15 June 2001


Joining us this week is Nigel Robinson from High Wycombe UK.

Welcome to the OBA!

From: Andy Kay
Subject: Re: Old Boys Briefs 060801
Date: Fri, 8 Jun 2001 07:02:59 -0400

Hi Tony,

A quick note from Stafford (Virginia, not the one in the Midlands!). I spent Memorial Day weekend at my sisters place in Toronto and we were looking through some papers that she had found in my late fathers possessions. Included were my original attestation papers from when I enlisted in the RAF, and also the official description of the Trade of Air Movements Operator the recruiter gave me when I went to find out about signing on! I am going to try and scan it in so you can post it on the site - I wonder if the description of the trade has changed very much (I also wonder if the recruiter got a good laugh at my enthusiasm for signing up for Air Movements!).

Keep up the good work, although I was mightily embarrassed to see myself in the background of one of the photos in the Brit Bar in Limassol that Alan Warwick-Moore sent you - were we ever that young?!


Andy Kay

[Editor's Note: Thanks Andy - Those papers sound very interesting, and I would gladly put them onto the website. I have no idea where mine ended up, that was a long, long time ago!]

From: Chris Gunn
Date: Fri, 08 Jun 2001 18:26:45 +0100


[Editor's Note: I tried to send Kip an e-mail, but unfortunately it didn't go through. If per chance you are reading this Kip, please complete the Application on the Home page - and you don't have to SHOUT!]


From: Chris Clarke
Subject: Re: Old Boys Briefs 060801
Date: Fri, 8 Jun 2001 18:17:54 -0400

The 2-6 explanation by H Firth is one I'm familiar with too, the Fisheads who were at Lyneham during Op Corporate told me that gun's two and six were the first two guns to engage in a naval encounter of Victory era battleships.......god bless fisheads!

Thank god its actually warming up here now, my snowman is starting to melt....


[Editor's Note: Well, that's three explanations so far - do I hear four?]


From: John Holloway
Subject: Overloaded Beverley's
Date: Fri, 8 Jun 2001 19:06:33 +0100

Hi Tony

Reading David Howley's account of the Beverley with a ton of sand under the floor (OBB.060101).

Quite by coincidence a friend of mine told me a similar story on Thursday when we meet in the local pub. He was an air frame fitter during his time in the RAF and in the mid 60's he was stationed at Seletar during the confrontation.The story he tells is of a Beverley leaving Kuching bound for Seletar; it could only manage to get a few hundred feet in height at a very low speed. On arrival at Seletar an investigation was carried out on the cause of this performance. It turned out that it was vastly overloaded, the load being made up with crates that had weights marked up on them but when checked they were double the weight indicated; some bright spark had painted over a few noughts i.e. 300lb weighed 3000lb. Anybody stationed at Kuching at that time????

Since getting keen on the use of my new laptop I've made contact with the pilot of the Canberra WH950 that crashed at Mauripur (OBB 111000) and he replied almost immediately. In his last paragraph he echoed 'Pig' Clarke's sentiments about the decline of the RAF: "I thoroughly enjoyed my 30 years in the RAF etc., but the service has now gone to the dogs. I'm afraid not because of itself but because of the government policy to turn Service folk into civilians. You just can't have a fighting force with this sort of ethos and expect it to win."

Guess that's all for now

John Holloway

[Editor's Note: Thanks John. That story of the overloaded Beverley reminded me about something very similar, only this time it was with a C-130. Back in nineteen-seventy-something, I was on a put-together team to load some Army chaps and their equipment out of Wittering bound for Bardufoss in Norway. The load was designated as a Bedford Truck, a 3/4 ton trailer and some PSP to be loaded on the ramp. When we were underneath the truck we noticed that the elliptical springs, which should have been, well - elliptical, were actually straight. When we checked the "empty" truck (as per the manifest), it was full to the gunwales of all kinds of stuff (including booze if I remember correctly). With a half hour to chocks there was no time to check-weigh the vehicle, and so we offloaded the trailer and the PSP, and put the truck on the C of G using every available chain to secure it. When the C-130 landed in Bardufoss it aquaplaned on about 2" of water on the runway and overshot, eventually coming to rest in a gully. The floor separated from the airframe of the aircraft, but the truck was still attached to the floor! The only casualty, as far as I can recall, was the Flight Engineer who had his hand on top of the co-driver's seat when pranging and subsequently got one of his fingers firmly trapped in the seat. I understand that the ALM used his knife to separate finger from Engineer when a very quick exit was called for. The aircraft was a write-off.]


