Gatineau/Ottawa
03 October 2008

 

New members recently joined are:

CAF  
   
Sandy Bunn, Cobourg, ON, Canada

 
John Priest, Trenton, ON, Canada

"I've been in for 34 years. I started out as Army but saw the light in 1980 and became a Mover. I was a Loadie for 10 years and spent almost 5 great years in the UK in a support role at RAF Daws Hill, returning to Canada in 2004."

John Dumoulin, Greenwood, NS, Canada

 
Duane Bach, Carrying Place, ON, Canada

 
Al Kelley, Summerside, PE, Canada "Back in the 50's loading aircraft including the Dakota, Bristol Freighter, C119 Boxcar & Herc. No teams back then, just Air Movements."

Jim White, Colborne, ON, Canada "Retiring now and Ruth and I look forward to a bit of travel to complement that which we have done during our service careers. Geat site. Keep up the good work!"

   

Welcome to the OBA!

 

From: David Powell, Princes Risborough
Sent: Friday, September 19, 2008 5:33 AM
Subject: C5 Eats C130 For Breakfast

Hi Tony

Yet another excellent brief.

I enjoyed the philosophical views of our sage Syd Avery. (Hi Syd!). I first met Syd at Changi way back and that memory coupled with the fascinating story of the Herc in the C5 reminded me of a Far East story. This is a second-hand yarn, indeed the perpetrator may be reading this.

The scene is a forward airfield in Thailand in 1964/65 time. A USAF Globemaster (original steam version) lands and taxis up to park alongside a battered RAF Beverley where the FEAF MAMS team were just tidying up the aircraft prior to departure. A young American aircrew guy from the Globemaster wanders over and expresses surprise and admiration at the RAF’s impressive giant of the skies. At which point one of the MAMS team replied laconically, “Pity you weren’t here an hour ago – you should have seen the aircraft that brought it in.”

“Really? Gee I wish I had seen it!”

Exit Beverley, exit gullible American.

Keep the faith

David Powell

Thanks David - reminds me of the time we were at Andrews AFB in Washington back loading a Belfast with flak Jackets for Northern Ireland. A USAF sergeant came onto the aircraft looking for the Captain whereby one of the MAMS team said, "He's up front taking a shower." The USAF chap's jaw dropped and he exclaimed, "Holy cow - you guys have showers on these things?"

There are three golf balls sitting on the moon.

From: Chris Kirby, Paradiski
Sent: Friday, September 19, 2008 5:39 AM
Subject: Re: UKMAMSOBA OBB #091908

Hi Tony,

Well! I have just seen your post about us on the OBB. Totally unexpected but very welcome all the same, thanks from both of us. Great piccies too, a really nice touch. Although what we're doing is not perhaps massively relevant to military logistics, I'm sure at least some of the readers will take an interest in what former movers are up to (I've already had Shuggie Shewan get in touch, haven't had a beer with him for a while).

Anyway, I've been (slowly) putting an article together comparing my RAF mover escapades with my more recent Alpine & Highland logistics. I'll be sure to send you a draft to see if you think it merits inclusion in the OBB. And, if you like, we'll see if we can come up with an appropriate way of putting a return link from our site to yours.

Cheers again, and all the best.

The Ski Bums

 

 

From: Chas Cormack, Lyneham
Sent: Friday, September 19, 2008 6:57 AM
Subject: Re: UKMAMSOBA OBB #091908

Hi Tony

I may be able to shed some light on a couple of the articles in the last brief.

For Sandra Hinks, I saw Brian Birkin 2 weeks ago at RAF LYNEHAM where I believe he is the SENIOR MESS MEMBER in the Sgts mess so no doubt a message to the mess would get him.

For Andy Jack, I believe you were in Nicosia in 1964 as that was when your Yukons and Hercs moved PPCLI in to Nicosia as part of the UN force.

Perhaps one of the Canuks can help me as I remember a guy called Jim Bostock who was at Namao in the 60s when it was I believe 3 AMU.  At that time both of our Air Forces wore BLUE uniforms and ours was the horrible hairy ones and I can remember Jim was able to fix me up with one of the nice smooth ones you used to have. When I got back to the UK we were looking at changing to a similar type but I used to wear my acquired uniform complete with eagles on the shoulders when I was away from Abingdon.

This caused some problems and the one I recall was when the Station Warrant Officer at West Raynham really went to town on me but I got out of it by showing him the NATO code on the label and he believed that I must be wearing the new issue one we were getting as I told him I was part of the trials.

The one thing he would not accept was my wearing an aircrew flying jacket with a fur collar which I also wore and banned me from wearing it on his station.

