4 January 2002


New members joining this week are:

John Gibson from Lincoln, UK

John Middleton from Huntingdon, UK

Mike Tookey from Leiston, UK

Welcome to the OBA!


From:        Derek Barron, Calne, UK
Date:         21 December 2001 10:41
Subject:     Merry Crimble


A personal thank you from me for for the hours of nostalgia and interest you have made available to us `Oldies`. I would like to wish you and your family a great holiday and all serving Movers everywhere a safe 2002 with good alowances!!

Best Rgds

Derek Barron & Family

p.s. I have an additional E-address now derekbarron   (!!!)

[Ed:  Thanks Derek - I wish you the best of luck in your new career!]


From:        Chris Clarke, Burlington, Canada
Date:          21 December 2001 17:14
Subject:      Re: Very Interesting

Very interesting indeed!  [See “Very Interesting” Old Boys Briefs 122101]  Sorry about the tardy reply, 'tis the season to commit crime by the bucket load!

Well, is that the sound of class barriers crashing I hear, or am I being way too optimistic?

Just so happens I did the trot to Biggen Hill to try for loady when I was an SAC on MAMS.  I passed the written and aptitude portions, but I think my strong Mancunian accent proved too much for the tender ears of the aircrew officers who interviewed me. I was written off as 'having rough edges' (read 'will never be one of us'). I was very disappointed, but I learnt that class and accent are way more important than initiative and ability, in the RAF aircrew world.

The RAF is run by aircrew and until that changes the RAF will continue to discount a large portion of the personnel (that includes non aircrew commissioned ranks) as being on the outside of their private little club.

Pity the RAF in a fullscale war. The class system is huge in the British Military, and this really is the Brit's achilles heel. The unnecessary divisons within British society which we call the class system really look silly when you live in North America. My Manchester twang here is looked on as 'neat', but I'm judged on what I do, not my accent or 'rough edges'.

I'm from a council estate, but I'm well read and reasonably articulate. But an average officer (not all I hasten to add, but a good chunk the officer corps) would immediately see me as slightly less a man than him because I don't have the neutral middle english rodney accent. Pity really, their loss!

I like the slant that all of a sudden its better to have candidates with Service life  experience than those with a degree in zoology (which MAMS team leader dazzled me with that degree?  Can't quite remember now!). As if they wouldn't be doing this if they didn't have a chronic shortage of suitable rodney type applicants! Yea right, talk about Tommy Atkins! The 'lesser' classes have long been adequate to die for the Empire.

Thankfully Canada has long rid itself of such silly pretensions!

I think it's great that we will have Sergeant pilots again. At least the Army saw the light re NCO pilots years ago. A Corporal pilot in the AAC is a lot cheaper to train than his equivalent in the RAF or RN, basically because the expensive course on leadership and which fork to use at dinner is deemed unnecessary by the Pongos.  But I'm sure when it’s easier to get officer candidates for aircrew the Sergeant pilot scheme will get quickly discarded.

Ok, that's my bit!

Happy New Year to everyone! Think of me responding to domestics when you lot are chomping on your turkey!  Ah the joys of Police shift work!

See ya !

Pig Clarke (Cpl retired)

Ontario, Canada

p.s. I bet it’s raining in Manchester!

[Ed:  Thanks Pig - I'm beginning to think that I don't know what we'd do without your "outside of the box" thinking.]


From:        Merfyn Phillips, Didcot, UK
Date:         20 December 2001 14:55
Subject:     Season’s Greetings


Thank you for all the hard work during the past year, reading the Old Boy Briefs has been interesting and very enjoyable.

Please wish one and all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from myself and my wife Dorothy


[Ed:  Thanks Merfyn - it's been a real pleasure]


From:        Robbie Taylor, Doncaster, UK
To:             John Holloway
Date:          22 December 2001 07:47
Subject:      Overloaded Beverly

Hi John,

I’ve just been going thru some Old Boy's Brief's in June 2001.

I was at Kuching from November ‘65 to November ’66,  although not in the Mover’s trade then, but as Suppliers we did help them out occasionally under their watchful eyes.  If it's any good to you I cannot recall this happening when I did my tour there. I assume it had to have happened earlier because Kuching closed down in ‘67.

Cheers         Robbie


From:       Shuggie Shewan, Kinloss, UK
Date:        Wed, 26 Dec 2001 22:02:08 –0000
Subject:    OBA Images


Firstly, here's wishing you, yours and all the members of the OBA, a very Merry Christmas (slightly belated) and a Happy New Year.

Now to business:  I have been tasked to give a presentation to the RAF Kinloss Aircraft Ground Engineers (Nimrod Fleet) on the subject of restraint within the Nimrod MR2, a sort of half way house between a UMO's course at the Movs School and complete ignorance on the subject.  Most of the work has come out of the 101A-1101-1, which although factual, as you can imagine, not very audience friendly, so I have been searching through the OBA Images and would like to use some of these in the presentation.  As I'm not 100% sure on all the copyright issues involved, I thought it best to ask permission before I go ahead with the final draft and will await your answer before using these images.

On a slightly different note, having seen the image “Herc Sleepers” [Images 1970, first picture, second row] thought you might like the 21st Century version ;-)  Not a great deal has changed, however, we now get single hammocks. This was taken somewhere over the Gulf, on the way to Bahrain in support of the Nimrods, Nov 01. Whilst over there, I managed to have a few ales with Don (Dead Dog) Hazelwood. I found him in Warblers Bar, surprise surprise, and managed to catch up on the years. He is doing fine and passes on his best wishes to everybody.  I have a load more of these pictures in and around this house up here and I will endeavour to make it a priority to digitise and get them across to you, there might even be some that are of interest;-).

