24 May 2002


From:     David Howley, Melton Mowbray,
To:         Robbie Taylor, Doncaster, UK
Date:      17 May 2002 03:57
Subject:  Belfast Tail Tipping

Hi Robbie,

There was an incident of a Belfast being tipped onto it’s tail on the pan adjacent to VASF at Brize (i.e. the nearest pan to Air Cargo) about 74/75. Apparently it was being offloaded in a rush and the techies were (as usual) bloody slow in getting off their backsides and fitting the struts - never understood why movers were not allowed to do them!
All went well until the last 3 pallets - 1 on the Condec, 1 on the ramp and one by the chain box in the nose -  the individuals charged with moving the last pallet jumped the gun and moved it before the 2nd was on the condec.  Those who saw it said she was quite majestic as it settled on her arse!
I cannot recall who the unfortunate Sgt was, but needless to say he got a rocket.  I never did find out what he did to the two who dropped him it.


From:      John Belcher, Chippenham,
To:          Robbie Taylor, Doncaster, UK
Date:       17 May 2002 06:25
Subject:   Mentions of MAMS

The articles on the Britain’s Small Wars web site, Tony’s and the UKMAMS web site ( are all very similar – in fact they are the same article. It was also published in Team Brief about a year ago as well.
UKMAMS are mentioned on the site in a couple of places. On the Falklands war pages there some photos that I took during a det to the Falklands in 1987and on the Riots, Rebellions, Gun Boats and Peacekeepers page there is a link to the UKMAMS site.
I have listed all the Ops and Disaster Reliefs that been involved MAMS on the UKMAMS site with some articles from people who took part giving more details. But as always, I am on the look out for more articles, not only for the site but for Team Brief as well (heavy hint!!)
All the best


From:      Robbie Taylor, Doncaster,
To:          John Belcher, Chippenham, UK
Date:       17 May 2002 15:28
Subject:   Re: Mentions of MAMS

Hi John,

Thanks for the info, I've still got to get into that site and see what's there.  Have got a busy weekend coming up, what with our reunion ( 46th, after 40 years ) will set aside some time soon and get back to you. Thanks again.
Cheers          Robbie


From:     Robbie Taylor, Doncaster,
To:         David Howley, Melton Mowbray, UK
Date:      17 May 2002 16:35
Subject:  Re:  Belfast on it’s arse

Hi David,

Thanks very much for the info, I'm not going senile, my memory is still there somewhere, I don't know where though!
The reason I asked, was a Belfast was due into Akrotiri around 72 /73/74 (it was a while ago) but was cancelled for no apparent reason. Rumours, at the time, said it had been tipped on it's arse.
Was it a very big secret? It seems very few people knew about it, or are they too embarrassed to admit they knew it happened and were possibly involved in the incident, not that it matters now. But...............???
I could never understand why we could not officially fit the struts, to save a lot of time on QTR'S I always did it (if I remembered or needed to) or one of my team did.
Noticed from info on Servicepals, you served some time in Akrotiri. Did our paths cross, I was there 72/74.
Cheers             Robbie


From:     Derek Barron, Calne,
To:         Robbie Taylor, Doncaster, UK
Date:      17 May 2002 17:13
Subject:  Dummies


I was a bit slow sometimes, but a dummy, never!   :)

Rgds, Derek Barron


From:      Robbie Taylor, Doncaster,
To:         Derek Barron, Calne, UK
Date:      17 May 2002 17:59
Subject:  Re:  Dummies

Hi Derek,

Oooooooooops!  Tony did say I would get a response from a " big burly gentleman " (not too big I hope). Sorry, I honestly did not mean anything by my remarks, I just could not resist it. I've been in many a situation myself but thank God or Allah that they were never published.
Hope everyone is ok your end, and  that you are keeping well and happy.
Cheers      Robbie


For all of us who feel only the deepest love and affection for the way computers have enhanced our lives, read on

At a recent computer expo, COMDEX, Bill Gates reportedly compared the  computer industry with the auto industry and stated, "If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25.00  cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon."

In response to Bill's comments, General Motors issued a press release stating: If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics:

1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash twice a day.

