15 January 2010

New members joining us recently are:

John Cockayne, Chippenham, UK  
Robert (Bob) Pountney, Moray, UK "Nice to join such illustrious comrades"

Welcome to the OBA!


From: John Bell, Cairns, Qld.
Date: 2009/12/22
Subject: Season's Greetings


Merry Christmas and a great New Year and 2010 to you and all Movers past and present. Hope you are keeping well and enjoying life to the full. Jean and I are both currently OK although there isn't quite the same energy any more. Nothing serious so far but a definite slowing down and the joints are getting stiffer.

Once again Christmas was on us before we were ready. Currently in the middle of a panic attack trying to sort out our trip to the bush to our daughters for the festive season and clear up a massive backlog after losing my computer for nearly a month (Internet cafes are not the answer to medium term losses) and just completing two weeks full time work as a Salvos Families Shop volunteer. There are 2 of us who look after the warehouse on a"Workshare" basis and the other guy is on holiday. I am truly exhausted.

For us, 2009 was much like most recent years. Lots of good stuff and a few sad farewells to old friends and family members. The highlight of our year was a month in the UK with our two youngest grandchildren, Tom aged 10 and Riley, 9. We did the Norfolk broads on a cruiser for a week, London Eye, Safari parks, theme parks and many other wonderful things that two little boys from the bush found completely mind-boggling. We spared them the Scottish Country Dancing, we have been averaging about 7 classes a month in Oz and managed about 4 balls/socials and 3 workshops this year.

Next year we have no trips planned, just relatively local stuff. A win on the lottery could of course change all that.

I noticed Paddy's praise for Dave Eggleton in your last missive. Dave was my Team FS when I was a sgt and the Trg WO when I was a FS. He was my mentor in many ways. Not the least of which was to hold my temper with lazy little ?&%# techies who stood and watched my FS (Dave) load their baggage while they sat on the grass. Dave taught me not to lose my cool and not to throw their cases of duty free at them in disgust. Seriously, Dave is one of life's gentlemen and he was one of the best things to ever happen to UKMAMS, ever.

Tony, have a good festive season and a safe and healthy 2010.


John & Jean

Vaccines contain formaldehyde, ethylene glycol (antifreeze), phenol (disinfectant / pesticide), and aluminum

From: Martin Liggett, Swindon
Date: 2009/12/22
Subject: Mystery Pic

Hi Tony,

Belated season's greetings to all.

Reference the latest RAF mystery pic, I think it may have been Katmandu 1974 or 1975, judging from the headgear and the multi colour flying suits which the Sqn used to get from Little Rissington (Red Arrows surplus) around that time.

Left to right :

Mike Rowan , ? , ? , Bob Turner, Gerry Keyworth, Brian Hughes.

I hope everyone has a happy and peaceful new year.


Close, but no cigar Martin!

From: Bob Turner, Swindon
Date: 2009/12/24
Subject: RE: Christmas Newsletter

Hi Tony,

Re Newsletter 122209 Mystery Photo, It was Operation Khana Cascade Feb 73 to Mar 73 operating mainly from Bhairawa to all points into the interior of Nepal.

Photograph l/r: Jim Marchant, Boot Pratt, F/S Tony Barrell, Bob Turner, Flt/Lt Gerry Keyworth (guesting with "A Team") and Colin Hughes (Olaf). The photograph was taken at Bhairawa.

We were in tents throughout, pitched in an old rice paddy field and it rained quite a few times. Must have seen the film "Zulu" at least a dozen times. Did air landings into Sirket a few times, photograph was published in the RAF News that year. Assisted 47 Air Despatch on a few airdrop sorties into Rukum and Jumla. There were also flights into Biratnagar where another Air Despatch Troop were positioned.

All the foodstuffs came up through India and the Indian authorities were not happy about the Operation for the Nepalese. On the 7th March 73, on board Hercules XV200, we were diverted into Lucknow with a fire warning on one of the engines. The Indians once again did their bit by confining all who were on board to a hotel. Most miserable night. But we had a great team. That is all.

Merry Christmas to you and your family and to all those MAMS Commandos wherever they may be. Best wishes for 2010


Thanks for the great background info Bob!

From: James Marchant, Carterton
Sent: Friday, December 25, 2009 5:55 AM
Subject: RAF Mystery Photo #122209


This motley crew are A Team on Op Khana Cascade 1973.

Photo taken at Bhairawa, to the west of Katmandu, and consists of myself, Boot Pratt, Tony Barrell, Bob Turner, Gerry Keyworth and Colin Hughes.


Correct Jim... but then you were there with Bob!

From: Charles Collier, Devizes
Sent: Friday, January 08, 2010 9:19 AM
Subject: RAF Mystery Photo 122209

Well Tony, the officer is definitely Gerry Keywoth and his team; probably based at RAF Abingdon at the time judging by the faces looking relatively so young.

Now most of the other faces I recognise but names have disappeared into oblivion as has the team designation - or was it Hotel?

Kind regards


All was revealed above Charles!

From: Peter Spear, Wetherby
Sent: Friday, January 08, 2010 9:58 AM
Subject: Re: UKMAMS OBA OBB #122209

As regards your mystery photograph, number 122209, from left to right are Jim Marchant, Alan Pratt (Boot) sporting a beard. The third from the right is Flight Sergeant Tony Barrell, sadly no longer with us. I would assume still the old "A" team but after my time.

Incidentally, Tony Barrell's widow, Helen, rang me during the Xmas holiday and I had not spoken to her for 30 years!

Kind regards

Peter Spear.

Thanks Pete - I don't believe I was aware of Tony's passing


From: David Powell, Princes Risborough,
Date: 2009/12/22
Subject: Mystery RAF Photo 121209

Hi Tony,

Just to add to Ian Stacey’s almost full house for rogue’s gallery 121209, the air commode in the middle is Derek O’Hara.  Not sure what his role was then, ACS&M at Strike or maybe the big cheese movements at MoD?  I worked for him for a spell in London when he was Director of Supply Policy, and he then went on to become an AVM and a Director General. He and his wife Angela lived quite close to us when we lived at Haywards Heath in the late ‘70s.  A real gentleman, sadly he moved on to join the great stocktaking team in sky some years ago. 

