19 July 2002


New members joining us over the last two weeks are:

Adie Boyes from Plymouth, UK

Allan Cooper from Banffshire, UK

Paul Newman from Peterborough, UK

Welcome to the OBA!


From:     Moss Scott
Date:      05 July 2002 17:12
Subject:  Hey Jude and Para stuff

Hi Tony,

No, for me it is a ghastly dirge [Hey Jude – see Old Boy’s Briefs 070502] that never stopped playing and the Beatles were inept musicians, drippy moody and writing a song for a child and releasing it to the world is not so much bad taste as just yuk! Enuff already!
Yup AVR18/68 was a para course and no I haven't any photogs, my trusty Instamatic must have been at home. My PJI was a world weary but kindly man, Sgt Bennet and Flt Lt Cobb was the course officer. I was to see a lot of him later. There was a chap called Brooks on the course and I chummed with a chap called "Paddy". All the rest were Marines. We were a companionable crowd but gave great despair to our instructors. The other section of us had a gangly hoarse voiced PJI for ever saying "Quickly, Quickly Now!" which I shall never forget. Some time later I had timed out and had to go for a recourse. I dimly remember that course other than it was great fun. Except Surgeon Lt Russ Peters injured himself badly and to my eternal shame I never found out what happened to him in the end.

I requalified quickly and with time to spare so we had the chance to get some "clean fatigues" in, i.e. with no 50lb containers to strap on, jump with and lower. We pre-fitted and chalked our names on 'chutes, leaving them on wooden racks ready for the off and the "rule" was no more than three jumps in one day lest you went "jump crazy". The story went that you got into a cycle of adrenaline and became careless. I remember after jump two going ape at the delay in getting into a Bedford to get back because the guys on my last aircraft had just done their first container. That was it for the day for them and chatter was their priority. Me and a coupla others made it to jump three hitching a ride in a land rover, grabbing our gear and then by running for the tailboard of a Herc with the sort of sickly grins which mean " I don't know why I am doing this". We were despatched in a little stick of our own at the end and made a poor fist of it all. All fingers and thumbs in the aircraft, sloppy exits and bad landings all round. It shouldn't have been allowed and I imagine such hairy arsed antics would not happen today. The world was a lot more child-like thirty years ago.
Later on I lost a mate in the Falklands campaign, a guy who swam a river once in training with his DMS boots on while the rest of us were in gym shoes! We re-learn the lessons of war every twenty years. Ships packed with no thought of kit dispersal and what will be needed first; ships on reduced alert; officers who won't let their men (i.e. themselves) go ashore until preparations are better advanced. Stupid frontal attacks. Two of the most stupid deaths I have ever seen. Funny. You get all the criticism on your battle training courses and then when the big cheeses get their chance for real it is no more than "two up and bags of smoke". Exactly what not to do.

Unbelievable. Unfannyinglybelievable. And the most inept general I ever got to know (he wasn't a general when I knew him first) is considered a Gulf hero but I look on him as an exploded man. Jan 1992 saw me as an NBC officer and the chaos was if anything worse and straight out of a Ray Cooney farce from  beginning to end. In a way it is good that war is such a haphazard affair because it means we have had so few wars to practice on. I wonder what sort of man prepares for his old age by gambling on old age and a pension and the chances that:  a) it'll never happen,  and b) it'll never happen to me! Well that's me and no way would I do it again.

I like the story of the old geezer in the East End in the Second War who was found shambling down a street at dawn. The warden cried out "You haven't been down there you stupid git, there's an unexploded bomb!" Says the old man "I know, it's in
my 'ouse, so I kipped down next door!" That'll be me next time round, if there is a next time. I'll be safe next door!!
All told Abingdon was for me a delight, a gentlemen's rest home and the treatment by the RAF there was a credit to the light blues, themselves gentlemen to a man, as they were everywhere indeed. Ah the buns from the White Shield van, the beer in the 101, the complete lack of bull, oodles of space. 