Anyway, enough of this, so all the best for 2002.

VMT yr help in this matter

Shuggie Shewan

[Ed:  Thanks Shuggie - Rule of thumb - if you want to copy pictures and wotnot for use in another media - if there's a credit attached to it please use the credit - if there's no credit then it's in the public domain and free to use however you wish.  I've put the photo into Images 2000.

By the way - Did you know where the expression "Rule of Thumb" originated?  Apparantly in the Middle Ages in the UK it was permissable to strike your wife with a stick as long as the thickness of the stick did not exceed the thickness of your thumb!]


From:       Gordon Gourdie, Euxton, UK
Date:         27 December 2001 08:55
Subject:    GSM Radfan/South Arabia – AGAIN

Hi Tony,

Hope this finds you well after the Christmas celebrations.

My apologies to Pete Underwood re my statement on those who served in the Radfan (or not).  I must admit that when looking at the Roll of Honour I was thinking - he was in Supply - he was on Station Movements - he was at Steamer Point etc etc.

The possibility of persons on detachment from UK did not cross my mind.  Nuff said I think !!



p.s. Another fine mess you've got me in Berry!


From:         John Holloway, Shrewsbury, UK
To:             Robbie Taylor
Date:          27 December 2001 17:12
Subject:      Re: Overloaded Beverley

Hi Robbie

Re the overloaded Beverley out of Kuching.  I had words with my mate down the pub this evening, it was he that told me about it.

He was stationed at Seletar on ASF and saw it when it eventually arrived.  He seems to recall it was either 1966 or 67 when the confrontation was ending and the cases were full of unused ammo.  He thinks it belonged to either 31 Sqdn or 34 Sqdn; it was completely overloaded and made subject of an investigation before returning to the UK for overhaul.


John Holloway


From:       Chris Gunn, Leeds, UK
Date:        22 December 2001 02:57
Subject:    Re: Season's Greetings!

Just taking the opportunity to wish all movers past and present, a fantastic Christmas and great New Year.  I know you lot don't need any encouragement to party, but take care to look after yourselves.

'ave a good one

Kip Gunn

[Ed: Thanks Kip - right back at ya!]


From:        John & Jean Bell, Cairns, Australia
Date:         28 December 2001 23:35
Subject:     XMAS IN OZ

Hi Tony,

Sorry I could not make your pre-Xmas OBA Brief, Here’s something for the New year maybe.

Hope you had a very good Xmas. We certainly did. Temperatures at 33 to 35C and humidity at 85 to 87%!  At times we felt as though we were melting and the only real solution was to jump in the pool with a cold tinnie in hand..The "Wet" (It is politically incorrect to call our rainy season the Wet now - It upsets the Tourist Board and the politicians) is well due but so far no rain and lots of dead grass.

Just before Xmas Chas Cormack with his lovely wife Pam visited Cairns and we spent some time together. I am attaching a photo of the pair of us standing on a suspension bridge at Mossman Gorge, just north of Cairns. Chas moved on from Cairns on a cruise ship to Townsville and then further south, where he met up with Jack Riley (See brief 122101) before moving on to Brisbane.

Chas and I started our RAF careers together at Hereford in May 1957 in the 31st Entry of Admin Apprentices. We shared a classroom (Several classrooms) for nearly 2 years before we left as suppliers. As Q movers we met up again at MAMS Flt, RAF Abingdon in March 1965. We were both on the Flt when UKMAMS was formed and given Independent Sqn status. When the Supply trade split we both elected to be movers and our paths crossed on and off over the next 30 years until we were the only founder members of UKMAMS still serving in the RAF. In 1996 we both retired, having reached our sell-by age of 55.

Chas went on to be recalled several times as a reservist until he finally hung up his ear protectors earlier this year. He has an excellent memory, unlike me, and it was great to hear his reminisces and war stories.

Enough Prattle!!!

Have an excellent New Year and all the best to all UKMAMS personnel, serving and


[Ed:  Thanks John - I have put that memorable photograph into Images 2000]


From:       Scott Innes, Worcester, UK
Date:        31 December 2001 04:56
Subject:    Mystery Photograph Suggestions

Lovely Bristol Freighters. One crashed at Enstone in the Cotswolds a couple of years ago and was scrapped on site. However, I this something to do with the Vietnam war or something really exciting like an exercise?

Give up

Happy New Year


[Ed:  Whats this?  Scottie given up yet again?  The answer to the current Mystery appears below]


From:       Jack Riley, Hervey Bay, Australia
Date:        01 January 2002 02:28
Subject:    RAF Changi Association

Dear Tony

It seems possible that some of our members might wish to be reminded of the RAF Changi Association (which includes HQ FEAF) whose aim is to bring together all those who were stationed at RAF Changi so that they can renew old friendships and make new ones.

Their Membership Secretary is Dave Luckham

All the best to you for 2002


[Ed:  Thanks for the reminder Jack]


From:        Andy Fielding
Date:         02 January 2002 13:04
Subject:     Mystery Photograph Suggestions

Operation Air Boon Choo March '64. Just a thought!

[Ed:  Well it would seem that the current Mystery Photograph(s) are a brainteaser.   Nobody noticed that the chap standing next to the Air Traffic Control Tower is actually a Chinese civilian impersonating an Air Movements officer?  This was a real fluke since the Chinese in question is in fact wearing civilian clothing!  The photographs were taken at RAF Kuching, Malaysia, in 1965 or 66.  The base closed in 1967.  Thanks to Robbie Taylor who supplied the mystery. ]


Well, that's it for this week - a Happy and Safe 2002 to all of you.

Best regards