13 July 2001


Since we currently have House Guests I have not had too much time to devote to the site this week. I am, however, about two sessions shy of revamping the Member's List which is shaping up to be a beautiful thing. I will put a new "form" on the site for membership applications, which will be incorporated into the Member's Listings - makes more sense that way... anyway, on to this week's biz:

From: Bob Dixon
Subject: Re: Old Boys Briefs 070601
Date: Fri, 6 Jul 2001 10:08:16 EDT

Dear Tony

Rising to the Challenge from Jerry Allan to name the "Nobs" on the front row of the picture of Movements Officers at a conference at STC, I can identify the two on the front row he has missed. They are Clive Upton and Mike Walker.

Clive achieved early fame as a DAMO in Changi between 1968 and 1970 when he was given almost the first drive of the brand new staff car and, when distracted, promptly drove it into a nine foot Monsoon drain by the pan - in broad daylight! He also achieved the fastest offload of a Wessex, due for the Sultan of Brunei, from a Belfast - or Belslows as they were then. The retaining chain broke as it was being winched down the ramp. With native loaders leaping for their lives, the Wessex on its cradle hit the tarmac, bounced and landed on the inverted HD rollers placed behind the ramp. Setting off across the pan under its own momentum, only the Gods brought it to a halt before it too disappeared down a huge Monsoon drain. Clive was, despite my scurrilous stories, a very competent operator - and a member of the Colonel's Club (see below). He left the RAF some years ago and has done secular missionary type work in very difficult places including a particularly testing time in Afghanistan.

Mike Walker was my first boss in MOD Movements in 1976. He was an astute staff officer who was a Wg Cdr in Movements Policy, Plans and also commanded the SBC when it was on the right side of the Thames. A home brew expert, he made the strongest beer I have ever drunk. Talking of which, Mike could outlast anyone in that field. After a famous Colonel's Club meeting which I hosted when OC UKMAMS, his capacity earned awe-struck comments from the driver who delivered him to Swindon station for his return to the smoke. Having enjoyed a Colonel's Club lunch in the Mess, which proceed through pre-drinks, white and red wines, all the Mess stock of Brandy and 16 bottles of port between the 20 attendees, Mike climbed into the UKMAMS Landrover, sat in the back and cracked open a bottle of whiskey he had brought as "emergency rations" before he had gone through the Station Main Gate!

The Colonel's Club deserves a mention. Invented by that great personality and Premier League drinker, Ben Ball, it was open to Wg Cdrs who were classed as Movers by the founding fathers of the Club. To be invited to join, and it was not an automatic right, was a privilege and immense test of stamina. The Gp Capts in Movements tried to stifle it because they feared (quite correctly) that policy was being fixed behind their backs, but it thrived for several years. Meeting were under the excuse of liaison, educational visits between Movements Wg Cdrs at Staff and Station levels, but mainly consisted of 3-4 hour lunches when the problems of the world were all completely, if liquidly, solved. At SCC Hendon, the Commandant's car (Air Commodore) was borrowed to take home one group that was unlikely to negotiate the tube system safely, the meeting at Gordon's Gin in London (yes - gin before during and after the meal) did result in one member arriving in Bristol instead of getting off his train in Reading, and the meeting in Germany led to the lads at Wildenrath lining up to see if this very senior party would make it to the aircraft they had laid on for the "meeting".

The tragedy was that if you got promoted to Gp Capt, irrespective of your previous record, you were automatically ejected from the Colonel's Club. Ben Ball and I both had a great problem with that rule, and we left the Club with sadness, knowing that that particular group was a highlight of our comradeship in the RAF.

That's all I dare say - for now.

Regards to all

Bob Dixon

All the above illustrates the point I made in an earlier submission to the OBA - that without fun, life gets too serious for words.

[Editor's Note: Makes the Corporal's Club look a little whimpy....]

