10 July 2009

From: Brian Lay, Wellington
Sent: 25 June 2009 19:16
Subject: RNZAF Mystery Photo 062609

These are the Christchurch Air Movements team on Adventure Training lead by F/Lt Vaughn Jones

You are correct Brian! The following item, penned by Flt Lt Vaughn Jones, accompanied the original photo:

On 23 March 2009, 12 members of Expeditionary Support Squadron (ESS) - made up of Air Movements Christchurch with guest participants from Air Movements Whenuapai and Ohakea as well as OC Air Movements took advantage of the Joint Airlift Agreement and used a USAF C17 aircraft returning to Hickam AFB in Honolulu to conduct Adventure Training.

With a busy week planned and despite jet lag and acclimatising to the perfect weather, the team climbed Mount Herbert, a 3100ft peak. It took three hours to ascend and two hours to descend but provided exquisite views of the harbour and local area from the summit. The climb provided an opportunity for the junior ranks to take the lead and demonstrate their leadership skills.

Day two saw the team hit the water, spending the morning kayaking around the inner harbour and exploring Quail Island. The afternoon was also spent kayaking and gaining familiarisation on the safety vessel. This lead to a competition (of course) on who could sustain the highest speed.

Day three had the team back on the water. As well as being on the safety vessel - the team also conducted familiarisation and sailing training aboard a 17-foot Crown class sailing dinghy. The wind and waves had picked up, provided some good and wet rides.

On day four the team redeployed back to Air Movements Christchurch in time to receipt and dispatch SATS in a normal and efficient manner.

It was a great week and a good chance to take our personnel out of their normal comfort zones, farewell some of the staff from the Unit and welcome some new people and generally bond as a cohesive team.

We look forward to planning next year’s Adventure Training. Air Movements Christchurch hope you enjoyed April Fools Day as much as we did.


From: Chris Goss, Sarajevo
Sent: 26 June 2009 02:33
Subject: RE: UKMAMS OBA OBB #062609


Thanks for the latest - brightened up my morning in a damp Sarajevo. Last Saturday dry 38 degrees, Sunday chucking it down and 12.5 degrees.

I am 3 weeks into 6 months out here as Chief Logs & Infra as well as Senior British Representative - I was told I was Commander British Forces but as there are only 12 of us, this is a bit too grand.

It is nice to get away from Defence Equipment & Support (& Supply) to an almost operational job (I was last here in 1998-bit nicer now). It is also nice to be back involved in Movements as I have responsibility for the Airport - discovered some RAF pallets hidden away in the cargo hangar so I am looking at options of getting them back to Lyneham.

Of interest, I work for an Hungarian who works for a German who works for a Spaniard who works for an Italian. I have personnel from Bosnia, Luxembourg, Hungary, Romania, Italy, Bulgaria and Slovenia working for me. Also, there is an ex-Team leader working out here - Wg Cdr Mark Attrill was on my Officer Training course and Movements course and at my wedding 23 years ago last weekend.

I am back to HQ AIR in January to be SO1 A4 Ops Movements taking over from John Stark - 3rd attempt to get this job was successful! Mark is off to Stavanger in August.

Regards to all

Chris Goss

Nice to hear from you Chris - seems you have an quite a gathering there - enough perchance to get a production of the International Hairy Knees Competition onto Eurovision!

Only female bees work.

RAF Lyneham plays cupid for flock of sheep on Jersey

Hercules crews are used to carrying out unusual mercy missions. But an aircraft from Lyneham has helped to ensure the survival of a flock of sheep on Jersey.

A pair of four-horned rams from the Isle of Man were crated up and airlifted to the island as part of a project to restore grassland its northern coastline.

Station Commander Group Capt Mike Neville said: " The Hercules frequently flies in this area as Jersey provides our crews with a great training platform and when we were asked whether we could assist with the move, I was only too pleased to say yes."

Jersey was once known for its multi-horned sheep, which produced wool for stockings. The scheme pioneered by the National Trust for Jersey involves using them to clear agricultural and heath land that was overtaken by scrub as grazing by cattle, sheep and ponies died out.

Jon Horn, land manager of the trust said a flock of 20 was imported back in January and was doing well. He explained: "We needed a couple of Rams to ensure that the flock becomes sustainable. We decided that we would like to get them from the Isle of Man since that’s the original home for this breed.

"The two islands’ prime ministers put us in touch with the Manx National Heritage who kindly agreed to supply us with two of their four-horned rams which were transported to the island by the RAF."

Wilts & Gloucestershire Standard


From: Keith Parker, Melksham
Sent: 26 June 2009 06:08
Subject: RAF Mystery Photo 062609

Hi Tony,

I'm sure you will have plenty of answers for the Mystery photo

If my memory doesn't let me down they are L to R

Gus Cobb, Taff Lewis, Terry Titterington and Marc Someone

Cheers to all

Keith KP Parker


From: Gordon Black, Swindon
Sent: 26 June 2009 14:43
Subject: RAF Mystery Photo 062609


Just a guess at the mystery photo. Boot Pratt, Terry Titterington, Steve Chapman. Don't know the other; assume some sort of techie?

Last is Dobbin the horse who I backed in the 3.30 at Kempton and its still running!



From: Ian Berry, West Swindon
Sent: 27 June 2009 05:07
Subject: MYSTERY PHOTO 062609

I reckon RAF Akrotiri circa early 80s..

L2R: Guss Cobb, Dave??, Chris Keane, Steve Chapman

This could actually be the true follow through for a retort Chris Cahill made to a student on the Officers Course at the RAFMS around the same time.

Whilst De-Staffing a live exercise and the situation being Load Control Cyprus, Chris rang the "hassled" student doing a trimsheet and said he was a Major from Episkopi. He asked the student if it was true he could indulge polo equipment? The student concurred that this was true, Chris retorted, "Great, the ponies will be down in the morning..." and put the phone down before the student could reply!



From: Nev Whitham, Preston
Sent: 28 June 2009 03:07
Subject: RAF Mystery Photo 062609

Hi Tony,

The chaps on this one look to be, (L to R) Gus Cobb, ? , ?, Steve Chapman and Mr Ed (also Mr C Ondec - supporting role).

Met both of the chaps in the centre of the pic but cannot recall their names.

You are doing a fantastic job of keeping this website thriving - it must take some concerted effort! [Yup it do!]

Keep up the good work.

Nev Whitham


From: Pete Morrison, Stafford
Sent: 28 June 2009 10:44
Subject: RAF Mystery Photo 062609

Hi Tony,

Back left is the woosher himself Chris Keen, good ten-pin bowler and steady drinker!

Next to him is Steve Chapman an excellent cricketer and next to him could be Trigger or there again Steve’s latest conquest!

Not sure about the front row.

Picture could have been taken in Cyprus and the good looking one was from the Akrotiri saddle club.

Great read yet again keep up the good work

Pete Morrison


From: Paul Weir, Leighton Buzzard
Sent: 29 June 2009 19:08
Subject: RAF Mystery Photo 062609

Hi Tony,

It's got to be Cpl's Guss Cobb on the left, "Butt" Lewis with the big grin, Chris Keen with his elbow on the Condec, but cannot remember the guy on the right of the photo.

I was at Akrotiri between 1982/85 and the lads were on cargo/traffic at the time.

Take care and good health

Paul "Stretch" Weir
Bedfordshire Basketmakers


From: Chris Kirby, Paradiski
Sent: 01 July 2009 08:27
Subject: Re: UKMAMS OBA OBB #062609

Hi Tony,

I'll have a go at the RAF Mystery Photo in OBB 062609.

The place is RAF Akrotiri circa 1980. The chaps, left to right, are: Gus Cobb, Chris Keen, kneeling-not sure, and Steve Chapman. Never did find out Dobbins' name !. The occasion was loading (or offloading) some polo ponies, but cannot quite recall the circumstances behind this unusual move (too many brandy sours have addled my memory somewhat). 


Rip Kirby

Emus and kangaroos cannot walk backwards

From: Jilly Searles, Brize Norton
Sent: 26 June 2009 06:18
Subject: 4624 Squadron


I am SNCO Recruiting on 4624 Squadron and have just recently been made aware of your website. Whilst looking through one of the trade pages I notice it has been a while since it has been updated. The trade is still referred to as Operators & Controllers, also it states that females are unable to join. These points therefore give a false impression of the service.

Obviously it is your choice to update the site but I thought I'd just make you aware of these points.

Jilly Searles


From: Tony Gale, Gatineau/Ottawa
Sent: 26 June 2009 11:35
To: Jilly Searles, Brize Norton, UK
Subject: RE: 4624 Squadron

Hi Jilly,

Many thanks for your e-mail concerning out of date information on the OBA website.

Since there are in excess of 300 pages on the site I am wondering which page you are referring to. Could you let me know please? (either the article name or the URL address).

In the meantime Jilly, females are welcome to join the OBA (I had changed the name from Old Boys to Old Bods Association a couple of years ago). Go to and complete the application for membership at the bottom of the page.

