21 February 2003


From: Jim Aitken, Brisbane Qld., Australia
Date: 14 Feb 2003 15:41
Subject: No Joking!

Hi Tony,

Re: Formula One Newsflash Ferrari Fire Pit Crew (OBB 020703)

I would have thought that after a 30 year stint in the RAF your 'nameless' reader would have been more attuned to a 'tongue in cheek' article which has obviously given rise to some angst.

Maybe 30 years has resulted in a loss of 'sense of humour'.

The offending 'joke' could easily have mentioned London or Birmingham suburbs (or Sydney or Melbourne for that matter) for the same effect.

How much further is "political correctness" going to go? 'Tis becoming a sad world mate !!

My thanks for the newsletter including the funnies. I look forward to Fridays not only for the weekend beginning.

Stay cool mate!


Jim Aitken


From: Dave Barton, Kings Lynn, UK
Date: 14 Feb 2003 16:46
Subject: Bill Wellman

Going over the backlog of the OBA newsletters which accumulated while I was away, I was amused to read about the substitution of Bill's twin bother on a Missex. I well remember his brother who, along with Bill, performed on a couple of occasions at Abingdon and I can quite see how they got away with the masquerade.

I did several tasks with Bill over the years and he was a great Team Leader. He related several stories about some of the antics he and the late Steve Taylor got up to when they were together. I know Bill went out to Oman after leaving the RAF but lost touch with him - any ideas where he is these days?


Dave Barton

[Ed:  Quite right Dave - Bill was a great team leader and I just cannot imagine anyone not taking a liking to him.   On one occasion we were in Nassau in the Bahamas with dear old 'Uncle' Bill, and were eating some Kentucky Fried Chicken out of those little boxes that it came in.  He picked up the container of coleslaw and remarked "What's this bloody stuff then?" and  proceeded to shake it all over his chicken and fries!]


From: Dave Barton, Kings Lynn, UK
Date: 14 Feb 2003 17:11
Subject: BFLP

Hi Tony,

Once again going over the backlog of the OBA newsletters - see that I was not the only one who nightmares over the BFLP. Going back to Gulf MAMS days (68/69), we had several training sessions on that horrible contraption with an engineer and handbook. It was 'wind up' to lower and 'wind down' to raise, or something like that.

Anyway, we had a task to Majunga picking up a Britannia at Muharraq from Brize Norton which was loaded with a BFLP. Our job was to offload at Majunga and erect, backload freight, dismantle the BFLP and reload.

We got the BFLP offloaded and assembled but discovered that the main base beams which housed all the cables had been loaded on their sides resulting in the cables detaching themselves from the blocks (pulleys). By this time it was dark, no lights, so we retired to a grotty hotel. There was no time next morning so we returned empty handed and empty aircraft to Muharraq for the task to be carried out another day. The only member of the team I can remember was Tony Saw and I am sure he will be able to fill in some of the gaps.

There were some ripe stories about those guys who were detached to Majunga who were living in acquired accommodation/flats and seemed to be having a whale of a time.

Any more info on this task or place?

Dave Barton


Three retirees, each with a hearing loss, were playing golf one fine March day. 

One remarked to the others, "Windy, isn't it?" 

"No," the second man replied, "it's Thursday." 

The third man chimed in, "So am I,  let's have a beer."


From: Pig Clarke, Burlington ON, Canada
Date: 14 Feb 2003 18:23
Subject: Update my Piccies

Hey Tony!

Just managed to find the new and updated web site - like the new changes! Have I been deleted from the address list for the Old Boys Briefs? Did you get a ticket or summat? My work e-mail is and my home e-mail is on this mail.

I'm sending you some more piccies of me as I'm a narcissistic git!

I have a minor suggestion, similar to the Rogues Gallery. I'd love to see updated piccies of the troops I used to work with, be it in family or work piccies, a kind of " MAMS warriors in the year 2003 etc., or here they are now" effort, what do you think?

