Gatineau/Ottawa
25 April 2008

 

The Dawn Service on ANZAC Day has become a solemn Australian and New Zealand tradition. It is taken for granted as part of the ANZAC ethos and few wonder how it all started.

Its story, as it were, is buried in a small cemetery carved out of the bush some kilometres outside the northern Queensland town of Herberton. Almost paradoxically, one grave stands out by its simplicity.

It is covered by protective white-washed concrete slab with a plain cement cross at its top end. No epitaph recalls even the name of the deceased. The Inscription on the cross is a mere two words, "A Priest".

No person would identify the grave as that of a dedicated clergyman who created the Dawn Service, without the simple marker placed next to the grave only in recent times.

It reads: "Adjacent to, and on the right of this marker, lies the grave of the late Reverend Arthur Ernest White, a Church of England clergyman and padre, 44th Battalion, First Australian Imperial Force. On 25th April 1923, at Albany in Western Australia, the Reverend White led a party of friends in what was the first ever observance of a Dawn parade on ANZAC Day, thus establishing a tradition which has endured, Australia wide ever since."

Reverend White was serving as one of the padres of the earliest ANZAC's to leave Australia with the First AIF in November 1914. The convoy was assembled in the Princess Royal harbour and King George Sound at Albany WA. Before embarkation, at four in the morning, he conducted a service for all the men of the battalion. When White returned to Australia in 1919, he was appointed relieving Rector of the St John's Church in Albany. It was a strange coincidence that the starting point of the AIF convoys should now become his parish.

No doubt it must have been the memory of his first Dawn Service those many years earlier and his experiences overseas, combined with the awesome cost of lives and injuries, which inspired him to honour permanently the valiant men (both living and the dead) who had joined the fight for the allied cause. "Albany", he is quoted to have said, "was the last sight of land these ANZAC troops saw after leaving Australian shores and some of them never returned. We should hold a service (here) at the first light of dawn each ANZAC Day to commemorate them."

That is how on ANZAC Day 1923 he came to hold the first Commemorative Dawn Service. As the sun was rising, a man in a small dinghy cast a wreath into King George Sound while White, with a band of about 20 men gathered around him on the summit of nearby Mount Clarence, silently watched the wreath floating out to sea. He then quietly recited the words: "As the sun rises and goeth down, we will remember them". All present were deeply moved and news of the Ceremony soon spread throughout the country; and the various Returned Service Communities Australia wide emulated the Ceremony.

Eventually, White was transferred from Albany to serve other congregations, the first in South Australia, then Broken Hill where he built a church, then later at Forbes NSW. In his retirement from parish life, he moved to Herberton where he became Chaplain of an Anglican convent. However, soon after his arrival (on September 26, 1954) he died, to be buried so modestly and anonymously as "A Priest".

White's memory is honoured by a stained glass window in the all Soul's Church at Wirrinya, a small farming community near Forbes NSW. Members of the parish have built the church with their own hands and have put up what they refer to as "The Dawn Service Window", as their tribute to White's service to Australia.

 

New members recently joined are:

RAF

Jimmie Jamieson from (near) Hereford, UK
Michael Cocker from Swindon, UK

RNZAF

Pete King from Auckland, New Zealand
Budgie Baigent from Auckland, New Zealand
Matt Roberts from Ohakea, New Zealand
Gary Portas from Auckland, New Zealand
Jon Felton from Bunia, Democratic Republic of The Congo
Yve Ripo from El Obeid, Sudan

CAF

Fred Hebb from Gold River, Nova Scotia, Canada
Wayne Flaherty from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Rick Hinks from Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada
Andy Noel from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Bob Barclay from Greenwood, Nova Scotia, Canada
Russell Aucoin from Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
Peter Weir from Trenton, Ontario, Canada
Larry Scurry from Frankford, Ontario, Canada
Moe Audet from St-Georges Beauce, Quebec, Canada

 

Welcome to the OBA!