2. Every time they repainted the lines in the road, you would have to buy a new car.

3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You  would have to pull over to the side of the road, close all of the windows,  shut off the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue.  For some reason you would simply accept this.

4. Occasionally, executing a manoeuvre such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine.

5. MacIntosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast and twice as easy to drive but would run on only five percent of the roads.

6. The oil, water temperature and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single "General Protection Fault" warning light.

7. The airbag system would ask "Are you sure?" before deploying.

8. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.

9. Every time GM introduced a new car, car buyers would have to learn to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.

10 You'd have to press the "Start" button to turn the engine off.


From:     Ben Loveridge, Brough,
Date:      17 May 2002 18:53
Subject:  Rumours


Where do these rumours start?

180 litres of French wine, indeed!  That’s just what Spider is contributing!!! 'Tis true though, Spider, myself and wives will have a little meet and greet in North Yorks over the weekend of the 24-26 of this month. This is only a dress rehearsal for the main event, two weeks in the New Forest, beginning of August. If Rip Kirby is lucky(?), he may even get a Taceval around that time, he doesn't live too far from the campsite.

My, how friendships last, Spider will often quote my first words to him, back in early 1980, “what do you want, you little sh*t?'  Well, I was a veteran, I had 2 months more time in than him!

Seriously, I am going to make a determined effort to get to the MAMS bash in August, from the way things are going, it may be the last movement’s knees-up at Lyneham. If only I could fit into my old flying suit! Anyway, for anyone who does attend and wonders who the bald, fat git with the beard is, well, it's me!

Cheers for now.


[Ed:  Thanks Dibs - Enjoy yourselves on the weekend - I trust you'll make a toast to those of us who are not present?]


From:    John Holloway, Shrewsbury
Date:     17 May 2002 23:06
Subject:  For Info

Hi Tony
Just had a breeze thru’ some of the search websites and on Service Pals there's a Peter Spear 1960 to 72 postings
El Adem and Lyneham UKMAMS amongst others.
Just though I'd let you know just in case you don't look at this website

[Ed:  Thanks for that John.  I remember Pete Spear, and I expect Boot Pratt remembers him well also.  He is a very funny chap - great work mate.  I had a few trips with him - he was always claiming foreign territory for "Her Masjesty the Queen."  I did track down his entry in the Service Pals website - sent an e-mail through the system (no direct links) but did not yet receive a response.]


From:     David Howley, Melton Mowbray,
To:         Robbie Taylor, Doncaster, UK
Date:      18 May 20-02 04:14
Subject:  Re: Belfast on it’s arse

Hi Robbie,

I think your "tail-tipper" may be another one, the incident at Brize was an off-load and I don't recall any flap at the time about a canx/delayed departure (If my memory serves me right!).
Re-Akrotiri: I was posted there from Brize in March '68 on a dreaded supply posting. I managed to avoid main stores (what a dump that was) and worked shift on POL.  That was more to my liking and also interesting - sitting in No.2 BFI just before the dispersal for runway repairs, I watched about 9 Canberra’s slowly sink onto their tails - all refuelled the wrong way!  No damage but heaps of embarrassment.
Another highlight was offloading fire-fighting foam containers at Nicosia, one bounced and covered Paddy Quinn with it's contents - he stank!  Later in the house we occupied he filled the shower with foam - hell of a job getting rid of it.
However, all good things come to an end, promoted to Cpl and posted to Movs at El Adem, only to find I had been swapped into SCAF - I was not amused!