From: Jim Aitken
Subject: This and that
Date: Sat, 9 Jun 2001 22:30:10 +1000

Hi Tony

Congrats to John Holloway on his retirement with his new computer, and I'm sure it won't be long before he is scanning his photos, you can look forward to lots of input from John.

Jack, as usual, manages to dig out those old hidden memories with his summary of all that used to "happen" in Movements without even thinking about it.

Actually I'm only a four hour drive south of Jack and he is most welcome to call in on his trips down to the 'big smoke'. I actually live on the Sunshine Coast which is about an hour north of Brisbane. I put Brisbane as my address as no one out side of Queensland has ever heard of Mooloolah Valley. And that's the way I hope it will stay. Jack is welcome to partake of a beer as long as there is some reciprocation in terms of his "red" which I am quite partial to when next I visit his neck of the woods.

Jack may not have told you that Hervey bay is a world renowned whale watching venue in the later part of our year. I think from October or so onwards there is a heap of craft leave from Hervey Bay to watch the whales on their annual migration north to calve in the warmer waters off the Queensland Coast. Just as an aside , one of the boats is owned by the sister of Elle. My wife and I have not yet done the whale thing so when we decide to, Jack will need to get in an extra bottle or three of the "red".

Hervey Bay is also a jumping off spot for a trip to Fraser Island, the largest sand island in the world. Also renowned for its pure species of dingo (Australian wild dog) which has recently been in the news when a child was mauled and killed while on holiday there.

I am sure Jack can elaborate more on his area than I can, but then is that regarded as 'off topic' in terms of the OBA? Oh well, if the editor runs his red pen through it worries !!

Enjoyed the latest OBB, but just one little thing I would mention. As the "images" page is increasing to beyond the 70 thumbnails mark and as I am on a 56 k modem for download, I am finding that the page is taking a longgggggggg time to load. Could the page not be divided so that the latest images could be accessed on a separate page to the very early ones which many of us have seen. The early images would still be available but only on request. Just a suggestion - if that is not possible no worries.

Regards to all

Jim Aitken

[Editor's Note: I hear you loud and clear about the Images thumbnail page. I was getting concerned myself that it was a little unorganised, and only promised to get more and more unmanageable. So - I fixed it!]


From: John Holloway
Subject: Getting good
Date: Sat, 9 Jun 2001 19:17:20 +0100

Hi Tony

Just got back from Bishops Castle;we had a special CAMRA presentation there; the pub we went to was the second best pub for real ale in the whole of the UK and for a piddly little market town in Shropshire that's got to be good.

I know there's no decent tasting beer in Canada or Australia and if you are a beer drinker I really feel for you. CAMRA- Campaign for Real Ale, is now a world wide consumer organisation and we feel we have done a great job. I get quite happy most weekends!

Cheers for now


[Editor's Note: As far as the beer thing goes - we have some fine brews over here in Canada, "Sleemans" and "Upper Canada" to name but two (actually produced in the same brewery). I am sure that Pete Underwood over in Nova Scotia will have something to say about this, as well as Bill Nangle in Victoria BC - and everybody in between! The Australian contingent along with their "Swan" and "Red" will no doubt have a few words to say on the subject as well! I recall when we were in the Malaysian jungle we were "encouraged" to drink the brew from Singapore called "Tiger Beer". The reason for this, as it was explained to us, was because it was said to contain quinine, which, as everyone knows, is derived from the bark of the cinchona and is used as a febrifuge in antimalarial treatment. It seemed to work very well indeed, as, after the consumption of a few Tiger beers (for medicinal purposes only), nobody seemed to care what bit them! Just as an aside - on the infamous jungle survival course we were taught that holding a lit cigarette as close as possible to a mosquito bite, for as long as you could bear it, would alleviate the itch and render any injected poison harmless. Well this was fine, but I think that the resulting blisters were more of a health risk than the bites themselves, as open wounds in the heat and humidity would never heal! I have subsequently learned that "Tiger Balm" is the best remedy for bites, and to this day I never travel without it. I also never travel without a few vials of the Chinese remedy called "Po-Chai" pills - which cure an attack of the "runz".]