Ants don't sleep

From: Malcolm Porter, London
Sent: Friday, April 11, 2008 10:38
Subject: Re: UKMAMS OBA - OBB #041108

Tony,

Greetings - many thanks for the newsletter. As Chairman of the CL44 Association I am aware of the time and effort that is needed to get to 'publish' stage.

I see that Peter Clayton is obviously on a bonus this issue! However, once again he forgets to impart that Movers are more than welcome to the Association's Re-Union this year. (Here's the plug for it)

Friday 31st October and Saturday 1st November to be held at the Royal Air Force Club 128 Piccadilly London. Members and non-members can attend either or both functions and we do have SOME accommodation left-although TMAC, Tradewinds and Flying Tiger guys have booked most of the rooms. E-mail me here

I am particularly keen to meet up with any Movers who have first-hand experience of the Forty Four or Yukon. My intention is to produce a second book on the history of the aircraft and of my time on the type in Rhodesia, Libya and more recently with ALG and Azerbaijan Airlines.

You can learn more on the website http://www.cl44.org

Just about to depart the UK for USA to meet up with ex Rhodesian colleague who was mixed up in the Biafran affair as well as the Rhodesian Air Force-should be good for a beer or two.

Best

Malcolm Porter

 

From: Charles Collier, Marlborough
Sent: Friday, April 11, 2008 15:53
Subject: Aden was an eye opener 6

ADEN DAYS 6

After the gathering of the clan we returned to Nisab following a coolant and one burst tyre problem, both ably remedied by my companions. You see them here changing a wheel in the desert. When fixed, we went on our way to our base at Nisab. Travelling through this part of South Arabia (now Yemen) is passing through another time spread – the land has not been molested by the modern world and ancient sites and workings still exist in their original settings.


See my friendly warrior pointing out some ancient chiselled script on the side of a rock.

This was the land of the Queen of Sheba and the civilisation of that time has left much evidence of their importance in this centre of the world which, as I said, has been largely untouched.

When we arrived back at our stockade we found that we were visited by a couple of wandering minstrels who continued to play whilst we took notice of them. The fact that they had gained access to the stockade was significant: intelligence once gained can be sold for money - probably to the wrong side - which would mean to our detriment. However, our stay was coming to an end. So these minstrels, on foot and with no communication, would take weeks before news of our presence filtered to the republican forces waiting to pounce.

 

Another personality turned up: a sole Arab wanderer armed with ancient rifle and happy to have his picture taken.

This character wandered the deserts shooting rats and other vermin and drinking from lichen full of condensation on the desert at dawn.

 

Alan had completed his mission of confirming that all was well with the South Arabian Federation which would be supported by the UK forces even after our departure. However, whilst we had been out of communication with the outside world little did we know that the Foreign Secretary, George Brown, had spelt out Aden’s future in that he said that independence for South Arabia would be granted on 9th January 1968 but that in departure from the Government’s policy of military assistance with ground forces then - no support – instead after Conservative opposition badgering the Government, he relented, and offered a force of Vulcan bombers with conventional weapons which would be available to assist the Federation, based on the island of Masirah. The bombers would be supported by a strong naval force in South Arabian waters.

Although this was a new departure from Government policy of - no support – it was too little too late in terms of supporting the fledging South Arabian Federation. By now the NLF had infiltrated at all levels South Arabian society and were sleepers awaiting the right time to strike.

The final account of what happened - next time

All the best

Charles

Thanks Charles - looking forward to it!

Dragonflies are one of the fastest insects, flying 50 to 60 mph.

From: Alex Masson, Chelmsford
Sent: Sunday, April 13, 2008 17:14
Subject: Church Parade for the 90th Anniversary of the RAF

Hello each!

Today, Sunday 13th April, we, at Chelmsford, held our Church Parade and Commemorative Service to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of the Royal Air Force.

