4 September 2009

A new member who has joined us recently:

Rod Elliott, Brinkworth, Wilts, UK "Look forward to catching up on the news."

Welcome to the OBA!


From: Charles Collier, Devizes
Sent: 13 August 2009 16:57
Subject: RAF Mystery Photo 081409

Hi Tony,

Unless I'm much mistaken the picture is of the aircraft pans at RAF Changi before my tour there in 1970-71.

I see the dreaded storm drain in the foreground that Flt Lt Alan Henchoz drove straight across at high speed but failed to jump, came to an abrupt stop with Alan badly injured after his face smashed into the steering wheel.

The aircraft: Comet, Hastings and Britannias. I would put the date of the picture around the early 1960's


Charles Collier

Correct Charles!


From: Peter Clayton, Wroughton
Sent: 14 August 2009 13:48
Subject: RAF Mystery Photo 081409


Mystery photo must have been taken at RAF Changi in the late 50's early 60's. Aircraft shown are Hastings of 48 Sqn and the Comet 4 and Britannia's from RAF Lyneham.

Did a flight in the Hastings from Changi up over the Malayan jungles with my Dad who was one of the pilots. I was about 12 years old at the time.



Thanks Peter!

George Washington grew marijuana in his garden.

From: Sig Siggery, Stafford
Sent: 13 August 2009 17:23
Subject: Re: Update


Currently residing in Stafford UK, as are a few of the other ex-movers; Pete Morrison, Alex Ross, Taff Farrow, Vic O'Sullivan, Gordon Bock and Brian Gibson to name a few.

Working with me within "Flybe" are Dale Walker at MAN and John Akehurst in BHX.

Gordon Bock and very recently Martin Liggett are both working at BHX, and I have been advised that Ade Smith has just taken a post there too.

Keep up the stirling work.

Best Regards


Thanks Siggy - great to hear from you again!


From: Al Gordon, St Albert, AB
Sent: 13 August 2009 23:00
Subject: CAF Mystery Photo 081409

Hi Tony,

I might be wrong but is that an old RCAF Yukon disembarking passengers at # 1 Fighter Wing in France?

I have no idea who any of the people are in the picture.

Great website, thanks


That's right Al - Unidentified RCAF Yukon at Marville with RCAF personnel and their families - March 1962. Arriving aircraft from Canada were always met by French Gendarmes. Here we see Gendarme Strugala and Chef Olaire.

RCAF Station Marville (also known as 1(F) Wing or 1 Wing) was a Royal Canadian Air Force station located near Marville in the Meuse department, Lorraine, northeastern France.

It was one of four RCAF wings consisting of three fighter squadrons each, established in Europe in the early 1950s to support the goals of NATO in Europe during the Cold War.

Strawberries have more vitamin C than oranges.

Navy eyes Maldives - Counter to China’s ‘string of pearls’ plan

A tiny pearl of an island with a former World War II airbase in the Maldives is now the Indian Navy’s strategic object of desire. Defence minister A.K. Antony’s visit to the Maldives with a high-level team for three days will not name Gan, or Addu Atoll, where the coral island is located, just south of the equator.

But the navy wants a permanent presence in Gan for its surveillance aircraft, along with a presence of its ships and other aircraft in both Male, the capital of the Maldives, and Hanimadhoo, in the Haa Dhalu Atoll in the island country’s north, which is barely 20 nautical miles (37km) south of the Indian islands of Minicoy.

As India and China seek to expand their influence in the Indian Ocean region, territories barely marked on maps are popping up like beacons in the vast blue. Gan, in Addu Atoll, is the latest. The Indian delegation is likely to propose building or renovating a hospital in the Maldives.

Antony is accompanied by, among others, the director general of the Armed Forces Medical Services, Lieutenant General N.K. Parmar. Navy officials agreed that Gan was of “great strategic importance” but were reluctant to describe their idea of a presence there as a “naval base”.

“It is important for us to station assets there. That does not mean taking it over. In fact, we have flown our aircraft from there. We want to station there now,” a senior official said. India does not expect this to happen overnight. Antony is expected to begin an essay in persuasion, with goodies thrown in, and a review of mutual benefits at the discussions.

This is how New Delhi hopes to sell the idea of a listening post in Gan, or Addu, to Male: You have concerns over your environmentally fragile exclusive economic zone and about patrolling and policing your far-flung islands, some of which are uninhabited. And we, the Indian Navy, are the “regional stabilising force” in the Indian Ocean. Indian officials will make the point that the navy is, in any case, patrolling waters a mere 15
nautical miles from the Maldives.

The group of coral islands that make up the Maldives is about 600km from its north to south. The Maldives does not have a navy. India will offer to patrol and keep an eye over its territories. For India, the benefit: it gets a listening post that will monitor movement of Chinese vessels as they sail to and from Africa. More than 60 per cent of Chinese oil imports are assessed to be sourced from Africa.

New Delhi’s military establishment is wary of China’s “string of pearls” strategy — the phrase used to describe the pockets of influence that Beijing wants to dot around India, starting with the port of Gwadar in Pakistan to the port of Hambantota, which China is developing in the southern tip of Sri Lanka, to Myanmarese and Bangladeshi ports in the Bay of Bengal.

India has over the years tried to develop military bases overseas without great success. Its first has been in Farkhor and Ayni. Ayni is about 10km south of Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, which borders Afghanistan on its north. Pakistan and China find an Indian military presence in Farkhor, also in Tajikistan, threatening.

An Indian military presence in Gan — formerly the RAF Gan, so named after the British navy built it for its fleet air arm and then handed it over to the Royal Air Force — means an extension of reach for its navy.

The Indian Navy sees its area of responsibility in the ocean covering the space between the Persian Gulf and the Malacca Straits.