From: Jim Aitken
Subject: History of Changi
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001 17:36:33 +1000

Hi Tony.

A very informative history and I certainly was greatly "edificated". For those that have not had the opportunity to re-visit Changi since its demise as an RAF base and in answer to S/Ldr Carder's 1970 query "who knows what it will be in 1972", I offer the following:

Changi Airport, now a civilian airport, would rank as one of the most modern air travel facilities in the world. It is truly awe inspiring to see what the Singaporeans have created from 'our' old airfield. Much of the land on the seaward side has been reclaimed using decomposed granite bought and shipped in from Indonesia. I see this as a memorial to those who originally carried out the basic construction and to all those who ever served at Changi during peace or war.

For an in-depth look at what happens there now go to: and be amazed!




From: Jack Riley
Subject: Re: Old Boys Briefs 060801
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2001 10:45:39 +1000

Good morning Tony.

Queen's Birthday Monday here today so I can have a day off. I see in this morning's paper the award of the AM to Group Captain Ian Geoffrey Jamieson for exceptional service to the Australian Defence Force in movements management. My guess (and it is only a guess) is that this is connected to the recent operations in East Timor. Good to see a Mover so honoured.

Congratulations on the great job you have done putting the "History of Changi" on the website. There is a downside (isn't there always?) in that I'm stung into print again. I see the history was promoted by Gp. Capt. Maynard. We invited the Maynard's for dinner and they arrived exactly one week early just as we were getting into our car to go out to a dinner party! Red faces and whisky all round!

I know that to condense such a subject to manageable proportions is not easy but I have a feeling that Probert should have made mention of the sterling work done by 41(NZ) and 38(RAAF) Squadrons in the early days. As you know my memory lets me down from time to time but I also recall 110 Squadron getting in on the act somewhere. If for nothing else the Australians should be honoured for the supply of Swan Lager! Temple Hill Mess was the scene of many memorable booze-ups but they paled into insignificance to the lunch-time sessions when the Swan arrived!

There was also a Helicopter Flight under the command of a great guy, Flight Lieutenant "Chips" Fry. He used to use me as ballast when he was rehearsing his Dumbo Ballet for three choppers dressed as elephants at the Kallang Air Show (which was fine...depending on what I'd had for breakfast). I was saddened to learn that Chips died recently.

Mention of Kallang reminded me of a near disaster in my organisational life. The runway crossed the main road from Changi to the City (or vice versa). I was to be married in the Cathedral and set out in good order to collect the wedding cake from the City, return it to Changi, get myself togged up and then drive back to the Cathedral. Needless to say the road barriers were down three out of three and I arrived in a muck sweat with seconds to spare.

And finally, to keep John Holloway happy, another "memory". Having breakfasted one Sunday morning I had a call from the Staff Duty Officer at HQFEAF. It seemed that a Civilian Police Signals Unit had clambered up one of the up-country "mountains" to set up a radio but the weather had closed in and they were stuck. Would I organise a supply drop of tentage please. The only crew I could find were a visiting gang from (I think it was called ) the Aircrew Calibration Unit. Whatever, they appeared from UK to check out the crews and had been giving them a hard time.

By the time we got to the aircraft the door was off and bundles of tentage, wrapped round the poles, loaded aboard. Off we went, yours truly as the acting unpaid unskilled despatcher. No safety harnesses in those days but I did a quick sum. Breaking strain of lashing tape 200lbs; weight of self in those days about 145lbs...perfect. A quick loop round the waist, a couple of Granny knots, one end on me the other on the airframe, and I was safe. Such is youthful innocence! Arriving at the scene we found the pimple in deep clag. Hurling such awkward bundles out of the door was not the easiest exercise and what with that and the inexperience of the crew it took us ten circuits to get the loads away.