I know we all remember each other as young (sometimes young-ish) thrusters, but being the realist I am I would like to see piccies of the Barron, Dibs, Brummy Overgaard, Siggy, Ozzy Oswald, Woj Whittington and all the other chaps I miss, as they are now, doing the stuff they do! Sod the grey hair and wrinkles, we all get those or snuff it! It would just be good to see me old mates and bosses updated!

Anyway, good on Karl Hibbert getting a new job! Baggy Bagnall - long time no hear from! Is your SA gong still for sale?

No rant this time........but don't be lulled into a false sense of security!

All the best,

Pig Clarke

p.s. I'm not in uniform anymore but detective piccies are not really that exciting!

[Ed:  Thanks Pig, I have updated your e-mail address - it somehow got corrupted to a ".net" extension, rather than ".ca"  As for the suggestion about what the chaps look like now - that is the reason for the personal 'Profile' pages available for you all on the website - you know the ones where you can submit your life stories and pictures of yourselves as you were then and as you are now...  I really would like to see some more Pen & Paper icons next to your names on the Member's pages....'nuff said!]


From: John Holloway, Shrewsbury, UK
Date: 15 Feb 2003 04:38
Subject: Re: Place Names

Hi Tony, 

I note another ’Pommie winger’ giving poor old Mauripur some stick again; you’ll have to do a reprint of my comments in it’s defence in OBB 051801 of the 18th May 2001. I suspect Messer's Riley and Aitken had a little chuckle.

With regard to the ‘2nd Indian Mutiny’ which started at Drigh Road, there is quite an extensive article on the web at the article by David Duncan gives facts and figures of the mutiny in 1946; over 60 units and 50 thousand men involved from Karachi right across India and as far as Singapore - it’s quite unbelievable.

Not a lot happening here. I understand the Apaches are still arriving at Shawbury for storage and the helicopter trainers are busy flying around with the cargo slings hanging down carrying their various loads.

Cheers for now


[Ed:  Thanks John - that article by David Duncan is certainly very interesting and surprising reading.  I came across another page making reference to it at  I have reprinted your e-mail about Mauripur from May of 2001 below:]


Jack Riley and Jim Aitken recently made some observations about Mauripur. I recall that it seemed to be a regular comment of people, especially aircrew, passing through that used to express a dislike of this station. 
I spent nearly two years there, and, quite honestly, after passing through Shaibah (The Blues), Bahrain and Sharjah (yuk!) on the way there, I was quick to adapt to the facilities available to us. 

Pakistan was a “dry” country and bottled beer was about seven shillings a pint so we were paid a beer allowance of fifteen shillings a day. I didn’t drink beer then so on top of my regular pay of eight shillings a day I was quite rich. In comparison an RAF employed Pakistani who got about 50 Rupees a month I got about 110 rupees a week so pay wise we must have been like the Yanks in the UK during the war. 

The coolies we employed knew better than us how to spread the load on an aircraft after all they had been doing it a lot longer than us Burrah Sahibs, so we relied on them a lot plus they all could speak perfect English. 

The local facilities were very good; swimming in the nearby Sandspit Bay plus a swimming pool at the YMCA in Karachi. There were good restaurants, including the Speedbird at the airport, two air conditioned cinemas showing the latest Cinemascope films and an area in the city that catered to upper middle-class locals with good shops. We could go to the Imperial Tobacco’s social club, and events put together by the people that worked at the British High Commission - they were keen on amateur dramatics like Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta’s etc. Then there was soccer, rugby and cricket, and we played against local clubs. 

There was an opportunity to spend your leave away up-country in the hills which I took advantage of. It was a two days and two nights train journey to Rawalpindi and then a thirty mile taxi ride up to Murree – a hill station from the Raj days which was very similar to the UK with tall pine trees, pathways, shops and restaurants and a little village church. We stayed with a couple of expats who had settled there after a working life in India, and there were quite a few others there just like them. 

