07 February 2003


From: Charles Collier, Marlborough, UK
Date: 31 Jan 2003 04:13
Subject: Aden 1967 - Security Patrol Incident

Hello everybody, 

Here goes with another story from my Aden platoon commander days.

Yes, we were coming to the end of our two hour evening shift patrolling the back streets of Tawahi: the westernised Arab shopping area by day; dangerous by night. We turned into one street which was dimly lit with parked cars on both sides of the street. Basically, a problem for security for each vehicle could shield a terrorist! We proceeded with care each covering the back of each other, taking care to keep a weather eye above to ensure that nobody could attack us from the roofs. 

With my patrol in their positions covering me I ventured forward along the line of vehicles. It was when I arrived at the back of a covered civilian Landrover that I saw, sitting in the two front seats two European men with their heads thrown back and motionless. I immediately called ops control and spelled out what I had come across saying that I suspected two murders by their throats being cut. This I couldn't confirm as the two bodies were clothed in woman's clothing with neck scarves around their necks!

Army Ops control told me to guard the area and to make no attempt to open the suspect vehicle as booby trap may be laid.

It wasn't long before a team of military police and other specialists arrived. I took them to the vehicle at which point one of the bodies showed signs of life. He looked startled and woke his companion. They both came to life looking very timid, for outside was a whole posse of fully armed British servicemen! The suspected dead then both got out of the Landrover. The police quickly identified who they were and it turned out that they a couple of Works and Bricks artisans who had been to a fancy dress celebration in the civilian lines dressed as women. How they had driven back to the street they were found in one doesn't know but they were very lucky not to have been killed by nationalists - they were sitting ducks for that happening.

The police report was dealt with by the Director of Works and the two were severely reprimanded.

It only goes to show that you must always keep your head on no matter how much you drink!

Regards to OB's



From: Fred Martin, Godalming, UK
Date: 31 Jan 2003 04:46
Subject: Photo of Kidbrooke 1961

Hi Tony,

I'm glad you found my faux pas as funny as I did. I confirm that I am of Anglo-Irish heritage not Afro-Caribbean as I wrongly identified myself in the photo. The faux pas however did cause me to have a closer look at the gentleman I "mistook" myself for. 

I remember that his surname was Evans (I cannot remember his forename). He was a really nice guy and was posted to Changi in August 1961. I saw him in the Airmovs section there in December 1962 when I was en route from Khormaksar to Labuan during the Brunei Crisis. We started to have a chat when I was told by some snotty Warrant Officer to "Get away from the desk and don't come back" I didn't !!! 

There were very few Afro Caribbean's serving in the RAF in the early sixties so I feel sure that someone reading the news briefs must have known him. 

Interested to hear. 

Best wishes 

Fred Martin 


From: Dave Yeoman, Hadleigh, UK
Date: 01 Feb 2003 11:02
Subject: Notification of Compulsory Enlistment.

Hi Tony, 

Don't know if this has passed your way recently but thought it might raise a smile on the OBA Briefs. 


Under the Emergency Powers Act (1939) as amended by the Defence Act (1978), you are hereby notified that you are required to place yourself on standby for possible compulsory military service in the American Conflict.

You may shortly be ordered to depart for the Middle East where you will join either the 3rd Battalion The Queen's Own Suicidal Conscripts or the 2nd Foot and Mouth. This is due to the regulars being too busy driving Green Goddesses to be there themselves.

Due to the recent rundown of the Navy and the refusal by P&O to lend us any of their liners, because of the deplorable state in which they were returned after previous adventures in the Falklands and the Gulf, it will be necessary for you to make your own way to the combat zone.

HM Government have been able to negotiate a 20% discount on one way trips with Virgin Airlines and you are strongly urged to take advantage of this offer. Ryan Air also do a nice little £9.99 trip.

Because of cutbacks in Government expenditure on defence in recent years it will be necessary for you to provide yourself with the following equipment as soon as possible; Combat Jacket - Trousers (preferably khaki -but, please, no denim.) - Tin Helmet - Boots (or a sturdy pair of trainers.) - Gas Mask - Map of the combat zone (the Ordinance Survey: 2800 Outdoor Leisure Map of Iraq will do.) - Rifle- Ammunition (preferably to suit previous item) - Sun Tan Oil.

If you are in a position to afford it, we would like you to buy a tank. Vickers Defence of Leeds are currently offering all new conscripts a 0% Finance deal on all X registration Chieftains, but hurry, as offer is only available while stocks last.

We would like to reassure you that in the unlikely event of anything going wrong, you will be entitled to free burial in a graveyard of your choice and your next of kin, will be entitled to the new War Widows pension of £1.75 per calendar month, index linked but subject to means testing, and fully repayable should our side eventually lose. 

There maybe little time for formal military training before your departure and so we advise that you hire video's of the following films and try and pick up a few tips as you watch; The Guns of Navarone.= Kelly's Heroes.= A Bridge too Far.= The Longest Day.= Apocalypse Now.=The Matrix.= Blazing Saddles.= The Desert Song.= Mary Poppins. We do not recommend that you watch Khartoum.