I look forward to hearing from you again

Best regards

Tony Gale
Secretary & Webmaster
UKMAMS Old Bods Association


From: Jilly Searles, Brize Norton
Sent: 26 June 2009 06:43
Subject: 4624 Squadron


It was actually the Recruiting Pamphlet that I was reading. I also believe that the trade training details may need updating, I don't know if you have a contact down at the movements school that could help.

Regarding joining the UKMAMSOBA unfortunately I'm not actually a Mover by trade I'm a Medic who just happens to do the recruiting on the Sqn but thank you for the invite anyway.

Now I know the website is available I will bear it in mind when giving out useful addresses on the website for potential recruits to look at.

Jilly Searles


From: Tony Gale, Gatineau/Ottawa
Sent: 26 June 2009 07:11
To: Jilly Searles, Brize Norton, UK
Subject: RE: 4624 Squadron

Hi Jilly,

Thanks muchly – that recruiting pamphlet is more than 30 years old and is an example of how things were “back in the day”

The OBA does not represent itself as being up to date as far as trade training matters or qualifications are concerned, in fact quite the opposite is true; the majority of content reflects the history of the trade.

Even although you are a Medic, if you are on the active strength of an Air Movements Squadron or Unit, then you qualify for membership – no excuses… (We have MT Drivers, Clerks Secretarial, Engineers and even RAF Regiment in the membership).




A330 Arrives Down Under For Tanker Conversion

Five Refueling Aircraft Planned For RAAF

Greg Combet, Australian Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science, announced Thursday that the next commercial Airbus A330-200 aircraft has arrived at Brisbane airport for its conversion into a multi role tanker transport (KC-30 Tanker) for use by the Royal Australian Air Force.

This aircraft is being acquired under Project Air 5402. Under this project five air to air refuelling aircraft are being purchased from Spanish company EADS CASA (now known as Airbus Military). This involves the conversion of commercial A330-200 Airbus into military air to air refuellers (KC 30 Tankers).

"The aircraft is the third A330-200 to be delivered from Airbus for this project and will be the second aircraft to be converted to a KC-30 tanker by Qantas in Australia," said Mr Combet.

"This is good news for Brisbane and Qantas. The project also demonstrates the ability of Australian defence industry to engage in complex military aviation projects."

"The ability to refuel aircraft in the air provides the ADF with a stronger capability by allowing a fixed number of aircraft to remain airborne longer, carry more ordnance or fly further than would otherwise be the case. This will help augment our air combat capability by extending the range and endurance of our fighters," said Mr Combet. "The KC 30 Tanker will also add to our air-lift capability with the capacity to carry 270 troops and significant quantities of stores over significant distances."

"The first (prototype) aircraft has now successfully completed the second sub-phase of developmental flight testing which is devoted to boom free flight data gathering and validation of the KC-30 receiver and tanker flight control laws," he continued. "(The aircraft) has successfully performed dry contacts as a receiver with the EADS A310 Boom Demonstrator and a French Air Force C-135 tanker. It has completed its first dry contact using the new-generation Cobham 905E hose and drogue refuelling pods with a Spanish Air Force F/A-18 fighter on 28 May 2009."

The second aircraft, which is the first to be converted to a KC-30 tanker by Qantas in Australia, is progressing well and is expected to return to Madrid, Spain later this year for completion of the extensive certification and qualification flight test program. The A330 delivered this week is currently expected to be the first aircraft to be accepted from Airbus Military, around mid-2010, for entry into RAAF service.

Aero-News Network

It snowed in the Sahara desert on February 18, 1979

From: Gerry Davis, Bedminster
Sent: 30 June 2009 13:39
Subject: Times gone by

Hi Tony,

I'm an old Mover both in the Mob and in the real world of civilian aviation, and was wondering if anyone out there is young enough to stay awake while I tell a story or two?

It all started in 1956 at the tender age of 15 when I was whisked off from Bristol by British Rail to the internment camp at RAF Cosford.  I was duly given a service number and underwent training in the Supply trade group while being converted into a fine upstanding chappy.  After much frustration, bullying and fagging by the senior entry and the Drill Instructors, I eventually graduated a year later as a Supplier II.

I was 16 when my first assignment started in the big wide world at RAF St. Mawgan near Newquay in the county of Cornwall. In addition to majoring in all the young man’s passions that were thrust upon my innocence, a long initiation into the tasting of Watneys Red Barrel was undertaken. I was given all the lousy jobs in the stores but I enjoyed myself to the full not giving a care for the future.

Then as soon as I reached 17 and a half, the badge of SAC and extra money was thrust upon me. At age 19, in September 1960, I was introduced to Air Movements, something I had never heard of before, and was soon to become airborne for pastures new.

A First Taste of Sunshine

My heart was in my mouth when I learned that some bright spark at RAF Records Office Innsworth had placed my name into the Aden postings tray. Soon afterwards I found myself being kitted out at RAF Clyffe Pypard near Swindon before being taken to Lyneham where I boarded a Comet Mk 1 jet transport aircraft with a lot of other pale skinned chaps.  Our first stop was  El Adem in Libya, a place which I would visit often later. The doors opened and the heat and smell hit us.

On landing at Khormaksar in Aden I was placed in the transit accommodations.

Later on I met an excellent fellow, the Station Warrant Officer (SWO). He  told me that while the bods were sorting out who was who and where they had to go, I had been selected for a temporary position of very high importance. He told me to report to the Station Commander the very first thing next morning.  I didn’t sleep at all that first night, I was scared stiff. I had never even been near a Group Captain, never mind having spoken to one.

I eventually got to his office and gingerly approached his P.A who told me to go straight in (What had I done wrong? Why me? Can I escape? Mum, where are you?).  I was stiff as can be, saluted once I think. He asked me my name then said, “I'm off up country for a bit Davis. I want you to sit in my office every day until I get back, answer the phone and take messages."

I literally shook every time the phone rang, which was very often.  Talking to all those Wing Commanders, Squadron Leaders and everybody else was really unnerving for this wet-behind-the-ears-moony I can tell you. I ran out of paper and didn’t dare open any drawers or ask anybody.

Eventually this nightmare ended and I was released into the waiting arms of the rather loud SWO who kindly sent me on another mission of great importance; walking around the camp and picking up paper.

I was there about 10 days, when I was again summoned and informed that after careful consideration by a select committee of General Office bods  I was going to be sent to a distant outpost called Bahrain. I thought to myself I’ll bet it’s hot there.  Little did I know what was in store for me.

The arrival in Bahrain was somewhat of a shock to this very young SAC, going round to the different sections with my blue arrival chitty.  I found out that I wasn’t going to the Stores but to Air Movements.  So starts my 11 years humping and dumping . I had quite a lot to learn, I found it interesting and also thought that this was the sharp end of the RAF.

The billet was large, there were 90 of us in there with a great big air conditioner in the middle of one wall. There were frequent power cuts, especially at night when it seemed that the whole billet woke as one.  I used to think to myself during my two years there that prisoners in jail didn't have to put up with these conditions. Some said "If you can't take it what did you join for?"  But hey, I was only a kid and it was bloody hot!

We often worked 24 on 48 off, except for war games when it was 12 on 12 off.

One of our DAMO's, a Warrant Officer, looked after the Astra Cinema and sometimes when it wasn't busy off he would go to do his bit . So we would get the scissors truck quietly up to the side of the picture house wall, with a couple of nice chairs in, raise it quietly as possible and have a free show.

I got pally with a national service chap who, like the rest of them, called out each day how much longer he had to do.  He had completed an apprenticeship in clock and watch repairs. I wonder where he is now?

Later on in the tour we both received a Letter of Commendation from the Air Officer Commanding.  Whilst pleased to receive it, we both thought that it was very poorly written and looked as though the typist was inebriated.

I was helping to offload Beverly XM110 with the assistance of our coolies. 

It had a load of 105 Howitzer shells on board. I must say we offloaded it rather sharpish.

We were quite chuffed with ourselves and strolled back to the section when the bloody thing blew up.  It got even harder after that ‘cos we had to do all the donkey work  as the powers that be got rid of the local labour.

[The bomb had been planted in the 84 Squadron aircraft in Kuwait whilst it was being refuelled and exploded on the ground after it had landed back in Bahrain. The aircraft was written-off.]

We were always having to book either early or late meals because of the work load. It played havoc with our insides, all we seemed to eat were fry-ups and belching and farting became a sport.

I had the occasional trip into Manama with some of the boys.  I used to look after their coats while they visited some house or other, can't think what for, but they didn't take too long and always came out with a smile!

I got my Corporal stripes, Mum and Dad were pleased. The SAMO, bless ‘im,  made me responsible for an inventory of a toilet that was always getting vandalised. I had my 21st birthday there. Not much happened, I even managed to get to work the next day.

I was able to wangle a fortnights leave down to Mombasa and it was great. I remember we had to night-stop in Khormnaksar. I was booked into the Route Hotel and got issued with a .303 Lee Enfield rifle with 5 rounds of ammo in a sealed box. I was standing guard two hours on and two hours off at the main door all night and then in the morning was off to Kenya.

