04 May 2001


A nice WARM (It was 31 Deg C here today!) welcome is extended to:

Joe Wilkes from Leicester

Henry Symms from Huddersfield

Welcome to the OBA!

In the second of four "Potted History" articles on the web site, Guy Jefferson MBE tells the history of RAF Lyneham.  The other two to look for in the next couple of weeks will be Benson and Brize Norton.

From:       Jack Riley
Subject:    Khormaksar
Date:       Sat, 28 Apr 2001 12:51:16 +1000

Morning Tony

Thought I might spend time putting a few memories on paper to use, or not, as you wish.

It was, I suppose, early in 1963 that I found myself clambering aboard a troopship (I think it  was the "Nevasa"), as OC RAF en-route for Aden with a party of green young airmen.  I use the term advisedly because the Army, always kind to its sister Service, had decided to stow them in the pointy bit.  Their reasoning became clear as we ploughed through a stormy Bay of Biscay !

Our first view of Aden did not altogether fill us with joy, a first impression which was to prove only too accurate in the years ahead.  I booked into the HQ MEC Mess and was duly allocated my cell. As a form of greeting I found myself sandblasted by a sandstorm which, on later inspection, proved to have found its way even into my drawers, of both varieties!

The working day on the Joint Movements Planning Staff, which had special responsibility for the  MAMS Teams, started at seven and ended at one (or thereabouts) whereafter the sensible ones made their way to the Club and bathed both insides and out with suitable liquid.

In due course I was joined by my family and we found ourselves in a hot-box flatlet on Murder Mile, alias the Maalla Strait. Our near neighbours were the medicos in their block, quickly named Bedside Manor. Meanwhile the locals proved rather less than welcoming with such outrages as dragging a Warrant Officer from a bus and setting fire to him in front of his wife and family, or lobbing a hand grenade over the verandah of the PMO's house where his daughter was celebrating her 21st birthday.

Driving towards Khormaksar one passed the only piece of green - a grassed and well-watered roundabout. Later we moved to Khormaksar into the top flat of a block of Married Quarters inside the barbed wire compound. Although fairly new, this too was warmish. Rumour had it that the Arabs who erected it thought that the insulation, designed to go under the corrugated iron roof was packing material and destroyed it.

Despite everything we managed to make our own amusement. I had had some experience in Singapore  running the Changi Theatre Club and had been headhunted to stage shows in Aden, this we did in the Khormaksar School. With a company about sixty strong, service, civilian, wives and camp followers we managed to stage three productions in the next three years.  All Gilbert and Sullivan, the first was "The Sorcerer" which ran for six nights in November 63. This was followed by  "Ruddigore" (or "The Witch's Curse") and, by courtesy of Bridgit D'Oyly Carte, presented the operetta in its original form using the old F Copy musical scores which she loaned me. Then, in February 1965, came "The Pirates of Penzance." For all these the original costumes  were researched, designed and made under the supervision of Maisie Jones, wife of Flt Lt Dave Jones, an Air Mover there.

During all this time movements experience was at a premium as the Movers, and particularly the  MAMS Teams, coped with such things as operations in the Radfan and the deployment of the UK Stategic Reserve and the Beverleys from Bahrain into places such as Kenya, and down into Swaziland and the then Southern Rhodesia.

Don't ask who had the whole of the Reserve chalked up on Nairobi Airport only to be told the winds and thus the fuel loads had changed. And don't ask who stripped the seats out and fitted floor chains. And don't ask who despatched the brutal and licentious sitting on the floors clutching them. Stick us at the pointy end indeed! And don't ask who was met by his Wing Commander late at night on return to Khormaksar after a week without sleep worth talking about with the greeting "Report to my office at seven tomorrow morning to brief me!" Movers were ever resourceful!

[Editor's Note:  Many thanks Jack.  In addition to placing the above into the Khormaksar  article, I have also taken the liberty of forwarding it on to Frank Kennedy in the United Arab Emirates who is currently putting a book together with anecdotes and short stories from the Gulf Stations.]


From:          Basil Hughes
Subject:       Nassau - Mams -Photograph 1963/4
Date:          Sat, 28 Apr 2001 10:54:10 EDT

I don't now how this will turn out but here goes -- The one at the back is Dan Archer,  I am in  the front left and Mitch Mitchel is on the right -- we were staying at the Royal Victoria Hotel Nassau -- The trip was to transfer army personel from Brits to Argosy's

Basil Hughes

[Editor's Note:  Many thanks Basil, the picture can be viewed on the Images page.]


From:      Scott Innes
Subject:   Change of E-mail
Date:       Sat, 28 Apr 2001 16:19:46 EDT


Just a quickie to let you know my e-mail has changed once again!

