UK Merlin


s Afghanistan mission over

The UK's Merlin helicopter fleet has concluded operations in Afghanistan after providing nearly 4 years of continuous front line support.

The Merlins have flown more than 18,000 hours in the dust and heat of Helmand - moving more than 7,900 tonnes of kit and stores and transporting over 130,000 personnel during that time. 

In theatre, the Merlin has primarily been used as a troop transporter, sharing that role with the workhorse Chinook helicopters since 2009.

As the UK military hands over security responsibility to Afghan forces, the number of UK bases in Helmand province has fallen - from 137 in 2010 to 11 this year, meaning fewer helicopters are needed to support them.

The requirement for helicopters in theatre has fallen by around 40% in the past 3 years. In 2010, helicopter support hours totalled around 2,300 a month - a figure that has now fallen to approximately 1,350 hours a month. As a result, the Merlin fleet and its crews can now be returned to the UK to prepare for potential future roles.
The conclusion of Merlin operations in Afghanistan is the latest manifestation of the changing role of British and other international forces as the process of transition to an Afghan security lead continues apace. As Prime Minister David Cameron has already announced, the number of British troops in Afghanistan will fall to around 5,200 by the end of this year from a peak of 9,500 in 2012.

Group Captain Frazer Nicholson, Commander of the Joint Aviation Group, based in Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, said, "The Merlin helicopters have proven to be a capable air asset that have tirelessly moved personnel and equipment in a really demanding environment.

"Camp Bastion is nearly 3,000 feet above sea level, dusty, and over 40 degrees in the summer. That environment is incredibly tough on all helicopters but the Merlins have fared well."

Squadron Leader Kevin Harris, OC 1419 Flight, Camp Bastion Merlin Detachment, said, "The aircrew and engineers have worked tirelessly to operate the Merlins in support of UK forces in Afghanistan and it has been an immense privilege to have commanded such a fine group of young men and women."
Engineers in Camp Bastion are now hard at work preparing the Merlin helicopters for their journey back to the UK. Each helicopter will have its rotor blades and tail removed and will undergo a full 'bio-wash' to remove dust and insects before being loaded onto a wheeled transport unit that will be driven on board a huge RAF C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft for the trip home.

After their return to RAF Benson the Merlins will join the rest of the Merlin Force in the ongoing transition of the aircraft to Joint Helicopter Command's Royal Navy Commando Helicopter Force.

From: Dave Jones, Wellington  
Sent: Thursday, May 30, 2013 20:18
Subject: RNZAF Mystery Photo 053113

Thanks Tony,

The mystery RNZAF photo is the delivery of a donated NZ Fire Service truck - at Chuuk Airport; 7.7 tonnes delivered recently by Christchurch fire fighter Keith Norton.

Kind regards

Davey Jones

(Ex-TG17/TG18 Drafter and now Volunteer Fire Fighter in the land of the long white cloud... )

From: Budgie Baigent, Takaka, Nelson 
Sent: Saturday, June 01, 2013 06:57
Subject: RNZAF Mystery Photo 053113

Hi Tony,

I found this on the net... I guess you found the same site :-)

Cheers, Budgie

28 May 2013

The people of Chuuk State were delighted when a Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 Hercules landed on remote Weno Island with their large Fire Truck on board.

The 7.7 tonne truck was donated to Weno Island, Chuuk State in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) by the City of Christchurch Firefighters and the NZ Fire Service.

The Governor of Chuuk State asked New Zealand Fire Fighter Mr Keith Norton for help in sourcing a Fire Appliance as they had been without one for nearly two years.

“It’s been quite a journey, from sourcing a suitable fire truck to physically getting it to the Island. The Hercules was probably the only way of transporting such a large appliance to such a remote area,” said Mr Keith Norton, City of Christchurch Firefighters.

“We were very happy to help. It has been a pleasure to assist the NZ Fire Service to deliver the fire appliance to the people of Chuuk,” said Air Vice-Marshal Peter Stockwell, Chief of Air Force.

