15 February 2008

It's snowing... 

From: John Bell, Cairns Qld  
Date: Saturday, February 02, 2008 20:33
Subject: Latest Brief


In the last edition Roger Blow referred to Dave Hammond and a sidekick. The sidekick was almost certainly Jock Hunt (I think this was the name but the years have taken their toll). Both of these guys had the distinction of refusing to take their promotion exam to SAC so they remained as LACs.

Jock Hunt reported sick when “Discharged due to Depression” was all the rage. The Doc asked him the standard questions and Jock gave the standard “I am depressed” answers. Then the Doc mentioned soccer and developed the conversation until Jock was at his peak, listing all the virtues of his Scottish team etc etc. In the midst of all this elation the Doc stopped the chat and told Jock he was no more depressed than anybody else

Jock pushed for his discharge and he finally left the RAF.  He  returned to Scotland and joined British Caledonian Airways as a loadmaster or steward, not sure. One day one of their aircraft landed at Abingdon for a task and off stepped our Jock, complete with two and a half gold rings on his arm. The flight was night stopping and the crew were put up at the Officer’s Mess. From failed LAC to Officer’s Mess! You can imagine the comments from the Abingdon movers.

Never did follow up on Dave Hammond. I think his ambition was to work for Jamaica Airlines as a pilot.

Thanks for all your efforts in keeping the memories of  MAMF, MAMS and UKMAMS alive Tony

Stay warm (Temperature here is 31 to 34 average, That’s centigrade. The humidity is high).


(Cairns Australia)


From: David Powell, Princes Risborough
Date: Sunday, February 03, 2008 09:25
Subject: The Shortest MAMS Flight

Dear Tony

Happy New Year!

Re Uncle Jack’s question about the rules for a MAMS Team claiming the shortest (time) for a planned fixed wing flight while on task, in particular, if a turn-back as a consequence of a threat of unscheduled task termination could count. Regretfully, I must declare this as excluded, as by definition the planned flight was not completed. Other situations where disqualification would apply include:
  • Teams departing early by parachute
  • Teams having to go back after discovering that they had left their team pack-up behind (containing the obligatory 200 cigs, bottle of Scotch, pack of cards and a Mars Bar). I never did work out why the Mars Bar?
  • Teams of less than 3 members (although unconscious team-members provided in uniform/flying suit, may still be counted for the purpose of this challenge).

Now a question: who was the Abingdon team leader who, when sent with his team on a ‘hush-hush’ covert mission, turned up at the mounting airfield having forgotten his obligatory civvies for such tasks, was sent to Clothing Stores to be kitted out in something suitable yet expendable? Shortly after, the same person appeared on TV for the world to see emerging like an oversized penguin from the back of a C-130 wearing RAF issue plimsolls, PTI track-suit bottoms and a cook's white top?

Thank you Tony for making it happen and to all contributors for the wonderful memories of, to restate Roger Blow, what was definitely the highlight of my RAF career! 

A special ‘Hi’ to new member Syd Avery, who if my battered memory serves me correctly, I first met up with in (say it quietly) stores at Changi in 1964.

Best wishes

David Powell

A fear of dust is called 'koniophobia'

From:  Charles P Collier, Marlborough
Date:  Sunday, February 03, 2008 11:28
Subject:  Aden Days

Following on from Brian Barron’s Aden article in Tony’s 120707 brief,  I offer this tale of socialising the French way and then the British way!

Aden was an eye-opener of a first tour of duty for a 24 year old RAF zombie officer doing my duty as far as I could, to the extent of my ability.  As I’ve probably explained before, my duty was selling scrap equipment to 70 odd Arab contractors.

Where I worked in Cemetery Valley, the Aden Forces Pistol Club had a range – so I joined them! Of course when I joined, Col Drake-Wilkes, the President, welcomed me and appointed me as club secretary! This was a mixed blessing and I managed to keep my head above water so to speak!

The matches were grand affairs when we visited Djibouti as guests of the French where lavish entertainment was laid on and no expense seemed to be spared!

Sqn Ldr Tiny Fleming, OC Aden Supply
Depot (food), talking to the C in C’s wife

Yours truly being offered a cocktail by the French C in C

On the other hand, when the French were our guests in Aden,  the celebrations were very muted under the stricture of non-public funds which were deemed sufficient by the Command Secretariat for the entertainment of foreign forces during matches. 

