09 May 2008


New members recently joined are:


Royal Air Force
Clive (Taff) Price from Brecon, Wales, UK
Canadian Air Force
Dave Jodoin from Lacolle, Quebec, Canada



From: Charles Collier, Marlborough
Sent: Friday, April 25, 2008 17:10
Subject: Aden was an eye opener 7


Our departure from Nisab and the Upper Aulaqi tribe was imminent.  As you see from the picture there was a great danger I was going to be offered as a sacrifice! – I jest; but the leaving of these brave people to the political unknown that was before them on the withdrawal of British control of Aden Colony after 129 years of control was absolutely devastating for these proud tribes of warriors.

We returned to Khormaksar and re-established our life in our respective jobs. Each evening, along with others, I had volunteered to replace an Army patrol through the streets of Aden. We reported to the Army Control Centre where I would brief my scratch team of airmen and then go out on our patrol looking out for potential assassins and grenadiers.

The political situation was coming to a head. FLOSY and the NLF were each confident that they were going to assume power post our departure. This was decided in Sheikh Othman and Crater, the Arab district which was easily cut off at Main Point by British Security and on this occasion when the fire-fight started in Crater there were no British forces involved. This was a survival of the fittest by fire-power and it went on hour after hour involving civilians being caught in the onslaught between the two Arab factions. At the sunset it stopped and the NLF appeared supreme for takeover. This was to be accepted as a reality much to our dismay but we had no choice.

When this happened I was commanding a patrol controlling a checkpoint on the coastal road from Khormaksar to Crater stopping all traffic apart from service on duty going into the district. As there had been the fire-fight traffic was sparse. Until I noticed two Landrovers, one with a commander’s pennant, approaching from the Crater region. I called to my scratch team of RAF tradesmen operating as soldiers to warn them of a senior officer approaching and to look smart. The lead LR arrived and out stepped Lt Col Colin Mitchell of the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders (AKA: “Mad Mitch”). I saluted whereupon two shots from across the bay aimed at us tore through the air between Col Mitchell and myself at head height and struck the cliff on the other side of the road splintering the rock face but no damage to us! The good Col said, “I think I’ve outstayed my welcome!” The cover of the book, “Aden Insurgency”, depicts this incident, but as it was commissioned as a painting for the Argyle’s, there was no RAF involvement!

The next day I had a similar situation commanding a check point at the customs point on the road to RAF Steamer Point. There had been rioting in the Steamer Point district of Tawahi and a number of Arab ring leaders had been killed. The bodies had been loaded on flat bed trucks and taken to the Aden Cold Store (food). It was the only cold place of sufficient size in Aden. However, this meant that as each lorry passed our check point it had to be searched. Dead bodies are an ideal place to secrete away weapons and IED’s.

Whilst I was on the truck checking bodies for weapons I noticed in the bay a motorised longboat with a dozen or so sailors on board with the Hammer and Sickle red flag flying from the stern of the vessel which was approaching the jetty! I immediately jumped off the wagon and grabbed the nearby Arab police officer and we both went to the jetty where I put my hands up in a denying fashion saying “No Landing – we have unrest – Danger” They protested, whereupon the Arab police officer pulled out his pistol and fired two shots over their heads. This action convinced them that we meant business and they turned around and went back to their ship. They had been on an intelligence gathering mission and had picked up enough information without landing.

So, my posting to this outpost of empire came to an end. I was posted to RAF Marham to a quieter existence!

Since I retired, as with others, I have searched the internet and to my amazement found news of Alan D’Arcy. He was a member of the British Yemeni Society and takes parties to Aden each year. I contacted him by e-mail and at his request sent him pictures of our time in tribal areas – he was amazed with these pictures for he explained that the tribal leaders and their henchmen had been wiped out by NLF insurgents after we left. The Naib managed to get his heavily pregnant wife out of the country to Saudi Arabia – she escaped just before he was summarily executed with the rest of his tribal henchmen. Alan told me that the Naib’s wife had a son and now that he was mature he had been asked to return to the Yemen and resume the leadership of the Upper Aulaqi which he did, and Alan showed him and his tribal brother’s pictures of their fathers whom they had never seen.