The keys to the Fire Truck were handed over at formal ceremony shortly after it was unloaded from the aircraft.

Armed Forces Get Free 'Crown' On Armed Forces Day

Crown Carveries in Chesterfield are celebrating Armed Forces Day 2013 by treating all Army, Navy and Air Force men and women, past and present, to a free meal.

According to recent figures revealed by the MOD (Ministry of Defence), there are 4.6 million veterans across the country and over 176,000 current serving personnel who make up the current Armed Forces community, from serving troops to cadets and reservists across the Army, Royal Air Force and Naval Service; many of whom have risked their lives in battle to protect us back home here in the UK.
So now Crown Carveries in Chesterfield, including the De Rodes Arms in Barlborough and Young Vanish Inn in Glapwell, are offering all service personnel and veterans a complimentary full English breakfast or delicious carvery during the week leading up to Armed Forces Day (Monday 24th June to Saturday 29th June inclusive) to salute Her Majesty's Armed Forces.

Enjoying the free meal couldn't be easier. All those who are currently serving, or have served, in the forces, simply need to visit Crown Carveries  to download the 'Free Forces Meal' voucher and present this along with their current ID card (or veteran lapel badge) to staff at their local restaurant.

Christopher Vose, Manager at the Young Vanish Inn Crown Carvery, said: "We pride ourselves in being the UK's most regal carvery brand, our name says it all, and as a result we feel best placed to support our serving and past troops on this commemorative day.

Adam Simpson (second from left) from Crown Carveries presents a carvery to (l-r) Veteran Andy Greg, WO2 Ian Collins (Army) and W01 Dennis Hawkins (RAF)

Armed Forces Day 2013, which takes place on Saturday 29th June, is a nationwide celebration of Her Majesty's Armed Forces.

A number of parades, events and commemorations take place across the country, giving the public the opportunity to show their support for all serving force personnel and veterans, as well as those who have given their lives for the country. 

To find your local Crown Carvery or to download the voucher visit

Chesterfield Post

From: Steve Richardson, Trenton, ON
Sent: Thursday, May 30, 2013 20:40
Subject: RCAF Mystery Photo 053113


The RCAF Mystery Photo 053113 depicts Pete Cheverie Sr. on the left and Sgt. Pete Cheverie Jr. on the right.

It looks like they are attending a November 11 Remembrance Day parade. I got their medals each court mounted before Peter Jr. departed for Edmonton around September 2005.

Take care,

Steve Richardson

From: Woody Wood, Pembroke, ON
Sent: Thursday, May 30, 2013 20:56
Subject: RE: UKMAMS OBA OBB #053113

Hi Trapper,

Pictou Pete Cheverie and his son Peter.  Both are Movers.

Pictou Pete (older Trapper), was at 2 Air Movements Unit as a MAMS Sgt when I first met him during an Operation Boxtop in Thule, Greenland in the early eighties.  Although I was from 1 AMU, Namao, he was my MAMS Sgt for this Operation.  We called him Pictou Pete because of where he was from, Pictou, Nova Scotia. 

His son, Pete Jr. was on one of my MAMS teams at 2 Air Movements Sqn between 2004-2007, when I was the MWO I/C MAMS.    Like his dad, he was a good Mover.



From: Jack Riley, Urangan, QLD
Sent: Thursday, May 30, 2013 21:27
Subject: Briefs

Morning Tony

Another absorbing Brief. Thank you.

I particularly enjoyed Sam Mold’s contribution about AMS Butterworth. Readers who have been paying attention over the years may remember that I opened the place and it doesn’t seem to have changed much by the time Sam got there.

He will be pleased to know that there is some justice in the world. The last time I heard from Johnny Walker he was civilian Chief of Police at Suva, Fiji !

Good days eh Sam ?

Jack Riley

From: Richard Lloyd, Dalgety Bay
Date: 22 May 2013 16:46
Subject: We were Cold War Warriors
I arrived at RAF Gütersloh in the Spring of 1970, taking over as OC SCAF from Dennis Collins and reporting to Sqn Ldr Doug Carr.  My colleague as OC TSF was Roger Cresswell, who not only ran the stores, but also a rail line, known as Roger's Railway.