Antony will also be accompanied by defence secretary Pradeep Kumar, director-general of the coast guard, Vice Admiral Anil Chopra, and deputy chief of navy staff, Vice Admiral D.K. Joshi. Antony is scheduled to meet Maldives’ President Mohammed Nasheed shortly after landing.  In the back-to-back meetings, the delegation will talk to officials and ministers in Male and to the Maldives National Defence Force.

Queen Elizabeth II visits RAF Gan in 1972

A defence ministry release today said Antony “will also attend the closing session of the India-Maldives Friendship function besides paying a visit to the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital, the most visible symbol of Indo-Maldives cooperation and friendship.”

India was the first to recognise Maldives after its independence in 1965. In 1988 India’s military launched Operation Cactus to foil a coup attempt in Male. In April 2006, India gifted a fast-attack craft, the INS Tillanchang, to the Maldives.

The Telegraph, Calcutta (Kolkata)


From: Malcolm Porter, Upton-upon-Severn
Sent: 14 August 2009 06:08
Subject: Re: UKMAMS OBA OBB#081409


RAF Club, 128 Piccadilly, London

Thanks to the OBA newsletter, I am arranging to meet my old NEAF MAMS side-kick Gerry Davis somewhere near Bristol! Hopefully, Brian Kent (Air Movs but not MAMS I don't think) will join us!

Seems a great opportunity to say to your membership - If you would like to attend OUR reunion next year - do please get in touch. Although we are predominantly all ex CL44 'merchants' we do have several ex Air Movers amongst the 180 strong membership (and, as such, we aren't too fussy who we drink with!).

It's at the Royal Air Force Club, 128 Piccadilly, London on Sat 22nd May. Exclusive bar opens at 1600 with the dinner call at 1930 and bar extension is arranged! Details by emailing me at

Now, due to failing memory, whenever I read your newsletter I see the name Chas Collier. I am sure we have been in the same place at the same time, but please Chas where was it?

One last comment - if any of the membership is now into longboats etc (surface movers!) and use the Severn, please do not go thru the town of Upton-upon-Severn without stopping for a beer. I live on the waterside and opposite no fewer than 4 riverside pubs!

Malcolm Porter
CL44 Association

The Amazon rainforest produces more than 20% the world's oxygen supply.

From: Tony Street, Buffalo NY
Sent: 14 August 2009 23:54
Subject: Lord High Admiral II

The Lord High Admiral II

At the end of last week’s episode, we left with S/L Suddendrop (pilot and aircraft commander) and F/S Bob (the working FE) not talking to each other, as we motored off to Düsseldorf on our training mission on an RCAF Yukon transport.

Half way there, F/S Bob repaired to the crew rest for a coffee.  He bent his head towards me and whispered, “Tony, I’m in a world of hurt!”

“I don’t doubt it, by the look of you.”

“That’s not it, I’m broke. I don’t know where my money went last night, but I don’t have a sou and we’ve got two days in Düsseldorf, what to do?”

In normal circumstances, one would approach the skipper and ask for an advance from his funds and sort it upon returning home. However, this approach was, given the circumstances, out of the question. 

I said, “I’ll see the S/L on arrival and get an advance and share it with you, OK?

“Fine,” said F/S Bob.  Then the second FE piped up, “Get me some too, as I found some XXX delights last night and I’m flat also.”

What price friendship?

As we were checking into the Duisburger Hof, I approached the S/L and requested a $100.00 advance. He hemmed and hawed and asked, “What do you need with so much money? Your per diem rate is $7.25 and we only had two more days on the road.”  I avoided answering by suggesting that if he was reluctant to assist his crew member, I could always go to the Canadian Embassy and see if someone there could help. He coughed up. We were good to go.

After the usual hotel “de-briefing” over a jar of Canadian Club, we set off to the town center to start our crew rest. Leaving the Hof, we turned left and stopped into our regular gasthause where we spent a couple of friendly hours. Then it was time to eat. We wended our way through a dark park that was about a half block wide and a block long. On our left was the convention center and on our right was a large, dark and foreboding, four storey building. Ahead were the bright lights and troubles of the high street.

It appeared that the convention center was hosting a home show, as just to the left of our path was a large tethered balloon floating about 50 meters above us, advertising a DIY store.  The winch platform was held to the ground by a dozen or so sandbags, with the cable retaining the balloon above us.

It was never discovered who waxed poetic and declared, “Just like the Krauts to restrain a free floating object that is obviously desperate to slip a few surly bonds. Let my balloon go-go” (Disco was big then).

With the same instinct that allows fish and birds to change course in a blink, wordlessly, we all started to remove sand bags.  There were four of us, there must have been 20 of them.

It wasn’t until we were down to 4 or 5 bags that the platform started to quiver in anticipation of its release into inner space. “Just one or two more, men” cried our leader (No telling who he may have been), “Freedom is at hand!”

Just as one corner started to lift from its surly bonds, the shrill note of a Polizist’s whistle pierced the night, accompanied by the white, seeking rays of his torch--rapidly getting bigger! Where did he come from? No matter, we broke and ran.

Some time later we were ensconced in a pub on the high street scarfing down schnitzel and white wine and reliving our most recent moments of terror. Just as we sat back in our chairs and waved for another flagon, a Polizist car with its roof lights flashing glided to a stop in front of the place. And, what to our wondering eyes did appear?  Two huge, black leather clad, truncheon-carrying cops.  They bored right in on our table as a hush descended over the place. 

Another “Oh Sh*t moment for the log book!