My mate Paddy was an older guy who re-enlisted and one day lost his POSBie. Oh the drama of re-instating his worldly cash but we went off on a Saturday to attend the worst footy match in history. One of the Oxford teams against one of the Bristol teams at home. Third division. We left at half-time and had a few beers instead. The next Saturday it was all over and we parted to go our other ways until we meet on the Great Day. It'll be in a white beer tent, with tables 6ft flat folding, pitched outside a red brick building "101" and so long as the ruddy angels aren't singing "I Hate You" (sorry, "Hey Jude") it'll be fine. I  shall feel in my pocket a set of keys and they'll be for a Morgan Plus Eight. No more containers, nothing but clean fatigues, in single sticks of eight from the port door. Bliss.



[Ed:  Thanks for your response Moss, very interesting recollections of your days "on the other side of Abingdon."]


From:     Sam Mold, Brighton,
Date:      08 July 2002 22:18
Subject:  Re OBA

Hi Tony!

From one of your "newish" old boys, I would like to thank you for your weekly gossip on days gone by, which I find makes for very interesting reading, despite most of the messages relating to well after my time. Please carry on the good work so that I may continue to keep up with the news - both old and new.

A few weeks ago I saw a plea for funds to help keep the website going by contributing to the cost. As I enjoy my weekly read so much, I would be pleased to make a donation to your most worthy cause, but for reasons best known to yourself, the e-mail omitted to mention a forwarding address for such contributions. Please let me know so that I can send a cheque (payable to who?).
In the not too distant future, I hope to send you a profile of myself. Due to my limited AMS experiences, this shouldn't  take up too much paperwork!

Sam Mold

[Ed:  Thanks Sam, greatly appreciated.]


From:     Scott Innes, Worcester,
Date:      13 July 2002 6:34
Subject:   I Learnt About Movements From That?

When I left trade training at the RAFMS in Nov 87 I got posted with 2 others to Lyneham and we were sent to see WO Devlin in Day Pax to be allocated to either B and D Shift or Exports (Days) - I chose D Shift. So off I set back to the block to get some kip as D Shift were starting their first night that night. Anyway, to cut a short story long...I got to work and settled into life in the crew-room (watching TV etc.). In the corner of the room was an old arcade machine so I thought I'll have go on that. I put my 10p in when a chap came across and asked me to go outside into the hanger (can't remember what for).

"OK mate!", I said (a nice friendly brummie term).

"Mate?...MATE??... I'm not YOUR F*****G MATE!!!" said FS Hughie Curran, "Get down and give me 20!"

"20 what, Flight Sergeant??"....mistake!

So there I was, on the floor, fag buts, tea bags and lots of smirking from my new workmates doing 50 pushups for the nice FS. Welcome to D Shift.

A few hours later I got sent back to Bombay Block as I'd been told I was going to Windsor Castle in the morning with the UKMAMS footie team to play the Castle staff.

Great...4 hours work and 5 1/2 days off...So up early and onto a coach with the rest of the rabble and down the M4 to Windsor. When we got there, the pitch was shrouded in fog and you couldn't see the centre circle from either goal. So after a quick knock about we all went the pub and then to Windsor Castle staff's club house for a nice few pints and a sheppard's pie.

Everything after this until the following morning wasn't even a blur. John Magill and Spike Marris had spiked (is that how he got his nickname?) my drinks with whisky and I'd passed out. Morph Richards got me back to Bombay Block (I'd puked on the coach) and dumped me in my room. Next day I got up feeling fine. I was already dressed so had a quick wash and struggled down to the main gate to get the bus to Swindon and go home on standown. My kitbag was full of duty free and for some reason my it took me 40 minutes to get to the main gate. My legs weren't working too well and my kit bag was getting heavier. I made it into Swindon and got on a coach headed for Birmingham. It was quite full and no one would sit next to me preferring to stand.

I got to Brum and managed to get home only to get a major bollocking from my old man. My coat, Tshirt, jeans and trainers were still caked with the remains of the sheppard’s pie, cider, whisky and lots of dried on carrots from puking up the night before. Cheers D Shift!!! Welcome to Air Movements and the shape of things to come.