The Station Commander was Gp Capt Keith Williamson, later MRAF Sir Keith. He had a big personality to match the very considerable responsibility of commanding the RAF station nearest the East German border, with 2 squadrons of Hunters (2 & 4), 2 squadrons of Lightnings (19 & 92), a squadron of Wessex (18), and an RAF Regiment squadron (37).

Initially and briefly, I was a 'liver-in', in the Officers' Mess. During this period, Martin Henderson contacted me to say he was on his way to Berlin and would be calling in.  It happened that there was a Sergeants' Mess trip to Copenhagen, and we both went; all either of us can remember was that we went on the ferry from Travemünde to Gedser. I expect we had a great time! I managed to find a hiring in Spexard West, and was joined by my pregnant wife, Joy, before moving into our married quarter at Hägestraße 73, on the 'bottom patch'. (The 'top patch' being right opposite the base, rather than the couple of km away that we were).

Our neighbours rapidly became friends, in particular Ronnie & Graham Ordish, Graham being an air trafficker, and still a friend today. Other neighbours included Mike Tingle, Tex Jones, John Spencer, Malcolm Coe, 'Muff' Hanlon, Pete Hitchcock, and Jim Blain.

Happy hours in the Keller Bar were typified by Hunter and Lightning pilots gesticulating agitatedly to describe how they had shot each other down earlier in the day. A wizard wheeze was to block the cellar drain and then flood the bar to ankle height. Many a happy hour was spent with wet feet and one's shoes tied round one's neck.

There was much to-ing  and fro-ing between denizens of the OMQs, and I recall the main topics of conversation were: 1. How to light the central heating boiler. 2. How to keep it alight. 3. How many equivalent crossings of the Atlantic were performed by stoking the boiler in a 3-year tour of duty. The said OMQs were really very nice, with cellars the whole size of the house, which some turned into underground bars, discos and similar dives.

Mention of the bar reminds me that the RAF Gütersloh Officers' Mess bars were legendary. It should be said here that the base had been built by the Luftwaffe in the 1930s, and the Mess had some unique features.

The upstairs bar was pretty standard, a largish room off the ante-room, serving draught Warsteiner (then just a rather unpopular local brew), but mainly bottles of Amstel or Heineken. However, the Keller Bar was the place to be for a happy hour.

There was another, unofficial bar to which every new member of he Mess was invited in the early stages of their tour. This was Göring's room, at the top of the Mess tower. A tiny room, perhaps 3 or 4m square, with a wooden-beamed ceiling, it had a few seats, a view out on to the Mess lawn, and was decorated only by a photograph of Herman Göring in the inter-war years, before he became the bloated parody of WW2 days.

The loo was equipped with 2 'honking stations' (aka “honkertorium”) - porcelain sinks with straining bars, should anyone be overcome with the need to make space for more beer, although I can honestly say I never saw these used in anger. It was accessed by a winding staircase.

Apparently, there is an expression in German, or maybe it was Göring's own expression - 'if I tell a lie, may the beams bend' (with a glance to the ceiling). At the climax of some story, it is said, Göring would nod to his aide de camp, who would pull a small ring set in a tiny hatch in the floor, and the central beam in the ceiling would 'break' in the middle, and drop two or three inches on its hinges. This mechanism all still worked. It was an eerie reminder that this base had had a longer history than we might have thought. Significant crates of Amstel were consumed in Göring's room.

The lawn was the scene of licensed mayhem every New Year's Day, when there was a mixed hockey match, with no limit to the number of players either side. Injuries were frequent, but seemed to respond to the internal application of large amounts of beer.

Before I could really settle in to accounting for blankets, airframes and ground equipment, I was sent back to UK, to Winterbourne Gunner, to do a 3-week NBC Course to equip me for my main secondary duty as NBC Officer during real or exercise conflict. The 3 weeks were spent, I recall, mainly in a CS gas environment to encourage us in the use of 'noddy' suits and gas masks. Subsequently, Tacevals and Minevals became part of station life, and I'm happy to say, I think I acquitted myself well. Enough of this self praise.

