20 September 2002


New members joining us recently are:

Douggie Russell from Oxford, UK

Charles Collier from Marlborough, UK

Chris Goss from Marlow, UK

Welcome to the OBA!


From:     Andy Kay, Stafford VA, USA
Date:      06 Sep 2002 08:03
Subject:  Re:  Old Boys Briefs 090602

Hi Tony,
Well here's my 2 cents worth on the e-mail from David S Hulme:
Well of course SOAF did have Hawker Hunters and they had them in operational service for a good many years.  They were ex-Jordanian Air Force Hunters given to Oman by King Hussein as a gift, but I'm not sure of the year of their arrival although it was obviously after '75 which would account for Dave's dad not remembering them.  There were even a couple of relatively rare T7 two seat trainers, and they were flown by ex-RAF (and others, including ex-Rhodesian Hunter jocks) pilots on contract to SOAF until some Omani pilots were finally checked out to fly fast jets (a number of years later). 
I don't think the Hunters arrived in time to take part in the Dhofar war, but I know they were always the pilots favourite 'ride', especially going low-level through the canyons and valleys of the Jebel (mountains) around Thumrait where they were based.  I recall seeing a picture of a Hunter flying low-level down the main Thumrait-Salalah road.  It was passing a Shell petrol station and was lower than the Shell sign that hung outside the place! 

Rumour had it that a favourite game was bouncing SOAF cars as they drove down the same road, although that stopped when apparently one got a little too low and the combined air pressure and jet blast collapsed the roof of the Toyota car (the occupants were already crouching very low when they saw it coming!).
Later the Hunters (didn't the Hunter just turn 50?) were joined by Jaguars, and now I believe that Oman is planning on buying F16's thus ending a long relationship with British aircraft makers.
Best regards,
Andy Kay

(ex SOAF, 1980 - 87 - we didn't have numbers then 'cause we all knew each other!  <grin>)
PS When the Beaver was phased out in favour of Skyvans, the disgruntled Beaver drivers zapped every available flat surface with "Bring Back the Beaver" stickers!

[Ed:  Thanks Andy - funnily enough we didn't hear back from David S Hulme....]


From:     Dave Webb, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
Date:      06 Sep 2002 08:32
Subject:  Russian Medals and Hunters

Good Afternoon Tony,
Having read through some interesting comments on the recent UKMAMS brief, I have added a couple of further comments for they are worth:
Russian Medal

The Russian medal referred to is in fact the "Soviet 40th Anniversary Medal 1945 - 1985".  In 1994 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth approved the wearing of the award by mainly British and Canadian forces who served mainly in the RN or MN ships on the Arctic convoys.  The Soviet Government awarded the medal to selected ex-servicemen, bearing in mind the change in circumstances in Russia since the award was first issued in 1985. 

Hunters (Oman)
Hunters were in fact used towards the end of the Dhofar War after being received as a gift from King Hussein of Jordan in 1975.  Based at Thumrait with its vastly extended runway, they and their 1000lb bombs added much sort after weight to the Strikey's rockets and cannon.  They were also subjected to SAM 7 attack as a certain Flt. Lt. Kawalski would confirm, but their superior speed was a great advantage and made them less vulnerable than the Strikey.
That's it for now,  Keep up your good work.
Dave Webb

[Ed:  Thanks Dave...  and thanks for the picture of the medal.  If anyone wants to see it just let me know and I'll forward it to you.]


One Saturday afternoon, I was sitting in my lawn chair, drinking beer and watching my wife mow the lawn. The neighbour lady from across the street was so outraged at this that she came over and shouted at me, "You should be hung!!"

I calmly replied, "I am. That's why she cuts the grass!”


