26 June, 2009

New members joining us recently are:


Al Gordon, St. Albert, AB, Canada

Kathy Grice, Trenton, ON, Canada

Glenn Watters, Kingston, NS, Canada


Welcome to the OBA!


From: Steve Richardson, Trenton, ON
Sent: 04 June 2009 22:18
Subject: CAF Mystery Photo 060509


I'll try to put some names to the mystery photo from the 060509 Newsletter:

Back Row (L to R) - Pte Rick Smith, Pte Ray Acosta, Pte Ken Booth, Pte Len Skeels, Pte Harris, Pte Elwood

Third Row (L to R) - Pte Anthony, Pte Fredrickson, Pte Barney Burnett, Pte Russ Aucoin, Pte Edward McKinnon, Pte Gillingham, Pte Heidelberg

Second Row (L to R)- Pte Christian, Pte Salmond, Pte Greene, Pte Randy Court, Pte Ron Strand, Pte Fritz Von Kaitz, Pte Ron Reynolds

Front Row Instructors- Sgt Weekes, WO Reid, Capt Code, WO Jack Shirley, Sgt Hamilton, Sgt Dell Cottreau

Traffic Tech Qualification Level Course -7204

Take Care,

Steve Richardson  

Thanks Steve - for your prize I sent you some ice cream in the mail, although with the onset of the warmer weather...   


From: Phil Galbraith, Winnipeg, MB
Sent: 05 June 2009 11:19
Subject: CAF Mystery Photo 060509

This picture is the Traffic Tech QL3 course 7204, run from 05 Sept to 22 Dec, 1972.

No prize this time Phil, good luck on the next mystery photo!

10% of all Europeans were conceived on Ikea beds (I trust they weren't in the Ikea store at the time!)

From: Malcolm Porter, London
Sent: 05 June 2009 04:28
Subject: Re: UKMAMS OBA OBB #050609

Hi Tony,

Once more, congratulations on the Newsletter. Its a sure sign of old age when one doesn't recognise names from the past but in fact, I do recall Charles Collier - but cannot think of the location!

Brian Kent and I are emailing on a daily basis coming up with names from the past Movements/MAMS involvements - could anyone help with the name of Dave Love by the way?

The final Canadair 44 reunion (including the Yukons of 412 and 437T Squadrons RCAF) will be held next year in London. May 22nd will see the RAF Club in Piccadilly hosting over 100 guests. Already, crew members from airlines such as Flying Tigers, Seaboard, Slick, Transvalair, TMAC, Transglobe, BOAC,Tradewinds, United African, Affretair and Loftleidir have booked their places. Any Movements/MAMS personnel who had contact with the 44, are welcome to attend of course (Pete Clayton scores on all counts of course).

Right now, the Guppy at BOH is the centre of our attention as Heavylift Cargo Airlines has released it to the airport due to unpaid parking charges. We are acting on behalf of two museum groups who wish to preserve the flight deck of N447T.

We hear (first hand) that an offer has been made to Heavylift for the purchase of the last remaining airworthy Belfast. The bidder is well known to us and the offer is genuine - I will keep you posted if developments occur.

Trust the back is improving towards servicability-stop pocketing wet bar change is one solution!

Malcolm Porter
Canadair Forty Four Association.


CFB Trenton celebrates four aviation milestones

The rededication of the Memorial Gates will kick off 8 Wing Trenton’s anniversary weekend. CFB Trenton commander Colonel Mike Hood announced the schedule for the July 4-5 celebration during a press conference, on Friday, June 5. “I think we are ready for a celebration here at CFB Trenton,” Col. Hood said. “It will be a jam-packed weekend.”

The anniversary weekend celebrates the 60th anniversary of the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand presenting the Memorial Gates to Canada for its contribution to the Second World War.

“It’s our goal to honour the memory of all those who came through the gates of Trenton,” Col. Hood said. The rededication ceremony includes bands and colour parade and a fly past of historic aircraft. “I kind of set out a goal and challenge to my folks to see if we could get one of everything that had flown in Trenton during the Second World War. We’ve come pretty close,” Col. Hood said. “You’re going to see some aircraft that haven’t flown above the skies of Trenton for 50 years.”

Lieutenant-Colonel Debbie Miller said they hope the Minister of Veterans Affairs Greg Thompson will represent the federal government during the rededication of the gates. “He understands the significance of this event because when you look at the age of our guests, they could be from birth to their 90s,” Lieutenant-Colonel Debbie Miller said.

