23 April 2010

A new member joining us recently is:

Roz Sutton, New Zealand  

Welcome to the OBA!


From: Jack Riley, Urangan, Qld.
Sent: April-01-10 23:21
Subject: Myanmar

Greetings to David Stevens!

Having spent the best part of six years in Burma, three in the 40's and another three in the 50's I can assure him that he's going to feel right at home. Everywhere he goes he's going to see the Chinthe, almost identical with that monster that bedecks his national flag.

When I was there as Air Movements Adviser to the Burma Air Force they gave me a bungalow and seven servants in the cantonment at Mingaladon. I shall be interested to hear how he fares.

Go well David...

Jack Riley

Funny that you should mention the chinthe Jack as it also happens to be the badge of 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron CAF, currently flying CC-130 Hercules, based in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

The chinthe is a legendary monster, a cross between a lion and a dog, which guards the temples in Burma where this squadron operated in the Second World War. The motto refers to the unit's activities as a transport squadron: "Determined on Delivery"

There has never been a left-handed pope

From: Malcolm Porter, Upton-upon-Severn
Sent: April-02-10 03:58
Subject: Calling all unsung heroes to 'CARGO TRAMPS'


Malcolm Porter, Michael Zoeller and Margy Bloom (USA) are in the early planning stages of a book to be entitled CARGO TRAMPS and want your stories.

Many former 'Movers' went on to work for airlines around the world and this book will take a behind-the-scenes look at the crews, ground engineers, cargo handlers and operations staff who became involved in the super-secret world of cargo hauling during the 1950's to 1970's before the big carriers such as Fedex and DHL came to dominate the world markets.

So - WE WANT YOUR STORIES - Aircraft such as the Britannia, Bristol Freighter, DC4, DC6, DC7, DC8, Carvair, Constellation, 707 and CL44, will feature as will the good guys and bad guys of the air freighting world.

DO please send your story, photos and documents such as Manifests (that's when there were any!) via e-mail to Malcolm at or via snail mail to:

Malcolm Porter,
Elm Cottage
East Waterside
Upton Upon Severn
Worcs WR8 0PB
United Kingdom

As we wish to avoid large men wielding knee capping equipment, we shall not be including tales of Russian operators or Russian aircraft.


RAF jets make last flight

Two enormous RAF aircraft landed at Bruntingthorpe airfield (near Coventry) following their final flight. The Vickers VC10 aircraft, used as an aerial refueling and transport plane, flew in from their former base at RAF Brize Norton on Tuesday afternoon. The huge planes will now be broken up for spare parts.

Richard Clarke, spokesman for airfield owners C Walton Ltd, said: "The two Vickers VC10 aircraft are true icons of the Royal Air Force and British engineering. The RAF has a fleet which act as transport and as tankers. These two venerable aircraft, which have served the Royal Air Force so admirably over the years, will be used for spares recovery for the rest of the RAF fleet."

The British designed VC10 was developed as a passenger airliner and first flew in 1962. It once held the record for the fastest crossing of the Atlantic – London to New York – by a jet airliner until it was beaten by Concorde. The jets can fly at an altitude of 43,000ft and are used by the RAF to refuel other aircraft in flight and carry troops.

The remaining aircraft serving with the RAF are based at Brize Norton and have been used in the Falklands, Bosnia and both Gulf Wars.

Bruntingthorpe has a large collection of Cold War-era jets, including Victor, Hunter, Canberra and Comet aircraft. It was also home to the successful restoration project for the Vulcan bomber, which has made numerous appearances at air shows across the country since it first took off from Bruntingthorpe in October 2007.

Lutterworth Mail

Forty percent of all mammal species are rodents

Mysteries Revealed

RAF Mystery #040210

Sgt Paul Crake has received the Award for Excellence due to his outstanding leadership and exceptional management of change across the Air Movements Squadron and throughout the Movements Trade.

Joining the Standards and Training Flight in April 2009 he identified essential tasks and refocused the efforts of the Flight. Within a matter of weeks the Squadron saw a more efficient management of Courses, Standardisation and Records of Achievement (RoA).

