Gatineau/Ottawa
06 June 2008


New members recently joined are:

RAF Keri (Taff) Eynon from Newbury, UK
  Gerry Keyworth from Littlehampton, UK
   
RAAF Trevor Teis from Stratford, Vic, Australia

Welcome to the OBA!

 

From: David Howley, Melton Mowbray
Sent: Friday, May 23, 2008 04:32
Subject: RE: UKMAMS OBA OBB #052308

Hi Tony,

Regarding the Belfast at Cosford – I recently had to meet someone there whilst researching material for illustrations and had a quick look at the “Cold War” exhibition. The standard is very high, indeed some aircraft (the Valiant for one) have a “new” look about them, and it is well worth a visit. Take a “packed-lunch” for the prices in the restaurant are out of this world - £1.50 for a bun!   The “load” in the Belfast is a landrover on a Medium Stressed Platform (MSP)  - it usually had a trailer under the back end which is why the Landrover is at an angle.

Whilst I can see why they choose an air-drop load (more dramatic!), the Belfast was designed as a “Strategic” freighter and was never used for air drop, nor can I recall reading of trials in that role ( I could well be wrong here but memory!  - and Molly O’Loughlin White’s book has no mention of trials).

Personally I would prefer to see a load that properly reflects the aircraft role and the Movers role – say a mixed load – pallets, stacked roller, loose freight and a vehicle at the rear end, with Pax on the stub deck. It would mean having the public troop thru the aircraft but there would be plenty of room, especially if the pallet was done as an 88” width.

Start lobbying now – there must be a few of us ex-movers in the midlands who could do the job. Brize and Lyneham may have some side-guidance and roller track that is unfit for use.  It brings back memories of a load at Fairford in 1967 (Brize was closed for runway re-surfacing) when we loaded to go the following morning and then spent the next six days transferring it from one a/c to another, until it finally went away down route.

Speaking of Belfasts, does Chas Cormack remember the back end of a night shift at Brize, when we offloaded a Whirlwind straight onto the Condec (he was confident that it could be done, so it was done). DSAMO, the dreaded Sqn. Ldr Clark was in the hanger when we drove in and demanded to know what it was doing on the Condec and would not believe Chas when he told him.

I found Charles Collier’s  Aden “adventures” very interesting – a facet of his life that never emerged when I knew him at Upavon, when we both worked for Wg.Cdr. Vic King.

Regards

David

Thanks David!

Stay single! In Italy, a whole year's salary is the proper amount to pay for an engagement ring

From: Norrie Radcliffe, Ramsey
Sent: Friday, May 23, 2008 12:47
Subject: Re: UKMAMS OBA OBB #052308

Greetings from the Isle of Man.

I am in no way surprised at the way your re-emergence as recorder and keeper of all things UKMAMS has taken off. Belated but sincere congratulations. Ian Berry and yourself could well write a book between you that I am certain would be eagerly snapped up by both past and present members of the moving fraternity.

With regard to Taff Eynon, I have spoken to him fairly recently and also on internet connection, his EMail address is here. He is still as religious about rugby as he is about his job! He would be delighted to get in touch with people he knew.

I have a few more pictures of past UKMAMS people and places which you can expect soon.

Gerry Keyworth and I see each other quite regularly and his EMail address is here and his telephone number is 01903 739347.

Gus Hatter is still alive and back in Australia, I will send his EMail address later today, his telephone number is 00617 547441152 or 54744941.

The TT Race motorcycling extravaganza begins here tomorrow, a fortnight of high speed and noisy and exciting competition, this really begins our summer season of racing of all sorts including motorcycles, rally cars, trials bikes, yachting, power boats, and many other events.

I look forward to the next offering from Canada.

Cheers,

Norrie.

Thanks Norrie - we managed to get Keri and Gerry on board but Gus is either AWOL or on a walkabout

 

From: Ben Loveridge, Brough
Sent: Friday, May 23, 2008 23:33
Subject: Re: UKMAMS OBA OBB #052308

Very sorry to hear about the passing of Tony "Chomper" Lamb.