So, the story ends: but as I said it was an eye opener for a 25 year old embarking on a career – everything from then on rather paled until at RAF Marham I managed to find the excitement I yearned for – I went gliding with the Fenland Gliding Club in my spare time and achieved silver C standard.

That’s all of that story



Thanks Charles - I enjoyed reading of your adventure in Aden and look forward to reading about your hobby with sailplanes after you have settled into your new home in Devizes. Good luck with the move, sorry I can't be there to offer some help.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a broken fan belt and leaky tire

From: Terry Roberts, Swindon
Sent: Sunday, April 27, 2008 13:39
Subject: FW: Derek Pilkington's Memorial Service

Hi all,

A short note from Trudy and the family:  "We are very grateful for everybody’s support during these trying times. Thank you to those who attended the service and for those who returned for some light refreshment at Lisa & Daryl’s pad."

Those who sent condolences please note that they have been duly passed on.

I would say that about 70 people attended included family, ex Movers, Serving Movers and a strong contingency from 4624 Aux Movements Squadron   

Dougie B summed it up well, plus he has invented a new word. I am in contact with the Oxford Press to check: "Terry, sorry to bug you but the next time you contact Trudy could you please pass on my thanks to the family for their welcomeness (if that’s a word!!) & hospitality during what must have been a very difficult time. I deemed it a privilege to attend Derek’s memorial service. Cheers for now, take care, Dougie "

Bob Dixon gave the eulogy which was well received with the odd Pilky type joke included.

I spoke to Sarah who mentioned that they would always say to Derek, "Jackonary, tell us a story." Derek would always say, "Stop me if you've heard this one before" She said they never did. Hearing her say that I wondered how many times I have heard Derek’s repeats. He would always add a little extra if he thought you started to get a glazed look.

All those who attended were invited back to Lisa and Daryl's house and once there we were made to feel very welcome and part of the family. Trudy apologises if she missed anyone out on her walkabout.

That well known reserved and shy chap called Ian Envis called us to book and said a few words on behalf of us visitors with a comment that most people  agreed with,  “It was a pleasant day but for all the wrong reasons.” how true.

Trudy gave a few words of thanks to her immediate family; Lisa & Daryl and children, Sarah & Adrian and children and Trudy’s extended family. Trudy, in true Pilkington tradition (I took another hit as Derek’s stories usually start with the fact that he was my Corporal.) by saying that Terry was actually Derek’s corporal and Ian was not. Which is true, I was Pilky’s corporal

Daryl said a few words and expressed the fact that not only had he lost a father-in-law but also a friend and companion. He went on to relay a story about the time when he was at work and talking casually with a colleague who happened to have done some time with 4624 Aux Movements squadron at Brize. Daryl said you may know my father-in-law Derek Pilkington. Daryl said that the guy put down his tools looked him in the eye and said "Derek P - what a bloke” and who could disagree.

As Dougie said, it was a privilege to be at the service. The family made us very welcome even although it must have been a trying time for them.

I will end by quoting Daryl’s work mate, "Derek P - what a bloke”

Best regards

Terry Roberts


"Catherine S" is looking for Alex Brown - last heard of in Gutersloh in the late 80's. Contact Tony with information please.

It’s always darkest before dawn. So if you're going to steal your neighbour’s newspaper, that's the time to do it.

From: Ian Envis, Crowborough
Sent: Tuesday, April 29, 2008 17:52
Subject: Geoff's Funeral - 29 Apr 08 Feedback

Hi All,

OBA in attendance;







and obviously me...

The civil aviation side were superb and came out in large numbers plus many from the village of Henfield. Ann was much impressed and Susan from AIA made sure we all got into the social bit - one of Geoff's mates from AIA made a typical RAF set of words which had the congregation in the VERY SMALL Church laughing. He had been an airframes man at LYE in the early '70s. Seriously, at least 20 of us were confined to the lobby of the Church!

Suffice to say it was a send-off and not a mournful event.

Brgds Ian


From: John Holloway, Shrewsbury
Sent: Wednesday, April 30, 2008 11:51
Subject: It Ain't Half Hot Mum

  Hi Tony

Just a bit of history that might be of interest to the lads which has been extracted from the Mauripur Sandscript newsletter.

