The last aircraft has been confirmed for the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s 2017 Air Tattoo on February 25 and 26, with the Royal Air Force confirming it intends to send an Airbus A400M Atlas to the air show.
The air show promises to be one of the most exciting events of the summer and this latest confirmation completes the line-up.
An RAF spokes person said they were delighted to confirm the availability of the A400M. “We intend to send an A400M Atlas aircraft to take part in the static display at the Royal New Zealand Air Force 80th Anniversary Tattoo, barring any short-notice operational requirements or unforeseen circumstances,” the spokes person said.
Ohakea Base Commander Group Captain Nick Olney said the latest confirmation would thrill aircraft enthusiasts around the country who attended the two-day festival of military aircraft. “It is great to have this last piece of the puzzle confirmed for our air show. We are very pleased to have the RAF share this fabulous event with us. We know the A400M Atlas will be a very popular aircraft with the public and our own Air Force personnel."
Other confirmed militaries are the Republic of Singapore Air Force, Royal Canadian Air Force, New Caledonia Armed Forces, US Air Force and Japan Air Self-Defense Force.
“We will also have all the RNZAF aircraft out to show to the public and give demonstrations. It’s going to be an action-packed air show to celebrate our 80th anniversary,” Group Captain Olney said. “I want to remind people that they will not be able to drive up and buy a ticket at the gate on the day, so they need to buy their tickets early to avoid disappointment. This is also to help alleviate any traffic issues.”
Tickets are limited for the 2017 Air Tattoo and are on sale through Ticketek.
From: Brian Harper, Glenwood NL Subject: Fred Moffitt's Funeral
Good evening Tony,
I attended Fred Moffitt's Funeral at St Martin's Cathedral, Gander. There was a Guard of Honour provided by 103 Search and Rescue Squadron, RCAF, plus there were lots more 9 Wing personnel in attendance. Everyone was invited to the wake at the Gander Masonic Hall following the service.
"The Moffitt and Manning families wish to acknowledge and sincerely thank each and every one for the overwhelming love and support conveyed to all of us throughout Fred's Journey. We will be forever grateful."
Tanks too heavy to fly in one piece
Weighing up to 42 tons, the army’s new Ajax reconnaissance tank is more than three times the weight of its predecessor, the Scimitar.
That makes it far too heavy for the RAF’s new transport plane, the A400M Atlas, which can carry up to 25 tons. The Ajax is also twice the payload of the RAF’s workhorse airlifter, the C-130 Hercules.
With only eight Boeing C-17 heavy lifters, capable of carrying 75 tons, in operation, Ajax tanks cannot be deployed rapidly by air in big numbers. Instead, the tank will have to be partially dismantled - using a crane to remove its five-ton armoured side plates - before being flown in the A400M.
This Airbus aircraft has its own troubled history, including gearbox issues and cracks in its fuselage. Britain is buying 22, part of a £2.75bn deal.
Peter Quentin, land warfare expert at the Royal United Services Institute think tank, called the Ajax “a very substantial vehicle. We would not be able to deploy it in significant numbers using the RAF’s eight C-17s,” he said. “The readiness of the strike brigades will be compromised if their Ajax vehicles just sit in Catterick and Salisbury Plain.”
The Ajax has its roots in a 1990s project known as the future rapid effect system to replace the Scimitar light tank. The Scimitar, a capable but outdated tank that entered service in 1971, has served in conflicts including Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan.
In 2014, ministers signed a £3.5bn contract for the American defence giant General Dynamics to build 589 Scout tanks - later renaming them the Ajax.
The Sunday Times
From: Thomas Iredale, Heidelberg Subject: AW: UKMAMS OBA OBB #012717
It was indeed good to see the response you got about Sharjah and you put it all together very nicely… and the memories rolled!
Reading Duncan’s reply, I believe he was probably party to plonking Les Nelson’s Mini-Moke in the Cloisters!
From: Syd Avery, Guardamar del Segura, Alicante Subject: Newsletter 12717
Antonio, Dear Boy,
Greetings from a chilly and winter-fuel-allowance-less Spain, to remark on notes by Frank Holmes and Harry Jones.
The Masirah jetty was thumped by a RCT boat and the repair kit for it, as Frank writes, was flown by Belfast from Sharjah. The firm responsible for the work was Mothercat. This led to the question after the event whenever a weight was mentioned "Is that a Mothercat pound?" I think it was the pound/kilo mix up syndrome. It took two shuttles to take all the gear to Masirah. On our first attempt out of Akrotiri to Sharjah, the right wheelie things would not retract, so a quick about turn to Akrotiri. That delayed us for 4 days, or maybe that was due to flow at Akrotiri, not sure. Oh, and I got my hat back, Frank.
No, Harry, tis not I behind the bass drummer. Seems a fine figure of a chappie. I was not so well proportioned then... Maybe now! But I do pound the bass drum for the Torrevieja Pipes and Drums. My only attempt at fancy dress is as per attached piccies. Kilt, entitled Jock antecedents. Green thingy for carrying the Paso in the Torrevieja Easter Parades, no bonnets, and Santa.
Q? Does one have to be a Squadron Leader to Captain an A400M Grizzly?
Saludos y Muchas Gracias, Matey.
NZDF delivers thousands of textbooks to Fiji schools
The New Zealand Defence Force has delivered more than three tonnes of textbooks to Fiji high schools, which were damaged by last year's category-five Cyclone Winston.
An Air Force Hercules aircraft flew over almost 11,000 donated books, which included English, maths, chemistry, physics and biology textbooks, for Year 10 to 13 students.