I am happy to report two good outcomes. The police radioed HQFEAF with thanks for a successful drop and our local crews bought me beer for a week, reporting a remarkable change of attitude by the Calibration Unit team!

But enough...."More than", do I hear you cry ?.....Happy to hear that Summer has arrived in Canada. We're suffering Winter here at the moment, clear blue skies and the temperature down to 25 C ....such hardships.

Best regards



From: Jim Aitken
Subject: Re: Images Revamp
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2001 12:46:10 +1000

Well done Tony.

The new revamped 'Images' pages work a treat. I found that each individual block of years loaded very quickly and using the "next" function worked well without having to return to the index page. With the images pages now divided into decades, it will be necessary to highlight just which group contains 'new' piccys. Can you do this with the flashing "new" you use on the articles page ? I am sure you will already have thought about this but I figured I better mention it.

All it needs now is for more images from the 50-59 group! Have to get Jack Riley and John Holloway to dig deep into their albums.



[Editor's Note: Thanks Jim - it actually took me all of Sunday to revamp the pages - but it was a labour of love! I try to apply the "KISS" principle to the website wherever possible, and so I think the best solution would be to announce the arrival of new images via the Notice Board page - in that way they will be date and location specific and there will never be a "stale" marker on the Images page. Just check the Notice Board whenever you visit the site to see the latest updates.]


From: John Holloway
Subject: Changi Crest
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2001 08:00:01 +0100

Hi Tony,

In your search for a Changi Crest if you go into the Terrane web you'll find one. Their URL is: log into the catalogue browser and enter RAF Changi

Hope it will help



[Editor's Note: Many thanks for the lead John. I did visit this most impressive of websites, but unfortunately the only item they had in there relating to Changi was the aforementioned metal lapel pin - there it is again!]


Phil Clarke, our resident "news watcher" over in Vienna forwarded the following article from the June 11th edition of the Daily Telegraph:

Cuts "Leave Navy Unfit To Fight."

By Michael Smith, Defence Correspondent

TREASURY cuts have left the Royal Navy incapable of meeting its Nato commitments or even defending its own ships, says a document leaked to The Telegraph.

The document, believed to have been written by the Navy's most senior officer, says the cuts mean that the Navy cannot play its role in Nato's joint rapid reaction force "because ships are not always fully fit for task". It says that "significant armoury shortfalls" have forced ships to go to sea without enough ammunition to defend themselves if they have to go into action.

Ships are also running a greater risk of being hit by an air-to-sea missile in a repetition of the destruction of the Sheffield, which was hit by an Exocet in the Falklands.

The leaked document, the Fleet Risk Register, was issued by the Commander-in-Chief Fleet last November, when the post was held by Adml Sir Nigel Essenhigh, now First Sea Lord and Chief of Naval Staff. The Ministry of Defence said that the paper was compiled by a subordinate, but it is written in the first person and refers at one point to "my command".

One of the major concerns it expresses is about a crisis in the Fleet's helicopter operation. The new Mercury anti-submarine helicopter cannot use its sonar at night or in low visibility when the pilot is flying on instruments alone.

Serious problems with the 29 Lynx helicopters based on board destroyers and frigates meant that only 12 were operational, the document says. "Ships without flights for three months-plus show a serious degradation of aviation operational capability."

The Sea King helicopter, which will not be replaced until 2009, does not have sufficient lift or range, while the Army has been forced by cuts to renege on an agreement to supply eight Apache attack helicopters to support the Royal Marines.

Another serious risk underlined by the document is that there will not be enough pilots to fly the aircraft for one of the two carriers due to join the Navy as the central pillar of the Government's 1998 Strategic Defence Review. "Pilot numbers are well below requirement, with premature voluntary retirement rising critically," it says.

Difficulties in recruiting and retaining key staff are having "a very serious impact on the ability of many ships to sustain their readiness and operational capability through a protracted or high intensity operation". The cuts are also affecting the Navy's ability to train its personnel properly.

The document says that the effectiveness of the Royal Marines has been particularly badly hit because they cannot use most of their ammunition in training without ministerial permission. They also have problems with helicopters. "A significant proportion of landing force munitions lack safety clearances unless ministerial dispensation is granted for operations. This produces a severe impact on operational readiness."

