30 August 2002


A new member joining us this week is Neale Harrison from Andover, UK

Welcome to the OBA!


From:     David Wilson, Hanover, Germany
To:         John Belcher, Chippenham, UK
Date:      17 Aug 2002 19:34
Subject:  From Dave Wilson HAJ


I have just been looking at the UKMAMS OBA website - for some reason I can't get the MAMS Association web site to work properly.  Anyhow I saw articles on Khormaksar and Changi -  both places where my Father was stationed during his 26 year RAF career (he ran away from home at the age of 16 to join up as a wireless mechanic - left as a C/Tech.  He says that he may well have some photos of those places and maybe also of Muharraq - where I was for a short time when the Gulf War kicked off - could you give me details of where the book about Changi can be purchased from ?

Also do you have hard copies of the article about Khormaksar - or should I just print it off the web page?

I have lots of pictures of movers out and about from my 5 and a half years on Mobile and 3 and a half years (total) on MAMS Training - some from my (thankfully short ..) time on JHSU too.   Will sort thru and send them to you or Ian Berry - or both of you !!

I need to phone you at work soon ref NVQs .. but I am in Munster and Paderborn next week then planning to visit Prague ( I'm taking my wellies ..) with Ewan Campbell next weekend.

Talk to you soon,

Best regards,

Dave Wilson.

PS: just spoke to my Dad on the phone and he tells me that he has a video made up from old 8mm cine film footage of Aden including an Open Day at Khormaksar and aerial shots taken from a Belvedere helicopter - also a few photos .. would you be interested in having a look at these ?


From:     Ian Berry, Swindon, UK
To:         John Belcher, Chippenham, UK
To:         David Wilson, Hanover, Germany
Date:      23 Aug 2002 07:32
Subject:  Re:  From Dave Wilson HAJ

I will gratefully accept anything  you have to offer on loan of course. I should be able to copy the 8mm to a video (as I did my own wedding!!).
For Tony, can you advise Dave how to obtain the book on Changi?
Dave, also suggest you get your Dad to look at link to 'small wars' as excellent stories especially from Aden.
Cheers for now,

[Ed:   There is no "hard copy" of the Khormaksar article...  best just to copy and paste from the web site.  As far as obtaining a copy of the book about the History of Changi - Mike James, who is the Chairman and Secretary of the RAF Changi Association can put you straight on that one.  I suggest you write to Mike at  To my knowledge there is no web site for the RAF Changi Association.]


From:     Murdo Macleod, Newport-on-Tay, UK
Date:      23 Aug 2002 03:12
Subject:  Re:  Old Boys Briefs 082302

With regards to your rumour corner.

What happened to Lyneham?

Short runways, did they shrink with age?

Poor refuelling facilities, as if.

Maybe this A400 is not as modern an Aircraft as the makers would make out and there is me thinking that with the advance in technology that the modern Aircraft can handle shorter runways, and you also did not mention that other Aircraft that we used to have at Lyneham. The Comet, and now I'm showing my age.

As for hangars they could always build new ones.

Murdo Macleod

[Ed:  Thanks Murdo.  Sometimes it makes you wonder just who is running the show!]


From:     Ian Berry, Swindon, UK
To:         Mike Mayberry, Thumrait, Oman
Date:      23 Aug 2002 08:12
Subject:  What Team Was I?


If Flt Lt Dick Allan was your Boss whilst on task in Guatemala then your team was Echo. If not, can you remember who the Rodney was? That way I can advise your team. Dick Allan incidentally has just taken over as SAMO Brize with his Sqn Ldr.

Don't get too hot..



From:     Jack Riley, Urangan Qld, Australia
Date:      24 August 2002 21:00
Subject:  Re:  Old Boys Briefs 082302

Dear Tony
I read John's "piece" on the York with great interest because it stirred memories.  Back in 1949/50/51 I was Air Movements Officer at Changi and well remember the sound of four Merlins popping their way down the runway as the pilot (Was it Sqn.Ldr.Palmer ?) throttled back on landing. It now seems it may have been rivets I heard popping !

