Gatineau/Ottawa
8th January 2001

 

We just returned from our farm in Northern Québec last night. We had been delayed by 24 hours due to a winter storm that would have made the regular 12 hours drive twice as long.

We spent Christmas and New Year's in the winter wonderland. The snow, glistening like diamonds in the crisp air (-35C), was hip deep, and would have been impossible to walk through without the use of snow shoes (standard issue in these parts). We went Ice Fishing on the local lake (Lac Castagnier - two minutes from the farm) and made dinner from the proceeds several times.

A traditional Québec Christmas was enjoyed - on Christmas Eve which is called Réveillon by the locals.

New Year's Eve, about 40 of us boarded our snowmobiles for a 10 kilometer trail ride through the evergreen forest to a log cabin camp where all was ready for us in the form of a huge feast and fireworks display. Travelling at speeds up to about 35 miles an hour, ducking one's head to avoid low branches groaning with snow, and arriving with a beard full of ice is the only way to go!

On to OBA biz...


We extend a hearty welcome to Mike (Dan Dare) Smith from Calgary and David Barrett from Manchester


From: Arfur English t.p.english@lineone.net
Subject: ICQ
Date: Sun, 17 Dec 2000 11:40:43 -0000


Hi Tony,

Wonder how many Movers are on ICQ ?? Might be worth a mention on the web page... my # 7977856 if you know any others who have joined the OBA pls pass mine on to them...

rgds

Arfur @ Crab Air

 

From: Ken Davie kendavie@yahoo.com
Subject: Christmas and Hogmanay
Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2000 15:42:55 -0800 (PST)

Dear Tony,

Reading the Old Boys Briefs with great delight again. I'm still amazed at the response from around the World. You really are a gem! I'm sure that the site brings back many maudlin memories to the members of their time in the Mob. It certainly does to me. When we did our Supply course in Abingdon in 1966, the barracks were heated by these big fires, right in the middle. They had to be stoked up all night if you wanted to stay warm. A wonderful atmosphere to return to on a freezing night with a few bevies under your belt. I'm not sure that prosperity brings happiness. I'd give anything to be back in the barracks with my old mates for a few weeks. The simple life. Nice game of darts at the local, a few pints and 'home' to the cold barracks to sit in front of the stove!

To all of the members of the UKMAMS OBA, have a Wonderful Christmas and New Year, and if Rocky Knowles is out there, a special Hannukah! And especially for you, Tony, who started it all.

All the very best,

Ken Davie

 

From : "David Howley" howley@nildram.co.uk
Subject: Re: Old Boys Briefs 121900
Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2000 23:52:43 -0000

Hi Tony,

My thanks for contacting me - this OBA is great - the names, the memories.

Christmas and New Year greetings to all.

Re-Khormaksar: It's amazing how many prople ended up there - I am still convinced that it was a pre-cursur to future shitty desert postings like El Adem (1968-69), despite 2 PWRs I remained in the UK after that.

Anyway, K'sar: Arrived there Sept 64, posted to AFME MAMS. After 6 weeks (4 at Thumier and 2 at Eastleigh), I got swopped onto station movs (I think with Ginger Singleton???). Over Christmas I shall dig out the many slides I took there, get them copied (a very good friend has a Kodak slidecopier) and send them to you over the net.

I shall also send you a "GOOD" drawing of the Beverley to replace the "Cut-out" currently displayed. Would you like it in silver or Camouflaged???

Regards
David

 

From : "Andrew Kay" andrewkay2000@msn.com
Subject : Re: Old Boys Briefs 121900
Date : Tue, 19 Dec 2000 09:36:06 -0500

Hi Tony,

I have been promising myself that I would pen a bio and finally got around to it. Of course it has turned out a lot longer than I meant, so please feel free to edit it if you want. [Editor's Note: I didn't change a word!]

I have attached it in Word, but if you have problems opening it let me know and I will send it in the body of the email.

Also please note my new e mail address (the previous one was akay_2000@onebox.com).

Best regards and Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Andy Kay

 

Hi Tony, and anybody that remembers me from my Movements days

Every time I get your e mail updates I eagerly read them and enjoy the memories (good and bad!) they invoke. I felt it was time I added my bio to the list, so here goes.