As many of you will have recognised, the OCUKMAMS will have been John Lambert who wrote the ‘me to’ paper which led to the real UKMAM Squadron, complete with a squadron leader boss, being shunted from Abingdon to Lyneham.

Guess who was the first wing commander OC MAMS?

Seeing all the messages from around the world, especially the sunny bits – guess who took over 7 hours to drive the 34 miles from Wheathampstead, just north of St Albans (where I been earning a bob or two doing some video-sound editing) to home last night?  Left at 16.45, arrived back at Princes Risborough at 00.15 this morning – just because of a little bit of fluffy snow!  Totally gridlocked in Hemel Hempstead for 4 of those hours – the main A41 had been closed.  Hey ho, isn’t progress wonderful!

Happy New year to you all!

David Powell 
F Team Abingdon 1967-69  

2,500 newborn babies will be dropped in the next month.

From: Alex Masson, Chelmsford
Date: 2009/12/24
Subject: bleak mid-winter

The middle of last week gave us a moderate fall of snow which is still with us. We had 20cm in Essex and even more in Kent.

It didn’t stop there. Temperatures dropped below zero to minus 8 on some nights. Now, pretty well all the country has been affected and the North particularly so.

This was added for the benefit of the lads in Australia – Jack Riley, Jim Aitken, Peter Brown and John Bell. It certainly won’t impress you Tony as I know you get REAL Snow in Quebec. Nevertheless, I thought you might like to know that are now competing with you!

You can imagine the chaos on our roads!

Not only has the country been under the weather, but sadly, so have I. I developed a severe headache which lasted for four days and I have no idea what caused it. I wasn’t Swine Flu, for I experienced no other symptoms and no temperature. It could have been a migraine, but I have never suffered with this before. It could have been my neck trapping a nerve or it could have been what all GPs say when they have no idea …… a virus! ………. and No, before you say it, it wasn’t a hangover!

However, Legs played the part of Nurse extremely well ………. No not those games! ……… real Nursing and has restored me to full health once again.

My only regret was that I was not well enough to forward a Christmas Greeting to you or respond sooner to your ‘good wishes’ and I was even more sorry not to have been able to add my contribution to your last brief. Once again, a cracking ‘Brief’. Thanks for all your hard work in making the site such a success.

I hope it’s not too late to say ……… MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU …….. AND ALL YOUR FAMILY ……… AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR



Airbus Threatens To Drop A400M Military Plane

Airbus threatened to scrap the overdue and overbudget A400M military transport just weeks after its maiden flight, putting more pressure on seven European governments to give it better financial terms for the troubled project.

Analysts said the threat was aimed at forcing goverments to move ahead with a project that supports 40,000 jobs but is three years overdue and over budget.

Actually cancelling would be highly unappetizing at a time of high unemployment across Europe, and alternative planes don't meet the requirements set out for the A400M.

EADS, Airbus' parent, hopes governments will either pay more for the planes or reduce the number of planes on order. Other options include reducing the specifications, or spreading increased payments out over time.

The customer governments have agreed to re-negotiate the original fixed-price contract. But competing military interests and tight budgets mean they have so far failed to find a compromise.

Airbus spokesman Stefan Schaffrath said that ending the program "is a scenario" if the military plane project "continues to contribute to a loss."

"We are suffering from a stagnation, he said. "The loss-making is serious. This needs to be urgently resolved."

Gareth Jennings, Jane's Defence Weekly's senior aviation analyst, said cancellation was unlikely. "There is too much resting on the program for the European aerospace industry in terms of job, prestige, and future capability," he said.

It suits cash-strapped governments to defer delivery - and thus payment - for a few years and while some air forces have expressed an interest in buying Lockheed or Boeing alternatives, governments have not, he said.

The U.S.-built Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules carries only half the payload of the A400M, and Boeing's much more expensive C-17 Globemaster III is considered too large and lacks the tactical versatility of the Airbus design.

The A400M had its maiden flight last month in Spain - with first delivery scheduled in three years.

The program was launched six years ago with an order for 180 planes from seven governments - Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and Turkey. The original price was euro20 billion ($29.5 billion), but a preliminary report by auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers said parent company EADS might need an extra euro5 billion - inflating the final bill by 25 percent.

Abandoning the project would cost EADS euro5.7 billion ($8.4 billion) in advance payments it would have to return to governments - and would dent its credibility. It has already put aside euro2.4 billion in provisions against losses related to the plane.

A German defense ministry spokesman, speaking on customary condition of anonymity, said that the decision on the A400 was due by the end of January. A meeting of high ranking defense officials is tentatively scheduled for next week, he said.

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defense said Britain "remains committed to A400M, but not at any cost. We regard the ongoing negotiations as the best means by which to determine a more deliverable program."

"Sounds like a bit of sabre-rattling by Airbus," said David Livingstone, an analyst at the London-based think tank Chatham House. "I expect that Airbus is only testing the resolve of participating nations."

Livingstone said that several alternative planes existed, including the C-130J, Italy's Alenia C-27J Spartan, and the longer-range C-17, but that none fully satisfied the performance requirements.

"Certainly a solution for tactical airlift will have to be found, although money is short in defense budgets because of the economic crisis," he said.

Livingstone also noted that existing aircraft, such as the Transall or older Hercules types, could be kept flying for a while as a stopgap, but they will become more and more expensive to maintain.

Aerospace analyst Richard Aboulafia of the Washington-based Teal Group said that with the cost of the A400M rising, Lockheed's cheaper plane and Boeing's larger jet become more attractive. "It is a great opportunity for them if something goes horribly wrong with this game of chicken," Aboulafia said.

While waiting for the A400M, Britain's Royal Air Force acquired six C-17s and has flown them in support of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Last month Boeing said the RAF would acquire a seventh C-17.

Sandy Morris, an analyst with Royal Bank of Scotland, said uncertainty on the outcome of the A400M is weighing on EADS' share price. On Tuesday, EADS shares were trading down 1.2 percent at euro13.82.

"Does EADS want clarity on this? Absolutely because the A400M is a dominating sentiment toward the company," he said.