Air Commodore Darryn Webb said Fiji was a close neighbour of New Zealand's and the Defence Force is always ready to assist the country in emergency situations. The Fiji Association in Auckland donated the books to Fiji's Ministry of Education for cyclone-damaged schools.
The books will help restock many school libraries in Fiji's two main islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. The Defence Force conducted a seven-week humanitarian mission to Fiji in the aftermath of Cyclone Winston, which caused widespread destruction.
From: Paul Newman, Newmarket Subject: VC10 Haynes Manual
If anyone wants a very interesting read they might consider the new Haynes VC10 Workshop Manual. The author, Keith Wilson, is a friend and well known in the air photography / aircraft publication world.
He asked me to write a paragraph on Operation Haze, in which I took part, transporting The Duchess of Windsor's coffin in 1986. I've made sure the Movers get a mention and Keith had access to old classified files which make very interesting reading.
We nearly had multi-role variants, other than our beloved Trooper / Freighter / Casevac / Tanker/ Air-Launched Ballistic Missile Carrier / HE Bomber and Maritime Reconnaisance. This book will bring back a lot of fond memories for a lot of Movers.
Thanks Tony for continuing to produce such a great publication each month.
A400M Painting Process
Check out the Royal Air Force A400M painting process at the painting workshop, Seville:
As some of you may be aware, the RAF Heraldry Trust is aiming to catalogue the heraldic badges for every RAF unit (squadrons, stations, regiments, etc.) both past and present, a total of some 1,300 approved badges. The exercise is being funded by individuals sponsoring specific badges. You may wish to be aware that the collection will now include the UKMAMS badge.
For each of the badges, two copies are being repainted onto goatskin parchment paper using gold leaf and gouache paints which have an excellent resistance to fading. One copy will be added to the collection held at College Hall library, RAF Cranwell on behalf of the Trust and one for the sponsor. The aim is to complete as much of the collection as possible in time for the RAF’s 100th birthday in April 2018, and this part of the collection will be published to coincide with the Anniversary.
Having only recently found out about the initiative, a check of the Trust’s web site highlighted that UKMAMS was not shown either as included or waiting for a sponsor. So I emailed the Trustees asking what about the exclusion of RAF Squadron which has probably seen the most operational deployments in the last 50 years since it was formed in 1966. This produced a prompt and positive response from Ken Delve, Historian and Trustee, confirming that the UKMAMS badge (approved in 1973) had not been sponsored, but the Trust would be more than happy for me to sponsor this badge; I was happy to do so on behalf of colleagues, old, bald and still serving!
In addition to recording the sponsor’s name, the record can include a dedication, provided it is not too long. This can be to an individual, such as a relative who had a connection with the unit. I chose, "Dedicated to all movers who served, still serve and will serve, First In and Last Out”.
The cost of sponsorship was £125 and in addition to my own badge, apparently there is a reduction on the book of the collective squadron badges when it is published next year.
The Trust still has many badges to complete and is looking for sponsors; details are on the web site www.rafht.co.uk. Some of these may be well known to many Old Bods. For example, when I last checked, UK stations available included: Halton, Locking, Thorney Island, and Wyton, and overseas Decimomannu, Labuan, Luqa and Salalah.
The RAF operational flying units are pretty well covered. However, of interest to colonial Old Bods may be the many 400 series squadrons still available where a sponsorship could dedicate a badge to a relative who flew with one of these units in WWII. These included the following squadrons: RCAF: 402, 403, 404, 405, 406, 407, 408, 410, 411, 412, 413, 415, 416, 419, 420, 421, 422, 423, 424, 425, 426, 427, 428, 429, 431, 432, and 437; RAAF: 450, 453, 455, and 461; and RNZAF: 487, 488, 489, and 490.
And even if not interested in sponsorship, the Trust’s web site, www.rafht.co.uk, is well worth a visit.
David Powell, F Team 1967-69
From: Kev (Koslowski-) Smith, St Neots, Cambs Subject: RAF Benson Station History
Just a quick dip into history & noted that the RAF Benson page needs updating! I suppose I should have done it whilst I was the SNCO ic MSF... Who is there now?
I'm sure I speak for all past, current and future members of the squadron when I say, "Thank you David!"
Benson is not the only station history that needs updating - I would welcome volunteers to place fingers to keyboards in that respect - every little helps!
Great British Sunday Lunch - Sunday 2 April 2017
Get your family and friends together for a Great British Sunday Lunch and raise money to support the RAF family. Request your free Sunday lunch kit today by clicking on the logo above - it's packed with hints, tips and inspiration to help you enjoy your Great British Sunday Lunch!
From: David Forsyth, Le Langon 85370 Subject: Out of the Blue
Hello to all,
Over the last few years, three of my Cranwell chums have compiled collections of short anecdotes relating to the RAF, mostly, but not exclusively, about flying. The two collections: "Out of the Blue" and, very imaginatively, "Out of the Blue Too" may be bought from Amazon or from the RAF Benevolent Fund at https://shop.rafbf.org/collections/books. All revenues, not just profits, go to Armed Forces Charities.
Following is an excerpt of a message I had received from Dim Jones, one of the 3 Musketeer editors, which covers the success of the collection of anecdotes. I repeat that whilst mostly the stories are about flying, that is not exclusive. They have even accepted yarns from this “Blanket-Stacker”.
"We have now passed the £50,000 mark in donations to the charities, due in no small part to the efforts, penmanship and underhanded sales tactics of our many contributors and supporters.
