A man is injured at work and is rushed into the local casualty department wearing a boiler suit, a nurse takes one look at him and asks him to come with her to a more secluded area in casualty in case his boiler suit offends the unemployed/non-boiler suit wearing persons in the department.
Am I talking a load of rubbish? Well, No!
Substitute that boiler suit for the work uniform of the RAF and that is exactly what happened – how attitudes change!
The man who had been injured at work and was taken to the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital in Margate; previously there had been problems with an “altercation” between a soldier and a member of the public there, but no one has told us whether they knew each other or what it was about. In fact, as the nearest barracks to Margate is in Canterbury, I would presume that this “altercation” was more about the man than the uniform.
However, in the work uniform that he had worn in Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan, this airman with burns to his eyes had to be moved! Political Correctness, Discrimination or plain ignorance? You decide.
But I will point out that it was not long ago that multitudes lined the streets in Royal Wootton Bassett, or in Oxfordshire to pay tribute to those who had lost their lives in that very same uniform.
In the year that we are remembering the Battle of Britain, have we learned nothing from Kipling’s days?
‘I went into a public-‘ouse to get a pint of beer, /The publican ‘e ups and sez, “We serve no red-coats here.” /The girls be’ind the bar they laughed an’ giggled fir to die, /I outs into the street again an’ to myself sez I: /O it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, ‘a’ “Tommy, go away”; /But it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins,” when the band begins to play – /The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play. /O it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins,” when the band begins to play. ‘I went into a theatre as sober as could be, /They gave a drunk civilian room but ‘adn’t none for me; /They sent me to the gallery or round the music-‘alls, /But when it comes to fightin’, Lord! They’ll shove me in the stalls! /For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, wait outside”; /But it’s “Special train for Atkins” when the trooper’s on the tide – /The troopship’s on the tide, my boys, the troopship’s on the tide, /O it’s “Special train for Atkins” when the trooper’s on the tide…’You talk o’ better food for us, an’ schools, an’ fires, an’ all, /We’ll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational. /Don’t mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face /The Widow’s uniform is not the soldier-man’s disgrace. /For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Chuck him out, the brute!” /But it’s “Saviour of ‘is country” when the guns begin to shoot; /An’ it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please; /An’ Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool – you bet that Tommy sees!’