This was the bi-annual (home) match against French Forces from Djibouti.

This situation prevailed throughout the two years I was on posting and was to say the least a complete embarrassment for us.  Nobody complained - least of all the French - so we all had a good time while it lasted.

Regards to all



From:  Barbara Sugg, Swindon
Date: Sunday, February 03, 2008 16:34
Subject:  Hi There

Hi Tony,

Good to see your latest newsletter but disappointed to see so few letters in it.

I know I haven't contributed any news items, but apart from another phone call from Mal Porter I have nothing to add, well nothing of interest but I am sure there are plenty of ex-movers who could add more, and I do hope they will.

Well we are into the the first few days of February and luckily in Swindon the weather has been good to us. Roll on Spring when we can start getting into the gardens again with hanging baskets etc. We are longing for the weather to start warming up.

We have been in Swindon only a short time and we are still trying to unpack boxes but I can't bear to go into the garage in the cold weather, so really need the warm weather before I can get to them.

Until next time take care and regards to all

Babs Sugg

Your spine was straight until you learned to walk - then it became S-shaped.

From:  Phil Overson, Swindon 
Date:  Tuesday, February 05, 2008 16:55
Subject: Mac Mckenna

The diminutive Mac McKenna, last known whereabouts RAF Halton, is leaving the Royal Air Force this spring and is being dined out at the Movements School on Feb 29th. As someone who's been close to Mac and his family since he fast roped into the Movs trade from the Army Air Corps back in 1989, I've been asked to say a few words on his behalf.

I've managed to keep tabs on him throughout most of his time as a mover but there are a few grey areas, namely Gutersloh in the early 90's, Aldergrove in the late 90's and Akrotiri in the early 00's. If you can fill in any of the gaps then please send me a message.

As someone brought up on the same street in Gosport as Jimmy Young the odds were stacked against Mac but he's managed to fulfill a variety of roles within the trade with pride and a wicked sense of fun! I'm sure you'll join me in wishing Mac, Julia and Jennifer all the best for their new life in Lincolnshire.

Please send any messages/tributes/dirt to me as I plan his send off and give him a night to remember.

Your help is greatly appreciated.

Best wishes to all who remember me,

Phil Overson


From: David Eggleton, Abingdon
Date: Tuesday, February 12, 2008 10:36
Subject: Update Feb 08.

Hi Tony,

I would like to thank Mike Green for sending me the photo of Sandy Sandiford on the oil lift in 1966. I am taking Terry, Sandy's wife, to see him next Tuesday 19th Feb, in the residential home he is in near Bicester. Sandy has Alzheimer's as I have mentioned before. We will see how it goes?

Have just returned from Doha, Qatar, I went to see my son who works there. Managed to see Kumar Mohindra at the Qatar golf Championship. He works at the Pilot's Aeronautical College, teaching DAC and all aspects of air safety to the cabin staff as well. We had not met since our days together on the RAF Movements school at Brize Norton. Without your info Tony, I would have had no idea he was there.

I have also been looking at the group photo of the Bersatu Padu detachment, I can fill in some of the names missing. I am third from the left on the front row, will check my diary first to see if I have anymore info for you.

Best wishes to all,

Dave Egg.

When Kuwait's first McDonald's opened in 1994, the drive-through line was 7 miles long.

From: Tony Gale, Ottawa
Date: Tuesday, February 12, 2008 11:13
To: David Eggleton
RE: Update Feb 08.

Hi Dave,

Many thanks for the info – and so happy to learn that you were able to hook up with Uncle Mo in the desert!

As for Bersatu Padu – to this day I am ticked with Roger Wood – he had me remain behind at the accommodation tents to guard our personal stuff when the rest of you had that group photograph taken.

Do you happen to have a better quality image of the group than the one I have portrayed on the website?

If Sandy happens to be in good shape during your visit, you might want to try and jog his memory about our time in South Caicos. A local chap, who went by the name of Nelson, was really pushing to take us on a trip in his boat and was offering it free of charge – appeared to be a very friendly and generous chap, so we all agreed to go. He took us out over the coral reefs where the water was so crystal clear, it was a beautiful outing – we even chased a few manta ray, managing to capture a couple with a crude wooden spear (looking back at that I ask myself, Why did we kill those rays? - very cruel). There’s a picture of us in Jerry Porter’s book with our “prizes.”

