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RM Linguist

Mick Pinchen Royal Marine

During a maintenance period in Bermuda I had been given permission to fly back to UK to get married. The Captain was a bit concerned that I may not come back, and so I had to produce evidence that I had enough money to pay for the flight back, which was £86, a lot of money then. I flew home with an airline whose livery was a strange shade of blue. The RAF charged £8 for this privilege, which was known as an’ Indulgence Flight’. The aircraft was a Britannia turbo prop and took two days to reach Brize-Norton, as it stopped overnight at a US Air Force base in the Azores. There were about two-dozen passengers on this flight, consisting of service personnel and NOK. Included in this group was the wife of a Royal Marines officer. After we landed in the Azores we were picked up by USAF bus. They, the Americans, did not know who we were, so made enquires. A portly sun-tanned, master sergeant, with more stripes than a zebra, mounted the bus. Looking down the aisle he said


No one answered, so I decided to take charge! Standing, and turning to the RM officer’s wife I said, don’t worry Mrs …….. I will deal with this.

With that I replied, “ and watsyastaus to you as well senor”.

There was silence, the sort you can feel. I looked about me. What’s the matter with this bloke; can’t he speak his own lingo?

“Sit down Royal, he’s asking what our status is” came a helpful hint!


Many years later I met this lady again. Her husband was a principal guest at a RM dinner. Speaking to him I mentioned that we had met in Bermuda, and, that I had had the privilege in accompanying his wife on the said flight. He at once called her over and introduced me.

“Do you remember him?” he enquired.

“Of course”, she replied, “It’s the linguist isn’t it”.



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