Fools errands

So from the return to F2F discussion, I wonder what the funniest, meanest and most outright ludicrous fools errands exist within the ATC?

So I have identified; first time cadets on AEF being asked by NCO’s to tell staff at the end of the day not to forget to turn off the windsock…

There must be better ones than that?

Not really a fools errand.

Getting a cadet to run in after a flight telling everyone they threw up. Then the staff running over and promptly opening the bag and proceeding to eat out of it. Sent a few cadets over the top whilst digging into a pot noodle in a sick bag.


This is going to get out of hand quickly.
Last thread like this, lasted less than 10 posts before being closed and heavily modded.

Also having been in the org some time now, a lot of the ‘old boys’ stories are total rollocks. Never in a million years did jimmy jump off the hanger or fred tow a glider with a mini for launch. Etc etc etc.

Guess the fish always get bigger after the catch and the camp stories are always bolder…

1 Like

My best one to date was getting cadets to ‘recharge glow sticks’ by shaking them.

We were at a large multi-day event that was under canvas so there were lots of glow sticks being used for things like porta-loos, marking out guy-lines etc etc. This made me hatch a plan!..
First I cracked a couple and then threw them in the freezer. When the evening of day two started to come round I got a couple of SNCOs in to tell them they had to go and collect in all the glow sticks and get some cadets to start shaking them to get them glowing again. Of course these SNCOs were not silly, and I was promptly told “That’s ridiculous, they are single use”. But, I had just planted the ones out the freezer that I went over and my self starting shaking and low and behold after a few minuets they started glowing again.
I explained to the SNCOs these were not normal cylumes but ones designed to be multi use. Of course you all well know it was just the re-heating of frozen ones that allows them to glow again.
This lead to absolute hilarity as these SNCOs, who themselves truly believed that it worked had dozens of cadets trying to ‘recharge’ glow sticks.


I can’t disagree that quite a lot of the stories are bigged up or over exaggerated. but even going back to 1999/2000 when I joined up. we got up to some serious mischief when I was a cadet that sound totally outrageous, but we had a real laugh and only occasionally did someone get hurt.

We get on the bus to camp. I’m the only CWO on the camp. I take a roll call as cadets get on and the two staff WOs get on at the last pickup stop.

I hand over the list and they read it and confer.

They then announce that too many people have been promoted since the camp places were finalised. As a result the flight lists are wrong and imbalanced rank wise. As a result, I am told to check everyone’s promotion date and collect in all of the rank slides to redistribute them so that the flights are rebalances.

Their poor little faces. We told them it was a wind up sooner or later.

They then confiscated every copy of Zoo or Nuts on the bus for being inappropriate, then ostentatiously spent the next 10 minutes reading them.

1 Like

I heard of a brilliant one.

It was trying to get a common sense answer out of WHQ.


If I’m right, I know what you’re talking about. The reveal was quite a bit later.

After everyone settled in, all rank slides were gathered up just before the WOs fired up the BBQ or whatever it was adding to the fear.

I know several for definite that you might believe fit into that category but are definitely true. Others… Yeah, you’re right. There are plenty I was involved in that remain within certain circles and others I’m not willing to share publicly.

As for fools errands, the classics still work:

  • long weight
  • elbow grease
  • left handed whatever
  • windsock
  • tartan paint
  • Cyalume batteries
  • trouser flares
  • etc
    (bonus points for having elbow grease, tartan paint, camo paint stashed away to prove it exists)

My favourite was always “run to that tree… I didn’t say come back”

Pranks… Just some lame ones from me:

IR Cyalumes on nitex, insect repellant Cyalumes on the bivvy of the squeamish (if it works it’s not stupid), missing weapons, beds moved, etc…
Green staff member was tasked with collecting radios once, came back with 10, “where’s the other one? There should be 11”.

It was early on. Just noone got back a matching pair of slides!

1 Like

Having a group of cadets lead by an NCO to salute the Red Range in Use Flag when it is lowered at end of day.


one for the SAAIs

at the start of a IWT lesson (L98A2) there are NSPS, weapons, magazines and webbing.

one SAAI i know was fond of filling the webbing pouch with contraband in some form…
sometimes innocent things like chocolates and Haribo and queue a “telling off” for sneaking snacks in to class, other occasions he put his gfs knickers in the sets the boys were using claiming they’d got lucky!

We once had a new LAC posted into the Squadron, fresh from BG.

I sent him to the stores to get a 6ft fallopian tube…


And that’s why he joined the Reg :laughing:


Heard the one about Rock on Ex using cylumes to signal a LZ for inbound Chinook. Broke the first, didn’t work, then the next, and the next, till he used up to whole box :man_shrugging:t2:

Chinook approaches LZ using NVGs and is almost blinded by the IR cylumes :man_facepalming:t2:

I had the opposite - was given a load of un-bagged/sealed ones which I took on a camping trip :frowning: