right and centre - All at '6s and 7s'.
  • Letdown - Cloudy descent.
  • Lindholme Gear - Equipment dropped to downed airmen by air-sea rescue planes.
  • LMF - Lack of Moral Fibre (term stigmatising refusal to fly operations).
  • Liney - Tradesman employed on 1st line serving (flight line).
  • Liz - Affectionate nickname given to Her Majesty The Queen Elizabeth II. Used when staying in a hotel or eating in a restaurant paid for by the RAF; i.e. "Dinner on Liz".
  • Luger - An involuntary 'volunteer'.
  • Lumpy Jumper - A member of the WAAF.
  • Loadies - Air Loadmaster or ALM. SNCO/WO aircrew responsible for passengers and freight on an aircraft.

M[edit]

  • Mae West - Inflatable life vest (that resembled the actresses' ample breasts).
  • Main Drag - The main approach road to, or through, an airfield.
  • Maggot - An issued sleeping (Gonk) bag.
  • Mantress - Someone that spends most of their spare time in bed. Join of the two words "Man" and "Mattress".
  • Matelot - Royal Navy bod.
  • Mahogany Spitfire - Desk "flown" by Penguins and Ground Wallahs.
  • Mars Bar Wrappers - The red and black 'RAFP' ribbons worn below the rank slide on RAF Police epaulettes.
  • MC - Medium capacity 500 lb bomb.
  • MDK (abbreviation) - Commonly used to shorten 'Murder Death Kill' on the radio.
  • MERT (abbreviation) - Helicopter-borne Medical Emergency Response Team.
  • Mess - Dining room. Also where SNCO's/officers live, eat and get drunk.
  • Mickey Mouse - Bomb aiming panel that resembled a Mickey Mouse watch.
  • Mishcrit - A demand for spares or having a vehicle back that is undergoing maintenance.
  • Mixed Death - Different kinds of ammunition on the same belt.
  • Mod Plod - Ministery of Defence (MOD) police officer, usually found patrolling establishments like Fylingdales and Porton Down.
  • Monkey Spunk - Thick white Molycote grease used to seal things up, like Aircraft Radomes.
  • Movers - (RAF Movements Trade) Passenger handling, baggage and freight loading, aircraft paperwork handling and aircraft trimming dudes that make loadies look good. Also known as "Muppets".
  • MU - Maintenance unit.
  • Murk - Low visibility on the ground or in the air.
  • M&V - Meat and vegetable stew.

N[edit]

  • NAAFI - The Navy, Army, and Air Force Institute. A now defunct service, usually civilian staffed, organised by all three services for offering servicemen and women home comforts.
  • NAAFI bop - An evening gathering/dance in the NAAFI.
  • NATO Potato - Airman who delights in wearing DPM and typically believes himself to be a potential Special Forces operative.
  • NATO Standard - Tea or coffee with milk and two sugars.
  • Nickels - Airborne leaflet propaganda (Strictly speaking, not a slang term but a cover name used in the RAF to describe/disguise leaflet dropping, which was known as nickelling[2]).
  • NOK - Next Of Kin.
  • Nothing on the clock but Smiths - Fuel and other such dials down to zero leaving only the instrument makers name.
  • Nose Bags - The cold meal packs that are provided on transport aircraft for military passengers.

O[edit]

  • OBOE - (WWII) Ground controlled bombing flare release system.
  • Odd Bod - Someone transferred from a defunct unit to a new one.
  • O Club - The officers' club.
  • Office - Crew station, for pilot, navigator, radio operator or turret gunner.
  • Oggie - Auxiliary airmen/women (sometimes called weekend warriors).
  • Oggin - Any sea or large lake.
  • Old Folks Home - The Sergeants mess.
  • Old Man - The Squadron Commanding Officer.
  • On the Beam - In line with the Instrument Landing System.
  • Oppo - Mate or Colleague.
  • Oranges - Vitamin C tablets.
  • Ops - Operations.
  • Opsum - Operational summary by intelligence officer.
  • Orderly - Performing admin responsibility on that day which is different from normal duties e.g. "Billet Orderly" or "Orderly Officer".

