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The FlyerBritish Culture and the Royal Air Force 1939–1945$
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Martin Francis

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199277483

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199277483.001.0001

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A Man's World

A Man's World

(p.32) 2 A Man's World
The Flyer

Martin Francis

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers how flyers bonded with each other, through shared rituals, leisure activities (especially a culture of heavy drinking), the Royal Air Force's (RAF) peculiar verbal idiom, and a sense that they were all young men who had been thrown together into a world that was both exciting and terrifyingly macabre. However, this genuine comradeship was often simultaneously profound and perfunctory, and male bonding was regularly compromised by a number of divisions. There were distinctions between bomber boys and fighter boys or between different squadrons. Class divisions meant that relations between officers and NCOs could be fraught, and, despite its vaunted cosmopolitanism, national, ethnic, and racial differences among aircrew were all too evident.

Keywords:   drinking, cosmopolitanism, verbal idiom, Second World War, male bonding

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