Happy New Year Old Bods!

11 January 2008


New members recently joined are:

Colin Neat from Nottinghamshire, UK

Si Hammond from Carterton, UK

Chas Clark from Sprucedale, Ontario, Canada

Welcome to the OBA!


From: Jack Riley, Hervey Bay, Qld.
Date: Friday, December 21, 2007 01:33
Subject: UKMAMS OBB#122107

My Dear Tony

Those of us who have known you over the years will agree that you have excelled yourself in the presentation of our Christmas Newsletter. Those who have recently joined will be suitably impressed.

On behalf of us all.... "Thank you very much."

Now that we are safely launched into 2008 I wish you, and all our members, the best of years.


Jack Riley
Honorary Chairman


From: Ian Stacey, Chicago, IL
To: Dave Eggleton
Friday, December 21, 2007 19:06
Subject: From Ian Stacey in Chicago

Hi Dave,

I was very sorry to read your news in the Old Bods Briefs about Sandy Sandiford, I hope he is as well as can be expected and although I never knew his wife Terry please pass on my best wishes to her when you can.

Sandy was one of the great characters on the Squadron at Abingdon and was always such a fun guy to have around. I remember very well one particular and special mission that we were on together in 1966. I say special because the destination was Sandy’s home country, Barbados. I took an extended team to Barbados for ten days where we were providing support to the Army during the Barbados independence celebrations. Sandy was so excited to be returning home even for a few short days. During the trip we were invited into the homes of several of Sandy’s friends and family and were treated like visiting royalty. Great memories!


Ian Stacey

Actor Sean Connery has a tattoo that reads, "Mum and Dad."

From: David Powell, Princes Risborough
Date: Sunday, December 23, 2007 06:29
Subject: Boots are made for talking about

Dear Tony

Great!  Thank you for reminding me about my desert boots saga.  However, although you got the Nairobi bit right, and the story did involve boots, for the histerical record, this is what actually happened.  F team deployed to Embakazi International in support of Exercise Street via RAF Luqa in Britannia XL657 on 18 Nov 68

Peering through the cobwebs of the time, I seem to recall it involved an army recovery/rotation with both pax on the Britannia through the international airport and freight on Hercs at RAF Eastleigh.  However, when the last Herc turned up at Eastleigh on the 20th we discovered that our dear friends in Fairford Role and Slack had decided that it would be a jolly jape to dispatch XV221 with only about a quarter of the normal fit of chains, but lots of strainers.  What to do?  A combination of F team resourcefulness and an RAF Eastleigh LPO, saw us heading with a length of chain for the vast Nairobi market.  Having matched a length, we purchased some 200 foot of chain.  Stopping only to buy a pair of boots, after trying one on to check for size, we returned to Eastleigh for an improvised strength test in the MT yard with a crane and a large block of concrete.  For safety we worked on rating the chains at half the weight lifted by the crane, got workshops to chop up the chain into short lengths and proceeded to load our Herc.  I don’t know what happened to the chain after the eventual off-load in Bahrain, but rumour has it that strange answers kept appearing in trade tests asking what length lashing chain was supplied in.

The next incident was a problem with refueling at Eastleigh, so we all piled on to Flt Lt Skinner’s Herc for an epic flight to Embakazi International, the other side of the road.  My log book has this at 15 minutes.  It would probably have been quicker to walk.  The following day, the 22nd November saw us doing the run up to Muharraq, then back to Nairobi on the 23rd still with officer Skinner and XV221 and then back to Fairford.  It was during this final leg that the boot saga entered the history books.  When I came to induce a bit of fair wear and tear on the way to home and Fairford Customs, we discovered that I had in fact purchased 2 right boots!  I did try offering to exchange one size 10 right boot for a size 10 left in the RAF Abingdon Sales and Wants book, but sadly no takers. 

Meanwhile, stemming from our Eastleigh – Embakazi 15 minute sortie, here is a challenge.  What was the shortest planned flight between two different airfields ever undertaken by a MAMS team?  It must have been a pre-planned flight.  Turn-backs, diversions with engines on fire etc, do not count.  And, it must be in a fixed wing aircraft.

Have a great 2008 everybody,

David Powell


From: Charles Collier, Marlborough
Date: Sunday, December 23, 2007 08:22
Subject: Aden

Hello Tony,

Brian Barron's article on Aden in your last but one brief brought back vivid memories of my time in that theatre of the world.