"As regards the third edition - OOTB3, we are on track, aiming for publication in time to meet the 2017 Christmas market."
Please share the appeal to purchase these wonderful collections with your network of friends.
RAF airlift assistance for French counter-insurgency ops in Africa
A crew from the RAF’s Number 99 Squadron have been assisting French troops in sub-Saharan Africa by delivering supplies to the Operation Barkhane counter-insurgency efforts in Niger by C-17 Globemaster III.
The Aircraft delivered several pallets of cargo to Niamey airport in Niger, helping to keep the 3,000 strong French forces supplied during their ongoing efforts against Islamist insurgents, the Royal Air Force said on 10 February.
Operation Barkhane is a long-running French anti-insurgent operation that started in August 2014 with the aim of assisting the African G5 nations against terrorist organisations including Al-Mourabitoun, AQIM (al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb) and Ansar Dine.
In March 2016, during the UK-France Summit in Paris, UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon announced the provision of monthly strategic airlift support in the form of C-17 flights picking up freight from France and delivering it to the sub-Saharan region.
The French force in Africa consists of around 4,000 troops operating alongside 200 armoured vehicles, 20 helicopters, six fighter jets and three unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) as well as logistical supply in-theatre being provided by two German C-160s. The main focus is in Mali, Chad, Niger and the Ivory Coast with some special forces in Burkina Faso with operations across the region being coordinated from N’Djamena and Niamey for supply and intelligence purposes.
Captain Guillaume Courot, Armee de l’air/French Air Force media representative in Niger said, “The fight against violent extremist organisations is an on-going effort that will require global collaboration if we are to succeed.”
“Op Barkhane is a prime example of two allied countries providing resources to maximum effect in the support of our allies in Africa through a mixture of medical, diplomatic, economic and military assistance.”
Flight Lieutenant Sven Meldrum, No. 99 Squadron pilot of Op Barkhane’s C-17, said, “The Op Barkhane tasking is tremendously important and highlights the importance of the RAF’s strategic heavy lift capabilities on a global scale. Working alongside the French on bi-lateral logistic capabilities reinforces the strong relationship we enjoy with them. It is extremely rewarding for us as operators and we continue to support our allies in this critical mission against sub-Saharan insurgency
Milestone! Aircrew lands the first CC-177 Globemaster in Hall Beach, Nunavut
On 11 Feb, 429 Transport Squadron, from 8 Wing Trenton, conducted the first-ever landing in Hall Beach, Nunavut with a CC-177 Globemaster III.
Hall Beach is a remote settlement just 69 km south of Igloolik on the shores of the Northwestern Passage.
This milestone highlights the reach and capability of the airframe to operate in northern regions on semi-prepared runways; something in which Canada excels.
Royal Canadian Air Force
From: John Guy, Northampton Subject: RAF Fanara
I have had a response from Arthur Taylor regarding RAF Fanara. He was at RAF EL Hamara & 107MU Kasfareet at the same time, both of which are more or less next door to Fanara, but read on!
We both know one another as we were on the Supply Squadron Akrotiri together. Not only that, apparently I am one of the members of staff on his Movements Course photograph. How about that then?
I took No. 101 Senior Air Movements Course in November 1968 and then I did my first tour at the Movements School as an instructor from August 1969 to 1973, then from August 1975 to January 1978, when I was first an Instructor & latterly a Trade Tester.
As a matter of interest, if you ever passed through RAF Hereford 1967 - 1969 I might have been your Supply Instructor!
From: Artur Taylor, Newcastle under Lyme, Staffs Subject: Movements School, RAF Abingdon, Photo
I was surprised to see that John Guy had been in touch, great news! That is what the OBA is all about, eh?
The career paths of John and I had passed many times, but the only one time we were actually together and knew of each other, and photographed was when I was on No. 1 Advanced Movements Controller course at Abingdon in February 1972 and John was one of the Staff at the school.
The January Newsletter was great Tony, and I am pleased to see we have, among others, Chick Hatch in the fold, and there are also many names I recognise from our Abingdon/Lyneham days.
Rgds to you,
Arthur is back row 6th from left and John is front row 1st left
Memories of RAF Gütersloh
Following the withdrawal by the Royal Air Force in 1993, the base became a British Army Garrison, called the Princess Royal Barracks, Gütersloh, a base for British Army helicopters, and Royal Logistic Corps Regiments. In September 2016 the final Soldiers left Princess Royal Barracks for the last time. The barracks are now empty with no clear plan for its future.
From: Richard Lloyd, Dalgety Bay, Fife Subject: Memories of RAF Gütersloh
RAF Gütersloh, was a Royal Air Force Germany military airfield, the nearest Royal Air Force airfield to the East/West German border, in the vicinity of the town of Gütersloh. It was constructed by the Germans prior to World War II. The station was captured by the Americans in April 1945 and was handed over to the RAF in June 1945 as Headquarters No. 2 Group RAF.
The tower of the Officers' Mess contains a room known as Göring's Room. Legend has it that Hermann Göring used this room to relive his wartime exploits with the new generation of flyers. Reportedly a favourite expression of his was, "If I should lie, may the beam above my head crack". In response to this a junior officer arranged that the beam be sawn through and, by a system of pulleys, that the beam should appear to crack in response to the Reichmarschall's challenge. The restored mechanics still allow the 'trick' to be employed and we certainly know that the original pre-dates British occupancy.
