bestower of the most highly derogatory order of the irremovable finger.
AIR MINISTRY. TEE EMM. London, Air Ministry, 1945.
8vo. Original grey-blue blue wrappers; pp. -316, illustrated with photographs, cartoons and diagrams; very good.
The final issue. In April 1941 the Department of the Air Member for Training, Air Ministry, began publication of training memoranda in the form of a monthly magazine entitled TEE EMM. It was produced throughout World War Two until its final issue in March 1946. By the time it ceased over 30,000 copies a month were being printed in the UK alone with separate printings in Canada, Australia, South Africa, the Middle East and India.
TEE EMM (old phonetics for Training Manual) was something new in official publications. It was issued as a restricted document to RAF aircrew to illustrate how others have got things wrong or how they should be done. As the first issue explained it hoped to provide '...an occasional intrusion of light-heartedness into serious subjects...an occasional unconventionality of treatment...an occasional lack of stiffness in the presentation of training and instructional points and information.' Part of this was the cartoons of Bill Hooper depicting the hapless Pilot Officer Prune and friends. He was the buffoon who got everything wrong in order for the manual to explain what was right or correct. TEE EMM was written by the staff of the magazine Punch (and particularly Anthony Armstrong), who had been seconded to the Air Ministry for the duration of the war to make technical manuals readable. Armstrong managed to acquire an office for P/O Prune but to his eternal regret could never get him into the Air Force list.
The articles in TEE EMM covered a wide range of topics - use of homing pigeons in heavy bombers; air sea rescue buoys anchored at sea as shelters for ditched aircrew; regular ‘What is the Hun doing?’; detailed instructions in use of bomb sights; aircraft or equipment lost through negligence or failure to follow procedures - learning from another fellow’s experience. It awarded monthly the Most Highly Derogatory Order of the Irremovable Finger (or M.H.D.O.I.F.) to those displaying a commitment to error above and beyond the call of duty. This issue is for the first month after the end of the war and the beginnings of the transfer to peacetime can be seen in the very first article – a call for a return to a level of dress and decorum which had been relaxed under operational stresses. A few months after this issue publication had ceased to be replaced by the somewhat different Air Clues.