Tony was my Flt Sgt during the whole of my tour at Aldergrove, 1981-83. He was very much a father figure, strict when he was at work, soft as a brush when off duty. For some reason he took a shine to me, I was one of the very few SAC's he would tolerate calling him "Tony".

I'll try and put down some of my memories, any lapses/mistakes are age/alcohol inspired...

One day, it was my turn as duty bod. Tony came into the office then climbed through a rather high, and rather small hatch, to gain access to the ATLO office next door. Not easy as he was pear shaped to say the least. The purpose of this unusual exercise, was to use the direct line there, to phone his wife. We had subsidised phone calls from various coin boxes, one even in our Movements hangar. More often than not, the calls were free as the coin boxes filled to busting anyway. Tony emerged somewhat sour-faced. He went to his office and closed the door. There followed several minutes of crashing and banging, before emerging somewhat red-faced. He said, "Ricky lad, she's (his wife) gone and sold my car without asking me" He went on to tell me about his beloved Ford Capri, complete with CB radio, which by now, appeared to have a new owner. Softening somewhat, he asked if I was any good with a screwdriver and could I have a quick look at his desk, which appeared to have fallen over. Surveying said desk, which was totalled, he signed a chit to collect various long screws and bolts from stores, and I spent the rest of my day repairing the damage.

The troops used to take "the mick", his response would be, while we were away, say at lunch, to line up the big brushes outside the crew room. This was his "invite" to a hangar sweep. We would go like mad, as he surveyed us from his office, however, he could only see an eighth of the hangar, and we stopped once out of his line of sight.

Tony had a room on the first floor of the Sgts Mess and had a habit of hanging his "undies" out of the window to dry. Some prankster, with a long stick, would reach up, and pinch said undies, usually after a night in our bar, resulting in the brushes waiting as we turned in for work, the following day.

I believe the qualifying period for the GSM (NI) was 28 days. I'm not convinced he ever did 28 days consecutively, he had a habit of going home every couple of weeks, though I'm sure he held a GSM from earlier campaigns anyway
.
He did make one mistake...On his arrival, his predecessor got him drunk in the mess, before signing the inventory. He spent the next 2 years, scrounging whatever he could, to get the inventory back up to scratch, well, that's what he told me.

One night, in the bar, Tony was in his usual seat, at the bar itself. A bag of sweets lay temptingly close. I was the barman, and watched as, finally unable to resist, he grabbed a sweet, and with indecent haste, shoved it in his mouth. Within seconds, he spat it out, attached to his partial top plate. They were trick sweets, left by, I think, John McElnea.

Tony and I shared leaving drinkies, we were both posted about the same time, me to Lyneham, I'm not sure where he went. We both got a lot of gifts, paid for out of bar takings, I've never bothered with that kind of stuff, but it meant a lot to him. My son does like the Hercules clock though!


I next came across him at Lyneham, he had finally got his Warrant, and was a DAMO. He was slightly bitter, and I will stand being corrected, but, on promotion, he only had 18 months to do, and would not get the rank pension, needing to serve 2 years as a Warrant Officer to qualify.

I liked Chomper, his only fault in my eyes, was that he was an Officer's NCO, by which I mean any order/instruction was taken by him without argument or debate. I hope that readers will understand that part. He was a loyal member of the RAF, and a great servant to the trade over a very long career, and I raise my glass to his memory.

Cheers,

Dibs.

Nice - Thanks Dibs

Albert Einstein did not like to wear socks

From: Keri Eynon, Newbury
Sent: Saturday, May 24, 2008 02:45
Subject: Re: The Old Squadron

Tony,

Great to hear from you, have filled in a form and submitted it.

I left the RAF in 1988 after 22 years and am now a minister in the United Reformed Church. I was ordained in 1992 after 4 years at Westminster College Cambridge.

I still keep in touch with people I joined up with as an apprentice in 1966 and am a member of the UKMAMS Association.

Cheers for now

Keri (Taff) Eynon

Welcome to the OBA flock Taff!

 

From: David Stevens, Bangor
Sent: Saturday, May 24, 2008 08:19
Subject: Mystery Picture #052308

Hi Tony Some really interesting stuff again. Thanks.