It was a pleasure to load ...flat floor, wide doors, low door sill....but no longer in VIP much easier than the Hastings birds. 

We were pretty busy in those days...the route from UK...schedules to Kuala Lumpur and Butterworth 7 days a week ...Malayan Emergency at its height ..schedules to Saigon-Hong Kong-Iwakuni (British Occupation Forces in Japan) Clark Field......Korean War....ammunition up...casevac back....other services to Labuan, Sandakan, Darwin, Car Nicobar....38 (RAAF); 41(NZ) 110 and Far East Comm Squadrons.. supply dropping    ....and so on.  If anyone tries to persuade you to work 24 on 24 off changing at midday don't have a bar of's a killer.

But am I talking about MW102 ?  Over fifty years later it's hard to be sure but memory has me chalking her up on the Arrivals/Departures board in our sweat box of a Load Control. 

John suggests that she was only with us a few brief months and I'm sure he's right....but I don't remember her demise.  I may have been away because by this time I was opening AMS's in Butterworth and Labuan as well as writing papers for the Burma Air Force on their movements needs.  I clearly did a persuasive job because I went straight from my Changi tour back to Burma (where I had spent three years in the closing stages of the war and immediately thereafter) as Air Movements Adviser to the BAF as part of the British Services Mission and opened the Movements School there. Thus Rangoon was added to Changi's tasking.

Great days... three overseas tours in ten years..... and seven English Winters missed !!

[Ed:  What memories!  Thanks Jack.]


From:     Alan Liptrot, Wigan, UK
Date:      27 Aug 2002 11:47
Subject:  Extracts from the Dhow (Local Aden Rag)

I hope these may be of some use Tony, all from the Aden local forces newspaper, The Dhow. It would have been 1966 or 67 (my memory ain't what it was)

29 MAR 18.45 hrs:  A Somali Police Officer was shot 3 times in the back, and fatally wounded in Manzilla.

1 APR 19.30 hrs:  A grenade was thrown at a party of British visitors from SS Rosehank in Tawahi. There were 10 casualties one British woman killed, one British woman and three men wounded, and five local nationals injured, one seriously.

2 APR 19.30 hrs:  A grenade thrown in Crater. No apparent target, and no casualties. A civilian car was slightly damaged.

6 APR 18.25 hrs:  A grenade was thrown at a Security Patrol vehicle. A local national was injured in the head. There were no service casualties or damage.

7 MAR 11.00 hrs:  A European, an employee of Limmer and Trinidad Asphalt Company, was shot a dead near Shuqra.

9 APR 21.25 hrs:  A grenade thrown in Tawahi.  Four local nationals injured; one seriously.

11 APR 16.50 hrs:  Two grenades were thrown at a 3 tons truck outside Al Mansoura detention centre. There were no casualties, and no damage was done.

17 APR. 08.50 hrs: Grenade thrown at passing car in Sheikh Othman. Local national boy injured.

23.00 hrs:  Body of bearer employed at Police Officers mess Crater was found by local national.  The body had three bullet wounds.

19 APR. 19.10 hrs:  Grenade thrown at vehicle of a Security Patrol from bushes at side of road. No casualties, no damage

20 APL. 23.05 hrs: Two brothers travelling in Aden Airways van held up and shot in Sheikh Othman. The van was set on fire. One man died, the second critically ill.

21 APR. 20.40 hrs:  Grenade thrown at mobile patrol in Sheikh Othman. No casualties, no damage.

22 APR. 20.33 hrs:  Grenade thrown at mobile patrol in Crater. Two members of patrol received minor injuries. An Arab girl was slightly injured.

23 APR. 20.25 hrs: Grenade thrown outside Bank of India, Crater. No apparent target. No casualties, no damage.

24 APR. 09.21 hrs:  Grenade thrown in Little Aden outside British school teacher’s house. No casualties, some damage to outside of house.