From:     Andy Kay, Stafford VA, USA
Date:      07 Sep 2002 09:59
Subject:  Ancient History

Hi Tony,
Attached in a zip file is a scan of something that came to light this weekend at home.  It is the original pamphlet I got from the RAF Careers Office when I went to sign up and choose my trade.  It is entitled "The Trades of Movements Operator and Movements Controller in the Royal Air Force"!
I hope the scans are readable, and I hope it gives a few laughs to those that like me were taken in by the propaganda given out by the recruiters!  Where was all the water skiing and women in bikinis they promised me??!!  (just joking!).  Anyway it makes amusing reading 30 years later (Bloody Hell!  THIRTY years ago!!).  Especially amusing is the last paragraph, "Value of the Royal Air Force Training in Civilian Life"!
Andy Kay

[Ed:  Thanks Andy.  I've placed the item in the Articles pages, entitled "Recruiting Pamphlet"  It makes for interesting reading.]


From:     John I'Anson, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates
To:         Ian Berry, Swindon, UK
To:         Dave Cromb, Brisbane Qld., Australia
Date:      13 Sep 2002 05:09
Subject:  Masirah Photo’s

Hi Ian, how ya doin?

Thanks for the photo's.

First one I cant see me in Masirah 2jpg. far right is wearing a tie. As you can see in Pict 0396 even at the Cpl's club monthly Grand Masalam. I think that would be the event .  I seem to recognise the wall behind the group. Unless it is a gathering after a CSE show.  The hand bottom left seems to be a little feminine don't you think.  That was the venue for such events .JG
before my time.

The two names missing you have me but a story.  SAD. The Crazy H Saloon The Stetson Hat and the batwing doors a give away.  Although the ties threw me for awhile.  As DC will tell us ties were worn to the Turtle Club but not the Crazy H.  Special occasion no doubt. The guy far let was at Lyneham when I returned and if I remember correctly got engaged to a WRAF girl.  The families office had allocated them a quarter in advance of the wedding and they had spent time preparing all.  On his stag night, which I went along to, he was sick and died on the chair he had been sitting on.  It was though he was having forty winks.  Someone had been spiking his drinks.

Next one in, sitting beside me   No name but he worked A shift as trim clerk.  seem to think he was more a supply man and returned to that profession.  May be wrong.

[Ed:  I have received and posted to the Images pages many photographs of Masirah taken in the early 1970's.  Between John I'Anson in Abu Dhabi and Dave Cromb in Brisbane we're getting all the names sorted out, which I will correct on the weekend.]


From:     Ken Dixon
Date:      14 Sep 2002 11:11
Subject:  OMEXAS  ex MIVA

Dear Tony

I contacted you on a number of occasions recently and also your Chairman Jack Riley in Australia about a change I needed to make in your website.

Some time ago you kindly put a notice of our on your site, but since then things have changed dramatically. I would appreciate it very much if you could change things for me.

Demand made me change my efforts of a census from Masirah to the whole of OMAN and I desperately need people to add their names to this database.

A website   OMEXAS  (still under construction) will tell you something about the thing. Its URL is:

I would also appreciate it if you would permit me to use the names of the people involved in your own site, who are ex Oman Expats. In return for this favour I will be pleased to advertise UKMAMS

Thank you

Ken Dixon

[Ed:  Now I'm really confused...  how many Oman Expats things are running?]


According to a news report, a certain private school in Washington was recently faced with a unique problem. A number of 12-year-old girls were beginning to use lipstick and would make up their faces in the bathroom. That was fine, but after they put on their lipstick they would press their lips against the mirror leaving dozens of little lip prints.

Every night, the maintenance man would remove them and the next day, the girls would do it again. Finally the principal decided that something had to be done. She called all the girls into the bathroom and met them there with the maintenance man. She explained that all these lip prints were causing a major problem for the custodian who had to clean the mirrors every night.

To demonstrate how difficult it had been to clean the mirrors, she asked the maintenance man to show the girls how much effort was required. He took out a long-handled squeegee, dipped it in the toilet bowel, and cleaned the mirror with it. Since then, there have been no lip prints on the mirror.

There are teachers, and then there are educators...