Members of the British royal family have been invited to the rededication, but attendance has yet to be confirmed. “Right now we’re still hopeful, but we’re going to Plan B,” Lt. Col. Miller said.

The anniversary weekend also celebrates the 100th anniversary of powered flight in Canada, the 85th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Air Force and the 25th Anniversary of the National Air Force Museum of Canada.

Following the rededication of the gates, CFB Trenton will open the base to the public. “The men and women here are very proud of the work they do and are very proud to show off,” Col Hood said. “The strength of 8 Wing Trenton is the closeness we have with the local community.”

Base visitors will be given passports that can be stamped at each of events and displays. A minefield awareness area demonstrating the work needed to clear a minefield is also being created for the open house. Col. Hood said all events during the weekend are free of charge for the public. “It’s not my base, it’s everyone’s base,” Col. Hood said. “It’s the Canadian public’s. We’re their military. I certainly think they have every right to come out and be able to see what we do for them.”

The Officer’s Mess will be the only building open to the public during the open house, but Lt. Col. Miller said visitors will have the opportunity to see inside military vehicles and aircraft. “You will be able to touch and feel everything,” Lt. Col. Miller said. “People will be able to say they saw history, the collision of four anniversaries.”

Linen is actually stronger when wet

From: Melinda Cotton, Butterworth
Sent: 05 June 2009 08:26
Subject: RE: UKMAMS OBA OBB #050609

G'day Tony,

RAAF Mystery Photo 060509 is from the RAAF News for the tsunami relief from Richmond Air movements 27th Jan 2005.... Member SGT Robert Thomas (facing camera) Cpl John Screigh (wearing shorts) LACW Philips (I think) and me (in the very sexy, yet comfy overalls-thanks for that).

We had all got the phone call to return to Richmond to push out all aircraft to Butterworth. I think it was a 72 hour shift and sleep when you could.

I happened to be at the Newcastle Boxing Day races when I got the phone call (may have had a wine or two at the ponies). On the 27th at the crack of dawn I drove 200 km to Sydney to start a long 3 week stint.

Sorry my email wont work on the photo itself. [Note - only works with an onboard mail program such as Outlook, Outlook Express etc]

Would really love a photo of me that is not so damn bad !!! I guess that's what you get for being Air movements and not an office dweller... ha ha ha

Kind regards

Sgt Mel Cotton (RAAF)
RMAF Butterworth

Thanks Mel... please feel free to send in your own photos from time to time.


Maiden test flight for RAF future aircraft

An Airbus A330 that will become the first of a new fleet of multi-role tanker aircraft has taken to the skies for the very first time in Toulouse, France.

The Airbus A330-200, which will replace the RAF's aging TriStar and VC-10 aircraft, completed its three-hour maiden test flight on schedule last Thursday, 4 June 2009.

As the aircraft was put through a series of manoeuvres covering the whole flight envelope, engineers conducted various compliance tests on the engines and onboard systems.

The Ministry of Defence ordered 14 of the A330-200-based tanker aircraft under a £13bn PFI (Private Finance Initiative) deal with AirTanker Ltd in March 2008.

While owned and supported by AirTanker, the Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) will fly in RAF 'colours' and undertake RAF air-to-air and passenger air transport tasks. The contract allows AirTanker to make spare aircraft available for commercial use when not required for military duties.

In an air-to-air refuelling role, the new tankers will have the ability to offload 60 tonnes of fuel 1,000 miles (1,609km) from base, and remain on station for two hours.

The fuel necessary for refuelling operations, as well as for the A300 itself, will be carried in the same tanks as fitted to the standard Airbus A330 airliner leaving the cabin free for transporting up to 290 personnel, and the cargo holds free to carry equipment and supplies up to a maximum total payload of 44 tonnes.

The refuelling pods will be fitted to the Airbus A330 during its militarisation and tanker conversion by Airbus Military in Madrid which will start in July 2009

The FSTA fleet will customarily carry a minimum of 80 tonnes (100,000 litres) of aviation fuel per aircraft. The fuel dispensing rate from the aircraft is approximately 5,000 litres per minute or about 80 litres per second. The wing pods alone refuel twice as fast as those in a Formula One pit stop.