There were at least 31 Standards Paraded, mainly Royal Air Forces Associations of Essex and they were supported by the three Air training Corps units adopted by Chelmsford RAFA  and lead by the Southend ATC Band. Other supporters were numerous units of the Royal British Legion, The Royal Navy, Royal Artillery, Royal Marines, Fleet Air Arm, Royal Army Service Corps/Royal Corps of Transport, Royal Signals along with the Air Crew Association and the Yatesbury (RAF) Association.

A very moving service – Wreaths were laid and tribute was paid to all those of the Royal Air Force and Air Forces of the Commonwealth who paid the supreme price.

Fitting that this should have co-incided with the sad passing of so many of our own colleagues over the past few weeks. Although they died, not in Service - “We will remember them!”

After, at the reception in the Shire Hall – the building seen in the above photograph – I was presented with a certificate by the RAFA South East Area President – Air Commodore Nick Carter (retd) OBE MA – for my work over the past five years in helping to maintain our ambitious target of £10,000 for the RAFA ‘Wings Appeal’ for the past five years.

The Squadron Leader (Rtd) in uniform is our own Chelmsford Branch President, Ralph Tyrrell MBE – to whom I pay great respect, as he was a Bomber Command  Lancaster Navigator 1943-45 with more than one tour to his credit!

 


Alex
Branch Treasurer,
Chelmsford RAFA

 

From: John Bell, Cairns Qld
Sent: Monday, April 14, 2008 02:57
To: Alex Masson
Subject: RE: Church Parade for the 90th Anniversary of the RAF

Nice one Alex. Always good to see a mate being recognised.

Talking of recognition, I recognise Nick Carter and I have worked with him but I am damned if I can remember where or when!

John
Cairns

Left-click the flag next to a sender's name in the Briefs to open an e-mail compose screen with their address filled in

From: Jack Riley, Urangan, Qld
Sent: Sunday, April 13, 2008 22:02
To: Alex Masson
Subject: Church Parade for the 90th Anniversary of the RAF

Hi Alex

Thank you for sending the photos of the Parade and presentation. It sounds as though it was a great occasion. We are particularly pleased that all your hard work has been so recognised. We know how much time and effort you put in to raising the funds each year so ....well done that man !

Sincerely

Jack and Jude

I'll second that!

 

In its entire lifetime, the average worker bee produces 1/12th teaspoon of honey.

From: Ian Berry, West Swindon
Sent: Tuesday, April 15, 2008 13:03
Subject: RE: UKMAMS OBA - OBB #041108

Hi Tony,

After reading Tim Newstead's story and the article on Operation Shoveller I feel I have to correct a few things...

Cheap shot Tim turning the tables and calling me a 'Stacker!'... I was attached to the Supply Flight RAF Nicosia and worked in Tech Stores where I was NCO i/c but my primary task at RAF Nicosia was as RAF Liaison Officer and if there were RAF aircraft or Charters arriving at Nicosia Airport I had to drop tools and carry out my primary task. Exactly the same tasks as todays RAFLOs. Arrange accom, fuel, engineering, transport, rations, pax handling etc.

When Operation Shoveller began, 70 Sqn Argosies were tasked to deliver Red Cross freight from Cyprus to Amman in Jordan but the lift was immediately stalled as the RAF insisted all the aircraft were painted white all over and sported Red Crosses instead of roundels. This inactivity was quickly picked upon by the press and so to relieve the heat CL44 Aircraft from Tradewinds and then CargoLux were Chartered to fly the waiting freight from Nicosia into Jordan.

The NEAF MAMS Teams were tasked to load and fly with the aircraft and prior to departure it was  discovered that they had to travel in civilian clothes. Nobody had brought any and so my wardrobe was emptied to clothe them - I never was recompensed! Before the loading began on the first aircraft the interference continued by higher authority and they decreed the aircraft should be parked and loaded on Alpha Pan which was sited some distance away from the main Airport Terminal and had not been used for quite a while. Whilst taxying into Alpha the first CL44 managed to clip a telegraph pole with its wing tip!

