19th January 2001


I am increasingly getting strange requests from all over the world from visitors to the OBA site. Last night, for example, I received an e-mail from a film producer in Spain who is making a film all about James Crawford Angel (Jimmy Angel), the chap who purportedly discovered Angels Falls in Venezuela (the highest waterfalls in the world). They seemed to think that he was an American who transferred to either the Royal Flying Corps or Royal Air Force, and wanted me to provide them with a picture of a "Forage Cap" with the correct adornments for that era. I passed the request on to the RAF Public Relations Officer at MoD in London.

On to OBA biz...

From: Ken Davie
Subject: No subject
Date: Thu, 11 Jan 2001 15:24:07 -0800 (PST)

Hi Tony,

As I was looking at all of the photos on the Old Boys site, I saw a photo of Gibraltar's Air Movements Squadron.

It reminded me of being in Aden, (probably Khormaksar) in 1966 on the way to Sharjah. As the plane taxied out to the runway, I looked out of the window at a large hangar right by the airfield. It said on the hangar in 10 foot printed letters "GIB AIR". In front of this, someone had painted (probably at great risk to their lives, hanging onto an enormous ladder!) "YO", giving a total sign reading "YOGIB AIR". I looked at it in puzzlement for a few seconds until it struck me, then I almost choked with laughing: "YOGI BAIR" (Bear)!!! Very witty...

All the very best...


[Editor's note: Ken went on to tell me that he was just leaving to go to Florida with his wife Brenda and daughter Alix for a few days, must be nice!]

From camels to Cadillacs almost overnight - this is what transpired with the modernisation of Oman. With it came the development of the Sultan of Oman's Air Force (SOAF) or, as it was later renamed, Royal Air Force of Oman (RAFO). The latest article on the web site, "Eagles of Oman", provides an in-depth view of the history of RAFO from 1959 to the early 1990s.


From: Philip Ward
Subject: Air Movers
Date: Sun, 14 Jan 2001 14:33:01 -0000

Please include me in your list of Air Movers. I am Philip Ward, otherwise known as Geordie Ward. I joined the RAF in 1965 and did my basic at Swinderby. I then went to RAF Hereford and trained in Supply. In 1966, I was posted to RAF Stradishall and then completed the Air Movements Training Course at Abingdon in 1967. Later that same year, I was posted to RAF Khormaksar during the withdrawal and then was sent up to Muharraq. In 1968, I was stationed at RAF Fairford until 1970 when I was posted to RAF Kai-Tak, Hong Kong. I was at RAF Kinloss from 1972 to 1976 working in Stores and POL. I was demobbed at Catterick in 1976. I would really like to get in touch with old friends.


Geordie Ward

[Welcome to the OBA Geordie!]


From: Keith Wilson
Subject: RE: Membership
Date: Mon, 15 Jan 2001 12:17:40 -0000

Hi Tony,

Long time no see. You obviously don't remember me, you should do as we did join up together (50th entry at Hereford) and I think we also served together in Hong Kong 74-75ish. I suspect you will remember me as Willy Wilson.

I was in movements from 72 - 91, Khormaksar, Benson, Luqa, ATMA Tengah, Kai Tak, UKMAMS,
Salalah, Brize, JATE, Aldergrove, Ascension, UKMAMS, JSATC, Belize, UKMAMS.

Three tours on UKMAMS were:
75-77 Base
84-87 Base
89-91 Kilo

I PVR'd in '91 after the Gulf war and am now an IT civil servant employed at Shrivenham as the IS Manager.

Are you still working on aeroplanes?


[Editor's note: I sent "Willy" a lengthy personal e-mail explaining what had happened in my life for the last 30 or so years - didn't want to bore you all with the details... Anyway - we welcome him to the OBA).


Christopher Jepson has been a busy bee of late. He sent an application for membership to the OBA on behalf of his Dad, Alan (Boot) Pratt. He also signed the guestbook - well, finding "Boot" sounded too good to be true, so I followed up with an e-mail to Chris:

From: "UKMAMS O.B.A."
Subject: Membership
Date: Sun, 14 Jan 2001 19:18:14 -0500

Dear Christopher,

Well, the name "Boot" Pratt sure brings back some memories! If it is the same Alan that I knew, then we served together at Abingdon on UKMAMS in the late 60s and early 70s.

Can you clarify this with him please? I know he was on Alpha team during that period, along with a chap called Pete Spears who went around the world claiming everything for HM Queen Elizabeth - I know it sounds crazy - you really had to be there!

Best regards

Tony Gale


From: Christopher Jepson
Subject: Re: Membership
Date: Mon, 15 Jan 2001 22:40:21 -0000

Have spoken to BOOT, and yes it is the very same BOOT Pratt that you served with at Abingdon. He has asked me to find out where you are now. Boot is living in Rotherham, South Yorkshire. He sends his best wishes.

You can always contact him on this address.

Kind regards

[Editor's note: Welcome to the OBA Boot!]


This week we also welcome Pete Chappell from Bournemouth, Steve Perry from Wooton Bassett and Richard (Eric) Bristow from Northampton.


Merfyn Phillips has moved from Wantage to Didcot, his new details can be viewed on the Members Page.


Further to Chris Clarke's e-mail of last week complaining about the lack of a link between the Official RAF Web Site and UKMAMS OBA, I received the following:

From: Royal Air Force Webmaster
Subject: Re: Link Requested
Date: Fri, 12 Jan 2001 10:16:29 -0000


Sorry for the delay in replying.

I have made a link to your UKMAMS site in the Miscellaneous RAF Links section of the site.