Jimmy Perry, the co-author of situation comedies such as Dads Army, Hi-de Hi and many other TV productions was at Mauripur in 1947 with a Combined Services Entertainment Group which  was asked to go to Jiwani just up the coast from Mauripur in a Dakota of 31 Sqdn. The show they did was one of the cast dressing up as a women; this caused an uproar amongst the lads in Jiwani as they had not seen a woman for ages and believing that this chap was a woman chased him about. Later on in Perry's career he wrote a sketch based on this incident and it was shown on TV and was the start of the series 'It Ain't Half Hot Mum.

A surprise visitor who also flew into Jiwani and Mauripur in October 1948 for refueling was Group Captain Douglas Bader who was en route to the Far East to take up an appointment with either BP or the Shell oil company. The aircraft he was flying was a Proctor GAGNU.


For our Kiwi friends I've attached a photo of the tail end of RNZAF Bristol Freighter NZ5901 which ended up nose first in a monsoon ditch at Mauripur in 1954.

It was soon put right; there were plenty of spares available if needed as the RPAF had lots of Bristol Freighters based at Mauripur.


Hope the foregoing is of interest



Never test the depth of the water with both feet

Dennis Martin's Profile

I completed my square bashing in the winter of 1952 at West Kirby - a wild and desolate place in the winter months.

I left there just before Xmas and was posted to Lyneham.

I was a railway goods booking clerk prior to being called up so I thought that the trade of movements clerk would keep me in that line of work.

That's me in the front row, the last on the right

I arrived at Lyneham on 3rd January 1953 along with 3 other sprogs; John Shaw, Vince Hickley and Malcolm Robertson. We were introduced to the loading party under Corporal Ginger Sullivan (Shift workers, 24 hours on and 48 off classed as 'Operational') Squadron Leader Luck was the Officer in Charge of Air Movements the whole time I was at Lyneham. I remember that at the beginning of February the floods along the east coast (now in the news again - 50th anniversary) saw two Hastings complete with loading gangs - the ones that were off duty - fly out to Milan in Italy to bring back thousands of empty sand bags that we had left there after the war.

These were dropped off at the Essex and Suffolk coasts to help with flood barriers, apparently we had used all of the UK supply. I was on duty when the emergenecy arose and recall the movers were mustered outside J4 Hangar wearing undergarments; two pairs of pyjamas, denims and hats and were then issued with Wellington boots! In Milan they worked four on and six off and in between chatted with the locals and drank their wine (so they said) and after 24 hours they flew back via the droppping zone.

Later in February we did the same thing for some Scottish crofters who had been snoweed in for four weeks, only this time it was coal and hay. I think that we were justgover that when the next emergency came up - severe earthquakes in Turkey; tents, blankets, rations and first aid plus relief workers. It was a busy couple of months. We were still sending out supplies to the Far East (Korean War) as well as the regular Valetta flight to Wildenrath and other destinations.

After passing some aptitude tests I was promoted to LAC in early 1954 - still on the loading party. I can't remember when, but one evening I had to take some manifests to the Load Control office and had to wait while SAC Yeardley (or was it Yearworth?) finished some calculations on a complicated machine. He was totally comitted to this thing, his right hand whizzing round one way then the other, pressing a key and then doing it all again. When he'd finished he had beads of sweat on his forehead. I gave him the sheets and asked him what he was doing. Far from shrugging me off he invited me in and started to show me the ins and outs of weight and balance. Shortly after Squadron Leader Luck paid un unscheduled visit and enquired as to what I was doing in the office (I was in denims, which was a no-no).

Yeardley explained that I had shown an interest in weight and balance . Squadron Leader Luck asked for my name and said, "Right lad, you can start in here on Monday - we need a new clerk."

For the early 50's movers who remeber the calculator in Load Control, I remembered it was a Facit. I didn't like it and used it only occasionally.

Corporal Cabledu and SAC Yeardley used to manually check calculations rather than believe it.

I moved up to SAC later that year and really enjoyed the challenge, especially the off-station squadron moves. During my time in Load Control the officers on shift were; Flight Lieutenant Acres, Flying Officer Charlie Chase (was his expression 'Oh Golly Gosh'"?) and Flight Lieutenant Tuppin. Flying Officer Snudden was occasionally on shift. I can only recall Sergeant Abrahams but there must have been others. (When he left the RAF, F/O Snudden went to Dan Air, eventually, I think, becoming the top man.)