P[edit]

  • Packet, to catch a - To be on the receiving end of offensive fire.
  • Pan (the) - Aircraft parking and servicing area.
  • Pancake - Hard landing, with or without undercarriage.
  • Passion wagon - WAAF transport vehicle.
  • PBX (abbreviation) - Public Branch telephone eXchange.
  • Penguin - Any non RAF Regiment personnel, sometimes shortened to 'Guins'.
  • Pear Shaped - originally the shape of hole a crashed aircraft made. Later used for anything that had gone wrong.
  • Pebble Monkey - RAF Regiment Gunner Officer.
  • Peel off - Break off formation to attack.
  • Pencil Pushers - Admin Staff.
  • Piece of nice - Entertainment.
  • Pit - Barrack-room bed.
  • Planters - Dress down day at a mess.
  • Play pussy - Take evasive action by hiding in clouds.
  • Plonk - Aircraftman second class (AC2), the lowest rank in the RAF (also known as AC Plonk). Lowest rank is now aircraftsman.
  • Plop Jockey - The driver of the smelly boggy truck.
  • Plug away - Keep firing.
  • Plumber - Armourer and Supplement 2 friends with the RAF scuffers and Muppets
  • PODL (abbreviation) - Post Operational Detachment Leave.
  • POETS (abbreviation) - Piss Off Early Tomorrow's Saturday.
  • Pond (The) - The Atlantic.
  • Pongo - Somebody in the Army (from where the Army goes the 'pong-goes' too).
  • Poodle Pusher - RAFP Dog Handler
  • Prang - Crash, from the Malay word meaning 'war'.
  • Prune, (Pilot Officer) - Accident prone fictional airman in World War II safety training manuals.
  • PTI (abbreviation) - Physical Training Instructor. Paid far too much money to stand and look at themselves in the mirror/go to the gym.
  • Puddle - Air portable four-wheel drive often painted yellow used for run arounds.
  • Pukka Gen - Good general Information.
  • Pulpit - Cockpit in larger aircraft.
  • Pundit - Morse Navigation lights.

Q[edit]

  • Q site - Flashing light deception airfield.
  • Queen Bee - Highest ranking WAAF on the station.
  • Queen Mary - Large trailer used to transport aircraft or their parts.
  • Queens Eyebrows - You will shave your own eyebrows off as a punishment. Used in conjunction with "Double Gen" and similar to "Robocop".
  • QFE, QNH - Codes for altimeter settings. (examples of the Q code system, originally morse for ships).
  • QSL - Coded request for acknowledgement of message sent - usually teleprinter.

R[edit]

Included are the World War II 'R code' flight and attack designations:.

  • Ramrod A specific target bomber, fighter escorted raid.
  • Rang the bell - Got good results.
  • Ranger - A deep penetration opportunity target raid.
  • Reveille - Time in early morning airmen are woken and must get up.
  • Rhombus - A meteorological flight.
  • Riggers - Airframe trades or Gods Children, not systems or engines. From rigging vital flying control cables. Or RAF Aerial Erectors who continue to this day to use rigging in their day to day role.
  • Roadstead - An anti shipping strike.
  • Robocop - A receding hairline or punishment. Whole front half of head completely shaved imitating the film "Robocop". Usually the tag of a liar.
  • Rock Apes/Rocks - RAF Regiment ranking personnel. Said because they have the mental capacity of a rock and act like Apes. Also known as Gibbons.
  • Rockette - WAAF of the Auxiliary RAF Regiment.
  • Rodney - Ground crew name for commissioned officers, the Army call their junior officers "Ruperts" often pronounced Woopert and Wodeney.
  • Rook - Boy Entrant term for a new entrant.
  • ROP - Restriction of privileges (new official name for Jankers).
  • Rover - Coastal Command armed patrol for opportunity attacking of shipping.
  • Ruddy - Common euphonism in the 40's for 'Bloody'.
  • Run Around - A vehicle being used for non-official purposes.

S[edit]

