From: David Powell, Princes Risborough Sent: Friday, June 10, 2011 12:56 PM Subject: Bob Turner - the Movers' Mover
Without doubt, the best most enjoyable and satisfying 2 years of my 32 years in crab-fat grey uniform was the time spent with F Team UKMAMS RAF Abingdon 1967-69. And, one of the main elements which made it the best was one Corporal Bob Turner.
Bob was the team’s engine room. With his tremendous energy and infectious enthusiasm, it was Bob who taught this young in-experienced junior officer the real meaning of ‘can do’.
If it could move, Bob would be driving it; if it was stuck, Bob would have a trick for un-sticking it, and if it was lost or strayed, ideally property mislaid by the RAF Police, Bob would find a new home for it: usually the MAMS crew room wall.
I have bored too many to reprise the full story of how Bob saved my life in Malta, and I swigged the carbon tetrachloride used for cleaning the exercise ops chinagraph task board in mistake for lemonade picked up from the NAAFI wagon. Luckily, Bob had chosen a bottle of milk which he told me to drink. The CTC went for the milk rather than me and I woke up 18 hours later in Bighi Hospital with a serious hangover, the doc saying ‘We don’t know what the cure is, you are the first live one we’ve had’, and a life long aversion to dry-cleaners!
So if you should happen to look up and see the sun smiling and clouds being moved into new wonderful formations, it will probably be Bob, getting his next task sorted.
Thank you Bob Turner, it was a privilege to have known you, save a seat for me.
F Team UKMAMS 1967-69
From: Charles Collier, Devizes Sent: Friday, June 10, 2011 10:31 AM Subject: RAF Mystery Photo 061011
The picture is of the ATOC (Air Transport Operations Centre), or maybe MovOps (RAF) at MoD around about the 1970's.
The gentleman in the foreground on the phone - I think - is Wing Commander Brian Hughes my old boss from Aden Days.
Thanks Charles - a picture tells a thousand words... well, it was definately MovOps (RAF) in Whitehall and the year was 1974. The chap in the foreground that you thought was Wing Commander Hughes was in fact a corporal Clerk Secretarial and to this day was the fastest, most accurate, typist I have ever observed. That's me sitting opposite him. One of my duties was to maintain the flow charts you see on the big boards in the background. Every day I would receive a signal from the en-route aircraft commanders providing the aircraft location and other pertinent details about servicability etc. This was in the time before computers became a commonplace addition to the desktop and so it was a major undertaking to keep the boards as up to date as possible.
Other people in the picture that I remember are Wing Commander Pete Sylvester sitting in front of the map, then next to him was the Air Commodore (Director); such a pleasant man, I can't recall his name, only that he had a very thick Cornish accent. Standing up by the board is Squadron Leader Dick Whitworth, and to his left, fingers on the board is Squadron Leader John Wilkinson. This was the third posting with Sqn Ldr Wilkinson as my boss... I wonder what ever happened to him?
412 (Transport) Squadron Lays Up Its Retired Colours
412 (Transport) Squadron laid up its retired colours in a ceremony at Beechwood National Cemetery in Ottawa on June 18, 2011.
His Majesty the late King George VI observed the 25th anniversary of the Royal Air Force by proclaiming that all squadrons upon their 25th year of service would be entitled to be presented squadron colours.
In 1958, this honour and privilege was extended to squadrons of the Royal Canadian Air Force. The Honourable W. Earl Rowe, Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario, presented the squadron colours to 412 (T) Sqn in 1964. 412 (T) Sqn became the first Regular Force squadron to celebrate the 25th year of continuous service and thus received its colours.
This consecrated flag, a cherished symbol embodying the history, valour and dedication of 412 (T) Sqn was proudly displayed for more than 42 years before being replaced by the current colours in 2006. 412 (T) Sqn is honoured to be the first Air Force unit to lay up its retired colours in the Hall of Colours at Beechwood National Military Cemetery in Ottawa.