During my time in Germany, I was also Mess Entertainments Officer, and Officer i/c Secret and Confidential documents; neither of which was a walk in the park. It's impossible to please 300 officers with one's ideas of entertainment. And who can ever forget incorporating those amendments with pages marked 'This page unintentionally left blank'?

Before our tour was up, we became parents again, to Andrew, while the Ordishes produced Sarah on their return to UK in 1971. As I write that date, I'm thinking it was a very long time ago yet it seems to me like yesterday.

Gütersloh was amazing for the numbers of children produced, Graham has reminded me that the 'Mess snooker room was knee deep in carry cots on a Saturday night'.
Doug Carr left for Harrogate, and was replaced briefly by someone who quickly PVRd. He, in turn was replaced by the quite wonderful Jim Shearer, one of the best bosses I ever had in the RAF. Jim was an ex-Mover, affable, kind, understanding, liked a pint and we got on really well. By this time I had become a father, our son Stuart being produced in BMH Rinteln, near Hanover. I also became proud godfather to Richard Ordish, son of Ronnie & Graham, born in Gütersloh Krankenhaus as Ronnie couldn't wait for transport to Rinteln. 

Guest nights were a blast. Mostly I recall going to someone's house eg Malcolm Coe, for drinks at say 2 or 3am, just when one really needed a drink, and walking home in the daylight. When I think about Guest Nights, I'm always reminded of a story I heard on Woman's Hour (essential listening in my humble view) - an RAF Officer in his splendid Mess Kit is being driven to the Mess by his wife, with their small daughter also in the car. As they approach the Mess, the sound of the band playing 'The Roast Beef of Old England' can be heard. The wife and daughter are returning home to beans on toast. The daughter enquires 'Mummy, how is it that Daddy is so rich and we're so poor?'
Gütersloh had its share of great characters, among whom were 'Moose' David o/c 2 Sqn, Al Mathie, with whom I served in Aden and would meet again in France, Rick Peacock-Edwards, Tim Thorne, Roger Palin, Phil Roser (these last 2 to become very senior indeed), 'Rocky' Stone, editor of our great station Magazine, 'Zeitung 47', Malcolm Fuller, Lindsay Wilkin, Terry Whitehouse, Dave Benson, Dennis Micallef, Chris Ranasinghe, Ray MacDonald, Tony Hill, Mike Hunt and many others, but most appreciated was my great friend Mike Tingle from 18 Sqn, who resumed my illicit Wessex flying lessons, begun at Khormaksar.

A feature of life in RAFG was the large numbers of Courts Martial. Since military personnel were not tried by the civil authority except for major crimes like murder, every other offence, even small road accidents, were dealt with by Court Martial. This must have been hugely expensive, given that the Board of a Court Martial consisted of at least 5 officers. Personally, I attended Courts Martial as Officer under Instruction at Wildenrath or Brüggen at least 4 times in my 3 years in Germany.

Keith Williamson moved on, to be replaced by Gp Capt Mike Miller, but not before an AOC's parade at which I, and several other junior officers were referred to by the CO as 'stupidnumerary' officers, for our lack of ability to go to our intended complicated places on the parade ground.

The serious purpose for which our Lightnings were intended was the interception of intruding aircraft from the Soviet Bloc. To this end we had 2 aircraft 24/7 on Battle Flight, operating from a small hangar and facility on the South side of the airfield. Battle Flight was scrambled frequently for both practise and real potential airspace intrusions.

I apologise in advance to John Spencer for telling the story about how he scrambled from Battle Flight, and in the heat of the moment, forgot to close his canopy. Oops!  In 3 years we never lost any base aircrew, and only one Lightning - piloted by Pete Hitchcock of 92 Sqn, who got into an irrecoverable spin.
The station Warrant Officer was known as the Sheriff. He rode everywhere on a bike with a  Sheriff's badge on it. He was an old-style SWO. When the station flagpole was due to be painted, he organised for it to be dismantled, and indeed mantled back up again!