I joined in 1973 and I suppose the first memorable thing that happened to me was during my basic movements course at Brize when I managed to break my leg and ankle during a loading exercise on the Herc mock-up! It was a fairly bad break as a 2,000lb cable drum fell on me resulting in a 4 week stay in Wroughton hospital. The subsequent board of enquiry decided I was stupid but as I was inexperienced and had my leg in plaster up to my knee they also decided I had been punished enough! I think I sat through two or three more courses at the school before I rejoined a course. By the time I passed out I was the longest serving student of the school!!

From Brize I went to Northolt on pax duties, I was quite happy with this as I am from London and I could hop on the tube and be home in under an hour! After a year or so there I was posted to Akrotiri where I worked first in Cargo and then in Load Control as trim clerk. I can only recall a couple of names from my time in Cyprus, namely Derek Barron, Stu Whitton, and Steve Williams (who I had been on the school with). Cyprus was certainly an eye-opener and contributed to my education in life! This was about a year after the Turkish invasion so it was pretty quiet, although I do recall some of us renting a car one weekend to go on a trip to the fleshpots of Nicosia. While driving around the countryside we saw Turkish flags flying over a village we were driving through and figured out that we had somehow managed to cross the green line. A little further down the road we were stopped at a road block and a large friendly Turk with a large unfriendly rifle kindly gave us directions back to our side of the line! I recall I was short-toured from Cyprus due to reductions and cutbacks, so had to leave the sunshine and the clubs and bars of Limmasol for the gloomy UK (one trick I picked up after a long night out was that a couple of blasts of O2 from a walkaround breathing kit on the C130s helped to sober you up fast!).

I ended up back at Northolt (talk about join the RAF and see the world!). I remember my shift sergeant there was Al Roper and he helped make it a really good tour. (Other names remembered: Steve Biggs and Ian McHardy). After a couple of years there I headed back to Brize Norton to the Passenger Terminal. I was never a big fan of Brize Norton and the only thing that made it bearable were a few detachments, notably to Aldergrove to the infamous CrabAir movements as part of the load control team. Dave Gutsell was the F/Sgt in charge there and we had an excellent time doing something worthwhile for a change. I have one photo of a bunch of young lads (was I ever so young?!!) all with pints in their hands in the NAAFI at Aldergrove and I can't recall one name from this crew. Other dets. included a short stint at Lyneham and a job helping out at RAF Stafford (6 MU?) for a while. Then the time came to decide to stay or get out. The times were changing and lots of bases were being closed and the transport fleet was being cut back, so even though I had made it to the heady heights of Corporal, I decided to call it a day.

After a few months of inactivity I answered an ad in the paper for a company called Airworks and a month later I was in Oman in the Sultan of Omans Air Force running the cargo section at Seeb airport. There followed eight years of sand, sweat and general debauchery. Notable characters in SOAF included Dennis Harthill, Tony Davies, Dave Webb, Chris Higham, and others. We saw a few MAMS teams when they staged through and always tried to make them welcome in the SNCOs mess, even though the RAF establishment viewed us as a bunch of cowboys. I recall the Daily Mail went further and called us 'mercenaries' - a term we loved even though nothing was further from the truth!. SOAF paid for the cost of air tickets back to the UK when you went on leave, although the single guys usually went in the other direction for two weeks of well earned R&R in some quiet spot such as Bangkok. Extras like that together with the very high (tax-free) pay for those days meant most Brits tended to keep renewing their contracts and putting up with the day-to-day problems of working there. I did seven and a half years in Oman, which was longer than I was in the RAF for!