From: Don Massa
Subject: Complimentary Letter
Date: Fri, 6 Jul 2001 10:19:48 -0600

Dear Tony,

It was very thoughtful of you to include me on the mailing list that included the C-130J brief. Whew! Makes me glad I had to contend only with the "B" and "H" models. Simple (relatively), honest and nearly indestructible. Of course, by the time the Coast Guard got these aircraft the respective models had been in use for at least a few years and the problems that always show up on new or changed designs had been worked out.

Because of the nature of our missions, we flew the aircraft very lightly loaded but with maximum fuel. They could be made to perform like rockets on take-off. One doesn't normally associate transport aircraft with fun but many of our pilots gleefully "hung them on the props" on take-off...even from our smoothly paved, 7000-foot home runway.

In the Coast Guard we had a unique situation among American military organizations in that only the pilot and co-pilot were officers. The flight engineer and navigator/radio operators were enlisted personnel. In most cases, the flight engineer also served as loadmaster on the rare occasions when we actually carried any sort of load. This, as you might expect, led to some humorous interplay between the members of the flight crew. I'll bore you with only one that involved a pilot transferred to our station in North Carolina from the CG station in Hawaii. The "rep" that preceded him was that he was quite full of himself and could be a bit grating. He wasn't particularly happy to have been ordered from Hawaii to our little backwater air station in the southeastern U.S. and not at all reticent about informing us about that and of his exploits with and mastery of the C-130.

As was required, every pilot and crewmember reporting to a new station was required to make a proficiency check/area familiarization flight and I was assigned to his. After taking off and flying around to do the required air-work and area familiarization, we returned to base to do some touch-and-goes. On his first approach, having told us repeatedly how good he was (in fact, he was fairly good...but also annoying), the pressure was on to grease the landing. He was so intent on his approach that he didn't notice when the flight engineer casually and unobtrusively reached up and opened the bleed air valves for the de-icing as we neared the runway. Since the 130's engines always run at a near-constant rpm, their note changed only slightly but the loss of power was instantaneous. We dropped out of the sky and the touch-and-go became a smash-and-dash.

Chagrined, our new pilot cleaned up and flew around for another approach, determined to keep a little more airspeed this time and even more intent on the approach. You can see this coming, can't you? All the way down the approach he kept it a little high and a little fast and as he began to let it down, the engineer reached up and turned the bleed valves off. This time, the check pilot (flying in the right seat) saw him do it. He only smiled a bit and turned back to watch as the aircraft, now making more power, floated along above the runway until golden boy decided to go-around and try again, mentioning something about the unexpected thermals from the North Carolina countryside.

I'm sure you can guess the rest. For another half-hour, or so, he tried to grease it on, the bleeds went on and off undetected and he never did make a truly good landing. In fact, after one particularly hard touch-down, the check-pilot turned to him and said, "You know, I'm not sure you should do that to an 80,000 pound airplane."

So, for our final landing, the check pilot, one of the good guys, said he'd take it, the bleed valves were left alone and he slid it on smoothly as you please. My recollection is that our new pilot was fairly quiet on the long walk from the ramp to the hangar. I never flew with him again and I took my discharge a short time later so I can't say whether the experience changed him but I still remember the slight smile on the check pilot's face and the look of utter innocence on the engineer's as we confirmed the design limits of the C-130's wings and landing gear that day.

Thanks again Tony, for your thoughtfulness in including me on your list. As we all know, everyone who has ever been involved with aircraft, military or civilian, has stories to tell. My compliments to you for providing your OB's with an outlet, a means to share their unique experiences and to stay in touch with one another.