When IV(AC) Sqn re-equipped with Harriers in 1970, a Hunter was carefully placed on the lawn in front of SHQ. There was a huge amount of engineering effort and ingenuity involved in doing this, lamp standards and other obstacles were temporarily moved to achieve it. However, and sadly, it was not allowed to remain.

Dave Leith our SEdO asked me if I wanted to take part in 'Forces Chance' a BBC Radio quiz, our opponents including Ted Moult (who had an impressive ability to drink beer), and Neil Durden-Smith and a lady athlete whose name escapes me (was she a diver, perhaps?). Anyway we were comprehensively beaten, but this has never stopped me from joining any quiz team going.

Now for the movements bit - sorry to have kept you Movers so long! On Thursday 27th July 1972, I had spent the day doing exciting SCAF things - signing hundreds of vouchers, visiting friends in 19 Sqn next door, getting ready for month-end accounting finalisation, wondering why I couldn't reconcile the stockholding of aerial photographic paper with our numbers: already the day had been gripping.  Jim Shearer called me in. 'We're going to reinforce Northern Ireland. It's called Operation Motorman. You and I are seconded to movements until it's over, and I'm flying to UK in a Lightning T4 to get briefed.' 'No time for a post-work beer then?' I jested.

I called home & explained I might be delayed for a bit, then reported to Sqn Ldr Tov Tovell, Gütersloh SAMO. From then until Sunday lunchtime, I have no accurate recall of what happened hour by hour, only that we handled a huge number of C130s, loading them with troops and palletised baggage, engines still running, throughout the next 60 hours. We snatched a little sleep. I got to bed on Sunday at 1400 and slept for 22 hours. This made me late for work in Supply Squadron on Monday, for which I got a serious bollocking. That last sentence is not true.

That was my last job as a Mover, and I have to say it was a great experience. Unofficially, I organised for my car and all my stuff to be shipped to UK on a Belfast skippered by my old pal Dave Ryall, by now a captain on 53 Sqn. It grieves me to tell you Dave was later killed in an accident when a Royal Mail HS 748 he was flying crashed when a rear door was not secured, and took the tail off. Mike Tingle became a Bristow chopper captain for some years and is now enjoying retirement in Perth, Australia. Graham Ordish has a very good job representing RAF Air Traffic interests with the Americans at Mildenhall, a job which he tells me stretches him frequently.

All in all, Germany was a great place to be. Next would come Harrogate and serious provisioning. I think I'll skip that one and finish this series of reminiscences with my time with the French Air Force. Non?
From: Barry Tappenden, Shortstown
Sent:  6/3/2013, 11:56 am, EDT
Subject: Guestbook Entry

I would like to express my thanks to the ”Movers” from Northolt who took part in the Forces March 2013.

Dad with Major John Howard on excercise before the march back to Bulford
As founder of the Veteran's Charity, it is with enormous pride that the RAF was able to compete. It also meant a tremendous amount to me that the reason to do the march was because my father, Cpl Ted “Ham & Jam” Tappenden, was a part of the Coup de Main team as Major Howard’s personal radio operator as well as Company Clerk. What made it more difficult for him was that he had to push a bicycle with extra equipment but not once did he ride it. I was told it was an old-fashioned butcher's bike, large and very heavy.

(The “Ham and Jam” were call signs for the successful capture of Pegasus and Horsa bridges on D-Day.)

From: John Holloway, Shrewsbury
Sent: Sunday, June 09, 2013 05:49
Subject: A suspicious e-mail

Hi Tony,

This morning I had an e-mail in my in box allegedly from Chas Cormack which said click on to a link for an urgent message.  I clicked on it but didn't open and immediately a warning window came up indicating that it may be a scam so I deleted it.

I have recently been receiving e-mails supposedly from a pal of mine in Aussie, again suspicious because I reckon he's no longer with us.