The Airbus A330 represents a significant advance in capability over its predecessors and has won major international tanker procurement contracts including the Australian, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabian Air Forces. It will provide the RAF with improved reliability, performance and economy with around twice the refuelling capability of the current VC-10s.

RAF crews will operate the aircraft on military duties, together with some sponsored reservists employed by the contractor. The 27-year contract covers all aspects of the operation, including the provision of new infrastructure currently being constructed at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, the fleet's main operating base.

Defence News

Iguanas have two penises!

From: Syd Avery, Torrevieja
Sent: 07 June 2009 10:20
Subject: Charles Collier's "Responsibility in Later Life"

Hi, Tony et al,

To add a little to Charles' piece, I obtained an Enduring Power of Attorney to handle my Mother's affairs before she entered a nursing home and eventually died. I "Did It Myself", (yes, that's me, DIM) Bought a book from Smith's which is simple to understand. Having the Power of Attorney makes everything much, much easier when the person it is for cannot manage their own affairs. Alongside Charles, I highly recommend the process. I know we all think we are immortal, but we 'ain't, so I have also raised all the papers for my son to hold a Power for me should it be necessary. Morbid, ennit?

On a lighter note, I understand there is a proposed reunion next year for the 39th., 40th. and 41st. entries of the Admin. Apps. commemorating the 50th.(!!!) anniversary of our entry into the Air Force. William Dean is the initial contact.

Keep up the good work,

Luv and Kisses to all,



British troops provide birthday celebrations for The Queen

In time-honoured tradition, Britain's Armed Forces came together on Saturday 13th June to celebrate Her Majesty The Queen's birthday with an extravaganza which included parades and a flypast.

Soldiers of the Household Division took to London's Horse Guards Parade to carry out the historical Trooping the Colour ceremony with this year's colour being that of the 1st Battalion Irish Guards.

The Duke of Edinburgh and the Royal Colonels, Prince Charles, Princess Anne, and The Duke of Kent, were also on parade to join the 1,400 soldiers decked in the traditional uniforms of the Household Cavalry, Royal Horse Artillery and Foot Guards.

Over 200 horses were on parade and over 400 musicians from ten bands and Corps of Drums marched and played as one, alongside the famous Drum Horses of the Mounted Bands.

The Royal Air Force paid their birthday tribute to The Queen in a flypast over Buckingham Palace, with a total of 29 aircraft which included World War II Spitfires, Hurricanes and Lancasters, and the RAF's modern multirole Typhoon fighters.

Forming up over the North Sea near Southwold on the Suffolk Coast, the aircraft from eight different RAF bases across the UK headed down to Colchester and then across East London as they made their way to The Mall in central London ready for the 1300hrs flypast.

Leading the procession was the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight's Lancaster flown by Squadron Leader Stuart Reid who said: "Who would have thought that I would be celebrating my own birthday by flying this amazing aircraft over Buckingham Palace to celebrate our monarch's birthday? It is an extreme privilege and an absolute honour to be the pilot on the day."

Taking part in the event for the first time were two American exchange pilots. Major Cody Blake is a US Air Force pilot more used to the F-15C Eagle in the Florida sky, but on The Queen's birthday he was in a Tornado F3 from 43 (Fighter) Squadron, RAF Leuchars. He said: "This is a great honour for me to participate in The Queen's birthday flypast. Our two countries have a long and proud history of flying exchanges between our Air Forces, and it is truly a unique opportunity for me to represent them both in this celebration for The Queen."

Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy, Chief of the Air Staff, said: "This year marks the end of 19 years of RAF operations over Iraq, and the flypast recognises this significant achievement by including a formation of VC10 and Tornado GR4 aircraft, both of which have borne the bulk of the burden in Iraq.

"The flypast was led by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight [Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane] to commemorate the heritage of the Service.

Also included are a Tornado F3 and Typhoon fighters to reflect the round-the-clock task of protecting the United Kingdom's airspace from foreign and terrorist intrusion."

The flypast comprised the only airworthy Lancaster bomber in the UK, six Eurofighter Typhoons, four Tornado GR4s, a Nimrod MR2, a VC10 in-flight refuelling tanker aircraft flanked by two Tornado GR4s, a Sentinel R1, and nine Hawk aircraft.


