31 May 2002


A new member joining us this week is Jeremy Porter from London, UK.

Welcome to the OBA!


From:     John Holloway, Shrewsbury,
Date:      24 May 2002 10:34
Subject:  Re:  A Big Thank You!

Hi Tony
You are more than welcome to all the help we can give you. It’s been said many times by a lot of the members how much we look forward each Friday to your newsletter; I even get up early on a Friday morning to log in!

As you know I keep harping about the Mauripur Association; we have an annual membership subscription of £5 which goes towards the quarterly newsletter which Dave Holman, our secretary, has printed and posted out to all the members (about 250) most of whom don’t have internet, so the cost of that over the year  is quite substantial.
Anyhow, a big thank you to you and keep it going.


From:     John Bell Cairns, Qld.,
Date:      24 May 2002 20:46
Subject:  Don Wickham


I was reading your profile just now and saw your reference to Don Wickham as an accomplice in a 'Souvenir Snatch".

I had a similar experience in Bardufoss. We had finished the exercise and each nation was wrapping up its ACHE etc., and recovering to base. I was loading a C130 with UKMAMS equipment when Don drove up and threw me a parcel from his Landrover with words to the effect that it was a Norwegian flag and I was to get it back to the UK.

I put it in the bottom of a Massey Ferguson Fork Lift Tractor ballast box and loaded chains and tensioners on top, netted it, put it in the aircraft and lashed it in.   About 10 minutes before that aircraft was due to depart, a big car with stars and flags pulled up near it and out stepped Don, a USAF Colonel and a Norwegian General.

Don, looking as if butter wouldn't melt in his mouth, said. "You had better give it back to them John". It took a while to unbury it and we just managed to avoid a delay to the aircraft. The colonel told me he was not amused and that I may have set Anglo Norwegian relations back a decade or so.... Nothing else happened because the activity level was pretty frantic, it being late Friday and all!

Don was my neighbour in Married Quarters at Abingdon for many years and I am sure, if you believe in that sort of thing, he is up there reading your profile and this with a smile.


[Ed:  In all probabilty he will have a pot of tea and a pack of smokes close at hand!]


From:     Tom Thweatt, Canyon TX,
Date:      25 May 2002 01:04
Subject:  Info on King Khalid International Airport


Looking back over the experiences in the Gulf, I would like to document my experiences of the Gulf in a book, but it is going to require some research of the region (Riyadh) and my interaction with the Royal Saudi Air Force (medivac missions) and I am going to need some assistance on this, plus some advice.

I am looking to you for any facts about King Khalid International Airport as I was there during Desert Shield/Storm. I am planning on publishing a book about my experiences in the Gulf and would like to use as much factual information as allowed . I am looking for facts such history of the airport, how large is it, what kind of aircraft? Can you help? Photos would also be of value plus what condition is airport in now and what improvements have happened since '90-91

I also want to get in touch with the Royal Saudi Air Force somehow, retrace the places we went with them (I have the "tailfin number) and get the name of the crew (I have pictures) that flew with us if that is possible.

Your assistance with this is appreciated!!


Tom Thweatt (former SSG Thweatt 1986-1992) TN ANG
84 Country Club Drive
Canyon, TX   79015-1826

[Ed:  I took the liberty of forwarding Tom's e-mail to one of our OBA members currently resident in Saudi Arabia who could perhaps help him out.  At the same time don't let that stop you if you can offer any help yourself.]


From:      David Austin, Leicester,
To:          Phil Clarke, Vienna, Austria
Subject:   MAMS OBA Puzzle

Dear Phil,

The air force which, on comparable terms, got the best of the Luftwaffe was the Swiss Air Force. The Luftwaffe tried several times to invade Swiss airspace but got more than they bargained for with more of their aircraft being shot down than the Swiss.

The Swiss were of course using German manufactured aircraft!