San Luis Obispo Tribune

Chewing on gum while cutting onions can help a person from producing tears

From: Luanne MacKinney, Dartmouth, NS
Date: Wed, Dec 23, 2009 at 1:15 PM
CC: John Dumoulin
Subject: Picture ident....?

Hello Tony:

And it looks like you may have done it again :-)

Ref CAF Mystery Photo #122209.... I do believe that this was one of the SAR Hercs from 413 Sqn in Greenwood, Nova Scotia, that sat on it's "ass" because of a freak winter storm which dumped a sh-t load of snow and the techs could not remove the snow fast enough.

So John Dumoulin ... what say you - am I totally out to lunch (don't answer that) or have I hit the nail on the head? (I hope you are not called out too much over the holidays).

Happy Holidays....


You are correct Ma'am!


From: Syd Avery, Torrevieja
Sent: Thursday, December 31, 2009 6:45 AM
Subject: Happy New Year

L.O., all you out there,

As you can gather, no Christmas cards for the majority of you this year due to the ongoing financial crisis and global warming. Trying to cut the amount of CO2 that the postie expels on his round. My theory is that the less he has to carry, the less co2, so I'm doing my bit.

Those of you fortunate(?) to receive a card, I can assure you that no expense was spared, I bought a subscription 3 years ago for cards and postage! However, we did continue with our not placing a general Christmas/New Year greeting in all the national newspapers. There again contributing to not cutting down a tree in the Amazon rain forests. I can see that we are heading for the Nobel Peace Prize!

From my Lady Riet and myself, may you all have a very prosperous, safe and happy 2010.

May you have enough.

Best regards,

Syd and Riet

In ancient Rome it was considered a sign of leadership to be born with a crooked nose

From: Rob Davies, Kent
Sent: Monday, January 04, 2010 8:56 AM
Subject: Happy New Year!


Happy New Year to you.

(Left click for full size version - backspace to return)

Heres a picture of a MAMS team on the Zambian oil lift, around 66/67.

It's in my father-in-law's possession, ex Flt.Sgt. John O'Regan. He is left of centre, in overalls, hands in pockets.

He left MAMS in 67, just before I joined in October 67. I believe Charlie Cormack was on his team.

I always thought the picture was taken in Lusaka but Susan, my sister-in-law, says Nairobi? I will ask John for specific detail; he is 86, but he still has all his marbles.

Pure coincidence that he had been on UKMAMS, as I didn't meet Micky until 69; Micky and I were married in 70. Ruby anniversary this year.



It seems like only yesterday Rob... Many congratulations to you and Micky!


Minister rejects call to save RAF Lyneham

THE Government has rejected fresh calls to reconsider its decision to close RAF Lyneham.

Defence Minister Bill Rammell, speaking yesterday in a Commons debate, said: “I want to be clear. I don’t want to raise optimism at Lyneham where I don’t think grounds for optimism exist. I don’t think there is an alternative way forward. I don’t think we will reach an alternative course of action.”

He was speaking in response to North Wiltshire MP James Gray, pictured, who asked the Government to put the decision to close Lyneham in 2012 on hold until a strategic defence review could be carried out after the general election.

The Tory MP, who said about 10,000 people in his constituency owed their livelihoods to the base, published a dossier setting out the main problems of closing Lyneham and moving the UK’s entire air transport fleet to RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.

The move would put “all of our transport eggs” in one basket, he said. Pointing out that Brize Norton had a single runway compared with Lyneham’s two, he said the Oxfordshire base was subject to both flooding and fog, which could see the UK’s entire air fleet put out of action. A terrorist “dirty bomb” targeted at the single runway could have similarly dangerous consequences for the nation’s air capability.

Mr Gray added that Brize Norton, which suffered from a shortage of living quarters for married couples, was not big enough to take the 6,000 service staff required to run the base, not to mention the planes themselves, for which there was insufficient parking space. By contrast, Lyneham had “everything they could possibly need”.

James Gray MP

In addition, the move to Oxfordshire could cost hundreds of millions of pounds, once the costs of building more accommodation at Brize Norton and decontaminating Lyneham were taken into account.

Mr Rammell said the Government’s position remained that RAF Lyneham would close, and the site closed and sold off, unless any further defence role was found for it.

He said while its proposals would incur short-term costs – of about £200m – the long-term efficiencies generated by amalgamating the functions of RAF Lyneham at Brize Norton would amount to £437m over a decade.

The minister added: “I do not believe a strategic defence review can be or should be for putting off sensible decisions that are well under way. We will do everything we can to manage the draw down sensitively. The decision to close RAF Lyneham has not been taken lightly, but we would be failing in our duty if we were not making best use of taxpayers’ money.”

Mr Gray said afterwards: “He gave no indication of any change of policy whatsoever. It doesn’t make me hopeful but this was an opportunity to discuss it further.”

The Conservative Party has said it would reconsider the future of Lyneham as part of a strategic defence review, should it win the next election, but has stopped short of providing any substantial commitments.

© Copyright 2001-2009 Newsquest Media Group

Bournemouth Airport as MoD base is 'absurd'

Bournemouth Airport bosses have dismissed reports it could become an alternative base for military planes should potential plans to close RAF Lyneham come to fruition.

A throwaway comment by North Wiltshire MP James Gray during a debate on the issue in Westminster Hall on Wednesday sparked the rebuttal from the airport, who said there were no plans to use the airport as a back-up base.

A strategic review of RAF Brize Norton, RAF Lyneham and RAF St Mawgan has led to the decision to collate all the air transport operations to Brize Norton.

But in questioning where planes could land should Brize Norton be unable to accommodate incoming aircraft, the airport at Bournemouth was mentioned as a possible – if unlikely option.

Mr Gray said: “I was a bit naughty in mentioning Bournemouth as I was also given two or three other names, but just wanted to show how absurd these options were.

Bournemouth Airport would be totally inappropriate as a place to land a military aircraft.” Airport spokesperson Sally Windsor said: “We have had no discussions with the MOD regarding the possibility of Bournemouth being used as a back up to Brize Norton.

“From time to time military aircraft already use civil airports throughout the UK as an alternative to RAF bases.

“Any request to use Bournemouth would be considered on an individual basis and would only be allowed if it did not impact on our normal passenger operations.”

© Copyright 2001-2009 Newsquest Media Group

Americans eat nearly 100 acres of pizza every day - that's approximately 350 slices per second!