On landing at the airport there was this green stuff either side of the runway. Someone pointed out to me that it was probably something called grass. Me and this MT chap booked into the Hotel Bristol, what a place!  My education into the finer aspect of life in a sea port, and witnessing all the goings on started here. I was also amazed to see that fried eggs looked and tasted like eggs. Then all too soon I reluctantly returned to Bahrain.

I did meet Charlie Chester on a CSE visit and had my picture taken stood next to him.  One of the army regiments on the island were the Inniskillings, some fine chaps who always seemed to be fighting each other. I often used to write letters home for some of them who couldn’t.

My two years was just about up, so off I go to SHQ to find out what plane they had booked me on.  To my surprise the clerk told me that I was going to have to wait a further two weeks for a seat to Blighty.  I thought to myself there’s a Beverley leaving for the UK soon so I'm putting myself on the manifest. The big unforeseen problem was that it took a week to get back to Abingdon via just about everywhere.

When I was tourex, they changed the station’s name from Bahrain to Muharraq.

A Posting to RAF Benson

I arrived at Benson in the Autumn of 1962 at the same time that the Argosy squadrons were being formed and joined one of the three Air Movements shifts. I met up with some old buddies from St. Mawgan, Geof Bear and Brian Kent.

I really lapped up my three years there; lovely countryside, great beer and all those nearby hospitals full of nurses. I really got into first aid whilst there and spent many a lesson down on the banks of the River Thames.

It wasn’t long before I was sent to RAF Kidbrooke on the Movements Course [Kidbrooke was an RAF aerodrome in the London borough of Greenwich].  Out of the 30 or so on the course I was the only one who had any Air Movements experience.  It didn't help much, I still only came about tenth in the class, but hey, the free tickets to the fabulous live shows in the West End was a good perk!

I took my driving test at Henly-on-Thames in a Triumph Roadster, great pash wagon. Unfortunately on starting off from the car park I exited via the "No Exit" road and failed. Still I passed it on the second attempt. I also took out a F1629, driving the 12,000 lb. forklift, 3-tonners, J-2's etc. That was good until an unfortunate incident made me hand it in.  This arose when I was on duty and foolishly decided to go downtown one night.  Well, there was nothing on. Yep I know, I was “on duty”. Unfortunately a lorry arrived during the course of the evening and the shift sergeant got called out to drive the forklift. We were the only two who could drive. He wasn't pleased and I really didn’t want him shouting at me like that.

The SAMO had a chat with me, and I promised to be a good lad in the future. Oh yes, I gave him my F1629.  He was a lovely old timer and said to me, "Listen, Davy boy, I'll hang onto it until the wind blows over for a bit, then you can have it back". So that was the start of a year of my looking after the freight shed  The sergeant, by the way, was really miffed ‘cos he had to do all the driving for a while.

After I had rejoined the shift we had an unusually heavy snowfall in the winter and it was about 6 feet deep outside the section.  I was chatting to our DAMO, who was a lovely Polish gent but walked a little lopsided (must have been the weight of all his medals), when the door burst open and in sprang the Station Commander demanding to know where the SAMO was.   He appeared to be very angry, wanting to know why all his troops were not outside on snow clearing duty.

We spent the next fortnight trying to help out. It wasn’t too bad in the daytime as the Beverleys from Abingdon kept us entertained by dropping bails of straw, which didn't seem to please the powers that be. They even hired those tarmac laying machines which have loads of flames emitting from their bottoms in an effort to clear the runways of snow and ice.

I had several detachments to lots of different places, some of the winter ones in Europe weren’t too warm. 

Back at Benson on one occasion during the summer I took four Movers to Wallingford in my old Hillman Minx at lunch time to sample some of  "The brown nectar". On retuning to camp I stopped at a junction, went to move forward and one of the rear wheels fell off. Wasn’t it lucky that I had joined the RAC. The other four made their own way back to camp.

Somebody you should know who was there at the time; Reg Carey. Most of the officers and senior NCO's were ex aircrew. One of the DAMO's was an ex signaller, so was one of the shift corporals. They seemed to be big mates, must have been on the same squadron at some time or other. That corporal, by the way, never got his hands dirty. I met lots like him who seemed to excel in getting away with doing nothing all the time.  I took the plunge whilst at Benson and got married. Still am.


Nearing the end of my three years at Benson, I was told that I had been posted to Germany. Then it was changed , and I was informed that I was going to NEAF MAMS at Akrotiri.

I got married at the end of March, I was in Cyprus on the 15th May. Like everyone else, married chaps had to wait 3 months before their wives could join them.  So another walk around with a blue chitty, I got to Air Movements to find that the MAMS hut was at the end of the Movements buildings, there was a problem though, there was nobody there!!

Yep , NEAF MAMS at that time consisted of lonely old me. It had just been formed and I was the first to arrive. It took about two weeks for the two teams to get together.  So during this wait, the sergeant chappy, PA to the SAMO, thought that he would task me as his personal lackey. You know the sort, seemed to have a permanent chip on his shoulder.We eventually got sorted out and operations started. So the three months passed and my wife came out, Whoopee!  I got a first floor flat in Limassol and a fortnights’ leave. 

Wait a minute! Malcolm Porter knocked on our door after three days, on a Friday, and informed me that the unit had been posted to Nicosia. Report for duty on the Monday morning.

So off we go together in a taxi the 70 miles up the road, scout around and we both found our private accommodation. Back to Akrotiri, got a three tonner organised and off we go again, back to Nicosia. Yep you guessed it another blue chitty. We were just getting the section building sorted when off we go for the first of two 3 months detachments to Nairobi.

Remember the oil lift?  My poor wife didn't know what she had let herself in for. In the middle of Nicosia, not knowing anybody and abandoned on her own. So after 3 months in Nairobi, having had to write to my wife by ordinary mail, costing a fortune at the time of one shilling and threepence to post the letters (No, mobile phones hadn't been invented yet ) We came back and the other team took over, and off they went to Nairobi. So when all this was over the powers that be decided to send us back down to Akrotiri. In between doing my bit on the oil lift we used to load up Hastings with fresh meat for El Adem and go with it.

Gerry & Lita in Nicosia

This one time we had just finished loading the meat, which was well dripping blood by now, when the techs announced that the aircraft  was unserviceable.  The 2nd in command tells me to nip down to MT to collect the Landrover.  Those of you familiar with Nicosia would know that MT from the pans was miles away. So off I trudge, in the sweltering heat, dressed for flying with long trousers, long sleeved shirt and tie, eventually getting there sweating me cobs off.  On presenting myself at the MT window asking for the Landrover keys, the MT sergeant duly charged me for being improperly dressed.

The moral at times was non-existent.  Everyone except me seemed to want to get off MAMS. There was this one chap, who was an Anglo-Indian (yes I do remember his name!), a lovely little fellow, but he had had enough and wanted out. He spoke to the boss who refused his application.  So that was alright then.

I think the Boss was getting worried as so many wanted off  until a trip to Israel came up.  The O/C said, “Make sure all of your passports are up to date.”  

“Mine ain't Sir!” said the young LAC,  ‘cos its ran out.”

“What?” said the O/C, “get it renewed now, immediately!”

“No thanks” said the little fellow, “I'm Indian and there isn't an embassy here in Cyprus.”  So off he goes, transferred to Station Air Movements

We had one special character, a flight sergeant, who was known by the nickname "Bo Diddly" Those of us who had to work with him have never fully recovered  from the experience. I must admit after 44 years, I’m down to only one pill a day, and the nightmares still persist. I can still see that twitching moustache even now and I don’t think anyone ever saw him without his beret on.

Well, where do I start? He had a lovely lady wife who was left some money. She didn't believe it, so they had it sent out to Cyprus, duly counted it and then sent it back to the UK.  He had his car shipped out there.  I can't remember what make and model it was but it did have metal hub caps. Someone put some pebbles in one of them and it made a lovely sound and drove Bo Diddly nuts, he thought that there was something seriously wrong with it!

We set off on one mission, well it started off being only to El Adem and when we were there we lost the officer, who had to go to Malta. The sergeant and the two lads had to go onto Tripoli. Bo and me were tasked to go on to Bengazi. Bo’s wife was in Akrotiri Hospital after having been ejected from a bus and breaking an ankle. Some filthy rumour persisted that she was partial to a portion of laughing juice which was totally unfounded.

So that left me on my lonesome at Bengazi to turn round a Beverley with masses of stuff to offload. Whist on the subject of Bengazi, we seemed to go there an awful lot.  The first time the two lads and I were billeted in one of the army camps originally built by the Italians before World War II. We each had to sign for an old decrepit bed, walk miles to a hut with it, which the door didn't shut or fully open, and the roof was full of holes. Gave a wonderful view of the stars though. After a successful whinge, from then on we stayed in hotels.

Old Bo was a stickler for service etiquette. For instance, "Don't call me Chiefy, it’s flight sergeant to you.”