Congratulations to the following Movers who appeared in the Queen's Birthday Honours:

MBE - Sqn Ldr Tara McLuskie-Cunningham (former Lyneham DAMO)

Meritorious Service Medal - WO Andy Machell

C in C's Commendation - Sqn Ldr Kenny Baxter (former Lyneham Air Cargo Officer)

Team Commendation RAF Marham Mobility Section - FS Tim Ketcher

AOC's Commendation - WO Ray Ralph

A pound of potato crisps/chips costs 200 times more than a pound of potatoes

From: David Howley, Melton Mowbray
Sent: 09 June 2009 09:11
Subject: The Oddball Course

Hi Tony,

Early in 1972, just after the trade split from Supply, 19 very puzzled movers were sent on No.1 Movements Assimilation Course at the AMS. All of us were Q-EQ-AM, most had done 2 Movs tours and none of us could fathom why we were on the course. I cannot recall any of the instructors being able to enlighten us, or if they had, it was so unmemorable that I have long forgotten.

It is also a frustrating photo, because I cannot recall the names of the majority – they are on the tip of my tongue but the “old brain” does not connect!

Counting from Left:
Back Row: (6) Terry Roberts.
Centre Row: (2) Dusty Miller; (4) Self; (6) Hope Irvine
Front Row: (3) Terry Titterington; (4) Taff Sugg; (5) AMS CO Sqn Ldr Harries; (6) Jack Janman; (7) Ken Wadey.

Colin Allen told me that the Association and the School are trying to rebuild the course photo collection, so it would be great if I can add this with all the names.



Thanks David. I recognize a few of the chaps too. Let's see what names we can get from the membership


NZ Defence Complete Pukapuka Humanitarian Mission

Amphibious Support Ship HMNZS Canterbury has now departed the island of Pukapuka, 1150 nm north of Rarotonga, after successfully completing a humanitarian mission called Exercise Tropic Twilight. The joint mission involving personnel from the Royal New Zealand Navy, New Zealand Army and Royal New Zealand Air Force. Exercise Tropic Twilight is supporting the NZAid led humanitarian mission delivering health and engineering services to the islands residents.

Commanding Officer of HMNZS Canterbury, Commander Jim Gilmour, says, “All the exercise objectives have been met including; reconstruction of roofs, repair of water tanks, installation of large water tanks, construction of utility shed and toilets at the airfield, dental check ups for all the children and all health and environmental surveys”.

A farewell ceremony was conducted on the island of Pukapuka on Sunday afternoon (local time) with speeches, gifts, dances and songs with the New Zealand Defence Force contingent treated to an amazing feast called a "kaikai".

“It was an emotional farewell with some of the islanders and New Zealand Defence Force personnel brought to tears as an amazing experience was coming to an end. We have completed a demanding and very satisfying 12 day mission where lifelong friendships were formed within the amazing community of Pukapuka Island”, said Commander Gilmour.

The contingent was successfully withdrawn from Pukapuka Island on Monday (local time) using both embarked Seasprite Helicopters. The helicopters have been working for the last three days extracting many under slung loads of equipment and ferrying personnel back to HMNZS Canterbury.

HMNZS Canterbury has made her way to Apia to land the Embarked Force who will be transported back to New Zealand via RNZAF 40 Squadron Boeing 757. HMNZS Canterbury is due back home in the Devonport Naval Base on Tuesday 23 June.

The New Zealand Defence Force is actively working with NZ Government departments including NZAid throughout the world. Currently 894 New Zealand Defence Force personnel are deployed on 14 operations, UN missions and defence exercises in 10 countries around the globe.

Facts about Pukapuka

Population 530 and is 5.1 sq km and is one of the most remote and isolated of all the Cook Islands. Pukapuka lies 1150 km north of Rarotonga and was discovered 2000 years ago by Samoan and Tongan voyagers on their way to the Society Islands. It was not until 700 years ago that Pukapuka was permanently settled.

Pukapuka’s isolation was ameliorated in 1994 when an airstrip was built on Moto Ko and telephones introduced to the island in 1994.

Pukapuka sustained severe damage during the cyclones that tore through the islands in 2005 and only 10 houses survived the storms without major damage.

Taro crops were washed away and the many of the islands water sources were contaminated prompting a huge rescue package to be implemented by the Cook Island Government and aid agencies from New Zealand and other countries. The island is only just beginning to get back on its feet but it could take another two years before the taro plantations and water sources have fully recovered.