The cops started in by asking us the obvious questions as we sat dumbfounded, with stupid looks plastered to our faces. Fortunately, one of our group spoke German, having done a tour with one of our fighter squadrons. He left the table and led the fuzz over to a corner where an animated discussion ensued.  Ten minutes later he returned with a smug look about him, as the cops departed.

He explained, “I told them that we were not the perps. The guys the watchman was chasing were, indeed, us. However, I explained that it was us who came upon the hoodlums who were the guilty ones, who fled at our approach. We were chasing them down to make a citizen’s arrest but lost them in the crowded high street. Of course, they didn’t believe a word, but what could they do?”

On departure for the Land of The Round Door Knobs, as we waited for the crew bus, we asked the doorman what the dark, foreboding building was. He said he didn’t know what it is now, but a few years earlier it had been Gestapo Headquarters. Eyeballing the situ, it became apparent that had the balloon actually gained freedom, with the prevailing winds and its rate of ascent, the winch platform would have pendulummed into the side of the third storey windows of the old Gestapo headquarters. Even with our efforts, the balloon would have been thwarted in its pursuit of slipping surly bonds. The best laid plans….


From: Len Bowen, Chisholm, ACT
Sent: 15 August 2009 07:57
Subject: RE: UKMAMS OBA OBB#081409


Bril, Mate as always.

Still alive and out there. Have just been up the Top End for three weeks on EX TALIMAN SABER (yes, sorry, correct spelling as it was a Yank exercise). P3C Orion and KK135 AAR rides.

Hopefully photos to follow, along with some old FEAF MAMS photos. Meanwhile: EX WESTERN REWARD 1980, RAAF Learmonth (North West Cape). MATU 1. LAC (Later WOFF Loadmaster) Macca McLaren driving his favourite toy, 10,000 lb ‘Big Bertha’.


Oh and how to land a F111 without wheels. Nothing to do with movements; just a great picture of a young pilot getting it right. Both walked .... ran .... away from the incident. Movements involvement? Well, nothing really apart from helping to clean up the mess afterward. Realeasability of the photos? No prob. Out on general RAAF Media within 48 hours.

Yrs Aye


Thanks Len - those FEAF MAMS pictures will be greatly appreciated by all - seems there's just not enough stuff on that out there!

Streets in Japan do not have names

Flown home cattle class from the front line: How our troops get home from Afghanistan

Troops from 16 Air Assault Brigade at the end of their Afghanistan tour wait in a C17 transport aircraft on the ground at Bastion to start their journey home.

Mail Online


From: Chas Cormack, Lyneham
Sent: 15 August 2009 09:40
Subject: Nicosia


You may like to print this without names to see if Brian and Mal can name anyone in this photo taken 47 years ago in the dustbowl at Nicosia before the first Turkish Invasion.

Finally got a photo of football team from JATNE Nicosia cup winning team in 1962.  Both Brian Kent and Mal Porter should know some of the players.


(Left click on picture for larger version)

Tasmania is said to have the cleanest air in the world

From: Brian Lay, Wellington
Sent: 16 August 2009 19:08
Subject: RNZAF Mystery Photo 081409

This is Richie Macaw, the current All Black Captain who was taking a UH 1H helicopter flight over RNZAF Base Ohakea

Brian Lay

Thanks Brian - the official blurb reads: All Black Richie McCaw swapped his rugby jersey for a flight suit today and went flying with Royal New Zealand Air Force. The keen aviator’s day began with a flight from Christchurch to Air Force Base Woodbourne in one of the RNZAF’s bright yellow CT-4E airtrainers. Once on Base the All Black spoke to officer cadets and recruits about management and leadership.

An Air Force Iroquois helicopter then flew the sportsman back to Christchurch. For the RNZAF pilots and crew having the respected sportsman on board made the routine exercise training an experience a little out of the ordinary.


RAF Brize Norton Begins Testing for Swine Flu

It has become mandatory for all passengers arriving at RAF Brize Norton Passenger Terminal for check-in to automatically have their temperature tested as a preventative measure for Swine Flu, this includes all civilian passengers travelling southbound to Ascension Island and the Falkland Islands. This new procedure is necessary in order to protect MOD operational capability. This testing is quick and easy, but passengers should be aware that it will inevitably cause a slight disruption and delay to the check-in process.

People found with temperatures high enough to cause concern will be given a 30 minute ‘cool-down’ period allowing for re-testing and temperature verification. This could cause some passengers to miss their flight check-in if they arrive too close to the ‘Latest Arrival Time’ to allow for the completion of this procedure.

The MOD recommends that all passengers allow for extra time into their travel plans to plan for any possible false negative tests and cool down period.

Passengers failing the 2nd temperature test after 30 minutes will be shut off the flight and unable to travel again for a further 7 days. Consequently, it is suggested that all passengers keep their transport available until after the testing is completed and civilian passengers are strongly advised to ensure they take out adequate travel insurance to cover such an eventuality.

MOD has advised that they will keep the screening programme under constant review by balancing medical and operational advice accordingly. Anyone who is due to depart from RAF Brize Norton should direct any questions to the Passenger Flight Information Line on 01993 896050.

Falkland Islands News Network

An apple, potato, and onion all taste the same if you eat them with your nose plugged.


Camp Bastion fifth busiest UK-operated airport

The airfield, which was set up three years ago, now handles more traffic than Luton, Edinburgh or Birmingham airports, and is busier than the Leeds-Bradford and Coventry airports put together.

Although initially designed to handle no more than 12 aircraft movements per week, it now handles 12,000 per month, according to the RAF.

Squadron Leader Steve Smith, senior air traffic control officer at Camp Bastion, said the massive in-flow of coalition aircraft to southern Afghanistan had meant an enormous rise in the intensity and complexity of air operations at Bastion.