From:     Robbie Taylor, Doncaster,
Date:      20 May 2002 13:16
Subject:  Reunion

Hi Tony,

Reporting back as promised. We had a fantastic time at the Bull Hotel in Peterborough on the 18th May. Out of 52 who passed out in the 46th, can't remember the exact number that signed on the dotted line on 16th May, 40 years ago. We managed to contact 38, out of these 22 turned up with their partners, others could not make it for various reasons.
Pete Pierce, the main organiser, even managed to trace and invite one of our trade instructors, Mick McCarthy. He could still remember a lot of us to this day, what a memory!
Apart from myself the others who attended were: Pete Pierce, Barry Fisher, Colin Fennel, Rick Kirk, Pete Herring, Allan Bully, Joe Underhill, Bob Hodder, Jim Taylor, Mike Tookey, Ian McIntyre, Bill Neil, Dave MaCinlay, Bill Lamb, Neil Edmoundson, Paul Hignet, Geoff Banwell, Mike Brundle, Bob Maskell, Snowy White, Ian Reakes, and Mick McCarthy. If anyone wishes to contact any of the above please let me know.
We all enjoyed each other’s company so much that a lot of the above are going to organise a further reunion next year, possibly at Hereford,  41 years since passing out. Not that we need an excuse for a piss up!
Photo's will be following shortly, if everyone remembers to send me them.
Cheers           Robbie

[Ed:  Thanks for that insight Robbie - you have listed a few names that I remember.  I served at Salalah with Bill Lamb back in the 60's, although (choke) he was working in Supply at the time.]


rom:     Chas Cormack, Swindon,
Date:      21 May 2002 15:07
Subject:  Profile

Hi Tony,

Here is my long overdue profile.  You have some photos of me on the site already and as I don’t have a scanner yet and I am still looking at a new computer you can select some of them if you wish.  I did this some while ago and forgot about it. 

Having been known to guys on MAMS since 1962 during the India/Pakistan confrontation and the evacuation of Cyprus in 64,  it is difficult to summarise my service other than say that I enjoyed the majority of it, apart from the occasions I was forced to wear a different colour from blue.  I still attend the Open Days at Lyneham with the Association and know the majority of people who are there from the different decades of my service both as a Regular and Oggie.

On joining the OBA last year I was surprised how many of the names on the membership list I recognised, in particular DBL Stevens who was my team boss when MAMS consisted of 3 teams plus there were also teams in FEAF/MEAF, the latter being involved in the Zambian Oil Lift.  My best trip in the early years was to Barbados where I spent 3 weeks with a very sick Britannia only to get back to Abingdon to find out I was doing the recovery 4 days later which gave me another week in paradise.  The trips to Belize at that time were by Hastings as they were the only aircraft that could land there although we were based in Nassau as the troops were brought and collected from there by Britannia.

My posting to Seletar on station movements was just prior to the demise of the Beverley.   I  moved over to FEAF MAMS where I was introduced to the  joys of Kathmandu every other month  by Bristol Freighters (41 Sqn RNZAF) and  Andover’s (52 Sqn) which we then used for the internal re-supply in Nepal.  We also had regular runs to Woomera as well as the exercises throughout SE Asia including Vietnam which was not very hospitable at the time.

My arrival back at Abingdon with insufficient time left to do a full tour was not to Mike Slade's liking so I ended up on station movements, only to be detached to close the unit at JFK and open up at Dulles, and when I eventually got back all the station movers had gone to Thorney Island.   There was also the small problem that I had been supposed to get married to Pam in the July and we had re-arranged it 3 times, eventually tying the knot on 18th December, so I worked in SHQ doing leave passes till my claims had been sorted out and I was posted to Lyneham.  This was changed whilst I was on honeymoon and I went to Little Rissington, MAMS did well for flying suits with that posting.

The trades finally split and I was supposed to replace Eddie Grace in Bangkok, however as  Pam was expecting our first daughter and I would not be able to travel accompanied.  That posting was lost and the Brize Norton crazy gang was on the cards.  I had to do an Advanced Course and following that I was posted to the school  where I remained until the Turks invaded Cyprus and I ended up at Brize Load Control, even though the majority of aircraft were at Fairford.  Being top of the list for unaccompanied, I ended up at Episkopi and was involved in the planning of the closures of Singapore, Gan, Salalah and Masirah.   When NEAF responsibilities went to Strike Command, so did I.

I worked at strike with Roger Wood and Dave Eggleton and had hoped to get the posting to Ottawa.  This was not to be as “Two Bats” Burrows was ahead of me, so I got a short notice posting to Hong Kong.  The week after I arrived at Kai Tak a blue letter arrived with my posting to Ops AM at Upavon which I declined, however, the offer of Lyneham the following July was accepted.

