Using a station mess - not on Duty

Got an interesting question that i am curious about.

Has anyone used there respective messes (Sgts or Officers) when going away for the weekend or night when not on ACO Duty?

Is it generally allowed? Is it easy to get access if you are just booking on to use the accommodation? I have never really considered using it but my Sgt wants to go see some family and they live less than 2 miles from a base.

You will be classed as none entitled and charged the none duty rate. Not sure what the going rate is as each mess charges differently but you could be looking at £40 upwards.

Best to give the mess a call and ask the Q.

£40?! Which mess was that out of interest? That’s mad. Non entitled tends to be £10-20.

Get a Premier Inn, I think a youth volunteer is stretching their luck a little to think they can stay in a mess to visit family nearby. Even regulars get a funny look in some places when they do this. Give it a shot I suppose…

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I know people have done this for work before and if the rooms are free then better the money goes in to the mess than have empty rooms.

Prices do vary depending on where you go but a single living room is usually about 10 - 20 a night.

A few years ago now admittedly, but two of us stayed at HM Clyde for a weekend as we were recce-ing a possible weeks camp in the area. We just called and booked in, when asked about duty/non duty we said what we were doing and the booking bod said he would send the bill through the systems, as that would mean that from HM Clyde up their admin to MOD and down through ours to Wing etc that it would inevitably get lost somewhere - which was exactly what happened!

No harm in a call and a polite enquiry

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Slightly off topic, but can we do the same for car bookings if you hold FMT600, say I fancy a trip to other side of the country :rofl::stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Doubt it, as you wouldn’t be contributing to costs

Given from the CAC downwards have told the uniformed CFAVs you are not in the RAF, why should the RAF allow non-duty acomodation to ‘uniformed’ CFAVs?

Because the messes stand to make a small profit towards their funds from rooms that would otherwise stand empty?


I can see the economic viewpoint, but should the ness be used instaed of a local unsubsidised amenity like a B&B or hotel who may struggle to fill their rooms?

It’s up to the PMC who uses the mess. If they are happy to allow a off duty CFAV use it and bring income into it. I dont see an issue no.matter what others thoughts are on it.


The policy is set by the mess members through the Mess committee - it’s their home, it’s no business of anyone else who they choose to invite to stay there.

There is no entitlement for any person, of whatever rank or on whatever business to stay at a mess they are not a member of - if the mess wishes to invite someone to stay that’s their business. I’ve been a member of a mess that allowed pretty much anyone to visit, I’ve also been a member of a mess that barely allowed visiting officers on attachment to stay.

I would ask the mess involved - they can only say no…


Done it for years never an isssue, normally I say can I book a social room. I have been charged as little as £2 and as much as £18 (that was for a double room for me & my wife). Ask they can say no if they can’t

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I’ve never tried totally away from duty, but a mate and I did break a long journey home after 4 weeks continuous ATC duty by stopping the night at Cranwell.
Just phoned the mess, explained, and the chap was happy to accommodate us.

This topic has come up a few times and in the past has been accompanied by more than a few “you’re not entitled!”, “how dare you?” type opinions.
I’m with the other comments above… Ask.
If you explain who you are and what you’re doing then you’re not trying to defraud anyone.
If the mess are happy then it’s all good.


Exactly, this ^.


Mess provision has various protocols to be observed, but that is where Personnel might live; divided between the various ranks it is where they socialise and formal events are held.

So essentially it revolves around DUTY and is not an alternative for civvies, to the Premier Inn or a pint at the local. in my experience the latter, at most stations, is met by a coffee bar which also offers meals and a bar service.

Logically the RAFAC is not entitled, unless they have RAFAC business or are invited onto the Station by someone who is attached to the Station. Non service personnel can only access the Station by the issue of a permit granted by the relevant Station Commander.

No other person has authority to allow Station access; as the responsible person, the Station Commander is entitled to know who is on his Station.

It seems to me that holders of a MOD90 have limited entitlement – they are no longer covered by the Armed Forces Act, and if they are not on duty, they would need a valid reason to be on Station - you would not expect to gain access to Waddington or Marham where security is essential. Not being signatories to the Official Secrets Acts, it would be a nonsense.

( a reason behind the decision to transfer of Waddington ‘Air Show’ to Scampton)

Perhaps a way to determine being on duty is whether the tax payer would be expected to contribute towards any travel expenses.

And even if they have empty rooms they still would not have to let you in.

Messes fall within the jurisdiction of the relevant Station Commander who is not under the control of AOC 22 Group, so RAFAC needs to abide by the book of rules which govern them. Thus if eligible to use the facilities you will pay according to those rules either entitled or non entitled.

It also seems you cannot expect to have to Mess access as defined by rank as RAFAC Personnel are of equal status to service Rank, although there are certain senior RAFAC personnel who think they are. Also the recent review of the rules states that personnel should not be expected to share a room - something else which has escaped certain senior RAFAC individuals - I am mindful of the various courses which the RAFAC offers to ensure volunteers are trained to the highest standards…

The Messes each have a Mess Committee, with a PMC and this manages funds according to Charity Law.

Appropriate then to mention for your wider interest, that it appears the Charity Commission has an on-going public inquiry into the RAF Mess Funds and once it concludes it could have significant impact, especially when there are issues which the RAFAC manages to replicate through a significant disregard for Charity Law.

I am sure that wont detract from anyone enjoying a quiet night in the Mess, (assuming you are entitled), even though you wont have Lenny looking after your interests.

Er, the current policy is that RAFAC personnel are to sign to say that they agree with the official secrets act.

And it’s not about being entitled to use the mess, it’s about whether they might let us.


[of topic]

the Waddington airshow was costing too much time, effort and money for the Station and made the decision to close - there might also be a security issue lumped in with that.

the reason an airshow was held at Scampton was due to public uproar that “bomber county” would be without an RAF airshow.

The two shows were run by completely different management teams and should not be seen as the same save for the different location…

[/off topic]

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Don’t ruin his diatribe with facts!


Do Halton, Valley, Shawbury, and Cranwell not fall under the purview of 22 Group?