“O.k. Chiefy,” I used to say, for some reason it made him turn red with rage.

When off duty, on detachments, he used to try and be friendly but just didn't know how to. One time in Bengazi, the sergeant plus the two lads and I thought that we would go fishing off of the sea wall. “Can I come with you Corp?” he said.

“Nope.” I replied.

“Oh go on Corp” he whinged.

“Don't call me Corp.” I said.

So we decided to have a vote, “Hands up all those who want to have a lovely day with the flight sergeant?  Sorry old chap, you’re on your own.”  Well this did not deter Old Bo, he commenced to follow us at about 30 paces. So we all decided to run.  Soon after starting off we heard this loud screech from behind. Stopping and looking back, we saw Old Bo  hopping about on one leg clutching his foot. Unfortunately he had run onto a large nail which had gone through his bondu boot into his foot. In his uncontrolled jumping about he hit his head on an overhanging palm tree, stabbing himself!  So there he was clutching both his head and his foot, shouting at us to stop laughing. No chance. It didn't take long before we recovered. Lots of ale helped.

Many incidents occurred in hotels throughout the Middle East. Another time in Bengazi it rained. Boy did it rain!  After a liquid supper got my head down in this hotel room.  I went to pull the curtain too, and the great big wooden pelmet came off knocking me out. I awoke during the night soaking wet as the room had flooded, but hey we were two floors up.

At Akrotiri one night we had to load a Hastings.  We couldn't wake any of the Aircraft Servicing Flight to put the trollyack on for lighting. So Old Bo got his torch out for us and demanded that we start. Well after a bit, there was a voice at the door, "What’s going on here?"  Well Old Bo shone his torch on the Station Commander’s face, stood bolt upright, hit his head on the baggage rack pushing his cap badge into his forehead. Blood pouring down his face, trying to give the CO an explanation. He refused to go to Sick Quarters as he was in charge. I could go on and on, but you might get bored.

We had this lovely Northern Irish LAC who we nicknamed "Shamus." His Nan kept sending him Mars bars. Anyway, we were on our way to Jordan when we lost an engine in the Beverley.  We had the rear doors off and were carrying a great big LOX container and a lightning pack-up kit.

So we diverted into Beirut. Funny when we landed I counted the engines and all four were there.

Anyway into this Hotel we went. The night time entertainment was Scottish country dancing. The next night they kicked Shamus and me out of this Hotel and we had to make our way to another one.

On the way we were chased by a sword wielding Arab, don’t ask me why.  When we checked into the hotel, off we go to the room knackered, and get into the double bed.  There was a long electric lead hanging down from the ceiling as a light switch.  So I says to Shamus, “You ready for the light off? “

“Yes!” he said. After which we were both electrocuted. Both screamed like banshees. No one came to our rescue though.

Lita and I had a lovely bungalow in Nicosia. At the entrance gate there was a large grape vine until our golden Labrador, Kim, chewed her way through it.  Our landlord wasn’t too pleased and even a crate of cans and  bottle of malt didn’t defuse the situation.

We had interesting neighbours; on one side were two randy US sailors and on the other a minister in the Cypriot government.  He often came in for a coffee and a chat, always on his own.  He went off on a trip to Geneva leaving his “hostess” Egyptian lady friend on her own.  She took a fancy to a handsome Greek policeman.  All the local gossips couldn’t wait to tell the minister when he returned from Switzerland which resulted in her being unceremoniously and very loudly ejected.

Me being me, I invited him in for a chat and asked him where his “wife” was (we knew where she was as we had seen her in the city).  He said she had returned to Egypt because of her parents’ ill health – Yeah, right!

There was this lovely fellow on Nicosia Air Movements, a great cricketer and very fond of curries.  He had his girlfriend flown out from the UK to live with him.  He was friends with an RAF policeman who had a spare bedroom, and so he and his girlfriend dossed down there.  Not being married he wasn’t entitled to any allowances which resulted in his having spending power problems.

Being close to the end of his tour he took his personal effects down to Akrotiri for shipping back to he UK.  Geoff Bear started to help him offload them from the lorry but was stopped when a group of Military Police took the task over and promptly opened up every crate – I wonder why?

We exchanged Christmas cards for many years until his final posting came through – God bless Smudge, my old friend.

Back in Akrotiri we had  fitter on the section.  Nice chap.  He was a Class 1 Referee and always in demand for international football games.  He absolutely refused to be treated as an Air Movements coolie which resulted in a big falling out with the OC.  He subsequently was transferred.

The corporal on the team eventually got his wish and was transferred back to a peaceful life in Stores.  Ken Grant was promoted and took his place.  At one time when Ken was enjoying a peaceful evening at home in Limassol when his neighbour, another RAF bod, who regularly excelled in drinking too much of the brown stuff, had another go at rearranging his lady’s facial features (wasn’t the first time apparently).  Ken, being the nice chap that he is, popped over for a friendly chat with his rambunctious neighbour.  As you can imagine the friendly chat got very heated and exchanges of knuckles soon ensued.  During the course of the altercation his neighbour’s ear got knocked off – how was Ken to know that he had a false ear?  End result: his neighbour called the MP’s and Ken was able to sample the delights of the lock up’s bread and water diet.

Lita, being on her lonesome for most of the time got herself a job in the RAF hospital.  She can tell a tale or two, make no mistake!

I got to work one day and the OC tells me to report to our task manager, Flight Lieutenant Harry Pollard in Episkopi (Harry eventually retired as a Squadron Leader and we became very close friends some years later, but that’s another story).  Well an incident occurred at the Joint Air Movements set up in Episkopi.  Two corporals, one RAF and one Army were mates.  Their wives became mates, and they ended up becoming over-friendly with each other’s wives. One of the ladies refused to go back to her old man and so another punch-up ensued.  This apparently was good entertainment for the upper class brass at Episkopi.  It was awful there and I had to endure it for six weeks.

During this period there was an exercise being held at Nicosia and I was volunteered o drive the Massey Ferguson forklift tractor over there – 5 hours on hot and bumpy roads with no stop and there’s no cover on the forklift.  When the exercise was over guess what happened? Yup, that was hot and bumpy too!

Another time when we were on our way from Akrotiri to Nicosia in a Landrover, we were stuck behind a slow moving and heavily overloaded lorry carrying sacks of potatoes.  This was beginning to get on my nerves, so out I gets, runs up to the lorry thinking I would relieve it of some of it’s burden.  I touched one of the sacks very gingerly and it fell right into my arms…  they made excellent chips!

Another detachment, this time to a desert outpost in Libya called Got Al Afraq to play war games; Exercise Crayon.  This is where we lost one of our Argosys on July 5th 1968 when it hit a makeshift shower (a 50 gallon drum) during a low level run.  There were no survivors out of the 11 souls on board.

There were many trips around the Near and Middle East.  Some of the regular ones were Diplomatic Mail trips to Teheran and Istanbul.  We did a lot of those, it was quite amazing what was classified as Diplomatic Mail!

Eventually I was Tourex and destined for a final posting to Air Movements at RAF Lyneham; I wanted to keep my hand in as a good practise for civvy street.  When we were boarding the Britannia for our trip top Blighty, Lita and I witnessed a punch-up between two Movers at the bottom of the passenger steps and we knew both of them.  What a send-off!

I was always amazed at the compilation of the MAMS teams.  I don’t know what it is now, but back then it was always an officer, a flight sergeant, sergeant, corporal and two airmen.  We were blessed mostly with senior NCO’s who had just completed an Air Movements course and the majority had never worked on an actual aircraft before.  Some didn’t even have their driving licences. But there were a couple of Senior NCO's worth a mention who I had the priveledge to serve under on NEAF MAMS. Both of them had a 20th century outlook, who took an interest in their subordinates and were excellent organisers; Flight Sergeant Rocky Hudson and Sergeant Tony Harris.

Back then, in the early days of MAMS, we always seemed to be isolated from each other.  For most of the time there was absolutely no camaraderie on the team whatsoever.  As a retired senior airport manager I reflect on this with dismay and often wonder how it eventually got to work. [It did work eventually Gerry.  Generally speaking our teams were so tight when we were deployed we became inseparable friends.  Back on base the military etiquette took over again – until the next deployment].

Yes, these are my personal views.  I found that the experience I gained during my time on Air Movements was of invaluable service to me. No one can take this away from me. These memories will last a lifetime.


From: Keith Parker, Melksham
Sent: 26 June 2009 06:24
Subject: Dave Howley's photo

Hi Tony

I think I can put a few faces to Dave's photo, here goes:

Back row (1) Matt Bernard, (4) Keith Smith, (5) Paul Weir, (6) Terry Fell, (7) "Old" Dinger Bell

Middle Row (1) Vic Sullivan, (8) Sam Heaphy

Front Row (2) Dixie Dean

Hope this helps

Best Regards

Keith KP Parker


From: Terry Mulqueen, Hastings
Sent: 26 June 2009 11:25
Subject: Brief No: 062609

Dear Tony

Ref. David Howley's photo of No.1 Mov's Assimilation Course. I am the handsome chappie No.3 in the middle row and of course No.2 on the front row is Dixie Dean.

