08 August 2008

A new member joining us recently is:

RAF Michael (Spike) Lyke from Bristol, UK

Welcome to the OBA!

From: Jack Riley, Urangan, Qld
Sent: Thursday, July 17, 2008 11:34 PM
Subject: Briefs

Hi Tony

Congratulations everyone on a tremendous month of Briefs. Isn't it great that so many old friends are finding one another again ? You must feel the whole thing truly rewarding .

And the best bit of the lot ? Dave Cromb with a clean bill of health. I agree wholeheartedly with what he has to say 81 and rising I too value every minute of every day.



Thanks Jack!

The odds of getting a royal flush in poker: 1 in every 649,739 hands

From: Andy Jack, Brampton, ON
Sent: Fri, 18 Jul 2008 1:35 PM
Subject: Home for the CL44

The homeless CL44 Guppy, would this be a swing tail Yukon manufactured by Canadair in Montreal Canada?

We never had the swing tail. The Royal Canadian Air Force had 12 CL44 Yukons. I personally have 6,000 hours flying as a Loadmaster on this aircraft.

I know that Luxembourg Airlines, Icelandic Airlines and Flying Tigers all flew the CL44 swing tail version, and an outfit out of Gatwick flew them too.

I am sure that the Air Museum in Trenton, Ontario, Canada would be interested in providing a home for it, or maybe the Air Museum in Ottawa? Anyone who needs help with this, please email me your phone number and I will call you.


Andy Jack
Royal Canadian Air Force Air Movements & Loadmaster

p.s. Anyone out there who was in Akrotiri Cyprus when I was there - I would really like to hear from you

This message has been passed onto Malcolm Porter for a direct response - thanks Andy!


From: Tim Newstead, Cheltenham
Sent: Friday, July 18, 2008 4:21 PM
Subject: Mystery Photo 070308


Good to see that we were all young once! Yup, I am sure the guy on the left is Fred Kitts and that the pic was taken in the crewroom at Abingdon; the chap standing behind Boot and Bryan was FS Bob Hope - my FS on H Team. I think the occasion was to mark the end of the short attachment of the Ceylonese chap to UKMAMS - possibly on a fact-finding tour of Movs and Supply?

It was brilliant to hear DC's news - long may he continue to be an inspiration!



Thanks Tim

Which part of a map is the Ideo Locator? The part that says, 'YOU ARE HERE"

From: Terry Fowler
Sent: Sunday, July 20, 2008 1:05 PM

Dear Tony,

I have spent a few hours browsing your site. I have to say WELL DONE! It is very well designed and presented - coming from an Army lad, that's some compliment!

I was particularly interested in the storys and photos relating to Aden. I edit the journal of our association and would very much like to use some of that material in future issues. Would you be able to assist me in getting the approval of the authors of the articles in order to do so?

I also run our web site and until I looked at yours I thought it OK, now I wonder!

Kind regards

Terry Fowler

I responded to Terry and requested that if an item has a credit associated with it then feel free to use it but maintain the credit - everything else is deemed to be in the public domain

From: Jerry Allen, Cheltenham
Sent: Tuesday, July 22, 2008 8:32 AM
Subject: RE: UKMAMS OBA OBB #071808

As always Tony, thank you for a great read. I just came back from holiday today to have 588 e-mails waiting for me; number 347 was yours and by far the best one!



Of course!

Best selling posthumous song of all time: (Just Like) Starting Over by John Lennon

From: Jimmie Durkin, Stafford
Sent: Saturday, July 26, 2008 7:51 AM
Subject: Belfasts - Changi-TSN

Hello Tony,

Thanks again for your excellent newsletter.

Regarding Peter Clayton’s mention of the Changi - TSN Belfast flight in # 071808 I can confirm that they certainly did operate although in a non-combatant role as did some of our C 130 flights to Kai Tak.

I was at SABC Singapore working on the Long Range Transport Task Force desk (a posh name for the Transport Command (later RAF Support Command) desk as the F Sgt i/c UK bookings. I worked alongside and with the Sgt I/c UK Bookings (Charter Flights).