Daily life today in Pukapuka is dominated by fishing, farming and harvesting of local crops such as coconuts, bananas and papayas. Most of the produce is consumed on the island with the remainder being exported back to Rarotonga.

New Zealand Defence Force
Te Ope Kaatua O Aotearoa
Media Release

The average office worker spends 50 minutes a day looking for lost files and other items.

From: Keith Parker, Melksham
Sent: 09 June 2009 10:09
Subject: Greetings

Hi Tony,

Glad to hear that you are on the mend.

I'm still here in UK my hip operation didn't go to well and so in April I had to go through it all again, so I have been in UK for a year now. I am now an expert on antiques/ property etc. there is only so much daytime TV that you can watch as Dougie Betambeau told me last year. I am therefore very grateful for the OBA it really is something to look forward to.

I found particularly interesting in the last issue the item on the WRAF recruiting poster, I wonder how many people remember Chick Hatch's wife Pat, she was the poster face of the 60's and we never let Chick (or Pat) forget it! He once told me over a beer that he'd had to turn it down as he was far to good looking. Yeah right!!!

The clip of Gibraltar was very interesting where did that come from? It reminded me of a task I once did there, and again after a few beers 3 of us climbed to the top where the cable car runs, this particular night it was switched off so we crept under the wire and looked over the top at the water catchment area it must have been a sheer drop of a couple of hundred feet. Needless to say we beat a hasty retreat and had a few more beers.

Cheers for now, keep up the good work

Keith "KP" Parker

Thanks Keith - so sorry to hear about your hip; my affliction pales by comparison. There are other chaps out there who have major health issues, it goes with the territory as the years roll by (I read that in the brochure). Let's send positive energy to all of you.


A400M first flight could take place this year

EADS expects the delay-hit A400 military transport to make its first flight in late 2009 or in the early weeks of 2010, and says the programme could proceed even if the UK were to withdraw.

Speaking at the company's pre-show media seminar, chief executive Louis Gallois hailed as "good news" the joint decision of France and Germany to delay a final decision by six months from the end of June, and said a successful conclusion of detailed negotiations "could coincide with the first flight", which he foresaw either before the end of this year or "weeks" into next year.

Gallios indicates that "intense" discussions with the client nations and their representative agency OCCAR are ongoing, with an agreed three-month standstill period due to finish at the end of this month. The discussions cover technical matters, the delivery schedule, delivery standards and commercial matters, including the nature of the contract, which Gallois says is "not adapted to a military programme".

While Germany, France and Spain have expressed their commitment to the programme, the UK has yet to show its hand. Gallois said that he did not know if the UK intended to cancel aircraft from its 25-unit order, but added that the nation was participating in discussions and had set out "specific requirements" that EADS was seeking to accommodate.

While EADS would be "hurt" if the UK were to cancel its orders, it would not kill the contract, says Gallois, although he adds that he wants to have the UK aboard as the nation is "the reference in defence equipment" and accounts for an important part of the aircraft's manufacturing base.

Gallois expects the UK's new secretary of defence Bob Ainsworth to be represented at a critical meeting of European defence ministers scheduled for later this month.

EADS spends around €100 million ($140 million) a month on the A400M programme, on which it employs 6,000 people. It has made a provision of €2.3 billion to cover delays to the programme.

Gallois says he does not know if that amount could be recovered on the 180 aircraft included in the initial contract, but he expects "at least the same number of airplanes" to be sold on the export market.

"Even the USA could be interested," he claims. He expressed doubts as to whether customers seeking Lockheed Martin C-130s as a bridging solution to the A400M could get them in time.

Flight Daily News

If you shake a can of mixed nuts, the larger ones will rise to the top


From: John Holloway, Shrewsbury
Sent: 09 June 2009 11:56
Subject: NSRAF Cosford

Hi Tony,

Well that month went quick; todays monthly meeting usual good turnout and about 60 sat down to listen to our guest speaker, Dr. Chris Morris, secretary and webmaster for the RAF Habbaniya Association. He gave us a great talk and slide show of this little known RAF Station near Bahgdad. From the 1930's to 1959 it was one of the largest bases in the Middle East. I passed through there in December 1954.

He told us of the various accomodations for the personnel, the large billets and facilities that were available including over 30 tennis courts and sports grounds for rugby soccer and cricket. There was also an Olympic size swimming pool and rest centre on the shore of Lake Habbaniya. It had a racecourse, stables and it's own farm.