Mystery Pic: When I was OC Supply RAF Masirah we used to get regular Canberra detachments from Cyprus. I thought the pic might be of Masirah, but I do not recognize the building on the left of the pic. The locals in the pic fit - I think!!  So the pic might be from the late 70's. I was there 71-72. The airfield is too 'open' for Salalah and too 'barren' (of buildings) for Muharraq.

Anyway, any excuse to send you some feedback.

See you next month. 

Regards   David

The Mystery Picture was taken at Air Movements Masirah in 1969 - your powers of deduction failed to pick up on the aircraft role equipment (roller conveyer) and dunnage stacked on the left side of that building.

Looking forward to seeing you in Ottawa during the weekend of 14 - 15 June. Perhaps we can persuade Bill Nangle to pop up from Kingston for the occasion, as it's only 1 hour away..

Rabbits take about 18 naps a day

From: David Stevens, Bangor
Sent
: Saturday, May 24, 2008 11:48
Subject: Re: Mystery Picture #052308

Hi Tony,

Thx for this. The pic was before my time..............lol

Bill Halford was OC Movements in my time at Masirah - what a gentleman. You know, he has an 'upside down' house on the side of a hill in Cumbria somewhere. I have never been there. Keep promising myself!!

I must have met Bill Nangle at sometime and the name is certainly well known to me. It would be great if he could join us for a bevvy. Leave it to you.

Best regards

David

I checked with Bill and am sorry to report that he is working that weekend - I 'spose we could always drive down to Kingston and heckle him!

 

From: Bruce Oram, Alicante
Sent: Sunday, May 25, 2008 07:21
Subject: Costa Blanca Ex Movers BBQ

Hi Tony,

Just a photo of the Costa Blanca ex-Movers at a BBQ at my house yesterday:

Pete and Jean Cowan, Norm and Gill Stamper, Syd Avery and myself and Shirley

Have had to change my e-mail address here

Cheers the noo

Bruce

That's a fine looking gang Bruce!

In English, 1,000 basic words make up 90% of all writing

From: Ian Envis, Crowborough
Sent: Monday, May 26, 2008 13:17
Subject: Military Hospital Petition

This, I think, is a great petition.

For those ineligible please forward to friends and family....

Yours Ian
=================

-PETITION-

With the growing numbers of wounded personnel repatriated to the UK and with continued growth in medically discharged personnel since the Falklands War to current conflicts and operations, our service men & women and veterans of previous operational service are owed the best medical care possible.

The existing facilities are falling short and the NHS are not meeting the needs of veterans who still need treatment for their service related conditions. A dedicated Military & Veterans Hospital will greatly help resolve this National scandal since the complete closure of our military hospitals that has proved to be total folly.

A petition for a permanent Military Hospital, for military personnel only! http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/Wounded/

 

From: Ian Envis, Crowborough
Sent: 26 May 2008 18:34
To: Tony Gale; Ian Berry
Subject: Re: UKMAMS OBA OBB #052308

As usual Tony, a great way of keeping in touch.

Glad to see Ian's archive is proving so useful - I rather hope he hasn't got too much ''gen'' on my misspent youth!

Cheers Ian

Eskimos have over 100 words for ice.

From: Ian Berry, West Swindon
Sent: Wednesday, May 28, 2008 13:15
To: Tony Gale; Ian Envis
Subject: RE: UKMAMS OBA OBB #052308

Hi Guys,

The response I gave got the guilt feelings going so I popped round to look up Merv Corke.

Although he is now 78 he is looking disgustingly healthy but still sadly hasn't grown any taller!

We had a good chat and catch-up and I passed on to him 3 pages of correspondence from the web re-Chomper Lamb etc.

He is still not PC literate and doesn't have one in the house. Consequently he was not even aware of the passing on of Derek Pilkington and mentioned the same thing happened with Derek Coles last year and it was only a week later he found out when he met Derek's widow, Peggy, in the local supermarket.

Merv has always turned out for any beercall in the past and sadly we have overlooked him in the last couple of years - I will remedy that!

He has four daughters and they have all 'married well' and two I believe live abroad although they have holiday homes in UK!

Consequently Mavis and himself spend a lot of time in Spain, Austria etc... a very busy man

Anyway, just an update for you and a thanks for the reminder to look after our own!

