February 29, 2008

Hey - I'm cool!

A new member recently joining us:

Viv Neary-Phillips, from Lyneham, UK

Welcome to the OBA!

There were oodles of e-mails back and forth regarding our missing muppet, DC.  At the risk of being repetitive, with a couple of exceptions, they won't be reprinted here.  Suffice to say the concern and support was greatly appreciated - it's a beautiful thing to still have the esprit de corps alive after all these decades! 


From: Charles P Collier, Marlborough 
Date: Friday, February 15, 2008 10:48
Subject: ADEN DAYS

This follows on from my last story about joining the Aden Forces Pistol Club. I was working away selling scrap equipment by tender action rather than auction to 70 Arab contractors. As OC I organised the assembly of the lots according to their attractiveness and had about 10 lots per week. These were viewed on a Thursday by the contractors and they would have to submit their bids by the next Tuesday. This meant that any illegal rings amongst the contractors that an auction sale might throw up thereby reducing the price would be overtaken by the tender action time to be submitted on the Tuesday. By this time any Arab illicit agreement would have been torn up because each individual really wanted the equipment.

The picture shows a successful contractor collecting his lot of boxes filled with spares. This action was so successful that the Air Ministry looked at their sales of scrap equipment in UK being back loaded in empty shipping coming out to collect redundant, but serviceable, equipment from Aden.
But this was overtaken by events i.e. autumn 1967 when we all left!

Anyway what I’m coming to, I was telephoned by a Sqn Ldr Alan D’Arcy, an Arabist of HQMEC, to ask as I was a member of the Aden Forces Pistol Club and had my own weapon would I be prepared to act as his personal escort as he was going to live with the upper aulaqi tribe of Arabs for some 10 days and I would be responsible for protecting his life! – I was 25; so I agreed!

This is my personal weapon a Walther P 38 parabellum 9mm semi-automatic pistol which I bought through mail-order direct from the Walther Works in Ulm Germany.

I took sufficient 9mm ammo boxes for the 10 days and waited for the call forward which had been agreed by my CO. The story continues next time!



By law, all tombstones in Norway must be the same height.

From:  Bruce Oram, Alicante  
Date:  Saturday, February 16, 2008 03:24
Subject:  New email address
Hi Everyone,

Please note that I now have a new email address, which is here

Cheers the noo



From:  Chas Cormack, Lyneham
Date:  Saturday, February 16, 2008 05:52
Subject:  Hammonds Mate

Whilst I remember Jock Hunt and his escapades I believe that Roger Blow may have meant Johnny Hudson rather than Jock.

Having had many altercations with Hudson (they were more like punch ups) I believe he was the slimy individual referred to. One memorable one was when I was hauled off him by some of the other guys on MAMS at Abingdon having knocked him through the trellis work at the entrance to the lounge bar in the 101 club and dived through the hole he had caused and landing on top of him to finish off what he had started. On another occasion I was stopped from dropping him from the second floor of Block 8 by Eddie Mottram and Dennis (Hayden I think) after he had once again upset me. These were in the days of my youth and the last I heard of Hudson was that he had married one of the nurses from the GNU clinic in Oxford (VD comes to mind) after I left Abingdon for FEAF MAMS at Seletar.

If anyone knows his whereabouts they must have had a different opinion of him than I and many of the others from Abingdon days but at that time there were more than a few characters on MAMS.


Tia, an English Mastiff, gave birth to a world record 24 puppies in 2004

From: David Howley, Melton Mowbray
Date: Saturday, February 16, 2008 12:00
Subject: Memories...

Hi Tony,

I stayed with Colin and Donna Allen in Ottawa in July 1981 – Colin was the Sgt Mover there at the time. He was telling me of their first winter experience; had all the ski gear on and got a taxi to a party.

On leaving, they decided to get a breath of “fresh!” air by walking back – about ½ hours. Colin said that he had to literally half drag, half carry Donna the last few yards because the cold had really got to them and he was almost convinced they were not going to make it.

