Around 1987 I was the Introductory Fighter Course Flight Commander at No 2 Operational Conversion Unit (2 OCU), I was a Squadron Leader and service protocols required that junior officers addressed Squadron Leaders as ‘Sir’. Friday afternoons were the time that all the fighter Squadrons got together in the back bar of the officer’s mess to let their hair down and reflect on the weeks flying activities.
So it was that on one Friday afternoon I had arrived in the back bar a little bit earlier than most and was in the process of ordering my first beer when a young Pilot Officer called Pete Sherry came bounding into the back bar full of enthusiasm. He was one of the new students about to start the next introductory fighter course and he had clearly been given a brief on the instructors that he was going to be trained by. It was obvious that his memory of who was who in the instructional staff was not all that accurate.
So Pilot Officer Sherry bounces up to me with a big smile on his face and says “G’day Frills, how ya goin'” to wit I explained to him that my nickname was ‘Frawls’ however, since I was a Squadron Leader he had better call me Sir. Pete was very much embarrassed by his breach of service protocol and was hell bent on making amends. He then turned around noticing a female walk into the bar whereupon he nudged me with his elbow and remarked “wow check the T*ts on this” which was followed by my answer “have you met my wife?”
The rest of the gathering in the back bar fell about in raucous laughter and poor Pilot Officer Peter Sherry never lived this hilarious occasion down. The whole event being recorded in the unofficial unit history records of 2OCU and spoken about for years to come becoming “The Legend of Sherry and Frills”.
Footnote:- I met Pete recently quite by accident and we both reminisced about the legend and had a really good laugh about it, it has always been one of my favourite stories from my career.