this was taking class distinction a bit too far"
Maybe, but it wasn't unusual.
My father came from a Welsh coal-mining village, and was down a pit when he was fifteen. He did the proverbial 'dragging himself up by the bootstraps' thing, and got accepted as an officer cadet at RAF Halton. He ended up in Bomber Command, and said he encountered no end of prejudice because he spoke with a broad South Wales accent. Being young and keen to get on he decided to cultivate an upper class 'wizard prang old boy' persona, and ended his career as a Station Commander with a fairly distinguished service record. I only remember him with the cut-glass accent. He always said that the way things were in the RAF in those days you stood a better chance of promotion if you sounded right.
Different times, as you say.