01 February 2002


From:     Ian Berry, West Swindon
To:         Ben Loveridge
Date:      Fri, 25 Jan 2002 14:15:34 –0000


A very nice tribute. I can fill in some of the gaps for you.

Andy was born in November 1955 in Malta, he was 46 when he died. I suspect his parents were in the forces as he went back to Malta for a further 3 years when he was aged 7. He was the father of twin boys born in 1982.  In 1985 he met his second wife-to-be Carol, and they were married in 1987. Both were into outdoor pursuits including hiking and rambling.

Andy was the oldest of four brothers. During his time in the RAF he served at Lyneham and Brize as well as Ascension, Belize and Masirah overseas. He retired from the RAF in 1995 at the 40 year point having served 22 years. He worked for BOC in Swindon as a Warehouse Manager for four years. He then became night manager of Sainsburys'. It was then he began to suffer from depression and and was admitted to the Roundway Hospital. His last job was in security but he was obviously still sufferring from depression. Hopefully this fills in the gaps for you.

Kindest regards

Ian Berry


From:      Scott Innes, Worcester
Date:       25 January 2002 17:39
Subject:   Re: Old Boys Briefs 012502


I've just read your newsletter and managed to dig out some info for the girl looking for her Grandad who was based at Honeybourne during the war. Have e-mailed her the following info, however no US units flew from Honeybourne. Interesting to see some info on units which moved to Lyneham.



In December 1940, Honeybourne was earmarked for 6 Group OTU using Long Marston near Stratford as its satellite.

The RAF moved in in October 1941 with units of 44 Group for ferry duties.

November 1941 saw the Service Ferry Squadron at Kemble move across to Honeybourne and become the Ferry Training Unit to train crews to ferry Hudsons and Beauforts.

1425 Flight joined them flying passengers and freight to Africa and the Middle East.

The Ferry Training Unit moved to Lyneham in March 1942, followed by 1425 in April.

24 OTU formed on March 15 1942 at Honeybourne flying Whitley bombers. By the end of April 1942 it had only 10 Whitleys and 2 Ansons. The number of Whitleys increased by the end of June, with 16 of them going on to bomb Bremen as part of the "Thousand Plane" raid. Sadly three were lost;  one coming down in Holland.

July 31 1942, 24 OTU attacked Dusseldorf - losing two.

9/10 December 1942 Whitley EB389 exploded in flight - falling in pieces near Shipston-on-Stour.

During 1943, Whitleys dropped leaflets over France - 5 sorties in January, weather too bad in February. March showed 24 OTU had 55 Whitleys, 11 Ansons, a Defiant and 2 Lysanders.

May - 5 Nickel raids took place.

June - Whitley Z6693  crashed with the loss of all crew on a nearby hill in cloud. 6 more Nickels raids took place.

July - 7 Nickels,  loss of one aircraft.

August - Wellington crashed into power lines near Honeybourne church and crashed in flames - crew survived.

September - Whitleys took part in Bullseye exercises - one aircraft lost during Nickelling ops.

October - 12 leaflet dropping sorties flown.

November - 10 Nickels flown.

December - 21 flown.

January 1944 - 16 Nickels flown dropping 756,880 leaflets. Bullseye exercise using Green Park in London as target. 6 OTUs took part, 24 OTU flying at 13500 ft when Germans attacked London at the same time!

More Nickelling took place in February, leaflets dropped on Paris and Versailles. One aircraft diverted to Exeter with its wings, rear turret and fuselage shot up.

March - more Nickels and Bullseyes.

April - 11 Nickels, more bullseyes and 2 diversion sweeps over the north sea. 54 Wellingtons replaced the Whitleys on April 20th.

July - last Whitleys left 24 OTU.

24 OTU was disbanded on July 24th 1945. The airfield then passed to 8MU with the title "107 Sub Storage Unit".

Honeybourne closed in 1946. Much remains including some hangers as an industrial estate.

[Ed:  Thanks Scotty - where do you find all this info?]


From:     Ian Berry, West Swindon
Date:      Sat, 26 Jan 2002 14:41:18 –0000


I have just received my latest El Adem newsheet which advised that the website had been updated. There are some good photos on: . No longer valid

OBA brief as good as always. Am now advised that WO Rowlands will not be discharged but moved on as his medical category has dropped and so he's not fit to fight!