When I finally called it a day and went back to the UK I worked at the American Embassy in Grosvenor Square. It was there I met and eventually married my wife Karen. She was in the US Navy stationed at the Embassy, so when her tour was up it was time to sell up, do all the paperwork and move to the States. We lived in Virginia, and still do, in a town called Stafford about 40 miles south of Washington DC. We had one more overseas tour as she got posted to Iceland for 2 and a half years. Iceland was fantastic and we had a great time there - I recommend it anyone if you want to go somewhere unusual. We came back to Virginia for her last duty station and she retired from the US Navy earlier this after 20 year's service. We have one son who is 9 years old and growing up fast! Nowadays I am in the internet world as I am the web Designer/developer for a fairly large company located close to Dulles airport. Now some of you ex-movers may remember Dulles for the twice-weekly Dulles schedule VC10 from Brize Norton, and some of you may have gone there at some time. Remember how Dulles was in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by farms, fields full of cows, and not much else? Not any longer! This is now the 'Silicon Valley' of the East Coast and the Dulles Corridor is the place where all of the High Tech companies are located.

I have a long commute every day, and sometimes when I am stuck in traffic I switch off my brain and recall those days in Air Movements with a big smile. Happy New Year to Movers everywhere, especially to those old friends!

I still keep in contact with a couple of the guys from my days in SOAF, and one of my old mess buddies (not a mover!) comes over a couple of times a year for vacations. He lives close to Dennis Harthill and promised to tell him about the Old Boys web site. For those who knew him, I just wanted to let you know Dennis is not in good health these days. He got medevac'd to the UK from Oman after a heart attack and had bypass surgery about 13 years ago. Just lately he has been quite bad again and the last I heard he was back in hospital again following a minor attack and was facing the prospect of more surgery. Tony Davies is another old friend in poor health.

He basically splits his time between Cornwall and Australia where two of his sons live, but his eyesight if failing and is almost blind these days. I am sure some of the readers will remember both of them and hopefully remember them in their prayers.

Best Regards, and thanks for the great web site!

Andy Kay

[Editors note: I have most of the material on hand for the next article - the history of SOAF (RAFO) from 1959 to current date - and sent an e-mail to Andy hinting at getting some photographs to complement the text!]

 

From : Davy Jones jmasked@xtra.co.nz
Subject : Christmas Greetings
Date : Fri, 22 Dec 2000 20:50:55 +1300

Well, friends...

Christmas Greetings to you all. Hopefully you would have all received our Christmas cards and our best wishes. We have unfortunately missed one or two friends on our list this year because addresses have changed and we have yet to catch up e.g. Steve and Irene Chadwick old friends from Naples, and many friends in uniform around the world. We may not have been able to send a card, but, rest easy ---- we are thinking of your all and wish you a very merry Christmas and good new year.

Eve and I have been warmed by cards received to date. As we move to the mid 20 degrees C for Christmas day we remind ourselves of cold and wet winter days (don't worry we have them to come). As we speak I remain HR Advisor for Quality Hotels and Resorts in New Zealand - at present I have a very busy New Year planned and have visits to Auckland, Christchurch, Rotoura, Greymouth and Australia within the first 4 months of 2001. I will be back to Uni part time, originally accepted for another post graduate course in Management, however, received news this week that I will be on a part time programme leading to a MPhil in professional studies, so I'll be ditching one course in favour for the other. Eve (the better half) is off to Uni (Victoria), having passed the tests is to start a 3 yr BEd Primary teaching degree - we are all so proud of her and that she has taken the plunge to follow her heart - with her love of children I'm sure that she'll make an excellent teacher. Aimee will also be at Vic - LLB (Laws) and BA in
Anthropology and German. Kerrie is on National TV on Christmas Day singing a solo, Stef is taking to the air with her first flight towards her Private Pilots Licence at the tender age of 14 yrs. Mat, well his recovered from his major accident and has been working on his cricket.

Well, time to say good bye. Remember, before you make a move.....you never know what you have until you've lost it..... for those in uniform, make sure you have options to go to before you leave. It is and was good if you have the option to go to! Keep smiling.

For those religious, God Bless... for those who are not... go for a beer!

See you when you're Down Under!!!

Dave, Eve, Aimee, Kerrie, Stefanie, Matthew

 

From: JonesDondelph@aol.com
Subject: Air Crash at Got el Afraq.
Date: Thu, 28 Dec 2000 09:25:02 EST


This item brought back some memories. I was the Flight Sergeant in charge of the Medical Centre at El Adem and my staff and I had the job of dealing with the consequences.