From: Brian Lay, Wellington
Sent: Monday, January 04, 2010 3:41 PM
Subject: RNZAF Mystery Photo 122209

The Christchurch movements team led by W/O Budgie Baigent, the late F/S Nikki Carr, Cpl Graham Hart, F/S Dave Milne, Sgt Wade De-Garnam, Sgt Digby Bentley.

This photo was taken in front of Air Force One when Billy Clinton came down under


Brian lay

Thanks Brian!


From: Alex Masson, Chelmsford
Sent: Tuesday, January 05, 2010 6:48 PM
Subject: Happy New Year!


Sadly, as I was laid low by a raging headache which lasted four days from the 19th December, I was unable to send you a modest entry for inclusion in your Christmas Brief; and what great issue you made it!

Congratulations yet again! You have achieved something fantastic with your Association. Your name is already legend in Movement circles around the world.

Tony, I owe you a great debt, for you have been instrumental in putting me in touch with a great number of ‘Movers’ old and new, who have e-mailed me a variety of reasons, either for a chat or for information following your inclusion of my contributions to the site. Now that the seasonal festivities are over I will get around to sending you my annual subscription to help keep the enterprise afloat.

Now, I would like to send a message wishing all the ‘Movers’ and their nearest and dearest, of the (M)AMSOB Association both old and young, male and female, Australian, New Zealand, Canadian, American and British, a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR! You will note that I put the (M) in brackets, for, like the handful of “oldies” in our ranks, Honorary President ‘Jack Riley’, Jim Aitken, Dennis ‘Dean’ Martin, Peter Brown and John Holloway to name but few, we were not ‘Mobile’ Movers. We served in the days of the 1950’s when there was a team of ‘Erks’ at every staging post along the routes. ‘Mobile Teams’ came much later as did ‘Movement Schools.

Tales of Old Lyneham. (for the benefit of our younger readers)

Here in the UK we are presently in the grip of arctic weather – snow and ice, with temperatures down to minus 9 degrees in the South and more than minus 13 North of the border. Snow upon snow with the foreseeable future much the same.

Yes, I know, the Canucks will laugh! – but this is England. And yes, it was minus 40 when we landed at Goose Bay in December 1956.

It brings back memories of the winters of 1946/47 – 1962/63 which were the some of the longest and coldest on record.

It also brought back memories of each winter serving at Lyneham 1955 to 1958 when all personnel on camp were called out on “Snow Clearance” in the middle of the night to keep the runways clear of snow. Most of us were lined up along the runway with shovels and brooms pushing the snow into piles which were then shovelled onto the backs of lorries and removed.

Some of us were detailed to stand on the back of lorries shovelling out salt and grit as the lorries ran back and forth along the runways. Jim Aitken will tell you the tale of one such night when a Hastings landed while this activity was taking place.

It always amazed me that each night when the ‘tannoy’ announced ‘all personnel assemble for snow clearance’ the “Sally Anne Wagon” (The Salvation Army mobile canteen) would appear after and hour or so driven wildly down the runway by the ‘buxom’ Lady of “a certain age” who would stop all along the line of airmen handing out ‘cups of tea’ saying cheerfully, ‘No charge tonight boys!’

There wasn’t a night when I turned out for ‘snow clearance’ that the ‘Sally Wagon’ did not attend even at 2.00am or 3.00am.

I greatly admired that woman. To me she seemed as old as the hills and well past retirement age and as the Salvation Army wooden Hut was closer to our Billet 119 (a wooden Billet on stilts directly behind the Cookhouse in the 50’s) than the NAAFI I tended to give them my patronage. I also bolstered their meagre congregation on a winter’s Sunday evening; not because I was any kind of ‘Holy Joe’ but I liked singing and I knew by heart all the Moody and Sankey Hymns they used to sing. Not only that, but it was lovely and warm in there on a cold night and there was always a free cup of tea.

Alex Masson

All coffee is grown within 1,000 miles of the equator

Dave Wright

Having endured a long battle with cancer, Dave passed away at Westvale House Care Home in Warrington on Sunday 20th December 2009

From: Alan Liptrot, Wigan
Date: 2009/12/23
Subject: Re: Dave Wright


Please pass my condolences to the family.

Alan Liptrot

From: Terry Alfonso, Liverpool
Date: 2009/12/23
Subject: Dave Wright

Please pass on to Dave's family my sincere condolences; I clearly remember Dave from my Lyneham days as a very professional mover with a keen sense of humour.


Terry Alfonso.
(final Lyneham tour 1972 -1976)

From: Barbara Sugg, Swindon
Date: 2009/12/23
Subject: Dave Wright

Please pass on my sincere condolence to Joan & Family.

May Dave rest in peace

Babs Sugg

From: Jack Riley, Urangan, Qld
Date: 2009/12/23
Subject: Dave Wright

We were greatly saddened to learn of Dave's passing after such a long battle.

Joan and the family are much in our thoughts and will be especially on the 30th.

Please accept sincere condolences from us all.

Jack Riley
Honorary Chairman

From: Mark Bird, North Rustico, PE
Date: 2009/12/23
Subject: Deepest condolences

May I offer my deepest condolences at this tragic time. I worked with Dave on numerous occasions. My thoughts and prayers are with Joan and the family.

Turky Bird

From: Bob Turner, Swindon
Date: 2009/12/24
Subject: Dave Wright

Please convey my condolences to the family.

Bob Turner

From: Allan Walker, Burnley
Sent: Sunday, December 27, 2009 2:37 PM
Subject: Re: Dave Wright


Re the sad news about Dave Wright.

Unfortunately I will be unable to attend the funeral as I will be away from tomorrow and not returning until the second week in January.

Thanks for keeping me informed.



From: David Eggleton, Abingdon
Sent: Monday, December 28, 2009 7:23 AM
Subject: Dave Wright.

Please kindly pass on my condolences to Joan and family on the death of Dave. We served together on UKMAMS at Abingdon.

Dave was a true Mover and team member, quiet by nature but extremely reliable, I am very sad to hear the news.

With Much Sorrow.