The document says that the Defence Logistics Organisation, which provides spares and equipment to all the Armed Forces, is coming under great financial pressure. This "translates into operational risk in front line", it says. "There is a failure to meet spares demand to support activity across all type commands, impacting Fleet ability to meet tasking. Their ability to support submarines at Faslane is also a concern."

The document says that recent trouble with nuclear reactors that led to the withdrawal of the Trafalgar submarines was one of many problems affecting the submarine fleet. "There is an increasing number of factors giving major cause for concern over submarine availability. There are serious limitations in underwater capability, including sensors, weapons and self-protection."

The revelations of the damage caused to the Navy's operational capability follow a series of leaks on cuts affecting the two other Services

Last September The Telegraph reported that the RAF had been told that it would have to axe three frontline squadrons, scrapping all its Jaguar fighter-bombers to save £1.5 billion. That measure was successfully fought off. The pressure then switched to the Army, with leaked documents showing that up to 10 frontline regiments could be axed and orders for £1.2 bn worth of equipment cancelled.

A senior defence source said yesterday: "The Government is posturing behind the Strategic Defence Review as evidence that it is tough on defence. But it is simply not prepared to pay the money needed to implement it." That belief, which is widespread in the Armed Forces, led the influential Royal United Services Institute to predict last month that the two new aircraft carriers would never be built.

Iain Duncan Smith, the shadow defence secretary, said the document was "final proof that the Government is damaging our Armed Forces. They are simply failing to give them the resources they need and they are in grave danger of being unable to defend themselves." The MoD said it deplored the leaking of the document and was not prepared to comment on its contents.

[Editor's Note: Bumbling Suits did it yet again - in a subsequent article the next day it was announced that, owing to "cuts" the Royal Navy had to withdraw two ships from an exercise because MoD couldn't afford the fuel for them! I will be happy to forward the article to anybody would like to see it - just let me know. Talking of fuel problems - we here in Canada are faced with ever increasing prices at the gas pumps. I could never figure this out as we have our own supplies and should not be adversely affected by OPEC "games" - then just the other day someone very kindly explained it to me - all of our oil is in Alberta, but the dipsticks are in Ottawa!]


From: Ken Davie
Subject: Sharjah
Date: Sat, 9 Jun 2001 14:33:40 -0700 (PDT)

Hi, Tony,

Shuggie Shewan is over there in Forres, and I have an old friend that lives there that was very close to the UKMAMS Crew in Abingdon. Owen Bell, who was in 3 Para, and whose father was a Parachute Jump Instructor. We had many wonderful days drinking in the town, and then Owen's mother would cook a fabulous lunch. She was a gem! Owen lives with his family in Forres somewhere. I have the address if Shuggie wants to connect. Owen was a good friend to a lot of us, Bob Turner, Bob Davies et al back in '68 and '69, and had quite the reputation as a ladies man in Abingdon, on which I won't elaborate!

I seem to remember someone asking about photos of Sharjah. Whether that was the airfield or the town, I don't know. However, I pulled out the archives and found these. They are of the town in 1966, the barracks at Sharjah camp ( air conditioned and relatively luxurious! ) and of the Trucial Oman Scouts on parade. The TOS was stationed nearby. Arab troops with British officers. To see a British officer kneeling in the Souk with the Brown uniform and the Red and white dog-toothed Arab headdress, babbling in Arabic to the gold vendor was a sight to behold!

Also, a passport photo of me in 1965 for the rogues gallery. The steely glint in my eye is a result of my having lost one lens of my glasses and being completely unable to focus. What a wimp!

All is well in Minnesota. The weather has changed for the better, as in your neck of the country, and the 6 feet of snow has at last melted, on the ground if not in our souls!

More photos on the way, if I can find them. They are of Dubai, one of the Zaabil yacht, owned by the Sheikh at that time. Still can't raise Bob Davies. He's far too busy with Meggit Defence, don't you know. One day, I'll shame him onto the site.

You're doing a marvellous job. Keep it up. I'm off for a glass of wine by the pool! Happy days.

All the very best, my pal...