Anyway, on with this tale… Our new friend Nelson had an ulterior motive – whilst he was playing mine host to the MAMS team out on the reef his brother was helping himself to our personal stuff back at the hotel, having broken into our rooms.

We discovered our losses on our return and called in the local chief of police who twigged onto what had transpired right away. He locked up the offending brothers and returned our property to us. After we arrived back in the UK we sent him a squadron plaque out of gratitude.

Do you know that Dave Cromb is missing? I have a message on the home page of the website. I also sent an e-mail to the police in Brisbane a couple of days ago but haven’t heard anything back yet. I just hope he’s in the grey bar hotel, then at least we know he’s safe.

Best regards



From: James Aitken, Brisbane
Date:  Wednesday, February 13, 2008 04:15
Subject:  Happy Valentines Day


Best wishes to you and your spouse/partner!

This Valentine's Day marks 50 years since I proposed to my dear wife Pat and we became engaged. 

The restaurant is booked and the flowers ordered (it's a surprise!!)

Look after those ladies or gents .... without them we are nothing!


James Aitken

71% of corporate pilots have admitted to having fallen asleep on the job.

Date:  Wednesday, February 13, 2008 17:32
Subject:  Dave (Eccy) Eccles

Just received grave news from Paul (Cloggy) Van Aardt.

Dave Eccles, the original "Eccy", is very seriously ill.

For those who know Eccy and wish to contact him by e-mail please use the following: Eccy (For his home address please contact me.)

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dave, Denise and family at this worrying time.

Dave Morrow


I had contacted Basil enquiring if he was perhaps involved in an operation to Bermuda in the 60's, but then determined it was probably Nassau - here's his response:

From: Basil Hughes, Pattaya
Date: Thursday, February 14, 2008 06:52
Subject: Re: Bermuda

Dear Tony

You have made me start putting my brain to work -- Yes I was in Nassau when we were moving British troops to Belize, transshipping from Britannia's to Argosies.  Instead of using the BFLP, we unofficially hired a huge forklift. 

We drank a lot of Bacardi & lemonade with ice free from the stall next to our office. I can remember two ladies knocking on the door to our room asking if we would like company but the imprest would not run to that. I also did a trip to Jamaica and again a lot of rum was involved on that trip!

There was a trip to Bermuda during my time on MAMS but I was not involved -- There was a story about that trip that one certain SAC was closely involved with a lady on the beach and a dog bit his bare backside. The story suggested that he chased the dog down the beach in the nude.  I often wondered if it was true.


The wearing of a hat is considered disrespectful in Fiji.

Dates for your Calendars

What:  Meet & Greet
Where:  RAFA Club, 31-43 Belle Vue Road, Swindon, Wilts SN1 3HN
When: Wednesday 16 April 2008 at 2000 Hrs

All welcome to come along, pull up a sandbag and swing some lamps.

What: Annual Movements WO's and SNCO's Top Table Luncheon
Sergeant's Mess, RAF Lyneham
Friday 14 November 2008

This year we will again have an opportunity to bid farewell to our colleagues in style with the annual Trade Top Table. The CMC and Mess Committee at Lyneham have accepted our request and the date is set. As you will be fully aware this event continues to prove hugely popular and this year should be no exception. It is therefore important we start planning now so as to accommodate as many people as possible.

Individuals in the frame this year are yet to be confirmed, but I am sure there are many out there who wish to be dined out. Please confirm if you would like to be dined out this year and pass names to me soonest including who will be making speeches on your behalf.

In keeping with tradition the afternoon will begin at 1200L on 14th November 2008 in the Sgt Mess bar at RAF Lyneham.

The cost of the function will be advised at a later date but will include wine and port. The cost last year was £32.

Later this year another letter will be sent out with details of those leaving and a request for confirmation of those wishing to attend.


Jim Sutton

Internal email

External email


Mystery Photo #021508


That's it for this edition - if anyone is aware of the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Dave Cromb can you please contact me.

Have a great weekend