It just goes to show that until you experience something really extreme, one really has not got a clue!

I liked Ottawa, oddly enough I have 2 second cousins living in Nepean – a bit eccentric!




From: Kent Carter, Brisbane, Qld.
Sent: 16 February 2008 23:55
To: Ian Berry
Subject: Re: WHERE IS DAVE?

Hi Ian

Chantal Carter here, Dave's daughter.

Dad is okay. He has just arrived home from hospital after being in there since Dec 27.

After arriving back from Tassie, he had trouble with the right foot (different one from last time) and was very ill and on a lot of drugs. They released him on Jan 10, to then have seizures at home on the Saturday afternoon, and then get transported back to hospital via ambulance that night. A very scary time here.

Doctors unsure what caused seizures, and did a lot of tests. Now, they think it may have been a reaction to some of the drugs (mind you, he was taking 11 tablets, at night, let alone the rest of the ones he had to take during the day) he was on a drip pretty much all this time and became very vague. He seemed to be going okay, then had a small seizure a week later. The surgeon then decided to remove his big toe. So it is now gone, and drug intake been reduced. They finally released him Wednesday.

It has been a very trying time for us all, and very uncertain. There were talks of epilepsy, tumors, brain damage, etc. But I am very pleased to report the memory is back and Dad is on the mend. He has even had the nurses taking photos of the wound (I hope for your sake he does not post them on the website, very gross!)

He has received so many emails in his home account from people such as yourself that his computer at home has gone kaput! I have it in for repairs. He is missing it all though, and eager to get back into it. I have printed out your email and will give to him.

Thank you for your concern.


It is physically impossible to either tickle yourself or lick your elbow

From: Paul Amies, Swindon
Sent: Monday, February 18, 2008 07:31
Subject: Mystery Mover

Hi Tony,

Stumbled upon this picture from the 70's recently - could it be a young Keith Smith?!

Best regards,

Paul Amies


From: Steve Broadhurst, Melbourne, Vic.  
Sent: Monday, February 18, 2008 20:05


Greetings from the very deep south (Melbourne).

Have just got off the phone from DC and can report that he is well recovered and back on his feet (minus a couple of toes) and back at his desk.

He wanted me to pass on to all his thanks for the concerns expressed by all and will be responding in his own right when his “confuser” is restored.

Warm Regards (it’s expected to be 34 degrees C today)

Steve Broadhurst

The world's tallest tomato plant grew to a height of 65 feet.

From: Tony Gale, Gatineau/Ottawa
Sent: 19 February 2008 14:16
To: Ian Berry
Subject: Ablaut

Hi Ian,

I’m working on ‘Ablaut’ (among others) and came upon this gem:

"The most crass example of bad decisions was during Operation Ablaut during the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974. Every Hercules loaded at Lyneham with a load for Dhekelia had to be unloaded at Akrotiri and back loaded to a 70 Sqn Herc. This was because it was stated that only 70 Sqn crews had been trained to land at the short strip at Kingsfield. Even if this was true a plea that the crews should just take the Lyneham Hercs on the 10 minute flight to Dhekelia held no sway and for the duration everything was 'double handled'..."

Any insight into this?




From: Ian Berry, West Swindon
Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2008 03:42
Cc: Colin Allen; Gordon Black; Ian Place
Subject: RE: Ablaut

Hi Tony,

That statement is correct and there was an article many moons ago in one of the RAF magazines....

The Senior Airships involved were 'moved sideways' after the event.

I will see what I can dig up for you.

In the meanwhile it is worth picking the brains of the three guys I have info'd.... Ian Place was at Akrotiri during the Op with Gerry Keyworth (OC MAMS Det) and Colin and Gordon were both at the sharp end Dhekelia with NEAF MAMS.



Leonardo da Vinci invented an alarm clock that woke him by rubbing his feet.

From: David Stevens, Bangor
Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2008 14:20
Subject: Steven's Visit to Canada

Hi Tony

First thx for the ongoing OBA bulletins. Like all your subscribers I appreciate all that you do.

