03 January 2003


New members joining us over the festive season were:

Peter Clayton from Swindon, UK

Bob Whitaker from Calgary AB, Canada

Steve Broadhurst from Melbourne, Vic., Australia

Welcome to the OBA!


From: Dave Cromb, Brisbane Qld., Australia
CC: Ian Berry, Swindon, UK
Date: 21 Dec 2002 18:41
Subject: Item Last Briefs


That was a brilliant brief, well done. Were you happy with the input from members? I have an inkling you may have hoped for a heavier response. 

Ian's comments are so true, he has indicated in the non too distant past he may resort to naming members, both Association & OBA, who have experiences, some good & some downright embarrassing, that should be "aired". I agree. Sharing things with other members is what it's all about, isn't it?. To jog memories and rekindle the "fire". I'm with you Ian, especially the Lajes incident! I'll do it if you prefer, is that man in either group?.

Question to both you gurus. Probably like other members I hear names mentioned, but because of senile decay, am unable to place the face. Is it worthy of further consideration to establish a rogues gallery for members?  I'm no wiz on software, but I get by, so I ask you, would a passport style photo suffice? They are cheap and accessible. I'm sure current members wouldn't mind contributing a photo, and new members can inc one with their application to join the  OBA.  Over to you.

Will send more photo's for you over holidays.  Thanks for a great year guys, have a good 'un.



[Ed:  Thanks Dave - I have no problem making a rogues gallery of passport sized pictures - the only problem is that, based on current stats, only about 10% of the membership would participate   :o(


From: Ian Berry, Swindon, UK
CC: Dave Cromb, Brisbane Qld., Australia
Date: 24 Dec 2002 06:03
Subject: Old Boys Matters - General and Embarrassing


I'm with you all the way and haven't got a cupboard full of skeletons on people but a WAREHOUSE!....

PFRB never got above Flt Lt but was only discharged (sorry, he's an officer - retired) early last year. I'm still waiting for an updated membership list from Colin Allen but I believe he's still in the Association. Small world, I met his best man who was then a Major in the TA (RCT) in the middle of a German field in 1987 when we shared a watch together in a boxbody (Command vehicle) during my time with the JHSU. (Tony, Dave will tell you who PFRB is....). Why did he have a pongo as best man? Because he had no real mates in the RAF.

I also have a selection of more modern passport photos for the rogues gallery but sometimes the original pics remind you who they are. As Tony knows you can 'select' a person from a group shot and make it individual. I'm going to have to hassle John Belcher as nearly a year ago now I sent him some group shots for the Association website which didn't go to Tony. One day when I have the time I'll try and redress the problem.

Tony, I don't know if any of them have been in touch but I've managed to connect a couple of your enquirers with their mates. Just received a message from Jock Dunlop who is now talking to Chick Hatch. Another chap wanted more info on the sawfish bill I mentioned. Amazingly I was able to find the info on the BBC Antiques Roadshow page for him including picture, prices et al. I'll also reply to the members of 50th BE who gave me info on Derek Farrant. I never found him but discovered he was on MAMS Apr 70 - Mar 71 and was discharged in May 72. He originated from Gorleston-on-Sea in Norfolk but is not there now. I subsequently discovered there are 22 Farrants in Norfolk and 143 in Suffolk - not one of which is a Derek!

Anyway, that's for now. The Station Commander at Lyneham had all the day staff together before the break up and the guys were expecting the announcement of the the standard 'Op Deny Christmas' but it didn't happen. Things will happen in the New Year but I still don't like the UK being the USA's lackey. I don't think the Iraqis are that devious unless some other country's hiding their gear. As it is it's akin to a bully spoiling for a fight and you know there's no way of stopping him. I think the media have also got it right, were it not a big oil producer no one would be bothered.

Happy Christmas to you both and your families, I've got two outbound to handle Boxing Day..



From: Murdo N. Macleod, Somewhere
Date: 26 Dec 2002 15:56
Subject: Re: Old Boys Briefs 122002

I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Xmas and a Happy and Prosperous New Year and to let you know I'm off again in the next few weeks, and not as I thought to a cold location, but to a hot one.

I'm brassed off with that place, but thank goodness this will be my final fling, I think I'm getting too old for wars. But having said that I don't know if I will be retiring, now that they've extended retirement to 65. Bloody government can't seem to make up their minds on anything. Anyway watch this space, I shall return.




From: Charles Collier, Marlborough, UK
Date: 28 Dec 2002 10:45
Subject: Aircraft apprentice trip to France - 1960 

Hello Tony,

Back in 1960 - or thereabouts - a group of Halton aircraft apprentices were picked to spend 10 days to a fortnight with their counterparts in the French air force apprentice school at Rochefort on the west coast of France in the Charente district, north of Bordeaux.

We traveled out in two RAF Anson aircraft via the Channel Islands and arrived at the Rochefort base where we were met by the commander and representatives of his staff at the apprentice school. If I remember correctly there were about 12 of us and I, as the LAA (leading aircraft apprentice) was the leader of the bunch! 