Colours of today's Air Force squadrons are rectangular silk flags, measuring two feet eight inches on the staff and four feet in the fly. They are light blue in colour with a border composed of the floral emblems of the ten provinces of Canada in coloured silks. In the centre is the squadron badge with white scrolls, as required, on which a maximum of eight battle honours of the squadron are inscribed in black.
The mystery photo dated 042911 consists of, from left to right: Taff Weale, Chris Hubbard, myself and Paul (Arthur) English.
We were all Movers at Brize Norton in the early eighties. We met on a sunny afternoon at Cirencester Football Club for a great couple of hours, catching up on past and present times. It was the first time we had all met for approximately 27 years!
Great day seeing old faces again.
Military Airlift 2011
The delivery of programme updates on the major strategic and tactical airlift platform development projects which are currently underway including (amongst others) the A400m, KC-390 and C-27J Spartan will be one of the key topics that will be discussed at the 8th Annual Military Airlift event in September.
This year's conference will offer a special focus on the United Kingdom. Air Commodore John Ager, Air Officer Air Mobility, 2 Group, (Royal Air Force) will discuss the current operations and future development of RAF airlift capabilities. In addition Wing Commander David Manning, OC 99th Squadron will offer an operational insight into the work of the RAF's C-17 airlift fleet.
In addition, the speaker panel will also brief on investigating the effort to deliver effective multinational interoperable military airlift entities - with MCCE, the European Defence Agency, NAMA, Heavy Airlift Wing and European Air Transport Command all delivering briefings on the significant change and progress that has occurred in the last six months. Furthermore, high level briefings from major national and multinational airlift organisations will provide key information on major developments which have occurred in the last year.
Of particular interest will be the briefing of Brigadier General Alain Rousseau, Chief of Staff/Deputy Commander, European Air Transport Command, who will look at the foundation for multinational airlift operations in Europe.
For the first time, this year's event will also focus on Tanker air refueling and the increased role of Multi-Role Tanker Transport (MRTT) platforms. Colonel Joseph Demarco, Commander of the 100th Refueling Wing (US Air Force) will present on America's European Refueling Force, the vital link in establishing global US air power and looking forward to the introduction of the Boeing 767.
We are holding an inaugural RAAF Air Movers reunion in Ipswich at the Ipswich Horse Race Carnival next weekend. Should be bigger than Ben Hur’s 21st. Will endeavor to pass on the invitation next year to all Movers Globally.
Thanks again, for the latest newsletter.
Cheers and Beers, Mick
Olympic tickets offered to UK Armed Forces members
Serving troops are being given the chance to win tickets for next year's Olympic Games.
Lord Sebastian Coe MP (right) and Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson (centre) launch Olympics 2012 Tickets for Troops just a stone's throw from the London 2012 Olympic stadium.
Ten thousand tickets are to be given to troops serving with the Army, Royal Navy and Royal Air Force and their families. Speaking a stone's throw from the London 2012 Olympic stadium, Lord Sebastian Coe and Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson announced details of the donation at a media launch attended by scores of troops.
As an Olympic legend renowned across the world, Lord Coe knows about the magic of winning gold in the world's most successful games and now he is 'absolutely delighted' that troops will have the opportunity to see world class athletes competing in London 2012.
Tickets For Troops is being funded by London 2012's Ticketshare scheme, which sees proceeds from prestige hospitality seats used to provide tickets to worthy causes.
Serving members - click the logo to enter a ballot before 1st November 2011 for a chance of winning tickets - you'll have to register first (top right of page).
From: John Holloway, Shrewsbury Sent: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 4:20 AM Subject: Fw: NSRAF Cosford
Our speaker today was W/O Mark Ashby who did a tour in 2008 with No 2 Para in Afghanistan, his talk was 'Serving in Afghanistan'
However he took us out into where all the action is to the OP's (observation posts) where conditions are a hell of a lot different to Bastion. His videos took us out on their patrols with the lads with all their gear on 40lb packs and steel protective clothing another 20 or 30lb sweating in 50 degrees temperature sweating cobs. He said you would never see anyone taking cover lying down as they would need a couple of their mates to get them back up on their feet, so they could only kneel down.