Have you had the Chas Cormack one?



From: Tony Gale, Gatineau, QC
Sent: Sunday, June 09, 2013 06:20
To: John Holloway, Shrewsbury, UK
Subject: RE: A suspicious e-mail

Hi John,

You did the right thing in deleting the message from Chas.  It was very regrettable that you received another suspicious message, but this one from beyond the grave.

I have received a lot of these kinds of messages in the past and have read about them in the computer magazine I subscribe to - it is a very common problem.

The reason that you are receiving such mailings is because a ne’er-do-well has hacked into the sender’s e-mail account at the server level and is sending bogus e-mails out to people in the sender’s address book disguised as coming from the sender.  The purpose of this exercise is a complete mystery to me, as there seems to be nothing to be gained from it – other than the nuisance value.  But we must be on our guard and treat such e-mails with great suspicion; not clicking on any links.

The best way to deal with them, in my humble opinion, is to hit the reply button and tell the “sender” that you have received a suspicious e-mail from them, suggesting that they change their account password as soon as possible, or, if that fails, to get in touch with their Internet Service Provider (ISP) as soon as possible for assistance.

Best regards

"Being on telly here (Oz) is not exactly like the UK... I mean I have a face for radio so you can tell how desperate they are for news..."
From: Charles Collier, Ewhurst
Sent: Sunday, June 02, 2013 16:41
Subject: RAF Mystery Photo 053113

Hi Tony,

Your medical mystery notice is just like the one I noticed in RAF Steamer Point, Aden, during my time there.

The Medical Centre - if I remember correctly - was on a hill near to the Hospital.

I'd be interested if someone can confirm this - or not!

Kind regards

Charles Collier

From: David Stevens, Bangor 
Sent: Sunday, June 09, 2013 06:41
Subject: RAF Mystery Photo 053113

Hi Tony,

My first inclination it was probably RAF Sharjah circa 1963 'cos of the reference to donkeys and camels etc., and of course at that time we had several categories of civilians; AMWD, Met Officer etc.

There were several army units both on the base (9th/12th Lancers, REs mapping/survey and the Paras in the Jebel Ali). So I suppose RAF Sharjah could well have been a regional medical centre. 

There is a reason that I would not know for certain, and it is not age related! You may find this hard to believe, BUT in 13 months (as it was then) I never visited the medical centre once!

Best regards   


'Fraid neither of you get a cigar gentlemen - the photo was taken at RAF Masirah!

New look for Canada One

The CC-150 Polaris aircraft primarily used to transport members of the Royal Family, the Prime Minister of Canada, and other dignitaries - which Canadian Skies has dubbed "Canada One" - landed at CFB Trenton on May 29, decked out in brand new livery.

According to a communications spokesperson from the Department of National Defence (DND), the aircraft has been repainted as part of regularly scheduled maintenance. The new paint scheme, completed on May 20, includes Canadian symbols such as the national flag, the country's coat of arms, and the Royal Canadian Air Force logo.
Developed by graphic artist Jim Belliveau, a well-known civilian RCAF team member, Canada One's new design also includes what the DND calls "iconic phrases" from our national anthem, such as "True North Strong and Free" and "Une épopée des plus brilliants exploits," which are printed in italicized script under the cockpit window.

Canadian Skies
From: Aaron Reynolds, Darwin, NT
Sent: Sunday, June 09, 2013 21:08
Subject: RAAF Mystery Photo 053113

Hi Tony,

Great work as usual.

RAAF Mystery photo #053113 is my team in TK in 2009

LACW Tenae Baxter standing and I'd hazard a guess its LAC Murphy on the fork

A touch chilly for us warm blooded Aussies (lucky I'm a Kiwi by birth and can handle it)


From: John Holloway, Shrewsbury
Sent: Wednesday, June 12, 2013 05:11
Subject: NSRAFA Cosford

Hi Tony,

A good turnout this Tuesday sixty plus members turning up. Our speaker was F/Lt Elliot based at the RAF Careers Office in Birmingham.