Back on mobile once again and  I was kept very busy with often only 18 hours between trips, while some others were at home for weeks at a time.  18th December 1979, our wedding anniversary and the medics at Wroughton had given Pam the OK  in the morning following her Op and that night I was on my way to Rhodesia supposedly for a couple of weeks. I finally got home in April.  In September I was told that I was off to Wildenrath in November and Ops said they would ease up on my tasking so I got a week at Farnborough/Odiham swiftly followed by 6 weeks at Manchester/Preston leaving me 2 weeks to sort out my house and schools and find that we could not get an on-base quarter till the following February.  Pam and the girls had been with me for a week when another blue letter arrived telling me to go to 2 MT Stafford  in April.  My response was again negative and I waited until May 1982 to accept the promotion and posting to Berlin.

My replacement in Berlin could not be spared from Brize Norton in November 1983, so once again having sorted out the move out of our tenants etc., I found I was compulsorily extended for six months on my own again, but I was posted back to Lyneham.  I did my 6 months in Ascension and more than my fair share of chaperone to baby DAMOs, Ethiopian Famine Relief, TSO and they even tried to get me for CMC before I was on my way again to Hong Kong, this time to the Airport Unit.

I managed to upset a lot of aircrew by using Chartered aircraft rather than RAF ones following a Hong Kong Government review of the charges they were paying for aircrew jollies.  I did manage to get most of the lads IATA Dangerous goods courses with Cathay Pacific as Don Hunter, late of Dulles, was  working for Cathay.  I applied for my last tour of duty at Lyneham and although there was a gapped post, the one at Brize had been gapped longer.   So I got Brize and my 56 days leave while Dixie Dean, who was tourex the same week with only 14 days leave got Lyneham.  PMC work in mysterious ways.

I finished my service on 13 May 1996 and joined the Oggies on 14th May and was promoted on to Flight Sergeant 15th May.  Kev Timms had great satisfaction in giving me my temporary ID card as a F/Sgt.  I spent a fair amount of time in the Azores and also at Dulles doing my  bit, and on  12th  May 99 I got my letter from Sec State for Defence calling me up for a period of up to two years in support of the Balkans. I reported direct to Lyneham as DAMO and once again I was given the chaperone duties. I was also at this time Escort to the Sovereigns Colour for the R Aux AF and managed to strut my stuff at Westminster Abbey, Guildhall and St Clement Danes. 

After 6 months I was back at Brize trying to sort out the Oggies pay and allowances and arranging training for them as they were to do 3 month tours in the Balkans.  On 13th May 200,1 at the age of 60, I finally hung up my  flying suit, mind you my swansong was at Dulles.

Pam and I had our own swansong from November 2001 to February 2002 by travelling Club Class on a round the world ocean cruise via Los Angeles, Fiji, New Zealand, Australia (including a Barrier Reef cruise), Singapore and South Africa, visiting many friends en-route and allowing Pam and  myself to see that there is civilisation outside the airport/hotel areas.

[Ed:  Many thanks Chas.  I have placed your profile in it's own page on the website.  You can get to it by clicking on the pen & quill next to your name on the Member's Pages.]


From:     Dave Cromb, Brisbane,
Date:      21 May 2002 21:52
Subject:  New e-mail address

G'day Tony,

Sorry it's been a while.  Please circulate my new address:
Keep up your good work, how many hours a week do you put into the OBA?
Thks & rgds

[Ed:  Thanks Dave - I have made all the changes.  Regarding the amount of time I spend on the site each week?  Well, it varies depending on how much material I have on hand etc., a typical week would see about 6 hours - but having said that I spent about 6 hours on the newsletter alone this week!]


From:     UKMAMS OBA
To:         John Philps, Bexhill on Sea, UK
Date:      21 May 2002 22:34
Subject:  Mick McCarthy

Hi John,
I have been corresponding with Robbie Taylor, who has just returned from the 46th Boy Entrant Reunion in Peterborough.
He says that Mick McCarthy (former trade instructor) was also there and remembered most of his "boys"  I'm sure that, as you are one of the organisers for the 50th reunion, you would like to extend an invitation to Mick.  Please get his address direct from Robbie.
Best regards
p.s. - I wonder if Mr. Roberts is still around - or Terry Graham, our D.I. instructor??  Food for thought...