One squadron move that I recall was very demanding. In 1955 Bomber Command (I think it was No. 27 Squadron - Canberras) were going on a goodwill tour of the Caribbean. Flight Lieutenant Tuppin, myself and one loader, Vince Hickley (my choice) , were drafted to RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire on the first of five Hastings aircraft. We arrived about mid day, found our accommodation and then met the Bomber Command officers to see what was what. In a huge hangar the freight was all laid out in groups. The plan was that each aircraft would have spares and ground staff on board just in cased the aircraft ahead of it had problems. The cargo had already been weighed, but the passenger's baggage, lined up accross the hangar, was still to be weighed and there were no scales on the station. Flt Lt Tuppin nipped into Lincoln and purchased a set of bathroom scales from Boots. We then had to sort the baggage into the correct passenger/aircraft order. That done we spent the evening at a pub in Lincoln.

The following day the other four aircraft, one with a spare Hercules engine on board, arrived from Lyneham. We sorted the load into aircraft payloads and Vince organised the local labour force.

Cargo that we couldn't accommodate - the smaller pieces - were loaded into the Canberra bomb bays (fortunately they don't worry about load/trim sheets). I recall that we had the aircraft loaded by about 2200 hrs and I had started the trim sheets at about 1900 hrs. At school I was not all that clever at simple arithmetic, and apart from the monster Facit and slide rules, calculartors were non-existant. I scrounged sheets of blank paper and completed the weight and balance and other papers for the five aircraft at about 0130 hrs.

The first aircraft - a Hastings - departed at about 0900 and then the Canberras and remaining Hastings left at one-hour intervals. I breathed a big sigh of relief when the last aircraft took off at about 1300 hrs!

We then had to hitch a lift back to Lyneham. Sitting in the NAAFI we heard our names called over the Tannoy to report to the tower immediately with our belongings. Our first thought was that we would be off to the Caribbean - but no such luck! A HAstings on a training flight had been diverted to pick us up. We clambered on board with the aid of a ladder and joined a dozen Air Cadets clutching buff sick bags. I had my first, second and third view of Lyneham from the air. We circled three times and on the second circuit I sensed we kept dippinhg to port sharply. When we landed a fire truck followed us down the runway. You guessed it; the port undercarriage was stuck but eventually locked down.

When I left the RAF in September 1955, I joined Hunting Clan Air Transport at Heathrow, a small independent airline with some lovely ground receptionists!

I was involved with passenger handling, load and trim and ground operations. I returned to Lyneham a couple of times as a civvy in the late 50's when the Ministry charted our Avro York for cargo flights, my job being to supervise the loading and departure.

In 1961 Hunting Clan merged with Airwork and formed British United Airways (Later British Caledonian) and moved to Gatwick. I was fortunate in getting a job with BEA but I only stayed there just over a year.

Eagle Airways moved their base from Blackbushe to Heathrow and in 1962 I was asked if I would like to organize theri Load Control office as it was always causing flight delays. I took up the challenge and eventually the guys accepted me and we became a well organized and efficient group. I also enjoyed the liaison between the Load Control and the technical staff. Our thinking did a lot to simplify the method of showing the weight and trim of the aircraft. Eagle became Cunard-Eagle then British Eagle.It was the UK's leading independant airline when it went into liquidation in 1968 (I still blame the Labour Government).

I had reached the heady heights of Officer i/c Passenger and Apron Services. I had about 450 staff to look after (including 180 receptionists!) and during my time met various celebraties including The Beatles, Harry Seccombe and dear old Spike Milligan.

With politics getting involved with civil aviation it was with regret that I decided that area of employment. With a wife and three children I didn't want to move out of Twickenham so I started up a proprty maintenance business., My contacts in the airline industry helped as they gave me decorating and other jobs and kept me busy.

My final move was to DIY retailing. In 1976, witha fellow airline mate, Jim Russell (ex Eagle), I opened the gardening plumbing and electrical side of his existing DIY shop, well known in aviation circles, 'The Handyman' in Staines. In 1979 I moved out to the West End near Cobham, Surrey and when I retired in 1999 I was still in DIY retailing - at a shop in Lightwater.