Dave Austin
UKMAMS 1959-1963
RAF Abingdon


From:     Phil Clarke, Vienna,
To:         David Austin, Leicester, UK
Date:      25 May 2002 03:45
Subject:  Re:  MAMS OBA Puzzle

Well done Dave - you're the outright winner.  Send me your address and the crew cap will be on it's  way.  See later on in this week’s newsletter (I hope) for the full story.

Incidentally my source was an article in Saga Magazine’s May issue.

Cheers Phil


From:     David Powell, Princes Risborough,  
To:         David Howley, Melton Mowbray
Date:      24 May 2002 12:35
Subject:  Slides


Tony Gale did say he would have them if nobody in the UK was interested.

Meanwhile, you are the first UK bid.  One thing you might think of doing would be to raid the collection for your particular needs and then offer it to Tony for the people and activity type pictures.


p.s. I'm copying this to Tony to keep him in the picture.


From:     David Howley, Melton Mowbray
To:         David Powell, Princes Risborough, UK 

Date:      25 May 2002 10:22
Subject:  Re: Slides

Hi David,

Sounds good to me - will have to sort out best option to view them. Probably best if I come to you.




From:      Tom Thweatt, Canyon TX,
Date:      25 May 2002 20:11
Subject:  Re: Info on King Khalid International Airport


I want to thank you already as your assistance with this endeavor is very much appreciated. Your willingness to help and spread the word is perhaps more than I could expect, and any info at this point is helpful.

It has already been over 10 years and I feel if things aren't documented, time has a tendency to fade the fine details, as well as the people that served at that time and place could also forget some of the more subtle facts of serving in that campaign.

I cannot thank you enough. Your organization alone could provide the info I need to make this publication a success.


Tom Thweatt

[Ed: You're most welcome Tom - let's hope you get some good responses.]


From:     David Barton, Kings Lynn,
Date:      26 May 2002 1111:26
Subject:  Teachers

Hi Tony,
What's all this about  my poison still being “Teachers”?   I have always had lots to do with teachers; I married one, have one as a daughter and another as a grand-daughter. Sorry to disappoint you Tony but I never touch any of them these days - old age and the law prohibits. Mind you, I am partial to one or three G & T's now and again and again......
On a personal basis, my old pal Hector Ross, who you went sailing with in Hong Kong along with his wife Phyllis, Tony Moore and George Lynes, is back in HK, but is suffering with Alzheimer's. His wife died a couple of years ago which has not helped matters. He should have been back some weeks ago as we were taking him to Spain for a few weeks as he won’t go on his own . Anyway he has taken a flat in HK but we are still going to make use of his large villa in a little village called Jesus Pobre in Spain - some 15km from the sea. It’s a hard life.
That was not a bad detachment in HK was it?  The big problem was getting money from that sod of a W.O. accounts officer. October/November 1972 and we 'fiddled' a return flight back by BOAC Super VC10 GASGP - BA919 (magic things, log books!). That was when my eldest daughter tried to burn down our married quarter in Abingdon while we were in HK. If I remember correctly, we (or some of us) were so p.....d that the duty frees were left at the bottom of the aircraft steps - I wonder who that could have been?
One of these days I shall dig out some interesting photographs for you to put on the site. Keep up the good work and would like to hear how you are getting on these days.
Am thinking - yes, just capable of it, of perhaps making one very last trip to OZ (look out Dave Cromb!) and NZ but not a RTW ticket this time - worried about this DVT - drinking V.O. Teachers.
Dave Barton

[Ed:  Really sad news about Phyllis Ross Dave, and I just cannot imagine Hector suffering with Alzheimer's - he was a true "Alpha" character - a huge man in both stature and bearing. If I remember correctly he was awarded the MBE for cleaning up Hong Kong by introducung the "Lap Sap Cheung" discredit card into the population.  I remember that glorious detachment to Hong Kong very well indeed, and the icing on the cake was the ride back home in a civilian "Super" VC10  via Rangoon, Delhi, Beirut and Rome.  I really cannot remember the incident about the forgotton duty free supplies though.]