They could not use mobile phones as the Taliban would locate them if they used them. The locals were disuaded from growing poppies in their fields and instead they grew maize which grew to over six foot tall and this of course gave the Taliban more cover to sneak up on them. The living conditions in the OP's were pretty grim and he showed us where they had to cook their food all vary basic and the loos were also pretty grim pits in the ground the contents of which had to be set on fire to clean them up every so often.
He brought a collection of items that the chaps have; a pack and all the protective clothing that they have to wear along with the various mines and bombs they encounter.
Most of what he told us we already knew however it was a very interesting talk and presentation he gave us.
Tony, as an aside, when he mentioned setting fire to the 'bog' it reminded me of ours at Mauripur. It was set about 100 yards from the billet and was a raised concrete block over a deep pit in the ground with eight holes set at the right diameter to sit on, each seperated by wooden dividers. Every now and again petrol would be poured into the pit and set alight.
I did hear a story that one of the lads was sat in one of the cubicles on one occasion when it was fired up, oops! He had to move pretty quickly. I've attached a photo of the Mauripur bog.
He started his talk with his arrival at Camp Bastian; a few Briefs ago I told you of the young RAF SAC engineer working on Chinooks and the photos that Mark showed us were much the same, more like Camp Butlins.
Members of the Armed Forces to receive new medal
Members of the Armed Forces will be presented with a medal to mark Her Majesty The Queen's Diamond Jubilee on 6 February 2012.
Designed by Timothy Noad, The Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal depicts a formal image of the Queen on one side, while the reverse shows a hexagon with a crown and royal cipher, inscribed '1952 to 2012', commemorating Her Majesty's reign, and finished off with a red ribbon and white/blue stripes
The design of the medal and details of who will receive one were announced by Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt today, Tuesday 28 June 2011.
The commemorative medal designed to mark the Queen's 60 years on the throne will be awarded to members of the emergency services, Prison Service and the following Armed Forces personnel:
• members of the Armed Forces (Regular and Reserves) who have completed five full calendar years of service on 6 February 2012
• living holders of the Victoria Cross and George Cross
• members of the Royal Household.
The MoD will issue detailed qualifying criteria applying to their personnel later this summer.
From: Charles Collier, Devizes Sent: Saturday, June 25, 2011 1:11 PM Subject: Indonesian Confrontation 1960'S
Those of us who joined the RAF in the 1950's would undoubtedly remember the Indonesian confrontation which rumbled along before fizzling out without too much blood being spilt in the mid 1960's.
Well, in 1970 I was posted to Singapore for a 2 year tour as a DAMO which proved to be the final two years of RAF Changi as an RAF station.
A few years later in 1976 I was posted to the RAF Staff College at Bracknell on the unit staff as OC Supply. During my tour there I sometimes took lunch in the mess and on one occasion I found myself in conversation with a foreign student - an Indonesian air force colonel. He was asking me what postings I'd experienced in the Far East and I told him - RAF Changi. On hearing this, his eyes lit up and he told me with great enthusiasm that during the trouble between our two countries called Confrontation he was a B26 Invader bomber pilot. His role, if war had broken out, was to be a suicide pilot and fly his aircraft to crash into and destroy the Changi operations block!
He added with a smile that he was very thankful that confrontation between our two countries died away otherwise he would have literally been done for and now he was only too happy to be the guest of our Government at the RAF Staff College furthering his career in his country's military regime.
NZ Defence cuts: Many questions remain
The process of ‘civilianising’ New Zealand’s defence forces has been made no more transparent following today’s announcement that 308 military personnel will no longer be “required in uniform”, says Labour’s Defence spokesperson Iain Lees-Galloway.
“The 308 personnel; 71 in the Navy, 155 in the Army and 82 in the Air Force, are being told that they will be released from their uniformed roles to ‘rebalance the workforce’,” Iain Lees-Galloway said. “According to the Defence Force these personnel, though they’ve all been trained, don’t represent the ‘right people with the right skills in the right role’. That must make them feel really good about themselves!
“Last week Defence Minister Wayne Mapp admitted at select committee that morale had dropped significantly because of the proposed cuts. It’s a fair assumption it won’t have risen sharply given the language used in today’s announcements.
