8 June 2001


Not a lot happening this week. Things are warming up in Canada at last - although I was beginning to think that Summer was going to pass us by this year.

John Holloway
Shrewsbury, UK
29th May 2001
(via snailmail)

Dear Tony,

Another memory stirred in the old grey matter prompted by Jack Riley's description of the 'clever innovation' (OBB 052501) at Changi.

Did some searching and came up with the enclosed copy photo from my collection of the Mauripur Casevac ramp; it could be a twin to Changi's ramp from Jack's description.

I used to steer it up to the open doors of the monthly Hastings UKH flight which used to return to the UK as a Casevac. I eventually got quite proficient at steering it in on the first attempt assisted by four-coolie power.

Tell Jack to keep the memories going, our memories make history and as my old grammar school history master told us 'History is the story of Mankind' and that's us!

Cheers for now

John Holloway

[Editor's Note: Many thanks John - The picture of the Casevac Ramp is on the Images page. I recall at Lyneham in the 60's there was a sort of wooden hut affair built atop a 12,000 lbs forklift pallet that served to bring stretcher cases off of the aircraft, but then that was replaced when the scissor trucks made an appearance.]

rom: John Holloway
Subject: Here At Last
Date: Fri, 1 Jun 2001 18:56:55 +0100

Hi There Tony,

I've retired this week so I can now work from home.

My 'E-mail address is and this will be my first communication. I trust that you have received my snailmail photo sent on Monday, if you can show it on the website then I'm sure Jack will be interested in the Mauripur's 'innovation twin'.

My new phone number is 01743 340594

The 122 of my address is of course my last three used many times on payparade. If this comes thru ok perhaps you could acknowledge receipt so that I know I'm doing it right for a change.

Cheers for now


[Editor's Note: Congratulations on your retirement John! It's refreshing to see us older 'uns are not all opposed to modern technology, and are learning to wrap our arms around it]


From: Jack Riley
Subject: Re: Old Boys Briefs 060101
Date: Sat, 2 Jun 2001 06:49:13 +1000


0500 and all's well! Really enjoyed the Brief which raises all sorts of questions.Firstly, the next time someone mentions civilianisation tell 'em we used to strap on a revolver before we deployed to a Forward Airfield on the first aircraft in. Would

Then Jim Aitken...he's only just down the road from me...well five hours or so anyway. Must drop in for a beer next time I'm "in town" Pinch-bars (I tried but some blighter always locked the doors!) You are quite right ...we we're not allowed to use them on aircraft for the reason given BUT........ Opening hangar doors? I seem to recall we had a socking great key which one wound like the meat grinder on a racing yacht. If all went well a rack and pinion arrangement did the rest. Great for back strengthening !

Your explanation of the origins of "two....six...." sounds plausible. Always used "Satu;Dua; Tigaaaaaa" myself!

David asks about a Beverley filled with sand. Maybe I have a photo, taken at that time, of an Argosy on a Queen Mary on its way back to UK. It had come off the end of a runway somewhere and was recovered complete with fish...and, I guess, sand. I don't recall a Beverley going in.

Somewhere between my second and third red last night I had a sobering thought (just as well!) Anyone younger than 53 wasn't born when I was Air Movements Officer at Changi. That's the best argument yet for ignoring anything I may write. In those days my shift allowed a Sergeant, a couple of Corporals, four airmen, an MT Driver and an SP plus the local lads (who were brilliant). Remember, no calculators and so Weight and Balance Sheets (Trim Sheets to the younger chaps) and all the manifests worked out by hand and brain power Daks/Hastings/Yorks...what have you. Loading overnight where we could. We had somewhere between eight and nine outbound flights between 0500 (Darwin) and 0900 (KL-Butterworth) 24 hour shifts changing at mid day. Pax/baggage to weigh, label, load (no and two inch lashing tape). Charlie in with the in- flight meal boxes - currency exchange - mail from hither thither and yon - crews collecting papers and SHOP mail - W and B's and pax manifests to complete. Hairy! And not a complaint of shifting loads or hopeless trim in three years despite the monsoonal flying conditions at low level. They were a stoic lot, our aircrew in those days!