[Ed:  Thanks Ian - there are some beautiful photographs in there!]


From:      Charles McHugh
Date:       Sat, 26 Jan 2002 22:54:09 –0000
Subject:   Global Aviation Art

Special preview

Latest: (Click on link)

“Argosy flying along the Aden Coast” - hope you like it!

Charles McHugh
Global Aviation Art

[Ed: Now there's a print I would like to own when it's finished - I could have been in that Argosy!]

Update March 2008 - Spoke to Chas recently and enquired about the Argosy painting - he indicated that he was never quite happy with it and discontinued the project


From:        Scott Innes, Worcester
Date:        26 January 2002 09:53
Subject:    Mystery Photograph Suggestions

I thought that this might be the Convair B36 which crashed in the area of Laycock (near Chippenham) in 1953, but I think it is Herc XV198 which stalled on take off following engine run down at Colerne, on 10 Sep 73. It killed all 5 crew.

Anyone know more about Herc XV216 which crashed into the sea near Pisa in 1971? There was a rumor that I remember that all the bodies of the crew and Italian Paras were still on board.


[Ed:  Close but no cigar - you'll have to try harder Scotty!]


From:       Mike Bush, Morpeth,
Date:        29 January 2002 03:03
Subject:     Photographs

Hello Tony

Many thanks for your e-mail

Please find attached those photos as requested- in jpg format

Just got back from Valencia - eventful trip,  a tyre blew in France and cost me £700 (a tyre here costs £200!).  Then a bloody Frenchman ran in to my truck,  did no damage to me but I took his wing mirror off  etc. Then the ferry crossing was rough and I mean rough!   I was sick as a pig!
Look forward to the next trip on Thursday!

Bi 4 now
Rgds Mike

[Ed:  Sounds like a MAMS trip!  I've placed the photographs into your profile Mike.]


From:        Scott Innes, Worcester
Date:        30 January 2002 05:38
Subject:     Slighted!


Well, I thought it was a good guess on the Herc - piccie either looks old or is a bad scan (!!). I think that the file name might be misleading as it doesn't look like a Herc to me.

I'm currently helping Dawn (last Old Boys Brief) trace her Grandad as I only live up the road from Honeybourne. So far she's found out that he was a Yank attached to 24 OTU, her Mum's sister was really her Mum’s Mum and her Mum was really her Granny. All very confusing.

Speak soon


[Ed:  Excuses, excuses - John Belcher, who kindly contributed the Mystery Photo, has a full explanation later in this brief]


From:      John Belcher, Chippenham,
Date:       Wed, 30 Jan 2002 23:04:46 -0000
Subject:   2002 Pay Award


The pay review for the Armed Forces was announced yesterday.

Military Pay. We recommend that, unless specified otherwise, the military pay ranges under Pay 2000 be uprated by 3.7 per cent from 1 April 2002.

We further recommend:an uprating of 4.2 per cent for pay range 1 (lower) (Privates/Lance Corporals); that the first pay point of pay range 1 (higher) be increased to £12,578; that the first pay point of pay range 4 (lower) be increased to £26,313; new rates for pay range 5 (Warrant Officer I’s) as set out at Appendix 1; an uprating of 4.2 per cent in the pay ranges for Captains and Majors; that the Under 17 new entrant rate be increased to £8,997; and that the adult new entrant rate be increased to £10,778.

Aircrew retention. We recommend the introduction of the following Financial Retention Incentives from 1 April 2002, each with a five-year return of service:

£30,000 at five years before the Immediate Pension Point payable to pilots, navigators, RN observers, Officer rearcrew and selected NCO pilots; and £50,000 (for pilots, navigators and RN observers) and £30,000 (for Officer rearcrew and selected NCO pilots) at the Immediate Pension Point.

That last one should get the comments going!


[Ed:  Thanks John - Do I hear a rant forthcoming from our gallant Police Officer in Burlington?  heh heh heh!]


From:        John Bell, Cairns, Qld.
Date:         31 January 2002 05:52

Dear Tony

Just thought I would let you know that Chas Cormack and Pam are on the last leg of their world tour and will be back in the UK on schedule unless something happens in the next few days.

