Gatineau/Ottawa
18 May 2001

 

A new member this week is Martin "Crud" Carruthers from Bromsgrove.

Welcome to the OBA!


For those of you that perhaps missed the memo - Sqn Ldr Jack Riley RAF (Rtd) has accepted the position of Honourary Chairman of the UKMAMS-OBA.

I'm sure you'll join me in welcoming him.

Jack has provided a little something for the Humour page this week.


From: Willie Crossley rafc130@hotmail.com
Subject: No Subject
Date: 12 May 2001 08:40

Hi Tony,

Glad to see how the membership is increasing by the day. This is attributed no doubt to your hard work and dedication to your goal.

It has been a long time since we last spoke and I must apologize for not doing so. I have regrettably been a little sick and diagnosed with Diabetes which I am managing to control by diet at this point.

For your info I have made a small web page of my own and you can include this with my profile if you wish, it is http://www.geocities.com/wdc502001/Sarges_Page.html

Finally I wish you continued success with the ongoing work on the page.

Many thanks Willie Crossley

[Editor's Note: Thanks and "Hang Tough Willie!" I did check out the website and there are some nice pictures]

 

From: Ronald Jack Riley jjriley@australis.aunz.com
Subject: SRO No 1
Date: 13 May 2001 00:08

Dear Tony

Would you please enclose the following in this week's Briefs.

I have quickly come to recognise what a debt we owe to Tony Gale for his expertise, efficiency and dedication in running this website. A heartfelt "Thank you, Tony" from us all.

Jack Riley

[Editor's Note: Thanks Jack - I really didn't want to publish this - but Ghislaine made me!]

 

From: rafu_goosebay rafu_goosebay@hvgb.net
Subject: Rogues Gallery Update
Date: 13 May 2001 09:20

Tony,

A bit more info for your rogues gallery:

Bob Ford - now lives and works in Kent.

Ivan Gervais - May now have retired but was until recently a Probation Officer in Liverpool after gaining a BA degree.

Jerry Keyworth - Works for Brit Aerospace and is presently based in Tabuk, Saudi Arabia.

Jim Marchant - Lives in Carterton, Oxon and works as a HGV1 driver for Tesco's.

John 'Troop' Smith - After many years working as a Loadmaster for Intavia (DC8 freighters) he now works for British Airways Cargo division at Heathrow and lives in Carterton too.

Al Storey - After years serving in the RNZAF Al became a Loadmaster working initially with Pete Simpson, he was then chief ALM on Anglo Cargo until their demise in early 90's. He then became an independent consultant for the UN and worked in several places in Africa. Sadly Al is now not very well and this may be attributable to a tropical disease. He now lives in West Sussex.

Bryan Morgan - Now retired, lives in Abingdon and was heavily involved in the Rugby circuit.

Got to get off the machine now as there's a queue! Back in UK on 16 Apr.

Cheers for now,

Ian

[Editor's Note: Thanks Ian - the Rogues Gallery has been updated]

 

From: Howard Farrow howardfarrow@talk21.com
Subject: Change of email address
Date: 13 May 2001 18:05

Tony,

Not sure if you have got my previous e-mail's? But my e-mail address is now howardfarrow@talk21.com
Having some probs at present it seems receiving mail.

Cheers

Taff Farrow.

[Editor's Note: Thanks Howard. Previous messages not received, but I have now changed your e-mail address in the system]

 

From: Ian Stacey Staceys918@aol.com
Subject: Re: Jerry Porters Book
Date: Mon, 14 May 2001 10:54:54 EDT

Tony,

Sorry about the last two non-messages - I must have fat finger problems this morning.

I noticed that you had mentioned Jerry Porters book "Moving in Mysterious Ways" in your last brief. Do you have a copy of this book yourself? If not, I have a spare one which I would be happy to send over to you.

Best regards

Ian Stacey

[Editor's Note: Many thanks for the thoughtful offer Ian, but John Belcher very kindly forwarded one to me. My curiosity was piqued when I read in that book that three chaps from MAMS went over the wall during the Oil Lift when you were there in the 60's - perhaps you might want to scratch down the story before it gets lost in distant memories?]