Towards the end of my tour there was lots of trouble in Viet Nam and particularly in Saigon. I can’t give specific dates but I’m pretty sure that Peter’s experience probably took place during the Tet campaign.

About that time Transport Command was route testing the VC 10, C130 and Belfast via route: UK , Nicosia, Muharraq, Gan, Changi and Kai Tak. Some Belfast flights came via Gan and KL (Kuala Lumpar) and return. As far as I remember the trials went very well especially for passengers wishing to travel by VC10 or Comet either when tour expired or as “indulgence “passengers for UK leave. There was always excitement in SABC when a Belfast special was logged on the Flight Board but we were not allowed to use them for Pax (at that time). Sadly they developed a reputation for delays en-route.

We received a request for assistance from the British High Commissioner in Singapore to move some supplies from Singapore to Saigon. UK gave us clearance to do as we wish as the flight were allocated to us to use as needed within the authorized aircraft role but changes in a role had to be cleared via C Mov O HQTC as some crews for example were training but uncleared for pax. We made contact with the local agent who supplied details of the cargo. This included two large generators @ 22,000 pounds each one for the British Embassy and the other for a hospital. Several 22 gallon drums of diesel for the generators, Land Rover type ambulances, medical supplies including blood and food mainly dried milk from the British Red Cross. We had to be careful that not to load “warlike” supplies. As of course UK and Singapore were not involved in the war and must not be seen to be doing anything that might suggest we were assisting the combatants.

Our colleagues in the RASC worked wonders in supplying transport and staff to collect and deliver the huge loads into AMS Changi. Changi loaded the Belfast and we were told that the aircraft had broken the existing record for heavy lift then held by USAF. I can vouch for the fact that AMS Changi certainly moved the goods but as for the record, I don’t know! Similarly by the time of the next Belfast big lift into TSN the USAF were said to have recovered the record. Changi were reported to have prepared another Belfast big lift to beat USAF but were let down payload wise by a team of specially authorized press passengers and their equipment who failed to report for the flight. We also involved the C130’s by staging them via TSN carrying cargo only. It was an excellent example of the services providing humanitarian aid, using the maximum available resources and inter – service co-operation.

Whilst all this was happening, the NAAFI Supplies in Singapore always had a backlog of fresh food supplies for our colleagues at Gan. We took full advantage of the returning to UK bound traffic to top up their rations. We had been temporarily become used to using a very small amount of space/weight on the UK bound Comet. Also the Britannia fleet specials had returned to us from the Rhodesian blockade plus the VC 10 and C130 trials we felt we were rich to say the least and for the first time ever the local manager reported nil NAAFI food backlog!

Cheers the noo, keep well and thank you again for your work.

See you


Learning something new every day keeps me going!


Forces May Have To Rent Helicopters
By Kim Sengupta

British forces are so short of helicopters in Afghanistan and Iraq that they are considering renting them from other countries, or even from the controversial US security contractor Blackwater.

As a roadside bomb in Afghanistan's Helmand province claimed the life of another UK paratrooper, The Independent has learnt that the Ministry of Defence will hold a crisis meeting at 5pm today to discuss leasing helicopters from former Warsaw Pact countries as well as commercial companies.

Chaired by the Defence Secretary Des Browne, the summit will be attended by senior military and government personnel who will be expected to solve the acute helicopter shortage.

Nato, but not Britain directly, is believed to be negotiating with Blackwater, which has come under fierce criticism from the Iraqi government and the US Congress after 17 civilians were shot dead in Baghdad last year. Another option being explored by the MoD is leasing Cougar helicopters from oil companies involved in offshore production.

Two more soldiers were killed this week in Helmand, bringing the British death toll in Afghanistan to 114, with 340 injured. The vast majority of casualties in a recent sharp rise have been caused by roadside bombs and suicide bombers. Soldiers are forced to travel by road because of the lack of helicopters.