A lot of hammering and some speed tape cured the problem. The first freight to be moved was a British Army Field Hospital followed by many tons of standard relief supplies including tinned pork sausages. (To a Muslim Country!). Sadly some of the kit 'fell off the back of the lorries' but good old NEAF MAMS handed it to me for safe keeping till they returned.

I don't recollect seeing any UKMAMS teams at Nicosia but do remember Dave Barton and Tony Saw both from Gulf MAMS in Muharraq appearing on a newly painted Argosy. My involvement in this Op lasted about two weeks from my recollection. DK Henderson incidentally was one of the NEAF MAMS Team and not UKMAMS at the time.

Some weeks after the Dawson Field hijackings the Jordanian Army managed to rout the Palestinians and they all fled to Lebanon. Shortly after that all the male hostages were found and released and flown back to Nicosia. I was there too doing my RAFLO bit and taking messages between the families land side and the arriving fathers airside, lots of crying ensued including me I might add! Very emotional as I remember...

Yes, a medal was awarded by King Hussein to the NEAF MAMS Teams. However it was not presented to UKMAMS in 1987 by FSgt Charlie Marlow..... He was in fact returning it as he stole it off the crewroom wall some years before at a previous reunion while under the influence!! So there! Sue me for slander...

Keep the stories coming.

Ian

Thanks Ian - I've updated the article

 

From: Bob Dixon, Dauntsey,
Sent: Saturday, April 19, 2008 08:13
To: 'Tony Gale'
Subject: RE: Geoff Simpson

Hello Tony

Thank you for passing on the sad news about Geoff.  It has been a bad month with the loss of several other stalwarts including Derek Pilkington, who’s Memorial Service we will be attending at St Mary’s Church at 1400 hrs on Monday 21st April.

I am reminded of a few words I sent to others a few days ago when news about Derek and others who are fighting a losing battle against ill health were reported to us. 

I said “We were saddened to hear the news as a very bright light has now gone out – but we also think that the light was burning dimly of late and that is not how Derek would want to be remembered.   He has suffered enough in recent times and the family have been a wonderful support to him.”

Thanks also for the updates on our less fortunate colleagues and friends.  It makes any health difficulties most of us have had seem irrelevant when we hear of the pain and stoicism of others.

The old expressions, Keep movin’ and Keep takin’ the tablets help preserve our sense of humour when all the news seems black.  The better news is that all those now in difficulties have to sustain them great memories of friends, events and family that lift the spirits - and their Air Force service and colleagues have contributed a significant part of those memories.

That is why we keep on isn’t it?

All the best Tony

Bob

There's no more pain for them now Bob

The blood of mammals is red, the blood of insects is yellow, and the blood of lobsters is blue.

From: Dennis Martin, Woking
Sent: Saturday, April 19, 2008 09:15
Subject: Britannia's

I'm probably out of date with this, but I came across an interesting site on Brits. All of the RAF fleet and history are listed and pictures from around the bases they used to visit.  Brits were not at Lyneham in my time but British Eagle had fleet of ten, some ex BOAC and some RAF.

The site is at http://www.xm496.com/

 

Regards

Dennis  Martin.

Thanks Dennis, I wasn't aware of that site - there's great detail and it's very well laid out

 

From: James Jamieson, Nr Hereford
Sent: Monday, April 21, 2008 15:14
Subject: Membership Application Comments


Just recently discovered this great website and spent the last couple of weeks reading the backlog of briefs. Bringing back memories of forty-odd years ago has put a stop (albeit temporary) to my usual "Senior Moments." 

 I think I can remember some of the events and characters already mentioned and maybe I can add a few of my own experiences.

 More Later.

I believe Ian & Chas would be thrilled that you're onboard now - Welcome!

There are more than 300,000 species of beetles, making them the largest order of insects in the world

From: Larry Scurry, Frankford, ON
Sent: Tuesday, April 22, 2008 17:47
Subject: Re: Welcome!

Thanks Tony,

Wow, what a great website.