Excerpts from "We were Cold War Warriors" By Richard (Dick) Lloyd - OC SCAF RAF Gütersloh 1970 - 1973
I arrived at RAF Gütersloh in the Spring of 1970, taking over from Dennis Collins and reporting to Sqn Ldr Doug Carr. My colleague as OC TSF was Roger Cresswell, who not only ran the stores, but also a rail line, known as "Roger's Railway".
The Station Commander was Gp Capt Keith Williamson, later MRAF Sir Keith. He had a big personality to match the very considerable responsibility of commanding the RAF station nearest the East German border, with 2 squadrons of Hunters (2 & 4), 2 squadrons of Lightnings (19 & 92), a squadron of Wessex (18), and an RAF Regiment squadron (37).
Initially and briefly, I was a 'liver-in', in the Officers' Mess. During this period, Martin Henderson contacted me to say he was on his way to Berlin and would be calling in. It happened that there was a Sergeants' Mess trip to Copenhagen, and we both went; all either of us can remember was that we went on the ferry from Travemünde to Gedser. I expect we had a great time!
I managed to find a hiring in Spexard West, and was joined by my pregnant wife, Joy, before moving into our married quarter at Hägestraße 73, on the 'bottom patch'. (The 'top patch' being right opposite the base, rather than the couple of km away that we were).
Our neighbours rapidly became friends, in particular Ronnie & Graham Ordish, Graham being an air trafficker, and still a friend today. There was much to-ing and fro-ing between denizens of the OMQs, and I recall the main topics of conversation were: 1. How to light the central heating boiler. 2. How to keep it alight. 3. How many equivalent crossings of the Atlantic were performed by stoking the boiler in a 3-year tour of duty. The said OMQs were really very nice, with cellars the whole size of the house, which some turned into underground bars, discos and similar dives.
Mention of the bar reminds me that the RAF Gütersloh Officers' Mess bars were legendary. It should be said here that the base had been built by the Luftwaffe in the 1930s, and the Mess had some unique features. The upstairs bar was pretty standard, a largish room off the ante-room, serving draught Warsteiner (then just a rather unpopular local brew), but mainly bottles of Amstel or Heineken.
Officers' Mess RAF Gütersloh - Göring's room at the top of the tower on the right
The Keller Bar - the place to be for a Happy Hour!
The Honkertorium - porcelain sink with straining bars
"If I tell a lie, may the beam above my head bend!" - Hermann Göring -
There was another, unofficial bar to which every new member of the Mess was invited in the early stages of their tour. This was Göring's room, at the top of the Mess tower. A tiny room, perhaps 3 or 4m square, with a wooden-beamed ceiling, it had a few seats, a view out on to the Mess lawn, and was decorated only by a photograph of Herman Göring in the inter-war years, before he became the bloated parody of WW2 days.
Apparently, there is an expression in German, or maybe it was Göring's own expression - 'if I tell a lie, may the beam above my head bend' (with a glance to the ceiling). At the climax of some story, it is said, Göring would nod to his aide de camp, who would pull a small ring set in a tiny hatch in the floor, and the central beam in the ceiling would 'break' in the middle, and drop two or three inches on its hinges. This mechanism all still worked. It was an eerie reminder that this base had had a longer history than we might have thought. Significant crates of Amstel were consumed in Göring's room.
However, the Keller Bar was the place to be for a happy hour. The loo was equipped with 2 'honking stations' - porcelain sinks with straining bars, should anyone be overcome with the need to make space for more beer, although I can honestly say I never saw these used in anger. It was accessed by a winding staircase.
Happy hours in the Keller Bar were typified by Hunter and Lightning pilots who were gesticulating agitatedly to describe how they had shot each other down earlier in the day. A wizard wheeze was to block the cellar drain and then flood the bar to ankle height. Many a happy hour was spent with wet feet and one's shoes tied round one's neck.
The lawn was the scene of licensed mayhem every New Year's Day, when there was a mixed hockey match, with no limit to the number of players either side. Injuries were frequent, but seemed to respond to the internal application of large amounts of beer.
Before I could really settle in to accounting for blankets, airframes and ground equipment, I was sent back to UK, to Winterbourne Gunner, to do a 3-week NBC Course to equip me for my main secondary duty as NBC Officer during real or exercise conflict. The 3 weeks were spent, I recall, mainly in a CS gas environment to encourage us in the use of 'noddy' suits and gas masks. Subsequently, Tacevals and Minevals became part of station life, and I'm happy to say, I think I acquitted myself well. Enough of this self praise. During my time in Germany, I was also Mess Entertainments Officer, and Officer i/c Secret and Confidential documents, neither of which was a walk in the park. It's impossible to please 300 officers with one's ideas of entertainment. And who can ever forget incorporating those amendments with pages marked 'This page unintentionally left blank'?
Doug Carr left for Harrogate, and was replaced briefly by someone who quickly PVRd. He, in turn was replaced by the quite wonderful Jim Shearer, one of the best bosses I ever had in the RAF. Jim was an ex-Mover, affable, kind, understanding, liked a pint and we got on really well. By this time I had become a father, our son Stuart being produced in BMH Rinteln, near Hanover. I also became proud godfather to Richard Ordish, son of Ronnie & Graham, born in Gütersloh Krankenhaus as Ronnie couldn't wait for transport to Rinteln.
Before our tour was up, we became parents again, to Andrew, while the Ordishes produced Sarah on their return to UK in 1971. As I write that date, I'm thinking it was a very long time ago yet it seems to me like yesterday. Gütersloh was amazing for the numbers of children produced, Graham has reminded me that the 'Mess snooker room was knee deep in carry cots on a Saturday night'.