[Ed:  Thanks Scott, perhaps a little too much information?  All memories though I suppose.]


From:     Mark Davies, Akrotiri,
Date:      14 July 2002 04:44
Subject:  Change of Details

Hello to the OBA, the site looks better every time I visit.
Can you please update my details on the members page to the following:
Phone: +35725966736
Country: Akrotiri, Cyprus - still serving, but in the Supply Sqn out here.
Many Thanks
Mark Davies

[Ed:  Thanks Mark - perhaps you can bring a couple of demi-johns back with you - assuming you haven't already drunk the island dry!]


From:     Rip Kirby, Kabul,
Date:      14 July 2002 16:38
Subject:  Afghan Adventures - the final one

Greetings all.....just in case you were wondering what I've been up to recently.....
...this is your action news reporter speaking from deepest darkest downtown Kabul. Been here nearly 3 weeks now and am more than ready for home. Time initially flew by but of course the last week is dragging. All being well, in 3 days should just be getting airborne for UK.

Work has got slowly better, but the job in the Force Movements Control Centre is still a bit naff. Working permanent nights and, tho' I agree with the need for 24hr cover, it's usually very quiet and not particularly fulfilling (for a man of my calibre !). Mind you, this has had some advantages: Keeps me out of the way of all the hassle during the day, and have had plenty of time for e mailing my beloved and surfin' the net for new property.

Moved house about a week ago: out of the tent by the vehicle maintenance yard and passenger processing area (both noisy !) to an old storeroom in the disused depot itself. Much quieter and cooler (so far) which helps when sleeping off nights. Mind you...the stores department has just moved near us too and I have a nasty feeling they may start stuffing shipping containers outside my bedroom soon. C'est la vie....days to day are getting few anyway. With Turkey taking over as Lead Nation in respect of much of the peacekeeping process, our flights are getting fewer. Still quite a lot to go yet tho. There has recently been the latest stage in the restoration of the country, another round of elections for the next interim level of government. It all went off reasonably peaceably but it seems several of the old warlords bribed their way into certain positions so who knows where things go from here.

There will still be a significant UK presence here for a while yet. We have another 200 or so Marines coming down from Bagram Thurs nite to fly out Fri am. As the Turks have taken over the military side of the airfield now, my buddies are having to be accommodated at this camp even though the lads are still handling all the RAF/MOD flights. This means a 20 min drive to/from the airport, bit of a pain for them. Mind enjoying having them here to gossip with (I was on my lonesome before).

Not much else to report for now. Highlight of the week was the other afternoon when sporadic shots were heard from close outside the base. Most unusual we thought as there has been no real bovver here since the war and its normally safe as houses. But since ya never know we donned body armour and loaded rifles (just in case) whilst it was figured out what was going on. Turns out the Czechs in the next camp were celebrating some national event and were just letting off steam with some 'happy fire'.  

Well nearly time to close now. As is customary, I'll leave you with a few things that I am looking forward to.

My beloved.
Pork Pies.
A bed more than 2 feet wide.
Green grass.
Loos that flush.
Beer (not had an ale since I got here).
Sleeping with no generators droning in the background.
Showers not from a hang up bag.
Tarmac roads.

In case you were not aware, my home PC was broken for a while (had to have the HD re-formatted. Also got new e address:  

And finally, joke of the month. 2 elephants were having a drink at a waterhole. Suddenly one of them strode over to some turtles and drop kicked one of them way into the jungle. The other elephant said, “Cor blimey (he was from the east end) what was that for?”

His mate said, “Well, I recognise that turtle as the one who took a nip out of my trunk while I was having a drink here 20 years ago.”

“Strewth”  said the 2nd elephant,  “I know we've got good memories but that's do you do it?”

“Simple: Turtle Recall!”

Groan. That’s all folks. Thanks for listening.

See ya soon.


[Ed:  Three weeks and you're missing all that stuff already?  I suppose "roughing it" to today's MAMS chaps is an hotel without room service!  Many thanks anyway, appreciate the news from the front - just remember to keep your vital parts out of the line of fire...]