He joined the RAF in 1999 as an AC Plonk and did his basic training at Halton and trade training at Cosford to become an aircraft rigger. Stationed at Brize Norton, he worked for four years on VC10s then after ten years needed a change and took a commission to become a careers officer.

He gave us a very comprehensive talk on how they advise potential recruits what they have to go thru nowadays to get into the service, aptitude tests, education, trades, fitness and a host of other things that they have to go thru; it's very selective and the subject of tattoos was brought up; he told us that recruits for the army can have them anywhere on their body but the RAF none which would show from the neck upwards and on the lower part of the arms.

His talk and the videos he showed us was about two hours long and when he told us a recruit starts at £14,000 a year we all asked if we could sign on there and then!

The NSRAF parade the other Sunday with a good turnout and as well as us there were five ex WW2 bomber crew all who took part in numerous raids over Germany. 

They were presented with their long-overdue clasps to go on their Europe medal ribbon by the Chief of the Air Staff who as I told you last month took the review.

The D-Day Darlings gave us a good sing-song of the old wartime numbers.

The Lancaster didn't turn up due to mechanical problems (that's the second time) so we had to do with the Dakota.

It was the huge Cosford Air show last Sunday and there were so many people arriving that the roads were closed and hundreds of people were refused entry.


From: Graham Flanagan, Stafford
Sent: Thursday, June 13, 2013 05:45
Subject: The Next OBA Newsletter


Do you think you could squeeze these into the next Newsletter.  I follow this guy on Facebook and he is fantastic. I already had pictures of RAF Movers, which I think you might have seen, Royal Australian / Canadian Armed Forces and he did me the NZ Movers request this morning.

As I mentioned he posts his work on Facebook and his page is ‘Creative Pictures By Larry Mann’. He takes requests, both military and non-military.

Many Thanks


From: Nick Price, Cheltenham
Sent: Thursday, June 20, 2013 11:21
Subject: Taff Hughes
From: Bill Girdwood, Carlisle
Sent: Sunday, June 16, 2013 18:07
Subject: Old photos

Dear Tony,

The pictures in the slide show below were taken on Penang Island whilst we were detached on Operation Hillclimb; building a radar station on top of a mountain.  Means of access was a funicular railway, split into two stages with a change of cable half way up, and by helicopter.

Total capacity of the railway 'carriage' after re-build was 30cwt, and we could only use it between 2100 and 0600 hours. We moved over 230 tons of kit and aggregate up the hill and a further 25 tons by chopper.

The choppers were provided by the RAAF, Iroquois, which we could task directly on the squadron ops at RAAF Butterworth, and the occasional Belvedere from 66 Sqn at Seletar, through FEFOC at Changi.

All this happened between October 1965 and July/ Aug 1966, when RAF Western Hill eventually went on line. I was lucky enough to plan and execute this task.

We were certainly the only Funicular railway qualified movers in the RAF at that time, but only a few years later FEAF MAMS had the task of dismantling the Type 23 radar and bringing it all down the hill again... "The Grand Old Duke of York" comes to mind!

All of this is now so long ago and some of the best of us are no longer with us, sadly, but they were wonderful times and I made friends who have remained so for the rest of my days!

Best wishes, as ever,

Bill Girdwood
The primary personnel were F Team from FEAF MAMS, occasionally supplemented by individuals covering leave etc., and by members of 3 Royal Greenjackets, the Royal Rifle Regiment based at Crerar Barracks, Penang, commanded by Lt Col Edwin Brammell (now Lord Brammell), where we lodged.

From: Peter Clayton, Wroughton
Sent: Thursday, June 20, 2013 11:11
Subject: Re: The next OBA Newsletter

Hi Tony

Thought it was about time that I made an effort for the newsletter.

I wonder how many Boy Entrants or Apprentices still have their original padlocks for their lockers in training at Hereford?  Here is a photo of one of mine still in good use on the shed after 49 years.  Not many padlocks last that long these day's as most are made in China no doubt.