From:     Dave Barton, Kings Lynn, UK
Date:      15 Sep 2002 10:02
Subject:  Exercise Link West

Hi Tony,
I wonder I anyone can recall the UKMAMS Exercise Link West?  This was my very first job with UKMAMS and believe it was in the autumn of 1966 or 1967.  I was attached to the Squadron. for three weeks from RAF Boulmer.  Although movements qualified, the only aircraft I had been on were as a passenger - the nearest to working on one was the mock-up at Kidbrooke.
Here was I, thrown into 'battle' with a team consisting of Flight Sergeant Ray Marks and SAC Sandy Sandiford, myself and the other three were all new to the game. I know we left Abingdon by Landrover and  turned up at a number of airfields in the UK. Flew on a Beverly without doors, turned up at one airfield to find the exercise had moved elsewhere!  It all seemed rather confusing and a bit of a hit or miss affair to a first timer like me. Can anyone throw any more light on what the exercise was about?
Dave Barton.

[Ed:  Thanks Dave, I'm sure someone out there will be able to fill in the gaps for you.]


From:     John Holloway, Shrewsbury, UK
Date:      16 Sep 2002 13:34
Subject:  Aden

Hi Tony

 I mentioned a few weeks ago that that I heard from the son of one of the chaps featured in one of  the photos in the Khormaksar article recognizing his dad;  “Air Movements Staff  1956”   In fact it was our billet Xmas party.  Anyhow I’ve since made contact with his dad John Scott and he’s given me the names of the rest of the lads in the photo.

From left to right Brian Pearce, Norrie McCathie (Mac), John Scott (Scotty), John Holloway (Me), Bert Brazier and Bernie Barnes.We had a great party that day but it was marred a little for me as I had to go on duty as the AOC had decided to make a trip down to Ryan, Salalah and Masirah that morning to wish the blokes there a Merry Xmas though I’m sure they wouldn’t have minded had he not bothered.

Scotty tells me that Mac passed away about ten years ago.  The one memory I have of them was one morning I’d hit the pit after coming off all night duty and woke to see the pair of them staring down, shaking me and telling me I’d got a seat  next day on a VIP Comet flight that had a couple of spare seats on it.  I was two months overdue getting away from the dump because of SUEZ so I was up and got my clearance chitty done post haste and got all my gear packed.  The flight back to UK via Entebbe, Kano and Idris, arriving at Lyneham on a cold wet dark February afternoon was beautiful!

I’ve suggested that Scotty join the OBA thru his son as he hasn’t got a computer so you should hopefully hear from him in the near future.

Anybody remember Ghaleb’s shop on No 1 Street in Aden?  When I was stationed at HQBF Aden in 1956 he used to come around the offices selling all the necessities like soap, shaving cream etc., all a lot cheaper than NAAFI prices so he was very popular.  I found his shop there eight years later when I passed thru on my way to Aussi on the P&O ship "Orcades"

I wanted a pair of binoculars and bought some nice ones at Ghalebs.  A mate of mine with me on our adventure, whose brother Pete was stationed at Khormaksar as a fitter on 43 Sqn Hunters,  met us with a mate of his on the quay.  We did a bit of a walk around Steamer Point, had a beer here and there and later invited them back to the ship to have a look around but somehow we got separated from them and didn’t see them again.  The ship left for our next port of call Colombo.  After Colombo the next port was Fremantle where there was mail waiting for us and there was one from Aden.  Pete tells us that they took a boat from the liner back to shore and were arrested as they had no documents with them and they spent the night in the local nick for illegal entry.  I ask you,  illegal entry into that dump!!

Cheers for now

John Holloway


From:     John McGrath, Thornton-Cleverleys, UK
Date:      18 Sep 2002 04:47
Subject:  Mystery Photograph Suggestions

Is the photo the VC10 that put its nose wheel off the runway in Belize. I  couldn’t say for sure but I was in Belize for my first tour in 1984 and I recall seeing an album with a few photos in it of the incident so it probably occurred in 81 or 82.

