RCAF supports emergency response to wildfires in British Columbia
On July 9, 2017, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) sent air assets, liaison officers and other personnel to support the ongoing emergency response to the wildfires in British Columbia.
The Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) has deployed a CC-177 Globemaster III, a CC-130J Hercules, two CH-147F Chinooks, and three CH-146 Griffons to British Columbia to support the wildfires operations.
The Province of British Columbia requested Government of Canada assistance in the form of RCAF air assets to conduct a variety of tasks, including assisting with the evacuation of the local population affected by the wildfires and assisting the ground operations by providing airlift capacities for first responders and equipment. CAF personnel will not conduct law enforcement or security tasks during their deployment.
The CAF stand ready to provide highly-trained personnel and unique resources tailored to help Canadians during periods of uncertainty and distress following natural disasters.
“Skilled and dedicated Canadian Armed Forces personnel always stand ready to help fellow Canadians in need,” said Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan.”Partners across the Government of Canada, including the Canadian Armed Forces, will continue to provide support to the province of British Columbia as they fight these wildfires and will continue to do so as long as the need exists.”
Public Safety Canada is responsible for coordinating the Government of Canada emergency response. Canadian Armed Forces personnel are in continuous liaison with public safety, other federal partners, and the province of British Columbia to ensure a synchronized response to situation.
CAF assistance in support of the province of British Columbia’s emergency response is undertaken as part of Operation Lentus, the CAF contingency plan that outlines the joint response to provide support for Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response to provincial and territorial authorities in the case of a major natural disaster.
From: Keri Eynon, Thatcham Berks
Once again thanks for the excellent newsletter; they bring back such fond memories of places and people.
Regarding the use of "Two-Six!" when moving an item. I remember being told by a navy chap that it comes from the days of cannons being fired on ships and every time one was fired it recoiled across the deck and had to be re-positioned at the port hole for the next shot to be fired, obviously after the cannon ball had been rammed down the barrell.
Apparently there were 8 men on each cannon, each with their own particular job when firing. Once the cannon was again ready to be moved back into firing position the numbers 2 and 6 crewmen were called out and it was their job to move the canon back into the firing position - it was easier to call out numbers during battle than names.
From: John Guy, Northampton
Subject: Two Six
Let’s put this subject to bed once & for all. The Royal Navy is the origin of the call two six. It was a call used by a gun crew on a galleon. The cry two six was uttered when the gun was manhandled into, or from a firing position. I’m not sure if the gun orders were from 1-6, or if there were 6 personnel in a gun crew, with numbers 2 & 6 responsible for manhandling the gun. If there is anyone interested enough to trawl the internet they may be able to confirm, whether I am right or wrong!
Bangladesh To Buy Two RAF C130J Transport Planes
Bangladesh has entered into a Government-to-government deal with the United Kingdom to purchase two C-130J C5 tactical transport aircraft to boost transport capabilities of its air force. Financed under the FY 2017-2018 defense budget, Bangladesh will become the ninth operator of the C-130J C5 in Asia, however, the details are not known yet. Dhaka currently has four Lockheed C-130E Hercules aircraft and two Let L-410 Turbolet Transport aircraft in its transport aircraft fleet.
The C5 variant of the C-130J has been modified and upgraded to include new Allison AE turboprop engines and Dowty Aerospace six-bladed composite propellers. The C-130J is used for tactical operations, parachute insertions and air dispatch of cargo.
From: David King, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
A comment from David Powell in last month's OBB brought back more memories from Muharrraq of Army personnel due to on-move to Sharjah, Masirah or Salalah arriving with railway warrants. They were always subject to much hilarity and comments about the timing of the next camel train heading down the Gulf!
2 Air Movements Squadron gets a New Leader
Lieutenant-Colonel Teresa Brown can now add Commanding Officer of CFB Trenton’s 2 Air Movements Squadron to her resume. Brown took over the reins from Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Young at Thursday morning’s Change of Command ceremony outside the base’s passenger terminal.
The squadron, first established in 1951, is responsible for airlift traffic of passengers, freight, mail and other items coming to and from the base. Based on information found on the Royal Canadian Air Force’s (RCAF) government website, the squadron deals with an average of 23 million pounds of freight and 42,000 passengers each year.
