02 May 2003


A new member joining us this week is Mick Sullivan from Brize Norton, UK

Welcome to the OBA!


From: Dave Barton, Kings Lynn, UK
Date: 25 Apr 2003 11:01
Subject: Perim Island

I read with interest the mention by Charles Collier of Perim Island and the follow up from D.C. (Oz). Perim Island is in the Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb at the southern end of the Red Sea.

I go back to my days in the M.N. in the late '40's and well remember sailing past the island and a very welcome lighthouse (old ship, no radar). The maritime 'Pilot' book did not paint a very good picture of the place and recommended not to land - natives unfriendly!

I was surprised to read that it had become occupied by civilised people, mind you, the pilot book on board, like the ship, was very old!

Like D.C., I was also very familiar with Masirah having done one full tour and many detachments - tell me more about the MIVA.

Keep up the good work Tony, 

All the best.

Dave Barton.

[Ed:  Details about the MIVA (Masirah Island Vet's Association) can be found at the bottom of the article "The RAF on Masirah Island" on the web site.]


From: Dave Barton, Kings Lynn, UK
Date: 25 Apr 2003 11:34
Subject: Memorabilia

In response to Ian Berry's letter regards the loss of many historical items of interest relating to Movements, I can only sympathise. It happened when UKMAMS moved from Abingdon to Lyneham, much of the Crew Room souvenirs were 'lost' in transit.

Thankfully some of the real hardware has survived like the mile stone from Penerak which I understand is still outside the MAMS HQ.

If it is of any help, I do have a large collection of slides etc. taken while on MAMS, many of which I think have been offered and perhaps used previously, they are still available.

With regards to the swordfish beak (snout), I do have one gained honestly while at Masirah which, if could be saved for prosperity, I would be willing to donate - it's already 35 years old (just half my age!)

On a different note, I have always thought that it would be a great idea if awards to members of the squadron were also donated as often happens within army regiments. So often these medals etc. end up stashed away, forgotten and sold and end up on market stalls. Any comments?

All the best.

Dave Barton.


From: Ian Berry, Swindon, UK
Date: 25 Apr 2003 13:05
Subject: Death of Al Storey

It is with regret that I have to inform you all that Al Storey passed away on Good Friday at home after a long illness. Al served on UKMAMS during Aug 1967 - April 1970 & Nov 1971 - Apr 1973 and on FEAF MAMS Apr 1970 - Nov 1971. 

After leaving the RAF in May 1975 and before his retirement served in the RNZAF for a while as well as Scimitar Airlines and was Chief Loadmaster on Anglo Cargo Airlines as well as being employed on many freelance jobs in Africa for the UN.

Funeral arrangements are: All Saints Church, Chapel Green, Crowborough, East Sussex, TN6 1SD at 10.45am on Wed 7th May. More info can be obtained thru Sam Heaphy on (01793) 852030.

Ian Berry



An Irishman an Englishman and a Scot were sitting in the bar. The view was fantastic, the beer excellent, the food exceptional.

"Och Ye ken" said the Scotsman, "I still prefer the pubs back hame. Why in Glesga there's a wee boozer called McTavish's. Noo the landlord there goes out of his way for the locals so much that when you buy 4 drinks he will buy the 5th drink for you."

"Well," said the Englishman, "at my local, the Red Lion, the barman there will buy you your 3rd drink after you buy the first 2."

"Ahhh that's nutin,'" said the Irishman. "back home in Dublin der's Ryan's Bar. Now the moment you set foot in the place they'll buy you a drink, then another, all the drinks you like. Then when you've had enough drinks they'll take you upstairs and see that you get laid. All on the house."

The Englishman and Scotsman immediately pour scorn on the Irishman's claims. He swears every word is true.

"Well," said the Englishman, "did this actually happen to you?"

"Not me myself, personally, no," said the Irishman. "But it did happen to me sister."


From: Howard Firth, Kharmis Mushayt, Saudi Arabia /
Date: 26 Apr 2003 01:55
Subject: Re: OBB 042503

Hi Tony, 

Thanks for overseeing a great Web Site. I am now in my last few days here in Kharmis Mushayt Saudi Arabia. I extended for an extra 4 months in the RAF to allow them to find a replacement but they still haven't, so I am off. I leave here on 30 Apr for a new life in South Africa. I have bought a house on a Golf and Nature Reserve in Mossel Bay on the Garden Route. I am not looking for work at present but am hoping to become a volunteer crew member on the local lifeboat. Love of the sea must have come from my days as the WO Mover on the MV Keren in the South Atlantic. I will keep some of the stories of my life on the ocean waves for another day. It just proves how flexible the people in the Trade are that we adapt to all and every challenge.

I leave the RAF on 2nd Sep 03 just 1 day short of 39 years in uniform. I have had a fantastic time, mostly as Mover, met and worked with some great people and seen the world.

If any OBA members are down my way I would love to see them. 

All the best 



From: Ian Berry, Swindon, UK
Date: 26 Apr 2003 15:45
Subject: Air Movements Training
Anything Jack can do! Copy of my Cert gained whilst at Abingdon in mid '67. This was 2 months after my return from Aden.