Dave mentions our bewilderment as to why we were on the course; isn't that how we spent our days in Supply until we got the trade of our own? As I joined up as a Clerk Air Movements, I always wondered why I was given Supply postings.

Regards Terry Mulqueen.
( ex Clerk Air Movements/Movememts Operator/Movements Controller and Supply "Don't know what I'm doing Bod.")

p.s. The R.A.F.Mystery photo, I'm sure that fine figure of a man on the left is none other than Gus Cobb.




From: Ian Berry, West Swindon
Sent: 27 June 2009 05:17

Further to Dave's listing of names I can add a few more, incidentally Terry Roberts is in fact Terry Fell.

Back: 1L Mac Bernhardt 6L Terry Fell

Centre: 1L Vic Oliver? 3L Guss Cobb

Front: 9L Clive Hall



From: Gordon Black, Swindon
Sent: 28 June 2009 17:17
Subject: No1 Movements assimulation course.


I can name a couple of those in the photo: Back row 2nd Dick de Caires, 7th Dinger Bell. Front row 2nd Al Laker?

That's all I can contribute, I hope the rest get filled in.



From: John Morgan, Hayling Island
Sent: 29 June 2009 15:19
Subject: Brief #062609 "The Oddball Course", 09 Jun 2009 from David Howley

Hi Tony,

This is the first time I have corresponded on your website but I was very pleased to see my old mate Terry Titterington on this photograph taken in early 1972.

I take it that the AMS was still at RAF Abingdon in 1972, was it? That’s where I did my Air Movements training in 1967.

I left the mob in November 1970 and Terry and I were at Air Movements, RAF Masirah together in 1968 and had some great memorable times together with all the other Movers. This is the first photo I’ve seen of the old reprobate, I’m so glad to see him looking so well. I also notice that Terry is one of the few in their No.2 dress uniform and not their No.1 dress, typical of Terry that.

In March 1968 I was posted at extremely short notice to Joint Services HQ @ HMS Jufair at Bahrain Docks on Sea Movements until August 1968 when I returned to the UK and RAF Brize Norton until Nov1970. The reason for the short notice it turned out was because a certain SAC George Templeton was caught messing with the Army Captain’s wife and he was shifted out of there quick smart. Thanks George, but I could see why he did what he did, she was very attractive and in all that heat as well!!, and I mean, what else was there to do in Bahrain?!

I wonder, does anyone know how Terry Titterington is these days, where he is located and whether he is contactable by e-mail, phone or whatever?

All replies and information gratefully received at: .

Kind regards and keep up the excellent work Tony, the “Old Bods Briefs” are always worth reading.

John Morgan

Here's the current tally then - we're still missing a few names:

Matt Bernard

Dick de Caires

? Smith ?

Keith Smith

Paul Weir

Terry Fell
'Old' Dinger Bell

Vic Sullivan

Dusty Miller

Terry Mulqueen

David Howley

Alan Warwick-Moore

Hope Irvine


Sam Heaphy


Dixie Dean

Terry Titterington

Gwyn Sugg

Sqn/Ldr Harries

Jack Janman
Ken Wadey


Clive Hall


Pound for Pound, hamburgers cost more than new cars!

Leading figure in Berlin Airlift dies

The man who headed the New Zealand Air Force's contribution to the Berlin Airlift has died.

Colin Fraser, 90, served in the Royal New Zealand Air Force during World War II, serving in bombing and transport squadrons in Europe, the Middle East and the Pacific.

He later served in the Allied occupation force in Japan and led New Zealand's air force contribution to the Berlin Airlift, which took into Berlin with more than two million tons of supplies.

For these operations, Mr Fraser was awarded the New Zealand Operational Service Medal and the King's Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air. Squadron Leader Fraser later became the air force's Provost Marshal, responsible for discipline through the service.

Radio New Zealand


From: Andrew Hine, Trenton, ON
Sent: 27 June 2009 03:59
Subject: RNZAF Mystery Photo 060509

Sgt Jae Ekman removing rollers in preparation for the loading of Huey at RNZAF Base Ohakea, NZ.

This info was provided by Cpl Sutton "Kiwi Roz" from Camp Mirage, one of the keen movers from NZ.

Drew Hine

Thanks Drew - next time you're chatting with Kiwi Roz please extend an invitation to join the OBA:

The ancient Egyptians bought jewelry for their pet crocodiles.

From: Mark Bird, North Rustico, PE
Sent: 27 June 2009 11:06
Subject: RAF Mystery Photo 060509

Hi Guys,

Yes I am still alive and kicking. I do believe that the "gentleman"on the left is Martin Turner and the long necked gentleman is Jim Stenhouse.

Glad to see that Syd Avery has not lost his sense of haha....

Tony, great publication, enjoying


Thanks Turk, perhaps Steve Tomlinson down in Oz can concur?


'Dame of the Skies' farewelled in Brisbane

Mechanics, engineers and current and former Air Force personnel gathered in a hangar at Brisbane Airport today for a farewell for the RAAF Caribou. The transport plane affectionately dubbed "The Grand Dame of the Skies" has been flying with the Royal Australian Air Force since 1964 but will retire in November.

Caribou A4-140 was one of the first delivered in 1964 and today visited its maintenance base at Brisbane Airport for the final time ahead of its decommissioning. It was known for its ability to land and take-off in a short distance. The plane has clocked up more than 20,000 hours in the air over its 45-year career. It flew troops during the Vietnam war, peacekeeping missions in Pakistan and the Solomon Islands. It was used for humanitarian relief efforts including delivering aid during the aftermath of the 2005 Asian tsunami and food supplies to drought stricken Papua New Guinea. Its most recent combat role was during the United Nations intervention in East Timor.

Wing Commander Tony Thorpe, the Commanding Officer of the 38th Squadron, says it was a sad day. "It definitely is, it is the end of an era and it will be sad to see the airframe go because a lot of people are very attached to it," he said. "It's a great aeroplane from the pilot's perspective, there is no autopilot so there's a lot of thought required to fly it'."

Asked how the plane would be remembered Wing Commander Thorpe said: "it'll go down as a very big part of the history of the Air Force."

The Commander of the RAAF's Air Lift Group Air Commodore, John Oddie, was on hand to lead official proceedings. He says there is still a lot of affection for the plane he describes as the Air Force's workhorse. "It's a really good aircraft to fly, its a gentle aircraft and very reliable," he said. "It moved the gear around that needed to get places and commonly that gear was quite critical." But he says modern warfare has made it obsolete. "The types of weapons that are available to be used against our aircraft are a little bit more capable than previously so that's why this aircraft is less relevant today," he said.

Air Commodore Oddie says the Caribou will be replaced by newer aircraft which can fly further and carry more. The final flight of a Caribou will be in November.

Caribou A4-140 will go on permanent display at The Air Force Museum in Point Cook, Victoria.

Video: Caribou Aircraft Farewelled in Brisbane (Expires October 5, 2009)

ABC News

40% of women have hurled footwear at a man.

From: Tony Street, Buffalo, NY
Sent: 30 June 2009 15:42
Subject: JATO Jugs


In another forum, a question was asked,” Does anyone recall doing a C130 JATO takeoff with the ramp and door partially open?”  I’m all over this one!

It happened during my tenure at 435(T) Sqn Tactical Airlift School in Edmonton, Alberta some years ago.  Our CO, Maj. Frank Fay, his faithful sidekick, Ted (Tonto), Parnwell and us, the school loadies, were kicking around ideas on how to steal the thunder of The Snowbirds, The Thunderbirds and sundry other teams of fighter a/c that seem to clutter up an airshow. I and others noticed that they have fly to an adjoining country just to turn around and come back.  When they do get back, however, they are only here for an instant before bogging off again to find their way back to make more noise and smoke. 

As for us C130 rubbish, I believed we should do our trick right on the show line, in front of thousands of suitably awed peeps by giving them a show to remember and relate to their heirs and scions. I appointed a planner.

“Now, here’s my plan” said Sgt Bob Lloyd, SNCO I/C Airshow Planning. “We enter stage left from our holding point (in an adjacent country), and LAPES our unit mascot (a 36,000 lb bulldozer named Old Shakey) in front of the crowd. When I, the Loadmaster, scream, “Load Clear!” you, Maj Fay, will firewall the throttles and raise the nose, while you, Capt Marvel…er...Parnwell will simultaneously mash the JATO button. The FE will also act in harmony and select the Ramp & Door switch to “Close.” I can see it now. ” He continued, “What with Old Shakey trundling along the show line with a ground speed of over 100 knots, the roar and colorful, flaming JATO jugs, and us, with a sudden loss of 36,000 lbs climbing vertically through Vno, Vx and Vy Vne in that order! It’ll be a fantastic milestone in the annals of transport aircraft at stupid air shows.” (By this time, Bob was in a transport of delight of his own making!).  “I’ll advise the base photographers to use wide angle lens and high speed film! With the ramp and door now closed” he went on, “We will execute a wing-over and carry out an assault landing, right on the numbers, show ‘em a four engine full reverse for 50 feet, or so, and then a max effort take off! And Tony, you start on an all crew position checklist for Operation Thunder Theft!”

