22 June 2001


just heard on the news that two Tudor aircraft of the Snowbirds demonstration team performed an involuntary reconfiguration over Lake Erie this afternoon while practicing for the London airshow this weekend. One splashed, the driver and his passenger managed to eject - I believe the passenger was hurt but the driver walked off of the rescue chopper. The other landed safely at London airport with very little damage.

A new member this week - Ian Envis joins us from Crowborough

Welcome to the OBA!

From: Ben Loveridge
Subject: Re: Old Boys Briefs 061501
Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2001 23:36:25 +0100

Hello Tony,

Re Photos. ADP first u/k is Gary Basterfield, from whom I took over as JNCO shift pax as my final tour c1990. He emigrated to Canada if I remember correctly. The officers photo; 6th left is I believe Sqn/Ldr Yule, one time OC Movs School.

Nice to see Nige Robinson join. He gave me my nickname "Ibdib" all those years ago.

Have met an interesting fellow on my rounds - Tony Potter, Sqn Ldr retired, a navigator on Argosys, Vulcans and Hercs. Tells a few interesting stories. The Argosy was designed to carry some kind of armoured car, don't know which. To achieve this, the floor was strengthened at a cost of 10,000 lbs to the aircrafts AUW. However, the particular armoured car was too wide for the rear doors, so it never flew with its intended load. Sounds daft enough to be true. Another, tasked to recover a Shackleton engine, 4000lbs, from some God forsaken island in the southern oceans, he worked out that the aircraft could not carry that load to the nearest landfall for fuel. The engine stayed!

Saw on the news that RAF Bruggen was to close, bringing to an end 56 years of RAF service in Germany. I knew the base was to close, I did not realise it was the last. Apart from Cyprus and Belize, what overseas posts (excluding one man empires) are left? Is Decimomannu still going?

To my regret I did not get to do a tour in Germany. I did get Ottawa, some may say I got the long straw, but my battles, and defeats with Canada Customs/Customs et Duane? took the edge off.

Anyway, hoping for good weather for the 23rd, a couple of ex-movers coming over for a bbq.

Take care. Dibs.

[Editor's note: Thanks Dibs - throw an extra shrimp on the barbie for me - whoops! wrong country!]


From: John Holloway
Subject: Drigh Road
Date: Sun, 17 Jun 2001 07:58:59 +0100

Dear Tony

Just a line to let you know I’ve sent some more photos to you by Snailmail, I’m not up to scanning etc.

One of the photos is of the RPAF VIP Viking used by Quaid-e-Azam Ali Jinnah. The original crew were RAF. The Aircraft now sits pride-of-place in the PAF Museum at PAF Faisal, which in RAF days was RAF Drigh Road.

RAF Drigh Road was where Aircraftsman Shaw, subsequently known as Colonel Lawrence of Arabia, served. He was a mere AC plonk employed as a clerk in the Engine Repair Section; as Michael would say “not many people know that”.

Had a happy day out yesterday (Saturday) half a dozen of us took the train to Hereford and met up with another group from the West Midlands and we’d hired a bus to take us to Kington. It was Carnival Day and the theme was "Dad's Army - Warmington on Sea" with the locals dressed as in 1941; Captain Mainwaring, Corporal Jones, the ARP warden “put the light out” etc. The shops were decorated for that period; some showing photos of local lads who had gone off to fight, ration books and lots of other memorabilia from that the period. One of the pubs, The Queen's Head, brews its own beer and had four specials on: ‘Dogfight’, 'Insommecial’, 'Rommels Ruin’ and 'Hitlers Downfall’. To top it all a Spitfire did half a dozen fly-overs (the clipped wing version a Mk.9 I think).

We then boarded the bus and headed up into the hills to a little village called Craswall and a pub called "The Bull's Head" where we spent a happy couple of hours eating and drinking until it was time to make our way back to Hereford and the train home.

After all the rain we’ve had, the fields, hills and forests were a vivid green and I was amazed at the sight of hundreds of sheep and cattle in the fields and on the hillsides; what foot and mouth?

Cheers for now

John Holloway

[Editor's note: As always many thanks John - I look forward to receiving them]


From: Thumrait Traffic Management
Subject: Anyone out there want a job ?
Date: Sun, 17 Jun 2001 16:31:43 +0400


Can you help please?

As some of the guys will remember I work for a company called DynCorp Technical Services which is a Texas Company and here in the Middle East we have responsibility for the USAF pre-positioning program in Oman, Bahrain and Qatar. In Oman we have sites in Seeb, Masirah and in Thumrait where I am. We handle all sorts of US aircraft, mainly C130's. We also load trucks and the occasional ship. In short, it's the sort of job that would suite any red blooded ex-MAMS guy.