“Labour feels great concern for all staff in whatever sector who are cast aside in today’s economic climate, especially when there is no government plan to grow the economy, to enhance skills training and create new jobs,” Iain Lees Galloway said.
“We will analyse Wayne Mapp’s ‘rebalancing’ when we have more detail, but at the moment there is no clear indication exactly how this cost-cutting exercise will impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of our defence forces, let alone how it will actually improve their performance.
“There are many questions Mr Mapp has yet to answer convincingly,” Iain lees-Galloway said.
Press Release: New Zealand Labour Party
From: Konrad Putu, Wellington Sent: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 8:34 PM Subject: Kia Kaha Army Airforce and Navy
To All Servicemen/Women Always to Remember and Never to Forget The Years You Have Served
Konrad "Puts" Putu
Today, June 29th 2011, is a day that will change the lives of 308 of our New Zealand Defence Force Men and Women when they have received a DCM (don’t come Monday). But has been happening to all our service men and women throughout the commonwealth.
So to you I say Thank You. I was sent this from my Family; I have altered it a little and would like to dedicate this to all service people everywhere.
With your blood, sweat and tears you trained to keep our country and people safe and those of other countries.
To our past and present service men and women we are grateful and proud of your commitment and duty for our country.
He aha te mea nui o te ao? He tangata! He tangata! He tangata! - What is the most important thing in the world? It is people! It is people! It is people!
Ehara taku toa, he taki tahi, he toa taki tini - My success should not be bestowed onto me alone, as it was not individual success but success of a collective.
Thank you for the friendships and memories.
To all who joined me, whether it be Army Airforce or Navy, thank you for being my family away from home.
It was a Canadian, Alexander Graham Bell, who coined the phrase, "When one door closes another door opens." You and all of the other affected chaps and chapettes go and find that door Puts, and remember you have a worldwide family of Movers to lean on if needs be.
From: David Stevens, Bangor Sent: Sunday, June 26, 2011 4:10 AM Subject: RE: UKMAMSOBA OBB #061011 et al
I have been moving around a bit - not with the Red Cross this time!! Another great read. Thank you!
I found my UKMAMS log book and I note that my first recorded trip/mission was Exercise Hogmanay (corny!!) 3 January 1964 Abingdon-Nice-Luqa-Nicosia in a Beverley (tail no. 285)
Team: myself a brash Pilot Officer, Sgt Mitchell, Cpl Stockford, SAC Gibson and SAC Yeoman.
The flight took 16 hours!! No idea what it was in aid of!
I say recorded, because I arrived at RAF Abingdon in November 1963 and I'm sure I did a couple of UK trips before January 1964 but failed to record them. Mind you I was only given my Form 1767 Aircrew Flying Log Book on 1 January 1964.
Flt. Lt. Gordon Spiers was the boss then - what a great character.
Keep well and Best regards
There are 308 personnel across camps, bases and Headquarters who are no longer required in uniform and will be released from the Defence Force.
This is made up of 71 Navy, 155 Army and 82 Air Force personnel. The immediate impact on the ranks of the RNZAF is as follows:
This is a total of 82 affected military personnel below GPCAPT rank. GPCAPT positions will also be reduced by six and those impacted will be advised separately in early July. They are not included in the number above.
The RNZAF will have 157 less military people; made up of resignations over the last six months where the individual’s position was not backfilled or covered by promotion and the 82 affected personnel.
But this doesn't include people who are due to get out and are not being offered extensions. And it’s a good guess but the same will probably apply to the Navy and Army. Plus the tech trades in the Airforce are to follow before Xmas.
This may not seem like a large number of people compared to other nations but in a small Armed forces such as New Zealand it is a big deal and will have a long term affect on morale and in the long term experience
From: Alex Masson, Chelmsford
Sent: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 10:53 AM
Subject: FW: Air Despatch Open Day
With Lyneham closing down, the “Army Air Despatcher’s Association” held their last AGM there, before the current Unit moves on to Brize Norton in the next few months.
