Nigel “Kenny” Kenworthy

After reading Heavy Whalley’s short explanation of RAFMRS terms in his blog, and with his permission, I decided to write a more comprehensive glossary to aid readers who may be unfamiliar with some words.

Part 2 in the next issue.

All the best, The Novice’s Friend.

Bad Boy’s Diary – a book kept in the crew room where troops could enter musings, cartoons, jokes and piss takes. The diary had to be hidden before the Air Officer Commanding’s annual inspection. All copies are now held by the Specialist Investigations Branch, at The RAF Police Dog training depot, Honington, Devon. The diaries are sealed with the instruction, “Not to be opened until 2070” printed on the covers in red ink.

Badge Test – a theory exam that has to be passed in order for a troop to be promoted from novice to part‑trained. It contains really difficult questions such as, “How many sugars does the Team Leader (God) take in his tea?” and “What is the Lapse Rate?”.

Bottle Opener – abseiling device better known as a figure of eight. Not to be used in conjunction with a hairy jumper (see Dr Tom Patey) and can’t be used for opening bottles of Guinness (Note: DANGER. It is not advisable to abseil with the type of bottle opener used for opening bottles of Guinness).

Deputy Mountain Rescue Team Liaison Officer (DMRTLO) – an RAF officer who applied for the job in order to get a secondary duty.

Dr Tom Patey – a famous Scottish mountaineer who wrote books, played the accordion, composed songs, wore hairy jumpers, and abseiled badly. Occasionally he had to attend patients at his surgery in Ullapool. Formed his own one man MRT in Wester Ross, North Britain. It is thought that over the years he rescued many hundreds of mountaineers before RAF Kinloss MRT had left base.

Goretex® Jacket – a totally waterproof jacket that superseded the totally waterproof Ventile® Orange Anorak. To maintain the jacket’s waterproofness, it had to be washed in soapflakes and then ironed. This was usually beyond the wit of single troops who, after three months, just took it back to the storeman/stacker and swapped it for a new one.

Hairy Jumpers – what troops wore before smelly Helly Hensen fleeces… see bottle opener, also see Dr Tom Patey.

Hot Aches – screaming coming from the north face of Ben Nevis is usually a sign of people suffering hot aches and not English climbers falling off. This is when capillaries in the fingertips burst open due to the freezing temperatures. Also known as the male childbirth.

Ice‑Axe Braking – a winter mountaineering technique that enables a troop to arrest their fall on icy terrain. Can produce spectacular somersaults when used in conjunction with crampons.

ILR – Inspector of Land Rescue – a Squadron Leader who was dragged kicking and screaming from flying duties to a small windowless basement room in MOD Main Building (just next to the archives). Responsible for all things mountain rescue and something else which was Top Secret which he wasn’t allowed to talk about. Often volunteered to be a simulated casualty in gorge lift out stretcher exercises. Does not like getting wet.

HQ Staff – consists of eighteen airpeople who take time out of their respective trades to become full time mountain rescue personnel. This followed the end of the first Cold War when the RAF had more manpower than established posts. These personnel assumed all the duties of the old ILR and were initially based at RAF Stamford, Lincolnshire and when that closed, RAF Rhondda Valley in North Wales.

Loon – Scottish name for a young immature troop. Not to be confused with a bird called the Great Northern Diver (Gavia immer) which is also called a loon, but has a bigger beak.

Mountain Rescue Team Liaison Officer (MRTLO) – an RAF officer whose part‑time role is to de‑stress the Team Leader (God) and prevent the inspection team from crucifying the Team Leader (God) at Air Officer Commanding’s annual inspection.

MRT Red Socks – very long red woollen socks that can look quite fetching when pulled up to the thighs. Only normally used for ceremonial displays, for example during the Air Officer Commanding’s annual inspection. During these, female Aide de Camps (they were always female for some reason) often asked the storeman/stacker if he could supply her with a pair. The storeman/stacker was usually only too keen to oblige. Because washing instructions weren’t adhered to, you could always identify an MRT troop by his pink T‑shirt.

MRT Storeman/Stacker – the only member of the PS (besides the Team Leader (God)) who can count. The storeman/stacker is also very good at hiding new deliveries of top of the range Gortex® jackets and is particularly adept at folding plastic bags.

PS – Permanent Staff. Full time mountain rescue personnel who are released from trade to do a tour of duty on a MRT. Before jet aircraft were invented there was just a Team Leader (God), but then the position of W/Op (wireless operator) was introduced whose main role was to make tea for the Team Leader. Other positions were then established such as Deputy Team Leader (Demigod), Storeman/Stacker and MT drivers (x2). Later the positions of Catering Manager, St John’s Ambulance Practitioner and some guy who just wandered around the office were invented. Nowadays each MRT has an establishment of nine, with two new roles… a Diversity Recruitment Consultant (DRT) and a Green Initiative Technician (GIT).

Piton – a piece of climbing protection that is hammered into a crack and used as a running belay to protect the leader from a long fall. It is perfectly acceptable for the lead climber to use a piton as a hand/foothold, as long as the second is not watching.

Rigging for Rescue® ‑ a bit like the children’s game of cat’s cradle but on a bigger scale. The go‑to system for lowering and raising stretchers. Lots of physics theory involved including, dual tension rope systems, tensile testing and Newton thingies. During a Rigging for Rescue® exercise, engineering tradesmen nod sagely and point a lot, whilst storemen/stackers and MT drivers are employed as casualties, mules, and rope haulers.

Sid Green Cup – a trophy awarded in the memory of Sid Green (great troop, not to be confused with Jim Green, AKA “Gringo,” another great troop). May you both rest in peace. Awarded to the best pupil on the MRS Winter Course, but because a Kinloss loon won it every year it was discontinued and the trophy now resides underneath the sink in the crew room at the MRT HQ, RAF Rhondda Valley, North Wales.

Ventile® Orange Anorak – the must have RAF MRT jacket of the ‘60s and ‘70s. Called a Henry Lloyd, but not to be confused with Harold Lloyd who was a silent film star famous for swinging off things and demolishing houses. This jacket was made of Ventile®, a cotton material that was fully waterproof. It worked on the principle of allowing total waterlogging which then prevented further water ingress. This had the added bonus of weighing down the wearer, preventing them from being blown away in high winds.

Warrant Officer Military Transport (WO MT) – not a member of the MRT, but a very important person who decides which farm animal was responsible for writing off the Land Rover in the latest MRT road smash. His decision was helped with gifts to the MT crew room of tea, coffee and SCRAN from the MRT ration store. If a MRT troop was found culpably negligent of causing an MT accident the paperwork was filed away at the back of the WO MT’s desk drawer (just in front of the Starbursts). The file would often be discovered upon WO MT’s retirement. WO MT is to be seen carrying a large tape measure and a piece of chalk.

Smoking Kills But!(No butts!)

Stan Sheehan

22 September at 12:59 ·

Blast from the past, I believe November, 1963, the Weekend President Kennedy was assassinated. Location, Braemar.
Tam Smith was driving and Jim Whyte was riding Shot Gun, I was driving the Bedford behind. As Tam drove over a humpbacked bridge, Jim leant forward to light a fag, and a large branch of a falling tree, went through the windscreen, back roof of the cab and through the rear of the cab. If Jim had not bent down to light his fag then he would have been killed, he was saved by that fag.
I drove this vehicle back to Leuchars and eventually it was scrapped