30 May 2003


A new member joining us this week is Steve Cross from Doncaster, UK

Welcome to the OBA!


From: Bill Cundall, Selby, UK
Date: 23 May 2003 04:18
Subject: RAF MTD

Hi Tony

I received my OBAs brief today and as always enjoyed every bit of it. An idea ocurred to me to help you widen your horizons. I run a website for RAF MTD and as of next Monday the address will be: 

The site has enjoyed massive attention and as you are well aware, a lot of MTDs worked alongside Air Movements staff since the beginning of time. I would like to suggest that we be able to link the Old Boys Briefs on your website, as I am sure that many MTDs would be interested in its content and would possibly produce many visitors to the MAMS and OBA websites.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Bill Cundall

[Ed:  Many thanks Bill, and congratulations on a superb site dedicated to the MTD's - the link is in.]


From: Ken Davie, Mystic CT, USA
Date: 23 May 2003 11:23
Subject: The Cat In The Hat

I just had to send this after reading Murdo's e-mail regarding his steadily advancing age!




From: Jim Aitken, Brisbane Qld., Australia
Date: 24 May 2003 02:46
Subject: Bless 'Em All

Four men were sitting in a railway carriage reading their papers when two of them put their papers down at the same time and made eye contact.

"I say old boy, what do you do?"

"I'm a Group Captain in the RAF. I am married and have three sons, all Surgeons"

"Now there's a coincidence, I am a Group Captain in the RAF, I'm married with three sons who are all Chartered Accountants"

One of the remaining two put down his paper and said "Well that really is a coincidence, I'm a Group Captain in the RAF, 
I am married with three sons and they are all Bank Managers"

They turned to the remaining one who had put his paper down and was listening, he broke the short silence with "I am a Sergeant in the RAF, I am not married, have three sons, all in the RAF and they are all Group Captains"


The Tories accused the Government yesterday [26 May 2003] of planning a further round of defence cuts, including disbanding Gurkha companies, taking tanks out of service and mothballing the aircraft carrier Ark Royal.

Bernard Jenkin, the Conservative defence spokesman, said that a succession of leaks and rumours from the Armed Forces indicated that the cuts would be outlined in a White Paper in the autumn.

He said information passed to the Tories forecast that each Royal Armoured Corps regiment would lose a squadron of 14 Challenger II tanks, a total of 84 and a quarter of the Army's strength.

Mr Jenkin said the Challenger II tanks played a key role in the war in Iraq and performed extremely well.

"Despite intensive combat against Iraqi tanks, only one was lost in action in a friendly fire incident. Reports indicate that the force destroyed dozens of Iraqi tanks."

The Tories had also received information that two infantry battalions were to be cut from the Army.

After the Iraq war ended, it was disclosed that Gurkha companies used to bring regular Desert Rat units up to strength were to be disbanded.

Mr Jenkin said that despite the Ministry of Defence's claims of improved manning figures, the Army was still 5,000 men under strength. At least a quarter of infantry battalions were not being allowed the required time between tours of duty because the forces were overstretched.

The Royal Navy was under severe pressure. Its presence in the Falklands had been reduced to one patrol boat. A third of its frigates and destroyers were in port because their crews were on stand-by to provide cover in case of another fire strike.

Mr Jenkin said: "Royal Navy sources are saying that Ark Royal, the flagship during the Gulf war, is to be mothballed owing to manpower shortages." The carrier Invincible was to be paid off in three years and Splendid, a nuclear submarine, which fired Tomahawk cruise missiles into Iraq, was to be decommissioned this year.

Mr Jenkin said that investigations by the Tory defence team had lent substance to reports that up to 10 warships were to be sold to pay for the new large carriers the Government had promised. Chilean navy personnel had inspected Type 23 frigates.

Only 12 of the Royal Navy's 16 Type 23 frigates were to receive a new advanced sonar, Mr Jenkin said.

In a recent parliamentary answer, the Ministry of Defence had inadvertently disclosed that some frigates were to be disposed of earlier than planned. Navy sources had indicated that the withdrawal of Sea Harrier planes, which would leave the Royal Navy without air cover, was to be brought forward.