I am back from Bangladesh and after a few days in the UK to see my dear old Mum I am now in Israel - R and R!!

I am planning a visit to Canada 2-22 June 2008. As far as I know we have never met. This would seem the ideal time to correct things, enjoy an ale together and set the world right. If you have not already booked your annual cruise that is?

I read with interest the article by Mike Green viz The Oil Lift and Sandy etc. Can you put me in touch with Mike because I would love to know what happened to the immaculate 1953 Sunbeam Talbot Mk 90 Series III I sold him back in 1966 when I left UKMAMS for a posting to RAFG??  It was a magnificent beast!

There are several other 'blasts from the past', Ian Stacey and Dave Powell for starters, but more of that another time.

Best Regards

David Stevens

Happy to let you buy me a beer when you're in the area David - message forwarded to Mike.



From:  Chas Cormack, Lyneham
Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2008 14:57
Subject: Nassau and Bermuda

Your query to Baz brought back memories of both places, as I also did the Belize roulement through Nassau.

It must have been before Baz as we used Hastings for the Nassau Belize legs as their max landing weight was 74,000lbs due to the footprint on both the pans and runway.  Needless to say this restricted our payload somewhat as the Hastings of 81,000 for MK1 and 83,000 for MK1A.

We nearly always stayed in the Royal Victoria Hotel and always had at least one pool cabana which was used for the post detachment drinks which were cooled by copious amounts of ice put in the bath to keep the Tennants lager which the guys who were in Belize sent up every day plus the Bacardi which we received every time we landed back from Belize.

We took it in turns to do the Belize end and I also remember one occasion when we had a team in Jamaica doing the Jamaican Defence Force roulement who flew over to us as we were using their Brit to do the final part of ours.

The army were accommodated in a hangar at the airfield until we had enough for a Brit load, and the same thing happened to those who were waiting to go to Belize.

We deployed by Hastings from Colerne to Keflavik/Goose Bay/Kindley (Bermuda) and then on to Nassau. Once we had finished the Belize bit the techies got 2 days to prep the aircraft for return to the UK and on the second day we were doing the loads which included an engine. which was no joke especially as we nearly always had a hangover following our party, but once the loads were done it was party time again.  Our allowances did not allow for many drinks in the Juncanoo downtown so we were mostly three sheets to the wind before we ventured out.

Our route back was via Bermuda where we used the PX at Kindley before getting to the Castle Harbour hotel which was one of the top hotels.  We had an arrangement with the barman in the Smugglers Inn that we got all our booze at half price, that was until some of the techies made friends with some locals and the barman heard them say they would get the drinks as they got them cheaper.

We then left for Lajes and the best class 6 in the world at that time, but that trip was no joke as it ranged from 10-12 hours. On my last trip back the captain had a heart attack enroute from Lajes to Colerne and we were on max power and a shallow dive to get him to hospital at St Mawgan. A lot of rivets popped on that trip and we were stuck until the techies replaced them and we got a new captain.

I did do a det in Bermuda before this time hence the agreement with the barman in the hotel.

That's about all I can remember of the trips as its over 40 years since I did them although I was in Nassau 5 years ago and the Royal Victoria hotel is now part of the horticultural gardens, what is left of it.


Tom Jones was on Charles Manson's hit list.

From: David Howley, Melton Mowbray  
Sent: Friday, February 22, 2008 11:52
Subject: RAF Movements School

Hi Tony,

I am attempting to establish the timeline for the school and the titles under which it operated. The Air Britain Book on Training and Support Units gives an incomplete picture, which I wish to correct. Could you include this in the next issue of Briefs please.

In 2004 the School did a history for the 60th Anniversary but no one there currently has any knowledge of it.

All the Air Britain book contains is:

Traffic Control School ; Formed at St Mawgan, in No.44 Group on 1 Nov 1944. Redesignated No.1 Air Traffic School on 3 January 1945.