Analysts point out that in South Armagh in the early 1980s the prevalence of IRA roadside bombs caused all movements by the British military to be undertaken by helicopter – 70 aircraft were supplied. Helmand, which is six times bigger than Northern Ireland, has just 16 passenger helicopters.

The British force in Helmand is supported by eight Chinooks (up to 40 passengers) and four Royal Navy Sea Kings (up to 10). Four Army Air Corps Lynx helicopters are also based in Helmand, but cannot fly between 11am and 11pm in the summer, the traditional fighting season, because of the effect the heat has on their engines. There are also eight Apache gunships, but they cannot carry passengers. When the USSR occupied Afghanistan it had 1,000 helicopters to support and supply its troops.

Today's summit was ordered by Mr Browne, who is said to be "very aware" of the problem and wants answers before the summer holidays. He has also said he wants urgent action. A senior military officer said: "The problem with helicopters is something we need to address and we are grateful the Secretary of State is taking it seriously. We can say it is not purely a UK problem and other Nato countries in Afghanistan should contribute more. But in the meantime it is British soldiers who are dying."

Tony Blair promised two years ago that commanders on the ground would be given any "equipment, armoured vehicles for example, more helicopters" that they wanted. Yet cost-cutting has forced the Army Air Corps to plan the closure of a Territorial Army regiment, grounding 22 Gazelle helicopters and 78 pilots. Meanwhile, eight Chinook helicopters ordered from Boeing and destined for special forces lie idle in hangars in south-east England after the RAF found that they were airworthy only above 500ft and in clear conditions. It has taken Boeing and the MoD five years to come up with a solution. The Chinooks will enter service in 2011 at an additional cost of £250m.

Today's MoD meeting takes place as the 3 Commando Brigade, led by the Royal Navy's Marines, took part in their final exercise before departing for Helmand. The troops will raise the total of British forces in Afghanistan to more than 8,000, the highest ever number in the country, and almost double the size of the force now in Iraq.

Brigadier Buster Howes, Commander of the 3 Commando, said: "If they offer me more helicopters would I take them, of course I would." However, he said that the resources available at present would be adequate for him to carry out his mission.

Brigadier Howes said: "Is Helmand a dangerous place? Of course it is, the fatalities prove that is the case. Are we aware of that? Yes of course we are. Are the people going out in this brigade deterred by this? No they are not."

The heel of a sock is called the "gore"

From: Chris Kirby, Inverness
Sent: Saturday, 19 July, 2008, 7:38 PM
Subject: Hearing Loss

Hi Tony,

I read with great interest Charles Colliers' post in OBB 070308, regarding hearing loss compensation. I too suffer from poorly ears, and my hearing assessment at demob was almost identical to his (mine being 6-14% bi-laterally). When I moved on (!) from the RAF in Nov 03 I was also issued with two top of the range digital hearing aids, and duly applied to the Veterans Agency (in Blackpool at that time) for compensation.

However, they declined me any payout because: "the degree of my hearing loss was under 20% and their doctors stated that I was not suffering any assessable degree of disablement". Hmmm ... so what the hearing aids for then - if not to try and remedy an assessable medical issue ?. Seems to me to be a case of moving (!) goal posts here. Different Governments and their agencies have different "priorities" & parameters I guess, and there is a 10 year gap between Charles' successful claim and my unsuccessful one.

I wonder how folk are faring these days, with compensation (if any) for attributable to service hearing loss, a hazard of the trade for Movers and the like. Having logged lots of hours riding around in the back of transport ac, I firmly believe that (no matter how many pairs of ear defenders you wear) it's the vibration (particularly on Hercs) as much as the noise that does the damage. So if anyone else out there wants to recount their experiences in this area, I (and no doubt others) will be most interested in hearing (!) about them.

Well, that's enough dodgy puns inflicted on you for now.

Regards to all

Rip Kirby


Petition the Prime Minister to Create a dedicated Military & Veterans Hospital within the UK

With the growing numbers of wounded personnel repatriated to the UK and with continued growth in medically discharged personnel since the Falklands war to current conflicts and operations, our service men & women and veterans of previous operational service are owed the best medical care possible.