You may remember, as ‘Movers’ at Lyneham, my mate Phil Pratley (seen with Beret, sitting to the left on top of the ‘section wagon’ in the 1955 photo) and I, were trained by the Army in the role of Air Despatcher prior to going out to Christmas Island for the H-Bomb Tests (Operation Grapple)1956/57
Well, we had a super day at Lyneham with 47 Squadron, Royal Logistics Corps. Our Air Despatch Association held our re-union there on the same day as the Unit held their Family/Open Day. This was a good idea, for not only did we meet up with all the old Air Despatchers but we met the lads and lasses currently serving together with their families. I must say, the Army really do look after their veterans and they in turn, turn out in support in far greater numbers than do our RAF ex-service men.
I met up with several of the soldiers whom I have met over the past six years, most of them now a couple of ranks higher. The third photo shows a meeting with them in early 2006 and of the six regulars shown here I met up with four of them. Others , of course have now left the Service so I got the ‘gen’ on them. Two had returned just for the day and were now leading lights in their TA Unit. I also met some of those with whom I flew in October 2006.
Sadly, we were constrained to the old 33MU site on the Calne Road, currently used by the Army Despatchers and didn’t get onto Lyneham proper.
There was, of course, the obligatory ‘Beer Tent’, and there were numerous displays and sideshows for the kids - including old vehicles which can be seen to the right under the tail of the Dakota in the attached photo. In the distance to the left can be seen the water tank towers of Lyneham. I’ve included a picture taken at Air Movements Section in 1955 of Sqdn Leader Luck SAMO and some of the ‘loading party’ lads. The same water towers can just be seen to the right of the picture behing the canvas tilt of the ‘Gharry!’- though I think a couple more tanks have been added since we were there.
At 13.00hrs we were treated to a fly past of the Battle of Britain Flight Dakota - now repainted in D-Day colours. Boy! was he low! It made several passes and then circled tightly around the Unit before flying off. All the young regulars were amazed when I told them that all my despatching (after training) in the Pacific was from Dakotas.
Lunch was fantastic! When I applied to for tickets, our Association asked for £5 each for the barbeque lunch. I assumed that would simply be a ‘hamburger in a bap!’ and voiced my misgivings to Legs saying “We’d better find somewhere else to eat before we tackle the long drive home! However, I needn’t have worried.
There were two ‘field kitchens’ one for the Regulars and families, and one for the Association members. We received a massive ‘beef burger’ a ‘jumbo sausage’ and a huge ‘pork chop’ all beautifully cooked together with ‘hot potato salad with mayonnaise’, coleslaw, green salad, mixed salad and all the dressings, with as many bread rolls as you wanted - one was enough for me! The Army Cooks certainly do a fantastic job on the limited resources of a field kitchen.
Even the CO came and took his turn at serving! I reminded him it wasn’t Christmas and that I considered this above and beyond the call of duty!
Thoroughly enjoyable day even though it meant six hours of driving.
New members joining us recently are:
Brent Keenan, Derby, United Kingdom
Mick Bedford, Caerwent, United Kingdom
John (JJ) Lee, Brisbane, QLD., Australia
Welcome to the OBA!
‘Bisons’ get new leader
Lt.-Col. Jason Stark said he always dreamed of commanding the 429 Transport Squadron. Friday his dream became reality.
Stark officially took command of the 'Bison' Squadron from outgoing commanding officer Lt.-Col. Iain Huddleston, during a change of command parade ceremony held at the squadron's 7 hangar last Friday.
The 429 is no stranger to Stark — recently returned from a deployment overseas where he served as the Airlift Air Component Commander — he had the opportunity to work closely with it while co-ordinating the airlift sustainment missions between Afghanistan, Germany, Cyprus, Italy and Canada.
"I always knew that one of my biggest dreams was to become the CO (commanding officer) of the 429," said Stark in a speech before 429 members, 8 Wing commanding officer Col. Dave Cochrane and other squadron officials, as well as Quinte West Mayor John Williams.
"After spending eight months overseas working in partnership with the 429, I know what the challenges and tasks are at the squadron and I am up to meet them."