A feature of life in RAFG was the large numbers of Courts Martial. Since military personnel were not tried by the civil authority except for major crimes like murder, every other offence, even small road accidents, were dealt with by Court Martial. This must have been hugely expensive, given that the Board of a Court Martial consisted of at least 5 officers. Personally, I attended Courts Martial as Officer under Instruction at Wildenrath or Brüggen at least 4 times in my 3 years in Germany.
Keith Williamson moved on, to be replaced by Gp Capt Mike Miller, but not before an AOC's parade at which I, and several other junior officers were referred to by the CO as 'stupidnumerary' officers, for our lack of ability to go to our intended complicated places on the parade ground.
The serious purpose for which our Lightnings were intended was the interception of intruding aircraft from the Soviet Bloc. To this end we had 2 aircraft 24/7 on Battle Flight, operating from a small hangar and facility on the South side of the airfield.
Battle Flight was scrambled frequently for both practise and real potential airspace intrusions. I apologise in advance to John Spencer for telling the story about how he scrambled from Battle Flight, and in the heat of the moment, forgot to close his canopy. Oops! In 3 years we never lost any base aircrew, and only one Lightning - piloted by Pete Hitchcock of 92 Sqn, who got into an irrecoverable spin.
The Station Warrant Officer was known as the Sheriff. He rode everywhere on a bike with a Sheriff's badge on it. He was an old-style SWO. When the station flagpole was due to be painted, he organised for it to be dismantled, and indeed mantled back up again! When IV(AC) Sqn re-equipped with Harriers in 1970, a Hunter was carefully placed on the lawn in front of SHQ. There was a huge amount of engineering effort and ingenuity involved in doing this, lamp standards and other obstacles were temporarily moved to achieve it. Sadly however, it was not allowed to remain.
Now for the movements bit - sorry to have kept you Movers so long! On Thursday 27th July 1972, I had spent the day doing exciting SCAF things - signing hundreds of vouchers, visiting friends in 19 Sqn next door, getting ready for month-end accounting finalisation, wondering why I couldn't reconcile the stockholding of aerial photographic paper with our numbers: already the day had been gripping. Jim Shearer called me in. 'We're going to reinforce Northern Ireland. It's called Operation Motorman. You and I are seconded to Movements until it's over, and I'm flying to UK in a Lightning T4 to get briefed.' 'No time for a post-work beer then?' I jested.
I called home & explained I might be delayed for a bit, then reported to Sqn Ldr Tov Tovell, Gütersloh SAMO. From then until Sunday lunchtime, I have no accurate recall of what happened hour by hour, only that we handled a huge number of C130s, loading them with troops and palletised baggage, engines still running, throughout the next 60 hours. We snatched a little sleep. I got to bed on Sunday at 1400 and slept for 22 hours. This made me late for work in Supply Squadron on Monday, for which I got a serious bollocking. (That last sentence is not true.)
That was my last job as a Mover, and I have to say it was a great experience. Unofficially, I organised for my car and all my stuff to be shipped to UK on a Belfast, Mike Tingle became a Bristow chopper captain for some years and is now enjoying retirement in Perth, Australia. Graham Ordish has a very good job representing RAF Air Traffic interests with the Americans at Mildenhall, a job which he tells me stretches him frequently.
All in all, Germany was a great place to be. Next would come Harrogate and a serious provisioning job.
RAF Gütersloh scenery for Microsoft Flight Simulator FS2004 Volume I
From: Chris Briggs, Coventry, West Midlands Subject: Memories of RAF Gütersloh
I was working at Air Movements Gütersloh when there was a large exercise to reinforce the Army of the Rhine, it would have been sometime around 1984, but I'm not too sure of the date. The briefing was duly given prior to the exercise stating that we would be handling no more than two wide bodied aircraft an hour.
However as we all know nothing ever goes to plan, so during the full swing of the exercise my shift finished up with four, yes four wide bodied aircraft on the ground for a one hour turn around. If I remember correctly there were two 747's, one RAF Tristar and one 767 all full inbound but empty outbound. Easy you may think but with no extra manpower or extra handling equipment and a big thank you to all the guys on my shift we managed to do it and got them all away on time.
Another memory I have are the videos we used to put on for the passengers in the main lounge. You may guess, yes, one of them was "Airplane" where the aircraft crashed! I always liked it just to instill confidence in our aircraft for our Army friends!
I have many more memories from back then, but will leave it at just those two for now.
From: Tony Freeman, Thornhill, Dumfries Subject: Memories of RAF Gütersloh
Back in the Nineties, I took a party of Auxiliary Movers to Gütersloh for their annual two weeks training. One day, when there was not much happening air-side, it was suggested that a ride in a helicopter might relieve the boredom so I popped next door to the Helicopter Support Unit to enquire what the possibilities were for a flight. Imagine my surprise when I was told that if I went down to the Regiment Section, I might get a flight that very day!
I should have known! We trotted down to the rockery where were briefed that we were to draw weapons and take part in an air drop from a Puma, fight a mock battle and return in a Chinook - ideal air experience I thought. However, we were told that we were to transit from the Puma to Mother Earth by sliding down ropes! The trick was to trap the rope between the sole of one foot and the upper of the other, thus it acts as a brake to control the descent. You've guessed it, nice in theory but yours truly didn't manage this trick, thus he descended the rope rather more quickly than intended, neatly removing the skin from the fingers of both hands!