I must commend Tony and all the other ex-movers for giving me the opporunity to reminisce old times. I must admit that I learned more during my three years in the RAF that I did in the previous six years - it was there to be learnt! I expect a few of you flew with Huntings or Eagle as we had lots of Ministry contracts.

Last of the Summer wine - 2002



No. 1 Air Mobility Wing
Royal Air Force Lyneham
Chippenham, Wilts, SN15 4PZ

Tel: 01249 896133 / 897379
Fax: 01249 896648




Later this year we will have an opportunity to bid farewell to our colleagues in style with the annual Trade Top Table. The CMC and Mess Committee at RAF Lyneham have accepted our request and the date is set. As you will be fully aware this event continues to prove hugely popular and this year should be no exception. It is therefore important we start planning now so as to accommodate as many people as possible.

Individuals in the frame this year are Bill Liddle & Dave Morrow, but I am sure there are many others out there who wish to be dined out. Please confirm if you would like to be dined out this year and pass names to me soonest including who will be making speeches on your behalf.

In keeping with tradition the afternoon will begin at 1200L on 14th November 2008 in the Sgt's Mess bar at RAF Lyneham.
The cost of the function will be advised at a later date but will include wine and port.   The cost last year was £32; cost for this year’s event will be confirmed at a later date.

Please cut and paste and then print out the form below, fill in your details and return to me if you are interested in attending the function. Alternatively you can send me an email

In August or September another letter will be sent to interested persons with final details of those leaving and requests for payments.

Best Regards
Jim Sutton


Sgt Jim Sutton
SNCO Training
No 1 AMW
Chippenham, Wiltshire, SN15 4PZ

I am interested in attending the Top Table on Friday 14th November 2008 my contact details are as follows; -


From: ……………………………………………………………………






If you think nobody cares if you're alive, try missing a couple of car payments

From: Wayne Flaherty, Winnipeg, MB
Sent: Saturday, May 03, 2008 22:59
To: Jack Riley
Subject: ukmamsoba


Heya Jack. 

I checked in to your old bods web site and enjoy some of the tales.  Do you have a message board where all the members can chit chat back and forth like we do here in Canada with all the Traffic Techs old and new, retired and serving members.  We have a lot of fun talking to old friends we served with over the years and enjoy talking about current affairs as well.  A great place to visit.  If you like I can give you the web address so you can check it out  Let me know if you want the address. 




Guest Book Entry
James Jamieson, Hereford 5/4/2008, 3:06 pm, EDT

I have seen the name Pete "Jock" Hunt mentioned earlier. I first met Pete when I went to Abingdon in 1965 and we have an affinity in that we both come from Edinburgh.

While he was trying to get out of the RAF with depression he told me one day that he'd just been accepted on a two week course in Liverpool. I couldn't understand why he would go on a course to possibly advance his service knowledge so I had to ask him, "what kind of course is it?"

He said "Religious Instruction"

Oh Gosh, I thought, the poor sod's flipped his lid, so I asked him if this was part of the plan to get out?

" Naw but it's the two weeks either side of the Grand National at Aintree."

Pete was a real character and about a year later I saw on Flt. Lt. Mckay's Task Board that a team was tasked Lyneham - Edinburgh -Gardermorn and the reverse trip a week later so I booked a weeks leave and got a freebie up to Turnhouse and of course as soon as the RAF Britannia was on chocks, who came out to see who was on board but Pete Hunt, who was now a Cargo Officer with Caledonian Airways but said he wasn't happy in the job and was looking around for something else.

I got the feeling he was missing UKMAMS!

If you lend someone £20 and never see that person again, it was probably a wise investment.

From: Tony Gale, Gatineau, QC
Sent: Sunday, May 04, 2008 08:48
To: Wayne Flaherty, Jack Riley
Subject: RE: ukmamsoba

Hi Wayne,

Thanks for the feedback and the suggestion concerning the creation of an online forum for the UKMAMS OBA website.

In the early days of the association I played around with different ideas regarding what would be the most favoured content for the website.  Back then online forums were not as common or as popular as they are today.  At one time I had pages devoted to humour, available jobs and links to other websites – but after a while they seemed to me to be somewhat of a white elephant and I was very conscious of how much it was costing me to host them.  So over the years I developed a sense of what was popular and what was not so popular (site visitor statistics played a role in this too) and was able to trim the website content down.