The page will be uploaded sometime this evening.

Mark Houghton
Webmaster (News & Events)
Royal Air Force

[Editor's note: This particular link has doubled the number of daily "hits" to the OBA website!]


From: Rick Loveridge
Subject: (no subject)
Date: Mon, 15 Jan 2001 10:31:39 EST

Dear Tony,

Greetings for the new year from a cold and miserable East Yorkshire.

This is just a brief note requesting you change my e-mail address as above and let the rest of the (movements) world know.



[Editor's note: we could all take a page from the book written by Karl Hibbert who is following his dream to live on an island in the Philippines - as coincidence would have it, I do believe he departs today, although I heard on the news this morning that there are political problems rearing their ugly head in those parts]


From: Boot Pratt
Subject: Re: Far Far Away
Date: Tue, 16 Jan 2001 22:24:21 -0000

Hello Tony,

Boot here, I can't believe that it's thirty years since we were at Abingdon. The years have really flown by. I left Abingdon for Gutersloh in early '74, just before the Squadron moved to Lyneham. After 3 years at Gutersloh Air Movements, I returned to Lyneham where I spent nearly 2 years behind the Pax Desk - which I detested, but then I was never a passenger person. I left The RAF in late '78, moved to Rotherham and spent 19 years as a Foreman in Stores at British Steel before being made redundant. Since then, I've had several temporary jobs but nothing permanent has yet cropped up - I'm keeping my fingers crossed!!

I still see some of the old crowd when we go down to Lyneham for Squadron reunions; Pete Spears, Harry Jones & Dave Wilkin are all regulars.

It's good to hear from you again, and when I finally get my own computer, I'll be able to correspond more frequently. Looking forward to the Newsletter as there are a lot of people who seem to have disappeared without trace - whatever happened to 'Tug' Wilson, Bob Davies etc?

Speak to you soon

Best regards


[Editor's note: I don't know where 'Tug' Wilson is but, according to a reliable source, Bob Davies has a hobby farm in Kent, his own airstrip and a few aeroplanes including a Mustang P51 which he regularly flies in competition and at airshows. I do have his e-mail address so if you need to get in touch with him, let me know and I'll dig it out.


From: Keith Wilson
Subject: RE: Hello!
Date: Thu, 18 Jan 2001 08:23:40 -0000

Hi Tony

It was great to hear from you. It was pure fluke that I found your website. I was showing a colleague how to surf the web by using a search engine. I suggested he entered his old squadron to see if anything came up, his did nothing but mine did!

It was good to hear your news and it sounds as though life is now treating you well.

I am still married to Ronnie, 32 years this February, and our two girls are now married. Clare works for BA as cabin crew and recently married an RAF Sergeant Avionics fitter who is an instructor at the Tristar school at Brize. They live in Fairford, a few miles from Highworth.

Samantha has two children, Millie and George and is due another in February. They live literally around the corner from us.

I left the RAF abut 10 years ago now and started work with the MOD at the Royal Military College of Science at Shrivenham, only 4 miles down the road. I am in IT. I really enjoy what I do and feel I have found my niche. If only I had left when you did, I may be a millionaire now.

We still keep in touch with Dave Breckon who lives in York not far from Ronnie's sister. Having got his warrant and on secondment to British Aerospace, he took early retirement and then went straight into a job he had been doing but as a civilian, then got made redundant again but then was taken on again. He and his wife Wendy are going to the US for a two-year tour with his job about March time.

Dave keeps in contact with Andy Anderson who is a Civil Servant at Harrogate.

Current contacts of 50th boys:

John Billingsly - WO at UKMAMS, Tony (Tosh) Dumphy - WO at UKMAMS Billy Kearney - last heard of at Lyneham but may have left also Scouse Lynes must also be out now and left Lyneham recently. Colin Hawes last seen as a Sgt in the Norfolk Police Force. Dave Roberts left about 10 years ago but was called up for the duration of the Gulf War.

If I think of any others I will let you know.

Keep in touch.

From Willy aka Keith.

PS. We all think you have done a terrific job and brought a lot of us together. Since my name has been entered on your OBA website, yesterday, I have received four E-mails.


From: Murdo Macleod
Subject: New Years Greetings
Date: Thu, 18 Jan 2001 19:21:33 +0000

Wishing you, and everybody else out there a very happy and prosperous New Year.

Still alive and kicking, now ensconced in the wilds of Hampshire, on jolly old Sir Galahad, in waiting for nomination of a re-fit port.


Murdo Macleod


From: Paul Fraser
Subject: Web Site
Date: Thu, 18 Jan 2001 21:19:23 -0000


I came across your site via the main RAF site whilst doing some MBA research. I am interested in setting up a similar site for the RAF Int/PI Branch and Trade Group 14 - a sort of Imagery/Intel Old Boys/Girls Club.

However, whilst I am computer literate, I have no web experience whatsoever. Any pointers as to affordable software, web guides or books you might be able to refer me to would be greatly appreciated. I would also be grateful if you could give me your personal thoughts as to how much time/effort it takes to maintain such a site. Perhaps then I will be able to see if I could take the plunge and get something off the ground (no pun intended).

Very many thanks

Paul Fraser

Flt Lt P Fraser
00 49 6371 402229 - Office

[Editor's note: "Lot's of 'splainin' to do here Lucy!" - the first "lesson" has been sent.]

Well, that's it for this week. I did receive John Holloway's snailmail with pictures and stories of Aden, and will probably get a chance to put it into the Khormaksar article on the weekend.

Best regards