We fought the battle and duly returned by Chinook to Gütersloh where I reported to the Medical Centre to have my fingers cleaned, dressed and splinted. I was shown to a cubicle by two extremely attractive nurses when they closed the curtains, having told me that I would be attended to soon. They promptly forgot about me and proceeded to have a conversation on dieting and the relative loss of inches to their bottoms and breasts. There was I, sitting behind the curtain with two hands that were incapable of anything!
You can't make this stuff up!
RAF Gütersloh scenery for Microsoft Flight Simulator FS2004 Volume II (There is no sound on this video)
From: Kevin Stanger, Calgary, AB Subject: Memories of RAF Gütersloh
While I have many fond memories of Gutersloh this one should bring a few smiles.
One of the shift Warrant Officers (name withheld to protect the guilty) was on his way in to work. As he was walking through the car park he passed an officer. He swiftly saluted the officer who did not return the salute and walked on by. Slightly bemused at the lack of response the said WO continued on. No doubt wondering why the officer did not return the salute.
For those not familiar with the air terminal at Gutersloh the front was all glass, almost mirror like. As the WO walked his few steps in front of the terminal he saw his reflection. Shiny shoes, immaculately pressed uniform and to his shock and horror not his SD cap but his "trilby".
In true Mover fashion it went quietly - NOT!
Here is a photo of the offending trilby and owner - I only said I wouldn't name him 😉
From: Stephen Bird, Warrington, Cheshire Subject: Memories of RAF Gütersloh
I think the memory of Gutersloh which sticks in my mind the most of many is the following.
Picture the scenario -Tacival. At Gutersloh all the Sqns deployed into the field, both Harrier squadrons, the Chinooks and Pumas, this then left the defence of the RAF station down to the Movers amongst others left behind; the ultimate deterrent!
Myself and others were reported in for duty on nights at the Air Terminal only to be told to get our kit together as we were deploying to the area of the Officers' Mess to defend that side of the airfield from a force of Army guys playing the role of the enemy who had been helicoptered in.
We prepared ourselves for combat and off we marched to the front, only to be met by Chris Briggs and a few others heading towards us at speed with comments along the lines of, "You don't want to head up there, they're all nutters and everybody is getting a kicking!" I thought this sounds like fun!
However despite this we were encouraged to continue to advance by our leader the DAMO who may have been Andy Wilson, but I might be wrong. On arrival in the wooded area we were put into pairs and told to take up defensive positions facing the enemy. I was paired with big Tug Wilson, the DAMO told us to get into this trench and we obeyed his orders, by now the time was getting on a bit and it was very dark and cold, there had been very little or no action whatever. At this point we both agreed perhaps desertion, well for the night at least, would not be a bad choice.
We were positioned right at the back of the defensive line so we slithered out of our trench and effectively rolled in reverse until we got to the road by SHQ, we then quietly wandered back to the cellar/shelter in the barrack block set our alarms for 5am and snuggled down for the night.
We were awoken at 5am by our alarms and did all the above in reverse, followed the road past SHQ got on our bellies and slithered back to our defensive position feeling somewhat more refreshed than our compatriots. Shortly afterwards we were relieved by the day shift for the battle to recommence, we were thanked by the OIC for holding the ground overnight and despatched off to breakfast, followed by a good day's sleep. I am still waiting for my bravery medal!
RAF Gütersloh scenery for Microsoft Flight Simulator FS2004 Volume III
From: Arthur Taylor, Newcastle under Lyme, Staffs Subject: Memories of RAF Gutersloh
Small world this is - I was only talking about Gutersloh just last week. I was there in 1977 till July 1980. Firstly in Pax then the move to GAF Wunstorf in Load Control, then back to Gutersloh on completion of the runway repairs and rebuild of the new Air Terminal building. It was a great tour. The other half of the squadron operated the Britannia trooping schedule from Greven, (Munster/Osnabruck) civil airport.
Those there with me will remember my trips to Bournemouth to collect the presents for the kiddies Christmas party. There was the time we made a sleigh out of a baggage truck and got the captain of the resident Hercules to taxi around with Father Christmas on board, then drop him off onto the sleigh, engines running offload, this blew the cotton wool we had used as snow all over the hangar doors, but the kids loved it!
When I had first arrived at Gutersloh we were in a very leaky air terminal building, we all did our best to make it presentable for both ourselves and the many passengers, but we did have the occasional banter with them. I had an embarrassing situation on one shift, I was in the Pax Office and received a phone call for one the passengers on the Britannia flight to Luton. It was for Corporal of the Horse Guildford. I put out a Tannoy message, "Would Corporal of the Horse travelling to Guildford, or a Corporal taking a Horse to Guildford, please come to the Passenger Desk."
To my embarrassment, a soldier in uniform came to the desk, three stripes and a crown on his arm. I wanted the floor to open up, but I did sincerely apologise. I was then confronted by both the OC Pax and the SAMO. I said it was intentional passenger handling psychology; it relaxed those passengers who were afraid of flying!
We used to go out in our free time with the families to the Mohne Dam and other places of interest. I can't remember the name of the Nudist Camp we passed on one trip, but it was a real eye opener!
As mentioned earlier, my tour was interupted with the runway repairs at Gutersloh, and together with a Detachment Commander, WO Catering, myself, a Cpl Mover and a Cpl Policeman we moved to Neinburg. We were the continuity staff af GAF Wunstorf and were accommodated in army married quarters. There was a weekly shift pattern from Gutersloh, and on the whole, I think we were well looked after. We had our own mess facilities in the old Sergeant's Mess. It was previously RAF Wunstorf, a place I had visited many times in my AQM days. Back then it was a combined Officers/SNCO's Mess, with waitress service (just happened to be my wife Kath, she was an RAF trained Silver Service Waitress, and previously worked at the Officers Messes at South Cerney, Brize and Gutersloh. It is now nearly 6 years since she passed on, and I know many of the OBA will remember her).