I just finished reading your account of your world trip in Belfast XR365, sounds like it was a great trip. I know what you mean about Australian customs; on my first LM course in '64 we arrived in Perth from Singapore and Customs took us apart. All that lovely fresh fruit and food stuffs in the garbage. The fumigation thing was quite a surprise for all of us.

Anyway Tony, a great website, will spend a lot more time enjoying the info.

Have a good one.

Cheers

Larry

Thanks for the kudo's Larry.

 

Mystery Photo #042508

The venom of a female black widow spider is more potent than that of a rattlesnake.

Tony Gale, Gatineau/Ottawa
25 April 2008

From my F1767

23 January 1969 / Argosy XM141 / Flt #4299 / Exercise Jigsaw

Flt Lt Dave Powell
Flt Sgt Les Mathers
Sgt Eric Batty
Cpl Jack Murray
SAC Clive (Taff) Price
SAC Tony Gale

We drove from Abingdon to Benson and then loaded the Foxtrot team Landrover (88AA81) onto the Argosy for an early morning departure to Exeter. It was just a 30 minute hop and my very first task on UKMAMS.

When we arrived at Exeter we were greeted by members of the Army Air Corps and spent the rest of the day demonstrating how to load both our Landrover and their Scout helicopter onto the Argosy - the purpose of the exercise was for the Army Air Corps to become self sufficient in loading their Scout onto an Argosy when required.

At the end of the day we all went our separate ways; Jack, Clive and I were headed for the other ranks transit accommodation for an overnight stay. Imagine our horror when we discovered there was no bedding on the transit beds - not even a mattress. Les and Eric had the Landrover and there was no way of contacting them. We had to walk to the stores, draw out our bedding and a mattress each and carry it back to the accommodations - Because of the distance between the stores and the transit accommodations we probably spent about 2 hours just getting everything squared away.

The next morning we were thankful that we were able to use the Landrover to carry the bedding back to the stores.

We then watched the Army Air Corps chaps strip down their helicopter, load it to the Argosy themselves and then they went for a flight in the Argosy with their Scout.

When they returned they offloaded the helicopter, reassembled it and then gave us a flight - that was a real acid test. We then loaded the Landrover back onto the Argosy for the return flight to Benson.

From that day on each of us, Jack, Clive and myself, always carried a pair of sergeant stripes with a needle and thread, so that when we were faced with OR transit accommodations again we could give ourselves field promotions and stay in the Sergeant's Mess.

Question - what was YOUR first task on UKMAMS?

 

From: Charles Collier, Marlborough
Sent: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 15:35
Subject: Scanner

Hello Tony,

You were kind enough in the past to give some advice on scanners. Well, I took this by the reins and bought a CanonScan 5000f which gave me all I ever wanted. Hence the Aden series I'm sending you - I scanned all my 35mm slides and they are on the computer.

However, my 4.5 year old scanner has now refused to operate. I've tried all the wizards but to no avail. All it produces is a black screen. Which means either that it has a fuse gone or a light failed. I suppose a scanner either works or it fails in which case you buy another one! What do you think?

Don't lose any sleep on it though!

Regds

Charles

A flea can jump 130 times its own height

From: Tony Gale, Gatineau/Ottawa
Sent: Wednesday, April 23, 2008 16:08
Subject: RE: Scanner

Hi Charles,

I purchased a rather nice television set 25 years ago – you know one of those nice solid wood floor-standing consol models – and I’ve moved it many times from residence to residence.  10 years ago I had a friend re-solder all the connections – it still works just fine. 

Unfortunately we are now living in a throw-away society.  Electronics nowadays are built to fail after a few years service and generally speaking the cost of repair is greater than the cost to purchase a new one.

Do you remember the old Supply Squadron rule-of-thumb regarding declaring something as scrap?  If my memory serves me correctly it was “If the cost of repair is 75% or more of the replacement cost then the item is categorized as scrap.” I’ve actually lived by this rule myself all these years and I do believe that this will answer your question.