Stark said the 429 was extremely busy over the last two years and its members worked hard. "We will keep working hard," he said, adding his thanks to outgoing commander Huddleston "for his great work and dedication in making what the 429 achieved over the last two years."
Stark, who was born in Saskatchewan in 1972 and enrolled in the Canadian Forces in 1991, attending the Royal Military College in Kingston.
In 2008, Stark was posted to Ottawa and was selected as military assistant for the Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay. He will soon complete re-qualification training on the C-17 Globemaster at Altus Air Force Base in Oklahoma.
Huddleston, who took command of 429 squadron in October 2009, was in charge while 8 Wing/CFB Trenton 'bisons' sent thousands of pounds of humanitarian aid to Haiti and helped evacuate more than 3,500 people from the island nation in January 2010.
The squadron also ran the resupply mission BOXTOP at Canadian Forces Station Alert using the C-17 Globe master for the first time last summer.
"I am really proud of what we achieved at the 429 over the last two years," Huddleston said. "We have conducted two
of the most notable operations in the squadron's history."
Hiking for our heroes
Twenty-two personnel from Number One Air Mobility Wing (One AMW), based at Lyneham, took part in a march yesterday in a bid to get to the Oxfordshire base before their counterparts from the Air Movements Squadron (AMS) at RAF Brize Norton arrived at the Wiltshire air field.
Called the Hike for Heroes, the intention was to raise funds for their chosen charities, Help For Heroes, the RAF Benevolent Fund and Helen & Douglas House. Both teams set off at 7am.
The race was the brainchild of One AMW, who, while in Afghanistan, decided they wanted to raise money for their chosen charities by marching to RAF Brize Norton.
A band of airmen and women from RAF Lyneham have hot-footed it 34 miles in a unique charity race against comrades from RAF Brize Norton.
Senior Aircraftsman Niki Welch, one of the One AMW participants, said: “While working on Operations in Iraq and Afghanistan I saw a lot of front-line troops flown home as aero-medical evacuations. “The money we will raise goes towards much needed rehabilitation and special help for those injured troops after returning from duty.”
Senior Aircraftman Andy Fenton, who organised as well as taking part in the event, said: “Not only is this an opportunity to help some wonderful charities but it’s also a great team building and physical stamina exercise.”
One AMW provides highly skilled air and surface movements support, specialising in the loading and unloading of personnel and freight from Air Transport Aircraft which often takes place in hostile environments.
This is Wiltshire
From: Allan Walker, Burnley Sent: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 3:14 AM Subject: UKMAMS 5th Anniversary At Home Day
Have found my copy of programme for the UKMAMS 5th Anniversary At Home Day, RAF Abingdon, Friday 30th April, 1971. I apologise for the condition but it is 40 years old!
I hope these will bring back some memories.
It is interesting to see the team composition. I had H Team originally before becoming Training Officer and Finally Ops Officer.
Keep up the good work
Regards to all UKMAMS personnel old and new, wherever they may be.
It's interesting to note that the artist for this cartoon was none other than Steve Taylor, who was my team leader at the time.
Steve retired from the RAF shortly afterwards and established a retail outlet on the Abingdon High Street called 'Kitchenalia' which carried all kinds of exotic gourmet kitchen gadgetry from around the world. I won't go into detail about how he stocked his shelves, suffice to say he stayed in close contact with the squadron and it was a win/win situation for all concerned!
Offloading pallets from an Argosy onto a ConDec 25k transfer loader. In the original full size picture it's easy to identify Brian Shorter standing on the ramp.
Putting the ConDec through its' paces to amuse the gathered onlookers. Brian Shorter is on the left and if you look hard you can see Flt Sgt Rocky Hudson
Attaching an underslung load onto a Wessex helicopter are Taff Thomas, Rob Davies and Jimmy Jones. I can't recall why there were two marshallers - very strange!
Using a Massey-Ferguson rough-terrain forklift tractor to load cargo onto an Anthony Allen portable dock.