In June 2009 the Air Movements Squadron began to receive all LACs from Basic Movements Training. This increased the training and development burden on the Sqn by 100%. Sgt Crake devised a defined rotation system to allow all LACs achieved maximum exposure to all aspects of the Movements Trade.

His work will ensure that they reach Operational Performance Standard quickly and embark on the next stage of their training.

Sgt Crake has organised a programme of leadership training, Adventurous Training and UK based Staff Rides so that in under a year LACs and SACs on AMS will have received enhanced trade and leadership training and Force Development opportunities.

Sgt Crake’s work has had operational implication across the pinch-point Movements Trade, enabling it to sustain the current tempo, and his work has been recognised by DACOS A4 Ops, the Trade Sponsor and the Movements Role Office.

He was instrumental in the Squadron’s excellent result in the Command External Quality Audit. Reviewing all 180 work procedures and 100 local forms, he streamed and updated every one then transferred them into a usable and accessible system. As a direct result of his highly motivational leadership style, all 300 plus members of the Sqn were fully engaged and have visibly moved up a gear to adopt the QA concept.

Sgt Crake has transformed STF and its output; engendering an excellent working environment, his continuous enthusiasm and hard work has raised morale across the Squadron. His work has ensured the delivery of a professional service to Defence in the longer term through the development of all Logistics (Movements) LACs, and he is a worthy winner of this Award

CAF Mystery #040210

January 13, 2010 - 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario

Operation HESTIA

Traffic Technician Private Brady Williams of 2 Air Movements Squadron tightens the load inside a CC-130 Hercules due to take off at 11:00 a.m. with the lead element of the Canadian Forces Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART).

The load is military equipment and medical supplies the DART personnel will need as soon as they hit the ground. The DART is deploying in response to a massive earthquake that struck less than 20 km from Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

RAAF Mystery #042010

Corporal Kelson Rayner is role playing a scenario during Exercise ABW DT&E (Air Base Wing Develop Test and Evaluate) at Road Movements Section RAAF Base Tindal where he is dowsed in diesel in a refueling incident.

During the scenario he is injured by the diesel as the liquid splashes in his eyes and burns his skin. Medical arrive on the scene to assist.

And you thought he was being arrested?

RNZAF Mystery #040210

NZ Army Engineers deploy to the Island of Aitutaki in the Cook Islands following damage from a cyclone. Assisted by the crew of an Air Force C130 Hercules and Air Movement Staff. Air Force and Army staff pass an aid package to a Cook Island Red Cross Volunteer.


From: Gerry Davis, Bedminster
Sent: April-13-10 08:34
Subject: Donations

Hello Tony,

I wonder if you would mind if I stuck my nose in your site again?

Going through all your wonderful "Newsletters" I notice that at the end of each one, you have a "Donate" label.

Well, if some of the Old Movements shifters are anything near my three score and ten, like me, they may have some difficulty with understanding all this modern jargon, and how it all works.

Having wanted to make a donation for some time I tried the Pay Pal option and drew a blank, and not wanting to open an account for just this one, well possibly more than one occasion, especially if my stuff keeps on appearing.

I wondered how I could get some Shekels your way.

Well bless me, wasn't it a good idea of yours to suggest sending a cheque! So I was just wondering if anybody else had experienced the same problem.

Now, after publishing this note, I hope that you are inundated with loads of well-deserved dosh, so that you can continue to entertain and keep us Movers informed of the delights of belonging to your team, and that your friendly Bank Manager will sort them all out for you.

Keep up the good work.

Off on detachment to Spain now, so Adios.



Thanks Gerry - cheques may be sent to:

Tony Gale
602-60 Rue Cormier,
Gatineau, Quebec, J9H 6B4

In 1955 Quaker Oats gave away deeds to 1 square inch of Yukon land with boxes of their cereal

Extract from The Cyprus Lion – 5th September 1978

(with thanks to Ian Berry)

Focus on…  The Movers

Are you one of the 189,000 passengers who have passed through the RAF Akrotiri Air Terminal in the last 3 years?  Have your PEs, MFO or Priority Freight been amongst the 9,000 tons handled?  Or your mail amongst the thousands of mail bags carried by the RAF?  If so, meet the Movers!

