27 April 2001


We are very pleased to see another new member this week, Ian Shreer joins us from Kettering.

Welcome to the OBA!

I received the quarterly Team Briefs from the UKMAMS Association at Lyneham this week. I note that Clive Bishop is hanging up his editorial hat after 4 years in the hot seat.

He is handing over the quill to Mick Cocker, who will have that Guru of all Gurus Ian Berry keeping the ink well nicely topped up.

Our thanks must go to Clive for the wonderful job he has done, and, coming from a fellow editor, I know it can be rather exasperating trying to find enough material at times.

I told you a couple of weeks ago about my plans to include a commercial advertisement on the site, which, when I started last year, was one one the things I was determined not to have. Expat shopping however is a really worthwhile venture started up by two ex British Army chaps who were missing all of the familiar comfort foods etc., when they were serving overseas.

They now have an extremely well run organisation that caters to ex British patriots worldwide. You will find over 1,500 items listed in their site that you can purchase and have sent directly to your overseas address.

One of the benefits for the OBA is that every initial order placed with Expat Shopping referred by the OBA website advertisement will generate a small revenue which in turn will offset some of the operating costs associated with the running of the site. Please ensure that you click on the link from the OBA Links page when placing your first order.


Jerry Allen in Cheltenham sent in a memorable (for some) photograph of Sam Heaphy caught with his pants down. Check out the Images page for this knee-slapping belly laugh!


Guy Jefferson MBE, author of the "Potted History" articles, has very kindly contributed some items for the website. In the first of four articles, the history of RAF Abingdon from the early beginnings in 1926 where the station was initially constructed to counter a perceived threat from France, to the final days in July of 1992, are recounted in wonderful detail.

Future articles will tell the history of Benson, Brize Norton and Lyneham.


The following was received in the OBA Guestbook:

Tuesday 04/24/2001 8:28:22am
Name: Frank Kennedy
Country: United Arab Emirates

Currently writing anecdotal then & now book on former British bases in Mid East. I am chairman of Dubai & Northern Emirates Royal British Legion - yes we have one out here and we raise over 20K a year for the Poppy Appeal. A donation will be made to the RBL for each book eventually sold. Publication is planned for early 2002 if I am able to get the material in time.

I am asking for pictures and anecdotes of Aden, Riyan, Bahrain, Sharjah, Salalah etc etc. Currently concentrating on Aden - I regularly visit the place and am short of pictures of Khormaksar and I would appreciate permission to publish some that you have in your Khormaksar picture page. Many of the old RAF buildings remain but are crumbling. The control tower is still there with a pile of rusting Migs nearby. The place is a timewarp and I have permission to take pics inside the airfield on my next visit in a few weeks (May 2001).

At Sharjah little remains except the control tower and fort (now thankfully preserved as a museum). The main runway is a road and the location of the main gate is under a Spinneys Supermarket (recently closed) around the former area of the non-pork meat counter. Any pics on Sharjah very welcome as well as for Bahrain, of which I still have very few, and the other stations.

I am an ex submariner (but I did belong to the ATC as a schoolboy) so if you feel inclined to help an old 'fishead' it would be appreciated.

Incidentally, if you visit and Britains Small Wars on Bravenet Web Services you will see similar (and more comprehensive postings by me). If you are not familiar with them, they are lively and interesting forums for British service people.

Many thanks

Frank Kennedy

[Editors Note: I was able to dig up a few anecdotes and short stories that had appeared in previous editions of the OBB, and also gave Frank the green light to use some material from the OBA site. I look forward to receiving some images of Khormaksar as it now appears]


From: Bob Tacker
Subject: OBA Website
Date: Sun, 22 Apr 2001 13:18:16 EDT

Hi Tony,

Many thanks for your e-mail. Here is a short history:

Left the RAF in 78 and moved to Aberdeen working for a small charter airline doing oil support work. I left them after a year as there was a wide gap between their pay and my aspirations. I subsequently went into financial services on a self employed basis and, some 20 years later, I'm still at it!!

Moved back South in 1980 and, since 1988, we have been living in Repton, South Derbyshire - nearest big town Derby. We have two children - James now aged 22 yrs graduated last year from Sheffield University and spends all his time mountaineering including expeditions to the Alps and Greenland. In between he 'temps' for the Civil Service to pay for his trips! Sarah, aged 20, will be starting back at Sheffied doing a course in Biomedical Sciences in September.

As regards a photo (teehee) I'm not sending any incriminating evidence furthermore all this technology is beyond my simple skills. However, if you go to - look under 'About our Club' in click on the photo thumb nails you will find a head and shoulders of yours truly under either Instructors or Committee. You are not allowed to have a full frontal as I am no longer the slim good looking chap I used to be.

Congrats on building up the web site and bringing so many of the older Abingdon guys together. I think the Site is superb - you must have put a lot of effort into it - once again well done! The site is obviously well visited - I've already had e's from Pete Chappell who says I owe him a fiver and Derek Barron who says I still owe him a beer. Marvellous!!

Pleased to hear things are going well but how you manage to keep pace with a combined total of 8 children is beyond me - 2 gives me grey hairs.

All the Best

Bob Thacker

[Editor's Note: Many thanks Bob, but, judging by that photograph which now appears on your profile page you are still a handsome dog! - click on the asterisk next to his name on the Member's List]


From: Jack Riley
Subject: This and that
Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2001 10:55:05 +1000

Dear Tony

Interested to see the suggestion that I might be the "oldest old Mover" Filled me full of hope of finally making the Guiness Book of Records! I already have a claim for entry (never submitted I hasten to add!) My wife, who died in 1983, was an Anglican priest (yes, they do have them in New Zealand where we were then living). My claim? Oh yes. The first man in history to get an Anglican priest pregnant!

Yesterday booted, spurred and bemedalled I marched/wandered/hobbled (choose one) down the streets on the Anzac Day Parade with the RAAF Association, as I have for the past five years. I was surprised the first time to discover that the local populace turn out in their thousands to line the streets and cheer and clap. Quite moving. I'm delighted to report that each year more and more children join the parade, either with Youth organisations or parading as schools. Thus there is a real understanding of the debt owed to previous generations and of the stupidity of war as a way of settling disputes.

I see Mauripur appears in the briefs from time to time. Readers may not be surprised to learn that when I was there (1944 or 5..can't remember) it was called the Belsen of the East, a name I found totally appropriate for the tented camp which it then was.

But're a busy man



[Editor's Note: I think that Jack is going to have to explain the "Belsen" thing for some of us younger chaps. Stay tuned for an interesting turn of events involving Jack that will be announced in an upcoming issue of the OBB]


Well that's it for this week - oh, I almost forgot, Phil Clarke over in Vienna has almost finished writing an article for the site which hopefully will be up next week sometime.

Have a great weekend