Dave Eggleton
Training Warrant Officer, UKMAMS

From: Dave Cromb, Brisbane, Qld
Sent: Wednesday, January 13, 2010 1:14 AM
Subject: Dave Wright

The passing of Dave Wright was indeed a tragic loss. DW and I bunked in block 72 at Akrotiri in 1972 until he was tourex. Dave was B shift pax I recall.

Our paths crossed again when he was posted in as Lima 3. Not exactly sure when that was but I would suggest it was about 1978. Yours truly walked away from the mob in May 1979. Dave & I never tasked together very often, dunno why, just the way things seemed to turn out.

RIP Dave



From: Chas Cormack, Lyneham
Sent: Tuesday, January 12, 2010 2:22 PM
Subject: Ian Staceys Comment

Ian Pike was on the oil lift at Embakasi and at that time we were loading up 50 barrels per Brit and if there were no passengers we put an extra 2 in through the rear door.

Ian had the 2 barrels on a 6000lb Hyster forklift and went out to XM4969 (which is the one at Kemble which is under restoration) with these but could not contact those onboard who were busy lashing in the other 50, so as he had his forks raised he got off the forks to go up the front stairs and open the rear door.
Ian Pike

Unfortunately he had either forgotten to put on the handbrake or the tension on it was wrong as when he went to come back down the steps the forks were nuzzling the Brit and had penetrated the skin (The patch is still there on 496).

Luckily a friendly Chiefie by the name of Fod Dunnett was able to patch it up without too many people knowing about it although we had to do a frame change and the load went the following day.

I believe it was also 496 which sank into the pan at Lusaka after George Luckins who was notorious on Brits for not following marshallers signals went off the hardstanding on the first schedule of the morning which had to be reversed into its pan.


Tsunamis travel as fast as jet planes

From: John Holloway, Shrewsbury
Sent: Tuesday, January 12, 2010 4:58 PM
Subject: NSRAFA Cosford

Hi Tony

It was our first meeting for 2010 today; a reasonable turnout but the speaker for today was unable to attend so I thought I would recount on one speaker we had a couple of years ago that might be of interest.

Ted Cowling, a local lad, joined up at the start of the 2nd world war and trained to be a W/Op. His first posting was to Coastal Command and he served on a Squadron operating Catalinas. His aircraft and crew were chosen for a special operation. Russia had just joined with the allies against Germany and their mission was to transport a US Congresman and some high ranking US officers to Murmansk in Northern Russia where they were to meet high ranking Russians for some sort of conference. They had quite a long flight skirting the Norwegian coast which was under German control and eventually reaching their destination they were met by a flight of Russian fighters to escort them in.

As they were going in to land one of the Russian fighters got a bit too close and clipped the Cat. However, they landed safely and the Americans went off to meet their counterparts. In the meantime, whilst waiting to start their return to the UK, they were entertained by the Russians and they had escorts to look after them. An apology was made for the near disaster made by the escort, they were informed that the pilot would be executed and sure enough they were informed later that the pilot had been shot; quite unbelievable the way the Russians were.

He later went to Canada to train as a pilot and on return to the UK was posted to a Wellington Squadron. He had many close shaves and he told us of how he met his wife to be. She served in Air Traffic Control and helped talk him in when he was badly shot up from a raid. He later went to find her and the rest is history.

On demob at the end of the war he started up his own business in Shrewsbury but tragedy after all he had been through was to follow him; he lost both his daughters who were now in their thirties to the big 'C' quite tragic after all he had been thru.

We really have some great speakers come to our monthly meetings and since I joined I've never missed one. Our February meeting will be our AGM so there will not be speaker on this occasion so I'll have a dig thru clutter and see if I can find something that may be of interest.



So glad you take good notes at your meetings John - thanks!


WWII Era Glossary of RAF Slang & Terminology - (S to Z)
bomb selection which released all bombs at the same time.
Small Bomb Container - canister to hold a load of the standard 4 lb. magnesium incendiary bomb - usual load was 6 to 8 SBC's.
mainly a fighter term. To get airborne as quickly as possible.
Scrambled eggs
a reference to the gold braid on high ranking officers' hats.
crews reported aircraft blowing up without evidence of attacks (e.g. tracer), and the story arose that the Germans were firing scarecrow shells to simulate stricken aircraft, so as to demoralise crews.
Scream downhill
execute a power dive.
bomb that makes a whistling sound as it comes down
a period after completing a tour when the crewman could not be called on to do operational flying
to cancel an op
see "dicey do"
Shot down in flames
crossed in love or severely reprimanded
Shot up
very drunk
Shot to ribbons
totally incapable through drink
performance or situation - ("that was a good show over Budapest" or "he put on a bad show")
to look
Six, to hit for a
to score maximum points - to put on a very good show (from cricket)
the pilot/captain of the aircraft and crew leader. In the air his rule was law regardless of his rank
Signed off Charge. Aircraft no longer usable or wanted by R.A.F.
one aircraft doing one trip to target and back
canned meat product produced by Hormel in the US. A substitute for real meat (see Bully Beef)
Spam can
a B-24 Liberator
term for either the ground crew who looked after the electrical systems or the aircrew wireless operator
very lucky
a diversionary raid or operation
Spot on
see "bang on"
a "new boy" fresh from training - inexperienced (also a "sprog crew")
Squadron Leader
rank of officer who usually led a Flight (or two Flights, "A" and "B" on a usual squadron)
to fire a short burst from machine guns, as in "the rear AG gave him a squirt before we went into the corkscrew"
the right side of the aircraft as seen from pilot's seat
bomb selection so that bombs would be released at timed intervals from their carriers in the bomb bay (also to release only a part of bomb load - going around a second time to drop the rest)
Strip, to tear off a
to be severely reprimanded by a superior. In extreme cases a "strip" (ie: rank stripes), would be literally be stripped off thus, demoting an airman for extreme problems
next to gasoline the most important liquid in the RAF
Tee Emm
R.A.F. Magazine (after Training Manual)
no visibility because of total cloud cover. Also 10/10ths flak - very heavy concentration
time delay fuse setting on bomb which determined when bomb would explode
Theatre or
Theatre of Operations
the geographic area where combat was taking place - eg: The Mediterranean Theatre, The Far East Theatre etc.
Target Indicator - colored pyrotechnic devices dropped by Pathfinder Forces to identify targets, effectively used only after April 1944 by 205 Group
pilot's certificate
all in order (tiggerty from the Hindustani teega)
Tin basher
metal worker
Tin fish
body tremors developed by aircrew after a number of operations - "he's got the twitch" - sign of operational stress
after Tommy Atkins (Kipling). Originally used to denote the British infantryman, later to be used by the Germans as "tommi" as their equivalent to "Gerry". U.S. equivalent - "G.I."
time on target. The time briefed for aircraft to attack target area
Tool along
fly aimlessly
Touch bottom
to crash
Touch down
to land
Tour of Operations
the amount of time or number of "ops" that a crewman had to complete before being "screened"
a type of machine gun round which glowed as it moved showing the way to the target and allowing for adjustments in sighting. Unfortunately this also gave away bomber's position. Usually every fourth round was a tracer
an op
see "clot"
a kind of person ( as in: "he's an aircrew type" or "he's a bolshie type")
Two-six (2-6)
general base call "down the flights" that all personnel were needed on a job
the undercarriage of an aircraft. Two main wheels and a tail wheel in the case of "taildraggers" like the Wellington. Two main and a nose wheel for "tricycle" aircraft like the B-24. Attempting a landing with the "cart up" was considered a "putting up a large black" for the pilot
unserviceable - broken or not available
a brand of wartime cigarette
acoustic or magnetic mines sowed on "gardening" expeditions to various "beds"
Very High Frequency - Radio band
aircraft formation in the shape of a V. Usually three aircraft but could be more
the substitution of WAAF for male members of a unit
cake or bun or scone "char and a wad"
out of control, losing height; or cruising along unconcernedly and indecisively
chap or fellow
strong beer
strong liquor
Washed out
to fail as a student pilot or other trade. One was then usually remustered as something more suitable to one's abilities
a gentle form of corkscrew. An evasive maneuver to allow gunners maximum view around aircraft
Weaving, to get
to get going, hurry up
Vickers Armstrong's Wellington Bomber - after J. Wellington Wimpy from "popeye" comic strip
strips of metalized paper cut to length of wavelength of enemy radar to confuse search and control radar - effective on radar controlled guns and searchlights
unit made up of two or sometimes three squadrons
Wing Commander (rank of officer who led a squadron)
Wizard or wizzo
excellent - superlative (eg: a "wizard prang")
Yellow doughnut
collapsible dinghy carried on aircraft
Yellow peril
training aircraft