The existing facilities are falling short and the NHS are not meeting the needs of veterans who still need treatment for their service related conditions. A dedicated Military & Veterans Hospital will greatly help resolve this National scandal since the complete closure of our military hospitals that has proved to be total folly. Closing date: 19 August 2008

A suriphobe is someone who's afraid of mice.

From: Norrie Radcliffe, Ramsey
Sent: Monday, July 21, 2008 3:31 PM
Subject: Hellenic Express 1971



Another piece of history surfaces, UKMAMS won the moving at a canter from our brothers in movements from the several arms of NATO performing in Thessalonika.

The drinking and socialising was probably up there with some of our best performances. UKMAMS several, the rest nil.

Tony Pyne was the resident artist, and king of the field kitchen was Don Wickham.

He rewrote the parable of the "Loaves and the Fishes" in feeding the entire US 7th Aerial Port team for a few drachmas per head per day, we all were able to return with our allowances intact!!

Lesson learned by all other forces taking part was "Get the kitchen tent up and a brew on first"




Thanks Norrie!


From: Alex Masson, Chelmsford
Sent: Wednesday, July 30, 2008 3:38 PM
Subject: Bits and pieces.

Hello each,

John Holloway reported recently that he had a guest speaker at his National Service RAF meeting at Cosford in the form of one Squadron Leader Sally Varley, who for some time was Manager of the Red Arrows Display Team.

I met her, along with others, whilst staying at the Hilton in Malta in 2005.

Some of you will know this, but for those who don’t - my wife ‘Legs’ is a Malta Veteran. As a child, she survived the bombardment of Malta. She was born there before the war and we returned for the Veterans Celebrations in 2005. We stayed at the Hilton and found we were alongside the whole Red Arrows Team and a few other display pilots. I spent quite a long time chatting with them and Sally Varley. I first bumped into her when she was returning to the Hotel from the Air Display, still dressed in her red overalls. I looked at this young girl’s epaulettes and said “Good God! A Squadron Leader! Squadron Leaders were God in my day!” Quick as a flash she replied, “We still are!” From then on we got on well and she was most interested in what ‘Legs’ had to say about her time in Malta. While she remained with the Red Arrows we received each year from her a numbered ‘Red Arrows Calendar’. Collectors items – eventually!

Now John Holloway has met up with her again after she was guest speaker at his NS Association. She’s a great lass! If she agrees I will include her photo for you all to see.

I would like to thank Ian Berry for adding his kind words following our Veterans Day Event in Chelmsford. I sadly overlooked SSAFA this year, mainly because we do not have a rep at Chelmsford. Our nearest is at Witham some fifteen miles away. Nevertheless, things will be different next year – we are planning a Major Event in Hylands Park (our local site for Pop Festivals and the like – you may even have heard of the “V” events each year – sponsored by ‘Virgin’) SSAFA will definitely be included.

I am pleased to know that Ian Berry is an active member of SSAFA – I know just what good work they do! Great stuff Ian! Keep it up! … and thanks for reminding me to include them next time!

Cheers Alex

I found a picture of Sally and included it.. thanks Alex!

Queen termites lay 86,000 eggs a day

From: David Cromb, Brisbane, Qld.
Sent: Saturday, August 02, 2008 7:20 PM
Subject: News n stuff

Hello my friend,

Lazy Sunday 3rd Aug,well it's not so lazy today cos it's the AGM of the cricket club which I sponsor, and my son Chris captains, BRDCC ( ) dont larf at the site as I am trying to build it.

No, as my mind was on the flight path with wheels down and one third flaps deployed, noisy bloody things on the Hercs eh, I thought of you and the ailments you had experienced of late. How are you now Tony?

We have seen the passing of so many former collegues of late it makes me more determined to stay in touch with as many as possible, yup even annoy the poop outa them, all in good faith you understand. They can only tell me to bugger off !