Best regards,

Ian

p.s. Ian E - sadly for you I have quite a bit of gen on you from the days of Brambly Cottage in the Lyneham days through to the Leper Colony at Fairford as OC the Oggies!...

 

From: David Cromb, Brisbane
Sent: Friday, May 30, 2008 18:03
Subject: OBA

Gerday gerday !!

Tony a few briefs back you asked if members could recall their very first task.

I recall mine, it was a day job, a missex. The team was: F/O Glen Morton, F/S Pete Underwood, Sgt ?, Cpl Keith Simmonds,Taff Eynon and yours truly. It bloody rained as well.

Hope others also account their first task for you as well.

Cheers n beers,

DC.

Here's hoping some more members take the bait - thanks DC!

It's illegal to have a pet dog in Iceland

From: John Holloway, Shrewsbury
Sent: Saturday, May 31, 2008 04:35
Subject: Demise of the Daks

Hi Tony

So the last passenger carrying Dakota is in July. I wonder what the 'gnomes' will ban next ?

A friend of mine has booked his seat on Air Atlantiques last passenger flight Coventry to Duxford for the Flying Legends for a VIP weekend July 12th/13th July cost him £350 but he thinks it's worth it.

When I was in the mob when a kite went up on a test flight after an engine change if we signed a 'Form of Indemnity' we could up for usually a half hour flight around Mauripur. Why can't they do this for the Daks?

Cheers

jhy

Your signing of the Form of Indeminity reminds me of one I signed back in '66 when I was in Salalah. Seconded RAF pilot Flt Lt "Putty" Katt invited me up for a recon flight in a SOAF Beaver - we were flying in and out of the valleys of the Dhofar Mountains north of the base in search of dissidents. The way "Putty" was hurling that small plane around made for quite a few anxious moments!

 

Mystery Photo #060608

In Helsinki, Finland, police rarely give parking tickets - they deflate tyres

From: John Holloway, Shrewsbury
Sent: Saturday, May 31, 2008 05:26
Subject: Ned Nethercoat

Hi Tony

I was just having a trawl through the various websites and had a fresh look at Britain's Small Wars site and there is a new one in Barren Rocks by Ned Nethercoat.

Now he was in your last 2003 Brief 11403 when he sent you his memories of Aden and it was that good I kept a record of it.You don't have his details on the new site so I've sent him a short e.mail informing him that you are back in circulation. I hope his address is still the same as in 2003

Cheers

jhy

Thanks John - I didn't hear from Ned yet - perhaps someone out there knows his current e-mail address. As if by magic that updated article he wrote in Britain's Small Wars suddenly appeared on the OBA site - there are lots of good pictures in 'My Aden Story'

 

From: John Guy
Sent: Monday, June 02, 2008 10:33
Subject: Gulf MAMS & Exercise Bersatu Padu

Hello Tony,

I would like to take this opportunity to put the record straight.

Having read the exercise entry I did not see any mention relating to Gulf MAMS.

I was posted to Gulf MAMS, RAF Muharraq, Jul 69 - Aug 70, & Exercise Bersatu Padu was held sometime during this period.

Sure enough the aircraft deploying UKMAMS did stop at RAF Muharraq where A & B teams of Gulf MAMS emplaned.

On arrival in the Far East both teams deployed up-country into the bush, and I distinctly remember handling engine running C130's on & off loads at a very tiny civil airport.

Unfortunately I cannot give supporting dates etc. as for some reason I didn't open a flying log until Nov 73 when I was posted to NEAF MAMS, RAF Akrotiri, but there is probably someone out there who can give some support.

Incidentally, Gulf MAMS never seems to get a mention in the history of Air Movements.

In conclusion let me pose a question. Am I unique in having been posted to Gulf, NEAF & UKMAMS ?

Regards,

John

I'll be honest with you John - perhaps the memories of that mammoth exercise are getting a bit grey - I honestly cannot recall Gulf MAMS' involvement and I've never seen any articles or write-ups that mentioned it. The main force was located at Penerak, which was an airfield constructed, I believe, by the Royal Engineers, specifically for the exercise.