  • Sandbag (pull up) - Going to tell a story.
  • Sardine can - Any torpedo plane.
  • SASSO (abbreviation) - Senior Air Staff Officer.
  • SBC (abbreviation) - Small Bomb Container, containing up to eight incendiaries.
  • Scaley - Married person (from married quarter furnishings Scale E in the stores catalogue).
  • Scaley Brat - Married person's child.
  • Scarlet slugs - Bofors gun tracer fire.
  • Schräge Musik (German: Jazz Music) - The use of upward firing guns on Luftwaffe fighters to get under the belly of bombers.
  • Schooly - Education Officer.
  • Scopies - Aerospace Systems Operators / ABMs.
  • Scrambled Egg - Gold braiding on a Group Captain or Air Officers' hat.
  • SCRAN (abbreviation) - Sultanas, Currants, Raisins, and Nuts. Also means breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
  • Scream downhill - Power dive.
  • Screened - Period after a tour of operational duty when airmen could not be recalled for operational flying.
  • Scuffers - RAF Police (they scuff their boots).
  • Screech - Citrus Lemonade made from the lemonade powder put in Compo rations.
  • Second Dickey - Co-pilot in on board training.
  • Senior Scribe - NCO in charge of orderly room.
  • Shed - Hangar.
  • Shedded - Drunk.
  • Sheddey - Aircraft tradesman employed on second line aircraft servicing.
  • Sheriff - Chief of RAF police on station.
  • Shiney or Shiney Arse - Administration personnel (they tend to shine their bottoms on bulled up chairs).
  • Shreddies - Long cotton underpants woven in a pattern that resembled the Shreddie breakfast cereal.
  • Shuftie - To look at (from Arabic).
  • Shuftie Kite - Reconnaissance aircraft.
  • Shuftiscope - Radar monitor, or an endoscope used to inspect the internal components of engines etc. for wear/damage.
  • Signal - A written message or order sent between bases.
  • Signals - Department and Personnel involved with all ground communications.
  • Skipper - The aircraft master, usually the pilot.
  • Sky Piece - Smoke trails.
  • Sky Pilot - Chaplain.
  • Slop Jockey - RAF Chef.
  • Smelly - A RAF Police Dog Handler.
  • Smugger - SMG Sterling submachine gun.
  • SNAFU (abbreviation) - Situation Normal, All F***ed Up.
  • Snake charmers - Dance band.
  • Snappers - Enemy fighters (see dog fight).
  • Snek - Dilapidated SNCO.
  • SOP (abbreviation) - Standard Operating Procedure.
  • Snowdrops - RAF Police (from white trim on caps).
  • Sooty - Ground tradesman responsible for maintaining aircraft engines. Normally failed Riggers (Airframes) Usually applied to tradesman working on jet engines. Those working on piston powered engines were known as 'Sumpies', taken from the oil sump.
  • Soup Jockey - Steward.
  • Spacey - Air Cadet, a member of the Air Training Corps.
  • SPAM (abbreviation) - Spastic Plastic American Mouth - a derogatory term for gobby Yank.
  • Sparks - Electrical maintenance or radio operator.
  • Spats - Fairings on airframe.
  • Split - A female; from the term split tail.
  • Spoof - A diversionary raid or operation. Also a game played with three coins, usually on the back of the bus on the way home from an away game.
  • Sprog - A "new boy" fresh from training.
  • Square bashing - Basic training course for new entrant recruits..
  • Squabbling Bleeder - squadron leader.
  • Squaff - A WAAF squadron leader.
  • SQINTO (abbreviation) - SQuadron INtelligence Officer.
  • Squipper - Survival Equipment fitter.
  • Squirt - A short machine gun burst.
  • SRO's - Station Routine Orders.
  • Stack (the) - RAF station cinema.
  • Stacker - Supplier/Storeman - See Blanket Stacker.
  • Starfish - Decoy sites that simulated cities by use of fires.
  • Stills - What Falklanders were called when we were told to stop calling them Bennys. (Because they were still Bennys).
  • Stag on - Armed guard duty in greens usually accompanying the RAF police.
  • States - Various states of numbered emergency hopefully just put on as a sudden exercise.
  • Stinky - A WAAF.
  • Stooging - Patrolling around.
  • Stringed Fellows/Stringfellows/String vests - RAF fire fighters of the Defence Fire and Rescue Service - they wear string vests with or without a shirt and jacket.
  • Sunshine - munitions or explosions.
  • Swamp - Wetting yourself or your bedding.
  • Swede - Local yokel or rustic unintelligent recruit.
  • SWO (abbreviation) - Station Warrant Officer, the highest ranking NCO on a station reporting to the station commander.

T[edit]