And finally, (hoorah I hear!) one of our better lurks. It involved the Kai Tak Courier (do flights have such names these days?)
Take off from Singapore with Singapore dollars - land at Saigon and change them into French Champagne - fly to Hong Kong, flog the champagne to the nightclubs for Hong Kong dollars - fly to Iwakuni (BCOF) Occupation Forces - change money into BAF's - Fly to Clark Field change BAF's for greenbacks - fly back to Singapore and exchange the greenbacks for Singapore dollars. The profit was times four for the whole trip and all legal (well I suppose the Champagne into the nightclubs was a bit "iffy") .Movers make great middle men!!!

Regards to all


[Editors Note: Regarding the Beverley filled with sand - I believe David was explaining that the Beverley had accumulated a ton of sand under the floor during the normal course of operations in the Middle East. The Kai Tak Courier lurk - cor blimey Gov, you was a bad lot in them days! I must admit I had to check the dictionary as I was not too sure if "lurk" was the correct word to describe the exercise in profiteering. Webster's definitions include "to prowl or skulk around, especially with some mischief in mind".]


From: Howard Firth
Date: Sat, 2 Jun 2001 05:54:40 +0100

Greetings from South West Saudi Arabia, Bandit Country.

Having just survived another drive to work, heaven forbid that they ever let women drive here, the men are bad enough, I caught up with the latest from the OBA. Good to hear that Bob is still rattling cages and I would also echo his comments regarding the Officer Movers corp. Life here is generally very good apart from the normal restrictions. But even they can be circumvented, the compound amber nectar is quite acceptable!

I have just finished a C130 load evaluation for the RSAF, a mobile Runway Supervisory Unit. Two Herc loads in all, which the Saudis said was too dangerous to load. My final comment on the report was that; "An RAF Movements team at JNCO level would have very little difficulty in loading the equipment safely and speedily", which I hope is a testimony to the high professional standards we, as a trade, officers as well, have always strived for and achieved. The suits in MOD have short memories.

As for 2 - 6 . My interpretation is that it is, heaven forbid, a Naval saying from the days of the sailing warships where a gun team of 10 were responsible for loading and firing the cannons. Numbers 2 and 6 were responsible for holding the ropes on either side and after firing had taken place they were required to heave the cannon back from the port hole for re-loading.

Must close, camel parade.

Regards to all. H

[Editor's Note: Thanks H - I understand that you are still serving, but it's little wonder that ex-RAF Air Movements chaps are much sought after all over the Middle East and Africa because of their expertise and "can do" attitude. A far as the "2-6" thing goes - I had never heard that one. I wonder how many other reasonable explanations are out there?]


From: Bruce Oram
Subject: Re: Hi Bruce
Date: Wed, 6 Jun 2001 18:56:54 +0100 (GMT+01:00)

Hi Tony,

Just to keep you in the picture, I am now the WO on the Movements School and have access to all course photos. I am hoping to send you a few in the near future.

Cheers the noo


[Editor's Note: Thanks Bruce - I look forward to receiving them.]


Shuggie Shewan over there in Forres Scotland provided a "wee story" for the Humour Page - Thanks very much

I surpassed my own expectations and managed to put all eight chapters of the "History of Changi" up on the site. There's still quite a bit of work left on it as I want to place a few more illustrations and photographs into various chapters. The one item that eludes me so far is a reasonable picture of the Changi Crest - the one with the starfish at the centre. I have searched high and low on the Internet, and the only one I have come across is a rather poor quality photograph of the metal lapel pin that was so popular. If anyone has a Changi Crest please scan it and e-mail it to me.


Well that's it for this week

Have a great weekend!