I wasn't aware of a small civil airport being used. Our 'enemy' included the Ghurka Regiment and I'm thinking that perhaps they were initially deployed to that civil airport before they mounted an assault on Penerak?

If anyone knows of an article about Gulf MAMS and Bersatu Padu I'll be more than happy to include it. Failing that, if someone wants to set the record straight and place pen on paper (finger on keyboard), again, I would be happy to add it into the article.

I'll agree with you - there is very little written about Gulf MAMS - nor is there very much about NEAF MAMS or FEAF MAMS. Perhaps this will provide a nudge to the membership to put their memories down on paper before they get lost to the sands of time.

I'm thinking that Bob Turner might be able to match your Gulf, NEAF & UKMAMS and raise you a FEAF.

No Chinese last names are longer than one syllable

XXIV Squadron is the senior squadron of the Lyneham Air Transport Wing. The squadron was founded at Henlow on 1st September 1915 and has a distinguished record of service spanning almost a century. Having operated 72 aircraft types around the globe, today XXIV Squadron operates the Lockheed C130J Hercules.

Number 24 Squadron is one of the RAF's oldest Squadrons; older, in fact, than the RAF itself.

Its beginnings go back to 1915, when it was founded at Hounslow, England on 1 September. The early aircraft were very mixed types, but the first operational type to be supplied was the Vickers FB5 (Gun bus). However, this aircraft did not go with the Squadron to St. Omer in France on 7 February 1916.

This honour fell to the new DH2, making No 24 Squadron the first single-seat fighter Squadron to be formed or used in World War I. During formation, command of the Squadron passed between several officers, but on 29 September 1915, command was taken over by the first permanent CO, Major L G Hawker VC DSO. Under the command of Major Hawker, the Squadron formed itself into a formidable fighting unit before the Red Baron von Richtofen killed him in air combat on 23 November 1916.

The DH2 proved to be a very good aircraft but it was replaced in May 1917 by a very poor machine, the DH5. It is noteworthy that No 24 Squadron was the only unit to use this machine with success, most other users suffered heavy losses and a resultant drop in morale.

At the end of the year SE5s and 5As arrived and these were the aircraft which the Squadron used to fight out the rest of the war.

Throughout the war, the Squadron was involved not only in air combat and escort duties, but also in the very earliest attempts at Army reconnaissance. By the end of the war the Squadron had downed 297 enemy aircraft. In February 1919, the Squadron was reduced to cadre and returned to England. It remained at Uxbridge until 1 February 1920 when a further move was made to Kenley, where the Squadron was revived to full strength and employed mainly in reserve training and Army co-operation. In the following years, increasing effort was spent on communication and passenger flying and the Squadron saw some hectic times during the General Strike of 1926. By now, the Squadron was operating Vimy and Bristol aircraft.

An item of interest came in 1927 when the CO, Sqn Ldr O'Neill decided that since No 24 was the first ever fighter Squadron it should have a device of its own to bring it into line with the newly permitted decorations on the wings and tails of fighter aircraft. This took the form of a dark zigzag along the fuselage sides.

Four weeks later, the Air Ministry decided that this marking should be removed since the Squadron had no entitlement to use it. But permission was given for a chevron block to be placed on the fin of the Squadron aircraft, and this was painted on all VIP aircraft used between the wars. This chevron is still worn by Squadron crews to the present day.

By this time, the Squadron was carrying out many VIP flights with the Fairey 111 F and numbered among its passengers all the main characters of the period including the Duke of Windsor, Winston Churchill and Ramsay MacDonald.

Another distinction was added in the late 1920s, that of training unit to the Royal Family, many of who learned to fly with No 24 Squadron. There is little to be said about the Thirties, except that flying equipment improved and cabin multi-seat aircraft were soon in use.

The unit badge - a black fighting cock with the motto In Omnia Parati' (in all things prepared) was approved by the King and presented by the AOC-in-C Fighter Command on 8 July 1937.

With the approach of World War II, the Squadron expanded and ranged further afield. It was during the war itself, when No 24 Squadron both operated and controlled a vast range of transport aircraft types, that Transport Command itself sprang from the activities of the Squadron.