Hope you are keeping well and enjoying life and not working too hard. The main reason for my note is to give you a “heads up” on Chas. Best you read on:

Chas has left us here in Australia and moved on to Africa. During his stay he saw a lot of the Australian way of life and was subjected to a fair amount of Antipodean culture. On his return his friends and associates will notice a few changes in him. His sartorial high standards may have declined just a touch and it will not be unusual for him to appear for work dressed in a badly fitting pair of shorts, a multicoloured sleeveless vest with a crude design on back and front, barefoot and a Crocodile Dundee Bush hat. For social and business meetings this dress may be upgraded by the removal of the hat and the replacement of the vest with a T-shirt bearing the information that all politicians and policemen are illegitimate, or words to that effect, and he will wear a pair of thongs (known as Flip-Flops by Pommies I believe). He has taken to making himself comfortable by adjusting his dress (crotch area) in public and announcing that his testicles, or word to that effect, were killing him. Similarly, he will belch and pass wind as loud as he can and throw down a challenge for anyone present to ‘do better than that’. If an attractive young lady should pass the office or the car he will open a window and invite her to show him her mammary glands, or words to that effect.

In a bar he will refer to any beer that is not brewed under licence from Fosters or does not have the insignia XXXX as luke-warm pommie urine, or words to that effect. He will drink directly from the can or bottle, observing that anyone who uses a glass is a pouf, or words to that effect.

On the road you will notice a subtle difference in his driving standards. Roundabouts will be seen as a challenge and the aim of the game is to drive in as straight a line as possible when crossing one. He will avoid large trees but see shrubs, bushes and smaller trees as part of the fun. At traffic lights he will go through any colour on the grounds that somewhere at that crossing there will be a green light. When he goes out in a boat he will tend to want to remain dry and encourage others to enter the water to hold the bow or some other wet job. This fear of crocodiles will soon pass. His language will have changed slightly and he will refer to familiar things by the use of different terminology. Football is only referred to as soccer whilst rugby is only referred to as football. When he talks about the Dunny he means the WC. The term "Stuffed -Up'' means that something or someone has gone horribly wrong. Many words will be clipped and end in the letter O. The list is extensive but a few examples are: ARVO (Afternoon), FRIDO (Friday), REGO (Vehicle registration) and so on. All members of the fair sex will be referred to as Sheila(s), unless he is not pleased with them in which case they will be Bloody Sheila(s). All males, including complete strangers, will be addressed as “Mate”.

It is essential that you do not try to correct any of these new mannerisms but go along  with everything he says and wants. He will not become violent unless you disagree with him in any way. These changes may cause you some upset but please be assured that the condition is not permanent and he should return to his normal well adjusted, mild-mannered, patient, loving self in a month or so.

Hope these few guidelines help when my beloved mate returns.

Regards John Bell (Cairns)

[Ed: Thanks for that wonderful heads up John!  That Orse-Trail-Yer place must be quite something!]


From:    John Belcher, Chippenham
Date:     Thu, 31 Jan 2002 19:24:40 –0000
Subject:  Mystery Photograph Solution


Hercules XV298 was tasked with a night landing at the airfield at Kukes, Albania just after the Kosovo conflict. It was to a be a stop & go landing on an unlit airfield.  The aircraft landed, loaded the troops and started its take-off run.

The crew couldn’t see the end of the runway and just below normal take off speed; the captain saw a fence in front of the aircraft. He rotated and increased speed on all engines. He managed to get the aircraft off the runway but still hit the fence.

Thinking he was airborne, he lowered the nose to build up speed. But the Hercules hit a large concrete street lamp, removing part of the right side tail plane and elevator.  Then 298 ran into a large stone wall. After hitting the wall the Hercules ran along the ground, rolling to the right before hitting a large ditch. Hitting the ditch ruptured the fuel tanks, spilling fuel which caught fire.

The ALM tried to open the crew door but it was jammed so he escaped through a hole in the fuselage along with the Pax.

The flight deck crew tried to escape through a cockpit window but the captain caught a belt loop on his combats and was trapped. He had to be helped by the ALM before the rest of the crew could escape.

There were a number of injuries caused in the crash and subsequent fire but everyone survived.


[Ed:  Thanks for the photo and the text John.  I've put another view of the crash scene into the Mystery Photo page which shows the aircraft from a much closer angle.]


Well, that's it for this week

Have a great weekend

Best regards