06 July 2001


Joining us this week are:

John Lyle from Torquay, UK

Bob Whitworth from Heathrow UK

Welcome to the OBA!

From: David Howley
Subject: Re: Old Boys Briefs 062901
Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2001 03:55:03 +0100

Dear Tony,

Ian Berry's history of the MAMS teams - If AFME MAMS was only "Officially" formed on 1 May 1966, then it had existed unofficially for approximately 2 years. I was posted to AFME MAMS on 24 September 1964. Prior to being "swopped" onto Station Movements in Nov, I had my daily 4pm showers in very cold water at Thumier, watched my nice "brown tan" float off me in a bath on return to K'sar - it was mainly sand and grime - despite the daily showers!

On another task we positioned out of K'sar at 0530 for Mukerias, with no rations or water! We were there all day moving 105mm Howitzers. The team dined on two tins of peaches bought from a little shanty shop on the edge of the strip. In October I got "pissed" in Nairobi and fell into the monsoon ditch at Eastleigh, trying to take a short cut - it was DEFINITLEY AFME MAMS I was on. One team boss was Flt.Lt Hudson (ex-Army) and was the other Flt.Lt Clayton (?). One of the Cpls was George Menzies - later AQM on Bevs with 84 Sqdn.


[Editor's Note: Thanks David - we are all looking forward to some more interesting snippets]

From: Jerry Allen
Subject: Photographs for Web Site
Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2001 04:32:29 -0400

Hey Ho

Thought it time to add my "faces remembered" to the photographs submitted by 'Orrible Oram. The large group of officers image was taken at HQ STC in 1988 - not in the 90s as currently indexed. It was a 2-day conference for officers holding movements posts either within HQ STC or at STC units. Boring conference, but excellent night in the Mess!

I am embarrassed that I cannot put names to all of the n/k faces but I have 2 to add:

Back row, 4th from left is Mark Blackburn and left of Phil Britton is Dave Fitzgerald-Lombard.

Bob Dixon could easily fill in the other names - especially those on the front row, he moved in higher circles than I (sorry Bob).

Best wishes


[Editor's Note: Okay Jerry - it's time for your profile!]


From: Don Massa
Subject: Re: Superman
Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2001 08:22:18 -0600

Dear Tony,

I was not in UK Air Movements. I was a navigator in the U.S. Coast Guard, flying C-130 Hercules SAR and International Ice Patrol missions. I came across your very nicely done site while researching information on the C-130. I found the Humour section and it brought back a number of memories of funny incidents and anecdotes, one of which was the true Muhammad Ali story enclosed. I'll send along some others from time to time (wouldn't want to wear you out with them) and you can do with them as you see fit.

Best wishes,

Don Massa
Denver, Colorado, USA

[Editor's Note: Thanks Don, the anecdote is in the Humour page. It's very gratifying to receive correspondance from people outside of the trade, as well as from all over the world. We look forward to further contributions.]


From: Ray Whiteley
CC: Dave Riach
Subject: Re: Fwd: Wrecked Canberra
Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2001 21:25:15

Dear Tony and Dave.

Many thanks for your e-mail concerning the wreckage of English Electric Canberra B.2 WJ615 which was an ex:-12 and 50 Sqdn Binbrook aircraft.

It flew into high ground at night, as stated by Dave, with the loss of two crew members. A photocopy of the aircraft log card, 50 Sqn Operational Record Book page and subsequent crash investigation material should be available from Peter Elliott at Hendon for a small fee plus postage.

Peter can be contacted as follows:-

Peter Elliott
Senior Keeper
Department of Research & Information Services
Royal Air Force Museum
Tel: 020-8205-2266 Ext. 250
Fax: 020-8200-1751

I'm sorry but I can't help you any further on the loss I'm afraid.

Ray Whiteley - Archivist -
Lincolnshire Aircraft Preservation Trust

[Editor's Note: Thanks for the quick response Ray]


From: Jack Riley
Subject: Re: Old Boys Briefs 062901
Date: Sat, 30 Jun 2001 12:02:19 +1000

Dear Tony

You really have excelled yourself this week.What a great collection of letters. I fell about laughing reading Whaty Campbell's "More Army Logic". Add one. All decent Army food has the word "Salvation" on the delivery truck.

