28 June 2002


A new member joining us this week is John I’Anson from Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Welcome to the OBA!


From:     Gordon Gourdie, Euxton,
Date:      21 June 2002 07:40
Subject:  Re: Hedley Molland

Hi Tony,

I am in sunny Spain at the moment but will be back at Samlesbury on Monday 24th June.

Personnel Depts within BAE usually refuse point blank to reveal addresses of present or past employees, however I will ask for a message to be passed to Hedley to contact me. We may get lucky but don't hold your breath !!



[Ed:  Thanks Gordon]


From:     Howard Firth,  Kharmis Mushayt,
Date:      22 June 2002 03:21
Subject:  Michael Fellows – RAF Flag


I have replied to the request for info on the RAF Ensign. As having done a Public Relations Officer post as a Secondary Duty this is a regular request. I have suggested the RAF Careers Information Office in Birmingham, or the local ATC Sqn or even contacting the PRO at RAF Stafford. I hope it works out for him.

Best regards


[Ed:  Thanks H,  I understand that Michael's Uncle was due to be buried on Wednesday last - I do trust he was able to secure a flag for the coffin.]


From:     John Holloway, Shrewsbury,
Date:      22 June 2002 111:41
Subject:  Tick Tock

Hi Tony
I mentioned  in the Old Boys Briefs 051002 a while ago that I had come in contact with an old mate from square bashing at Bridgnorth and now RAF Regiment webmaster

He too has enjoyed the Lads Army programme and it was him who reminded me of what a Tick Tock man is; he was both a trainee and 5 years later an instructor at Bridgnorth and remembers when in training  that he nearly always seemed to get behind the one in our squad as they were both of the same height and when we used to line up and size off  tallest on the right shortest on the left and number; two ranks size and then form three’s poor old Tommy was usually behind him and it used to drive him up the wall; the poor chap was continually dropping his rifle as well.
I also remarked about the marvels of the Internet and this weekend had it confirmed again.  In the RAF Khormaksar articles you placed a photo of me and some of the other Air Movers enjoying our Xmas 1956 billet party and today I’ve received an e- mail from the son of one of the lads in the photo enquiring if it is his dad who is one of the others in the photo and sure enough it is him!!
My regards to Jack Riley I hope he will soon be well; he’ll have to get a pint or two of draught bass down him, I always find it a cure for most things.


[Ed:  Thanks John - It is amazing how things get noticed - the web site has received almost 20,000 visitors so far!]


From:     Mike Bush, Morpeth,
Date:      23 June 2002 14:42
Subject:  10 Squadron Humour


A true story from the past:

10 Squadron were doing an army unit move to Hong Kong and on the flight crew was a Flight Sergeant Loadmaster.  Whilst going about his duties  he was constantly addressed by an army Major as "Staff."

Getting rather tired of this he politely informed the officer that he was a Flight Sergeant NOT a Staff Sergeant. The Major retorted, "In the Army you would be a Staff Sergeant."

The Flight Sergeant replied,  "Sir, if I was in the army I would be a Colonel!"



[Ed:  Thanks Mike - I remember hearing that same story many years ago.]


From:     Ken Davie, Minneapolis MN,
Date:      24 June 2002 14:43
Subject:  Re: Thank You!

Hi, Tony,

Sorry for the delay in replying. It really is amazing that the site has expanded to what it is. It is a great pleasure for me to look back and remember when you got in touch with me and broached the idea two and a half years ago. Who knows what it has done to how many lives in the past couple of years? More than we'll ever know. Certainly, it has made many people very happy, and has rekindled relationships which would never have come to pass had it not been for your marvellous work. Personally, I think that you should be on the next awards list from HR the Q!

As for the donation, please let me know if there is another 'kitty'. It may be sensible at some time in the future to have a small charge related to membership. Who would mind? Not many of us, I'm sure. I hope that this finds you well and happy. I'm between jobs at the moment (ah, the casino industry!) but in good shape with a hefty severance, which I deserved! Relaxing in Minnesota for the Summer, and back to work very soon, perhaps in Florida or New Jersey or?

All the very best.

Keep up the bloody good work!...Your old friend..Ken

[Ed:  Thanks Ken.  Florida sounds good.  Let me know your address when you move and I'll be sure to come and visit!]