"Now the air traffic control team are handling on average 400 aircraft movements per day or 12,000 a month, ranking it just below Stansted Airport in terms of aircraft movement. "Unlike UK airfields, Bastion Air Traffic Control have the challenge of dealing with large numbers of jets, helicopters and drones, all operating from different locations - a challenge unique to Camp Bastion."

The RAF said it had deployed a range of Air Traffic Control equipment and personnel to ensure the airfield can operate effectively in all weather conditions.

An MoD spokesman said that recent improvements had included the deployment of a "brand new, state of the art, Mobile Visual Control Room, an airfield approach radar system and additional personnel". The RAF controllers at Camp Bastion are all drawn from UK main operating bases and carry out a four month deployment to Afghanistan, he added.

Secretary of State for Defence, Bob Ainsworth MP, said the RAF's achievements at Camp Bastion were "startlingly impressive". He said: "To develop in three years, and operate, an airport comparable in activity to Stansted with all the added complexities that the Afghan environment presents is some feat, and is both testament to the extraordinary skill base we are so fortunate to have amongst the ranks of our UK Armed Forces, and the intensity of operations which they, coalition allies and the Afghan security forces are conducting to enable elections to take place successfully."

The UK's four busiest airports are Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and Manchester.

Hands up all those who just ate an apple, potato and an onion with their nose plugged!

Group Captain David Hurrell, station commander Brize Norton,
presenting the Imperial Service Medal to Bob Webb.

From: Paul Buxton, Brize Norton
Sent: 27 August 2009 05:16
Subject: Death of Mr Bob Webb - RAFMS Graphics Officer 85 to 88

Hi Tony

I heard today of the passing of Mr Bob Webb, who some OBA members will recall was the Graphics Officer at the RAF Movements School from 1985 to 1988. Bob died last week and will be laid to rest in Swindon on 3 September. If anybody would like more details, or pass on any messages, they can contact Mr Denys Ellis, a friend of Bobs, on 01793 522082 and who is dealing with the funeral arrangements.


Paul Buxton
Sqn Ldr
RAF Brize Norton
Carterton, Oxon, OX18 3LX


From: Ian Berry, West Swindon
Sent: 27 August 2009 10:15
Subject: Bob Webb

What a shame to hear of Bob's passing.

I was at the RAFMS when Bob transferred from JATE and he was a true Master of his ART. All of a sudden materials which had been out of reach were arriving thanks to Bob's contacts and catalogue! Nothing was too much trouble for him and a lot of "extra curricular" work was done too - nothing was too much of a problem. Even after I left the RAFMS and years later when Bob retired I would meet him now and then in Swindon and we would have a "catch up".

I will always remember him with affection.

Ian Berry


From: Bruce Oram, Alicante
Sent: 27 August 2009 12:02
Subject: Death of Mr Bob Webb

Hi Tony,

What a shock to read of the passing away of Bob Webb.

He was a really nice, genuine person, who was always willing to assist any instructor at the Movements School. He would always go out of his way to create a teaching aid, or a cartoon for anyone who asked him. I remember he said his grade was G4, and he called himself the best paid "gopher" on the school

I send my condolences to his family at their time of loss

Bruce Oram


From: Jack Riley, Urangan, Qld.
Sent: 27 August 2009 16:42
Subject: Mr Bob Webb

It was with sadness that we today learned of Bob's passing. Although we are scattered round the world, very much in the MAMS tradition, our thoughts will be in Swindon on September 3, not least because the date marks the 70th Anniversary of the outbreak of WW2 .

Please pass our sincere condolences to his family and friends

Jack Riley
Sqn.Ldr. RAF Retd.
UKMAMS Old Bods Association


From: Ian Envis, Crowborough
Sent: 27 August 2009 16:20
Subject: Re: Death of Mr Bob Webb - RAFMS Graphics Officer 85 to 88

Thanks Tony,

I knew Bob through 4624 Oggies as he helped the Sqn Training Team. Bob was a good egg and together with Dave Eccles helped produce some great cartoons and impressive slides to use on the OHP - that are now the domain of Power Point etc.

Cheers Ian

ps: I had coffee at Gatwick earlier today with Steve Tomlinson who was enroute to Spain to visit his sister. I do believe he is meeting with Jerry Allen and other sometime beyond 05 Sep 09


From: David Cromb, Brisbane, Qld.
Sent: 27 August 2009 17:35
Subject: Re: Death of Mr Bob Webb - RAFMS Graphics Officer 85 to 88

Thks Tony,

Whilst I never knew the guy it's always sad to read of friends and colleagues passing away isn't it?

Kindly convey our condolences and respect to his family.

RIP Bob.

In sympathy DC & tribe.


From: Mark Bird, North Rustico, PE
Sent: 27 August 2009 21:46
Subject: Re: Death of Mr Bob Webb - RAFMS Graphics Officer 85 to 88

My deepest sympathies to his family, God bless...

Turk Bird


From: Andy Zimmer, Haverfordwest
Sent: 28 August 2009 04:09
Subject: Bob Webb

A sad day....My heartfelt condolences to Bob's family; he will be sorely missed

Andy Zimmer


From: Richard Castle, Sutton-upon-Derwent
Sent: 28 August 2009 04:58
Subject: Death of Mr Bob Webb - RAFMS Graphics Officer 85 to 88

Dear Tony,

I have heard through Tim Newstead of the death of Bob Webb. I knew Bob well in that I was at the RAF Movements School as OC Training Flight in 1980, ending my tour as OC Support Flight in 1982. It was during this period that Bob began as Graphics Officer (not 1985) and he was certainly still there during my tour as OC School from 1983-86.

Bob brought about an approach to graphics the likes of which we at the School had never seen. He transformed presentations and developed artistic wall displays that were the envy of the Station as a whole. On numerous times he was “hijacked” to undertake work for the Station Commander and other senior executives.