I travelled out in a British United Airways VC10 trooping flight from Gatwick Airport in September 1965; the hottest month in the Aden calendar. When the doors opened after chocking in at RAF Khormaksar the hot humid night air permeated throughout the air conditioned aircraft and you felt the humid dampness creeping up your trouser legs! We had arrived! It was about midnight local time so after immigration procedures I was billeted with the orderly officer for the rest of the night.

The next morning I reported to my unit and was introduced to the OC and told what my job entailed. I was also told that I would be taken into town - Tawahi - for a night stop at a hotel as a temporary measure until accommodation could be found in the mess. The hotel was a new Arab owned establishment with me as the only white face amongst a multitude of Arabs - I felt a bit insecure - and this was to be very apparent during the course of the day!

I had the usual L shaped room on an upper level with the bathroom on the left until it opened out into the bedroom with window overlooking The Crescent and gardens. I decided to go out and buy a portable radio so that I could listen to any news which might be given - thank god I did! When I returned to my room and switched the radio on it was the Governor announcing a curfew from 1600 hours until further notice and that only security forces on duty would allowed on the streets.

At that moment there was rapid fire from an automatic rifle which seemed to be coming from the roof of my hotel. A soldier of the security patrol in the street below had been hit and was crumpled on the floor. Other troopers returned fire and attended to their injured comrade. Soon after an ambulance collected the injured and that was the end of the incident.

This was my first day after very little briefing on the political situation. All I had was what I had read in the papers at home. As night was approaching I went for dinner and was the only white face in the hotel so when I finished I returned to my room, locked the door and prepared for the night security threat, which I thought was going to be by some gunman bursting though the door down the short corridor and spraying my bed with automatic fire. So I decided to prepare the bed by putting the bolster lengthways under the covers to look like a body asleep. With the other pillows I made things as comfortable as possible in the bath and then closed the bathroom door and slept in the bathroom until waking up the next day still in one piece!

I had breakfast and there was a message waiting for me - I was to be ready to move at 0900 as MT was being sent to collect me and my belongings and take me to RAF Steamer Point Officers' Mess.


Picture taken on the road
from Steamer Point up to the
Tarshyne Officers Mess

Flt Lt Charles Newbury - Movements officer at HQMEC on the patio at Tarshyne



Paul McCartney wrote "When I'm 64" when he was just 15 years old.

From: Ian Stacey, Chicago, IL
Date: Monday, December 24, 2007 18:52
Subject: Where Are They?

Hi Tony,

I could hardly believe it when you phoned the other night, you must be faster than a speeding bullet, I had barely hit the transmit button on my E Mail before our phone was ringing!  [Ian had sent me an e-mail with a very urgent request for information - I just happened to be sitting at my computer at the time]

Anyway, I was sorry to see that no one had responded to your “write-in” request so this is by way of a New Year's equivalent. Attached is a photo of me with my wife Wendy taken last week.

A very Happy and prosperous New Year’s wish to all!

Reading Andy Kay’s letter with his suggestion of a “where are they now” section gave me an idea. Here is the entire complement of Delta Team UKMAMS (apart from me of course) at Abingdon in 1966. I wonder if anyone out there has any idea where they are now?

  • Sgt Ian Pike
  • Sgt Paddy Harper (from Belfast)
  • Cpl Brian Dunn
  • SAC Roger Bullows (the belly hold king)
  • SAC Jimmy Jamieson (from Scotland)

It would be terrific if any news of them is forthcoming.

The Christmas newsletter looked great – I never knew that about Donkeys!


Ian Stacey


From: Jimmie Durkin, Stafford
Date: Wednesday, December 26, 2007 11:46
Subject: Abingdon Photograph 1

Hello Tony,

I hope that you have enjoyed a very Happy Christmas and not had too much trouble weather wise? I was hoping to send you this photograph pre Christmas with a greeting but as luck had it it was not to be. Gremlins and glitches and I’m still uncertain if it will work this time!

If you receive it the snap shows fours SNCO’s of ‘A’ Hangar, Air Cargo, RAF Abingdon, at a Christmas beer-call, some time during a December of 1957, 1958 or 1959 at a pub just outside of the peri track. 1959 is probably unlikely as I was posted ending up as Mov Ops 2(a) in Command Movements in the “big house” at Monchengladbach which later was renamed as Rhinedahlen? as it was built in the village of that name so I was told..

I think the pub was called The Black Horse. If you wanted you could climb the wooden gate (possibly a crash barrier) cross the road and walk into the pub. Some I know used to cycle or walk round the peri track as a short cut home? Naturally diverting for refreshment on the way!