Many thanks to Ian, Bob, John and all those others who have helped to bring me into the real world.I now know a hell of a lot more about modern MAMS.

To add to the postage saga I received a letter from UK this week with a stamp bearing 2ND. Being bright I now know the answer to that one. However it was posted on 21 April. Is there any truth in the rumour that the Post Office has plans to re-commission the "Cutty Sark"?

Mention of Burma in your last e-mail to me reminds me of the time I spent as Air Movements Adviser to the Burma Air Force as part of the British Services Mission in 1951-2 or thereabouts. Members of MAMS teams will agree that you don't have to be mad to be successful but it helps!

Once a month an aircraft would stagger up from Changi to Mingaladon, where we had our cantonment (lovely word), bringing sustenance for mind, body and spirit. The spirit bit came in the shape of whichever Padre had drawn the short straw. One of our visitors was rather too staid for our liking. Our Messing Officer was one, Cyril Kidd, he of the Lancashire humour. One Sunday morning we all gathered in the mess for breakfast after an unusually liquid night and solemnly ate kippers and custard for breakfast. The Padre's face, when he reached for the menu and found it (Kippers and Custard) in pride of place was an everlasting memory! We never told him!

If one could think up a good enough excuse a swan to Changi could be arranged. I went down to take my Promotion Exams armed with a shopping list from the wives on the Mission. I shall never forget the look on the saleslady's face as I ordered two size 26 B cup and so on until I had over two dozen assorted bras. Talk about a boost to the ego! It's quite difficult to take those exams and carefully fail one paper to guarantee a return trip three months later!

One morning we loaded A Dakota and set off from dispersal. Running up on the threshold the starbord engine spluttered and died. Returning to dispersal, the port engine gave up the ghost and we were towed home. We extracted a fire bucket and a half of water from the drain plugs. The Burmese NCO i/c Daily Servicing was adamant that he'd followed his instructions which read "Every morning BEFORE FLIGHT you will drain one pint of water (condensation)" That particular aircraft hadn't flown for a fortnight!

On a sad note the Cheif of the Air Staff, Burmese Air Force, decided to show off the skills of his Air Force by staging a rocket firing demonstration. Everything had to be done by his own men, on their own. They fitted rocket racks to an Airspeed Oxford ....I kid you not ....and off he went. Unfortunately they had wired them up backwards and the upper rack fired first and blew both wings off. His widow married my first Burmese Air Force Air Movements Officer.

Don't ask who was sent up from Changi to write a paper for the BAF on their Movements needs. The same chap was given some rubies as a thank you and successfully smuggled them home. Three months later he was posted to Burma and had to smuggle them back in again!

Talking to Don Skeen one day (he who flew a York Load into Berlin on a Dakota and complained on landing that the controls seemed a bit sluggish ). I made the mistake of leaning up against his 4 x 4 timber and attap roofed car port. The lot came down round my ears. White ants had eaten away all but a paper thin remnant of the 4 x 4's. They did the same to the concrete step into the Movements School. Me again !


[Editor's Note: Thanks again Jack. I won't tell anybody that you originally wanted to share some recipes with us. That just doesn't cut the mustard - I'd be plumb crazy to put that in - not to mention the egg on my face!]


From: Andy Kay
Subject: Re: Old Boys Briefs 062901
Date: Sat, 30 Jun 2001 17:56:10 -0400

Hi Tony,

Thought you would be interested in an item in the July 2001 issue of 'Flypast' magazine which I recently invested in ($10 worth!)

Belfast -- Down to One.

Specialist cargo operator, HeavyLift, retired Shorts Belfast G-BEPS at its Southend, Essex, maintenance base in early May. This leaves only G-HLFT operational. Ten Belfasts were delivered to the RAF for strategic airlift duties from 1966.

Meanwhile scrapping has commenced of sister ship G-BFYU, stored at Sothend since the early 1990's. XR371 is preserved at the RAF Museum, Cosford.

This short article is accompanied by a sad picture of a slug in the latter stages of being dismantled.