From:     John Philps, Bexhill on Sea,
Date:      22 May 2002 14:23
Subject:  Re:  Mick McCarthy

Hi Tony,
Many thanks for the info on Mick McCarthy, will definitely be contacting Robbie Taylor for his address, I shall be doing an e-mail to all known 50th old boys in the next couple of weeks to let all know how we are progressing.  I am now in contact with 13 members and have names for the others, but unfortunately as yet no contact or e-mail addresses. I guess Mr. Roberts would now be in his eighties, as for Terry Graham, I last saw him in Khormaksar in 1966/67, he was in charge of the bedding store!
Best regards for now


From:     Jack Riley, Urangan Qld.,
Date:      22 May 2002 16:56
Subject:  To All Members

My sincere thanks to the 26 gentlemen and where appropriate, their ladies, who saw fit to support Tony.  The following names should be added to those already published:  Kev Skinner, Steve Williams, Jim Gallagher, Dave Howley, Gordon Gourdie, Dave Salmon and Anonymous who lives close to Liverpool judging by the postmark.
My particular thanks go to Chas Cormack who bore the brunt of receiving, acknowledging and despatching the funds collected, typically a cheque arrived from Plane Handling the day following the despatch of the funds.
It is however a great pity the other 174 of you couldn't have kept him busier.... and yes.... we will accept conscience money even at this late stage.
Jack Riley
Hon Chairman


From:     Phil Clarke, Vienna,
Date:      23 May 2002 05:11
Subject:  Re:  A Big Thank You!

Stop being a big girl's blouse – ‘tis nought after all the terrific work you've done.
Hey, Mum found a photo of some young sprog on the QTR pan at Muharraq in front of a Comet, with 208 Sqn Hunters in the background (1966).  Will get it scanned and off to you as soon as.  Slight hiccup, when Mum had it taken off a slide the pratts at the chemist developed it in mirror image, and it is a bit age faded.
Sorry I've been a bit quiet of late - had the trip home to see Mum, very pleasant time, but knackering as lots of little jobs had been saved up for me.  Big garden - and the weather stayed fine (damn it) - so the lawn mower, trimmer and hedge clippers got a hammering, as did my old carcass. 
Not as much as the Visa card though - Margaret's head mistress needed a new Thesaurus £25.00, new German language course for me £20.00 (will write about the trials and tribulations of the German Language soon), Dentist £60.00, new suede jacket 'ouch!', bacon and sausages (honest) £30.00, women's magazines £20.00 and on and on and on.  My bag was checked in at Vienna 8kgs, at Manchester 26 with a 'HEAVY CAUTION' label attached.
I ended up renting a car for the final day (Sunday) as I had to be at Manchester Airport at 0530 on Monday for my flight back.  Took Mum out for a drive and we ended up at Southport on a beautiful but slightly chilly day - meant to visit RAF Woodvale were I had my very first flight in a Chipmunk when I was in the ATC - 1962 I think, but ran out of time as Mum was getting a bit cream-cracked, which is allowed at 85.  Discovered that Mum and Dad visited Southport in June 1940 for their last day together before he went off to join the Gunners for the duration.
Which neatly brings us to this week’s quiz (with the usual prize) and this is a cracker.
'The pilots of which nation in the Second World War were, proportionally, the most successful in out-fighting the Luftwaffe?'
The first correct answer - with reasons - wins.  If no correct answers with reasons, then the first correct answer with a stab in the dark wins.
All for now - keep the red flag flying.

[Ed:  Glad to see you made it back home okay Phil.  I am a little annoyed that your bag didn't end up in Kabul, or some other inhospitable place.  Many thanks for this week's competition - I trust you'll get some good responses from Hat-Hungry people.]



From:     James Gallagher, Nottingham,
Date:      23 May 2002 09:11
Subject:  Re:  A Big Thank You!