From:     Mike Alder
To:         Jack Riley, Urangan Qld., Australia 
Date:      23 June 2002 02:22
Subject:  Large Cargo Mover


Great site which I stumbled upon back in the UK.  Perhaps an article on the Russian AN124-100 is not fitting but that's the bird I use to move Nimrods with when they cannot fly on their own - to date this has been performed eight times with some pretty unusual pictures.  See the attached, which I apologize for the size but it does the subject well -

If you would like an article on how this job was planned and carried out then I am more than willing to supply the details, the Power Point presentation is over 40 MB,  so a download is not realistic.  Perhaps a disk in the post would be OK?
Mike Alder


From:     Jack Riley, Urangan Qld.,  
To:         Mike Alder
Date:      24 June 2002 02:21
Subject:  Re:  Large Cargo Mover

Dear Mike,

Many thanks for your e-mail and the great pictures. I'm sure we'd be interested in more so I have forwarded all to Tony Gale, our webmaster, who spends his time happily in Canada....would you believe - talk about "far flung"!

All the best



From:     UKMAMS-OBA
To:         Mike Alder
CC:        Jack Riley, Urangan Qld., Australia 
Subject:  Re:  Large Cargo Mover

Hi Mike,
Jack Riley very kindly forwarded your e-mail to me with reference to the AN124-100.
I would certainly be very happy to publish an article of this nature.  As you are probably aware this particular aircraft has been used by the Royal Air Force on many occasions, and so an article would be most appropriate.  I found it quite amusing when the RAF sold off some Shorts Belfasts to HeavyLift, only to lease them back again when they discovered they had no heavy lift capabilities!
Might I impose on you to send the disc with the Power Point Presentation to me in Canada?  I will be able to extract it into an article without any problems.  [Address supplied.]

Looking forward to your positive response,

Yours sincerely

Tony Gale


From:    Mike Alder
Date:      25 June 2002 01:55
Subject:  Re:  Large Cargo Movers


I will burn a disk this evening (when I get home from work) and put it in the post Wed 26/06/02 - I will also include the other pictures on the disk which are not included in the presentation as it gets too large.  But over the eight times I have moved Nimrods with this aircraft I have shot off at least a couple of rolls of film for each one - so you can imagine there are a few hundred pictures.

Of note is that the RAF use the AN124-100 to ferry the Tornados to the Falklands two at a time.  It was also used to bring some Tornados back from the Gulf in early 1990s.

The other aircraft type we have delivered using the AN124 are the Canadian Hawks built at the BAE Systems Warton site in Lancashire UK (where I work).  Attached is a picture showing the Hawk being loaded - nowhere near as impressive as the Nimrod but there you go, the second picture was taken at Moose Jaw in Canada after the flight with a lovely sunset. Hope you get the disk soon.
Best Regards
Mike Alder

[Ed:  I'll reserve the pictures for the article on the AN124 when I receive the CD.]


From:     Gordon Gourdie, Euxton,
Date:      25 June 2002 10:21
Subject:  Re: Hedley Molland

Hi Tony,

Personnel actually helped out and I had a call from Hedley this afternoon.  His e-mail is
I hope this is of some help.



[Ed:  That's great news, thanks Gordon - I wrote to both Hedley Molland and Tom Thweatt giving then each other's addresses.  Thanks also must go to both David Stevens and Howard Firth for their help.


From:     Gordon Gourdie, Euxton,
To:         Phil Clarke, Vienna, Austria
Date:      25 June 2002 13:47
Subject:  Travel Plans

Hi Phil,

Thought that I would just let you know that I am flying Heathrow - Vienna - Larnaca via Austrian Airlines on September 7th.
Departing Heathrow 06:35(ish).

If there is anything that you have a longing for that weighs less than a ton and costs less than a tenner I will be happy to bring it/them with me. I  think I have at least an hour lay over in Vienna so there should be plenty of time to transfer any goods if you can get into the transit lounge.




From:     Phil Clarke, Vienna,
To:         Gordon Gourdie, Euxton, UK
Date:      26 June 2002 08:28
Subject:  Re:  Travel Plans

Hi Mate,

Some good news and some bad. 