It boasted a major well-staffed hospital where quite complicated operations could be carried out if necessary. One of the main complaints was sun-stroke as in the summer temperatures of up to 115ºF were recorded. It was the only base to have mounted police to patrol it's vast area.

The camp was surrounded by a seven mile perimeter fence with one airfield within it and another airfield on the plateau outside. Flying boats used to land on Lake Habbaniya in the 30's and 40's and there was a hotel to accomodate transit passengers staying overnight who were on their way to India, the Far East and Australia.

There wasn't enough time to give us a all of the history on the base and he finshed by telling us of it's latest history when the US Air Force took it on in 2002 and called it Camp Manhattan.

He's been in contact with an American Captain who has been responsible for refurbishing the various sites including the RAF Cemetery where the are over two hundred graves of RAF personnel and civilians which had been vandalised and she (his contact) organised a remembrance service. The US have since renamed it US Base Habbaniyah (Yes, with an 'h' at the end).

The story of RAF Habbaniya is fascinating and it's well worth having a look at the RAF Habbaniya website.

It's the annual NSRAF parade at RAF Cosford on Sunday the 28th and we are expecting a large turnout for this occasion



Hands up all those people who just shook their nuts!

Calling all female RAF veterans

The Royal Air Force Museum is searching all nooks and crannies of the UK to find female veterans who served within the Service and are willing to share their stories and experiences on a new online exhibition.

An electronic version of the popular 'Women of the Air Force' is under construction and the museum is appealing for previously unheard tales from women who have served in the RAF, the Women's Royal Air Force or the Women's Auxiliary Air Force to appear on the website's interactive forum.

The original exhibition, which is currently on view at the RAF Museum in London, aims to highlight the roles that women have played and still play within the RAF and how their responsibilities have changed over the years.

Nina Burls, the exhibition's curator, stated: "If you consider that in recent years we have seen the appointment of the first female Red Arrow pilot, three female Air Commodores, and the award of the first female DFC [Distinguished Flying Cross], the museum felt that now is an appropriate time to raise awareness about the contributions that women have made to the development of today's Royal Air Force.

"Building on the overview provided by the exhibition, the personal experiences of women who have served are vital in order to do this.

"Every woman has her own unique story to tell, as do her friends and family, and over the coming months we will be highlighting such first-hand accounts held within the museum's collection.

"The Royal Air Force Museum invites all former and current Service personnel, their friends and families, to further aid this understanding by telling their stories in the Women of the Air Force's interactive forum, which can be found on the museum's website."

Collecting the personal stories of female former Air Force personnel will not only help to highlight women's contribution to the development of the RAF, but will create an important historic archive to inspire the next generation of young women to recognise that when it comes to their own futures the sky is, quite literally, their only limit.

Defence News


From: Steve Tomlinson, Brisbane, Qld.
Sent: 20 June 2009 02:59
Cc: David Cromb
Subject: RAF Mystery Photo 060509

Hi Tony,

Another photo from the “Tomlinson” vault, eh! This one was taken during my 2nd tour “Down South” during the so called “Interim Operations” period at Falkland Islands Mount Pleasant Airport (FIMPA).

Interim Operations was the period when the building of FIMPA was still in full swing (approx 3,500 workers on-site), however, with the bare essentials of an airhead available (runway, ATC, aircraft pan, hangar, etc), it was decided to start rotating men and materiel using the RAF & BA wide body fleet. By no means a cheap option as most of the on-site building work had to stop for the day, on the day the aircraft was operating. Also, being a building site, and not yet handed over to MOD control, the MOD had to “pay” the resident contractors for the food & accommodation of we precious few that were stationed there, if I remember right, some 73 or 75 in number!

The first aircraft arrived in May 85 and I departed for warmer climes (HKG), 3 months later. This photo was taken at Gordon Lines, the Passenger Mustering Point located on the outskirts of Port Stanley. I cannot name all the usual suspects as they were based in Port Stanley, the only two I can name are myself (2nd from the left – I recognize that moustache anywhere!) and Flt Lt Charles Hill, OC AMF Port Stanley (extreme right).