Recently, with the bombing of the USS Cole, the political climate has changed and we have to replace our Asian workforce on the airfield with Western staff (Western being Brits, American and Canadian at present).

We are looking for people to build pallets, load aircraft and drive forklifts and condecs. The contract is bachelor status although wives can visit. Food, accommodation and medical coverage is free. 21 days leave per year and one free air ticket per year (leave can be extended by using time off in lieu of overtime and leave without pay). Most people get home at least twice a year.

The contract is for one year that can be extended after one year. If anyone is interested and I expect I've wetted a few appetites then contact Peter Nicholson on e-mail or me, Keith Parker on by sending an up to date CV/Resume. Salaries are negotiable. These posts are looking to be filled ASAP and this will be advertised to American servicemen as well so if you are interested DO IT NOW!

Thanks Tony, keep up the good work. The OBA brightens up our Saturday (Being our Monday of course).

Keith Parker
DynCorp Traffic Management Supervisor
Thumrait Tel 00968 466496 work
00968 466299 home Please remember we are Zulu + 4 hours

[Editor's note: I went one better - there is now a new page on the site accessible on the main menu bars entitled "Jobs". More OBA-tunities will be welcomed from any prospective employers of ex-MAMS personnel.]


From: Chris Clarke
Subject: A400M - The Aircraft
Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2001 11:54:04 -0400


Here's the 'new' A400M aircraft the RAF has just ordered 25 of. Just go to the website for all the gen:

I have to say I'm underwhelmed. It carries 6 x Landrovers and trailers, 9 x 463L pallets, 2 of which cannot not exceed a total of 12,000 kg (ramp), a max payload of 32 metric tonnes, width max of two landrovers side by side (no MBT capability). The sales blurb says it can transport the equipment of seven nations 'without outside assistance'.

I just think its a Euro Herk and doesn't upgrade air portability that much over the C130J. The RAF needs a strategic airlift capability that the C17 gives. The site mentions making the Euro armies capable of deployment "without outside help", this aircraft is not going to do that unless main battle tanks shrink considerably. Even the little load plans it shows on the site have a puma in pieces. A real airlift asset would be one that a Puma or EH101 can just roll onto after folding blades back, like the yanks have been doing since Vietnam. I suppose this is not gonna happen with the A400!

It's no C17 or C5, so looks like we will still need the Yanks big lift capability, unless we wanna keep chartering dodgy Atonovs? So I think the RAF ordering these aircraft is a bit of a waste, when they could just buy 25 more C130J's, but then when has common sense ever been a part of defence procurement?

A brave new Euro-World or Euro-politics?

Incidentally, this aircraft was an Air Staff Target from 1985. When I was on JATE we were doing studies on this. It was called the 'Future Large Aircraft' then. Only 16 years ago. Very future, not so large.


Chris (Pig) Clarke Cpl RAF (retired)

Defence Correspondent
Burlington, On

[Editor's note: Thanks Chris - the A400M website is nicely laid out and has some very nice photographs which I will place in Images 2000 at the earliest opportunity.]


[Editor's note: I heard on the news that an F5 tornado (the worst kind) had touched down in the Minneapolis area, and so I e-mailed Ken to see if all was okay]

From: Ken Davie
Subject: Re: Photographs
Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2001 11:57:17 -0700 (PDT)

Thanks, Tony,

The tornado hit a town called Siren NE of Minneapolis. 3 people were killed. Lots of damage. Define Irony? A town called Siren where the Tornado warning siren wasn't working. Amazing!

Thanks for putting the pictures on the site. Talk to you soon.

All the very best...Ken

[Editor's note: Thanks Ken - that Siren thing was very ironic. The pictures of Sharjah and area can be accessed via the link dated 19th June on the Notice Board page.]


From: Ian Envis
Subject: Re: Membership
Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2001 23:04:35 +0100


Thanks for the prompt note and welcome to the OBA - a great web site.

I am useless with the PC and as to 'then and now' piccies you will need to invest in very large bandwidth for my current physique!! I will try and pass a few words of self gratification and then leave the matter to you clever types.

Cheers, Ian

[Editor's note: Thank you Ian. As always I look forward to receiving and publishing your profiles. Don't worry about the layout. If you are sending as an attached document I can accept any format.]