To mentally prepare yourself for your mission try reading the works of Wilfred Owen or Rupert Brookes. This should give you some idea of what may be involved.

Yours faithfully,
G. Hoon. 
Ministry of Defence.
(A Bush/Blair Production. Sponsored by Mars, the official snack of World War III.)

Regards Dave. 


Subject: Formula One Newsflash - Ferrari Fire Pit Crew

The Ferrari F1 Team fired their entire Pit-Crew Yesterday. The announcement was followed by Ferrari's Decision to take advantage of the English Government's Work For the Dole Scheme and hire unemployed youths from Liverpool.

The decision to hire them was brought on by a recent documentary on how unemployed youths in Liverpool were able to remove a set of car wheels in less than 6 seconds without proper equipment, whereas Ferrari's existing crew can only do it in 8 seconds.

This was thought to be an excellent yet bold move by Ferrari Management, as most races are won & lost in the pits, Ferrari would have an advantage over every team.

However, Ferrari expectations were easily exceeded, as during the Crews first practice session; not only were the boys from Bootle able to change the tyres in under 6 seconds but within 12 seconds they had resprayed, rebadged, and had sold the vehicle over to the McLaren Team for four dozen Stellas and a gram of Charlie.


From: Ronald P Turley Doha, Qatar
Date: 02 Feb 2003 01:46
Subject: Air China
Dear Tony,

Working in the petrochemical industry now, we often look to the aviation world to help us develop some of our safety standards. The attached though is an example of how NOT to do a job. It may horrify some of your readers and make them choose their carriers more carefully!



This is an excellent example of why any prudent traveler should generally stick with North American carriers, Western European carriers and a few other carriers like Qantas, Air New Zealand, and Singapore. 

A pilot for a Chinese carrier requested permission to land for an unscheduled stop at FRA (Frankfurt, Germany) purportedly for refueling. The alert ground crew at FRA soon spotted that the no. 3 engine had been shut down because of excessive vibration and really didn't look so good. 

This had apparently been no problem for the tough guys back in China. They had simply taken some sturdy straps (note that these straps are resourceful!) and wrapped them around several of the fan blades and the structures behind. Thus effectively stopping any unwanted wind-milling (engine auto-rotating due to airflow passing through the blades in flight) and associated uncomfortable vibration caused by the sub optimal fan. 

It turned out that after making these "repairs" back in China, and presumably passing all the pre-flight checks, off they went into the wild blue yonder on another revenue-making flight but with only three working engines! With the inevitable increased fuel consumption they got low on fuel earlier than expected, hence the request for a quick refill at FRA. 

And that's where their problems really started : the Germans, who are rather picky about this stuff, inspected the malfunctioning engine and immediately grounded the aircraft. 

Forget the seatbelts - look at the appalling condition of the fan blades... 

The airline operator had to send a big chunk of money to get the first engine replaced - which took about ten days - and during that time the German repair contractor decided to do some impromptu inspection work on the other engines themselves as none of them looked all that great either.

The result : a total of three engines were eventually changed on this plane before it was permitted to fly again. 


From: John Belcher, Chippenham, UK
Date: 02 Feb 2003 18:25
Subject: Birth of James Belcher

John and Rachel Belcher are pleased to let everyone know that their second son, James, was born today 2nd Feb 2003 at 5:40pm in the Royal United Hospital Bath. He weighed 8lbs. 9oz.

Mother and baby, although tired, are both doing fine. 

James came as a surprise to us both as we had just about given up hope of any more children after 10 years of trying.



From: Phil Clarke, Vienna, Austria
Date: 06 Feb 2003 03:35
Subject: A Little Something For RAFA

Good day RAFA,

I am a Life Member of RAFA, having paid my 9 guineas as a young SAC to Luton Branch 361 (I think) in about 1968 or 9. Membership Card long lost in my travels.

Reason for this mail: my pals at Air Charter Services Ltd (, had a little Christmas competition. The prize being a neat little Palm PDA, plus a £100.00 donation to a charity of choice.

I was the lucky winner, so to make up for all the Wings Appeals I've missed whilst out of the country, the cheque will be winging it's way to you from Vienna in the next day or two, addressed to your Leicester HO. I'll put a copy of this mail in the envelope so you know what it's all about.

Maybe you would be kind enough to dig out my membership number as there are one or two bits I've seen on the website I would like to purchase.

Thanks and Best Regards

Philip M Clarke


From: Phil Clarke, Vienna, Austria
Date: 06 Feb 2003 04:02
Subject: 50th Ex Brats at it again

Hi Mate, 

Here I am back from Dublin - what a trying time.

Flew out on the 6th via London - Aer Lingus to Dublin well delayed, arrived at the Holiday Inn Dublin Airport past 11pm - no heating in the room, yells and screams to reception - an electric fire arrived at 0030. Kept warm with a little of Mr Walkers fine liquid.