The French nation — like us, sometime later — had a national emergency because of terrorist activity due to their colonial past. They had finished their hold in Indochina (Vietnam) but still had a troubled situation in North Africa (Algeria). Hence, our security was paramount to them. 

At first we were billeted in the corporal chef's mess at the Rochefort base. The food was better than our fare at Halton. This could be understood as one could have wine with meals! 

Anyway, what I was coming to was that at breakfast we collected our fare along with the rest of the French corporals — it was a trade examining centre so NCOs were in transit, taking examinations for promotion — they were unconcerned about us as they had other things to think of.

Whilst we were in the course of eating our meal it happened! There was a very loud scream from the kitchens. We were all shocked at this, wondering what might have happened. To our complete amazement our French corporal counterparts were totally unconcerned: to them it must have been an everyday happening.

Some minutes went by before the medics arrived and removed a kitchen hand away on a stretcher with his right hand heavily bandaged. He had inadvertently put his hand into the big mixer machine!

All this happened during our first breakfast with our French colleagues — it was a startling start to what became a very enjoyable 10 days!

I wish all UKMAMS OBA's a very happy and productive 2003



From: Ian Berry, Swindon, UK
Date: 30 Dec 2002 10:36
Subject: Belfast Trip to Belize - February 1975


Interesting account from Charles Collier in the last OBA Brief concerning a trip to Belize in 1975. Well - as I was on it I will fill in the gaps!... 

Charles was correct, it was a scratch team but the common thread was that it was a swansong for everyone. Baz Shatford was to be promoted to WO and posted to RTO Swindon, I as the Sgt on the team was on my way to the SABC Singapore at Sembawang/Woodlands and the two Cpls, Geoff Simpson and Steve Broadhurst were both going out into civvie street. Sadly I cannot recall the sixth man.

As the task was planned to go Brize-Lajes-Bermuda-Belize the decision was only to take KD. On the day of departure (Feb 13th) the aircraft (XR368) was delayed 6 hours before we were finally 'off'. It was then that the ALM asked if we were going to change out of our KD into something warmer, "Why?" we asked as the Azores were quite warm that time of year. "We're not going to Lajes now" he replied, "We've had our itinerary changed to go via Keflavik and Gander".... Iceland was in fact not just a refuelling stop but a nightstop. Yes, it was bloody freezing but the US Marine Corps Det looked after us well.

On to Gander for a quick refuelling stop, then after take-off as Charles said we had fun and games with the aircraft undercarriage, 2 up 1 down, 2 down 1 up etc., and eventually we flew around for 90 minutes dumping fuel and then
'blowing' the wheel down through the undercarriage doors. 

A replacement Belfast (XR366) was diverted to us and an extremely painful, cold airframe swop was achieved. I'm not sure if the cold weather gear was obtained from the RCAF as I'm sure mine had Air Canada on the back! I do remember we worked in pairs achieving 20 mins each on the aircraft before having to return to the terminal to thaw out. I also remember the Aircraft Captain appearing to see how we were getting on and after some subtle hints a 'Screech Rum' laced urn of coffee was procured. Eventually the 90 min turnround at Gander lasted 50 hours.

The whole itinerary from then on was 'ad lib' and our next Port of Call was Andrews AFB were we stayed the night. Downtown Washington was too far and unattractive on a 12 hour nightstop in mid Feb. Then on to Homestead AFB (many years before it was flattened by Hurricane Andrew). Eventually we made it to Belize and our KD came in handy.

On the return we went via Bermuda. For those of you who remember Baz Shatford, a wonderful Geordie character who had a sloped shoulder, possessing only one lung, but always worked at 101%. His team Sgt and partner in crime for many years was an Arthur Taylor. As fate would have it Arthur was stationed at Bermuda as the very last RAFLO. We wondered on the way across to Bermuda if Arthur knew who was coming. What a silly question for a mover!

On arrival, and once the crew were dispatched, Arthur delivered us to the Castle Harbour Hotel. I've stayed there before in all it's grandeur, but this time Arthur had us all accommodated in single bungalows and Baz had the 'creme de la creme' a bungalow on the point with it's own kitchen, bar etc. The bar had already been well stocked and it was all for us courtesy of Arthur.

UKMAMS Mafia, you cannot beat it. After an all too short night stop we headed on for Lajes and back to Brize from what was a memorable trip. 

Where are they now? Well, sadly Baz passed away nearly 10 years ago, once he retired he and his wife went on a holiday to Russia. Why? because he wasn't allowed to whilst he was in! I met his son several times over the years as he was in the RAF as a communicator and served on TCW. 

Geoff Simpson started to fly as a Loadmaster on many civilian Airfreight Lines and is presently Chief Loadmaster on Intavia flying on DC8 Freighters. 

Steve Broadhurst is now in Australia, I've made tentative contact with him but still await his life story to date. I do remember Steve getting two speeding tickets in the States within 5 hours and nearly 1,000 miles apart! He got one racing to Dulles Airport and another racing downtown from the Airport in Florida.

All the best to everyone in 2003.