One of the best remembered events with which the Squadron is connected was during the siege of Malta when 323 shuttle flights were carried out in unarmed Hudson aircraft. More than 6080 passengers and 1,300,000 lbs of freight were carried in a period of 10,000 flying hours. It was on one of these flights that the Squadron was given the privilege of delivering the island's George Cross.

VIP flights continued and the honour of conveying King George VI, his staff and General Alexander, deputy C-in-C North Africa, on the Royal Tour of North Africa and the Mediterranean area from 11 - 25 July 1943 fell to No 24 Squadron. In November 1943, the same aircraft carried the Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Winston Churchill and his staff to the Teheran Conference, a tour lasting 11 days.

The aircraft used was the prototype Avro York, 'Ascalon', which was specially furnished for use as Churchill's private flying headquarters, including special ashtrays for the Prime Minister's cigars. Ascalon' was the name of the sword used by St. George to slay the dragon.

Also in 1943 the first of the Dakotas arrived on the Squadron, and the rather large and unwieldy collection of aircraft began to change its character as the number of types were reduced. On D-Day the Squadron were actively engaged in carrying supplies to our attacking forces.

These were all 'special flights' but on the return journey the crews used their own initiative and evacuated casualties and POWs according to the demands of the moment. At the end of the war the Squadron settled down to continue the heavy flying duties required by the cessation of hostilities, flying to all parts of the world. In 1946 the Squadron pioneered 'all-weather' transport flying and, in addition to operating the Blackbushe - Prestwick schedule throughout the year, also gave two comprehensive demonstrations of blind flying equipment and techniques to PIACO delegates.

In March 1957 the Squadron was presented with the Berlin Gold Cup. This Cup, which was a token of goodwill from the people of West Berlin, Germany, eventually became the efficiency award of Transport Command. The Squadron won this award in 1958 and 1959. Between 1961 and 1963, transport support training was put to the test in the Congo when Squadron Hastings were detached to support men of the Ghanaian and Nigerian armies in the UN peace keeping operations.

Also during this period in February and March 1962, the Squadron flew 66 sorties along the Berlin corridors in a successful bid to prevent interference with air access to West Berlin, Germany.

Later that year, 17 September 1962, the Squadron ceased to be known as No 24 (C). The suffix Commonwealth' was deleted from the title in accordance with Air Ministry policy in removing annotations to Squadron number plates relating to colonial possessions, industrial organisations and similar associations. In March 1963 the departure of RAAF aircrew finally brought an end to the long-standing link between No 24 Squadron and the Commonwealth Air Forces.

In 1963 the Squadron won the Lord VC Trophy, awarded annually to the most proficient Medium Range Transport Squadron in the transport support role.

On 1 September 1965 the Squadron celebrated its Golden jubilee, being one of the first Squadrons to do so. The AOC-in-C Transport Command and many former Squadron members attended the celebrations. One prominent guest was Lt Col T M Hawker MC, brother of Major Hawker, the Squadron's first CO.

The Squadron continued to fulfil its dual role with crews constantly ready for operations at short notice. Delivering fuel and supplies to Zambia after Rhodesian UDI, and rescue operations following the severe earthquake at Fuzerum, Turkey, are two examples.

1967, the final year of No 24 Squadron's operations with the Hastings, was as busy as ever. In the spring, the Squadron was only just beaten in its bid to regain the Lord VC trophy, but later succeeded in winning the No 47 Air Dispatch Squadron RCT Trophy (The Dakota Cup). A parade and luncheon was held on 5 January 1968 to mark the departure of the Squadron from RAF Colerne, and to dine out' the Hastings from Air Support Command.

The Squadron moved to RAF Lyneham, England in January 1968 and was re-equipped with the Lockheed C-130 Hercules one of the most successful military transport aircraft built.

Among the many Squadron operations were famine relief in Nepal in 1973, the evacuation of refugees from Cyprus in 1974 and the airlift of medical supplies to earthquake victims in Turkey in 1976. In 1975, a Squadron crew evacuated the British Embassy staff and guards in Saigon, Vietnam.

When the Shah was overthrown in Iran in 1973, the Squadron became involved in the evacuation of refugees from Teheran, Iran. Shuttling between Teheran and Akrotiri, 230 passengers a day were airlifted out of Iran until about 700 evacuees had been recovered to Cyprus, many of them continuing their journey to the UK.