In my head, I was already writing Bob’s annual assessment. He got a seven. No fault could be found in his planning. By any of us.

We were to practice this cunning array of stunts on Friday afternoon and take it to the people the next weekend at the annual Abbotsford Air Show in British Columbia, a two- hour flight (from an adjoining province).

Let me make two small points here.  One: If you look at the back of a C130 hung with eight JATO bottles, they don’t point straight back. In fact, they point downward and towards the centerline of the a/c, directly across the path of a closing ramp. Oooh! Two: Most of our bad luck with new things occurred on Fridays. A good thing, really, as it gave us all weekend to clean up any wreckage.

“Showtime!”  With the ground support team in place and the LAPES zone laid out, our Intrepid Birdmen took off for the first, and only, dress rehearsal of Operation of Thunder Theft. They approached the extraction zone, deployed the drogue, had a good wheel height (one meter), and deployed the three, 28ft extraction chutes (over 100,000 lbs of extraction force!). With a roar and clatter, Old Shakey left the C130 on its 103rd drop! Simultaneously, the Herc, now 36,000 lbs lighter, leapt its normal 100 feet vertically, just as the JATO bottles fired. There was a tremendous thunderclap, accompanied by an almost vertical pillar of flame and colourful smoke 200 feet long. Sitting atop of it, and rapidly disappearing into the ether, was our C130. “Yeeee Haaaa!”

We were gobsmacked, stunned into silence.  The plan had worked!  (Like many others, I always like to have a plan, as it gives you something from which to deviate).

Blue Angel's C-130 with JATO bottles
(For illustration purposes only

 But it was here things went pear-shaped. Amid the column of flame and smoke appeared both large and small chunks of brightly shining burning and melting material blasting to the ground. We, as one, realized that this was the ramp’s “Elephant Ears,” being burned from the a/c as it rotated up through the flames from the JATO jugs!  With the a/c on fire, the crew carried out the assault landing, now in full emergency, (instead of entertainment), drill. The ramp never did get completely closed.  Us C130 types know, what happens to all the smoke and dust at the back of the C130 when the door is open in flight. It gets sucked forward to the 245BH! [It's the 245 Bulkhead.  It separated the nose/flight deck from the cargo compartment.  It's located 245 inches from the reference datum line, thus its name] The flames disappeared  as soon as the jugs burned out and the remaining chunks of the ears, were doused using an on-board extinguisher as they taxied in trailing smoke. The video is a thing of beauty.

Meanwhile, the tower troops saw the event and hit the panic button. The result caused all non-essential troops to down tools and head to the flightline to rubberneck and get in the way of the Fire Fighters and Air Cops.

One of the first guys who jumped into the a/c was the armourer who had hung the JATO jugs.  He knew something was amiss and wanted to know if he’d messed up and had time to cover his ass.  He was met at the 245BH by Sgt Bob, now, covered in settling dust and JATO ash. He was wide-eyed and in shock from the sudden turn of events that had just about overwhelmed him. He was numbly holding his copy of the Operation Thunder Thief checklist, while gasping in lungsful of newly JATO enriched air, looking akin to some Saturday morning cartoon character who just survived a TNT blast.

The gun plumber took one look at Bob and asked, “Ya didn’t breathe any o’ that JATO smoke inta ya, didja, Sarge? Is poisonous, ya know!” 

While Bob was on his way to the hospital, we raced into the hangar and hit the phones. We were trying to locate medical personnel at both Command and HQ levels in Trenton and Ottawa to see if we could find out how much time Bob had left. There was no such expertise on base, according to the armourer (remember, this was Friday afternoon in western Canada, with shops all closed in the east).

But it was at the base hospital, once the situation was resolved by some medical officer dragged from the mess during happy hour, the base MO laughed and informed us that the smoke (though dirty, extremely smelly and irritating) was not toxic.  In fact, it was far from it.  Apparently, it was composed mostly of protein and, the Doc remarked, “If your sergeant had ingested enough, he won’t need flight lunches for a few days.

Bob was released, after 24 hours of observation (curiosity, mostly), and now has another war-story to bore us with.

During the Board of Enquiry, the question was asked of Maj Fay, “Frank, whatever led you to believe that you could do this kind of stuff, JATO with the ramp open?”

“I checked the Dash One and it is not a prohibited maneuver, Sir.”

It is now.

Then there was the time…



Please Sir, can I have some more?


From: John Guy
Sent: 28 June 2009 04:38
Subject: Re: UKMAMS OBA OBB #062609

Dear Tony,

John Holloway has unwittingly revived some memories for me.

1951-1954 I was stationed at RAF Fanara, a non flying unit in the Canal Zone, which was situated on the shore of the Great Bitter Lake.

This lake was also used by Sunderland Flying Boats as a staging post whilst on route to & from the UK to the Far East.

The tiny marina which was the home of the Marine Craft Section is still there as are the 6 houseboats, one of which was the officers mess, but there is no sign of the camp or the 250 married quarters it managed.

John also referred to Habbaniya having mounted RAF police, a similar situation to Akrotiri 1963-66. The stables were located next to the guardroom


Best Regards,

John Guy

Half of all Americans over the age of 55 have no teeth.

Thousands attend Air Forces weekend

CF-18 Hornet, Harvard, CC-177 Globemaster, Golden Hawks, C-114 Tutor jet Snowbirds, C-130 and SkyHawks . . . those were the special guests of a spectacular tribute to 100 years of Powered Flight in Canada in the skies of Trenton.

Aviation fanatics, youngsters and war veterans were among the thousands of people who visited the Air Forces Anniversary Weekend & Air Display at 8 Wing to commemorate the 85th Anniversary of the Air Forces.

The historic weekend kicked off with the rededication of the Memorial Gates: an equally grand affair during which a brilliant trooping of the colours of the air squadrons of Trenton -- past and present -- marched along before guests to underline the 60th Anniversary of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.

At one o'clock sharp, the crowd made its way toward the air field, looking forward to witness the unique and spectacular Centennial of Flight Air Show. Midway through the aerial display, a CF-18 Hornet from CFB Bagotville, Que., a Golden Hawk Saber and a CT- 114 Tutor jet (Snowbirds) flew side by side during a unique demonstration commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the first powered, heavier-than-air, controlled flight in Canada by J. A. D. McCurdy in the Silver Dart.

Surrounded by his wife Madeline, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, former Lancaster bomber pilot Lawrence Vincent Whyte, 89, was overwhelmed. Its a really special day for me and my family," said Whyte, standing near the only flyable Lancaster in Canada. It's quite a thrill to be here and to see the bomber again, it brings lots of memories from my time as a pilot."

Unfortunately, Whyte didn't get the chance to see his" Lancaster flying by CFB Trenton Saturday as the aircraft was not cleared to take off for technical difficulties

North Bay Nugget


From: Robert Whitaker, Victoria, BC
Sent: 01 July 2009 19:31
Subject: Re: UKMAMS OBA Online Store

Hi Tony

Thanks a lot for the link. Hope all is well?

I recently left the police and now work for the Canadian Government (Transport Canada) in Victoria. Looks like I'll be heading across to sunny Ottawa sometime in September/October on a course. Never been so looking forward to it - I hear the air museum is good!

Just got my Canadian pilots licence 2 months ago (had one in the UK but married life put paid to it. The wife is very understanding now though!). Great job with what you are doing - keep it up.



Thanks Bob - give me a call when you get to Ottawa and I'll let you buy me a lunch!

In the meantime, the purpose for the OBA Online Store is (bottom line) to generate funds to plough back into the Association so that I can eventually get lapel pins, coffee mugs etc., produced with the OBA logo - something that all of you would be happy to wear and use I'm sure! You'll be sure to want to buy your mothers-in-law a nice present from the store - click on the link below and happy shopping!

Cats cannot taste sweet things.

From: Philip Clarke, Vienna
Sent: 02 July 2009 09:07
Subject: New Zealand Bound

Greetings Antoninus, noble webmaster

Just a note to let your Kiwi members know I will be Down Under, from the 10th to the 29th July (mid bloody winter), & if there are any get  togethers going, will do my best to attend, & relieve the RNZAF of any  surplus beer.  Arriving Aukland International about 1120 on Malaysian  flight MH131.  It'll be my third trip in 6 years.

Purpose of trip - nearly new, barely used (2 months) Grand-daughter.   I'll be based in Rahetihi (North Island), next door to Ohakune Ski  Fields, with visits to at least Napier, Wanganui & Palmerston North.  I can be contacted on +43 699 10620691 or by e mail to (tooled up with the Blackberry).  Did the South  Island last time, lots of mountains, but I have lots of those in  Austria.  Not many Whales in Austria though, so Kaikura was quite a treat.

Congrats on your new haberdashery, had a stroll through all departments this morning, know exactly where to come when I decide to invade  Lichtenstein.  Shame there is a dearth of RAF memorabilia.