Hi Tony,
Delighted to help out in such a small way. I did get those photo's of Sharjah control tower; the immediate area is now a small aviation museum. I have the pics on disc and will download them when I get them out of the suitcase!!
All the family are well - Simon doing A's and Jess GCSE's.  Keep up the good work and if you ever need any other support just ask. I am afraid I am so busy at the moment I do find it difficult to commit to writing something for the site. I do have a number of F team and K team photos which I must scan in for you.
I am sorry I didn't realise that John Bell and Jack were in Aus. We went as a family last year and spent some time in Cairns and Sydney - fantastic country!
Anyway mate, look after yourself will be in touch.


From:     David Powell, Princes Risborough,
Date:      23 May 2002 12:30
Subject:  Slides


Thanks for the thanks.

No takers for the slides to date.


[Ed:  Thanks David- regarding the slides - just a reminder - David has a whole bunch of slides, I believe about 250,  he acquired  from RAF days that he really has no use for.  There are many of different aircraft etc.  If anyone in the UK wants them then please contact David directly at the above e-mail address, or if you're in the Princes Risborough area (north of High Wycombe) feel free to drop in for a beer and a chat.]


From:     Ian Newlands, Didcot,
Date:      23 May 2002 12:56
Subject:  Re:  A Big Thank You!

Hi Tony,

No thanks needed indeed it is your good self who deserves the thanks for the amount of time and effort that you have put into the Web Site, being a novice Nerder I can appreciate how time consuming and expensive it can be, especially the Server bills, etc.  I bet the vast majority of the people who hit the site have no idea of the expense involved in running a Web Site, I am
one of them.

So well done Tony and I will try and look out some more Pics from the photo albums if I can get the dust of them, as they are over 2 to 3 decades old (I prefer that to 20-30 years old) it seems less!

Have a good Summer

Regards Ian (Wee Foddy)


From:     John McGrath, Thornton-Cleverleys,
Date:      23 May 2002 16:14
Subject:  Re:  A Big Thank You!

No problemo Tony

I think it is worth every penny as a source of contacts with my old buddies. I am thinking of starting a "Tony for President " campaign.

Rgds John.

PS If you do need any more (and why should you be left with the bill) don’t hesitate.


From:     Robbie Taylor, Doncaster,
Date:      23 May 2002 16:22
Subject:  Reunions

Hi Tony,

In your e-mail to John you mentioned Mr Roberts.  Sorry to say he passed away about five years ago, so Mick McCarthy tells me.
You might be surprised to know that Mr Roberts knew Cpl Lawrence ( Lawrence of Arabia) I smell an article from Mick all about this Tony.  His e-mail address is if you would like to make contact.
Cheers       Robbie

[Ed:  I was saddened to learn of Mr. Robert's passing - he was an excellant teacher, and every bit a real gerntleman.  It turns out he was a dark horse though - I spent 18 months as his student and had no idea he knew Lawrence of Arabia.]


From:     Dave Salmon, Springfield OR,
Date:      23 May 2002 20:39
Subject:  Re: A Big Thank You!


Thanks very much for your email, it was a pleasure to be able to contribute in some small way.  I always look forward to reading the news letters, and appreciate the work you put into it.

Many Thanks,



New on the site this week?  Well, there is a new Mystery Photograph out there – this one will take some wild guesses!  Somebody unknown to me in Oman has already responded with a guess about smart bombs?

As mentioned above Chas Cormack has sent his profile in and I have it on the website - there are a few more details in the website version, plus a photograph taken in Australia of him with his lovely wife Pam (he'll probably be wondering where I got that one from - Hey I'm ex-MAMS!!)

Also there are 5 new photographs from the Gulf War, courtesy of Douggie Betambeau, which are in Images 1990.

Alison Robson, of Plane Handling, Heathrow,  said that they have employed several ex-RAF personnel who have all proved to be excellent employees, and they are keen to recruit many more.  There is an advertisement for job vacancies in the Jobs Page of the website - now might be a good time to check this one out.


Well, that's it for this week

Have a great weekend!

Best regards,