British Army Humour

Jack E

Well-Known Member
The British stiff upper lip:

"The 75(mm gun) is firing. The 37(mm gun) is firing, but it is traversed round the wrong way. The Browning (machine gun) is jammed. I am saying "Driver, advance" on the A set, and the driver, who can’t hear me, is reversing. And as I look over the top of the turret and see twelve enemy tanks fifty yards away . . . . someone hands me a cheese sandwich."

(British tank commander, Western Desert, 1942)

Cool, or what?

Jack E

Well-Known Member
British Military Sarcasm: the alleged text of a despatch sent by the Duke of Wellington to London, in August, 1812


Whilst marching from Portugal to a position which commands the approach to Madrid and the French forces, my Officers have been diligently complying with your requests which have been sent by HM Ship from London to Lisbon and thence by dispatch rider to our headquarters.

We have enumerated our saddles, bridles, tents and tent poles and all manner of sundry items for which His Majesty's Government holds me accountable. I have dispatched reports on the character, wit and spleen of every Officer. Each item and every farthing has been accounted for, with two regrettable exceptions for which I beg your indulgence.

Unfortunately the sum of one shilling and ninepence remains unaccounted for in one infantry battalion's petty cash and there has been a hideous confusion as to the number of jars of raspberry jam issued to one cavalry regiment during a sandstorm in western Spain. This reprehensible carelessness may by related to the pressure of circumstance, since we are at war with France, a fact which may come as a surprise to you gentlemen in Whitehall.

This brings me to my present purpose, which is to request elucidation of my instructions for His Majesty's Government so that I may better understand why I am dragging an army over these barren plains. I construe that perforce it must be one of two alternative duties, as given below. I shall pursue either one to the best of my ability, but I cannot do both:

1. To train an army of uniformed British clerks in Spain for the benefit of the accountants and copy-boys in London or, perchance.
2. To see to it that the forces of Napoleon are driven out of Spain.

Your most obedient servant,


As to how true the story is, I would not like to say. But, having done a stint in the RAF myself, and having compared experiences with other ex-servicemen, I find it totally believable!

Jack E

Well-Known Member
And an Antipodean Intermezzo from our cousins in Oz:


(from Australian Air Force magazine):

Every takeoff is optional. Every landing is mandatory.

If you push the stick forward, the houses get bigger. If you pull the stick back, they get smaller. That is, unless you keep pulling the stick all the way back, then they get bigger again.

Flying isn't dangerous. Crashing is what's dangerous.

It's always better to be down here wishing you were up there, than up there wishing you were down here.

The ONLY time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.

The propeller is just a big fan in front of the plane used to keep the pilot cool. When it stops, you can actually watch the pilot start sweating.

When in doubt, hold on to your altitude. No one has ever collided with the sky.

A 'good' landing is one from which you can walk away. A 'great' landing is one after which they can use the plane again.

Learn from the mistakes of others. You won't live long enough to make all of them yourself.

You know you've landed with the wheels up if it takes full power to taxi to the ramp.

Never let an aircraft take you somewhere your brain didn't reach five minutes earlier.

Stay out of clouds. The silver lining everyone keeps talking about might be another aircraft going in the opposite direction. Reliable sources also report that mountains have been known to hide out in clouds.

There are three simple rules for making a smooth landing. Unfortunately no one knows what they are.

You start with a bag full of luck and an empty bag of experience. The trick is to fill the bag of experience before you empty the bag of luck.

Helicopters can't fly; they're just so ugly the earth repels them.

In the ongoing battle between objects made of aluminium going hundreds of miles per hour and the ground going zero miles per hour, the ground has yet to lose.

Good judgment comes from experience. Unfortunately, the experience usually comes from bad judgment.

Remember, gravity is not just a good idea. It's the law. And it's not subject to appeal.

The three most useless things to a pilot are the altitude above you, the runway behind you and empty space in your fuel tanks.