I am picking my words most carefully---1st for me I hear you say, in anticipation of contacting Shirley Barton in an attempt to obtain the pics n articles etc which my dear friend the late Dave Barton had bundled together for me, they were to be part of my RAF Masirah site I dont suppose any of our readers are close by to Kings Lynn are they? That would be of great assistance to my cause wouldn't it. Might I ask if you would mind putting an article to that effect in the next OBA? Never die wondering eh?

As for fings down 'ere, all positives mate. Life is good, my hooves have come good and have been taken off all medications except 2 tabs a day, sumink to do wiv keeping infection at bay for good cos the wounds were really serious ,lucky not to have lost the left foot in fact.

Business is steady and generates a good source of beer chits!

At long last dearest Phyl is considering retirement, in about 2 years or so. Now we can seriously consider our future plans, altho I have a pretty good idea as to how they will unfold. I have no such plans for retirement, my work doubles as one of my hobbies.

Right matey, time to scrub up---behave. Take care Tony and I look fwd to hearing from you at your convenience. A big hi to all our readers.

Cheers n beers,

DC.x Lima 6.

Thanks DC - I'm reminded of those immortal words uttered by Jack Nicholson in "The Bucket List" You'll have to watch the movie to discover what they are, trust me it's a beautiful thing!


216 Going Global

It took around 7,000 years for man to find out the world was round, and 216 Sqn just seven days to confirm it. In February 2006, 216 Squadron was given the task of flying round the world to deliver cargo as far afield as Australia. The trip was scheduled for launch early on Wednesday 22 February and due back a week later. We would head, broadly speaking, south-east to Australia, then north-east back to the UK, covering more than 25,000 miles. Most of the engineering support would be carried with us, with enough spares and replacements to last the seven days. Also on board would be our own security unit (the RAF police) as well as a UK Mobile Air Movements team (who operate on most RAF transport aircraft) to handle our cargo at different destinations. In total there were 28 people on board to provide the necessary expertise for worldwide operations. And although we did not know it at the time, our Tristar would be operating in temperatures as diverse as +40C to -10C, and weather as varied as driving rain through to blowing snow.

The first leg, the transit to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, was 3,500 miles long. This was a route that is not unfamiliar to 216 Squadron crews as Abu Dhabi International airport is also the home to GAMCO (Gulf Aircraft Maintenance Company,) the establishment where the RAF’s Tristars are put in for their major servicing. Despite the late (or early depending on your point of view) hourof our arrival, just past midnight local time, Abu Dhabi International was still a busy place and after a hectic ten minutes of vectors and speed control we found ourselves on the ILS with a neat line of aircraft parked on the passenger ramp. As the engineers refuelled our Tristar, they put the aircraft to bed, a task that had to be completed after every leg. The type of servicing involved would range from simply replenishing fuel and oil supplies to the engines, to more demanding tasks, such as repairing any onboard systems.

The next day’s route, Abu Dhabi to Brunei, was always going to be an interesting one due to its length and the nature of the weather in the tropics. Upon arrival at the aircraft in the morning we were greeted with a downpour of rain from one of the many thunderstorms in the area; and we were still in the Gulf where the weather is always supposed to be nice! In addition to the inclement weather, the handling agent had seemingly lost the tug that is usually used to pushback aircraft the size and weight of the Tristar, and had temporarily been given the use of a milk float for the purpose instead. Despite the driver’s optimism for the job at hand it was soon apparent that we were unlikely to move. Some 15 minutes later our man reappeared with a more substantial vehicle, and gave us a tug that got us going. At least the delay meant that the worst of the weather had blown through, but was now positioned on our intended track of departure. Judicious use of the weather radar and seatbelt signs were needed on our climb-out but, despite the occasional and stunning night time display of tropical thunderstorms over Malaysia, the rest of the trip proved uneventful. Therefore, some 8 hrs 40 minutes after departure, we found ourselves in the tropical humidity of Brunei, where we would spend around 30 hours.

Perhaps the most important leg to be flown was the one from Brunei to Australia. If we could make Brisbane then it would be quicker for us to continue on east, and to the golden sun-blessed beaches of Hawaii, than it would be to return the way we had come. Although customs took a bit longer than usual the jet had been so well prepared by the ground crew that when we arrived it took us less than 40 minutes to fire it up. We had enough fuel to complete both of the days legs, the first routing from Brunei to Townsville in northern Australia, the final leg being to Brisbane.