A moments silence please!


Andy Kay

[Editor's Note: A sad note for some - I had hundreds of hours on the Belfast - and to be quite frank enjoyed the flights. It must have been the comparative roominess. The one thing I did enjoy about the Belfast was the "bandstand" where comfortable seating and even tables could be had - not quite so on the Hercs.]


From: John Holloway
Subject: Waddington
Date: Tue, 3 Jul 2001 23:24:53 +0100

Hi Tony,

I paid a visit to the Waddington Airshow this last weekend, usual hardware Tornado’s, B1 B Lancers, Mysteres etc., tearing around the sky along with the B of B Flight and Red Arrows. The only new aircraft were the Israeli F18's which didn’t fly on Saturday because it was their Sabbath and the new C17, that was parked on the far side of the airfield miles away from the main observation area. I didn’t bother to walk over there as I had already been inside one at Mildenhall last year.

I’d rather have the Warbirds display at Duxford, more propellers whirling and Merlins roaring.

Also went to the Newark Air Museum where they have a very good display, Hastings TG 517 and a very good collection of other aircraft.

Reference Jacks mention of the UK stamp with no value on it; no Jack we were not the first country to have that. When I was in the States in the 70’s because the airmail rates changed so often they issued airmail stamps with no value and charged the current rate at the time of purchase.

The map and new photos in the 50’s images are great - you did really well with the map.

Cheers for now

John Holloway

[Editor's Note: Thanks John - the map did present me with somewhat of a challenge; as far as trying to retain detail while at the same time not making it too large of a file that would cause people with slower modems to just give up.]


The following was received in the OBA Guestbook:

Date: Tuesday 07/03/2001 6:50:32pm
From: Skiv Devescovi
City/Country: Auckland New Zealand
Comments: Gidday Guy's,
Just wondering where the likes of Dougie B, Al R, Rhys and anyone else who
had contact with myself during the Gulf War. Based in Riyadh with 40 Sqn


From: A Nonny Mouse
Subject: C130J - IS A GOOD KITE OR NOT?
Date: Wed, 4 Jul 2001 15:04:29 +0100


Before we bought the C130J, the publicity blurb stated that it was a 21st century version of the Hercules. It had uprated Rolls Royce/Allison engines combined with a 6 bladed Hamilton Standard propeller. This meant that it could fly the same distance as the C130K and carry the same payload using less fuel and so negated the fitting of underwing pylon tanks. It has a 'flush' toilet, larger pax doors and escape hatches. It has a 'glass' cockpit and on-board computers, what more could the RAF want?

At the start of the C130J working group there was a Mover in attendance, sadly he was eviceted many years ago.

The first C130J arrived at Lyneham in late 1999. Within weeks of its arrival it was being jacked up in a hangar when it fell off the jacks, transpired that we hadn't bought new 'J' jacks to go with it but tried to use C130K jacks!

As the aircraft started arriving thick and fast they all had to wait in a queue on the ground until the civilian contractors, Marshalls of Cambridge, could wheel them in the hangar. Why? because seemingly there was something wrong with the grease used on the props and every prop had to be removed and repaired.

All the aircraft are fitted with the US-4A side guidance system where you hand crank the locks in from the front of the aircraft. We are using the RAF provisioned AML 108" x 88" pallets rather than the American 463L pallets. Consequently a lot have been jamming and many a delay has occurred whilst a pallet is rebuilt. Any kind of a warp and it won't fit! Palletised engines and vehicles cannot have their chains tightened until they are in situ on the aircraft. The solution may be that we have to buy more 463L pallets.

We can carry a pallet on the ramp but we have to leave room down the port side for access to the ramp escape hatch, the same applies on the front starboad where the toilet is fitted. (opposite side to the C130K). Above the toilet is a button you press to flush. Above it is a tee handle you pull to jettison the dinghies - one hasn't deployed, yet!...

The aircraft has to meet 21st century FAA/CAA requirements and so has drop down oxygen masks fitted in the roof. So far 120 pieces of spaghetti have inadvertantly dropped three times. (engineers 2 ALM 1).