On camp we in Air Movements worked 24 hours on and 24 off. We started at 9am when all the arrivals from the previous day had departed, we then had to prepare for the arrivals on our shift. Usually a couple of Hastings, maybe some ferry flights, Canberra’s etc., and USAF flights were fairly regular. We generally stood down at about 7pm so we could go to the cinema or canteen, back to the billet for a kip then up at about 6am for the departures and finished off at 9am. The next 24 hours were ours to do as we pleased. 

It was a doodle with bearers to look after us and coolies to do the humping. Who could ask for a better posting? We had tailors that used to make our clothes from material bought in the bazaars or sharkskin material that the AQMs [Ed: for you younger chaps, Air Loadmasters were at one time known as Air Quartermasters - or AQMs] would bring to us from Singapore as well as watches, cameras and any other goodies we wanted. 

We all had different coloured shirts in Air Movements, the CO walked into the section one day and made a comment like “You’re like the Rainbow Brigade.” It was all so pretty easy going. 

There were a few drawbacks: the rotten humidity for a few months, the food was pretty poor so that’s why we used to eat out so often. We were not allowed a NAAFI but we did have our own canteen separate from the mess where we could get fry-ups and there was a snooker table and table tennis etc. 

Snakes, scorpions and spiders were in abundance. During the monsoon season we would have a coolie sit by the main door clubbing the snakes, mainly Silver Kraits, as they tried to get into the dry. 

So all in all it was quite a good posting. I know it has a bad history from the 40s after the war with the mutiny etc., that had spread all over India at that time, but we were there at its best period with only a few of us stationed there until it closed in 1956. 

From what I heard at that time the only other posting that seemed reasonable was Eastleigh in Kenya although they had their problems, and I know they had a strike in 1955 due to the food. Pineapple was always a main feature on the plate; fried, curried, boiled and whatever else dished up for every meal of the day.


From: Greg Saunders, Carterton, UK
Date: 15 Feb 2003 15:47
Subject: Thank you!

Hello Tony,

I was very impressed by your prompt response to me submitting my details to the OBA. Very slick...

I have a couple of questions for you, I hope not to take up too much of your time.

During my time on Mobile duties I have tended to carry a camera with me most of the time, hence I have quite a collection of photos dating from 1996-present. These include 'Airfield' shots, locations, team-members (both on and off duty!) , aircraft types (I'm not a spotter though!) and aircraft loads. I realise you may be interested in some of these, however I have tended to use an APS camera and as such a lot of photos are in a "wide" format. Are these of any use to you? I am quite willing to scan and send photos to you (with an attached explanation obviously) but would rather know beforehand if you can use them in this format. I also have published articles (written by myself and including photos) on Operation Determinant (Zaire 1997), Operation Palliser (Sierra Leone 2000), Op Bessemer (Balkans weapon collection program 2001).

I have an extensive collection of photos from Ascension Island (mid 1990's to present) and photos from Ex Saif Sareea II (Masirah 2001) where we were looked after by none other than Dinger Bell! I would, of course, be willing to share all these with you... 

In the meantime, I hope you can make use of this photo as a starter. I  believe it is the UK's latest weapon to be deployed to Baghdad to hopefully scare Saddam out.

The well-dressed gentlemen in question are, of course, Nige Robinson and Martin Southall.

This was taken  shortly after Martin had attempted to drink 12 cans of warm Boddingtons out of a champagne bucket. The occasion escapes me, maybe it was  just a boring Tuesday night? 

Kind regards

Cpl Greg Saunders
Brize Norton AMS 'D' Shift 

[Ed:  Thanks Greg - you appear to have a wealth of goodies there!  I will write under separate cover this weekend]


From: John Holloway, Shrewsbury, UK
To: Dennis Martin, Woking, UK
Date: 17 Feb 2003 01:17
Subject: Memories

Hi Dennis

Great to see you have joined the UKMAMS OBA. How about telling the lads about that monstrosity of a weight and balance machine at Lyneham. I’m sure that a few of the older members will recall it if you just jog their memories.