Uniforms on parade - Flt Lt "Uncle" Bill Wellman, J/T Gordon Gourdie, Flt Sgt Ken "The Hustler" Browne and unidentified other team members display the various clothing that each team member was issued while on the squadron. From left to right: Tropical - Jungle - Temperate - Cold/Wet - Arctic - Gas Attack Protection
22,000 to take part in Top End war games
More than 22,000 Australian and American military personnel will take part in Exercise Talisman Sabre, a two week training event which is held in Australia every two years.
Talisman Sabre will be held across six areas in the Northern Territory and northern Queensland.
Maritime forces will take part in exercises in the Coral, Timor and Arafura seas.
One of the facilities to be used is the RAAF base at Katherine, south of Darwin.
The largest joint military exercise undertaken by the Australian Defence Force and US forces begins in the Top End next month.
From: Alex Masson, Chelmsford Sent: Wednesday, June 29, 2011 11:43 AM Subject: FW: Saturday's Armed Forces Event
Saturday 25th was Armed Forces Day in the UK and, as usual, I got off my butt and negotiated with the management of our larger Shopping Mall in Chelmsford to allow us to ‘collect’ for the RAF Association’s “Charity”.
They responded in a very positive way and gave us every assistance and draped massive Union Flags above our stall. We were the only military association to mark the event in town on Saturday. Our local Cadets held a Church Parade on Sunday.
As this year is the 70th Anniversary of the Lancaster, we ran that as a theme, displaying photos, paintings and the history of the ‘iconic aeroplane’. It went down well with the general public.
We even had on show our branch President, Squadron Leader (Retd) - Ralph Tyrrell MBE, who is ex- Lancaster Aircrew (Navigator/Bomb Aimer) who with his crew completed a full tour unscathed.
They all survived the war but sadly Ralph is the only man left standing as the others have succumbed to the ravages of time.
Ralph is nearest my camera and the other guy is Ted Firth ex-Brat who served with me on Christmas Island 1956/57 as ground crew to the Valiants of 49 Squadron.
You will be pleased to know that we collected £416.35p - not bad for a day’s work in this time of recession
During the afternoon, a man and his wife put money into our bucket, so I asked if he was ex RAF or Armed Forces! He replied “No, but my Uncle was.” On asking him, “What did Uncle do and when did he serve?” he replied, “He was a Dakota Pilot on Christmas Island.”
It turns out he was Flight Sergeant (Laurie) Powell, one of the four aircrews to the three Dakotas of 1325 Flight. I flew with him on numerous occasions and I was able to relate several incidents involving their Uncle. I have since given them a lot of information as to what he did. They were blissfully unaware of his history. Sadly, he died last year in his eighties and had been living not many miles from me here at Chelmsford.
What bad luck meeting up with his family only after his demise! He was a man for whom I had the highest regard both as a pilot and as a man.
RAF Lyneham's Hercules make final flypast
Four Hercules aircraft have made a low-level flight over Wiltshire to say farewell to the county.
The planes left RAF Lyneham for the last time at 1030 BST before heading to their new home at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire.
The planes headed west, towards Hullavington and Malmesbury, then south down to Warminster before heading north over Chippenham and Shrivenham.
Lyneham has been home to the planes, nicknamed Fat Alberts, since 1967.
One onlooker as the planes departed RAF Lyneham, Sheila Allen, said she felt "very sad" and "emotional" to witness their final flight out of the base.
"I just felt I just had to be here today to say goodbye," she said.
RAF Lyneham station commander Gp Capt John Gladstone said just prior to the final flypast: "It will be a very sad day for everyone at Lyneham but it's just a new chapter in the history of the Hercules.
"The Hercules has a very important job to do in operations and our move to Brize Norton will have no impact on that whatsoever."
The Ministry of Defence made the decision to close RAF Lyneham in 2002 as part of a strategic review of military bases.
The base is due to close in 2012 and already some 1,400 military and civilian personnel have transferred to RAF Brize Norton.
The future of RAF Lyneham remains uncertain, although the government has said the site is in "a strong position" to become an Army base for soldiers returning from Germany. Proposals have also been made to convert the vast 1,300 acre site into a holiday theme park.