Although having never been the Commanding Officer of the aerial-based unit, Brown is no stranger to the squadron or Quinte West. She was first posted to Trenton from 2002 to 2005 when she served as the Cabin Crew Leader with 437 Transport Squadron. Brown also was the Officer Commanding the Transportation and Electrical Mechanical Engineering Squadron in 2007. Now back in the Quinte region, she said she, her husband and children were happy to be back.
From: Ian Envis, Crowborough, East Sussex
Subject: Re: UKMAMS OBA OBB #063017
Apologies for the below being late and not exactly a ''I served in Borneo'' item, however...
With the Brunei Revolt and subsequent actions by Indonesia and riots in Singapore etc., for what became known as the Indonesian Confrontation, the UK moved considerable military forces (aided by the Ozzies and Kiwis) into the forward area resulting in large RAF presence at Kuching etc.
As a schoolboy at RAF Changi Grammar School and living at RAF Seletar (father was SNCO Discip for 389MU), we suddenly found our school holidays in 1964 taking on a new role - digging weapon pits/air raid trenches and sandbag filler-uppers to assist the recently deployed 22nd LAA from BAOR (40mm Bofor guns). The HQ folks in Singapore felt their rapid deployment and lack of acclimatisation would cause lots of heatstroke and the like for some very ''white young conscripts''. The actual troops spent their time setting up the Bofors units and doing training in respect of possible Indonesian attacks.
I do remember the corporals and sergeants from the RAF Regiment and others who were controlling us treated us in a similar vein to those characters on the old TV show, "Get Some In'' i.e. lots of shouting! By the end of our assistance the trenches and sandbags passed muster.
Of course in those days Seletar was home to the Beverleys and Belvederes (later known as Flying Long Houses after deploying to Borneo's numerous bases and I suppose a principle target would have been 389MU, X-Site being the munitions storage MU for all RAF activities).
I suppose being relatively fit and certainly acclimatised we had fun, being fed and watered in the Airman's Mess as our ''inducement'' for services rendered. Not exactly ''war or service'' but part of my experiences of the RAF Far East..
RAF will allow women to fight close combat from September
The RAF will allow women to take part in close combat roles in their ground fighting force from September - more than a year ahead of schedule. Recruitment to women was due to open in the RAF Regiment by the end of next year, alongside the Infantry and Royal Marines, but a recent review of work practices found in terms of risks, it was closer to the Royal Armoured Corps, which is already admitting women to its training ranks.
Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon declared the move a “defining moment”. Speaking at the annual RAF Air Power Conference in London, he said: “A diverse force is a more operationally effective force. So I’m delighted that the RAF Regiment will be open to recruitment to women from September.
“Individuals who are capable of meeting the standards for the regiment will be given the opportunity to serve, regardless of their gender. Women will be allowed to fight close combat with the RAF Regiment from September [Moody Air Force Base]. This is a defining moment for the RAF as it becomes the first service to have every trade and branch open to both genders.”
Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Hillier, added: “The RAF is committed to providing equal opportunity to all so it’s fantastic to be able to open recruitment to the RAF Regiment to women ahead of schedule. We want the best and most talented individuals to join the Air Force, regardless of their gender, race or background. A diverse force is a more effective force and we need the best people to deliver the important work we do, be it defeating Daesh in Iraq and Syria or protecting Britain’s skies.”
The regiment protects RAF bases, aircraft and equipment at home and abroad.
From: Len Bowen, Chisholm, ACT
Subject: The RAF in Borneo
Memories of Aden
British Forces Aden was originally formed as Aden Command in 1928. On its establishment, Aden Command was a Royal Air Force (RAF) command which was responsible for the control of all British armed forces in the Protectorate.
It was renamed British Forces in Aden, or simply British Forces Aden, in 1936 and renamed again in 1956 as British Forces Arabian Peninsula. In 1959 Middle East Command was divided into two commands split by the Suez canal.
The two parts were British Forces Arabian Peninsular, which was based at Aden, and the rump of Middle East Command which was based in Cyprus and which on 1 March 1961 was renamed Near East Command.