On the 10th I got the train up to Belfast for the 2nd 50th NI preunion. Arriving on the station concourse two grinning faces c/w pints were evident in the station buffet. Our supplier Tommy Mulligan, and that reprobate ex MAMS Bobby Atcheson. After a little appropriate refreshment we proceeded into the City Centre, for additional refreshments which included the oldest pub in Belfast, and the Europa Hotel. Bobby was only supposed to spend a couple of hours with us, but we threatened him with extreme violence, and he took the sensible (and healthier) way out. 

A taxi to Tommy's pad, some reminiscing - would you believe Tommy has the original blue serge tunic he was issued with in those balmy '63 days, then out on the town for some serious drinking and a Chinese. Got a lock in at a lovely little pub - no idea what it's name is, or what time we left. I guess we must have had a couple of beers back at Tommy's place, but I think it must have been off, cause I suddenly woke up at 8am on the living room floor with a quilt over my trembling body - caused only by the cold of course.

In the morning out to the City again for breakfast - those wimps had mugs of Tea and Coffee whilst I decided on the hair of the dog. I do believe eggs, bacon and soda bread goes beautifully with a pint of Lager. Would have been better with Bitter, but they had none.

After more reminiscing Bobby had to meet his Mum and Sister, we met them briefly, then all too suddenly it was all over. Tommy dropped me at the station for my run back to Dublin.

But wait - all is not over. On repairing to that self same buffet for a nice calamine tea, what did we spy - a Hen Party getting warmed up for a wild journey to Dublin. A couple of dozen lovely ladies who just happened to share my carriage for the 2 hour journey back to Dublin. The wine and lots of other things flowed during that period, but I will not go into detail because I know this is a family show, and it is well before the watershed when the little ones should be in bed.

So it was back to Dublin and the grind of work, and yes it was a grind - but then suddenly news to lift the spirits. I've told you about my son Jonathan living in Swindon, got married last year. Well he and Nina have presented me with my first grandchild (son) Joseph. 

So the B767 C Check came to an end only 9 days late, so a BMI flight to London on the 29th, quick car hire - M4 down to Swindon - to meet up with the little fellow. Sorry to all the Swindon district mates, twas only a night stop so had no time to contact anyone.

On the 30th set off at 2 pm to get the 1930 flight back to VIE, went via Kingston Upon Thames in order to collect my Palm Top and RAFA cheque, Set off from Kingston at 4pm for the 30 minute drive to LHR as the snow started to fall. Three bloody hours it took as the South East of England ground to a halt under 2 rotten inches of snow. 

Missed my flight, was very lucky to get a hotel room as lots of flights were being cancelled and delayed. Turned up at LHR for the 1035 flight to VIE, which was cancelled, the 0635 was a little delayed - finally left at 1830. I then found out that the LHR stars had run out of de-icing fluid, so the airport was in total chaos - wailing and gnashing of teeth everywhere. Couple of hours to get a restaurant seat. Improvise, from the little shop a couple of Cornish Pasties and a six pack - kept me going.

Finally got the 1635 flight to VIE which left at 8pm - and so back to the bosom of my family, and my new life with Austrian Airlines.

E Mail will change soon but there will be auto forwarding for a good while.

Keep the faith brothers!

Philip M Clarke


1. Why is it that when someone tells you that there are over a billion stars in the universe, you believe them, but if they tell you there is wet paint somewhere, you have to touch it to make sure?

2. If a person owns a piece of land do they own it all the way down to the core of the earth?

3. Why can't women put on mascara with their mouth closed?

4. Is it possible to brush your teeth without wiggling your backside?

5. Why is it called Alcoholics Anonymous when the first thing you do is stand up and say, 'My name is Bob, and I am an alcoholic'?

6. Did you ever notice that when you blow in a dog's face, he gets mad at you but when you take him on a car ride, he sticks his head out the window?

7. Why are they called stairs inside but steps outside?

8. Why is there a light in the fridge and not in the freezer?

9. Why does mineral water that 'has trickled through mountains for centuries' have a 'use by' date?

10. Why do toasters always have a setting that burns the toast to a horrible crisp no one would eat?

11. Is French kissing in France just called kissing?

12. Who was the first person to look at a cow and say, 'I think I'll squeeze these dangly things here and drink whatever comes out'?

13. What do people in China call their good plates?

14. If the professor on Gilligan's Island can make a radio out of a coconut, why can't he fix a hole in a boat?

15. Do illiterate people get the full effect of Alphabet Soup?

16. Why does goofy stand erect while Pluto remains on all fours? They're both dogs!

18. If Wile E. Coyote had enough money to buy all that Acme stuff, why didn't he just buy dinner?

19. Why is a person that handles your money called a 'Broker'?

20. If quizzes are quizzical, what are tests?

21. If corn oil is made from corn, and vegetable oil is made from vegetables, then what is baby oil made from?

22. If a man is talking in the forest, and no woman is there to hear him, is he still wrong?


Well, that's it for this week

Have a great weekend!

Best regards