Don Jones

 

From: "Chris Clarke" cjclarke@hotmail.com
Subject: No links to RAF web pages
Date : Sun, 31 Dec 2000 21:50:00 -0500

Just surfing the web, looking at the official RAF home page and the RAF Lyneham home page, I notice no links to either the UKMAMSA web site, which I would expect, or the UKMAMS Old Boys Assn, which would be nice!

The RAF Lyneham Saddle Club has a link? (On the Lyneham home page) I'm sure the saddle club does a fine job, but come on! Surely UKMAMS rates a link to at least compete with the saddle club? And scanning the official RAF home page I see that the Nato Air to Air refuellable page can be down loaded as a pdf document and that the RAF Gliding and Soaring Assn rate a link, but UKMAMS doesn't?

Did I miss something on my South Atlantic tour and Famine Relief Mission in Ethiopia that the Saddle Club and Gliding and Soaring Assn did?

Please enlighten me!

Cheers

Cpl Pig Clarke (retd)

Canada

[Editors note - I responded to Chris explaining that I have made repeated attempts to get the site listed with the official RAF web site - and sent a further request on 7th January. The OBA has been listed with Andy Humms RAF Lyneham Visitor Guide site for quite some time]

 

Thanks for the reply Tony, I always think our trade used to get brushed aside whilst I was in the RAF. I remember doing a job from Hong Kong to Fiji, where an Air Steward snottily ordered me to load the crew bags (10 sqn), I told him that it wasn't my job, and I worked for 1 Group not 10 Sqn, it resulted in a big shit fight but I refused to back down, even after the co-pilot tried it on, I respectfully told them I would pursue the matter of an illegal order to court martial. I flew with them to Fiji, all the crew refused to speak to me the 4 days we were on Fiji. Very team orientated. If the steward had asked me nicely I would have loaded the bloody crew bags!

Looks like our status in the RAF has changed little! But I don't think it hurts to whizz a few e-mails to the Rodneys, maybe they'll actually start treating the troops like we are all in the same Air Force!

Anyway, happy New Year and the QEW is being scanned for fast travelling ex movers! Go ahead punk....... I'm your worst nightmare, an ex mover with a badge (and a gun)!


Cheers

Pig Clarke
UKMAMS Det
Burlington, ON
The Dominion of Canada

 

From: "Derek Barron" thebarron@totalise.co.uk
Subject: Seasons Greetings
Date: Mon, 25 Dec 2000 17:48:16 -0000

Tony,

Best wishes for the coming year to you and your family,

UKMAMS OBA is a great site, please keep up the good work. Perhaps the "Professionals" should take a few notes.


Rgds Derek Barron.

 

From: Bob Dixon Bobdixon1@cs.com
Subject: Membership
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2001 10:50:39 EST

Hello

I sent my details for your membership when you only had 8 names on the Board and again last December. Am I excluded from your illustrious ranks?

The Website has improved every month and I congratulate you on its standard and user-friendly access.

All the best

Bob Dixon

Ex-OC 1983-1985
Chairman UK MAMS Association since 1994

[Editors note - Modern technology is wonderful but for some reason all of the e-mails sent to me from Group Captain Dixon were empty - I did apologize profusely by return e-mail - welcome to the OBA!]

 

From: "George Reeve" george@p351.freeserve.co.uk
Subject: Aden
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2001 20:54:22 -0000

Dear Sirs

Visited your web site and most interested in Khormaksar especially the pictures showing the Bevs on the pan outside ASF hanger in which I toiled during the 1st Aden campaign 1957-60. I have thoughts on writing a book on the Air Policing in Aden from the first aircraft into Aden in 1917 being Farman F27's of 31 Squadron in India until our withdrawal in November 1967. Therefore any chance of some pictures and permission to use them. Willing to pay and if I manage the book give credits.

The Brit was not the first a/c to land up on Khormaksar beach, a Venom of 8 Squadron did the same with a full rocket load after complete electrical and hydraulic failure.

Keep up the good work

George Reeve

Chief Technician RAF (Ret'd)

Well that's it for now - I will endeavor to get another issue out this Friday - but you have to write to me to make it happen!

I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for the tremendous support I received in the year 2000, and hope that 2001 will see more of the same - A Happy New Year to you all!

Regards

Tony