Britain might also cut its order for 232 Eurofighter aircraft, as defence chiefs were questioning whether that number would be needed.

Mr Jenkin said the cuts would damage morale in the forces and reduce their effectiveness at a time when the Government was asking more of them.

He said the war in Iraq had clearly demonstrated that there was no substitute for the ability of the forces to take and hold ground. That required tanks and infantry. When the Conservatives left office, 2.7 per cent of national wealth was being spent on defence. At present it was about 2.4 per cent of GDP and was due to fall even lower under Labour.

"The Armed Forces already feel desperately taken for granted," Mr Jenkin said. "There is a real question over their long-term viability if they continue to be managed in this way."

The Ministry of Defence did not deny that further cuts were being considered.

A spokesman said last night: "The White Paper is some way off and I cannot comment on anything that may be in it."

BLOB British soldiers felt their lives were put at risk in the Iraq war because they had no dedicated air cover, said the Tories' defence spokesman yesterday.

Bernard Jenkin said some units waited up to 48 hours for air support because RAF aircraft were under the control of coalition commanders and none was available specifically to back up British troops.

Mr Jenkin, back from visiting troops in the Gulf, said he was concerned that in some cases US commanders deployed British jets to help American troops while British forces had to wait. But US forces held back some of their aircraft to give close support quickly to American units.

Mr Jenkin, on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, questioned whether it had been right to place all RAF forces in the Gulf under coalition control. The Ministry of Defence said the arrangement benefited the operation as a whole.


From: Rip Kirby, Basingstoke, UK
Date: 26 May 2003 23:06
Subject: Newsletter

Hi Tony,

I was about to send you that local newspaper article on the the J model Mk5 "trim" problems... but I see that someone had pipped me to the post.

Can't say that I've heard of pilots actually refusing to fly it. It can certainly be a sod to trim in certain configs or with some loads. But I suspect that the real reason for lack of usage is more due to the following.

Being a J, we cannot currently seat people between certain tie down rows forward of the wheelwell, due to the (as yet) undefined/unresolved potential vibration problems from the new six bladed prop. On the Mk5 short wheelbase this tends to mean that space up front (forward of the wheelwell) is "dead" space only suitable for freight or bags. Which does limit your options somewhat if you have any hefty pax figures involved..

Therefore....the Mk4 is the airframe of choice in almost every situation. Awaiting others guys' viewpoints with interest (no doubt there will be some in the next newsletter).

Keep up the good work.

Regards Rip Kirby


From: Chris Clarke, Burlington ON, Canada
Date: 28 May 2003 13:52
Subject: Burlington Cops

Hey, thought I’d drop a line seeing as though I haven’t fired anything off towards London ON for a few months. 

I’ve been keeping up with Op Telic (there’s an inspiring name eh?). The Canadian media has been brutally anti-American which really annoyed me after a while and I found myself switching to CNN and listening to the BBC World Service. Those cheap gits at the Beeb stopped the broadband free internet feed just before the troops mobilized so I was a bit miffed.

I’ve attached two jpegs I got off the MOD web site that it would be nice to have names of Movers involved etc:

I’ve been getting the odd (very odd from Rip!) e-mail from the Gulf from Rip Kirby and Karl Hibbert, keep your heads down troops.

It would be nice to see articles from the MAMS guys down in the Gulf so us still alive but not in the RAF anymore types can get the real ‘gen’.

I’ve been reading the ‘Sandy Times’ on the internet (Its on the Pongo web site) and the articles have been pretty good, much in the same vein as ‘Soldier’ magazine which has always been less of a propaganda sheet than the truly awful RAF News. It’s well worth checking out!

On a differing note; Any of you troops out there who have Canadian Landed Immigrancy or have married a Canadian (for you ex Goose Bay types), the cops in Canada are recruiting heavily (especially in Ontario) so if you’d like a nice fun packed job (free gun) think about Ontario I’d be happy to advise anybody thing of taking the plunge over to gods own Dominion.

I get married on Jun 28th, and I enclose our engagement picky. 