From Gordon Lines, the passengers were transported to Mount Pleasant, some 50 kms away along an unsealed road, by RAF bus, no mean feat! Whilst the “Stanley” Movers were primarily handling the Herc’s out of RAF Port Stanley, they did travel to Mount Pleasant, on the relevant days, where their expertise and help was most appreciated in the turnaround of the BA 747’s and RAF L-1011’s.

On those days, Charles Hill became my PaxO where he excelled, the facilities at Mount Pleasant being very basic and with quite a few non-military passengers!

Thought you might like to know that DC is still alive & kicking! I had a pleasant dinner with him at the “Brecky Creek” Hotel the other evening. Although we only got together after I’d downed 5 beers, 2 Southern Comforts (it was cold!) and after 2 text messages, I was waiting in the wrong bar! My logistics training let me down, although, in my defence, it is a big pub!!

Keep up the good work.

Best regards


This year, more than 2.5 million books will be shipped with the wrong covers!

Air Vice-Marshal 'Johnnie' Johnson

Air Vice-Marshal 'Johnnie' Johnson, who has died aged 91, started his career as a 14-year-old runner for a City firm of stockbrokers and rose to become the RAF's Director-General of Supply at a time of considerable change in the service's force structure and its support.

The son of a major in the Indian Army, Frank Sidney Roland Johnson, always called "Johnnie", was born at Simla on August 4, 1917. He was educated at Trinity County School, Wood Green, but left when he was 14 to work in the City of London.

In July 1935 he joined the RAF, training as a wireless mechanic before leaving for the North West Frontier to join No 1 (India) Wing at Kohat. In addition to his routine maintenance tasks, he volunteered for air gunner duties, a part-time role which attracted an extra sixpence a day. He flew operations in Wapiti biplanes against the dissident tribesmen of the region.

Attracted by the offer of immediate promotion to sergeant, Johnson volunteered to transfer to the Indian Army Corps of Clerks in September 1939 to specialise in store keeping. Before returning to the RAF in April 1943, he had been promoted to warrant officer. He was commissioned in the equipment branch, and for the rest of the war served on the staff of the Director-General of Equipment, based at Harrogate.

In July 1948 Johnson left for the RAF's largest equipment park in Germany, near Hamburg. For the next 18 months much of his attention was directed towards supporting the Berlin Airlift, particularly the maintenance of an adequate supply of spares and support for the wide range of air transport aircraft involved.

After serving in the Air Ministry on Nato supply issues, Johnson assumed command of the RAF's main supply and maintenance unit in Cyprus, based at Nicosia. This was followed in 1963 by a two-year appointment as the chief instructor of the equipment and secretarial wing at the RAF College Cranwell, a period that coincided with the arrival as a flight cadet of his son, who went on to become an air commodore in the supply branch.

From 1965, Johnson held a range of senior appointments in supply policy and management. For two years, at MoD Harrogate, he was responsible for the provision of aircraft spares; and after attending the Imperial Defence College he was appointed chief supply officer at Headquarters Fighter Command.

Shortly afterwards, Strike Command was formed by the amalgamation of Bomber and Fighter Commands, and Johnson was promoted to air commodore to command the new supply organisation. His dynamic approach made him ideal for such an appointment, which involved the integration of the two supply organisations geared to widely different aircraft types and support equipment.

During this period, the RAF was also introducing a range of new, highly capable combat aircraft such as the Harrier, Phantom and Buccaneer. Their mode of operations and capabilities, particularly the off-base and remote deployments of the Harrier force, placed a greater demand on the supply organisation.

Johnson was determined that the support of the front-line squadrons should receive priority. He was not averse to telephoning captains of industry if the flow of spares was either slow or interrupted, and his robust approach made a significant contribution to the RAF's operational capability.

He also had to face the challenge of integrating supply methods of the Fleet Air Arm with those of the RAF as some naval squadrons began operating from RAF airfields, and as their assets were gradually transferred to the RAF.

In 1971, as the re-equipment programme accelerated, Johnson was appointed Director-General of Supply (RAF) at the Ministry of Defence. This important role coincided with a period of withdrawal from overseas bases, and he fought tenaciously to preserve manpower levels at a time when cutbacks had been ordered. He was conscious of the need to provide better management of resources for the greater capabilities which the RAF was introducing into its Nato orientated role in Europe. To his disappointment and concern, he was not entirely successful. The plan to merge the supply and engineering branches of the RAF did not meet with his full approval. Although he recognised its value at the policy level, he was not convinced of the need at the level of management. But regardless of his reservations, he oversaw its implementation shortly before he retired in 1973.