It happened because the arriving aircraft had to do a 180 degree turn at the end of the runway to taxi back to the apron area as the airport in Belize didn’t have any taxi ways. I was told that the pilot hadn’t turned quickly enough and that once he realized his nose had gone off the runway he had tried to tweak it back on by reversing the starboard engines and accelerating
the port engines, This unfortunately only pushed his aircraft (and probably his career) further into the brown smelly stuff.

I imagine the person to talk to, for more info and who probably has the rest of the pictures would be either the then Squadron Leader Jack Gratton who was OC supply and Movements at the time I was there, or the then Flying Officer Guy Lendon who was in charge of the Movements Flight.

Rgds John Mcgrath

P.S. If I am wrong then… JEEEZ,  you mean they did it twice?!

Ed:  You are correct John!  I'll leave the picture up for another week so all can appreciate it.]


From:     Ian Berry, Swindon, UK
To:         Diana Bomford, New Zealand
Date:      18 Sep 2002 06:14
Subject:  Operation Agila

As promised, please find attached a copy of the report of UKMAMS involvement in Op Agila 19 Dec 79 - 19 Mar 80.

[Ed:  All good stuff Ian.  I've almost finished an article on the operation, which will include the report by Jerry Porter - quite interesting stuff to say the least.]



Report by Squadron Leader J H Macdonald – OC UKMAMS Det, latterly S Mov O Rhodesia


1.    The air movements aspects of Operation Agila can be divided into 5 phases. Firstly, the strategic deployment of the force from UK, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Kenya to Salisbury. Secondly, the tactical move of elements of the Monitoring Force (MF) from Salisbury to dispersal locations within Rhodesia. Thirdly, the resupply phase, both into and within the Theatre. Fourthly, the tactical recovery of dispersed Monitoring Teams to Salisbury. Finally, the strategic recovery from Rhodesia to home countries.


2.    The strategic deployment of the MF began on 19th Dec 79 with the departure of VC10 Flt 2285 from Brize Norton en route for Salisbury. This aircraft deployed the 38 Gp route activation party, including 3 UKMAMS teams for Salisbury. On arrival these were divided into 2 teams, each of a Flt Lt and 7 men with a HQ element of a Sqn Ldr (OC UKMAMS Det) and a FS (Cormack). The HQ element was stationed in a Combined Air Transport Operations Centre in Salisbury Civil Airport, together with 38 Gp Ops staffs and USAFE Ops and ALCE staffs. The traffic teams worked on a 12 hr on, 12 hr off shift pattern from a lockup store adjacent to the aircraft hard standing. They were assisted in handling USAF aircraft by 6 USAF Aerial Port personnel.

3.    Deplaning passengers were processed through a large marquee erected on open ground adjacent to the aircraft hard standing and were dispersed in contractors’ transport. Cargo also was dispersed by civilian contractors’ vehicles ordered to meet specific chalks. The workload during the 6 days of the airlift was intensive but in general the flow of aircraft was well regulated. However, on occasions, the late arrival of some USAF aircraft created flow conflictions and consequent peaks in workload. Nevertheless, despite working conditions which varied from temperatures of 120 deg Fahrenheit  to violent thunderstorms, planned aircraft turn-rounds were in general achieved or reduced.

4.    The airlift was completed on 26th Dec with the departure of USAF MAC Flt 5523. By then 1398 passengers and 1,926,552 lbs of cargo had been received from 73 aircraft of 5 nations.


5.    The dispersal by air of elements of the MF within Rhodesia was planned for 27 and 28 Dec 79. However, because of factors unforeseen in the planning stage 9 additional Hercules sorties were required in the period 24-26Dec. These were all loaded at Salisbury and unloaded at their destination by the duty traffic team concurrently with their strategic commitment. This concurrency was not allowed for in the manpower planning and, in consequence, a very strenuous workload was placed on the traffic teams during this period. Nevertheless, all these sorties with the exception of one, which was postponed due to the late arrival of the Kenyan contingent, were flown as planned.