26 APR. 1215 hrs:  Grenade thrown at 3 ton vehicle in Sheikh Othman. No casualties
2010 hrs: Grenade thrown at Mobile Patrol in Sheikh Othman. No casualties.

27 APR 1930 hrs: Grenade was thrown and shots fired at Mobile Patrol in Sheikh Othman. No casualties

1950 hrs Grenade thrown into Sheikh Othman Police Station. No casualties

2005 hrs. Grenade thrown at Mobile Patrol in Sheikh Othman. Five local nationals injured

28 APR. 0745 hrs: The Secretary of the Banks Local Unions was shot and killed. His companion was also shot and seriously injured.

1315 hrs: An explosion in private house in Sheikh Othman killed one Arab, seriously injured another and injured an Arab woman.

1855 hrs: Grenade thrown at three members of the forces who were off duty in Tawahi. The men were injured.

29 APR. 2330 hrs:  Monks Field. In a dissident's attack 3 soldiers were killed and three others wounded. None of the wounded were placed on the seriously ill list.

1 May 1955 hrs: Grenade thrown at Mobile Patrol in Sheikh Othman No casualties

2315 hrs: Grenade thrown at mobile patrol in Sheik Othman. No casualties.

3 MAY 2005 hrs: Grenade thrown at 4 off-duty sailors from HMS Sheba near the Victoria Hotel in Tawahi. It failed to explode.

6 MAY 0630 hrs: Grenade thrown at RCT Landrover between Main Pass Roundabout and traffic lights Maalla no casualties, no damage.

9 MAY 2002 hrs: Grenade thrown at two vehicles of 1 PWO in Crater. No Service casualties, one local national  slightly injured

See Ya

Alan Liptrot

[Ed:  Thanks very much Alan.  I suspect that would have been 1967 - not a happy place at all...  I have added the above to the Khormaksar article on the web site]


From:     Stephen Nicholson, Budapest, Hungary
Date:      28 Aug 2002 08:25
Subject:  MOD

I thought this might be useful for the Ministry of Desks Procurement office. If you have any contacts, please feel free to distribute.


This was allegedly posted very briefly on the McDonnell Douglas Website by an employee there who obviously has a sense of humour. The company, of course, does not have a sense of humour, and made the web department take it down immediately. (For once, the "IMPORTANT" note at the end is worth a read too...)

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Those of you with an overwhelming fear of the unknown will be gratified to learn that there is no hidden message revealed by reading this warning backwards, so just ignore that Alert Notice from Microsoft. However, by pouring a complete circle of salt around yourself and your computer you can ensure that no harm befalls you and your pets. If you have received this email in error, please add some nutmeg and egg whites, whisk and place in a warm oven for 40 minutes.

[Ed:  Thanks Steve....  the mind boggles!]


Rumour Corner - you really didn't hear it from me, but...

The SAS has reconnoitred the border between South Africa and Zimbabwe in preparation for a possible evacuation of British citizens, defence officials said yesterday.

The purpose of their mission was to identify a number of coordination points inside Zimbabwe where the Britons, mainly white farmers, could be collected before a mass convoy into South Africa.

The Ministry of Defence's Permanent Joint Headquarters at Northwood, Middlesex, has also drawn up plans for an RAF evacuation of other British citizens by plane from Harare airport.

The contingency plans to move the estimated 20,000 British citizens inside Zimbabwe include the use of RAF transport aircraft and members of the Parachute Regiment, who will be on exercise in South Africa from the end of next month until December.
There are another 20,000 whites in the country, almost all of them Zimbabwean nationals.

Up to 300 men from 1 Bn, the Parachute Regiment, will spend three months carrying out trials jumping from the new C130J Hercules transport aircraft.

They will be accompanied by an RAF C17 Globemaster transport aircraft, a VC10 military airliner and two C130J aircraft. Their exercises will be carried out with the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).