 

John Holloway
Shrewsbury UK
11th May 2001
(via snailmail)

Hi there Tony,

Having noted that you sometimes have a problem getting enough gen together to put in the Newsletter to us each week, I thought perhaps you could sort the nitty gritty in the following that might be of use to you:

Jack Riley and Jim Aitken recently made some observations about Mauripur. I recall that it seemed to be a regular comment of people, especially aircrew, passing through that used to express a dislike of this station. I spent nearly two years there, and, quite honestly, after passing through Shaibah (The Blues), Bahrain and Sharjah (yuk!) on the way there, I was quick to adapt to the facilities available to us.


Pakistan was a “dry” country and bottled beer was about seven shillings a pint so we were paid a beer allowance of fifteen shillings a day. I didn’t drink beer then so on top of my regular pay of eight shillings a day I was quite rich. In comparison an RAF employed Pakistani who got about 50 Rupees a month I got about 110 rupees a week so pay wise we must have been like the Yanks in the UK during the war.


The coolies we employed knew better than us how to spread the load on an aircraft after all they had been doing it a lot longer than us Burrah Sahibs, so we relied on them a lot plus they all could speak perfect English.


The local facilities were very good; swimming in the nearby Sandspit Bay plus a swimming pool at the YMCA in Karachi. There were good restaurants, including the Speedbird at the airport, two air conditioned cinemas showing the latest Cinemascope films and an area in the city that catered to upper middle-class locals with good shops. We could go to the Imperial Tobacco’s social club, and events put together by the people that worked at the British High Commission - they were keen on amateur dramatics like Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta’s etc. Then there was soccer, rugby and cricket, and we played against local clubs.


There was an opportunity to spend your leave away up-country in the hills which I took advantage of. It was a two days and two nights train journey to Rawalpindi and then a thirty mile taxi ride up to Murree – a hill station from the Raj days which was very similar to the UK with tall pine trees, pathways, shops and restaurants and a little village church. We stayed with a couple of expats who had settled there after a working life in India, and there were quite a few others there just like them.


On camp we in Air Movements worked 24 hours on and 24 off. We started at 9am when all the arrivals from the previous day had departed, we then had to prepare for the arrivals on our shift. Usually a couple of Hastings, maybe some ferry flights, Canberra’s etc., and USAF flights were fairly regular. We generally stood down at about 7pm so we could go to the cinema or canteen, back to the billet for a kip then up at about 6am for the departures and finished off at 9am. The next 24 hours were ours to do as we pleased.

It was a doodle with bearers to look after us and coolies to do the humping. Who could ask for a better posting? We had tailors that used to make our clothes from material bought in the bazaars or sharkskin material that the AQMs would bring to us from Singapore as well as watches, cameras and any other goodies we wanted.


We all had different coloured shirts in Air Movements, the CO walked into the section one day and made a comment like “You’re like the Rainbow Brigade.” It was all so pretty easy going.


There were a few drawbacks: the rotten humidity for a few months, the food was pretty poor so that’s why we used to eat out so often. We were not allowed a NAAFI but we did have our own canteen separate from the mess where we could get fry-ups and there was a snooker table and table tennis etc.


Snakes, scorpions and spiders were in abundance. During the monsoon season we would have a coolie sit by the main door clubbing the snakes, mainly Silver Kraits, as they tried to get into the dry.


So all in all it was quite a good posting. I know it has a bad history from the 40s after the war with the mutiny etc., that had spread all over India at that time, but we were there at its best period with only a few of us stationed there until it closed in 1956.


From what I heard at that time the only other posting that seemed reasonable was Eastleigh in Kenya although they had their problems, and I know they had a strike in 1955 due to the food. Pineapple was always a main feature on the plate; fried, curried, boiled and whatever else dished up for every meal of the day.



Anyway, I guess that's all for now, I'm waiting on the delivery of my new Laptop computer. I've settled on a Dell Inspiration 4000 700GT, so as soon as I get started I'll drive everybody crazy.

Cheers

John Holloway

[Editors Note: Rebuttal anyone? - Just kidding! Thanks for this John. Looking forward to receiving some more stuff from you when you get your new computer.]

 

Added to the site this week is an extension to the article "Bersatu Padu".