No.1 Air Traffic School ; 20 Nov 1945 to Bramcote, which was in No.4 Group by 1 Jan 1946. On 20 July 1946 transferred to 22 Group to be based at Kirkham (did not happen). Redesignated No.1 School of Air Movement on 15 August 1946.

No.1 School of Air Movement; Bramcote, disbanded 1 December 1946.

The Old Bods site states that the School disbanded in March 1947 and thereafter all movements training was conducted within the Equipment School at Hereford.

It gives a date of January 1954 for the formation of the RAF Movements School at Kidbrook. On 21 February 1956 the school badge was received – approved by HM The Queen.

It gives January 1963 as the date for the move to Kirton in Lindsay and diabandment in December of that year, reforming as the Air Movements training School at Abingdon the same month.

The school moved from Abingdon in March 1972 – somewhere I have a course photograph from then on No.1 Movs Assimilation Course (none of us on the course could understand why as we were all Q-Movs with at least 2 movs tours under our belts!). In 1976 the title changed to RAF Movements School

The current title is Defence Movements School, dating from 1 April 2004.


1)  Which date is correct for the disbandment at Bramcote – is the Air Britain date the “official” date and the “Old Bods” date the actual one?

2) When did the school actually leave Kidbrook? In January 1962 all the aircraft etc were in the hanger nearest the guardroom at Kirton in Lindsay but I do not think it was operating as “New” movements clerks (like me) were put onto the Supp M course. If the school operated at Kirton, what was the official title.

If anybody has a copy of the history done by the School in 2004 or can fill in any of the gaps the info would be appreciated.

The other glaring omission is no mention of UKMAMS or the overseas squadrons, so any gen on them would also be useful. (NB I have not yet approached 1 AMW on this subject) – however, it is possible that they may only have details of their own history and not that of the other 3 squadrons (AFME, MEAF and FEAF).




From: David Eggleton, Abingdon
Sent: Saturday, February 23, 2008 11:02
Subject: Sandy Sanderford.

Hi Tony,

I went with Terry, Sandy's wife, to visit him on Tuesday as planned. There was no change in Sandy's condition, he was not able to respond to anything I said or showed him.

He is now not able to walk without help. He is very well looked after in the residential home he is in, the staff are wonderful and are so cheerful.

Terry is such a wonderful support to him, and her two sons do all they can to help.

Anyone having any memories of Sandy, please send to me and I will forward to the family.



In Thailand it is customary to GIVE presents on your birthday.

From: David Cromb, Brisbane, Qld.
Sent: Saturday, February 23, 2008 16:44
Subject: Back!

Hi everybody, oh how good a feeing to be free from the confines & shackled regime of the medico's, altho I shall always be indebted to their skills.

It was comforting also to be missed by some as well, thank you.

Mother nature caught me totally off guard 27/12,and hit me with some sort of seizure, nowt serious, but scary just the same esp when I was on my own. Once in the horsepiddle all sorts of tests were undertaken which resulted in the removal of my big toe on left foot. Only problem I now have is my balance, or lack of to be precise.

I was released last Wed and the confuser returned ( after service ) 2 days ago, so things should return to normal any day now. Look out world !

As you can imagine I have heaps to do so must push on, cheers my friends.

Rgds, DC.

Welcome back DC - you gave us quite a scare for a bit!



From: David Eggleton, Abingdon
Sent: Thursday, February 28, 2008 03:49
To: Tony Gale; Ian Berry
Subject:  Good news.

Hi Ian and Tony,

Thanks Ian for being able to contact Dave Cromb's family, I just sent him a short message of support.

Would you have in your records Ian, any nominal rolls of people on UKMAMS Abingdon between 1966 to 1974 when we moved to Lyneham? The ones I had were all thrown out by mistake. Would appreciate your help if possible, I have nominal rolls of Staff at the RAF Movements School between 1983 to 1988 when I retired from regular service, if of interest to anyone.

Best Wishes,

Dave Egg.

Hands up all those who tried to tickle themselves and lick their elbows!


Mystery Photo #022908

That's it for this issue - have a great weekend!