Looking at the snap, the first left front wearing glasses I believe is Sgt Reg (Kip) Carey (Pax Control and Baggage Handlers) although sometimes I look at him and the name Levy springs to mind; I’ve no idea why?

Stood next to him is my old colleague and friend Sgt John (Paddy) Guerin (mainly Load Control, some Pax and quite a lot of pre-UKMAMS overseas detachments).

Then next is me, yours truly Sgt Jimmie Durkin (mainly Cargo Control, Documents and I/C Admin). Last but not least is Flt Sgt Joe Marmion. I understand that Joe was a former Air Quartermaster, medically downgraded for flying duties and being supernumerary did a little bit of everything. His favourite tale was to reveal details of his major operation where he claimed the surgeons had removed “ n feet of his gut “and thus had to exist on half a stomach!

Right then I will leave you and wish You and Yours a Very Good and Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year.

See you,


Ireland's longest place name: Muckanaghederdauhaulia (Pig marsh between two salt water inlets).

From: Keith Wilson, Highworth
Date: Friday, January 04, 2008 06:08
Subject: OBA
40 years +/-


Delighted to see that both you and the web site are up and running again. I retired from the MoD in 2006 so have been out of the loop for a while, it was only by chance that I got a link to the OBA when surfing the web yesterday.

Looking forward to the OBA briefs.




Mystery Photograph #011108

The type would be obvious to most - what's the frame number and where is she?


From: John Holloway, Shrewsbury
Date: Tuesday, January 08, 2008 17:16
Subject: NSRAF Association

Hi Tony

We had our monthly Cosford Branch get together meeting today. Our guest speaker was John Coyle, a professional boxing referee. He has officiated at more than 300 professional boxing matches both in the UK and abroad with world class boxers like Tyson, Bruno and Bugner.

He's a bit of a comedian too and really held our attention with his memories and jokes like the following samples; He was speaking at a club in Heathtown (a rather notorious area) and when he came out at the finish and made his way to the car park he saw a crowd of yobbos around his car. He walked up to it expecting to see broken windows etc., however nothing had been done to it He asked what was the attraction only to be told it was the first time they had seen a vehicle with an up-to-date tax disc on the windscreen!

Also, arriving at Wolverhampton, he had a venue at the football stadium to attend and when he asked the way was told to follow the crowd. He ended up in front of a mosque!

At the end of January the skills of the experts from the Michael Beetham Conservation Centre at RAF Cosford, normally hidden from view, will open it's doors for the first time to the public and visitors will find out why it is recognised as one of the finest aircraft conservation centres.

The centre is open from Monday 28th January to Friday 1st February and projects, including work currently being undertaken on a Handley Page Hampden bomber amongst others, will be on view. Cosford has had Valetta VX573 on its list of aircraft, but I've been going there many times over the last 25 years and have never seen it on display, so here's hoping that it might be tucked away awaiting restoration when I, with a few others, will be going on the 28th. There is only one other Valetta (Pig) that has been saved in the country and that's at Flixton.

Hope that the foregoing is of interest.




Over the holidays the OBA received a donation from a very kind gentleman who gave his address as the Officer's Mess, RNZAF Auckland, Whenuapai, New Zealand.  This led to the following idea:

Since any disaster relief or armed intervention generally involves RAF Air Movements working very closely with many Commonwealth Air Force Air Movements people, I am leaning towards building a sister association to the OBA of Allied Air Force Air Movements where experiences can be shared, old friendships renewed and new friendships forged.

The sub-website will be in the same format as the OBA and will be accessed from the OBA home page.  As with the OBA, the membership will be open to all Air Movements people both serving and retired and not just the mobile element.

I have put "official" enquires out there; RAAF, RNZAF & RCAF, but to date have not received any responses (just last week, so early days yet).  If any of you have contacts in the above air forces perhaps you could make the suggestion to them - let me know please.

If it flies, and it really should, then we could eventually extend it to other foreign air forces that we have worked closely with in the past - what a concept!

There are about 500 species of fish capable of producing electricity.

From: Chas Clark, Sprucedale, Ontario
Date: Wednesday January 09, 2008 15:15
Subject: Membership App Comments


I came to Canada some 5 years ago (2003) and am enjoying every minute. In summer there is hunting, fishing, golf and sailing on the lake and in winter there is snowmobiling, skiing and shoveling tons of snow.

I am in touch with Robbie James and Dave Powell but would really like to contact John Beadman. If anybody knows his address, please drop me a line.




That's it for this edition.

Have a great weekend!