[Editor's Note: Many thanks Ken - I will probably upload the pictures to the site this weekend when I have figured out where to put them.]


From: David Howley
Subject: Overweight Beverley
Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2001 17:21:18 +0100

Dear Tony,

I received the following reply from Chas Cormack

Hi Dave

If my memory serves me correctly the Bev you mentioned was 150 and I believe the prefix was XN but I am not sure on that point. After refurbishment and a new paint job in desert colours, 150 was used by 47 Sqn at Abingdon for a while. After all this time I also seem to remember it going out to 34 Sqn at Seletar where again I am not positive if it was the aircraft flown by Sqn Ldr Bacon which crashed in Malaya around December of 67 or was it 68?

I would not swear to that but I do remember it coming to Abingdon and the APS weight had changed by over 2000 lbs and so also had the index and it was not as nose heavy as it had been according to the crews.

Hope this helps

Chas Cormack


My Reply:

Dear Chas,

Great to hear from you - do you remember getting a 103 Sqn. Whirlwind out of a Belfast onto a Condec (circa 1971-2) and Sqn.Ldr Clarke would not believe you? - it's amazing what can be done at the end of a shift!

The only 150 is XL150 but that apparently never served with 30, only with 84 for a short period in 1961!

The potted history from Bill Overton's book is: c/n 1036, first flown 2.8.57. With A&AEE for trials. 27 MU 24.1.61. To 84 Sqn. 7.2.61, 27 MU 17.8.61. 47 Sqn coded K 16.1.62. 32 MU 2.12.65 for refurbishment and camouflaging. 34 Sqn. 25.3.66. Crashed Johore 15.12.67.

The data above probably came from the aircraft movement card - is it possible that it was lent to 30 Sqn circa 1964-65???

My thanks for responding, I shall pass this on to John. If there is anyone out there who can associate the aircraft with 30 Sqn. circa '64-65 that would help complete the picture.




Jack Riley remembers the ditched Argosy of 105 Sqn. It was XP413, delivered to 105 Sqn. 2.7.62. Ditched 23.3.64. To Hawker Siddley 20.6.64. 242 OCU 5.5.66, 27 MU 2.1.69, 115 Sqn. 16.6.69 and finally to Fairford 1.5.76 - scrap - probably for fire fighting practice.

I remember this on the board in Ops at K'sar with the annotation "XMAS TREE". It was certainly still there in late '65, so I presume that it stayed on the nominal strength of 105 until HSA finished with it.




From: Paul & Donna Dolan
Subject: New E-mail Address
Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2001 14:38:54 +1000

Hi Everyone,

Yes we are a victim of the OneTel collapse.

We are just letting you know our new address if you are interested?! Just right click me and add to address book or get a piece of paper and write down

Will be in touch soon

Lots of love (or regards)

Paul and Donna Dolan

[Editor's Note - Thanks Paul and Donna - I got you covered. Trust you are enjoying Winter down there in Billabong Land!]


From: John Belcher
Subject: Photos from Bruce Oram
Date: Tue, 12 Jun 2001 21:33:29 +0100


Attached are some more of Bruce Oram's photos.

Incidentally, the Aeromed cabin on a pallet was still at Lyneham until a few years ago. We were looking to use it or something similar last year. The Prince of Wales held a reception for his 50th birthday to which the Queen Mother of Denmark was invited. She flew into Lyneham on a Danish air force Falcon (or similar aircraft).

As she is in a wheel chair, she has to be lifted off the aircraft some how. The Danish air force use an ordinary aircraft pallet on a forklift! It was decided that it could be a bit embarrassing if she was rolled off this pallet and some other way should be used to get her off the aircraft. So we spent a day or so trying to track down and then re-paint the aeromed cabin but it had been condemned on Health and Safety grounds. In the end a slave pallet was re-painted and used.


[Editor's Note: Thanks to both Bruce and John. The photographs are in the Images 1990 page]


New additions to the website this week include the History of RAF Benson in the Articles section and the aforementioned new photographs in the Images 1990 page.

I am still looking for the RAF Changi crest - not the metal lapel pin please...

Well that's it for this week - thanks for all the mail and contributions, it really makes the OBA Rock!

Have a great weekend,

Best regards