Best regards,

Don Massa

[Editor's Note: Many thanks Don - I really enjoyed that story]


From: John Holloway
Subject: Canberra Crash
Date: Sat, 7 Jul 2001 07:43:36 +0100

----- Original Message -----
From: TS Boyce
Cc: John Holloway
Sent: Friday, July 06, 2001 8:13 PM

Dear Dave,

I just saw your message about the Canberra which hit the top of a hill in Deeside. Round about the time you mention in connection with the accident to a 50 Sqn aircraft I went as a junior member of a Board of Inquiry convened to investigate a fatal Canberra accident in that same area although at this remove in time I can't remember which squadron it was from. Anyway, it had hit the top of a hill and disintegrated. A few feet higher and it would have cleared the hill. I do recall that we stayed in a very uncomfortable guest house in Ballater where the water was permanently cold, the food was terrible and it was run by a miserable old battleaxe who regarded us with the utmost suspicion and set out to make things as difficult as possible for us.

I do remember there was one bit of light relief. We cast around for witnesses with the help of the local police. Actually, there were no eyewitnesses as the accident occurred late on a Winter afternoon in poor weather. We did, however, interview the postmistress from the local village and in the usual way of these things asked her to tell us in her own words what she'd seen or heard explaining that afterwards we would write it down and she would be required to sign the statement. As in all fatal aircraft Boards, evidence had to be taken on oath and this worried her somewhat but eventually we managed to soothe her doubts, whatever they were.

She had, she told us, been up the hill on her bike delivering letters and was returning to the village. "It was getting to be almost dark and it was raining when I saw a bright flash and I heard a big bang. I thought the still had blown up." she said !!

Unless there were two fatals in the same area at round about the same time I think this must have been the same one you came across on your walking tour but which squadron it came from escapes me now. Since at that time the Canberra force, with the exception of the marker element, operated exclusively in the high-level role, I can't think why this aircraft should have been at low level and well below the minimum safe altitude for the area.

I'm sorry I can't be more helpful but, as with the mention of my untimely arrival at Mauripur, it did dredge from the back of my memory something which I'd all but forgotten !

With best wishes,

Sam Boyce


Hi Tony

I think I said before the W/Co is a real gentleman.

There's not many of us left!!!



[Editor's Note: I think it's "spooky" that Sam Boyce was on the investigation ... very strange! I received a "Thank you" note from Dave for co-ordinating the information in response to his question. I know it's a wee bit off topic, but I found it very interesting and trust the readership did also]


From: Tim Richardson
Subject: Re: Old Boys Briefs 070601
Date: Thu, 2 Jan 1997 06:54:32 -0000

Dear Tony,

I too saw the Belfast magazine article mentioned by Andy Kay, who I seem to recall wanted to be the chirpy Cockney in the POWcamp if captured! It reminded me of how the technical types at Brize would send out their most junior member to inform the loading team the the fully loaded flat floor Belfast had just gone US.

Best regards

Tim Richardson

[Editor's Note: Thanks Tim. There seems to be a lack of photographs of the Belfast in RAF regalia out there. I personally have a lot of slides - somewhere!]


From: Ian Berry
To: Dave Howley
Subject : AFME MAMS
Date: Mon, 9 Jul 2001 14:39:37 +0100


You are quite correct in stating that there were MAMS teams in existence before the official formation in May 1966.

For over two years prior to that FEAF MAMS was in operation out of I believe Seletar. Original members included Bob Turner, Rab and Liam Devlin, Geordie Readman and many others whom we've traced including an original team leader Bill Girdwood who made it to Gp Capt before he retired to Carlisle. We have also traced one of the OC's, Sqn Ldr Bart Pope (retd) who now runs a farm on Dartmoor. Altogether The UKMAMS Assn has 80 names 1966/70, traced half and over 30 have joined the Assn.

AFME MAMS as well as FEAF not only worked fixed wing but rotary including the 'scary' Belvedere (famous for its AVPIN fires on start-up). Original Aden MAMS included Gordon Gourdie who was first on the scene 'up-country' when a Beverley hit a mine. No casualties (the ALM was a guy called Todd Sootie who flew on Hercs after that for many years). There were no casualties to the crew but the aircraft was Cat 5 and had to be blown up in situ by the Royal Engineers. Gordon is still trying to trace John Moreland, can anyone help? Other AFME MAMS included Ross Mckerron and John Drysdale, a team leader who last heard of was having a holiday at 'Her Majesty's Pleasure'. I have over 30 names of personnel who served 1966/67 and the UKMAMS Assn has traced about 10 of them.