She’s gorgeous eh? (Michelle)

Cheers from Burlington, Ontario!

Chris “Pig” Clarke
BFPO 1867

p.s. About time we had a UKMAMS Det Canada booze-up? Derek Barron, come on out and visit!

p.p.s. I don’t do Laser radar anymore, I’m in the Detective’s office so you can speed through Burlington now Tony!

[Ed: Congrats on your upcoming nuptials Pig.  Might I suggest Thursday 26th June for the OBA gathering - at your place?]


From: Dennis Martin, Woking, UK
Date: 29 May 2003 16:14
Subject: Another Desert - Another Genie!

Don't know whether this has been around before - the desert theme is topical! 

A man has spent many days crossing the Sahara without water. His trusty horse and camel have both long since died of thirst. Drier than a Californian raisin, he is on all fours crawling through the sands certain that he has breathed his last. All of a sudden he sees an object sticking out of the sand 6 feet ahead of him. 

He crawls to the object and pulls it out of the sand and discovers what looks to be an old brief case. He opens it, and out pops a genie, but this is no ordinary genie. He is a dull looking character, wearing an Inland Revenue ID badge and a naff grey suit. There's a calculator in his pocket, and a pencil tucked behind one ear. 

Well, kid," drones the monotone genie. "You know how it works. You have three wishes."

"I'm not falling for that old chestnut," replies the weary man. “I’m not going to trust a tax inspector!"

"What do you have to lose? You've got no transportation, and it looks like you're a goner anyway!"

Sighing, the man thinks about this for a minute, and decides that the dull genie is right. "Ok, I wish I were in a lush oasis with plentiful food and drink".

* * * * * P O O F * * * * *  The man finds himself in the most beautiful oasis he has ever seen and he is surrounded with carafes of vino superiore and platters of M&S delicacies.

"Ok sir, what's your second wish?"

"My second wish is that I was rich beyond my wildest dreams." 

* * * * * P O O F * * * * * The man finds himself surrounded by treasure chests filled with rare gold coins and precious gems.

"Very well sir, you have just one more wish. Better make it a good one!"

After thinking for a few minutes, the man says, "I wish that no matter where I go beautiful women will want and need me." 

* * * * * P O O F * * * * *  The man is turned into a tampon.

And the moral of the story? If the Inland Revenue offers you ANYTHING, there must be a string attached.


Army, Royal Marine and RAF Regiment units are to be equipped with the Minimi light machinegun amid concerns that the SA80 Light Support Weapon cannot provide sufficient firepower.

British troops in Afghanistan and Iraq were equipped with the 5.56mm FN Herstal Minimi after the Director of Infantry said the LSW machinegun should be scrapped.

Although the SA80 A2 rifle used by British troops appears to have worked well in the heat and dust of Iraq, its machinegun equivalent is not well regarded by commanders.

Maj Gen Seymour Munro, the previous Director of Infantry, called for the LSW to be scrapped for its lack of firepower in a document entitled Infantry 2010. "The LSW, even when modified, is unlikely to be the most effective way of meeting the suppressive fire requirements of the infantry engaged in close combat," he said.

"HQ Infantry's view is that the light machinegun (LMG) should replace the LSW in the infantry - including the Royal Marines and RAF Regiment."

Lord Bach, defence procurement minister, admitted yesterday that the decision to buy the belt-fed Minimi would "dramatically boost infantry firepower".

Although the LSW is very accurate at long distance, the Belgian-made Minimi - firing 750 rounds a minute - will allow British troops to win the initial firefight.

It is "light enough for one man to carry, reliable in all sorts of conditions, yet able to lay down a high rate of fire".

The weapon, already in service with the US, Australian and Canadian military, saw combat service with 7th Armoured Brigade, 3 Commando Brigade and 16 Air Assault Brigade in Iraq.

Each four-man infantry fire team will carry one SA80 rifle, one SA80 with a grenade-launcher, one SA80 LSW machinegun and one Minimi.


Q: Do you know why when geese fly south in a V formation one side of the V is always longer than the other? 

A: It's because there are more geese on that side than on the other


Well, that's it for this week

Have a great weekend!

Best regards