As a man Bob was a real gentleman. I never saw him lose his temper and he always undertook new tasking with a smile. Apart from the secretary, Bob was the only other civilian on the staff at the time; however, he became fully engaged in the School and its RAF staff. I have the greatest of respect for Bob and am saddened by this news. Please convey my condolences to his family.


Richard Castle


From: John Gardiner
Sent: 28 August 2009 05:00
Subject: Bob Webb

Dear Tony

I was very sad to hear of the death of Bob.

I arrived at the RAFMS in December of 1985 where he had already got his feet very much ‘under the table’ and was giving as good as he got…no mean feat for a Civvy in a Mover’s stronghold!

He was always helpful, had great skills in what he did and of great help to anyone struggling with their lesson preps or presentations.

A friend to all and a real gentleman

I regret that I will be away in Germany on holiday otherwise I would have been in attendance on the 3rd .

Kind Regards

John Gardiner.


From: Al Rae, Corby
Sent: 28 August 2009 08:51
Subject: The Sad Death of Mr Bob Webb

I was lucky to work with Bob when I was an SAC at the School 84-87, he was a proper gent.

We used to have a ding-dong battle over which radio station to listen to, any time either of us stepped out the office, the other would change it, for Bob it was always Radio 2 and for myself in those days Radio 1. It took Dave Giles to sort it out, I was allowed Radio 1 in the morning then Bob had Radio 2 in the afternoon. How times have changed in the fact that I only listen to Radio 2 these days!

My thoughts are with Bob's family at this sad time.



From: Alan Liptrot, Wigan
Sent: 28 August 2009 10:00
Subject: Bob Webb

Hi Tony,

I never met Bob Webb, but that doesn't matter, he was one of us.

Please pass on my condolences. Let's hope there are no more for a long while.




From: Howie Bumford, Carterton
Sent: 28 August 2009 12:12
Subject: Condolences

Very sorry to hear of the passing of dear old Bob. We worked closely together from 1984 - 1987 on the Course Design Team at the school when he did lots of the graphics for the redesigned Movements courses. A great gentleman and brilliant artist. Your work will live on.


Howie Bumford


From: Ken Felton
Sent: 28 August 2009 13:03
Subject: Bob Webb

I worked with Bob at the RAF Movements School between 1985-1988.

Bob had time for everyone despite the whole of RAF Brize Norton apparently queuing up to use his valuable time and considerable talents as an artist. The Defence Movements School is still full of his work as are the Movements Newsletters and magazines which I still have.

Unfortunately, Bob's influence got me started as a jobbing cartoonist which I still do every now and again to this day. Sadly, I will never reach his very high standards. Bob has left a considerable legacy to the RAF Movements world.

My deepest condolences to Audrey and his family. It was a real pleasure to know such a gentleman!

Ken Felton


From: Rod Elliott, Brinkworth
Sent: 31 August 2009 10:58
Subject: Re: Death of Mr Bob Webb - RAFMS Graphics Officer 85 to 88

Dear Tony,

I am extremely sorry to hear the sad news that Bob Webb has passed away. He was my graphics officer for my first tour on the School as OC Support Flt in '84-85 and again later when I was OC RAFMS. I can see him now in the School photo from around '89 on the wall here in my study. Happy days.

He was a true gentleman and highly professional in all he did. We often asked a lot but no 'ask' was ever too big.

I will raise a glass to him on the 3rd.


Rod Elliott


From: Dennis Martin, Woking
Sent: 27 August 2009 13:57
Subject: Tommy (with apologies to Kipling)

Tommy (with apologies to Kipling)
Written by Patrick Campbell RM

They flew me 'ome from Baghdad with a bullet in me chest.
Cos they've closed the army 'ospitals, I'm in the NHS.
The nurse, she ain't no Britisher an' so she ain't impressed.
It's like I'm some street corner thug who's come off second best.
Yes, it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "You're not welcome 'ere".
But when Saddam was collar'd, they was quick enough to cheer.

They're proud when Tommy Atkins 'olds the thin red line out there,
But now he's wounded back at 'ome, he has to wait for care.
Some stranger in the next bed sez, "Don't you feel no shame?
You kill my Muslim brothers!" So it's me not 'im to blame!
An' then the cleaner ups an' sez "Who are you fightin' for?
It ain't for Queen and country 'cos it's Bush's bloody war!"
It's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, what's that smell?"
But it's "God go with you, Tommy," when they fly us out to 'ell.

O then we're just like 'eroes from the army's glorious past.
Yes, it's "God go with you, Tommy," when the trip might be your last.
They pays us skivvy wages, never mind we're sitting ducks,
When clerks what's pushing pens at 'ome don't know their flippin' luck.
"Ah, yes" sez they "but think of all the travel to be 'ad."
Pull the other one. Does Cooks do 'olidays in Baghdad ?
It's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Tommy, know your place,"
But it's "Tommy, take the front seat," when there's terrorists to chase.

An' the town is full of maniacs who'd like you dead toot sweet.
Yes, it's "Thank you, Mr Atkins," when they find you in the street.
There's s'posed to be a covynant to treat us fair an' square
But I 'ad to buy me army boots, an' me combats is threadbare.
An' 'alf the bloody 'elicopters can't get into the air,
An' me pistol jammed when snipers fired. That's why I'm laid up 'ere.
Yes, it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, "We 'ave to watch the pence";
Bold as brass the P.M. sez, "We spare them no expense."

"But I'll tell you when they do us proud an' pull out all the stops,
It's when Tommy lands at Lyneham in a bloomin' wooden box!