In 1961 the command was renamed, again, this time as Middle East Command (Aden). In 1967, following the British withdrawal from Aden at the end of the Emergency, the remaining British Forces in the Arabian Peninsula, including units at Salalah and Masirah, were reorganized under Headquarters British Forces Gulf, which was based at RAF Muharraq in Bahrain.
Lieutenant-Colonel "Mad Mitch" Mitchell
Lieutenant-Colonel Colin Campbell Mitchell (17 November 1925 - 20 July 1996) was a British Army lieutenant-colonel and politician. He became famous in July 1967 when he led the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders in the British reoccupation of the Crater district of Aden. At that time, Aden was a British colony and the Crater district had briefly been taken over by nationalist insurgents. Mitchell became widely known as “Mad Mitch”. His reoccupation of the Crater became known as "the Last Battle of the British Empire". Although some observers questioned whether the Last Battle was ever worth fighting, the event marked the end of an era in British history and made Mitchell an iconic figure.
After leaving the British Army in 1968, Mitchell embarked on a career in politics. He was elected as a Member of the British Parliament in 1970 but stood down at the February 1974 general election. After subsequent involvement in a failed business venture he made his living until 1989 as a military consultant. From 1989 until his death in 1996 he managed a charitable trust involved in the removal of land mines from former war zones.
Recommended - watch "Mad Mitch and his Tribal Laws" https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6OOsoqSKaw
From: Phil Smith, Exmouth, Devon
Subject: Memories of Aden
During 1967 both my father, Maj (QM) Ron Smith MBE, and I were stationed in Aden. I was at RAF Steamer Point and he was based at Waterloo Lines and of course, being in the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, latterly in Crater. I had volunteered for the emergency draft while at RAF Kinloss thinking I would not get a suntan in the north of Scotland at that time of year, but I would in Aden (18 years of age at that time and very stupid!).
I remember vividly how my father would arrive at the Supply Squadron, Steamer Point, complete with his 10 man escort, armed to the teeth, to whisk me away for a tour of Crater.
Their landrovers did not have doors or roofs on to facilitate a rapid exit if required. It was a hell of a sight to see them arrive and jump out of the vehicles and take up defensive positions outside the Receipt and Despatch Section. They really seemed the real deal compared to RAF blokes dressed in KD that did not fit and wearing black leather shoes in 100 degrees of heat!
My mother was not too impressed when she found out her husband was dragging her son into a very dangerous situation unnecessarily. After all, RAF blokes only received a days' Ground Defence Training which did not include a visit to a very dangerous place!
Crater was the chosen base in Aden for nationalist insurgents, due to the narrow streets and Mosques used to conceal themselves in. The Argylls were not allowed to enter any Mosque without the Aden Police entering first. The problem was that the Police were just as bad as the terrorists, being responsible for a number of British servicemen's deaths.
Lt Col Mitchell was an iconic figure. When based at Waterloo Lines, British Intelligence informed him terrorist and indeed mercenaries operated from Crater as there was no British presence in the city. Mad Mitch informed his superiors that a presence was indeed necessary to stop British servicemen being killed. He was informed to do as he was told and not to occupy the area. He refused and promptly invaded. He basically defied the British Government. From that point on his long term Army career was, in effect, over.
The British people and the British press loved him; the British Government did not. His actions were completely justified as post Crater occupation British casualties were minimal compared to the period before.
Defence cuts were announced just after the Argylls returned to Seaton Barracks in Plymouth with the Regiment being top of the list. A Battalion Commander would receive a DSO after a campaign like Aden. He and my father were Mentioned in Despatches for Distinguished Conduct. Colin Mitchell left the Army in 1968 without being promoted, having trod on too many toes. He entered politics as a Tory MP from 1970 to 1974.
He left the Government for a well paid job in the private sector stating "he could not afford to be an MP". That statement came back to haunt him as the job fell through and he spent the next 10 years attempting to get back into politics, unsuccessfully. He found himself unemployed at times and dissatisfied with his situation. He died in 1996 after a short illness. His family have never disclosed the nature of that illness.