Europe is the only continent without a desert.

From: Rory Daverson, Kempton Park
Sent: Tuesday, January 05, 2010 4:44 PM
Subject: Geordie Daverson

Geordie Daverson

Hello, I'm Geordie's son. I write to you to inform you that Geordie passed away on the 31st 12 2009 peacefully in his sleep at his house in Kempton Park in South Africa at the age of 68.

I enclose a picture of him for your records.

Regards Rory.

From: Basil Hughes, Pattaya
Sent: Thursday, January 07, 2010 4:58 AM
Subject: Re: Geordie Daverson

May he rest in peace


From: David Jones, Wellington
Sent: Thursday, January 07, 2010 5:18 AM
Subject: RE: Geordie Daverson

Thanks Tony

…and yet another, so young too!

Although I did not know Geordie but I am sure he was one of the best; I suppose being TG18B drafter aligns me with all movers in some small way….indeed for a period in 84-87 I was ATLO in Australia..anyway, that’s another story.

I have email his son with our condolences and expressed our sadness – as I now find myself back in uniform, albeit green, I will light a candle and pray tomorrow at our military church; I have advised Rory of this.


“Davey” Jones

From: Fred Martin, Godalming
Sent: Thursday, January 07, 2010 7:52 AM
Subject: Re: Geordie Daverson

I was on the same Air Movements course as Geordie at Kidbrooke in 1961 and then was posted to Khormaksar with him on 24th August 1961. We served there for two years together.

I have sent condolences to his son Rory.


Fred Martin

From: Alan Liptrot, Wigan
Sent: Thursday, January 07, 2010 9:00 AM
Subject: Re: Geordie Daverson

Sadly, another mover leaves us.

I'm sure that name rings a bell, maybe from the oil lift, but I was only on the back end of it in '66 at Khormaksar.

Condolences to the family.


From: Keri Eynon, Newbury
Sent: Thursday, January 07, 2010 10:49 AM
Subject: Re: Geordie Daverson

Thanks for the sad info Tony.

Sadly as we all get older so old friends/colleagues pass away, it reminds us we are all mortal!


From: Howard Farrow, Stafford
Sent: Thursday, January 07, 2010 12:17 PM
Subject: RE: Geordie Daverson

Tony, very sad to hear of Geordie's passing; please pass my condolences to Rory and family.


Howard (Taff Farrow)

From: Dave Cromb, Brisbane, Qld
Sent: Thursday, January 07, 2010 5:11 PM
Subject: Geordie Daverson


My deepest condolences to Geordie's family.

RIP Geordie.

In sadness,


From: Steve Tomlinson, Brisbane, Qld
Sent: Thursday, January 07, 2010 7:39 AM
Subject: Various

Hi Tony

I got your sad news about Geordie Daverson, he was a little before my time but still a sad loss to the ranks.

I don’t know who I upset, upstairs, but I think the Big Guy has got it in for me! Work here hasn’t slowed any and I had to work thro’ Christmas & New Year.

Just before the festivities set-in I was asked to pop out and do a quick delivery of radioactives. My colleague didn’t have an address but he did have a Latitude & Longitude! To cut a long story short it entailed 2500 kms driving in 2 days, 300 kms of which was off-road out in far western Queensland, near the South Australian border delivering to an oil drill site.

It was amazing how much wildlife was out in those barren areas, kangaroos, emu, goats, pigs, you name it!

I’m off on a little trip to Shanghai tomorrow, another DG job at a power station up there. No rest for the wicked!

I hope you had a merry & safe Christmas and here’s wishing you a prosperous New Year.

Keep up the good work!

Best regards


Pearls melt in vinegar.