Subject: Nineteen Things That Took Me Fifty Plus Years to Learn:
1. Never under any circumstances take a sleeping pill and a laxative on the same night. 

2. If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be "meetings." 

3. There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness." 

4. People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them. 

5. And when God, who created the entire universe with all of its glories, decides to deliver a message to humanity, He WILL NOT use, as His messenger, a person on cable TV with a bad hairstyle... 

6. You should not confuse your career with your life. 

7. No matter what happens, somebody will find a way to take it too seriously. 

8. When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command...Very often, that individual is crazy. 

9. Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance. 

10. Never lick a steak knife. 

11. Take out the fortune before you eat the cookie. 

12. The most powerful force in the universe is gossip. 

13. You will never find anybody giving a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight savings time. 

14. You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests that you think she's pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment. 

15. There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday. That time is age eleven. 

16. "The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above average drivers. 

17. The main accomplishment of almost all organized protests is to annoy people who are not in them. 

18. A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person. 

19. Your friends love you anyway.


From: Derek Barron, Calne, UK
Date: 31 Dec 2002 07:33
Subject: Big Friendly Monster


A big thank you for the work I know it has taken to develop the OBA to this superb level, you've created a big friendly monster! I don't know if you are fully aware of the pleasure and nostalgia you bring to us old movers. Where else can you "swing the light" where your listeners understand what your on about? (who else would listen to us?)

Please let us know if you require contributions, I'm sure Chas wouldn't mind collecting again (Thanks Chas) maybe we can shame some dosh from the regular users that didn't contribute last time, (I've kept back a ten-bob note especially for the occasion).

Keep at it Tony, you unsung hero!

Best Wishes to you and your family for the coming year, and for young movers - keep your heads down in the coming months. 


From: Phil Clarke, Vienna, Austria
Date: 02 Jan 2003 09:19
Subject: Postcard from Old Constantinople

Hi All,

Back from my travels to new Istanbul. For those who haven't been there all I can say is 'well - if you're not too busy, why not, if you have the time, nip over for a minute or two'. Only kidding - although the brass monkey went clang-clang on a couple of occasions both 'her who must be obeyed' and me had a great time. 

A strange mix of east and west - very friendly people on the whole, but a few too many touts flogging carpets and leather jackets. As a very astute Purchasing Pro I was conned into both! A kid - no more than 12 years old, asked me to take his Euro coins for paper money - luckily I had only a 10E note on me so happily watched him count it out in my hand - gave him the 10.  Back at the hotel  I only 4 E's in my pocket. 'Her' did not believe me 'cos she watched the transaction - then it was decided - it was his job and he was good at it. 

A few more minor cons but only enough to make you laugh - 'taxi drivers', 'shoe shine boys (pensioners)' and urchins flogging everything from spinning tops (the wife bought 20 so the kid could go home out of the cold) to genuine
imitation CDs.

Spent Christmas day in the Blue Mosque ( well Isa was a Islamic Prophet also), amazing building - with 6 (yes 6) minarets, instead, the brochures say, of the normal 4. I seem to recollect only 1 on most of the mosques in the Salalah, Bahrain, Sharjah, Masirah, Riyan (enough - apologies for omissions) environs.

The Topkapi Palace is something else - complete magic - decided not to go into the Harem museum, where the Sultan kept his 200 or so concubines - I would only get depressed. Who remembers the movie "Topkapi" - released in 1964
- we must have seen it in the Astra or the Odeon in Hereford - Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn as I remember. (No idea wot I had for my tea last night - but 1964 is as clear as a bell).

A fabulous sight is looking down from the Topkapi to the Bosphorous, Golden Horn, Marmara Sea and the Asian side - superb.

Couple of links: full of info. We stayed at a 3 star hotel called the Eyfel (from that Blackpool Tower look-alike in Gay Paree): $35 bucks double room per night incl Frustuck - not luxury but clean and so very friendly we ate in all except 1 night for $6.00. Plus stay 7 nights, pay for 6 with free airport transfers.

Currency is a bit weird - largest note is 20,000,000 lire as in 20 million, which is worth approx a good English fiver.

Going to be slightly off the air for the next few weeks - on Monday to Dublin until about the 24th - but can still receive my mails - big GPU in Belfast on the 10th with Tommy Mulligan and Bobby Atcheson (50th preunion NI). 

Best wishes for 2003 to all.

PS See the signature block below - feels like I was transferred from the RAF to the Peruvian Naval Air Arm. 

Philip M Clarke
Technical Purchasing & Planning
Austrian Airlines Technik
Tel: +43 1 7000 75124
Fax: +43 1 7000 75125
Mobile: +43 676 5455015

e mail


A Catholic priest, a Protestant minister, and a Jewish rabbi were discussing when life begins. 

"Life begins," said the priest, "at the moment of fertilization. That is when God instills the spark of life into the fetus." 

"We believe," said the minister, "that life begins at birth, because that is when the baby becomes an individual and is capable of making its own decisions and must learn about sin." 

"You've both got it wrong," said the rabbi. "Life begins when the children have graduated from college and moved out of the house."


Well, that's it for this week

Have a great weekend

Best regards