6.    During the 2 days of the planned tactical airlift 26 Hercules sorties were mounted. One traffic team loaded the aircraft at Salisbury; the other, reinforced at times by the HQ element flew with the aircraft to offload at destinations. All these sorties departed and recovered on time. This was a vital factor in the positioning of Rendezvous and Monitoring Teams at their locations by the deadline of 2359 hrs 28 Dec.


7.    At the beginning of the Resupply Phase OC UKMAMS Det was re-designated the RAF Staff Movements Officer (RAF S MOV O) Rhodesia and together with the Army Force Movements and Transport Officer (FMTO) formed the Ceasefire Liaison and Monitoring Organizations (CLAMOR) Joint Movements Staff.

8.    A Joint Services Air Booking Centre (JABC Rhodesia) was formed at the airport under the day to day control of the RAF S Mov O. The staff of JABC were drawn jointly from UKMAMS and ATLO personnel and throughout the resupply and recovery phases they provided a joint air booking, load control and ATLO function for both strategic and tactical air transport operations.

9.    Physical loading and unloading operations remained the direct responsibility of S Mov O and were handled by 2 full MAMS teams working a 24 hours on, 24 hours off shift system. However, at times of peak activity, double shift operations were necessary and on occasions JABC staff were required to further reinforce the traffic teams.


10.    In the early stages of the resupply phase, in-theatre Hercules aircraft were tasked to meet specific daily airlift requirements. Often these were not known until late the previous day and the flying programme was seldom finalised before late evening for departures at first light the following day. This led to long frustrating working hours for all the agencies involved; moreover, although a degree of load consolidation was achieved, aircraft were seldom fully utilized and on occasions tasks were duplicated.

11.    Clearly this was an unsatisfactory arrangement, and, following discussions between the Hercules Detachment Commander, S Mov O and CLAMOR AQ Staffs 2 internal schedules were designed to meet the emerging pattern of demand for airlift. These provided all the Assembly Places adjacent to airstrips with a Hercules schedule on alternate days. Immediately,  the pressure for special airlift reduced significantly and within a few days it became minimal.

12.    From the outset the internal schedules operated in the PCF, 44 seat role and offered a round trip payload of 20,000 lbs operating at Military Operating Standard (MOS). This proved to be an ideal combination of role fit and payload offer and remained unchanged throughout the resupply operation.

13.    Bookings for all legs of these flights were controlled by JABC and, once this became known to all the agencies involved, it proved to be a workable and effective system of payload control. Physical loading and offloading was handled by 2 MAMS personnel and the aircraft’s Loadmaster working as a team.

14.    A number of out-of-theatre tasks were mounted by the in-theatre aircraft in support of the resupply operation. Notably, in late Jan 80 it became necessary to airlift 90 tons of beef from South Africa to supplement Assembly Place rations. These were delivered by 6 Hercules sorties, each averaging 34,000 lbs of payload from Johannesburg to Salisbury, Fort Victoria and Bulawayo. Loading and offloading operations at all these locations were handled by Salisbury-based MAMS teams.


15.    Initially the resupply of the MF from UK was effected by a weekly PCF VC10 schedule which routed inbound and outbound via Nairobi. This was later amended to stage through Akrotiri in both directions to provide an enhanced payload offer inbound. Furthermore, the levels of cargo arisings in both directions led to the institution of a weekly Hercules sortie to supplement the VC10. On occasions these were further supplemented by special flights. One of these, a Hercules delivering a replacement Puma aircraft became unserviceable at Nairobi. A Salisbury-based MAMS team was therefore despatched to Nairobi to effect a load change to a serviceable aircraft. This was achieved in the remarkably short time of 4 hours.


16.    With the general improvement in the security situation during the ceasefire period, much of the dispersed equipment and many of the personnel were able to recover from Assembly Places by road. Therefore, the part played by air transportation during the in-theatre recovery was less than that in the deployment. Nevertheless, a substantial amount of equipment was recovered by air during the 14 days leading up to D Day and on D Day itself 12 Hercules sorties were flown. Each sortie recovered 2 mine-plated landrovers and trailers and up to 18 fully kitted troops. 2 MAMS personnel travelled with each aircraft to expedite turn rounds both at forward airstrips and on return to Salisbury.