From:      Jack Riley, Urangan, Qld.
Date       26 May 2002 20:40
Subject:  Jubilee

Dear Tony
I have, today, despatched the following.
HM Queen Elizabeth II
Buckingham Palace
London, England
May it please Your Majesty
You will be aware that your reign saw the introduction of Mobile Air Movements Teams by Your Majesty's Royal Air Force. Their role is to facilitate movement of personnel and equipment, especially in times of strife. They pride themselves on often being first in and last out on such occasions.
Such is the passage of time that UKMAMS now has an Old Boy's Association. I have the honour to be it’s Chairman.
I write, on their behalf, to offer loyal greetings on the occasion of Your Majesty's Fiftieth Jubilee.
I have the honour to be
Your Majesty's Loyal and Obedient Servant
Squadron Leader
Royal Air Force (Retd.)

[Ed:  Good for you Jack!  Perhaps someone "up there" will finally recognize UKMAMS now!]


From:      Phil Clarke, Vienna,
Date:      28 May 2002 05:49
Subject:  Swiss Quiz

My question last week: The pilots of which nation in WW2, were proportionally the most successful in out-fighting the Luftwaffe?

The only correct answer as of today is from Dave Austin - the Swiss.

The following are excerpts from 'The Giant Killers'  by Brian James, which appeared in Saga Magazine, May 2002 edition:

”In a little more than a month's sporadic air combat in May/June 1940, the Swiss - determined not to become part of Hitler's
Greater Germany - shot down 11 top rate Nazi war planes, against their own losses of one modern fighter and one obsolete biplane.  Later Swiss fighters forced down four more German aircraft, and destroyed another nine with anti-aircraft  gunnery.

The first German intruder to be forced down in Swiss airspace, in April 1940, was a stray Dornier.  After apologies it was
returned .  But on May 4, a Heinkel bomber opened fire when challenged.  The Swiss attacked and the Nazi plane, streaming smoke, fell back over the border.  In the following days of May Swiss ME109s shot down a Dornier, then another Heinkel.  

At the beginning of June three more HE-111s were brought down over the Bern Jura countryside.  On June 4 the Nazis arrived in Swiss skies with a flock of fighters - looking for combat.  Eleven Swiss fighters rose to meet them.  They shot down two German aircraft and suffered the loss of one ME109 and the death of Pilot Rickenbacher over Boecourt. On June 8, 1940, came the climax of the conflict.  The Swiss lost another two airmen in a slow flying C-35.  Seven Swiss 109s took off to tackle the 28 German aircraft then circling over Swiss territory.  Three Nazi planes were destroyed, one by the Fliegerabwehr (Switzerland's air force artillery) and many aircraft on both sides were damaged.  The Germans, anyway, had had enough.  They needed the aircraft they were losing over Switzerland for the imminent Battle of Britain.”

The article is cracking, with some beautiful photos, and dispels many of the myths associated with the Swiss during the war.  It appears Germany made plans on two occasion to invade.  In the early days they planned on 15 divisions, but seeing the Swiss C in C's (Gen. Henri Guisan), defensive plans, upped this to 26, without a guarantee of success.  The defence plans called for the western plains (4/5ths of Swiss territory) to be abandoned with those left behind to fight to the last bullet.  The main force would retreat to the Alpine Fortress were every pass and bridge would be mined and every rock would conceal a sniper.

Then, as now, every male between the ages of 19 and 60 had military training, and keeps his kit, including his rifle and at least 40 rounds at home.  That gave a mobilised number of 700,000, with Boy Scouts trained as platoon messengers, and the blind monitoring German radio transmissions.  At the same time each family had to stock enough food for 60 days.  Apparently
Machiavelli declared, 'The Swiss do not have an army - they are an army”

Again quoting, “The Nazis backed off until 1943, when new plans to invade Switzerland to provide an escape route for German armies trapped in Italy were prepared.  They were due to be put into operation in August 1944 - but by June 6, 1944, D-Day had focussed Hitler's mind elsewhere.”