Following the official sanitized version of this five nation exercise in the Malayan Jungle, comes the unofficial version by Jerry Porter which is taken from his book "UKMAMS - Moving in Mysterious Ways". In the item is an account of Dave Barton's trek through the jungle on a forklift with his only navigational aid being a map of the London Underground, and the end result being that the Malayan educational system was put back a full 50 years!

If you have never read any of Jerry's writings about UKMAMS the humour is brilliant and worth reading. If you have read his work before, then it is worth a re-read. If you were on the exercise then you really shouldn't miss it.

 

From: Ken Davie kendavie@yahoo.com
Subject: Re: Another award!
Date: Tue, 15 May 2001 06:56:03 -0700 (PDT)

Hi, Tony

I just noticed that the site has received another honour in the form of The Golden Web Award. You're becoming famous, Tony. Next thing you know, it'll be Anthony Gale OBE ! You've really touched a lot of lives with this site. Anything you get for it ain't enough! All the very best from the Sioux Nation...Ken

[Editor's Note: Thanks for noticing Ken - Let me think, OBE - that stands for Old Boy Entrant, right?]

 

From: David Barton David.Barton2@tesco.net
Subject: 540
Date: Wed, 16 May 2001 09:54:36 +0100

John Belcher mentions entry to 540 for March 1973 - Australia/Indonesia. John suggests that one team member was left out - I was certainly not on that trip, infact the furthest I got in that month was Aldergrove, Gutersloh and Bardufoss.

The milestone purloined from the jungles of Malaysia was carried out by 'F' Troop (Don Wickham in the lead & yours truly).

Dave Barton.

[Editor's Note: I believe John was saying that my name was left out of the 540 for that trip. As far as the Milestone was concerned - we now have the account of that tacked onto the bottom of "Exercise Bersatu Padu" on the Articles pages.]

 

From: Howard Firth HFirth@deso.dpa.mod.uk
Subject: DOC LOOSELY
Date: Wed, 16 May 2001 10:20:06 +0100

Ref the enquiry regarding Doc Loosely. He served with me at RAF Northolt on the Civilian Airhead Det at Heathrow. This was his final tour and we dined him and his good lady out in fine style during a Air Movs Dining Out Night in the Officers Mess probably in 1999-2000. Martin Skelton WO AMF at Northolt will probably know more info.

Rgds from the Saudi/Yemen frontier.

H Firth.

[Editor's Note: Thanks Howard - The name Martin Skelton brings back a memory for me - if it is the same Martin then he was in the 48th Entry at Hereford, and I last saw him in 1964! Does anyone have an e-mail address for Martin Skelton at Northolt?]

 

From: Shuggie Shewan shewan@euphony.net
Subject: Re: Old Boys Briefs 031601
Date: Thu, 10 May 2001 18:40:49 +0100

Tony,

I have just got back home after a couple of months away on detachment and have only just managed to read my messages. I'm not sure if this information has been passed to you already and being a mere puppy, I can't verify this, but although I never knew the guy in question, I do remember somebody telling the lads in the crew room at Lyneham that an ex mover called Dave Wright was the load master who died on the ill fated Redcoat Brit that crashed in the States on it's way back from Belize.

I do hope I'm wrong on this, but I thought I should pass on what I remember.

Best regards

Shuggie Shewan

[Editor's Note: I passed on this e-mail to Ian Berry, whose response follows]

 

From: Ian Berry iwberry@supanet.com
To: UKMAMS O.B.A. ukmams_oba@hotmail.com
cc: Shuggie Shewan shewan@euphony.net
Subject: Re: Dave Wright
Date: Thu, 17 May 2001 12:55:20 +0100

Shug/Tony

Am clearing my backlog of e-mail now I'm back from Goose.

I can squash the rumour about Dave Wright being killed, it was not him but sadly another ex-FEAF MAMS/UKMAMS guy called Dave Whyke. He was single but a good troop. Without lowering the tone too much his party trick was to pull out his appendage which was rather larger then the norm!

Dave died on board a Red Coat Airways Britannia (ex-RAF) which came down in a blizzard near Boston in the late 70's.

The search for big Dave Wright continues....

Thanks for the info.

Ian

[Editor's Note: Thanks Ian]

 

Well, that's it for this week.

Have a great weekend!

Best regards

Tony