Good news is your flight OS3831 from VIE to LCA is operated by Lauda Air and not Austrian.  Leaves at 1055 so gives you an hour & 10 minutes. 

Bad news is that my airport pass won't get me into the Departure (& transit) Lounges.  I'm a greasy - only allowed on the tarmac - but many thanks. 

If there are any big delays in Vienna and you have time to come landside give me a call on my mobile - in Austria 0676-5455015.  Tell the girls I'm with Austrian and they'll probably get me on the company phone.  I only live 10-15 mins from the airport.

Hey,  just been checking your entry on the site, and if you were with AFME MAMS 65-67, chances are we've met at Muharraq – ‘twas you guys who taught us all to drive and operate the Condec, and I was there 66-67 when it was

Cheers for now



From:     Kevin Kavanagh, Perth,
Date:      27 June 2002 01:51
Subject:  Outdoor Exit Trainers


Your site is terrific!  I am an ex-Para helping with a history of military parachuting. My father was a PTI and then PJI at Abingdon. Prior to that he was involved in experimental parachuting at RAF Boscombe Down. His name was Sgt Charles Kavanagh.

My father isn’t in a position to help me due to health reasons. I am trying to get hold of photos and illustrations of the outdoor exit trainers (knacker cracker), the tower hangar training aids and fan etc. at Abingdon before the training school moved to Brize Norton with a history if possible.

If you can help in any way by pointing me to web sites or literature I would be most grateful. I currently live in Western Australia, so it is not easy from here.

Yours sincerely,

Kevin Kavanagh
203 Kalamunda Rd
Maida Vale
Perth 6057
Western Australia

[Ed:  I seem to recall that Ken Davie is corresponding with a close friend of his, Owen Bell was an ex-Para from those Abingdon days, and coincidentally Owen's father was also a PJI (small world!). I forwarded Kevin's e-mail on to Ken so that he in turn could forward it to Owen - isn't this fun?]


From:     Bill Kearney, Kempsford,
Date:      27 June 2002 11:24
Subject:  Russia

I just returned yesterday from Moscow. How things have changed - a few years ago travel to Russia would have been unthinkable. Now the Weight & Balance programme I have been working on since leaving the Service is going into full time trial with options to use at the majority of Russian civil airports.

So if we are successful, should you ever travel out of Russia the programme to release the aircraft could well have been written by me.... Scary or what?

Rgds to you and yours

[Ed:  Wow Bill - you've blown me away with that one!  I would like to wish you all the best of luck with your endeavours.  Please keep in touch and let us know if you are successful.]


From:     Dave Barton, Kings Lynn,
Date:      27 June 2002 11:28
Subject:  Flight Sergeant Les Charlesworth

Hi Tony,

Here is the 'profile' which Les sent to me




Profile of  Flight Sergeant Les Charlesworth:

Looking back to 1946 when conscription was at it's height, I was exempt because I was a farm worker and enjoying the fresh air and hard work. But then a year later the War Agricultural Board drafted me from the farm in Ripon and stuck me in a farm hostel near Leeds. We were earmarked to work for various farmers to cover their labour shortages, along with Land Army girls (they were great!). The billet accommodation was dreadful and the only way out was to volunteer for Service. So in 1948 was when the RAF got their hands onto me.

The first 13 years of my service was in the Equipment Stores trade, and good as it was, I am glad that I switched to Air Movements. Many of the very best Stations have long since gone, but my tour in Singapore will always remain special to me. FEAF MAMS took me to Malaya, Borneo, Thailand and Hong Kong. One task I'll never forget was a 'chopper' trip to a small clearing in the Borneo jungle. We took a Ghurka soldier with us to bring back his brother who had been shot dead in the jungle. Local natives had carried his body strapped to a pole and he had been dead for several days. We had taken a stretcher but the journey back in the Belvedere had to be done with doors open because of the smell.

Maybe it's because of my smart turnout, (or was it the fact that the FEAF Regional Band wanted pianist) but Changi Pax Section got me for the last part of that tour. When I wasn't working, I enjoyed Dixieland Jazz Band sessions in the various messes and clubs. Maybe some readers might remember hearing 'The Islanders'?