From:      Mr R T Coney, Defence Services Secretary, MoD, London UK (via snail mail)
To:          Squadron Leader R J Riley (Rtd), Urangan, Qld, Australia
Date:       03 July 2002

Dear Squadron Leader Riley,

Your letter of 4th June addressed to The Queen regarding The Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal (QGJM) has been passed to the Secretary of State for Defence.  I have been asked to thank you for writing and to reply.

I can confirm that the QGJM has been instituted for uniformed members of the Armed Forces including the Volunteer Reserves, Cadet Officers, Cadet Adult Instructors and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.  Subsequently it was announced that members of the Emergency Services would also receive the medal.  The basis of eligibility was the completion of five years or more qualifying service for individuals who were serving on the 6th February 2002, the date of the 50th anniversary of The Queen’s accession.

The medal will not be awarded to ex-Service personnel if they had retired from the Armed Forces prior to the 6th February 2002.  The purpose of the medal is to commemorate the Golden Jubilee, which fell on that date, not to recognise service given during the course of The Queen’s reign for which other medals are awarded, like the Long Service and Good Conduct Medal, and the Meritorious Service Medal.  I should add that it was never the intention to include ex-Service personnel when the qualifying criteria were being drawn up, so monetary considerations were not the factor as have been suggested.  No disrespect is implied or intended to those like yourself who gave years of loyal service to the Crown as a member of the Armed Forces.

I am sorry to have to send you what I realise will be a disappointing reply.

Yours sincerely,

R T Coney


From:      Squadron Leader R J Riley (Rtd), Urangan, Qld, Australia (via snail mail)
To:          Mr R T Coney, Defence Services Secretary, MoD, London UK
Date:       16 July 2002

Dear Mr Coney

Please refer to your letter xxxxxxxxx of 3 July 2002

I must confess myself surprised to learn that The Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal was intended to recognise service on a particular date, or for an arbitrary period of five years ending on that date, rather than a more general contribution to the fifty years of Her Majesty’s reign.

The argument that retired personnel were not considered because they have already had the opportunity for recognition in other awards during their service seems doubtful.  Surely those still serving have similar opportunity?

You will agree, I am sure, that it was not I who raised the question of monetary considerations as a deciding factor.

I thank you for advising me of the result of Her Majesty’s review of the Defence Council Instruction.  I will now pass the appropriate correspondence for publication on the website of the ex-Service organisation of which I have the honour to be chairman so that our members may be aware of Her Majesty’s decision.

Yours sincerely

R J Riley

[Ed:  Well done Jack!  I suppose we are now part of the "Forgotten Many" but it was good of you to remind them that we're still here!  Personally I am in complete agreement with you.]


From:     Chas Cormack, Swindon,
Date:      Thursday, June 20, 2002 4:31 PM
Subject:  Qualifications for Senior Citizenship

A Senior Citizen is one who was here before; the pill, television, frozen foods, contact lenses, credit cards...and before man walked on the moon.
For us "Time Sharing" meant togetherness, not holiday homes, and a "chip" meant a piece of wood.  "Hardware" meant nuts and bolts and "software wasn't even a word.
We got married first, then lived together and thought cleavage was something butchers did.  A "stud" was something that fastened a collar to a shirt, and "going all the way" meant staying on a double decker to the bus station.
We thought that "fast food" was what you ate in Lent; a "Big Mac" was an oversized raincoat and "crumpet we had for tea.  In our day "grass" was mown, "pot" was something you cooked in, "coke" was kept in the coal house, and a "joint" was cooked on Sundays. The only people who had "aides" then were Generals.
I now consider myself one of today's Senior Citizens, and we are a hardy bunch when you think how the world has changed.
If the cap fits, wear it. 

[Ed:  Now that makes me feel Oooolllldddd!]


There is a new Mystery Photograph on the site - I wonder how many people will guess this one?  I'll give you a clue - the picture was taken a couple of weekends ago and two of the chaps are ex-SAC Air Movements Controllers and served on UKMAMS in the 60's & 70's.....


Well, that's it for this week

Have a great weekend!

Best regards