I find that reading memories of some of the others it jogs my memory as it did some time ago when the Case-Vac Ramp was mentioned by Jack Riley and I remembered I’d got a photo of the one at Mauripur and that is now on the Images 1950’s page.

Cheers for now

John Holloway


From: Dennis Martin, Woking, UK
Date: John Holloway, Shrewsbury, UK
Subject: Re: Memories

Hi John, 

I have sent a profile to Tony that included the 'facit' monster but it hasn't appeared with my pictures yet - could I have sent it to the wrong e-mail address? - since then my monster the 'computer' crashed and I will have to start again with pictures etc - I did send some to Jim Aitken - do you keep in touch with him? 



[Ed:  I never did get that additional e-mail Dennis, and I look forward to receiving it...]


From: Charles Collier, Marlborough, UK
Date: 17 Feb 2003 17:00
Subject: Malta/Libya 1963

Hello Tony 

This story carries on from the one I told about me, as a corporal airframe fitter, going to 103 MU, Nicosia to repair a Canberra B (1) 8. 

Well, we departed RAF Lyneham in a Handley Page Hastings of Transport Command. Our first stop was Malta - for a night stop. In those days Malta was a very busy garrison island. Everybody wore uniform and on the rather notorious street known as 'The Gut' a tripartite military police patrol regularly kept an eye on service men enjoying themselves too much!

Well, not to be deterred we arrived at a bar half way down the street on the left hand side. The beer was flowing and after a short time a floor show commenced. The production left a little to be desired but those who had not had too much to drink noticed that the dancing girls were not wearing knickers! Mind you they were not the sort of girls you would take home to introduce to your parents!

Our party was about ten in number with one rather wet behind the ears corporal - NOT ME! What happened was that the floor show degenerated into the girls coming into the audience, whereupon one girl came up to our corporal, took his beret off, lifted her skirt, and wiped the inside of his beret between her legs and gave it back to him in basin form. He could not countenance this action in his drunken stupor and thereupon vomited right into it! We had to leave taking him with us and avoid the tripartite police patrols!

Therefore, if the situation is going to get out of control - make sure you are with friends!

Next week - what happened at RAF El Adem, Libya

many regards



Two elderly women were out driving in a large car - both could barely see over the dashboard. As they were cruising along, they came to an intersection. The stoplight was red, but they just went on through. The woman in the passenger seat thought to herself, "I must be losing it. I could have sworn we just went through a red light". 

After a few more minutes, they came to another intersection and the light was red again. Again, they went right through. The woman in the passenger seat was almost sure that the light had been red but was really concerned that she was losing it. She was getting nervous and decided to pay very close attention to the road and the next intersection. 

At the next intersection, sure enough, the light was red and they went on through. So, she turned to the other woman and said, "Mildred, did you know you went three red lights in a could have killed us both!" 

Mildred turned to her and said, "Oh sh*t, am I driving?"


From: John Bell, Cairns Qld., Australia
Date: 19 Feb 2003 18:42
Subject: Compassion

Advice from a retired man

It is important for men to remember that as women grow older it becomes harder for them to maintain the same quality of housekeeping they did when they were younger. When men notice this, they should try not to yell. Let me relate how I handle the situation.

When I chucked my job and took early retirement a year ago, it became necessary for Nancy to get a full-time job both for extra income and for the health insurance benefits that we need. She was a trained lab tech when we met thirty some years ago and was fortunate to land a job at the local medical centre. It was shortly after she started working at this job that I noticed that she was beginning to show her age.

I usually get home from fishing or hunting about the same time she gets home from work. Although she knows how hungry I am, she almost always says that she has to rest for half an hour or so before she starts supper. I try not to yell at her when this happens. Instead, I tell her to take her time. I understand that she is not as young as she used to be. I just tell her to wake me when she finally does get supper on the table.

