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NAAFI

Radiorails

master brummie
I wonder if any Members were employed by the NAAFi or had relatives who were. No military establishment was complete without a NAAFI.
The NAAFI had a monopoly although some bases I served on allowed for one other competitor. As far as the RAF was concerned RAF Yatesbury had a YMCA and just off the base was a Malcolm Club. Malcolm Clubs were more in evidence in 2nd TAF Germany. RAF Cardington had a Salvation Army I recall.
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Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
My mum was in the NAFFI, somewhere in Yorkshire and that’s how she met my (Brummie) Dad who was stationed up there with the RAF. She did tell me the name of the place in Yorkshire but I just can’t remember it. Think it began with an ‘R’. She loved it but she also had some horror stories to tell about losing officers and about those that were seriously injured (burns). Must have been an eye opener for her as she’d never stepped out of the town she was born in. Then after the war she married and moved to Birmingham.

The NAFFI experience set her up with skills she used throughout her life having worked in various catering roles, retail food and eventually having a cafe of her own.

Viv.
 

paul stacey

master brummie
I wonder how many "Old Sweats", know that there is no NAAFI, any more as we would remember it, my son is a Para, and said all food eaten on site now is run by private contractors, very expensive and not good quality and there are no longer any Clubs on camp, Winston Churchill must be doing press ups. Paul
 

sospiri

Ex-pat Brummie
Yes, that's not a good situation, Paul, and where this "best value" is anything but. At RAF Stoke Heath I was on permanent night shift without any facilities for a proper meal. So I skipped the cookhouse meal at 5:00pm, used the NAAFI to do two hours of piano practice before they opened their doors to the masses, and then had a NAAFI meal before moving down to the hangar for work. Coffee was brewed by boiling a mug of water with two carbon rods immersed in the water and connected to the mains supply. Of course, we took bars of chocolate with us, courtesy of the NAAFI and we survived.

I was always up on a Friday morning for pay parade, preceded by the visiting NAAFI van selling tea, coffee, & cakes. It was a great resource.

Maurice :cool:
 
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Richarddye

master brummie
Yes, that's not a good situation, Paul, and where this "best value" is anything but. At RAF Stoke Heath I was on permanent night shift without any facilities for a proper meal. So I skipped the cookhouse meal at 5:00pm, used the NAAFI to do two hours of piano practice before they opened their doors to the masses, and then had a NAAFI meal before moving down to the hangar for work. Coffee was brewed by boiling a mug of water with two carbon rods immersed in the water and connected to the mains supply. Of course, we took bars of chocolate with us, courtesy of the NAAFI and we survived.

I was always up on a Friday morning for pay parade, preceded by the visiting NAAFI van selling tea, coffee, & cakes. It was a Great resource.

Maurice :cool:
Maurice, I was not in the military but had friends and relatives that were, they regarded NAAFI as a very good almost institution.
 

Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
Maurice’s post #4 has reminded me of something my mum did long after her NAAFI experience. In later years, when she ran a bread shop in Kingstanding, she made the usual sandwiches etc for lunchtime sales. Then (doubtless drawing on her resourcefulness gained while in the NAAFI), decided to offer bacon and steak sandwiches. But she had no cooking facilities. So what did she do ? Turned an electric heater on it’s back, plonked a frying pan on the bars, and hey presto, delicious steak or bacon sandwiches coming up ! She made a real success of it. (As we always say: no H&S to reckon with in those days). Viv
 

Richarddye

master brummie
My daughter in the RAF was stationed in Berlin, she and all her mates much preferred to use the US PX to the NAAFI
Eric, the PX is subsidized by the US government and very cost effective for all kinds of things from food to hearing aids. We have some retired friends as high as General who still use the PX.
 

Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
Thanks Alan that’s really helped. I completely misled everyone. It wasn’t a Station beginning with ‘R’ it was Lindholm ! Sorry, but the link was really useful to sort it out for me. Did NAAFI staff have accommodation at the Station ? Viv.
 

Radiorails

master brummie
Part of their premises as far as I remember Viv. That also went for any others that were on the station.

I expect some of the men mentioned in this link would have been seen by your mother Vivienne.
 
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Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
That’s excellent Alan, thanks. It explains a lot about my dad’s time there with Bomber Command. I know that he made a few Polish friends. It must have been because of his time at Lindholm. My dad was then posted to Scotland with some other Polish officers.

And no wonder my mum mentioned the stories about the casualties who suffered horrific burns. The Station lost 76 bombers. Expect the NAAFI felt it a part of their job to help boost morale (as well as serve up the very best food they could in the circumstances. That’s something my mum was very skilled at). Don’t know if this is a fact, but I can imagine quite a few of the NAAFI staff would have married servicemen.

That’s given me a little more insight into my parents early time together during the War. Very interesting.

Viv.
 
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Radiorails

master brummie
I knew a lady, now passed on, who was a NAAFI manageress and did meet and marry a serving airman whoo made the RAF his career. He was in the catering side and eventually made Flight Lieutenant. The NAAFI was an haven, I guess for those below sergeant, who had the Sergeants Mess, and those commissioned who had the Officers Mess.
 

Vivienne14

Super Moderator
Staff member
Hadn’t fully appreciated men were employed by the NAAFI too.

What service did the NAAFI come under ? Or was it an independent organisation ? Viv.
 

oldMohawk

master brummie
I can't really remember the NAAFIs which I did use when I was in the RAF. I do however remember the nice little Salvation Army cafes/shops and particularly the one at RAF Melksham. I had nearly finished a nice cup of tea when I noticed a large drowned spider in the dregs of the cup.

I felt rather sick but had not the heart to complain to the friendly grey haired Salvation Army lady who had poured and served the tea.

All these years later when I hear or see something about the Salvation Army I think of that spider.
 

devonjim

master brummie
Both my wife and daughter worked in the Naffi at the local RM base until their customers got shipped out to Afghanistan. Remember we borrowed a hog roast m/c for a Church fete from the base but I think that was from the marines and not from the Naffi.
 
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