Photograph: Reuters

There are 53 Lego bricks manufactured for each person in the world.

Forces 'need thousands of recruits'

The Armed Forces are thousands of personnel short of requirements, figures show. Despite improvements in recruitment and retention in recent years, the three services need 4,460 extra men and women between them to hit their target levels.

Latest manpower statistics from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) revealed the combined strength of the Army, Naval Service and Royal Air Force to be 174,010 - only 97.5% of the 178,470 required. However, that was up from the 96.8% last summer and the MoD stressed fewer people were leaving and more joining the forces. It said the number of trained personnel who had left in the past year was down by 15.7%, while recruitment was up by 8.7%, year-on-year.

The Army had the biggest shortfall in manpower, of 1,960, although it also has by far the biggest staff of the three services.

The RAF was 1,620 down on its target level and the Navy was 880 short, according to the figures, which described the position on July 1.

Defence minister Kevan Jones said growing numbers of people wanted to make a career in the forces. "The Armed Forces offer a challenging and financially rewarding career," he said."Each and every recruit will help to work as part of the international community to support the Afghan people as they build a better future."

The Press Association.


From: Keith Parker, Melksham
Sent: 28 August 2009 06:59
Subject: Memories

Hi Tony

Yes I'm still sat at home, thanks for all your efforts, the OBA has been a real lifesaver for me.

You mentioned Ian Alder in the last e-mail. Ian had the operation and became an officer finally finishing as a Sqn Ldr, he now works at RAF Stafford in charge of the overflow of items for the RAF Museums. It's a really interesting job, the lucky devil! They hold everything from all uniform items since the RFC till today; vehicles, bits of aircraft and querky things like the escape ladder from Rudolf Hess's aircraft. I meet Ian at our B/E reunion which happens every 2 years. Sadly we are now down to 18 people, so if any ex-45th Entry guys are reading this and want to join in please get in touch, we have a great time (from what I can remember of them).

I loved Gerry Davis's story it brought back many memories, I remember the Loadie from Monarch very well, his name was Paddy Reilly (doesn't that say it all?).

Finally, on the piece from John Holloway about the Pathfinder badge. I have only ever seen two people who wore this on their uniform in my time; one was an Ops Officer at Northolt and the other was our very own Taff Erasmus.

Taff Erasmus
I had the pleasure of working with Taff when he was a Flt Sgt on NEAF MAMS on detachment in Bahrain in 1967. Obviously we were wearing KD out there so we never saw his badge and Taff never talked about his time as an Air Gunner until one night on shift he said his former Skipper was passing through, some AVM chappie who greeted Taff like a long lost brother at the bottom of the steps. Needless to say he whisked Taff off into the VIP lounge, and the two were not seen again until the aircraft was ready to continue on it's route to the Far East, the two war time friends appeared rather the worse for wear, but when they got to the bottom of the steps it was very hard for them to say their goodbye, but tearfully say them they did.

After the aircraft had departed Taff (still the worse for wear) explained how the two of them had come through the war, Taff was his Rear Gunner, on a Lancaster Pathfinder Squadron, some unknown 617 Sqn , commanded by some bloke called Wg Cdr Guy Gibson VC (this was after the Dam Busters raid). We sat there enthralled for the rest of the night whilst Taff told story after story, some funny some sad, but every one had us on the edge of our seats.

I worked with Taff at Lyneham in later life and to my knowledge he never mentioned his war experiences again, but he did wear the Pathfinder Eagle on his breast pocket along with several rows of gongs and very proud of it he was, and rightly so.

Hope I haven't bored you too much

Best Regards

Keith (KP) Parker

In Harrisburg, Pennsylvania it is illegal to have sex with a truck driver inside a toll booth

From: Vic Smith, Amberley, Qld
Sent: 30 August 2009 06:54
Subject: RE: UKMAMS OBA OBB #081409


Re the RAAF Mystery Photo, the gent in the orange vest is SGT Mick Hughes. Probably at Williamtown and probably some loading training on one of our C130s.

I am currently at Richmond NSW to get C130J training. Done it previously but not recorded.

Got back to Brisbane yesterday (0640hrs 29 Aug 09) from a two week tour (holiday) in Vietnam. Started in Saigon and worked our way to Hanoi via Vung Tau, Baria, Long Tan, Hoi Anh, and other places.

Had an overnight junk cruise on Ha Long Bay in between a couple of nights in Hanoi. Enjoyed the trip very much.

Cheers To all,



Base will become new Joint Helicopter Command Flying Station

Preparations are underway for the closure of RAF Aldergrove next month. Back in April last year, Armed Forces Minister Bob Ainsworth announced that 230 Squadron currently stationed at RAF Aldergrove would relocate to RAF Benson in England by March 31 2010. Following 230 Squadron's departure, RAF Aldergrove will become Joint Helicopter Command Flying Station Aldergrove.

Several units will continue to be housed at Aldergrove as well as 5 Regiment Army Air Corps and the existing welfare facilities will remain for the families on the station.

In 2010, 38 Engineer Regiment, currently based at Massereene Barracks in Antrim, will move to Aldergrove. As part of the station's transition ceremonies, the RAF Aldergrove Officers’ Mess will host a Battle of Britain dinner for approximately 120 people on September 19. During the dinner, in addition to celebrating the RAF’s contribution to the Battle of Britain, RAF Aldergrove will look back at the history of the Station and the Royal Air Force in Northern Ireland.

Then on September 20, RAF Aldergrove will host a commemorative Battle of Britain Parade. The Royal Irish TA Band and a local secondary school band will perform. All personnel on Aldergrove Station will be involved in the event, along with approximately 250 veterans from the Royal Air Forces Association, the Aircrew Association and the Royal British Legion, and invited guests from the local area. The Battle of Britain Parade will be followed by a Service of Thanksgiving in one of the Station Hangars.