I have given a lot of thought to the creation of an online forum Wayne, but it does have both a plus column and a minus column. 

In the plus column there is the instant back and forth messaging capability and the gratification of a somewhat immediate response to a question.

The minus column holds (for me at least) a lot more items;

  • The need for a 24/7 watchdog administrator to weed out potentially harmful or derogatory content
  • The need to have the forum hosted by a third party (I don’t have the capability to program in the required “php” format) which inevitably leads to having those cheap and nasty questionable flashy advertisements popping up all over the page.
  • The disappearance of topics after 50 entries (gone forever).
  • The lack of pertinent content.
  • The loss of the Old Boys Briefs newsletter (that’s our current forum).


I have been keeping an eye on the Logistics Movers Association forum for quite a while now; while the cost of gas (that’s petrol Jack) is a popular topic, as is the amount of snow in Nanaimo on any given day, those items are, in my humble opinion, off topic. I believe of much greater value is keeping old comrades in touch and sharing experiences concerning military air transportation - which is attained partially in our Old Bods Briefs.

My apologies Wayne if it appears that I am pooh-poohing your suggestion- I really appreciate your input and have given it a great deal of thought. By the way, if you check out the Canadian Air Force Member’s page on the OBA website you’ll note that there is a link to the LMA site at the bottom of the page

Best regards

Gatineau QC

p.s. I’ll put this exchange in the next issue of the Old Bods Briefs – perhaps some members can add items to the plus column which might tip the scales in favour of the creation of an online forum – let’s put it to the membership.


From: Howard Firth, Hythe
Sent: Wednesday, May 07, 2008 11:58
Subject: Change of Details

Hi Tony,

I have just caught up with the new website, marvelous.  My details have changed.  You still show me as being in Khamis Mushayt.  I left there in 2003 and moved to South Africa.  I left there, I really must pay my electric bills in these places it must be cheaper than moving country! in 2007 and now live in Hythe Kent my phone number is 01303 261053 and e mail address. Could you either tell me how I can change these details myself or could you oblige.



'H' Firth

Thanks H - I've updated your listing. With regards to changing your own information; while it is feasible to place a self-serve function within the website that would allow members to change the way their listings appear, it does tend to leave the website open to hacker attacks. Case in point - just this morning I read that someone posted hundreds of flashing images and links to more pulsating images on the Epilepsy Foundation site, triggering severe migraines and near seizures for some visitors recently. This is not a joke, but the product of an immature person who thought it was funny.

A closed mouth gathers no foot

From: Paul English, Swindon
Sent: Thursday, May 08, 2008 05:32
Subject: Obituaries


  Hi Tony,
  I'm still without my internet at the moment thanks to BT....
  In view of the recent passing of several movers from past and present, how about a separate page with a roll of honour ?
  Maybe along the lines of their photo and dates of service.   I think the old UKMAMS had one sometime back.
  Glad to see the site is going from strength to strength.   Keep up the good work...!!



From: Tony Gale, Gatineau, QC
Sent: Thursday, May 08, 2008 06:32
To: 'Paul English'
Subject: RE: Obituaries

Hi Arfur,

I know where you’re coming from with this one, but I’m not too sure that I like the idea.

It’s sad that many of our friends and associates are passing on and I have no qualms about advising everyone and publishing their eulogy when available.  Having said that, I really don’t embrace the thought of having a constant reminder of our own approaching mortality as the page that you had suggested inevitably increases in entries.

The Roll of Honour page that you mentioned was on the old OBA site – but was a listing of all of the medals and awards that had been received by members of the squadron.  The original listing was obtained from Jerry Porter’s book and then bought up to date by information from individuals.  I came to the conclusion that it was too incomplete and dropped it when switching over to the current website.   If someone out there does have an accurate up-to-date listing I would be more than happy to place it back into the site.

I’ll copy our exchange into the next briefs Arfur, putting both of the above topics to the membership – let’s see what the general consensus might be.

Best regards


The quickest way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it back in your pocket

Mystery Photo #050908

That's it for this issue

Have a great weekend