Just as an aside regarding the scanning of slides… (or any picture scanning)  I too have one of those wonderful machines that will allow me to scan slides that I took with a Kodak Instamatic back in the 60’s and 70’s with fabulous results.  There is a rule of thumb regarding the resolution setting – if a picture is to be shown on a computer screen then 96 pixels per inch should be sufficient – but in order to get the absolute best detail (for printing) you should use 267 pixels per inch – some machines won’t allow you to have such specific settings, so go the next higher standard setting which would be 300 ppi.

No sleep lost!

Tony

 

From: David Eggleton, Abingdon
Sent: Thursday, April 24, 2008 12:43
To: Susan Reed - Intavia/African International Airways
Subject: Geoff' s Funeral.

Dear Susan,

I missed Derek Pilkington's Funeral on Monday last, owing to a severe Flu attack which put me in bed . My intention was to attend Geoff's Funeral to pay my respects, we worked on the Training Section of UKMAMS at Abingdon.

Unfortunately, I have developed a kidney condition and am going to have checks at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford as soon as possible. I have been told to rest  until these checks have taken place.Very sorry that I will not be able to attend.

My Kindest Regards,

Dave Eggleton.

Regrettably because of distance I am also unable to attend.  I do believe that our thoughts about Geoff and how he influenced all of our lives will be homage enough. Looking after yourself is your first priority right now David. Take it easy and get well.

 


So sorry to receive your e-mail re Paddy. I served with him at RAF Lyneham and on detachment at MPA. Please pass on my condolences, he will be missed by all who knew him.
 
 
Mike (Penfold) Pennnington
Warrington, UK
13 April 2008
 
     
More dreadful news... Only 43, life is not fair.    
Ian Envis
Crowborough, UK
13 April 2008



 

 

I have the honour of saying a few words about Derek’s life in the Royal Air Force and Royal Auxiliary Air Force.  It would take a long time to go through his service and cover the postings and detachments he had undertaken – suffice to say that there are few places in the world that he has not visited.  Instead, perhaps I could illustrate his personality and impact on so many people with a few anecdotes of his varied, energetic, influential and determined lifetime.

There is an unsubstantiated story that Derek used himself to explain how he was persuaded to join the RAF – he said that it was so long ago that he was approached by an engineering officer who had heard that he was a carpenter by trade and as the aircraft in the RAF were then made of wood he, ‘Pilky,’ would make a good airframe fitter!  During his early career Derek worked in the Trade Group known irreverently as “blanket-stackers” - that is those who provided and stored RAF spares and furnished the married quarters.  Derek saw the light and left supply work behind to become a Movements Specialist – a job totally in line with his ebullient personality.

So what kind of man was he?  ‘Pilky’ was determined and knowledgeable.  A man with high standards, he would ensure that those above him and those who worked for him understood the priorities and got the job done.  But it was the way he went about it that endeared him to all who came in contact with him.

He was a fair man blessed with an irrepressible sense of humour, a special ‘party trick', and an irreverent attitude to both authority and formality.  There are so many examples that illustrate these aspects of his personality.

Some 28 years ago, Sergeant Pilkington was on late evening shift at RAF Gutersloh in Germany.  The airfield was becoming snowed in and the departure of aircraft postponed.  The passengers became very restless and ‘Pilky’s’ boss said to him “Do something Sergeant!”  “Ok, Sir” ‘Pilky’ replied, picked up the microphone and launched into a rendition of “Give me the Moonlight.” The tension was eased and, shortly afterwards, the airfield reopened and passengers departed still laughing over his impromptu performance.

Tied in with his sense of humour was his ‘party trick’ – an amazing demonstration of stamina and humour generated by his inordinate skill at ‘one-arm press-ups’ which continued after his heart attacks into old age.  It is hard to remain straight-faced when – as I witnessed myself – he was mildly admonished for some error made by his men by a senior officer and so he sentenced himself to a dozen press-ups in best uniform on the spot!  The station commander also witnessed the incident and was so impressed that when we decided to take Derek from the aircraft apron on his last day of RAF service in a wheelchair to signify his dotage – large numbers of aircrew, engineers and Army passengers in Operations watched as the CO, later Air Chief Marshal Sir John Cheshire, wheeling him in towards the Movements Squadron – only to have Derek leap off the wheelchair to perform his “party trick” to an astonished audience!