Only one of the front end crew had operated in Indonesian air space before, so it was a learning experience, but the principles of Air Transport applied and it was a relatively painless process. We flew overhead Darwin, east along the coast of Australia before landing on the northerly runway in Townsville. After more than 20 hours flying, at an average speed of over 500 kts, it took the UKMAMs team just less than an hour to offload our cargo. After a rapid turn-round by the engineers we were on our way again, down the cloudy eastern coast of Australia. Brisbane loomed in the evening twilight and, three days after leaving home base, we were half way round the world.

Although our primary load had been successfully delivered on time to the Antipodes, the ground engineers continued their unofficial evaluation of all landings by the flight deck crew. The on-going rating system introduced by the engineers judged all landings by smoothness on approach, impact on the runway and a certain ‘X-factor’. Flight deck crew were not allowed to listen in on the appraisal process, and any sulking at bad marks would result in further points deducted. Your correspondent is sorry to report that the co-pilots easily beat the captains in the landings’ competition.

We were sorry to leave Australia and its hospitable inhabitants, however the prospect of Hawaii just around the corner more than made up for this. The 4,500 mile leg took slightly over 10 hours, and it is only when one looks at how far one has to travel to find some small islands, that it sinks in just how accurate modern navigation equipment is. An error of less than 1 degree would mean we would miss the islands altogether. With 1,500 miles to go to our destination, we crossed the international date line, meaning that Monday became Sunday and we technically landed before we took off. After passing through some bumpy weather on the approach to Hawaii we landed - it would be pleasant to say that we were welcomed by Hula Girls with garlands in this tropical paradise. The reality was light rain showers and the subdued howl of other aircraft engines starting up, but this couldn’t dampen our spirits, and we were soon settled into our hotel.

Hawaii is certainly a beautiful island, and while there many of the crew visited the memorial commemorating the Pearl Harbour attack, which took place on 7 December 1941.It was built as a tribute to the 2,300 American serviceman who lost their lives in the surprise assault. The memorial is constructed above one of the sunken ships, the battleship USS Arizona, where half the serviceman in the attack were killed. This certainly brought home the sacrifice of American serviceman more than 60 years ago and gave several moments for reflection.

Hawaii was harder to leave than to get to, and the hardest part of the departure was getting to the runway. For us this entailed taxying on a sort of motorway flyover to get to the runway which was built a good 300 yards off the coast. Although ATC changed our entire clearance and flight planed routing just before take off, the departure out of Honolulu offered some spectacular views of Hawaii before we headed east and on to Nellis.

After a visual approach at Nellis Air Force Base, slotting in with F15s and F16s, we were told that we would be uplifting more than 24 tons of cargo. This was British equipment to be sent home from the air exercise ‘Red Flag’, which attracts nations from all over the world to take part in air combat exercises. We had considered flying home in one ‘hop’ from Nellis, but the extra weight of the 12 pallets of cargo meant we would have to route through the Canadian city of Calgary, re-fuel, and then fly the last leg back to Brize Norton.

After an uneventful trip to Calgary, we landed on the northerly runway and quickly discovered that the departure from the airfield would be problematic. Firstly, there was the problem of the constant falling snow, hich could necessitate deicing, and secondly, there was the issue of the ‘contamination’ on the runway. Just like a car, aeroplanes tend not to like too much snow or water around, as it affects their acceleration and, perhaps more importantly, their braking. If we were to stop for an emergency before ‘V1’ (the speed at which we will decide whether to get airborne or not), and did not take into account the braking action on the runway, we could find ourselves trying to stop and slipping off the end of the runway. Try explaining that to your boss - ‘Honestly Sir, it was like that when we found it’.