On my return I will do my best to start contributing more, as in the old days, maybe even with quizes / prizes.  Will submit a full report on the trip when I get back.

Time to let the guys & gals know that contributing a few bucks to Tony's site is simplicity itself, gives you a nice warm feeling (like peeing yourself in dark trousers, you can feel it, but no-one can see it), & the cold feeling in your wallet is delayed for a month until the credit card bill arrives.  Hope a few more have contributed, will do a bit more when I get back.

Cheers from your old mate, 25th September 1963 seems just like yesterday, wish it was tomorrow, maybe I would use Plan B.

(aka Nobby)

Thanks Phil - have a great trip!


County turns out to mark Armed Forces Day

TRIBUTES were paid to serving soldiers past and present as hundreds lined the streets of Oxfordshire to celebrate Armed Forces Day.

Soldiers marched through Banbury with fixed bayonets while crowds fell quiet in Wantage town centre for a two minute silence as residents joined millions across the country to honour the nation’s serving soldiers and the fallen.

Armed Forces Day replaces Veterans Day in a bid to include servicemen and women currently on active duty for their country.

In Wantage, about 500 people watched a parade of standard bearers joined by representatives of the Army and Royal Air Force and ex-servicemen, which culminated in a service at the town’s war memorial.

Canon John Salter led the service, while the march back through the town was led by Wantage Silver Band, ending in a salute taken by Lieutenant General Sir Thomas Boyd-Carpenter, chairman of the Berkshire Royal British Legion.

Wantage Mayor Patrick O’Leary said: “It was a sombre occasion and very respectful. During the two minutes of silence and at the end of the service it was a stirring moment. In Wantage we have Remembrance Day services, Battle of Britain services and an event for Armistice, but this day was special and fits in perfectly. Regardless of what people’s personal thoughts on the conflict are, the soldiers need our support and this service is about giving them the respect they deserve.”

Contingents from Dennison Barracks, Hermitage, RAF Benson and local Air Training Corps cadets joined the parade.

The town was specially-chosen to host the celebration and given a flag to mark Armed Forces Day which is being flown at County Hall in Oxford until today. It will then be taken down and presented to RAF veteran Stan Bradford, who received the Distinguished Flying Medal.

In Banbury, hundreds of well-wishers gave their support to veterans and the 5 Squadron Signals Regiment who were given the Freedom of the town 10 years ago.

The servicemen marched through Banbury with fixed bayonets.

The town was not one of Britain’s official Armed Forces Day hosts, but the town bought a flag and pledged to host an event regardless.

Civic officer Tricia Campbell said: “It is a really essential, positive day where we can say thank-you to all the armed forces, those still serving and people who have returned home. There were lots of people clapping and cheering.”

Oxford Mail

McDonald's salads contain up to 60% more fat than their burgers!

From: Sandy Keeler, Kingston, ON
Sent: 02 July 2009 09:53
Subject: Deploying

Hello all,

I have just received my call from Ottawa. I deploy July 15th.

I hope to see some of you before I go, but 2 1/2 weeks is not a lot to time to get my last bit of paperwork in order.

Will be thinking of all of you if I don't get to see you before I go. Take care,


Be safe Sandy


From: David Powell, Princes Risborough
Sent: 02 July 2009 14:48
Subject: Old Bods Breif - 'FSR' Johnson

Dear Tony,

Thank you for another informative enjoyable brief. In particular, thanks for including the obit for AVM Johnson.

I knew that he had not been well for some time, but I missed learning of his passing. However, although referred to in the article as ‘Johnnie’ Johnson, within the branch he was always known by his initials ‘FSR’. He was my senior instructor at Cranwell, and in fact FSR gave me my very first posting “You’re off to Changi in 2 weeks time” – at a cocktail party 3 days before the end of the course.

Despite 3 years advance warning of a potential new equipper looking for a slot, obviously Air Secs were anticipating a course failure right until the last gasp of training. Although I never worked directly to FSR, I was on his staff on a couple of headquarters tours and our paths crossed on many occasions. A difficult person to like, he was easy to admire and respect and I enjoyed the challenge of his keen mind. Wherever he went, and whatever he did, he certainly made his mark.

On a lighter note, I see you have set up your own clothing stores, with many items in camouflage beige; beige, the preferred taste of high mileage individuals. Best of luck with the enterprise, and delighted that you are on the mend.

Best wishes

David Powell

You could buy gifts for all of your students David!

The lungfish can live out of water for three years in a state of suspended animation

From: Charles Collier, Devizes
Sent: 02 July 2009 14:51
Subject: Aden Forces Pistol Club

Hello Tony the haberdasher,

Well, you may remember some time ago I sent you pictures of the Aden Forces Pistol Club of which I was made secretary. This was some time ago so they may have disappeared in the mists of time. To remind you I've included one of two WO's: one French Foreign Legion; one Royal Corps of Transport. But what linked the two soldiers is that they were both Polish and were able to speak a common language together.

Anyway, what I'm coming to is that I found the address of Maj Peter Gilson who was a prominent member of the club so I wrote to him realizing that by now he would be in his seventies. So I wasn't too surprised to receive an answer from his wife Jane that Peter had indeed died earlier this year. However I spoke to her and said that I would send the album of pictures to her which I did and she could then with her son (also a colonel in the RE), could copy the pictures of her husband, his dad. Also, I went on to say that I had more 35mm slides of our time in the club so if her son e-mails me then I will send him more colour pictures.

All is not quiet in retirement as I know a lot of your correspondents will tell you!

All the best


It's great that you are able to do that for them both Charles. In the meantime, I did use the pictures for the Aden Forces Pistol Club in the article "Aden Days" which can be found here:


Via Rail is providing free rail travel between July 1 and July 31, 2009 for the Canadian Armed Forces. Click on the link below:

Kilts are not native to Scotland. They originated in France.

From: Alex Masson, Chelmsford
Sent: 03 July 2009 18:54
Subject: Veterans Day Event

Hello Tony,

I am pleased to learn from your comments in the ‘briefs’ that you have recovered reasonably well from your ‘back’ operation. I am so glad to hear this and trust you will continue to improve.

Congratulations on your recent OB ‘briefs’ – great stuff – you really do have the knack of putting a lot of things in an interesting way.

It’s pleasing to see how your following has grown – especially with our colleagues from Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Congratulations on your “shop” selling all those goodies. Smart move I think – even more power to your elbow!

Last weekend to celebrate Veterans and Armed Forces Day, we, Chelmsford Branch RAFA, along with all the other Military Associations held an event at our local – Hylands Park – Chelmsford. It was well attended by the public and the weather was unbelievably good.

The whole of the Essex ATC held their ‘Wing Parade’ there – with more than 1,000 Cadets marching and giving displays all day.

Each of the Veterans Associations including numerous units of the Royal British Legion paraded their ‘standards’ and marched ahead of the Cadets. One of the ‘paras’ who survive Arnhem was pushed in his wheelchair.

Each Association held a stall and the Army – RASC/RCT Association enlisted the help of 13 Regiment RLC who brought a variety of vehicles and weapons currently used in Afghanistan. The kids had a field day playing on their vehicles and pretending to fire the machine guns.

Our local Council had negotiated to display a replica Spitfire but sadly this was severely damage by fire just before the event – so they managed to get us a ‘genuine’ Spitfire Mk IX – EN598 coded JE-J – allegedly fighter ‘ace’ “Johnny Johnson’s” personal aircraft.

It is owned by a man who lives in Taunton, Somerset, and he displays it at “Fairs” and other “Events”

It is painted up as “Johnny Johnson’s” but whether it is or not is debatable. One thing for certain is, it’s a genuine Spitfire. Sadly it doesn’t fly – and never will, it’s in very poor condition. However the Merlin engine is still in place and it was run for a few minutes in the morning, at mid-day and again in the afternoon for the benefit of the crowd. Boy was it ‘rough’. I would certainly not want to fly in it.

I managed to get a local car dealer, Quest Motor Group (a local family business) to sponsor us and give me the use of a car decked out with our logo showing “Quest Motor Group Supporting the Royal Air Forces Association”. I drove this around the town to advertise the event and parked it all day at the front door of Hylands House as a focal point for the RAFA Stall. They are offering a 13% discount to members of the Armed Forces on top of any other deals that they have.

As a theme for this event I enlisted the help of a local Aviation Artist, Tony Carey. This artist, soon to become a RAFA member, having served in the RAF during the 1950’s, has never displayed his work to the public before and he was afraid people would think he was not good enough. He took some convincing that he was an excellent artist and much better than many who display their work and he finally agreed to let us exhibit them.

I think he is a fantastic artist. Our other sponsors “The Meadows” our local Shopping Mall (who supplied me with the display boards and transport) are anxious that we should display his work in the town centre – I agree! - that’s another event I will have to organize!!

Cheers each, Alex.