She used to wash and dry the dishes as soon as we finished eating. It is now not unusual for them to sit on the table for several hours after supper. I do what I can by reminding her several times each evening that they aren't cleaning themselves. I know she appreciates this, as it does seem to help her get them done before she goes to bed.

Our washer and dryer are in the basement. When she was younger, Nancy used to be able to go up and down the stairs all day and not get tired. Now that she is older she seems to get tired so much more quickly. Sometimes she says she just can't make another trip down those steps. I don't make a big issue of this. As long as she finishes up the laundry the next evening I am willing to overlook it. Not only that, but unless I need something ironed to wear to the Monday's lodge meeting or to Wednesday's or Saturday's poker club or to Tuesday's or Thursday's bowling or something like that, I will tell her to wait until the next evening to do the ironing. This gives her a little more time to do some of those odds and ends, things like shampooing the dog, vacuuming, or dusting. Also, if I've had a really good day fishing, this allows her to gut and scale the fish at a more leisurely pace.

Nancy is starting to complain a little occasionally. Not often, mind you, but just enough for me to notice. For example, she will say that it is difficult for her to find time to pay the monthly bills during her lunch hour. In spite of her complaining, I continue to try to offer encouragement. I tell her to stretch it out over two or even three days, that way she won't have to rush so much. I also remind her that missing lunch completely now and then wouldn't hurt her any, if you know what I mean.

When doing simple jobs she seems to think she needs more rest periods than she used to have to take. A couple of weeks ago she said she had to take a break when she was only half finished mowing the yard. I overlook comments like these because I realise it's just age talking. In fact, I try to not embarrass her when she needs these little extra rest breaks. I tell her to fix herself a nice, big, cold glass of freshly squeezed lemonade and just sit for a while. I tell her that as long as she is making one for herself, she may as well make one for me and take her break by the hammock so she can talk with me until I fall asleep.

I could go on and on, but I think you know where I'm coming from. I know that I probably look like a saint in the way I support Nancy on a daily basis. I'm not saying that the ability to show this much consideration is easy. Many men will find it difficult. Some will find it impossible. No one knows better than I do how frustrating women can become as they get older.

My purpose in writing this is simply to suggest that you make the effort. I realise that achieving the exemplary level of showing consideration I have attained is out of reach for the average man.

However guys, even if you just yell at your wife a little less often because of this article, I will consider that writing it was worthwhile.

[Ed: This article was found next to the author's body. The cause of death is still under investigation.]


From: Steven Swatton
To: Jack Riley, Urangan Qld., Australia
Date: 18 Feb 2003 08:28
Subject: Iian Rees Llewellyn Jones


The above was in service at many of the places mentioned in your web site, he is sadly now deceased and sorely missed.

He was a navigator reaching the rank of squadron leader when he retired and undertook the first in flight refueling of the Belfast,

Did you ever come across him ?

I am his daughter's partner of 21 years 




From: Jack Riley, Urangan Qld., Australia
To: Steven Swatton
Date: 18 Feb 2003 18:20
Subject: Re: Iian Rees Llewellyn Jones

Dear Stephen,

Thank you for writing to me. Although Iian's name is familiar to me I cannot place him. I'm sure you will understand that in 21 years one meets a lot of people.

However all is not lost. I am forwarding your letter to our webmaster who will, I am sure, ask around.

If you happen to know which Squadron(s) Iian served with we may do even better because most have extensive squadron records and some even have their own websites.

Moreover if Iian served in Changi I can put you in touch with the RAF Changi Association who may also be able to help.

Meanwhile my personal condolences to your partner. Do not hesitate to write if I can be of further help.


Jack Riley


From: Ian Envis, Crowborough, UK
Date: 19 Feb 2003 17:04
Subject: Help!