In 1976, a decision was made to divide the roles of the Squadrons at Lyneham. Thus No 24 and 30 Squadrons lost their transport support role and for the time being carried out route flying only.

A singular honour, which fell to the Squadron in 1979, was to carry the body of Earl Mountbatten of Burma from Dublin, Ireland to Eastleigh airport at Southampton, England following his assassination by the IRA on 27 August. The crew, captained by Fit Lt George Brown, was met at Eastleigh airport by the Duke of Edinburgh and Prince Charles.

Later that year the Squadron crews assisted the Red Cross by flying food and vital stores into war- stricken Kampuchea, formerly Cambodia. Flying from Bangkok, Thailand to Phnom Penh, the aircraft made 34 return flights during the operation and carried 500 tons of urgently needed supplies.

On 15 September 1981 her Royal Highness the Princess Anne presented a new Standard to the Squadron. The old standard had, by this time, been in use for 25 years and the need arose for the retirement of the old and its replacement by the new. The old Standard was laid up at the Church of St Michael and All Angels, Lyneham, on 28 February 1982.

On 2 April 1982, Argentine Forces invaded the Falkland Islands and the next day South Georgia. Thus began the Falklands Campaign and No 24 Squadron's involvement in the South Atlantic. From the very outset the Squadron was involved in the massive airlift of supplies for the South Atlantic Task Force flying from Lyneham via either Gibraltar or Dakar Senegal to Ascension Island.

Once the Falkland Islands had been retaken and British Forces were established at Port Stanley, problem of re-supplying the Garrison arose. Initially, this was overcome by very quickly by the provision an Air To Air Refueling capability and refueling from a Victor aircraft during the flight from Ascension to the Falklands.

There were, however, problems in refuelling from the Victor Tankers caused by the difference in aircraft speeds, and it was decided to convert a small number of Hercules to the tanker configuration. Squadron crews were in the forefront of this developing role.

When the Air Bridge flights from Ascension to Port Stanley began in June 1982, the Squadron was committed to providing tanker crews at Ascension in support of the freighter crews flying into Stanley.

In October 1982, the Squadron, together with 30 Squadron, began the detachment of tanker crews to RAF Stanley to support the defence of the islands by Phantom and Harrier aircraft. In addition to the air to air refueling role, the detachment was also involved in conducting Maritime Surveillance of the Falkland Islands Protection Zone, air-dropping supplies and mail to troops on South Georgia, and providing long-range Search and Rescue cover for all military operations in the area.

The regular Air Bridge flights to the South Atlantic ceased in 1989 with the introduction of the Tri-Star freighter. The last of the regular Hercules Air Bridge flights took place in February 1989, and was flown by a No 24 Squadron crew. The Hercules South Atlantic detachment commitment has now passed over to 47 and 70 Squadrons, also Lyneham based Hercules Squadrons. The last No 24 Squadron crew to be detached to the South Atlantic completed their now 6 week tour of duty in April 1999.

Although the South Atlantic took a number of our crews away, other events throughout the world continued to provide their share of the Squadron tasking. The delivery of supplies to famine-stricken Ethiopia in 1985, the support of the Royal Navy minesweeper force in the Gulf during the Iran-Iraq war and rescue operations in the Caribbean in the aftermath of Hurricane Hugo in 1989 were but a few of the many and varied tasks the Squadron was called upon to carry out in the late 1980s.

The Gulf became a familiar destination for Squadron crews in late 1990. Following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, No 24 Squadron began moving supplies to Riyadh Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, and the UAE in support of the Allied military build-up.

Even before hostilities began in January 1991, the Air Transport Force had exceeded the efforts of the Berlin Airlift.

Since the cease-fire of April 1991 until the spring of 2003 the Squadron continued to fly regular sorties to Saudi Arabia & Kuwait in support of Operation Jural which aimed to enforce a "No Fly Zone" over southern Iraq. Another operation that arose as a direct result of the 1991 Gulf war was Operation Haven, which was designed to protect the Kurds living in northern Iraq from attack. This involved the Squadron flying regular sorties to southern Turkey in support of this operation.