The RAF Movements organisation in Cyprus is represented by 4 officers, 1 WO and 18 NCOs and airmen.  Four of our movers constitute the RAF Element of the Joint Services Port Unit (JSPU), an are based in Limassol, but the remainder work at RAF Akrotiri either in the Air Movements Flight or the Joint Air Booking Centre (JABC). The RAF is, naturally, concerned with Air Movements whereas the Army’s province is surface movements. We do, however, infiltrate each other’s departments to enhance the Joint Service appearance of the JSPU and JABC. Furthermore, there is a level of integration between the RCT staff of the Air Transport Liaison office and the RAF Air Movements Squadron, particularly when Army exercises arrive and depart through Akrotiri.

RAF Element JSPU

The activities of the JSPU have already been well chronicled in the Lion. Most recently you will have read of the visit to Akrotiri of RFA Sir Percivale, whose offloading involved the expertise of Flt Lt Ron Kennett - our Authorised Explosives Representative, Deputy Port Commandant and OC RAF Element JSPU. Flt Lt Kennet and his 3 RAF staff: FS Bullock, Cpl Swainsbury and Cpl Greenwood - normally work at Limassol New Port where all aspects of the movement by sea of military freight and baggage fill their time, and their warehouse.


At Akrotiri, the JABC – until mid-August under the experienced management of Flt Lt Steve Wakley but now led by Flt Lt Gwynne Jenkins – is the services travel agency where seats and space are booked on aircraft for people and freight.  The astute tax-paying reader will appreciate the organisation is in business primarily to fill our aircraft with duty passengers and priority freight.  Nonetheless the Indulgence game plays JABC; this department, usually staffed by Mrs Pat Berkley, has an ex-directory line which, of course, no-one ever uses as each prospective indulgee undertakes not to phone the booking centre (It’s al in the small print of the application form).  On the other hand, if you do call you will get a friendly answer and helpful advice.  Remember though, that we handle thousands of applications – “yellow perils” to the trade – a significant part of each day at and your chances will be better overall if Pat is allowed to get on with the job of allocating seats.  In other words, “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.”

On the Air Freight desk Sgt Ian Berry is in control of exports.  If you come up lucky in the monthly draw for indulgence airlift of private cars, Sgt Berry is the man to steer you through the paperwork.  But he also knows the procedures for anything from blood samples to bomb clusters, each subject in its own way to special requirements and restrictions when carried by air.

WO II Sid Howell and Sgt Blyth of the RCT (Royal Corps of Transport) complete the image behind JABC’s joint service title; between them and their RAF counterparts they ensure that impartiality and understanding are applied to customers of all arms on the island.

Air Movements Flight

Once passengers and freight have been booked to the aircraft the Air Movements Flight provides the muscle to move it.

In the Air Terminal itself your genial host is FS McQuilkin – a great grandfather deserving appropriate respect.  His team of two, Cpl Eddy Turner and SAC Martin Armstrong – provide passenger reception and processing facilities for inbound and outbound flights.  Inside the terminal, too, you meet the gentlemen of the nautical-looking rig who dexterously wield the authority of immigration, emigration and customs on behalf of the SBA Administration and Republican authorities.  The RAF Police are there too, talking measures to ensure that nothing taken aboard aircraft will prejudice your health and safety.  Don’t forget to take your camera out of your hand baggage before you reach the X-ray machine; the rays do no good at all to unprocessed film.

Meanwhile, out on the tarmac there’s the aircraft handling team; the men with the physiques, brawn and brown.  During each aircraft turnaround Sgt Henry Downes, Cpl H Firth and SAC’s Dave Eccles and Paddy Power exchange a few tons of inbound baggage and freight for a similar outbound load.  They may also be heard to exchange a word or two of banter with our team of locally employed civilian labourers-cum-loaders who provide the supporting cast. 

In the Load Control office where the air conditioning sustains concentration, SAC’s Roger Whittington and Ray Ralph assemble the “ship’s papers” and calculate the aircraft weight and balance on a trim sheet.  Additional skills in Load Control include the wringing of unavailable hotel rooms from overbook hotel proprietors and the operation of the International OFTS communications system through which we exchange information about loads and flights with other airfields on the RAF routes.