On his retirement from the RAF Johnson joined British Aerospace and was appointed the company's director of supply and engineering in Saudi Arabia. After two years he assumed responsibility for supply and engineering at the Royal Saudi Air Force's main operational airfield at Dhahran, the home of Lightning squadrons. In 1982 he retired and returned to England.

Renowned as a hard worker, Johnson expected the same of his staff. He was quick to identify those he could trust and who had potential; a fixed gaze from his piercing blue eyes was sufficient to stir those who favoured the more casual approach. But although a hard taskmaster, he was a man of great personal integrity and loyalty. He was appointed OBE in 1963 and CB in 1973.

Johnson was a fine all-round sportsman. He played hockey and squash at RAF Command level, but it was at cricket that he excelled. During his time with the Indian Army he was the only European to play for the state of Sind in the Indian inter-state cricket competitions, and he later represented the RAF. During his time at Cranwell, he joined a group of cadets on a parachute jumping course. He enjoyed this so much that – unknown to his wife – he made annual visits to the RAF parachute centre and, by the time he retired, had made more than 50 jumps. He maintained a very high standard of physical fitness until he was in his mid-eighties.

"Johnnie" Johnson died on May 10. He married Evelyn "Blossom" Hunt in New Delhi in 1943. She survives him with their two sons.


RAF Merlins lift and shift UK equipment in Iraq

Helping the Joint Force Logistic Component pack up the UK's equipment form southern Iraq are three Merlin helicopters flown by RAF crew with support elements from the Army, Navy and RAF.

As the lift and shift capability for the British forces still in Iraq packing up the six years of accumulated equipment, the three Merlins, operated by Joint Helicopter Force (Iraq) [JHF(I)], are the movement and logistic workhorses of choice to ensure the drawdown of forces from Iraq in good order.

Pilot Flight Lieutenant Mike Barclay spoke about some of the difficulties of their tasks: "One of the biggest challenges here is the weather. It can be fine 'gin clear' at take off but in less than five minutes the wind can whip up the sand into a ferocious storm, making a landing impossible. We have to be ready to make some swift decisions when that happens."

Captain Ned Brown, an Army pilot who is Operations Officer for the Joint Helicopter Force, added:

"The Merlin is a fantastic helicopter, but like any helicopter the heat presents its own challenges. We cannot lift the same payload we can in the UK for example, this means careful planning and co-ordination is a constant feature of our activity."

Squadron Leader Graem Corfield, a senior officer in JHF(I), believes the HC3 Merlin, which came into service with the RAF in late 2001, has coped well with work in Iraq.

The engineer said: "This has been a big opportunity for Merlin. We weren't ready to fully exploit the capabilities of the Merlin in 2003 for the initial Iraq operation but it has been deployed here for more than five years now and it's become the airframe of choice for many forces - it's the transit van of the battlefield.

"Merlin can do any task we ask of it out here. It can lift a lot of stuff, but it's a small target in the air and it's well-protected. It's been very reliable too."

Aircraft loadmasters, Sergeants Mike Griffiths and Kate Willoughby

The bulk of the 75 personnel currently serving in JHF(I) are from 1419 Flight RAF - personnel from 28 Squadron, 78 Squadron and technicians from the Merlin Force Engineering Squadron based at RAF Benson in Oxfordshire. Junior Technician Alison Riley said: "It's always challenging being on deployment but we pull together and make the most of it. We do have quite a problem with sand, which is why we have to wash it off regularly and use new covers for the cabs."

The squadrons rotate so aircrew deploy on eight-week detachments every two to three months. Some have done eight tours in Iraq since 2005.Aircraft spend up to nine months in Iraq and Kuwait before they are swapped and flown home.

The Officer Commanding 1419 Flight, Squadron Leader Mark Biggadike, said: "The guys enjoy it because it's what they joined up for. And even after eight tours there have been a lot of different situations in Iraq - no two tours have been the same."

British forces finished combat operations in Iraq earlier this year and are currently bringing their personnel, kit and equipment home to be out of Iraq by 31 July 2009.

The drawdown is being completed by a specialist logistic formation, the Joint Force Logistic Component.

A lion's roar can be heard from more than five miles away.


In the average lifetime a person will breath in about 44 pounds of dust.


That's it for this issue

Have a great weekend!