The MoD said the exercise was "absolutely not" connected to the situation in Zimbabwe. "This is a long-planned air concentration exercise, the first of a series of trials that will be taking place twice a year," a spokesman said.

The Foreign Office last night played down any connection between the dispatch of the troops and the crisis in Zimbabwe.
"We keep contingency plans up to date for most parts of the world, but we are not moving to implement any such plans for Zimbabwe," said a spokesman.

"A large-scale military operation does not fit in with what we estimate is required. If it were needed, there are contingency plans and they could be implemented in a short time."

But defence officials said the paratroopers were part of the contingency plans and would be ideally placed if troops were needed for a defensive escort for any evacuation.

"There is a lack of willingness by UK Plc to get involved because any intervention will be bloody and if we are forced to go in, it will not be easy," said one official. "Zimbabwe is a well-armed country.

"But if the war veterans start to evict farmers and there is mass slaughter of UK nationals we will be forced to intervene." Military planners at Northwood were putting the final touches to an evacuation operation which could require British troops to go in for a very brief period "possibly just 24 hours", the officials said.

"The obvious evacuation route is by road, but they could easily block this and we must therefore plan for an air intervention as we did in Sierra Leone two years ago."

The paratroopers would support the SAS in providing a defensive ring for an operation known as a rapid air landing, in which RAF transports would fly into Harare airport to take out the Britons.

They would be escorted by Tornado ground attack aircraft and in the second phase of the evacuation the Britons would be flown out in a so-called tactical air land operation.

The paratroopers, who have carried out exercises in South Africa before and have strong links to SANDF, will be based in Cape Town and Kimberley.

Although the MoD has made it clear that it does not want to deploy troops in Zimbabwe, the possibility of the need for a mass evacuation has increased with President Mugabe's latest attempts to drive white farmers off their land.

He ordered 2,900 of the remaining 4,500 white farmers to quit their land without compensation by Aug 8. About 60 per cent have defied the deadline and almost 300 have been arrested and charged for defying the orders.

A Zimbabwean High Court judge yesterday ruled that eviction orders served on 54 white farmers were illegal, but Mr Mugabe has consistently ignored court rulings that went against his orders.

On Tuesday, he refused talks with the white farmers. "There is no room for talks," he told a rally in south-eastern Zimbabwe. "There is no room for any negotiations because the real owners of this land are asserting their rights and reclaiming their land."

Mr Mugabe says his land drive is aimed at correcting colonial injustice which left 70 per cent of the best farm land in the hands of white farmers. The farmers say they support land redistribution but not forced evictions.


A young guy from Texas moves to California and goes to a big department store looking for a job. The manager says, “Do you have any sales experience?”

The kid says, “Yeah, I was a salesman back home in Texas.”

Well, the boss liked the kid, so he gave him the job. “You start tomorrow. I’ll come down after we close and see how you did.”
His first day on the job was rough but he got through it. After the store was locked up, the boss came down. “How many sales did you make today?”

The kid says, “One.”

The boss says, “Just one? Our sales people average 20 or 30 sales a day. How much was the sale for?”

Kid says, “$101,237.64.”

Boss says, “$101,237.64? What did you sell him?”

Kid says, “First I sold him a small fish hook. Then I sold him a medium fish hook. Then I sold him a larger fish hook. Then I sold him a new fishing rod. Then I asked him where he was going fishing, and he said down at the coast, so I told him he was gonna need a boat, so we went down to the boat department, and I sold him that twin engine Chris Craft. Then he said he didn’t think his Honda Civic would pull it, so I took him down to the automotive department and sold him that 4X4 Blazer.”

The boss said, “A guy came in here to buy a fish hook and you sold him a boat and truck?”

Kid says, “No, he came in here to buy a box of tampons for his wife, and I said, ‘Well, since your weekend’s shot, you might as well go fishing.’”


Well, that's it for this week

Have a great weekend!

Best regards