With the temperature at -10 Celsius, the falling snow turned out not to be an issue. Because it was so cold, the snow didn’t have a chance to melt and re-freeze onto the aeroplane. This meant the wings and fuselage remained ‘clean’ and could still provide us with a good amount of lift for the take-off. Control surfaces, flaps, slats and the stabiliser would all be in good working order and wouldn’t freeze up into a solid mass.

With all the cargo we had on board, (the extra 24 tons we had picked up at Nellis), and with minimum fuel to complete the task, we would have a take off weight of 217 tons, or around 460,000 pounds. After working out the take-off figures for the conditions (a mix of snow and a braking action described as ‘medium’) we discovered we could lift 220 tons - which gave us around three tons spare for the final leg. In total we had about an extra 50 minutes flying time for any problems along the way, such as different ‘flight-levels’ or re-routes. The Engineers had the extra fuel standing by and plugged in, and once the flight deck crew passed the fuel requirements, pumping immediately started. Our flight plan was activated with Air Traffic Control, and once the refuel was complete, the paper work signed, we started engines, taxied, and took off for Brize. Eight hours later we were back on home soil. We left our home base late, but still arrived back on time.

The success of the trip could be put down to many factors, from the efficiency of the UKMAMS team in handling delicate loads, through to the thorough engineering support, which was focused and task-orientated throughout the trip. Despite the problems, and the constant changes in time zones, not only was the primary task completed, but additional short notice freight was transported, while keeping within the original planned schedule.

Despite re-routes, adverse weather and rapid re-plans the 25,000 mile trip went smoothly. For the vast majority of the crew the thought at the end of the trip was not ‘I’m glad I’m home’, but ‘When can I go again?’

Gateway Magazine - April 2006

In 1947 Marilyn Monroe was crowned the first Queen of Artichokes

From: David Powell, Princes Risborough
Sent: Wednesday, August 06, 2008 7:11 AM
Subject: Demise of UKMAMS Team Brief

Dear Tony,

Just about an hour ago and the thud of the mail included the latest UKMAMS Association Team Brief, always an eagerly awaited event. Sadly, it included the news that Mick Cocker has been unable to find anyone to take over as its Editor. Ideally it should have been someone serving so as to be right up there with the latest news. So, issue No 59 is likely to be the last.

And, this means that your OBA brief is now not just the primary communication vehicle for ex-MAMS, it is the only communication vehicle we have. No pressure Tony. No pressure!

It also looks as though the UKMAMS Association could be running out of steam and go into some form of ‘winter storage’ should it be possible to resurrect the organisation in the future. This could make the September Big Bash at Lyneham even more special. I’ve signed up for the Saturday Evening ‘do’ and am looking forward to meeting up with any of the ex-Abingdon crew who can make it.

In the meantime, I celebrated my 65th last month in style with a ride on the Jacobite Steam train from Fort William to Mallaig and back – no ho ho ho family surprise parties for me thank you very much! Then I then signed on for another year’s part-time university lecturing at the Business School.

Equally, although she picked up her bus pass a couple of year’s back, Sue is still working as a PA/Med Secretary to a brilliant (if disorganised) plastics surgeon at Stoke Mandeville Hospital (no, not bums and the like - involved mainly with skin cancers and children - facial reconstruction work and clefts etc.) and is also not ready to retire.

Finally, we went to a wedding near Tamworth last month, as you do, only to bump into a very well looking Brian Shorter, who some of you may remember from his time as a team leader on MAMS around 1970.

Naturally, I bent his ear on the Association and the OBA.

Keep the faith Guys!

David Powell


Happy 65th David! Brian looks good!

The possible demise of the official UKMAMS Association is a sad thing, first the squadron and now the Association. It looks like it might be up to us at the OBA to keep the spirit alive!


Mystery Photo #080808

The largest snowflakes ever recorded fell in Montana in 1887 - they were 15" in diameter and 8" thick.

From: Robert Taylor, Doncaster
Sent: Wednesday, August 06, 2008 11:39 AM
Subject: I'm Back

Hi Tony,

Nice to hear from you after all this time. Apart from my email address everything else is the same except I am getting older. You could add my mobile if you wish 07971-179331.