The Royal Air Force Ensign Lowering Ceremony will take place outside Station Headquarters following the Service of Thanksgiving, marked by a flypast by RAF Harriers.

Once the Joint Helicopter Command flag has been raised all guests will attend a lunch in the Warrant Officers’ and Sergeants’ Mess.

Antrim Times

Aldergrove - a brief history

RAF Aldergrove is a Royal Air Force station situated 18 miles north-west of Belfast. It adjoins Belfast International Airport, sometimes referred to simply as Aldergrove which is the name of the surrounding area. The station shares the Aldergrove runways but has its own separate facilities and helipad.

RAF Aldergrove first opened in 1918 but was not designated as an operational RAF station until 1925. Aldergrove’s location made it an important station during the Second World War of RAF Coastal Command in the Battle of the Atlantic. From the base long-range reconnaissance aircraft were able to patrol the Eastern Atlantic for U-Boats. Some of these patrols ranged as far out as the distant islet of Rockall.

Aldergrove was designated as a dispersal airfield for the RAF's V bomber force in the 1950s and was included in a reduced list of 26 airfields in 1962. In 1968 a maintenance unit (No.23 MU) for the F-4 Phantom in RAF service was established at Aldergrove, with 116 aircraft passing through on their way to front line service. Aldergrove was also the main servicing and reconditioning station for Canberra aircraft from their introduction in 1951. In 1976, the station had a staff of 2,500 RAF personnel and 1,500 civilians.Northern Ireland Committee of Irish Congress of Trade Unions, "The Defence Stations in Northern Ireland: The Case for Retention", March 1976

No. 72 Squadron operated Puma and Wessex helicopters from Aldergrove from 1991 until its disbandment in 2002.

The Army Air Corps also operated Westland Lynx , AH-64 Apache and Aérospatiale Gazelle helicopters as well as de Havilland Canada DHC-2 Beaver aircraft in its joint operations with the RAF's Reconnaissance Intelligence Centre (Northern Ireland) which was replaced by the Britten-Norman Islander late in 1988.

No. 18 Squadron also operated detachments of Boeing Chinook (UK variants) during the late 80's in support of the British Army in Northern Ireland.

Aldergrove is now home to a mixed force of helicopters, which operate across Northern Ireland in support of the British Army and Police Service of Northern Ireland.

The best recorded distance for projectile vomiting is 27 feet

UK RAF launches Afghan work-up with Merlin helicopters

The UK Royal Air Force has launched a four-month series of environmental training exercises in the USA intended to prepare crews of its AgustaWestland Merlin HC3/3A (AW101) transport helicopters for deployment to Afghanistan.

The move comes as the service's hard-working fleet of Boeing CH-47 Chinooks was temporarily depleted following the first loss of an aircraft in the country's Helmand Province.

RAF Merlins arrived at the US Navy's El Centro training facility near San Diego, California in late August to participate in Exercise Merlin Vortex.

The aircraft were flown to the site using RAF Boeing C-17 strategic transports.

The 15t-class Merlins will be flown initially by crews from the three flights that form the RAF's 78 Sqn, with their training to be focused on "hot and high" operations, dust landings and in honing self-defence procedures, the service says.

The UK's last Merlin HC3s to have been deployed on operations in Iraq since 2005 returned to RAF Benson in Oxfordshire in early August, and the type is scheduled to make its debut in Afghanistan before year-end.

The type will receive theatre entry-standard modifications including BERP IV main rotor blades and enhanced defensive aids system equipment before their operational deployment.

An RAF Chinook was destroyed on 19 August after making an emergency landing in hostile territory in Helmand province, with a fire having broken out in one of its engines during an operational mission.

"The crew escaped without injury, and were immediately extracted by another Chinook," the RAF says. "The helicopter was later deliberately destroyed by a coalition airstrike to deny it from enemy forces."

A Board of Inquiry has been convened to confirm the cause of the accident, but the service says that the aircraft had been "under heavy fire from the Taliban" at the time. The incident, which represented the first loss of an RAF Chinook since the type was deployed to Afghanistan in early 2006, happened the day before the country's presidential elections. A spare UK aircraft was already in theatre, and was rapidly prepared for use as a replacement.


RNZAF - Combined Inaugural Air Movements Training Day

Cpl Sefo is the marshaller in control
as F/S Beere looks on

No distractions for forklift driving Sgt Tumataiki

Tuesday 7 July saw personnel made up of No. 40 Squadron Loadmasters and Supply Specialists — both from the Material Support Wing and Expeditionary Support Squadron (ESS) — gathering for the inaugural combined Air Movements Training Day held at RNZAF Base Auckland.

The event provided an opportunity to practise uncommon procedures (like dealing with aircraft pallets and loading the C-130), as well as to ensure continuity amongst those involved, encouraging teamwork and enabling greater efficiency. It also provided an opening for those less inclined to ‘step up’ and take the lead during the different tasks.


“The event provided an opportunity to practise uncommon procedures, encouraging teamwork and enabling greater efficiency ...”


Various simultaneous scenarios were held. Teams rotated through round-robin style activities, including correctly netting a two-pallet marriage and how to safely unload a T-56 engine with no motorised mechanical handling equipment. A barbeque lunch break at noon left everyone well prepared for the afternoon’s exercises, which culminated in loading a 20ft container into a Hercules cargo compartment.

By all accounts the day was a resounding success and was enjoyed by all involved, not only as a chance to skill up but also as a break from the norm. Kudos to those who organised it and thank you to those who took part—hopefully it will be the first of many more to come.