I am useless with 'puters and need help to URGENTLY communicate with Keith Parker in Oman.

In essence a very good friend in commercial aviation is mounting some civil airlift into the region - for obvious reasons, and needs help about Thumrait (a.k.a. Midway in the days of the Seeb Roulemonts!!).

I remember Keith was with DynCorp in Masirah and maybe can help.

Following assist required:

(a) Any chance of forwarding this email and/or providing Keith's contact.

(b) Telling me how to get into the OBAs site?

Best Regards  


p.s. I really look forward to my Friday dose of Muppet stories.... 


From: Ian Envis, Crowborough, UK
Date: 20 Feb 2003 05:00
Subject: Re: Help!


Your reply was very much appreciated.

I have just spoken to Keith and it brought back memories for me with Delta and Don Hunter with Kilo Team (KP was his hit man!) and our days at Bramble Cottage.

Anyway, the web page opened this a.m. using the address you have also shown in the email - finger trouble obviously.

Be in touch.....

Cheers Ian

[Ed:  This is awesome and perhaps scary stuff....  think about it...  There's this guy wanting detailed info about Thumrait in order to mount an operational airlift...  just happens to be a friend of Ian.... So, Ian knows that Keith is in Oman, and is also a member of the OBA.....    Before you know it there are telephone conversations between Oman and the UK....  Would/could not have happened if it wasn't for the OBA and the power of the Internet!!] 


From: Ken Wright, Liverpool, UK
Date: 19 Feb 2003 20:42
Subject: The Ferrari F1 Gag


I do hope the guy from Bootle was having a laugh. I was born in Toxteth prior to the riots in the eighties and we have had a bad press ever since, but if we cant have a laugh nowadays what is going on?

Most groups of people are denigrated in some way at sometime so why not laugh it off? The thought of four of us 'Scousers' pushing a re-badged Ferrari down a F1 pit lane certainly tickled my sick warped sense of humour.

Best wishes

Ken (non lager-swilling, white powder snorting, Scouser)

p.s. Hope the weather's not too bad

[Ed:  Thanks Ken, and also to Jim (first e-mail above) I feel a little better now.  Here in Ontario we missed the brunt of the big winter storm that hit the States as it stayed below the Great Lakes... it's still cold though, with night time temperatures in the -20's C.]


From Phil Clarke over there in Vienna....

Very proud to be British Because...

Only in Britain... can a pizza get to your house faster than an ambulance.

Only in Britain... do supermarkets make sick people walk all the way to the back of the shop to get their prescriptions while healthy people can buy cigarettes at the front.

Only in Britain... do people order double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a DIET coke.

Only in Britain... do banks leave both doors open and chain the pens to the counters.

Only in Britain... do we leave cars worth thousands of pounds on the drive and lock our junk and cheap lawn mower in the garage.

Only in Britain... do we use answering machines to screen calls and then have call waiting so we won't miss a call from someone we didn't want to talk to in the first place.

Only in Britain... are there disabled parking places in front of a skating rink.


3 Brits die each year testing if a 9v battery works on their tongue. 

142 Brits were injured in 1999 by not removing all pins from new shirts. 

58 Brits are injured each year by using sharp knives instead of screwdrivers.

31 Brits have died since 1996 by watering their Christmas tree while the fairy lights were plugged in.

19 Brits have died in the last 3 years believing that Christmas decorations were chocolate.

British Hospitals reported 4 broken arms last year after cracker pulling accidents.

101 people since 1999 have had broken parts of plastic toys pulled out of the soles of their feet.

18 Brits had serious burns in 2000 trying on a jumper with a lit cigarette in their mouth.

A massive 543 Brits were admitted to A&E in the last two years after opening bottles of beer with their teeth.

5 Brits were injured last year in accidents involving out of control Scalextric cars.

and finally...

In 2000 eight Brits cracked their skull whilst throwing up into the toilet.



Well, that's it for this week

Have a great weekend!

Best regards