That's my bit for now, thanks for all the work you put in to the newsletter Tony.


From: Dave Wilkin, Romford
Sent: Tuesday, June 25, 2013 03:07
Subject: 80th Anniversary of Boy Entrant Scheme


I received this from a friend in Aussie, Could you / Would you publish in the next newsletter.

(Details of the RAFBEAs UKs plans will I hope be known sometime in September after this year's AGM... )

Here in Australia we are in the process of arranging a reunion for ALL Boy Entrants, to mark the 80th anniversary of the scheme 1934 - 1965, and other milestones.

We will be sending invitations to all the "boys" we know of in Australia, regardless of whether they are members of RAFBEA or not, the only criteria is that you served as a Boy Entrant.
Details are sketchy at this time, but the important bits are firmly fixed (place and dates) so if you could flick a message to our entry and any others that you are in contact with, that the event / celebration is on, we will be very grateful.  (Ask them to mark the calendar or enter it in their diary)

We will of course keep you up to date with details as they become fixed, such as costs, accommodation, programme etc.

The event will be happening, as I stated in Adelaide, South Australia on the 25th and 26th April 2014. There will be the ANZAC Day march on the Friday and a dinner on Saturday evening.
Whilst the celebration will be held in Adelaide, we intend to throw it open to ALL who want to be apart of it, that includes those in Brit and in far flung places in the world.
New members who have joined us recently are:
Alan Madeley, Auckland, New Zealand

Dan Young, Auckland, New Zealand

Jeff Brown, Trenton, Ontario, Canada
Welcome to the OBA!
From: John Lloyd-Wickham, Abu Dhabi
Sent: Saturday, June 15, 2013 01:05
Subject: Gulf Jobs

Jobs for the Boys - these and many more available - click on the logo to see them all

Coordinator Load Control Ramp - Oman Air

Senior IT Auditor - Oman Air

Supervisor - Customer Service - Oman Air

Country Manager - Oman Air

Senior Officer Cabin Operations - Oman Air
Senior Officer Ground Operations - Oman Air

CSA Receptionist - Oman Air

Loading Agent - Oman Air

Duty Manager - Oman Air

General Manager - Catering - Oman Air

From: Andrew Kay, Colorado Springs, CO
Sent: Thursday, May 23, 2013 15:06
Subject: Video Routine Adventure in Aden

Hi Tony,

Here's the second of three videos that will probably be of interest.  This one's entitled "Routine Adventure in Aden" from 1965


That's it for this issue

Have a great weekend!


The aircrew will return to RAF Benson in Oxfordshire where they will take some well-earned leave and the engineers will remain in Afghanistan to dismantle the aircraft for their  transportation back to the UK.
The maritime force is trained and equipped for expeditionary joint operations and the Merlins will be prepared for their new role in supporting amphibious operations. RAF personnel are currently training the Royal Navy aircrew and engineers on the operation and maintenance of the technologically advanced helicopter, which is due to move to a maritime role by 2015.
During my time, Fiona Blain, Jim's wife, was commissioned to restore the German folk murals which had suffered over time - she did a great job, and the place regained what must have been its original feel.
The new paint scheme has drawn fire from opposition parties on Parliament Hill, specifically the NDP, who have said the jet's new colour scheme is too similar to the colours of the Conservative Party.

According to DND sources, the first operational mission for this aircraft will see it transporting passengers and material to support a Relief In Place for Operation Attention in Afghanistan, the loading of which occurred on June 6. The newly-painted Polaris completed its first VIP airlift in mid-June, when it transported Prime Minister Stephen Harper to the 39th G8 summit in Ireland.
Still out on the bicycle on a regular basis.  I did 100 miles two weeks ago around Oxfordshire in eleven hours including stops for elevenses', lunch and tea.  Have another 100 mile ride to do this weekend but weather not looking too good, more wind and rain, so it could be postponed!

Still no news of Steve Broadhurst since he was due to visit UK last year, hope all is well with him.  If anyone has news of Steve or a new e-mail address I would appreciate it.