GSH Hunt (far right) instructs correct chaining techniques

A fire in Australia has been burning for more than 5,000 years!

Air Mobility in the Very Large Dimension

Even though it is not one of Boeing’s newest products and despite the US government's decision to stop the production of the aircraft, the C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft remains one of the company’s most profitable assets. Moreover, the gigantic aircraft continues to be the backbone of the US Air Force’s strategic heavy-lift capability and is indispensable for America’s and NATO’s operations across the globe. Boeing has received a $1.15 billion modified contract for the C-17 sustainment partnership fiscal year 2009. Within a large range of services, the Long Beach-based company will further ensure programme management as well as material and equipment management and will provide engine management and long term sustainment planning. The contract comprises the support of the US Air Force (USAF) as well as of Foreign Military Sale (FMS) operators of the C-17.

A C-17 of the US Air Mobility Wing takes off from Nellis AFB.

The aircraft which was developed during the 1980s and early 1990s and joined the Air Mobility Command (AMC) of the USAF in 1993, has since been sold and leased to a number of US allies, such as the UK (5), Australia (4) and Canada (4). With the C-17, the British Royal Air Force is the only European force which can, at present, provide heavy air-transportation from within its own inventory. Since first deliveries were made to the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in late 2006, the C-17 has also proven to be of great assistance to Australia in deploying and supporting troops as well as providing humanitarian support to Papua New Guinea (2007) and Burma (2008).

To depict the C-17’s transport capacity, the Royal Australian Air Force explains, on its homepage, that the Globemaster is large enough to transport the M1A1 Abrams main battle tank, Black Hawk, Seahawk or Chinook helicopters, three Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopters or five Bushmaster infantry vehicles. It has three times the carrying capacity of the C-130 Hercules. Compared to the 45 ton cargo capacity of the Il-76 – one of the major airlift platforms for the current supply of NATO forces in Afghanistan – the C-17 operates in another league in its ability to transport up to 70 tons.

In addition to the above named customers, as well as of the NATO Strategic Airlift Capability Programme detailed below, Boeing’s Globemaster will now take to the skies of the Persian Gulf. Both the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar have signed FMS contracts with the United States for the procurement of C-17s, respectively in mid 2008 and early 2009. After the Qatar Emiri Air Force received its first C-17 this month, the UAE is still waiting for the delivery of their first aircraft. During this year’s International Defence Exhibition & Conference (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi, the UAE has signed deals worth $3 billion to purchase twelve C-130Js and four C-17s, becoming the sixth international customer for this aircraft type. Qatar bought two Globemasters and is now anticipating the delivery of the second aircraft by late 2009.

"Qatar's selection of the C-17 reflects the strong international interest we continue to see in this advanced airlifter – especially in the Middle East, where it brings unparalleled capabilities for military, humanitarian and disaster-relief missions," said Tommy Dunehew, Boeing Global Mobility Systems vice president of Business Development, during the hand-over ceremony for the first C-17 of the Middle East country. According to media reports, Boeing has also identified India, Japan, the Netherlands and Singapore as potential future buyers. In June, India short listed the C-17 as its new Very Heavy Lift Transport Aircraft (VHTAC). The Indian Air Force (IAF) is looking to acquire ten C-17s through the US government’s Foreign Military Sales framework. The first aircraft are expected to be delivered three years after a contract is signed, according to Indian officials.

During the past few weeks the C-17 has not only made news with deals and deliveries, but has further gained a new reference for its ability to meet complex airlift requirements in a multi-national framework. This framework has been dubbed Strategic Airlift Capability (SAC) Programme and includes the NATO member nations Bulgaria, Estonia, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia and the United States, as well as Partnership for Peace nations Finland and Sweden. After these countries jointly acquired three C-17s, in a 30-year programme somewhat similar to the NATO AWACS programme, the first aircraft was delivered on 18 July to the NATO Heavy Airlift Wing (HAW) at Pápa Air Base, Hungary, by pilots from Norway, Sweden and the United States.

"The HAW was created as an answer to help other nations meet global reach commitments," said Colonel John Zazworsky, HAW commander. "Airlift is very expensive and for some nations this provides an alternative to having to front that entire cost alone." The nations' varying investments, including a portion of the unit's 131 personnel, dictate their amount of annual flying hours. For example, Romania contributed funds toward the initial cost of purchasing the aircraft, and have eight personnel assigned to the unit in exchange for 200 flying hours. The NATO Airlift Management Agency (NAMA) will handle acquisition, logistics support and financial matters.

SAC 01 has begun operational missions in support of the nations' requirements in early August and anticipates flying roughly 630 hours before the end of 2009 and more than 3,100 flying hours in 2010, all of which will be flown by multi-national aircrews, regardless of the nation to which the mission belongs.

And in addition to the above success stories, the US Air Force ordered an additional 15 C-17 Globemaster IIIs worth some $2.95 billion back in February, keeping alive the production of the aircraft, which had been on the verge of closing down as orders had significantly been reduced. The US Air Force will operate a total of 186 C-17s when delivery of all ordered aircraft have been completed and has, thereby, demonstrated its further commitment to this platform.

Keeping the production line open was of paramount importance to Boeing since the uncertain status of the European heavy airlift capabilities has not been resolved and the Globemaster III is virtually the only alternative to the Il-76 so far leased by NATO members for their support of military operations abroad.

The recent export success of the aircraft, even though still small in numbers, and the potential for further contracts to be signed in Asia as well as, perhaps, due to a growing NATO requirement, should enable Boeing to keep production and services for the aircraft on a profitable level.



James Bond is also known as Mr. Kiss-Kiss-Bang-Bang


More than 2,500 left handed people a year are killed from using products made for right handed people


This issue is dedicated to the memory of Bob Webb