NEAF MAMS too was operating out of RAF Nicosia prior to May 1966. Don't quote me but Chas Cormack may have done a tour with them, I do know he did a tour there.

ps: George Menzies may still be in the Wilts area, he sold me an insurance policy many moons ago!

Hope this info is of assistance.



[Editor's Note: Thanks Ian - I am very grateful that you are able to put all of this down in writing - when is YOUR book comming out?]


From: Ian Berry
To: Skiv Deveskovi
Date: Mon, 9 Jul 2001 15:03:48 +0100


Douggie Betambeau left the RAF approx three years ago to concentrate on growing his hair and wearing his wife's earrings! They moved across to the Isle of Man where Doug worked at the airport but life on the island was too restrictive for him. They have now moved back to Swindon in Wilts, I can pass on an address if you require.

Al Randle is now a FSgt and has just moved very recently to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus for three years in the sun. I believe that was the real reason for the recent riots - they didn't want him back. if Al has kept his original e-mail address you can talk to him on

Rhys I presume is Rhys Warner? He went out a few years ago and talked himself into a job with Bernie ? the Grand Prix King. He now organises the airlift of F1 racing cars between venues. He may still be in the Wilts area but could find an address if you want.

Suggest you also contact Jonh Belcher (e-mail address on Members List) who can display your request on the UKMAMS Assn website.

Cheers for now,

Ian Berry

[Editor's Note: Skiv did send in an application for membership which I regretably had to decline (RNZAF). I did however add him to the mailing list for the newsletter, and also invited him to send in an article about upsidedown movements]


From: Jerry Allen
Subject: RE: Old Boys Briefs 070601
Date: Mon, 9 Jul 2001 12:41:16 -0400

Hey Ho .... you wanted my bio.

Jerry Allen .... born "Jeremy", it could have been worse, I was going to be "Robin". In 1980, my name ensured me of a commission - there was little else to recommend me.

1980 - No 155 Movements Officers Course - my fellow students were Paul Mansfield (Spic), Carol Pierce (Jugs - sorry Carol!), Dave (Boy) Green, Richard Partridge and Joy Milne (love at first sight). Luck again played a part in me passing the course. Firstly, John Boyd and Brian Basting were nearly always too hungover to notice my errors and secondly, as there was a secret hidden pass rate to achieve and we were the last course of the year - bingo! we all passed.

1981-82 OC MSF RAF Wattisham. Memories? - none of note, terrible pubs, lots of fishing.

1982 (2nd April) called forward 3 months early to UKMAMS due to a little scrap in the South Atlantic. Became Kilo (poundstrecher) Team leader. Team was Terry Roberts, Foddy Newlands, Nige Robinson, Kev Sullivan and Steve Maunder. Very few officers around at the time so lots of good trips - someone had to carry the imprest (a skill that I became particularly noted for in the years to come). Watched Willie Crossely almost being arrested in Dakar, wedged my foot between rollers in Asi, forgot to take a jacket to Bermuda (went hungry), shouted at constantly by Jim Stewart.

1983 UKMAMS Training Officer - why?, I have no idea. A clue might be the team I inherited: Reg Carey, Roy Armstrong, Kev Timms and Dinger. Laughter was the best medicine for the circumstances we found ourselves in over the next 12 months. I learnt a lot about the SLR, SMG, thunderflashes and ATC cadets - not much about movements. Reg begat Bernie Bernard who begat Sam Heaphy and I began to ask myself, "why me?"

1985 A few months as DAMO D while Mike Humphreys sped around in his Alfa Romeo trying hard to leave the RAF and the long suffering Eddy Turner had now to cope not just with an absent D/DAMO but also a Royal Dog mislaying boss.