By the late Sqn Ldr Jack Riley RAF
From: Alexander Angus, Kippax, Yorkshire
Subject: Memories of Aden
Where to begin? There are so many memories, although 50 years on some details are sketchy. The most prominent memory is of the Britannia that didn't stop at the end of the runway.
Two of us were sent to retrieve the diplomatic mail, and although duckboards (of a sort) were put down, somehow the mud reached half way to the knee, and did it stink! After we had retrieved the mail, the DAMO wouldn't let us anywhere near the Land Rover, so we set off walking back to the Movements Section.
There's more to come though. We were halfway back and the boss came out again. "You'll have to go back out there - someone is missing, go have a look."
We really weren't in the mood for finding a corpse, still, back through that foul stench with torches, thankfully turned up no one. It transpired that the missing pillock was knocking whiskies back in the comfort of Neddies bar. I wish I could remember who else endured that little jaunt.
I also remember the one time it rained while we there in '67. It started to pour during the last hour of our night on D shift. Couldn't sleep, had to watch it all day, how very sad - memories of home I suppose.
I have loads of other memories, best not prattle on though. Anyway, great to read all the correspondence that you put out for us all, keep the faith.
From: Fred Martin, Godalming, Surrey
Subject: Memories of Aden
Hi Tony, just one of my many "Memories of Aden "
It was late 1961, I was an 18 year old LAC Air Movements Clerk, I had been posted to Aden straight from Movements School Kidbrooke, having gone there after square bashing at Bridgnorth. My total RAF service at that point was about 9 months. We had been exempted guard duty for the first couple of months as the big 1961 Kuwait pull out had meant we were working 12 hours on 12 hours off shifts, 7 days a week, for my first 2 months at Khormaksar.
With that shout over, Air Movements staff had to take their turn to guard the airfield at night. Although the colony was relatively quiet at that time, the powers that be decided that armed guards should be mounted on the airfield. We were sent out in pairs with a torch, whistle, an ammo belt with 50 rounds and the almost obsolete Lee Enfield rifle. We were told we were not to open fire unless our lives were directly threatened or RAF property was being damaged!
My colleague and myself were wandering around amongst rows of parked Hawker Hunters feeling totally bored and dreaming of home. Nothing was going to happen was it? Suddenly we heard a noise and saw a shadowy figure moving close to one of the aircraft. Bloody hell, what do we do now? We're RAF clerks not infantrymen! We gave the standard challenge in Arabic as we had been told . No response. We gave a second challenge. Still no response. Now this was getting serious, the criteria to open fire had not been met, a thousand thoughts went through my mind in a matter of seconds, we both put one "up the spout".
The mysterious figure suddenly shouted, "Don't shoot, me Chowkidar He was a uniformed Arab civilian guard who had probably fallen asleep under the wing of a Hunter and woke up when he heard us approaching.
I have reflected on that incident many times in the past 56 years and asked myself "would I have opened fire had the criteria been met?" My conclusion was that as an 18 year old keen young serviceman I probably would have. I now thank God I never had to make that decision.
Thanks for all you do for this site, Tony
Best regards, Fred Martin
From: David King, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk
Subject: Memories of Aden
In mid-November 1967, I took party of 18 Suppliers to RAF Sharjah to assist in unloading ships and aircraft with equipment from Aden, prior to it being closed down.
We got a flight in an empty Hercules, ostensibly, to help Movers in Aden in the wrapping up. At Kormaksar, while wandering around looking at the deserted camp, I was approached by a local dohbi-wallah with a list of customers; Dick Turpin, Robin Hood and Robin Bastard, to name just a few. Did I know where they were?
From: Bryan Morgan, Abingdon, Oxon
Subject: Memories of Aden
Although I never served at Khormaksar I have one happy memory of transitting through. In 1962 I was selected for the Combined Services (CS) Rugby Tour to Kenya and Rhodesia (as was). After three weeks away it was discovered that no arrangements had been made for the return to the UK. Admiral Brockman, the tour Manager, was less than impressed and, as it was a flying matter, vented his spleen on Flt Lt Bill Thompson, the Secretary of the CS, who was tasked with a quick fix.