From: Mark Taylor, Brinkworth
Sent: Thursday, January 07, 2010 4:33 PM
Subject: From Website for Mark Taylor

I finally got around to mailing you an update of my details for the site:

Currently WO Airportability on JADTEU, RAF Brize Norton. Living in Brinkworth, Wilts, UK

My thought for this week (can also be applied to Junior Officers / Mobile Team Leaders): "Don't try to keep up with the Joneses. Always drag them down to your level - it's cheaper".

Hope you are having a great new year in Canada, we have 4 inches of it here in Wiltshire at the moment.

Best regards,

Mark Taylor

Thanks Mark, your details have been updated in the Member's pages. As regards the snow - you have more than us right now!


From: Tony Gale, Gatineau
Sent: Wednesday, January 13, 2010 7:15 AM
To: Bob Pountney
Subject: The same?

Is this the same Bob Pountney that was on Air Movements and eventually became a helicopter crewman on S & R?

If so you plucked me out of the English Channel off of the coast of Mountbatten when I was on a sea survival course in 1969 or 1970.

You can become a member of the UKMAMS Old Bods Association (Or is that Old Bobs Association?) – It’s free…

I very much look forward to hearing back from you

Best regards

Tony Gale

From: Bob Pountney, Moray
Sent: Wednesday, January 13, 2010 9:12 AM
Subject: Re: The same?

Hi Tony,

Great to hear from you, ahhh... Mountbatten Wets, I remember them well, great fun and I always got a new sponge for cleaning the car.

Thanks for the invitation to join the MAMS Old Bods Association but do I qualify as I never did a MAMS course, I just blagged my way onto the Air Movs Unit at Masirah?

I do have loads of friends who are ex movers and obviously met a lot when I was on Brits and VC10's so I would be delighted to join as an honorary mover.

Best wishes


You're qualified - I found the above slide of you in my collection, it was taken on the sea survival course, dated October 1971 - Welcome to the OBA Bob!

Goodyear Rubber Company researched and concluded that shoes wear out faster on the right foot than the left

From: Colin Allen, Lyneham
Sent: Monday, January 11, 2010 7:22 AM
Subject: More Sad News

Hi Tony

Belated New Year greetings to you, I hope you have a trouble free and healthy 2010.

Below is an email that I recently rec'd from David Austin's son Geoff.

John Belcher has posted the sad news on our Website and I have sent a message of condolance to Geoff and the family on behalf of the UKMAMS Asc.

Take care, best rgds


"Please remove David Austin ( from your mailing list. Unfortunately David (my father) died on August the 15th of a sudden heart attack. I thought we'd notified everyone at the time, but I'm afraid I must have missed you.

I know he was very proud to have been part of the RAF in general and the UKMAMS in particular. I've inherited a picture 'First in - Last Out' of a Hercules being unloaded in Gulf War that he always had on the wall.

I've attached a couple of pictures of him in case you'd like to put them up on your website.

Geoff Austin"

David Austin

Sad times


‘We regret driving out the British,’ say Aden’s former rebels

It is rare to hear former Marxist revolutionaries apologise for having successfully driven out an imperialist power decades before. In the rundown former British colony of Aden, a backwater that was once one of the world’s key shipping hubs, such regrets are not uncommon.

“I am sorry about what happened,” said Ahmed Mighali Said, 77, who fought the British Army in the bloody four-year uprising known as the Aden Emergency, which ended with Britain’s withdrawal in 1967. “Under the British we had peace. The Yemeni fighters were ignorant. I hope the British come back.”

The rueful attitude of many former fighters is less a nostalgia for British colonial rulers than a reaction to southern Yemen’s disastrous history since they left.

Civil wars, an unpopular union with the Islamic north and the subsequent neglect of the south by the Sanaa Government — which is accused of hogging the profit from its oil and gas — are again fuelling a desire to break away, adding to the chaos in a country targeted by al-Qaeda as a new sanctuary.

“It was a great mistake,” said one former fighter, now a grizzled old man. “People didn’t know any better. It was an emotional response born out of Arab nationalism and Nasserite revolutionary feelings. If the British came back, we would sign a protocol saying we are sorry.”

There are still many signs of the 130-year British occupation in this strategic port sheltered by the spectacular dark cliffs of a volcano. Its Crater district — the old city is built within the caldera — was the centre of the last war fought by the dying British Empire.

The Crescent Hotel, where the Queen stayed in 1954, is closed but standing, and neat little Anglican churches still serve dwindling congregations. The old bookstore, Aziz’s, barely survives, selling yellowed tomes on Boy Scouting and London guidebooks with photos of Britain’s thriving manufacturing industry.

The occasional Morris Minor or Austin has been kept on the road, in mint condition, weaving among the battered Toyotas past former barracks that are now teeming tenements.

In the Crater area, the Yemen military museum has lurid oil paintings, produced with more bloodlust than talent, that depict ambushed British soldiers bleeding and dying in their vehicles. Black-and-white photos show British soldiers on rooftops, hauling off suspects and jumping out of Land Rovers.

There are also photos of men being publicly beheaded with the sword during a 1955 coup in the Islamic north. The scenes are chillingly reminiscent of Iraq or Afghanistan today, and may be a taste of what lies ahead for Yemen.

Britain’s dirty war, in which it sent mercenaries to the north to support the deposed royalists against the Egyptian-backed nationalists, while launching RAF air raids on villages in the south that killed scores of civilians, has echoes in today’s Yemen.

In this deeply divided country the President of 32 years, Ali Abdullah Saleh, is fighting a Shia rebellion in the far north in part through airstrikes. He is also trying to crush a re-emerging secessionist movement in the south and is under pressure to fight al-Qaeda, which trained the man accused of attempting to bomb a US airliner on Christmas Day in Yemen.

So far, Britain has limited itself to helping to develop a Yemeni counter-terrorism unit, while the US has pledged to double its $70 million (£45 million) military aid budget this year.

In the craggy hills just outside Aden there is a stark reminder of the price to be paid for any deeper involvement in the country’s turbulent affairs.

Line after line of graves stand in the almost treeless British military cemetery at Salahedin, a cluster of them marked June 20, 1967 — the day a military convoy was ambushed in the Crater by British-trained Yemeni police. Eight soldiers were killed in the mutiny, which triggered a full-scale invasion of the rebel stronghold by the British Army.