Philip M. Clarke


From:      Phil Clarke, Vienna,
To:          Jack Riley, Urangan, Qld. Australia
Date:       23 May 2002 07:47
Subject:  This and That
Hi Jack,

Just discovered that my reply to your mail never got to you and vanished into the black hole. Will do a fresh reply tomorrow as I am being dragged kicking and screaming to a infant school play tonight by the trouble and strife!

Cheers Phil


From:     Jack Riley, Urangan, Qld.
To:         Phil Clarke, Vienna, Austria
Date:      25 May 2002 02:57
Subject:  Re: This and That

Dear Phil

Would have thought you'd have learned to press the right “button” by now ('tother's for cappuccino).

Hope you enjoyed the play

I await agog



From:     Phil Clarke, Vienna,
To:         Jack Riley, Urangan, Qld. Australia
Date:      28 May 2002 07:12
Subject:   Re: This and That

I know not whether I am on my bum or my elbow at the moment – everything seems to be happening at work and at home.  Still haven't re-replied to your first mail - so thought I'd better answer this whilst I have a few minutes.
Yup, went to the infant's play - all the teachers at the school, where Margaret works, have a terrific outlook on life - the smallest success must be celebrated with a bottle of something stronger than tea or coffee. Failure usually means two bottles.
So the play acted out in English by 6 and 7 year olds was about a typical school day, complete with music, and had a cast of thousands.  It was acted by the 1st and 2nd year infants, and so as not to upset any parent or child, everyone had a part.  But I get ahead of myself, a bar had been set up in the playground where parents, teachers and all could purchase, for school
funds, small libations of Austrian Bubbly (Sekt).  In order to ensure I enjoyed the play, or slept through it, I got myself well oiled before going in.
Surprisingly good stuff from the kids, silly songs with all the actions 'Head & Shoulders, Knees and Toes - Knees and Toes, and Eyes and Ears and Mouth and Nose, Head and Shoulders , Knees and Toes'.
Well of course seeing this I recalled some of our songs complete with gestures, and determined that they should learn 'Swing Low Sweet Chariot.'
After the play there were a few more bottles left which had to be consumed due to shelf life limitations, from whence the teachers and I went off to a Pizzeria (after I had a go on the swings, jungle gym etc), and I graduated to my normal beer (beer and sekt as I found out the following morning do not mix well).  It was here that I broached the subject of the next play and
'Swinging Low with the Sweet Chariot' - and guess what, all the Austrian ladies knew not only the words, but all the actions as well.  Things soon degenerated, but I was unable to convince them that it would round off a 7 year old’s education perfectly for them to know a selection of Rugby and Air Force songs.
So a jolly good time was had by all!
Keep at 'em



The European Commission have just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the EU rather than German, which was the other possibility. As part of the negotiations, Her Majesty's Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5 year phase in plan that would be known as "EuroEnglish":

In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c".. Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of the "k". This should klear up konfusion and keyboards kan have1 less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with the "f". This will make words like "fotograf" 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkorage the removal of double letters, which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horible mes of the silent "e"'s in the languag is disgrasful, and they should go away.

By the 4th yer, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v". During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and similar changes vud of kors be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters.

After zis fifz yer, ve vil hav a reli sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubls or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech ozer.


New on the site this week?   3 new photographs to Images 1970 and  7 new photographs to Images 1990, all courtesy of Douggie Betambeau.  Ian Berry also forwarded about 15 images from a CD by a Norweigan Air Movements corporal which were taken this year in Kabul.  I will get them onto the site when time permits - heck it's school report card time and I've been roped into marking math papers!


Well, that's it for this week

Have a great weekend!

Best regards