Finally we mention the cargo hangar where freight is accumulated prior to loading or dispersal.  Sgt Jim Cunningham is the master of ceremonies here (he runs our parties too), and Cpl Jim Muir and SAC Nick Salter are his assistants who together ensure that requirements for weighing, counting, humping and dumping are met. 

In overall charge of this team is the ebullient Flt Lt Ian Envis whose deputy is WO Paul Vincent.  If you’re not sure who is who, Ian Envis is the one who drinks Coke, a bottle of which he may split with the 200,000th passenger to pass through the new terminal; at the present rate of business that event will be in the next few months.

Sqn Ldr Peter Woods

A Mover’s Agony Column

Q1.  May I take my Budgie home on the VC10?

Q2.  Check-in for some airlines is up to 20 mins before departure.  Why can’t you do the same?

Q3.  The Security NCO wanted my nail varnish remover.  What sort of men are they?

A1.  Sorry, only if it’s had the taxidermy operation.  No live animals or birds are allowed.

A2.  There are a number of differences between our modus operandi and that of civil fleets.  One good reason for calling you forward earlier is that the service baggage allowances generate considerably more paraphernalia to be checked-though, compared to the 44 lbs per civil passenger.  Other reasons are that for safety’s sake trim sheet, manifest and paperwork are more comprehensive and should be completed by 20 mins before departure.  So our reporting times have to be that much earlier.

A3.  Again, from the safety viewpoint, the RAF conscientiously adheres to the international regulations which all airlines follow, but invariably to a lesser extent than the RAF.  Our security staff therefore enforce the rules, and potentially dangerous articles (flammable, toxic etc.,) may not be carried on passenger carrying aircraft, and their interest in the content of handbags is purely professional.

There were a couple of photographs in the article, but regret that I was unable to filter out the median noise (big nasty spots)


From: Barbara Sugg, Swindon
Sent: April-02-10 11:13
Subject: Terry Titterington

Hi Tony,

I also attended Terry's funeral in March, I must apologize for not letting you know how good the attendance was. I note from your OBA news several people have given you names of personnel who attended, may I add a few more names: Hughie Curran, Ian Berry, Dixie & Jean Dean, Bob Turner plus more.

The last time I saw Terry he was carrying a pack of 6 cans of beer when he visited Gwyn (Taff Sugg) in the John Radcliff Hospital, in Oxford, during Gwyn's long stay there. Gwyn & Terry use to chat on for ages. I think Terry finally left the hospital well after midnight. Terry's visits to Gwyn were always appreciated.

RIP Terry,


Babs Sugg

From: David Howley, Melton Mowbray
Sent: April-06-10 10:18
Subject: Terry's Funeral etc.

Hi Tony,

Paul English is quite correct – those names are only a taster. To those can be added: Gordon Black (managed to get his name wrong when I said Halloo!) and John Cockayne, who was on No. 2 Movs Course at Abingdon with me (Feb 1964).

It may sound strange to say that, even under such sad circumstances, it was good to see so many “old faces” - there to say goodbye to one of the greats. The regard with which Terry is held was reflected in the place being so packed. Odd that Terry never let on about his middle name – Bolton!

The irritating thing now, is recognising some and not others (amongst others Chick Hatch!) - there is a nagging familiarity but the link does not come. Others, do not appear to have changed at all and were immediately identified - Brian Kent, John Gardiner and Jim Brett that I can recall.

I had a look around Carterton on the way - it has really grown – has a Town Hall, Library and is steadily extending up the road towards Shilton. It’s a far cry from the “one horse village” in 1966 and even bigger than my last posting there in 1986.



From: Jean Titterington
Sent: 15 April 2010 19:19
To: John Conduit, Wootten Bassett, UK

Hi John,

Would you please pass on this message as my thanks to everyone who attended Terry's funeral and also to everyone for their thoughts and memories of him.

Reading all the many e-mails it was very apparent that Terry had quite a profound affect on many and it was very touching for me to read how very well respected he was. He would have felt very privileged to have had so many wonderful tributes to him and I know that he would have really enjoyed sharing a drink or several with so many old friends and colleagues from way back when.