Received the latest Team Brief today. Sad news, they are to propose to formally disband the association later in the year. Lack of membership is mentioned as one of the factors. Seems like the serving guys and girls are not interested in joining. Great shame if it goes under.



Ahhh Robbie, you're back!


An RAF special forces chopper pilot has won a third Distinguished Flying Cross – the first person to do so since World War II. The Wing Commander, a legend with SAS and SBS troops, flies his Chinook deep behind enemy lines.

Details have been kept secret but the 35-year-old, based at RAF Odiham in Hampshire, was recently awarded his third DFC for bravery in Afghanistan.

Air Chief Marshal Sir Clive Loader said: “We could not be more proud of him.”

The longest recorded bout of hiccups lasted 65 years

From: Peter Clayton, Wroughton
Sent: Wednesday, August 06, 2008 2:50 PM
Subject: News on the Preserved Pension

Hi Tony

Not having had a response to my letter concerning the backdating of my preserved pension, I called them again. This time I am told that due to the amount of paperwork they receive, they do not respond to letters, Oh really! Furthermore they do not backdate!

Kick in the complaints procedure, get address for the Pensions Ombudsman! The saga will no doubt continue, will keep you updated. I know how the Gurkhas feel now!!

One picture attached of me on my newly refurbished trike, I did a 100 mile ride on this machine last Saturday, the old legs still have it! Great fun to ride but a bit like learning to ride all over again, you need decent roads for a start, a rare thing in the UK these days.

Cheers for now


Keep us updated regarding your pension - OK Peter - now do it on two wheels!


From: Philip Clarke, Vienna
Sent: Thursday, August 07, 2008 10:14 AM
Subject: New rank in the Mob

I was having a shuffty at the Freedom Of Stafford Parade for the Tactical Supply Wing, & noticed a variation on the SAC badge, which of course we all, or lots of us, proudly wore.

No real difference, except for a circle around the 3 bladed prop. But then I noticed other guys with the standard 3 bladed prop, so checked out:

Appears we have a new rank of SAC Tech, as follows

Normal SAC remains the same, but one rank lower, as:

What I'm asking myself, is WIHIH.

When our noble Webmaster & I joined, there were two trade stuctures, Technical Trades having upside down chevrons. Abandoned as not efficient or inclusive, so J/T & Ch. Tech were added. Now we'll probably have a few more additions.

In the best traditions of my namesake, Pig Clarke, the newly promoted Staff Sgt in the Canadian Police (for which many congratulations Pig), I will have a little rant.

Since when have Technicians been more important than Cooks, Clerk Secs, Movers, Suppliers etc. When have Pilots been more important than Air Traffic Controllers, Load Masters, Rock Apes etc.

We were, & are, an integrated service, where we are all dependent on each other. Without that inter-dependence, nothing can or will happen.

Whether this was a decision by politicians, or rodneys, who knows, but appears to me to be devisive. If something ain't broke, why try to fix it. I always understood the pay scales looked after the levels of
training, competence etc.

Looking forward to seeing 'circles' around Corporals, Sergeants, AVMs badge ranks etc to prove they've got a City & Guilds.

End of rant.

New subject.

Reason for my interest in Tactical Supply Wing, is that my stepson Jason Charlton (last known rank Cpl), was a long standing member, maybe still is. Sadly he & his mother (my wife) are estranged, so by extension, so am I. So if anyone out there knows Jason, perhaps you'll give him my contact details, but assure him any contact will stay with me alone.

Yet another new subject.

Some of you dear children will perhaps remember my competitions all those years ago, with incredible prizes being shipped around the world to lucky & knowledgeable winners. Gasp in amazement, they are about to be reintroduced. However, they may well take a different format, as I am no longer based on an Airport full time. Doing some fine tuning, but hope that the first competition will be seen in the next newsletter.

So, we're all back with a bang, just don't forget to keep rubbing the ointment onto the spots on your bum.


Phil (Nobby to some)

Is it me or does the regular SAC badge look a little lacklustre as opposed to the bright and shiny techie SAC badge?


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Have a great weekend!