The C130J is not carrying as much payload as the C130K its replacing. Why? The claims by Lockheeds concerning performance were based on the aircraft flying at 36,000 ft. However, this is the height where the big airliners fly and 560mph Jumbos and Airbuses do not want to mix it with a plodding Hercules. Result being that the C130J is not allowed to fly at 36K. The lower you fly the more fuel you burn, now it even struggles to make Cyprus direct! We can't ease the situation by putting more fuel in as doesn't have underwing tanks - get the picture? Rumours now abound that they are going to fit pylon tanks in retrospect, I don't know if the wing is capable of taking it though.

The 6 bladed propellers when rotating create a vibration and noise that is damaging to humans and equipment. At present a lot of munition types cannot be carried until vibration tests are carried out as the vibration may affect their functioning. Passengers are not allowed to be seated between tie-down rows 9 to 17 which is forward and aft of the propellers because of the noise and potential harmful effect on the passengers, this problem may never be resolved.

The para doors at the back have nice large square windows, however, even now after a year of C130J operations, the doors are only to be opened in an emergency. Why? Because the counterbalance spring has been assembled incorrectly and the door feels and weighs approx 300 lbs. The first time someone attempted to close it the door 'shot' down and self-destructed! As a result of this, pax normally have to emplane/deplane through the crew door up front.

The aircraft has an on-board computer into which the ALM transcribes the load distribution. The computer can also read the fuel tank status and so you cannot 'lie to it'. As a result of this we cannot deduct the 500 kgs that is burnt on taxi to the end of the runway and if the aircraft is up to max weight at take-off we are losing half a ton of payload because of this anomaly.

I mentioned earlier about there being no mover on the working group stage. As a result of this the C130J does not have a winch fitted! The Air Forces' answer was to purchase an extra 7 Tirfor winches, I kid you not. In retrospect we hope to purchase some American C130 winches this November. (This will explain the comment in an article in the latest issue of Team Brief).

Incidentally the C130K is now locally known as the "Classic". There are so far 18 C130J's at Lyneham and on average 5 are serviceable at any given time...

The pilots love it as it has a Heads Up Display (HUD) and climbs like a rocket. However, if you step inside from the crew door and turn left you are in the 21st century, turn right and you are back in the 19th!

With time we should overcome most of its shortfalls although pax seating, fuel consumption etc are more challenging. As with every transport aircraft we've ever bought there seems to have been a cost cutting compromise. The only AT aircraft that ever performed as advertised was the good old C130K.

None of this information is of a confidential nature and can be extracted from sources as diverse as the Lyneham Globe, Air Enthusiast, Flight etc. This is not a gripe story, just a statement of facts. Now you know!


[Editor's Note: The author of this exposè wanted to remain anonymous. If anyone wants to send me $10 I will gladly tell you who it was!]


From: Neil (Taff) Lewis
Subject: Do You Remember
Date: Thu, 5 Jul 2001 01:06:14 +0100


I find this site absolutely fascinating. I read your article about Masirah with great interest. I was a Wireless Operator there from 1960 -61, and was 43rd on the station strength. We wore flip-flops because we didn't have a cobbler to repair our shoes!

There were no newspapers and it was left to us to get what we could from the BBC's World Service.

I was on duty the night the vessel "Electric" ran aground off the shore of the island. I received the SOS on 500kc/s. We had to take off the only transmitter that would go down that far, and that was our NDB. It was very strange as the ship would not reply to me. At first light, myself, a radio fitter who was a keen radio HAM, and the C.O., Sqdn Ldr Huggins, went down to the beach with an aldis lamp. I had no experience of light morse so it was agreed that Wally, the fitter, would transcribe as I called out the morse characters. We tried for ages to attract their attention. We sent up flares, but only got a brief reply on the Light.

We had sent FLASH messeges to both Aden & Bahrain about the incident. Much later that evening all the crew of the "Electric" took to the boats and were picked up by a Tanker. We all reckoned it was an insurance job. After a lot of problems with looting by the locals the ship was claimed in the Sultan's name (Said Bin Tamir) by the C.O. as he rekconed that since it was in his territorial waters it belonged to him! The C.O. then posted some boys on it with a few Sten guns and a couple of .303's!