Whilst at Wunstorf, I was selected as one of the Instructors for the Corporal's Management courses at RAF Gatow (Berlin), a journey I did 3 times on the Troop Train to Berlin. The course also included a guided tour of Berlin, which was very interesting. Again, another unit I had visited many times in my AQM days, but rarely went downtown.
There were also trips back down to Gutersloh. On one occasion, along with the Det Cdr, we had been to Gutersloh, and on the journey back to Wunstorf we were confronted by a very big freezing rainstorm. The minibus froze, came to halt, and the German Politzi closed the Autobahn. At daylight we thawed out and were able to continue to Wunstorf where found that all the staff had taken shelter in the Combined Mess. There was another occasion when we were snowed in at Neinburg and again the Politzi had closed all the roads.
We eventually moved back down to Gutersloh where we had a nice new Air Terminal, opened officially by C-in-C RAF Germany. I was still in Load Control and quite looking forward to coming home to the UK, but was asked if I would agree to an extension of my tour for 6 additional months, which I did, and really enjoyed the tour.
I haven't mentioned any names of those I was with because I think we were all good friends, and really enjoyed each others company. I am still in touch with many of them, exchanging Xmas cards and e-mails.
(Before I go, must mention that I was one the crew of a Beverley that put the ruts in the sand runway at RAF Sharjah. We didn't sink in but take-off was delayed for quite some time.)
From: Thomas Iredale, Heidelberg Subject: Memories of RAF Gütersloh
Ah, Gütersloh! Went there twice, but never as a Mover. I can’t remember why I was there the first time, it was during my time as OC SCAF at RAF Wildenrath, maybe mid-1972 and only for a one-night stop. Anyhow, I went to bed in the Officers’ Mess and was woken up by what I thought was an express train barrelling through my room - it was a Lightning from 19 Sqn taking off around 6 am directly overhead!
Still at Wildenrath around late 1972, the second time was with my family - at that time, wife and a 2 year-old daughter and one on the way. We went to visit my friend, Chris Ranasinghe and his wife, Jo and daughter Jessica and stayed with them for a long weekend. He and I were both on the same EOTS and Movers’ courses together. We flew up from Wildenrath (how I no longer recall) and instead of landing in Gütersloh, we were diverted to Hannover for some reason. This cost me a taxi fare to the base, which didn’t please me too much, as you may well understand.
The time we spent with them was extremely pleasant and we heard the legend of the Göring room and moving the cows on the airfield (I will leave this to someone else to elaborate). What I didn’t know, was that my old friend Dick Lloyd was also there as OC SCAF.
Sadly, Chris Ranasinghe died in 2013.
From: Tony Gale, Gatineau, QC To: Tom Iredale, Heidelberg Subject: RE: Memories of RAF Gütersloh
Many thanks, but what a small, small world we are living in. You were surprised to learn that Dick Lloyd was OC SCAF at Gütersloh and I was just as surprised, and saddened, to read your comments about Chris Ranasinghe.
I had been working at Mov Ops in Whitehall as Clerk to MovOps1, who at that time was John Wilkinson (he had followed me around from OC 3 Squadron Boy Entrants at Hereford when I joined in ’63, then my first posting was to Wittering where he was OC Supply, and later as my immediate boss in London). Anyway, long story longer…
From London I went to Kai Tak and secured a spot in Task Plans (Barry Simon was my boss there). I was volunteered to co-ordinate the Far East gathering of the Victoria and George Cross recipients, where they were using Hong Kong as the hub for onwards travel to the UK for a reunion in 1976. So my responsibility was to meet and greet, having arranged their hotel accommodations in HKG, and provide them with assistance where necessary.
Who should come out to HKG to assist me… none other than Chris Ranasinghe, who was the current MovOps1. What a lovely down-to-earth chap. Although I was only a corporal at the time and he a Sqn Ldr, he insisted I call him Chris when we were in private - which was the first time any “Rodney” (serving officer) had invited me to do so! He enjoyed his Scotch and we shared a few bottles whilst he was there, I think it might have been Glenfiddich, but I can’t be sure.
From: Steve Munday, Woodhall Spa, Lincs Subject: Memories of RAF Gütersloh
I was posted to RAF Gutersloh and served on the Air Movements Sqn from July 84 to June 87. A very happy 3 years was spent there as it was the place where I met my wife and we also got married there. Indeed the wedding ceremony took place in supposedly what was Göring's Room. Legend has it that Hermann Göring used the room to relive his wartime exploits with the new generation of flyers.
Certainly, we had some great times, even when on deployment with the Harrier Force!
I am looking forward to other stories from the guys that were stationed there, no doubt they will bring back other great memories too.
All the best
From: Graham Allen, Nottingham Subject: RAF Gutersloh
One of the funniest times I had at Gutersloh was one particular time on day pax and we were checking in soldiers of the Black Watch and their families who were returning to Tidworth. Ken Felton and I noticed that an awful lot the wives were pregnant. Knowing that you could only have so many per flight we spoke to Keith Davies, our WO, and he said the best thing we could do would to be get the ATLO staff to find out their confinement dates then we could alter flights if we had to.
The ATLO Sgt, clipboard in hand, duly went down the queues collecting dates. He got towards the end of the second queue and asked this rather large lady what her expected date was only to get a very swift uppercut to the chin! "Ya cheeky bas...d, I am no pregnant!" Whoops!