I thank everyone for respecting Terry's wishes for privacy regarding his cancer. He was diagnosed with gallstones in April 2009 and then one month later, after further investigation and tremendous loss of weight he was told the devastating news that he had pancreatic cancer and that he only had a few weeks/months to live. He was given chemo but not as a cure just for quality of life, which initially helped but then the cancer took over. Not one to ever give in, he fought a very good battle, always aware that he did not have long to live but always preparing me and our daughters for the time that he would not be here.

He was chuffed to bits at reaching Christmas, which was a milestone that was only a possibility earlier in the year. After Christmas he became very ill and had to go into hospital. Again, we were told to be prepared for the worst but Terry had our 40th wedding anniversary and his 68th birthday to celebrate so he wasn't going anywhere just yet! We celebrated our wedding anniversary on 7th February which was his first day in Prospect Hospice and then three days later Terry was 68. He would have loved to have seen his new grandson who is due in June but sadly, his body could not oblige and he passed away on 5th March in the early hours of the morning.

Thanks once again for all your kind thoughts and for sharing some lovely memories of Terry.


Most costume changes in a movie: 85, by Madonna in "Evita"

Second A400M takes off

A second A400M has joined Airbus Military’s operational flight test fleet, and taken the delayed type past the 70 flight hour mark.

Piloted by Michel Gagneux, Karl-Heinz Mai and with three flight test engineers aboard, aircraft MSN002 completed a 4h 50min debut sorties from Seville, Spain on 8 April. Carrying heavy flight-test instrumentation, the aircraft got airborne with a take-off weight of 128t; 13t below the A400M’s expected maximum.

“The crew confirmed that the aircraft and its four Europrop International TP400D engines performed in line with expectations. Having MSN002 join the flying programme will help us accelerate the rate of progress in building flight hours,” says head of
flight operations Fernando Alonso.

The first of five flight test aircraft, MSN001, has now flown 15 times and spent over 66h in the air. The platform made its 3h 45min debut flight on 11 December last year and was recently moved to Toulouse, France. MSN003 should fly “by the beginning of the summer”, according to the European manufacturer, with the fourth aircraft to follow suit around year-end.



Three Old Pharts Swinging The Lamp

Wayne Carriere of Kirkland Lake, Ontario - Tony Gale of Aylmer, Quebec and Tony Street
of Buffalo, New York, got together last week at Dinty Moore's diner in Gatineau, across the
river from Ottawa, pulled up a sandbag and spun a few yarns while turning some beer into water!

Stephen King was once a high-school English teacher

From: Gerry Davis, Bedminster
Sent: April-13-10 08:34
Subject: RAF Pensions

Hi Tony,

Those that have, and then there are the others!

Now serving one’s country has its rewards, for instance you might belong to that select bunch of Air movers. You could have served over 22 years and be the recipient of a well-deserved pension.

You could even belong to that other select group who only need do 18 years for a pension.  Or you could have served over two years and have a deferred pension, payable sometime in the distant future.

Well just think of this, there are those of us who after serving, perhaps as a boy, then regular service, even possibly reserve commissioned service, like me. Because we left regular service before 1975 are not entitled to anything. Not a sausage.

 I know that out there like me, there are lots who feel like the poor relations of the ex RAF personnel.  Having met some of the recent leavers, (well after 1975) of the RAF and other forces, it really comes home when they talk of getting their deferred pension, and how it will boost their incomes through these hard times.

Still, I have a wealth of memories, which I have been sharing with you over the last year. Which incidentally has given me, through the MAMS old Bods web site, contact with several (old) pals. So you could say that is reward in itself.  But it still rankles.

I know, I could put myself up for parliament as an M.P., or become a banker.  Remind me, just what do you have to do to get all these expenses and bonuses?

Our paths through life are chosen for us well in advance, I suppose we have to come to terms with it all, or do we?