I was there when the RSM (Riyan, Salalah, Masirah resupply aircraft) piloted by 'Mad Mike' Warrington did a beat-up for us in his Aden Airways DC3. He misjudged the aerials by the Tower and the wing tip scraped the ground for 50 yards! One of the passengers, a fireman, was on the plane and now lives down here in Swansea with me. He remembers the incident only too well as he was Tour-ex. and he thought he was Life-ex! Also on the same kite was our Medic, Bob Carey, whom I am in contact with and lives up in frozen Finland!

I was told that Norman, the interpreter from South Shields, had been beheaded - is that true?

I also received the signal in which the Sultan annuled the marriages between the local woman and the Pakastani labourers which Costain had brought in to construct the runway. There was blue murder after that as the doweries had to be given back!

Happy days. - well some were.

Neil S Lewis

[Editor's Note: Thanks Neil. You will receive a complimentary edition of the Old Boys Briefs in your e-mail]


From: John Belcher
Subject: (no subject)
Date: Tue, 3 Jul 2001 22:21:04 +0100


The problem with the UKMAMS Association web site not working properly under Netscape has been fixed - I deleted the page and the code that was incompatible.

And . . Yes I have moved - well for 6 months anyway. I have been detached to the RAF Movements School to help the NVQ and Key Skills cell (Jon Kerswill and Rob Bobe), implement National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ) to the Movements trade. All Movements Cpls and Airmen are offered the chance of completing an NVQ in either Planning Aircraft Payloads level 3 for Cpl, or Providing Airside Ramps Services level 2 for Airmen. Once completed the NVQ can be used as a pay incentive under pay 2000.

Pay 2000 basically means that each year you are paid extra for each year that you spend in the rank. It's similar to the officer's pay scheme. Using a pay incentive means that you can 'jump' a year in the pay scales. So completing the NVQ means more pay in simple terms and you gain a civilian recognised qualification!

The NVQ is a National civilian scheme that is used to prove occupational competency in either 7 (level 2) or 9 (level 3) areas. Areas covered include Driving Airside, Health and Safety and Aviation Emergency Procedures.

Also, all the Operators are offered a Foundation Modern Apprenticeship (FMA) during their Operator's course. The FMA comprises of an NVQ level 2 in Providing Airside Ramp Services and Key Skills in 6 areas. Key Skills are the qualifications that prove a person is competent in the areas that businesses require:

Application of Numbers Level 1 (Percentages, Areas, Fractions etc WITHOUT the use of a calculator!)
Communications Level 2 (Interpretation written information and presentations)
Information Technology Level 1 (Word processing, Spreadsheets, Databases, Internet)
Improve Own Learning Level 2
Problem Solving Level 2
Working with Others Level 2

To prove their competency, the person has to produce a portfolio of evidence and, for the top 3, pass an exam. The Key skills element should be achieved during the Operators course. A lot of the evidence for the NVQ is gained during the course but is not completed until the person has reached their first unit. Once completed, the FMA is the Operator's pay incentive.

The FMA is a Government initiative to try and improve retention and recruitment to the forces and is not specific to Movements. Hopefully the new recruit will gain a qualification that is recognised by civilian companies and will help with their job prospects when they leave.

To cover the extra instructing for the elements of the FMA and C17 training the Operator's course has just been increased to 19 weeks. The Controller's course remains at 11 weeks.



[Editor's Note: Thanks again John. Who has the time to load aircraft anymore?]


From: Bob Whitworth
Subject: Membership
Date: Thu, 05 Jul 2001 16:48:19 -0000


My name is Bob Whitworth, I was on 'BRAVO' team for about 18 months from 1997 till 1999. I am currently living near Heathrow where I work for Exel, formerly MSAS.

Tried to send u my details from your site but it wouldn't send the e-mail some pop3 thing..computers eh? ha ha!

Anyway a good site with a few names I recognize.



[Editor's Note: I will be revising the format of the "form" in the very near future, along with the Member's List revamp - need to give it some thought first.]


Well that's it for this week. By the way, if you need a great marmalade recipe just ask Jack!

Have a great weekend.

Best regards