17.    By the end of this phase and including the figures for tactical and strategic resupply, Salisbury based MAMS teams had handled 5815 passengers and 2,591,483 lbs of cargo.


18.    The strategic recovery plan called for the recovery of non-essential vehicles by sea and the recovery of all personnel, helicopters, specialist vehicles and essential equipment by air. An element of the FCO and the Election Commission were also to be recovered by air.

19.    The strategic airlift was closely tailored to meet the MP’s requirement to recover the majority of its personnel to UK on the same day they were to be recovered from Assembly Areas. Accordingly, 5 VC10s in the full passenger role were planned for the first 48 hours of the operation. These were routed inbound via Akrotiri which gave the desired short transit time to UK but limited payload to 110 passengers per aircraft.

20.    In the event, last minute political considerations prevented some MF personnel from recovering as planned and the 3rd VC10 sortie was deferred until later in the airlift. Indeed, further enforced changes led to the cancellation of one VC10 and 6 Hercules sorties from the planned airlift and the substitution of a 2nd phase airlift in their place. Nevertheless, the overall concept of the recovery airlift was maintained and the plan proved to be sufficiently flexible to allow for these lat minute changes.

21.    The offloading and loading of all recovery airlift aircraft was achieved by the 2 in-theatre MAMS teams, each of which was reinforced by 3 additional personnel for this purpose. This proved to be an ideal manning level for the workload experienced and also gave the flexibility to concurrently handle in-theatre tasks and to give assistance to Commonwealth Air Forces when required.

22.    During the recovery airlift 12 VC10, 29 Hercules and 2 C5A Galaxy sorties were handled, giving a total offload/onload of 1143 passengers and 992,402 lbs of cargo.


23.    Operation Agila was a unique and demanding but immensely rewarding experience for all those who took part in it. The UKMAMS teams based in Rhodesia operated both as a temporary air movements organization at Salisbury Airport and in their mobile role at forward airfields within Rhodesia and Southern Africa. By the end of the operation they had handled 8,356 passengers and 5,510,437 lbs of cargo.

24.    In both roles the teams were often placed under pressure to complete difficult tasks in trying conditions within very strict time limits. They responded to this challenge with characteristic enthusiasm and cheerfulness and were seen to prove in an operational situation both the overall concept of MAMS operations and the value of their specialized training and experience. In doing so they provided a visible and potent argument for the retention of specialist air movements expertise both at officer and NCO level and for the maintenance of MAMS teams in their present form to meet similar contingencies worldwide at the minimum of notice.


From:     Patrick Meehan, Malaga, Spain
Date:      18 Sep 2002 11:40
Subject:  Please change my e-mail

Whoops, wrong e-mail on the Member’s page.  Please could you put my mail as


Patrick Meehan
Research and Development Manager
Spantel Communications
Avda Miramar, 35
Fuengirola Malaga
Tlf:    +34 952 669 300 ext: 3007
Fax:    +34 952 463 955
Mobile: +34 627 344 936

[Ed:  Thanks Patrick - it's been changed this end]


Returning home from work, a blonde was shocked to find her house ransacked and burglarised. She telephoned the police at once and reported the crime. The police dispatcher broadcast the call on the channels, and a K-9 unit patrolling nearby was the first to respond. As the K-9 officer approached the house with his dog on a leash, the blonde ran out on the porch, shuddered at the sight of the cop and his dog, and then sat down on the steps. Putting her face in her hands, she moaned, "I come home to find all my possessions stolen. I call the police for help, and what do they do? They send me a BLIND policeman!”


I must apologise for the lack of  a Brief last week.... there was this blonde.... I won the lottery.... I only had three e-mails...  pick the most plausible.

In  the meantime lots of new stuff on the site... just check the Notice Board for all the latest.


Well, that's it for this week

Have a great weekend!

Best regards