The force of Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders was led by Lieutenant-Colonel Colin Campbell “Mad Mitch” Mitchell, who fought his way into the overcrowded ancient streets with Saracen armoured cars accompanied by the skirl of regimental bagpipers.

It was a bloody but short fight, described by the force’s end-of-empire commander as “like shooting grouse; a brace here and a brace there”.

Despite crushing the revolt, it was clear to Whitehall’s politicians that the end was nigh, and the British moved out of Aden that year. In 1967, Aden was the second-biggest port in the world on the main sea route from east to west. Dubai, hundreds of miles off the shipping lanes, was an insignificant fishing port. Forty-two years later the roles are reversed.

“Now we are under the occupation of Zayidism,” said a retired major-general who secretly fought the British after returning from officer training in Aldershot in 1966, referring to the minority Shia faith of the President and his family. “They took everything, erased our history, culture and civilisation, and undermined the rule of law.”

Underscoring his words, three policemen were shot dead in Aden this week in tribal revenge for the death of a man who was killed by officers after failing to stop at a checkpoint. The general’s friends bemoan the Islamisation and militarisation of the once-secular south, which reluctantly joined the north in 1990 and failed to break away four years later in a civil war. A key role was played in that conflict by Yemeni Mujahidin, who had fought against the Russians in Afghanistan and were deployed to great effect, and handsomely rewarded, by President Saleh.

In Aden, the cosmopolitan way of life left behind by Britain has all but disappeared. “The cinemas, bars, shops, are all closed, the girls were separated from the boys and the schools provide a religious education,” said one businessman, who added that even though Aden fought against the despised occupation, the British “taught us how to live”.

“Our people hate unification day, 22 May 1990,” said a professor. “They feel they were thrown into hell.”

Most people here want independence again, this time from the north. The country’s most popular newspaper, al-Ayyam, has been closed by the authorities and its editor arrested on shooting charges which supporters say are false.

At a recent demonstration outside the newspaper’s offices, protesters said that the police started shooting at a crowd, accidentally killing one of their own officers and a building guard. The advocates of secession insist that they want a peaceful separation but point to the repressive attitude of the Government, which ignores their voice and takes their resources without reinvesting in the south.

“People are ready to use weapons but it hasn’t come to that yet,” one professor said.

Should the south rise again, it will face a tough enemy in the government forces — now being trained and equipped by the new global power, America, and by Aden’s sorely missed former foes, the British.

The port of Aden was visited by Marco Polo and Ibn Battuta in the 13th and 14th centuries, before growing into a ship-fuelling centre in the 1800s.

In 1839 Britain took the area from Sultan Muhsin bin Fadl and established the Aden Settlement. It was to hold the territory for more than 100 years.

Aden became the world’s third-busiest port after the Suez Canal opened in 1869 — a stopping point for cargo ships and millions of migrants to the colonies of the British Empire.

In the 1950s Britain faced pressure from the National Liberation Front, a communist group that formed part of Gamal Abdel Nasser’s pan-Arab movement.

Armed resistance began with a grenade thrown at the British High Commissioner in 1963, triggering the “Aden Emergency”. The British Government said it would give the area independence, but keep a troop presence.

In 1967 the local police mutinied and killed 24 British troops. Their corpses were dragged through the streets and mutilated. The order came to withdraw but Lieutenant-Colonel Colin Mitchell of the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders — known as “Mad Mitch” — refused.

On July 3, 1967, he charged into Crater with 15 regimental bagpipers playing Scotland the Brave. He held the town until the British withdrew completely in November.


The tongue is the strongest muscle in the human body

Global relief effort

A look at the massive global effort to provide relief to the victims of the Haitian earthquake:

Members of the China International Search and Rescue Team depart
for Haiti during a ceremony held at the airport in Beijing. The 50-
member Chinese rescue team heads to quake-hit Haiti hours after
a massive earthquake ravaged the Caribbean country
Icelandic rescue workers unload pallets of water as they arrive
at Port-au-Prince's airport, one day after a cataclysmic earthquake
hit the Haitian capital
Canadian military personnel prepare to load supplies on a CC-177
Globemaster on the tarmac at CFB Trenton, for a Disaster Assistance
Response Team (DART) humanitarian mission to earthquake-ravaged Haiti..
Members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department's
Task Force 2 Search and Rescue team haul their boxes
of equipment for their rescue effort in Haiti
Rescue team members from Taiwan get ready to head to
Haiti, as part of a massive international relief operation
Peruvian firefighters Gustavo Villavisencio (right), holding
Duncan and Vanessa Diaz, with her dog Rory, prepare to
depart for Haiti to participate in rescue efforts
Spanish Civil Guards and rescue workers prepare their cargo
before leaving for Haiti at the Torrejon military airbase in Spain.
Firefighters without Borders, the International Red Cross and other
aid groups say they are preparing a major disaster relief effort in Haiti
Italian Red Cross and emergency rescue teams based in Pisa
work to load first aid and medical equipment destined for
Haiti, part of a global effort to provide Haiti with aid
Members of the Humanitarian and Rescue Unit (UHR) of the
Guatemalan Army check their equipment before heading to Haiti.
Belgian soldiers ready for the departure of Belgian
emergency help and rescue workers to Haiti
Members of Mexican Navy along with sniffer dogs prepare
to depart Mexico City for Haiti. Rescuers, sniffer dogs,
equipment and supplies headed to Haiti by air and sea
Venezuelan rescue workers unload medical and other relief supplies
flown in on a Venezuelan military cargo plane in Port-Au-Prince
French rescue team of the U.S.C.7 fire department of Brignoles
prepares to leave the Istres military airport to provide assistance
in Haiti. France was sending a plane from the nearby French
Caribbean island of Martinique with 25 police and rescuers
and hospital staff, and another from Marseille in southern France
British Search and Rescue teams prepare to leave Gatwick
airport to provide assistance to relief and rescue teams. Britain
rushed to despatch emergency aid and rescue resources to Haiti
although heavy snowfalls held up some staff and equipment.



It takes eight and a half minutes for light to get from the sun to earth

Left click for larger version and backspace to return


Frozen lobsters can come back to life when thawed!



This Issue is dedicated to the memories of Dave Wright, Geordie Daverson and Dave Austin