When conflict broke out in the former Yugoslavia in 1991, No 24 Squadron was again called upon to move much needed men and equipment into the area, Sarajevo being a frequent destination. Flights into Split, Croatia continue and are now a routine part of the Squadron's task.

In additional to these tasks the Squadron played an active role in relief flights into Somalia and Rwanda in 1994, providing desperately needed food and medical supplies to areas hit by famine and civil war.

No 24 Squadron had been involved in peacekeeping operations in the Balkans since the break up of the Former Republic of Yugoslavia in 1992. NATO commenced Offensive Air Action against Serbia on 24 March 1999 and Serbian forces started their withdrawal from Kosovo in early June 1999. In that period No 24 Squadron flew 170 tasks to the Balkans. Eighty-two Humanitarian Relief sorties were flown into Macedonia and Albania in support of the refugee crisis, whilst 68 sorties were flown into the NATO bases in Italy and Corsica in support of the Offensive Air Campaign and a further 20 sorties were flown into Bosnia and Croatia supporting British Peacekeeping Forces stationed in the neighbouring Balkan states. During this period the Squadron totalled over 1300 flying hours and transported well in order of 3000 tonnes of freight and passengers.

East Timor descended into violence after the population voted for independence on 30 August 1999. No 24 Squadron was called on to support the UN operations as part of Operation Langer and on 18 September 1999 the first 24 Squadron aircraft arrived in the operations base of Darwin, Australia. Over the next few months the RAF detachment flew shuttle flights into Dilli, East Timor with a round trip taking 31/2 hours.

On 23 November 1999, the first' J-model' (a Hercules C Mk4) arrived at RAF Lyneham. The aircraft was symbolically presented to the Royal Air Force by Mr Tom Burbage, President of Lockheed Martin Aeronautical Systems, and accepted by Air Vice Marshal Philip Sturley, Air-Officer Commanding 38 Group. There was a formal reception in the Officers Mess afterwards which was attended by representatives from Lockheed and their sub-contractors, the Royal Air Force and local dignitaries.

The J Conversion Flight (JCF) received its first courses of students in 2000 & the J Line Servicing Squadron become affiliated to 24 and 30 Squadrons being formally renamed 24/30 (Eng) Wing. No 24 Squadron become a solely J model squadron during March 2001.

In early May 2000, the long running civil war in Sierra Leone was becoming a growing international concern. Rebel advances towards the capital, Freetown, led to a Foreign Office decision to evacuate British nationals living there, with British troops being sent in to safeguard the operation, to be known as Operation Palliser.

Dakar in Senegal, was the forward operating base for flights into Freetown, carrying troops in, and civilians out. With the stabilising of the situation in Sierra Leone and the deployment of a UN peace keeping force, the British presence was scaled down to a large team of advisors who were to train the Sierra Leone Army, under Operation Basilica in July 2000.

The summer of 2002 Afghanistan saw the first operational deployment of the C130J in support of the 'War on Terrorism' in Afghanistan.

The 4 aircraft, aircrew, associated support personnel & equipment deployed to the Deployed Operating Base (DOB) of Thumrait.

The new aircraft's increased performance was very notable in the harsh 'Hot & High' operating conditions. The aircraft's avionics also provided the crews with excellent situational awareness while flying in the high mountainous terrain found in the region.

In the spring of 2003 the Squadron was involved with Operation Telic & was supporting UK military operations in Iraq. During this period the Squadron has still been supporting the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan in addition to its regular support tasks. This has seen a lot of personnel being deployed outside the United Kingdom for various lengths of time. The Squadron's ability to undertake tasks such as these owes much to the versatility of both the Hercules and its crews.

 

 

Do you have what it takes to be a Movements Officer?

 
 

You are a member of a forward mounting base in hostile territory. You receive an urgent call stating that troops on the ground require immediate reinforcement.

They require additional manpower, weapons, food, water, medical supplies and land replacement vehicles. Only one C130 Hercules transport aircraft is available on immediate readiness, so you have a limited amount of space.

Clicking on the image above will transport you to this online game where you can hone your skills.

 

That's it for this issue

Have a great weekend!

Tony