Two RRAF Dakotas were laid on to ferry us as far as RAF Eastleigh in Nairobi via Tabora, in what is now Tanzania. There the aircraft were refuelled by hand pumping from 45 gallon drums - not terribly reassuring. At Eastleigh we were prioritised into small groups which were emplaned on any aircraft en route to Aden. Claiming he had an urgent meeting to attend at MoD the Admiral disappeared first leaving Bill Thompson to sort the rest of us out. After a couple of days the last but one group of three, which included Leighton Jenkins the Captain, were hauled off to get on a Beverley en-route to Khormaksar. About two hours later the remaining three of us were called forward to fill the last seats on an aeromedical Comet IV, which had come through from Lagos in Nigeria.
After two hours of very comfortable flying we arrived at Khormaksar where we were offloaded to make room for patients. We enjoyed several beers in the Air Terminal knowing that Leighton & Co were still some hours away. I will not repeat the expletives that rained upon us when they finally turned up somewhat bedraggled and thirsty. I have never had so much pleasure in buying someone a pint! Finally, we did, at least, all get the back to the UK together on a 99 Sqn Britannia - it had taken us a full seven days to get home.
From: Andrew Tiny, Kent
Subject: Memories of Aden
My Dad (W/O Eric Batty), sent me this account of Aden, I hope it's of some use. Regards, Andrew
Memories of Aden - fortunately very few.
We flew from Stanstead late at night, having been delayed due to a servicing problem. When we arrived in Aden at about midday, and the passenger doors were opened, we were greeted by a blast of Aden's superheated air. There was on board a lady passenger who had kept on, for the whole flight, a fur coat. She did not take it off even when she got off of the aircraft. She must have been in training for a long stay in Aden!
Those of us who were due to be moved on to the various staging posts were kept in transit for a few days. To keep us from getting bored, we were given various jobs. I was given the task of being an escort on a children's school bus. This was quite an experience. Those children would have scared Rommel's Afrika Corp. I only had to do it once before being flown out on a Hastings.
My next trip to Aden was by Beverley on my way to Mombassa and the Nyali Rest Centre. This was a trip to remember; whilst waiting to board I had the need to make use of the airport's toilets. Some of you may also have had to make use of this ancient and crude type of convenience. I understand that these appear on some of the French motorways!
To sum up, I can only say that Aden equates to heat and those serving there deserved a medal. Little did I know that in 1966-67 I should get to know the Hastings, Beverley and various other aircraft, now all museum pieces, whilst I was with FEAF MAMS.
Regards to all - Eric Batty.
From: Len Bowen, Chisholm, ACT
Subject: Memories of Aden
Never served in Aden, but was there as a teenager 1956 -1958, so I don't know if that counts. The MQ we lived in was beautiful, especially after some of the dives we'd had to live in when we first arrived in Aden, but that's a long story with no relevance to AMS matters.
Only real problem was that the water tank was on the roof, so if you wanted a cool shower you had to be up by about 06:30, before the sun got up. By the time I came home from school (13:00) the water was too hot to even wash your hands in. Solar heating way, way before it became trendy!
The MQ was big, but of course we had a 'native bearer' as house boy to help Mum keep the place clean - though Mum, being a Scotswoman of the old school insisted on doing all the cooking even in 100F+ heat. No aircon in those days!
Our house boy, Mo Mohammed, was a young Somali lad. Very, very keen and very, very industrious... just a pity that about five years after we left Aden he became one of the leaders of one of the main anti-British terrorist groups! Wasn't anything we did or said to him; honest!
Rgds, Len b
Late message from Richard (Dick) Lloyd: There's a service in York Minster on 29th November 2017 to commemorate 50 years since our withdrawal. Organised by Aden Veterans Association, both Martin Henderson and I will be attending. More info e-mail me.
New members who have joined us recently:
Trevor Porter, Birgu
Gerry Pengelly, St Neots, Cambs
Welcome to the OBA!
More Relevant Stuff
This Newsletter is dedicated
to the memories of
Ian 'Chrisso' Christensen (RAAF)
~ and ~
Rob Reidlinger (RAAF)