I agree with you Gerry, although I am one of the fortunate ones, my own pension is suffering badly because of the exchange rates


From: James Aitken, Brisbane, Qld
Sent: April-19-10 17:32
Subject: Battle of Britain 70th Anniversary

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. The Royal Air Force was all that prevented Hitler and Nazi Germany from invading the British Isles. The losses of allied airmen, with no known grave, during WW2 amounted to 20,400, many of whom were lost during that epic conflict.

As Sir Winston Churchill said, "Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many, to so few"

The Runnymede Memorial overlooks the River Thames on Cooper's Hill at Englefield Green between Windsor and Egham on the A308, 4 miles from Windsor.

This memorial commemorates by name those who lost their lives during the Second World War while serving with the Air Forces of the Commonwealth at bases in the United Kingdom or in North-West Europe and who have no known grave. They came from all parts of the Commonwealth or from countries of continental Europe which had been overrun and whose airmen continued the fight as members of the Royal Air Force. The number commemorated is made up as follows:

Royal Air Force 15,462
Royal Canadian Air Force 3,050
Royal Australian Air Force 1,397
Royal New Zealand Air Force 576
South African Air Force 17
Royal Indian Air Force 7
Women Auxiliary Air Force 10
Ferry Command 9
Air Transport Auxiliary 8
British Overseas Airways Corporation 7
Air Training Corps 4

The first three digits of a 13 digit bar code indicate the country of origin

From: Steve Caunt
Date: 4/7/2010, 5:47 pm, EDT
Subject: Guestbook Entry

Very sad to hear of the passing of Mick Acaster who worked for me in Hong Kong 80/81.

I have never known a harder working Mover who ALWAYS made it happen and kept calm and smiling throughout. Many, many people have cause to thank Mick for getting their PEs and cars home from Hong Kong when it would have been far easier to turn them down. One of life's real gents!

I can see him now - drenched in sweat - San Mig in hand.

Cheers mate... It was a privilege to know you.


From: Charles Collier, Devizes
Sent: April-21-10 15:38
Subject: Kemble (Cotswold Airport)

Hello Tony,

Last night at my institute we had Paul Brown an air traffic controller working at the Cotswold Airport as a flight information officer. He was very interesting and his talk centered around the current no-fly because of volcanic dust and how it affects aero jet engines. Also, he has invited us to visit Kemble in the future when we get our new programme arranged.

Malcolm Porter will be interested as he told us all about the Britannia parked there and will arrange for us to view it. Anyway, all that is in the preparation zone at the moment.



Thanks Charles - you may be interested to know that Kemble (Cotswold Airport) will be holding a Battle of Britain air show this year on the 18th and 19th of September

Egyptian pyramid builders got three beer breaks a day

From: John Holloway, Shrewsbury
Sent: April-13-10 16:13
Subject: NSRAFA Cosford Branch

Hi Tony,

Today was our monthly get together with a large turnout attending as usual.

Our Speaker was a serving RAF Officer, Sqn Ldr Richard Painter, who gave us a very interesting talk and film on UAV's (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles). He gave us quite a bit of history of the development of the various craft used starting from the early days with balloons up to the present ones currently being used in Iraq and Afghanistan; the Predator and the Reaper both of which are armed and able to launch both bombs and missiles. We saw on film Taliban insurgents planting mines etc., and then seeing them being eliminated with missiles from UAV's

He explained how these craft are controlled from Creech Airbase in Nevada with RAF 39 Sqn personnel being involved with the movement of the UAV's and we saw all the operators watching on screens the movements of the insurgents then a senior officer giving the instruction to fire the missiles or release the two bombs that they carry.

The UAV's are based in Afghanistan and are launched by personnel there and then in 2 seconds the control of them is taken over from Creech. They are able to stay up for 18 hours so the insurgents have to really keep their heads down.

We then saw computer images of future UAV's that are planned and of course human pilots will become a thing of the past .It was also interesting that the old U2 is used there as well and observes from high above all these operations.

Trust that the foregoing is of interest. Half a dozen of us are off to the Isle of Man tomorrow and when I've been asked by friends how are we getting there you should see their puzzled faces when I tell them that "we're going thru the tunnel" It's quite amusing!



Thanks John - always of interest!



Right shoes wear out faster than left shoes


Gentoo penguins have pink poo

That's it for this issue

Have a great weekend!