RAF Lyneham, his last RAF posting, underwent an annual exercise for war known as the “TACEVAL.”  Everyone dressed for combat, buildings were guarded and aircraft flew sorties 24 hours a day to prove to expert observers that the Station was prepared for war.  In the middle of a TACEVAL Derek felt unwell and feared that he was about to have a heart attack.  He duly went down to the Medical Centre only to be refused entry and told by a young medical orderly to “Clear off – there’s a war exercise.  Come back tomorrow.”  Fortunately, a medical officer happened by as Derek’s choice use of Service vernacular was reaching a crescendo!

I cannot recall memories of Derek without speaking about his ability to teach others and get the best out of them.  His teaching skills were legendary in the RAF and also the Auxiliaries, or “Oggies” as they are known.  Apart from teaching the techniques of loading aircraft and passengers, he also had the task of teaching the basics of flight to hundreds of students over the years.  Subjects therefore included ‘restraint, thrust and drag’ which he graphically illustrated to his students using one of Trudy’s bras.  As you can imagine, they were lessons that have never been forgotten.

His irreverence was a rich seam throughout his career and I could always depend upon ‘Pilky’ heckling any speech I made when his Squadron Commander - and ever since.  In his turn, his droll humour and sense of the ridiculous was evident in his own speeches including the Warrant Officers and Senior NCOs Top Table Dinner a couple of years ago and, only a few months ago, at the last Annual Dinner of the ‘Oggie’ Old Comrades Association!

Derek has had wonderful support from Trudy and, as his health deteriorated, we know that she has been a tower of strength for him.  He has been very proud of his family and enjoyed taking his grandchildren back to see the Air Force he so enjoyed being a part of.

I have had only had a few minutes to illustrate aspects of the personality of this lovely man who was a giant amongst his contemporaries.  He proved that a sense of fun and an intense sense of duty could be combined and he was respected and loved by so many people to whom he brought a smile and a confidence that will always mark him out as a special person.  I finish by quoting not from a senior officer or fellow Warrant Officer, but from an e-mail from a Canadian who worked for Derek between 1977 and 1979 and who later went home and joined the Canadian Air Force.  His message was sent shortly before Derek died and it said:  “I want him to know that he was the finest Warrant Officer I ever had the honour to serve under, in either Air Force – nobody even came close to him.  What he taught me as a sprog, far from home, has carried me through my air force career and allowed me to go further than I ever thought.”

As we remember him, I think Derek would settle for that.  I hope that I have done justice to a friend and colleague.

Bob Dixon
____________________

That is very sad news about Derek.  We seem to be losing too many good people just lately.  
 
Andy Kay
Stafford, VA, USA
13 April 2008
 
     
Oh Boy, this one hurts, what a blow this is.  I'm sure he had St. Peter doing one handed press-ups at the gate before he went in. I had a quiet think about him today at work, he was a great guy, and in the words of a retired Irish Guards Sgt Major I know: "He's gone now, and his type that are left are as scarce as rocking horse poop".
   
Bill Nangle
Kingston, ON, Canada
13 April 2008
     
What really sad news one of life's really great blokes. Up there doing one arm press ups through the pearly gates.
RIP Derek 
   
Gordon Black
Swindon, UK
13 April 2008

 

 

     
My heartiest thks for the terrible news re a wonderful person, Derek. I have many wonderful fond memories which I will cherish for all times,as I do for the other poor mites who have passed away. Plse convey our deepest condolences to Trudy .RIP my friend, Derek. Respectfully, DC & family.
   