Can you please direct anything and everything to

This should be the last time I change it.



Scott Innes

[Editor's Note: 'tis done!]


From:        Joachim Duester
Subject:     Expats in Oman: Masirah island
Date:        Tue, 1 May 2001 21:07:33 +0200

I would like to draw your attention to some websites about Masirah island which illustrate that this "remote" island has been a provisional home for many expats over the past sixty (!) years:  [no longer valid]

 Has anyone already seen Colin Richardson's recent book "Masirah: Tales From a Desert Island" (ISBN 1858218012) and could comment upon it?

Oman Studies Centre


From:     Phil Clarke
Subject:  Late again
Date:     Thu, 3 May 2001 17:52:09 +0200

Hi Tony,

Sorry but no way my article will be ready for this week - hopefully I'll finish it over the  weekend.


       Philip M. Clarke
       Lauda Air
       Tel +43 1 7000 75124
       Fax +43 1 7000 75125
       Mob +43 676 5455015
       E Mail:

[Editor's Note:  Thanks Phil - we look forward to receiving it.]


From:      Neil Lewis
Subject:   Masirah
Date:       Thu, 3 May 2001 20:54:14 +0100

Dear Tony,

What a fascinating site!  I MUST congratulate you. I was a WOP from 1960 to 61 & through the sites on Masirah have just been contacted by a Medic who was there at the same time and who now lives up in FINLAND!

I was the wireless OP on duty the night Electric went aground. I also received the signal  annulling the marriages between the locals and the Pakistani workmen employed by Costain. (It was kept VERY quiet!)  Bob Carey (the Medic) whom I've just E-Mailed was on the DC3 piloted by MAD MIKE Warrington.  He did a beat-up for us & the wing tip actually scraped the ground for 150 yards. Another passenger was a tour-ex fireman. He lives down in Swansea by me!

If you ever want to know the nitty-gritty of the Electric Incident then please E-Mail me. It's  call Sign was HOPV. - Indelibly imprinted in my brain! - That stood for Insurance Job!!

Kind Regards
Neil [Taff] Lewis


From:      John Belcher UKMAMS
Subject    UKMAMS Familes Day 2001
Date:      3 May 2001 20:18:45 -0000

UKMAMS Families Day, Saturday 19th May, 1200 - 1700  On the Sports Pitch behind the Gym.

Attractions include:
Dakota Flying display
Static Aircraft - Nimrod, Both types of Hercules
Radio Controlled Model Flying Display
TALO Demonstration
Various Stalls and Displays
Open to all Current and Former members of the Squadron and their Families

The Families day will be held on Saturday 19th May starting at 1200 until 1700. As in previous years, the event is being held on the Sports pitch behind the Gym at Lyneham. The event is free but any profits will go to the UKMAMS Charities.

Unfortunately due to current RAF regulations there will be no air experience flights in a Hercules. But the day will feature other aircraft.  The highlight of the day will be a flying display by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight Dakota. Apparently this aircraft is the same one that was loaded by a certain UKMAMS WO (still serving) in Aden in the early 60's. The Dakota display will be at 1435.

The static aircraft display of a Nimrod, Both types of Hercules and possibly a Chinook helicopter will be open for you to look inside  The Warminster Radio Control Flying Club will be putting on a display of fixed wing and rotary model aircraft at 1300 with a possible further display at 1530. They have an interesting range of models - so if the RAF can't provide the real aircraft for the display then come and see the models!

Refreshments will be available from a Burger wagon and of course from the UKMAMS Beer tent.

Stalls will include:
St John's Ambulance (refresh your First Aid skills before your next GDT)
UKMAMS Vehicle display including the new ATLAS 2000
JHSU - see how varied and interesting a tour with this unit would be.
RAF CIO stand
Various local car dealers including Vauxhall, Audi, Renault, VW and hopefully a Mercedes.

For the children (under 12's not the LAC's) there will be bouncy castles, a Noddy train and sponge throwing.

Planned Timetable
1200 Familes Day Opens
1300 Radio Controlled Flying Display
1435 Dakotoa Display
1500 TALO Demo
1530 Second Radio Controlled Flying Display
And best of all the event is FREE


Well, that's it for this week.  There are some weeks, and this week was no exception, when Tuesday rolls around, I quietly panic that I am not going to have enough material for the Old Boys Briefs by Thursday evening, which is when I normally send them out.  Somehow though, as if by magic, it all seems to come together.  Please don't let that stop you - I still need YOUR input, either by an e-mail or an article, photograph or what have you (especially required from Bill Nangle, who, just a little over a year ago, was complaining that there wasn't an OBA for UKMAMS on the web - and we still don't have his profile!).

Have a nice weekend