You know how it is, not being able to remember names, (faces come easier), but at the Movements Training School at Abingdon, I must have trained dozens of Movers, especially on that Beverly 'mock-up'. Stan Holloway and Ian Pike were a blast from those days in '66/'69.

I had a 14 month stint at 25 MU Hartlebury working with Suppliers and the Pioneer Corps to put together complete Married Quarter house lots for service families being withdrawn from Aden. That was in '67/'68. House lots included everything down to knives, forks and spoons. Whilst on this tour I met, and eventually married Jean, my wife. We moved these house lots to M.O.D. properties all over the country by Pickfords Carriers.

During my 13 month tour on Gulf MAMS, Muharraq set out two teams challenges that often seemed impossible. Dave Barton covered 'A' Team with Mike Farquarson and 'B' Team was led by Barry Belton, Henry Ellerby and Tony Saw to name but three. Incidentally, Dave is trying to get me interested in the World Wide Web but I don't know, at 73 I might just have missed the boat!!  But Dave has promised to get this on to the Old Boys Net.

My  5 & half year tour at West Raynham where I was the sole Mover was good. I probably prepared, palletized and lashed well in excess of 500 Bloodhound missile loads to and from Laarbruch, Wildenrath and Bruggen. The picture shows me celebrating my 500th load with my boss S/Ldr Dave Wood, some of the Hercules crew and the MAMS Team.

Brize Norton was quite cosy, passenger handling on a 4 x day,  4 x night and 4 x day off roster. After booking the passengers and baggage in, they would be called forward and into to the departure lounge by name - probably still are. I recall one family by the name of Bates. Mo Mohindra unintentionally brought the house down when he called “W.O. Bates, Mrs Bates and master Bates” - well, it was 6 o'clock in the morning

At RAF Gatow, Berlin, some of the names that spring to mind are W.O. Bill Fitt who was replaced by Dave Barton, Tony Last, Derrek Cammock, Graham Cotton, John Hadley and Derek Webb. I think it was one 'trooper' a week and the odd freighter, there was plenty of champagne time to enjoy to ourselves. We had a social club for just about every activity and sport on the camp.

On my final tour at Stafford, the Tornado was being deployed to the German and Italian Air Forces and my task was to liaise with the German and Italian officers along with No. 2 MT Squadron in the movement of Tornado spares by road and ferry.

Thank you for hanging in there, I'm kept reasonably busy playing the piano and I ask myself, 'would I do it all again'? - You're damn right I would!

Best regards to all

Les Charlesworth. 

[Ed:  Dave - please pass on our thanks to Les for that wonderful profile - I will put a page up in the Articles section this weekend complete with photographs.]


Word Meanings:

1. THINGY (thing-ee) n.
Female......Any part under a car’s hood.
Male........The strap fastener on a woman’s bra.

2. VULNERABLE (vul-ne-ra-bel) adj.
Female......Fully opening up one’s self emotionally to another.
Male........Playing football without a cup.

3. COMMUNICATION (ko-myoo-ni-kay-shon) n.
Female......The open sharing of thoughts and feelings with one’s partner.
Male........Leaving a note before taking off for a weekend with the boys.

4. COMMITMENT (ko-mit-ment)
Female.......A desire to get married and raise a family. .
Male.........Not trying to pick up other women while out with one’s girlfriend.

5. ENTERTAINMENT (en-ter-tayn-ment) n.v.
Female......A good movie, concert, play or book.
Male........Anything that can be done while drinking, and ends with sex.

6. FLATULENCE (flach-u-lens) n.
Female......An embarrassing by-product of digestion.
Male........A source of entertainment, self-statement and male bonding.

7. MAKING LOVE (may-king luv) n.
Female......The greatest statement of intimacy a couple can achieve..
Male........Call it whatever you want just as long as we end up in bed.

8. REMOTE CONTROL (ri-moht kon-trohl) n.
Female.......A device for changing from one TV channel to another.
Male.........A device for scanning through all 175 channels every 5 minutes.


New on the site this week?  I have added a second photo page to the “First In Last Out” (FILO) article.  There is also a new Mystery Photo on the site (via the Images Page) – but it just might be a “gimmee”!


Well, that's it for this week

Have a great weekend!

Best regards