From: Jack Riley, Urangan, Qld.
Sent: 03 July 2009 20:49
To: Alex Masson, Cherlmsford, UK
Subject: Veterans Day Event

Dear Alex,

I stand in awe of your organisational abilities and of your skills in roping in the aid of people, varied, to help with your events. The work which you
do, year by year, on behalf of the Royal Air Forces Association is outstanding.

Well done that man!




From: Tony Street, Buffalo, NY
Sent: 05 July 2009 10:51
Subject: Freebish and the Hat


I have signed up to attend the CL44 reunion in London and have been communicating with Malcolm. He asked me if I knew a certain individual and this is the result:

In September of '68, with an augmented crew totaling about 12, we were preparing for a flight from Trenton, Ontario to New Zealand on a 437 Sqn Yukon.

At the end of the final, all crew, pre-flight briefing, The lead pilot, nicknamed "Freebish," instructed the loadmasters: (He may have been recalling what must have been a particularly unpleasant event), "I want no loose articles in the a/c at any time! Everything will be tied down and secured for takeoff, cruise and landing! Do I make myself clear? Let's go!" (Rather harsh, I thought coming from from the mild mannered, pleasant and smiling fellow the squadron had come to know and love).

We boarded the a/c and took our positions. Freebish was the last aboard. He hung his tunic on the coat rack and, as he walked toward the flight deck, casually flipped his hat onto the crew rest bunk.

As we were taxiing out on this grand adventure, a loadie, ears still ringing, grabbed the hat, placed it on the floor seat track beside the coat rack, popped a 5,000lb tiedown ring fore and aft of the offending item. He then got a cargo strap and cranked the hat into the floor.

Some hours later, upon our arrival in Honolulu, the crew were milling around the area tryng to look as nonchalant as possible while awaiting Freebs reaction.

Freebish left the flight deck and came back to the coat rack and, without so much as batting an eye, unstrapped the hat, Punched the dome out (Its true shape never quite returned), slapped it several times against his thigh, raised it and blew the dust from it as best he could. He then grasped it fore and aft, snapped it on his head (John Wayne comes to mind), and announced, "Follow me," as we all trekked of the aircraft into customs.Not a word was ever spoken.

Best regards


Very entertaining - as always!

None of the Beatles knew how to read music. (Paul McCartney eventually taught himself.)

From: John Holloway, Shrewsbury
Sent: 05 July 2009 12:23
Subject: NSRAFA and Armed Forces Day

Hi Tony,

The weekend 27/28th June was been pretty busy for the organisers of forces parades. Saturday was designated as 'Armed Forces Day' with parades and flying displays all over the UK; the BBMF aircraft giving displays at most of them although there didn't seem to be anything going on in Shrewsbury.

I did think that with all the Saturday events it would deplete members turning up at the NSRAF day at RAF Cosford on Sunday. However we had a really good turnout with an actual count of 570 of us on parade with C-in-C Air Chief Marshall Sir Christopher Moran taking the review and march past.

He was accompanied by the RAF Cosford CO Air Commodore Green and we marched to the band of the RAF Central Band which we were told having them showed the high regard that the RAF has for us National Service service men. There were probably about 300 spectators watching us do our stuff

Because of the hectic day that the BBMF aircraft had the day before a few of the aircraft were grounded with faults so we had to share one of their Spitfires with the West Midland Agricultural Show in Shrewsbury which was taking place this weekend giving us a display. The weather prooved far too hot for us poor old 'uns and a few did succumb, but there was a very good team of medics in attendance.

Today, the 5th, I was at RAF Shawbury which was hosting another Armed Forces Day comprising a combination of ground and air displays based around the Assault Glider Trust. The band of the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Regiment entertained us with their pipes and drums. There didn't seem to be as many old paratroopers here this year certainly not like last year , in fact the RAF representation seemed to outnumber them. A pal of mine has an old WW2 German Scout car. He belongs to a group of collectors of old miltary trucks and armoured vehicles and they were in attendance as well, so all in all there was a good turnout.

John Cooper mentioned a few days ago that the Lyneham Gate Guardian Comet 2's future is in doubt with the coming of the Lyneham closure but I've not seen anything since. We have a couple of ex Lyneham bods at NSRAF Cosford who are also members of the Lynham Old Boys Association and I mentioned it to them, however they've not heard anything. There's plenty of room at Cosford for it so it should be saved.



Thanks John

Group Captain Everett Baudoux

Group Captain Everett Baudoux, who has died aged 90, completed two operational tours hunting U-boats before becoming the first Canadian pilot to graduate from the Empire Test Pilots' School.

On October 25 1940, Baudoux was at the controls of one of three Hudsons operating off the Norwegian coast near Stavanger when a U-boat was spotted. He attacked first, and ten 100lb bombs were released which were seen to straddle the submarine as it opened fire with cannon and machine guns. The Hudson was hit in the fuel tanks and the tailplane, and when Baudoux tried to recover from the dive nothing happened, as the elevator controls had been severed.

He managed to level the aircraft using the trim tabs and "gunning" the engine. With a steady loss of fuel and no elevator control, the Hudson made for base, escorted by the others, eventually making a safe landing. At first it was thought that the combined attacks had sunk U-46, but it managed to limp into port – badly damaged – four days later.

On November 11 Baudoux was on patrol over the North Sea when he encountered a Wellington bomber which signalled him by lamp: "In distress – short of fuel – how far to land". Baudoux replied: "Follow us", and escorted it to a safe landing at Montrose. Shortly afterwards he was awarded a DFC, his air officer commanding describing him as "an outstanding young pilot whose conduct is exceptional".

Everett Large Baudoux was born at Stellarton, Nova Scotia, on January 14 1919 and educated at Pictou Academy and the Nova Scotia Technical School. He started flying when he was 17. In 1938 he applied to join the RCAF, but was told that it could be 18 months before he was accepted. He immediately took advantage of an agreement that allowed men from the Commonwealth to join the RAF, and left for England to start his pilot training early in 1939. He joined No 233 Squadron flying on anti-shipping and anti-submarine operations in the Norwegian Sea and North Atlantic.

After completing 92 operational sorties, he was rested to be an instructor. During this time he became one of the first Canadians to ferry an aircraft across the Atlantic to the United Kingdom. In April 1942 he returned to No 233 Squadron and at the age of 23 became its commanding officer.

Baudoux flew patrols over the Bay of Biscay seeking the U-boats transiting to the Atlantic from their bases on the French coast. His squadron moved to Gibraltar in June and operated over the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, where the primary aim was to keep supply lines open to Malta and in preparation for Operation Torch, the Allied landings in North Africa. He made two excellent attacks on U-boats, and the citation for his DSO concluded: "This officer has always undertaken the more dangerous and unpleasant tasks, and displayed high courage and unswerving devotion to duty."

After returning to England in June 1943, Baudoux was a liaison officer for six months with the United States Navy squadrons operating from an airfield in Devon on anti-submarine patrols over the Bay of Biscay.

In March 1944 he joined the second course at the Empire Test Pilots' School, after which he remained on test-flying duties until the end of the war, when he transferred to the RCAF.

Soon after returning home, Baudoux became the first Canadian to fly a jet aircraft in Canada when he piloted a Meteor fighter. He commanded various flight test centres, including the Winter Experimental Establishment in Alberta and the Central Experimental and Proving Establishment in Ottawa. He held a senior appointment at the Canadian Armament Development Establishment and, from 1955 to 1959, was chief armament technical officer on the Canadian staff in Washington, where he was also the technical adviser to Canada's ambassador during the first Multinational Allied Disarmament Conference.

In 1962 he was appointed Director of Air Defence and Tactical Requirements at Canada's National Defence HQ, with responsibility for formulating requirements for future air defence and tactical fighter aircraft and the associated ground radar control and communications systems.

He completed his RCAF service as the commander at the large maritime airfield at Greenwood in Nova Scotia. He was particularly proud to finish his service in the light blue uniform of the RCAF before Canada's three services were amalgamated. During his lifetime in aviation he flew some 140 different aircraft and accumulated more than 8,000 flying hours.

On his retirement Baudoux returned to his birthplace, where he led a very active life. He was board chairman of the Nova Scotia division of the Commissionaires and an executive director of the Nova Scotia Housing Commission, where he was instrumental in establishing subsidised housing in the province. He was a champion of veterans, a much soughtafter lecturer and served on the Aviation Council of Nova Scotia.

Baudoux wrote "The Wedge in the Door – Gibraltar 1942", an account of The Rock's role in supplying the Allied campaign in North Africa.

Among Baudoux's skills was a gift for tinkering: he built scuba diving gear from aircraft parts, a wind turbine from tin cans and a grain-cleaning machine.

Everett Baudoux died on May 27. He married, in 1943, Daphne Gilmour, daughter of Sir John Gilmour, 2nd Bt, who served as British Home Secretary from 1932 to 1935. She died in 2003, and he is survived by a son and a daughter, a second daughter having predeceased him

The Pacific island of Nauru’s economy is almost entirely based on bird droppings.


Whale oil was used in automobile transmissions as late as 1973.

That's it for this issue

Have a great weekend!