  • TACEVAL (abbreviation) - The dreaded annual station TACtical EVALuation which lasted up to five days.
  • Take it on - Do a rapid climb.
  • Tallboy - The five ton Barnes Wallis earthquake bomb.
  • Taps and tits - Control switches.
  • Tate and Lyles - Warrant Officer rank badges.
  • Tatered - Bored by constant tedious patrols.
  • Taxi - Small short range air transport, sometimes by a taxi driver.
  • Taxi Driver - Air Navigation instructor.
  • Tail End Charlies - Rear gunners (also known as Arse End Charlies).
  • Tanker W****er - Mechanical Transport Driver on Aircraft Refueling Duties.
  • Tear a strip off - A severe reprimand that may lead to demotion for aircraftsmen.
  • Ten Tenths - Fully overcast. The sky was divided into decas or tenths of cloud cover. It is now measured in octas or eighths.
  • Target for tonight - Girlfriend.
  • TI - Target Indicator.
  • Tits Up - things that have gone wrong.
  • Three Banana - A sergeant, from the number of stripes.
  • Throw Up - To make excessive salutes to passing officers usually because you don't like them and they have to salute you back.
  • Thum - Weather reporting flight.
  • Ticket - Pilot's license.
  • Timmy - Lockheed TriStar
  • Tin basher - Sheet metal worker.
  • Tin Triangle - Avro Vulcan.
  • Tits Up - An aircraft undergoing maintenance or in trouble.
  • Tits up, on sticks, dunlops dangling - Unserviceable aircraft on jacks, with undercarriage down.
  • TISWAS (TSW) (abbreviation) - Tactical Supply Wing - they do hot refuels etc. After the kids TV show.
  • Toasters - The dangerous back end of a jet.
  • TOGA - Take Off and Go Around. Also known as 'circuits and bumps' or simply 'circuits'.
  • Tool along - To fly about aimlessly.
  • Totem Pole - Multiple light aircraft landing standard.
  • Touch bottom - Crash.
  • Tower, the - Air traffic control (also known as Air Tragic).
  • Toy - Link Trainer.
  • Triple A - The modern term for anti-aircraft fire.
  • TRAMED (abbreviation) - The main hot refueling hazards: Tail rotor, Radio, Air intake, Main rotor, Exhaust, Down wash.
  • Trumpton - RAF Fire Section.
  • Turnip Bashing - Drill outside the station on fields.
  • Twelve Fifty - RAF ID Card. (Now called MoD Form 90)
  • 23.59 - Midnight in military speak as there can be no zero time.
  • Twilights - WAAF underwear, light coloured, summer-weight.
  • The Bell - Usually found in most section bars, once rang the person that rang the bell bought a round of drinks for everyone in the bar.
  • Twin Man/Fan - A jet with two toasters.
  • Twitch - Body tremors caused by operational stress.
  • Two Banana - Corporal (from the stripes).
  • Two Five Two Action - To put a man on a charge for indiscipline.
  • Two Six Heave - Used to co-ordinate pushing aircraft or hangar doors; this comes from the Army Gun Team numbering system where men 2 & 6 lifted and loaded the round and charge into the gun breech with the order 2-6 Load!.

U[edit]

  • U/S (abbreviation) - Un-serviceable, not working or needing maintenance.
  • Uckers - Uckers boards can also be found in every RAF Section crewroom, where the game is an integral part of crewroom life.
  • Umbrella - Parachute.
  • Undercart - Undercarriage.
  • Upstairs - In the air.
  • Up top - Flying high.

V[edit]

  • Vegetables - Acoustic or magnetic mines.
  • Vic - V shaped flight formation.

W[edit]

  • Waffling - Out of control.
  • Wagon - Mechanical Transport. Green vehicle, usually a Land Rover.
  • W**king Chariot - Bed (also known as 'Scratcher').
  • Walt - A pathetic deluded psychotic who imagines he has served in some elite unit like the SAS when he has probably no military experience to speak of. (After the James Thurber novel Walter Mitty).
  • Walt Disney - The War Department.
  • Washed out - Failed in training for chosen role.
  • Weaving - Gentle Corkscrew.
  • Whats The Odds - What are the chances.
  • Whiff - Oxygen.
  • Whistler - Incoming HE bomb.
  • Window - Radar jamming cloud of aluminium foil strips.
  • Wingco - wing commander.
  • Windmill - Freely rotating propeller or an autogyro.
  • Wind Up - To bring an aircraft to its maximum speed.
  • Wobbly Orange - Warrant Officer.
  • Wobbly Orifice - Warrant Officer.
  • Wom - Wireless operator/mechanic.
  • Woof (to) - to suddenly open the throttle.
  • WopAg - Wireless Operator/Air Gunner.
  • Works and Bricks - Air Ministry Ministry of Works department, responsible for airfield construction and infrastructure. Post war became the MPBW - The Ministry of Public Buildings and Works, later taken care of by the DOE.
  • Wrap up - Crash.

Y[edit]

  • Y service - Signals monitoring operatives who speak the enemy languages.
  • Yellow doughnut - Uncollapsed air-sea rescue dingy.
  • Yellow peril - Training aircraft (usually yellow).
  • Ying Yang - Very much all over the place in a mess - at sixes and sevens.

Z[edit]

  • Zobit - An Officer.
  • Zulu - Greenwich Mean Time (25 of 24 hour clock).

Aircraft Nicknames[edit]

Many aircraft were known by diminutives e.g. "Spit" for Spitfire, "Lanc" for Lancaster. In addition Allied air forces may have their own nicknames for British or British built aircraft, as did the enemy. For example, the Luftwaffe called the Sunderland flying boat Der fliegende Stachelschwein ("The Flying Porcupine"). There are also NATO code names for Russian aircraft e.g. "Bear". Aircraft may also be referred to by their enumerated designations: F fighter, B bomber, C Transport etc. e.g. B-52 bomber.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Coleman, Julie (28 October 2010). A History of Cant and Slang Dictionaries: Volume IV: 1937-1984. OUP Oxford. p. 54. ISBN 978-0-19-956725-6. 
  2. ^ Brooks, Tim (2007). British Propaganda to France, 1940-1944: Machinery, Method and Message. Edinburgh University Press. 

.