From: Jack Riley
Subject: Re: Old Boys Briefs 061501
Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2001 09:55:27 +1000

Good Morning Tony

There is good news! I have nothing to write about! However, I am about to reveal my abysmal ignorance (and interest). Having spent the last hour wandering round the website (again!) I would like to know more about modern UKMAMS. Here comes the ignorance bit. Do we still have MAMS Teams as such...or do we have MAMS Squadrons ...or both? How are they structured? How many people in what ranks? Where based? Service or civilian ? (I read up the article on the RAAF ..Auxiliary not Australian Air Force! There lies a chance of confusion!!) How controlled? 38 Group? Any overseas? Give or take the Official Secrets Act can you please fill me in? "Gladly " I hear you all cry!

We lost ten degrees this week and I've taken to a track suit...are you hogging it all in Canada again !



[Editor's note: As coincidence would have it I am in the middle of putting together an article about the current UKMAMS. I am doing a compilation of Jerry Porter's epic writings plus any other info I can get my hands on that would bring it up to date - volunteers?]


From: Colin Oram
Subject: No subject
Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2001 16:27:18 +0100

Tony, re Images 1990 - Officers Group - back row, 5th from left, little bald guy is Dick Page. One time SAMO at Aldergrove

Colin Oram
London Field Officer

[Editor's note: Thanks Colin - I have updated the page with the new info.]


From: Ian Berry
Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2001 14:07:33 +0100


Having read your 'tailender' to John Holloway concerning the 'overloaded Herc' I thought I should fill in the gaps. The incident occurred during Exercise Strong Express in September 1972. Hercules XV194 was one of many chalks departing from RAF Wittering with a 1 Sqn (Harrier) load on board. Yes, it was a 4 ton truck containing all their duty frees with one passenger and your team, F Troop, did load it (yourself, George Lynes, possibly Chris Twyman, Dave Barton, Don Wickham and Tony Moore). My team, Echo, were working opposite on nights (Gus Hatter, Ken Browne, Ross McKerron, Gordon Gourdie and myself, as Bob Tring was doing the IALCE in Bardufoss). I can confirm that you used extra lashings on the truck and received no thanks for it.

The aircraft was operated by a crew from 24 Sqn (Hit the floor - it's 24!!). The Captain was a Flt Lt 'crasher' Gibbs and the MALM was a bloke called 'Pincher' Martin. The aircraft was airborne okay and reached Tromso in Northern Norway okay, it all went to 'rats' on the landing.

The co-pilot was tasked to do the landing and the approach was normal. The runway was covered in slush as a result of new snow and the edges of the runway had concrete monsoon drains which assisted with the disposal of melted snow. The Loadmaster was sitting upstairs on the bunk seat and the passenger was standing behind the Air Engineer with his hand gripping the 'towel rail' on the back of his seat.

On touch-down the aircraft started to veer to the left. The Aircraft Captain, without saying 'he had control' feathered the two starboard engines. The co-pilot, believing he was still in control, applied right rudder and brakes.

Instead of a gentle correction to the centreline, the aircraft swung hard right and left the runway. As it crossed over the 'monnie' drain the cockpit area of the fuselage broke off by the crew door, coming to rest at an angle to the main fuselage, the tail also broke off. At this stage the crew 'legged it' through the flight deck windows leaving everything still switched on and live! The passenger had trapped his hand on the 'towel rail' when it folded under the impact, the navigator gave him a 'whack' which loosened his hand but broke his fingers.

On hitting the ground outside the aircraft, the ALM had a heart attack (non-fatal). The main fuselage was covered in dirt which had entered through the break and if the ALM and pax had been sitting there they would have been killed. The Load remained 'nailed to the floor' and not one bottle was broken!

A Chief Tech and a Sgt eventually climbed back into the aircraft to make everything safe, there was no fire. The aircraft was a write-off.

At the Board of Enquiry everyone, apart from the Navigator, was found guilty of negligence, both pilots for lack of co-ordination, the engineer for leaving the frame live and the ALM for not being at his correct position for landing - even though he would have been killed!

Once again the MAMS team were never thanked for their application of extra lashings. (Today I might add we would have been hung if we had not first offloaded the vehicle and check-weighed it).

Where are they now? Believe it or not the Captain, Gibbs, is now a check-pilot for the CAA!! Everyone else is now retired, the co-pilot and engineer shortly after the crash. The ALM, Pincher Martin, was permanently grounded and left two years later. He's still in the Lyneham area selling insurance!

Hope this fills in the gaps. (ps: No one can sue me as the accident report was printed in Air Clues some 25 years ago... )



[Editor's note: Thanks Ian - hard to believe that it was almost 30 years ago! At least I had some of the story right!]


Well that's it for this week. Don't forget that the closing down bash for Bruggen "The Big One" draws ever closer. If you want to attend please get in touch with Whaty Campbell at for all the info.

Have a great weekend!

Best regards