David Cromb
Brisbane, Australia
13 April 2008

 

 

     
     
     
     

 

So sorry to receive your latest black tie news about Geoff Simpson so soon after Gordon Woods.  And, especially my thoughts are with you my old friend, having to handle and share such a lot of negative news and emotions. 

   
Dave Powell
Princes Risborough, UK
19 April 2008
     

I have just received an e-mail from Charlie Cormack regarding Geoff. I only spoke to Ann on Wednesday night. Just cannot believe that this has happened. Very sad.

   
Bob Turner
Swindon, UK
19 April 2008
     
My sincere condolences to Anne and family
 
Ian Envis
Crowborough, UK
19 April 2008
 
     
For Anne and the family - It was with great sadness that we learned of Geoff's departure. Please accept our sincere condolences and support at this time.
   
Jack Riley
Urangan, Qld., Australia
19 April 2008
     
Rest in peace my friend. No more suffering now. Our deepest condolences to Ann. Your mate always, DC.
   
David Cromb
Brisbane, Australia
19 April 2008

     
I am so sorry to hear this awful news. My condolences to Anne, and my thoughts with all the family. In sadness...
   
Don Hunter
Macao, PR China
19 April 2008
     
It was so sad to hear the news of Geoff. Please pass on my condolences to Anne and the family. My thoughts are with all the families of the four Movers we have lost over the past several weeks. In sadness...
   
Dave Eggleton
Abingdon, UK
20 April 2008
     
Thank you [Martin] for letting us know the sad news. I had hoped that when you replied to me last after Geoff had seen the Rowing photos that his health was not as bad as I feared. Sadly this was not the case, he will be missed but always remembered by 'Hobb's crew'. Please pass on my condolences to his wife Anne and Family.

Geoff, rest in peace friend, your work is done.
   
Peter Clayton
Wroughton, UK
20 April 2008
     
Such sad news. Please pass on my condolences to his family. Such a sad month for movers
   
Gordon Black
Swindon, UK
20 April 2008
     
So sorry to hear of 'Simpo' - condolences to his family and extended family at Intavia, we had many interesting times. He will be sadly missed
   
Clive Hall
Swindon, UK
20 April 2008
     
Very difficult to take in that Geoff has passed away, he was far too young and enthusiastic for life. He took over from me as the Cpl on MAMS training in Abingdon. I got to know him really well during this period. Since then it has been fleeting meets down route or at Intavia’s headquarters, it didn’t matter though, he was always his cheery friendly self. Am sure all our thoughts are with his family at this time.
   
James Gallagher
London, UK
20 April 2008
     
I find this so hard to believe that so young a man has been taken from us. I add my condolences to Anne and to all who knew him in our organisation. Vale, my friend, you steered us well!
   
Steve Broadhurst
Melbourne, Australia
20 April 2008
     
We are all in deep shock here at Intavia/African International Airways, it's such a waste of such a wonderful talented man.  Geoff was only 61. We will all miss him dearly.
   
Susan Reed
Crawley, UK
21 April 2008
     
I knew Geoff both at Oakington and in Aden. A really nice man. My condolences to the family.
   
Alan Liptrot
Wigan, UK
22 April 2008
     
Regret will be unable to attend the funeral. I last saw Geoff at Lagos when I worked for MK - happy days.
   
Brian Harper
Thumrait, Oman
24 April 2008

Geoff’s funeral will be on Tuesday 29th April, 12:00 midday at:

Henfield Evangelical Free Church
High Street
Henfield, West Sussex, BN5 9DA

Family flowers only.  Donations to either the RNLI or Cancer Research

Ann Simpson said she hopes the day will be a celebration of Geoff's life and not too sombre and as Geoff favoured bright colourful ties, if anyone wishes to wear a bright tie instead of a sombre black one on the day it would be very well received

After the service we are meeting for a drink/sandwich at the White Hart (within walking distance of church).

Kindly let Susan know if you plan on attending

     

 

This issue is dedicated to the memories of:

Paddy McGinn

Derek Pilkington

Geoff Simpson