We picked up said Sgt and carried him back to his office to recover! One of the many fun days on the pax section.
From: Clive Price, Brecon Subject: Memories of RAF Gutersloh
I only went to Gutersloh once. While on UKMAMS we took part in a brutal exercise in Southern Germany and afterwards we drove to Gutersloh to await a flight home.
Once there I went to bed and only woke up at meal times, ate and then went back to bed. After 17 hours I felt very hungry and went off to find the NAAFI. Three cheese rolls later I fancied a beer or three.
At the bar I met an airman I knew from early on in my career. His name was Pete Thorne. He was a very green ex Boy Entrant at the start of man's service. He looked on me as an elder statesman (I was only 22 at the time). He asked me to teach him to drink and so I started him on small bottles of brown ales and worked up to pints and shorts. We drank for three hours and I was under the table as they say. Pete went off to a cafe/bar outside the camp gate to eat and carry on drinking. I never saw him again.
Here's an odd little story about Gutersloh - there was a five pound fine for setting foot on the grass. One day an officer's wife walked her dog over the lawn outside Station Headquarters. The following day her husband was asked to present a cheque to the CO for ten pounds!
Taff Price F Team Abingdon 1966- 70
From: David Stevens, Bangor Subject: Memories of RAF Gutersloh
RAF Gutersloh - 1966-68.
I was posted to RAF Gutersloh in May 1966, straight from RAF Abingdon following my tour on UKMAMS.
My arrival interview was not what I expected; the CO gave me a right rocket about the state of my 'battered' SD hat which I wore with such (immature and false) pride. After all I had worn that hat all over the world and on some fairly 'hairy' missions. The CO was not the slightest bit impressed. This clueless young Flying Officer had to be brought into line. He was.
My posting was as OC Technical Supply. My OC Supply was no bother at all, but there again, he had been in post for some time and probably had a good idea what was about to befall Flg. Off. Stevens. I was also responsible for Barrack Stores but I was wise enough to leave it to the crusty old German civilian in charge and who was the Barrack Warden.
RAF Gutersloh was also an air trooping centre with a decent sized air movements section.
Squadrons on base at the time: No 19 Sqn. Lightnings, No 18 Sqn. Wessex Helicopters and No 4 Sqn. Hunters. I qualified for my 1,000 mph club membership and tie in a 19 Sqn. Lightning - the pilot was a friend Flg. Off. John Rigby.
A few of us hit Hamburg 'a glancing blow' on several riotous weekends; the female mud wrestling was one of the highlights. There were others!
Our accommodation comprised barrack block living but the rooms were on suite. Bought my first ever new car - Renault; the pilots had a thing for Lanciers and Jaguars - those were out of my league.
England won the soccer World Cup in 1966, beating Germany in extra time, as many will recall. The locals were good losers and I did not have to pay for 'noch ien bier bitte' for several weeks.
One unusual medical event that I remember. I had an ugly ganglion swelling on the inside of my left wrist. The medics decided that a wee bit of surgery was in order and the appointment duly made. I went to Bielefeld to meet the army surgeon who was to perform the op. Meanwhile, a friend happened to mention that a hefty clout with a heavy book would disperse the ganglion. I duly got a friend to hit the offending ganglion with a copy of QRs - the heaviest book to hand. I thought nothing of it, except for the pain, but would you believe a few weeks later the ganglion had disappeared! It was the morning prior to me going to hospital. When I phoned the surgeon to cancel the appointment he went ballistic!
I was there for 18 months and then I was promoted (having passed my 'B' promotion exam) and posted to RAF Gatow in Berlin for a further 18 months.
From: Adrian Ryan, Quispamsis, NB Subject: Memories of RAF Gütersloh
Here are a few pictures from the past:
The R Party
The R Party
The Big Bike Trip
RAF Gütersloh closing down party
RAF Gütersloh closing down party
RAF Gütersloh closing down party
RAF Gütersloh Air Terminal
The R Party was just that - wear a costume beginning with R
The Big Bike Trip that was just a drink and ride afternoon
70's night - Guess who the Movers are?
RAF Gütersloh closing down party
New members who have joined us recently are:
From: Bruce Oram, San Fulgencio, Alicante Subject: Gutersloh 1972-75 photos
Here are a few pictures taken at Gutersloh in the early 1970's
Bruce Oram, George Jones, Colin Hawson & Boot Pratt
Bruce, Mia, Romano (Dresdner Bar)
Shift line up for Aiden Storey farewell
Same line up, Aiden saying farewell to our DAMO Alan Forster
Alan Forster at a shift farewell do
Paul Fussey, Lincoln, UK
Bob Popwell, Dartmouth, NS, Canada
Lenny Kraus, Sooke, BC, Canada
Welcome to the OBA!
RAF Ensign: Jack Cross, Alicante, Spain - "Really? Wow! Many thanks (I never win sod all)."
Sharjah Necktie: Ian Stretch Mansfield, Swindon, Wilts, UK - (hasn't read his e-mail yet!)
9-Month Unaccompanied Necktie: Pete Kettell, Chudleigh, Devon, UK - "Blimey, I’ve hardly ever won anything. Thanks, it’s been a good idea and greatly appreciated I reckon."
(Many thanks go to David Stevens of Brecon, Wales, for his generosity in providing the prizes!)
This newsletter is dedicated to the memories of Manfred "Mike" Gerigk (RCAF) -and- Chris Ranasinghe (RAF)