1985 - 1988 OC RAF Mov Unit Dulles ..... great days, great friends ..... Trev Patch, Vanessa Mitchell, Doug Murray, John Purkis and the "bloody civvies" that held us all together - Joe Lynch, Alex MacAdam and Sandra Stewart. Never to be forgotten was Peter Hulme (Rest in Peace), the cantankerous old sod from whom I learnt so much and once paid me the greatest ever complement ... "we went to different schools together".

1988 - 1990 RAF Leeming OC Forward Supply and Movements. New station, huge challenge and who should walk through the door to "help" - Bruce Oram! What followed was comedy on a grand scale as we sought to educate the UMOs, build FAPs and take newly formed sqns on detachment for the first time. In the middle of all of this came a mini-crisis at Lockerbie where I found myself running an impromptu helicopter landing site in a school field full of sheep.

1990 - Plucked from bed in the middle of the night; almost arrested semi-naked, with a pistol in the back of the CO's Montego at 110 mph on the A1 whilst rushing to Northolt to "borrow" the CinC's HS 125. YES, this was the Gulf War and your unlikely hero was again in the thick of it not knowing why.

1991 - RAF Sealand - nothing to say!

1992 - 1995 Escaped Sealand to play second fiddle to Andy Spinks at TSW. A bit like UK MAMS really, except that we all smelt of fuel and lived in tents not brothels!

1995 - Another little holiday for 6 months as OC Port and Movements, Mount Pleasant. Given the worst winter weather for 70 years, a jolly god time was had by all. Married a penguin, two-timed a sheep and smiled at a Sea Trout Met Andy Murray (you won't know him - he was an Army postie) who had an ingenious way of repaying his enemies; he sent them rotting mullet in a Jiffy Bag!

1995 - 1997 ARRC in Rheindahlen. Don't be fooled, this was no fun. There I was dreaming of a good overseas tour following a "green" time with TSW then MPA - only to end up for the best part of a year in Sarajevo with IFOR. Good points: free haircuts, bad points: everything else.

1997 - 2000 Contingency Plans, HQ PTC - great job - but not great enough to keep me in ........!

2000+ ....... now working for IATA. Back with air transport, airports and all the other things with which I am so familiar. Job is trying to persuade and help the world's airlines and airports to integrate their emergency and contingency planning and standardise both. Is it possible? No, of course it's not but its a noble cause, allows me lots of travel and pays the mortgage. It's a bit like trying to persuade aircrew and movers to work together!

High points - remembering just how many people you have known and laughed with over the years.

Low points - the Gurkha curry on South Georgia (guess which animal they used?)

Special thanks to Steve, Bruce and Graham - I will keep the payments flowing.

Endearing memory - whatever shit-hole I was in around the world, however cold or hot, however lonely or tired, a Hercules would always rumble up to take me home.



[Editor's Note: Many thanks for your most colourful profile Jerry - I will get it onto your own page in the site in the next couple of days.]


[Editor's Note: The following was received in the OBA Guestbook - the end of an era...]

Name: Whaty Campbell
City/Country: Bruggen/Germany
Comments: Tony please pass on my sincere thanks to all those Movers past and present who made all the effort to come to the RAF Bruggen Movements Squadron closing celebrations (AKA The Big One). Without their support we would never have had the best week ever. It seems that the last ever RAF Bruggen Dave Wall memorial golf tournament was as usual an enormous hit with everyone, and special thanks go out to Taff Wood and his helpers. From myself and the rest of the Closing Bash Committe, thanks everyone you made it all possible.

The web master has left the building........RGDS.


From: Paul Gruner-Overgaard
Date: Thu, 12 Jul 2001 14:33:21 +0100

All yours boys.....
Any other queries you know where I am.

Rgds Brummie Overgaard

[Editor's Note: ......... I have no idea what this means - but I feel sure someone does!]


Well that's it for this week. I don't know if anyone else noticed, but we still don't have a profile from Bill Nangle!

Have a great weekend.

Best regards