Just as well I didn't know Chas Collier was walking the streets at the same time with a .303 otherwise I would never have slept!....

As a reward for passing this course I received a posting to Libya the following year - "We move in mysterious ways"



From: Ken Davie, Mystic CT, USA
Date: 26 Apr 2003 009:12
Subject: Re: The Death of Al Storey

Hi Tony,

Looks like good old Al 'slipped under the wire'. I remember him so well - a great character. I was really saddened to hear the news of his passing as I'm sure many of his old compatriots will be.

I'm working in Connecticut now at Foxwoods, the 'largest casino in the world'. Living in Mystic on the coast. 

Best regards,



From: Gordon Gourdie, Euxton, UK
To: Dave Cromb, Brisbane Qld., Australia 
Date: 26 Apr 2003 10:18
Subject: Aden

Hi Dave,

You may find some interesting reading by going into Britains Small Wars. Click "Aden" in the Index and you will be presented with a host of Icons. In the left hand column and the 8th Icon down is "A Young Sapper’s Experience of Up Country" by Pete Salisbury. Immediately to the right is "RASC in Aden and Radfan" by Richard Bullock. 

Both of these stories brought back many memories for me as AFME MAMS shared a camp with RCT, RASC and Air Despatch at Thumier (later renamed Habilayn). They were a great bunch of guys.

The baboons mentioned by Pete Salisbury were evil bastards and everyone was absolutely petrified of them. The Engineers built a corrugated iron wall around the water well about three hundred yards outside the camp fence. The bloody baboons would wait until about 2 am and then start heaving rocks at the structure. The noise was unbelievable.

Pete also mentions in his story a Shepherd that was killed. I went out on that particular exercise which was a fairly unpleasant experience. As mentioned, there had been torrential rainfall for a number of days and this old guy decided to herd his sheep/goats under a rock, which was the size of a house. Unfortunately the rock slipped and killed the old boy and most of his flock. Some of the animals survived but there was no way we could dig them out so I suppose they had a pretty long death. Etched in my mind is the memory of the Shepherd's son sitting on top of the rock, silhouetted in the moonlight, starting his lone vigil at what was his fathers grave.

Another part of this website you may be interested in is The Aden Database.

Re Perim Island. It lies at the very south west tip of Arabia almost at the point where the Red Sea meets the Gulf of Aden. You will find it at 12.40 N and 43.17 E. I did a couple of exercises on Perim with AFME MAMS. However, we Movers were not as brave as the Supply Branch Officer, but we were a lot smarter. We would fly onto the island on the first Beverley in the morning and leave on the last one out in the evening thus being in the NAAFI bar at Khormaksar some 50 or so minutes later.

Sorry if I have bored you with my reminiscences but perhaps some of the above will be of interest to you.




From: Charles Collier, Marlborough, UK
Date: 28 Apr 2003 16:25
Subject: Upsetting the Third World

Hello Tony, 

In 1964 I was posted to RAF Feltwell in Norfolk which was the Officer Cadet Training Unit (OCTU). We were a very few potential officers trained there! Because it was only open for a couple of years before it moved to RAF Henlow; before that it had been at RAF Jurby in the Isle of Man - or as Mr Churchill said during the WW2 when asked where the Virgin Islands were, he answered, "A long way from the Isle of Man!"

Well, we had three squadrons of ground officer cadets, men and women, as well as foreign officer cadets - all male! 

The OCTU course included a sizeable amount of drill on the barrack square. We were armed with Lee Enfield .303 rifles and were trained on taking flight commander posts shouting orders for arms drill. This for me having joined the RAF in 1958 was second nature, but for some of the foreign students it was a comedy!

Pilot Officer David Thangate of the Kenyan Air Force was taking his turn at: "Attention; slope arms" but he said "Warriors, slope de spears"! This brought the house down. And it was some time before we were able to continue.

Years later I was OC Supply at RAF Bracknell - the Staff College - and who should be sent on a staff course but Gp Capt David Thangate of the Kenyan Air Force. We met and exchanged memories. But it was shortly after that he returned to Kenya where there was an air force sponsored insurrection to unseat the government which was defeated very quickly, but it meant that those who had been controlling the attack were summarily executed. 

So I suspect David Thangate met his fate at that time.

It does not matter what you do in life as long as you don't upset governments - in the third world!



Brit Pilot's Punch Up - a true article extracted from a newspaper by OBA member Gordon Black:

A furious British helicopter pilot who came under "friendly fire" from American troops landed yards from them, leapt out and exchanged punches with a US marine.

The Chinook pilot shouted at him: "When was the last time you saw a f****** Iraqi in a helicopter?"

The pilot and the marine had to be pulled apart as the American troops advanced on the north of Baghdad, according to reports from US Central Command in Qatar.

British military spokesman Group Captain Al Lockwood said, "I'm afraid it would be an RAF kind of thing to do.  These guys are not known for tolerating fools gladly."


Well, that's it for this week

Have a great weekend!

Best regards