In the 60's I would be in Namao every other month at one time during Exercise Pond Jump West as there were only 3-5 teams in the UK at that time. I remember the cold chicken salads we were served up on EVERY leg on the Britannias, plus at that time the only pallets we had were fibreglass ones which used to stick every time on the ball roller by the door.

Bye for now

Chas

Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada has the most bars per capita than anywhere else in the world.

From: John Guy
Sent: Friday, September 19, 2008 8:15 AM
Subject: Re: Mystery Photo #091908

Hi Tony,

I'm now aged 75 years and keep having senior moments! I recognise all the members of the NEAF MAMS Team at RAF Akrotiri; Colin Allen is first on the left but for the life of me I cannot remember the rest of their names. Is it A/B or Blue/Red teams? Damned if I can remember. My own team was in a similar photograph. Possible date of photograph 1974.

Take Care,

John Guy

Thanks John - the answer to that Mystery Photograph appears later in this issue - in the meantime you can sometimes milk those senior moments for all they're worth!

 

From: Charles Collier, Devizes
Sent: Friday, September 19, 2008 12:32 PM
Subject: 90th Entry Celebrations

Hello Tony,

It's fifty years since I enlisted as an aircraft apprentice at RAF Halton on 16th September 1958. Well, we celebrated the 50th Anniversary of that happening for three days at the beginning of this week at the Ramada Hotel, Hemel Hempstead.

My colleagues came from the four corners of the world including Jeff Morris who now lives in your part of the world. After a period as a flight engineer on - I think - No 24 Sqn. He then emigrated, took a civil pilots licence, and then started his own flying company "Angel Flight of British Columbia".Their website is: http://www.angelflight.ca [Angel Flight is a charitable, non-profit organization that provides free, accessible air transportation for people who must travel for medical purposes.]

What I remember about him all those years ago was that he invited me one weekend to go home to meet his parents in north London. On arrival I was taken in and welcomed and then his sister, who was watching TV, suddenly went into hysterics. I asked what the problem was. I was told that she was madly in love with the singer who had just started up and was on TV at that time - I asked what his name was and I was told: Cliff Richard!

I notice that Cliff Richard is talking about his half century of public singing at the moment. I suggested to Phil Weller our entry secretary that we ask him to be our patron - he could perhaps sponsor our entertainment - or is that wishful thinking?

All the best

Charles

You have nothing to lose by following up on that thought Charles. Sir Cliff's official website is http://www.cliffrichard.org/

The earth rotates more slowly on its axis in March than in September.

From: Harold Jones, Neston
Sent: Friday, September 19, 2008 12:55 PM
Subject: Tug Wilson

Tony,

Thanks for your e-mail. Who could forget Tug Wilson?

When he left the RAF, he went home to Edinburgh. He worked for the Met office for a while and then, I think, had a job in a wire factory. After I left the RAF and went out to the Middle East I lost contact with him.

I'll have a beer for you at the UKMAMS booze up

Many Cheers

Harold

Thanks Harold - does anyone know where Tug Wilson is now? (from the Abingdon days)

 

From: Neville Whitham, Preston
Sent: Saturday, September 20, 2008 5:19 AM
Subject: Mystery Photo #091908

Tony,

Re. mystery photo - I reckon I can score marginally more points on this effort than the last mystery photo I attempted! (Only just - mind you)

It was before my time but it has to be a NEAF MAMS pic with left to right; Colin ('Sammie')Allen, next -not sure, Peter Herring, Virgil (out of The Thunderbirds) and possibly Hughie Curran on the far right. 'Rodney' at the front- 'Neil Ling'.

This must have been in the days when Colin was trying to stretch the regulation boundaries by sporting a 'pancho' style moustache that obviously went further south than his top lip! This was a style he also managed to import to Lyneham, but managing to avoid 'Joe' SWO, who would not have condoned it.

Pete Herring - I met when he was posted into Thorney Island (My first overseas tour!), who must have come back from Akrotiri (1975 ish).

Incidentally, I took a load of pics of the crashed Herc at Thorney back in 75, which I developed and printed myself, but can I find them? One day perhaps - then will send on to you.

Keep up the good work Tony.

Regards,

Nev Whitham

Thanks for your valiant effort Nev... Giftmeister Phil Clarke over in Vienna is snorting and giggling into his beer! I look forward to being able to share pictures of the pranged Herc with the OBA at your earliest convenience.

In Florida, It is illegal to sing in a public place while attired in a swimsuit.

From: Ian Berry, West Swindon
Sent: Saturday, September 20, 2008 12:58 PM
Subject: Re: UKMAMSOBA OBB #090508

Hi Tony,

After reading this week's OBA Newsletter I was somewhat confused about the articles and replies from Syd Avery etc. I then looked at the previous Newsletter 090508 and discovered I hadn't read it. Definitely a case of first stage Alzheimers or an overdose of Gordons!!

The picture of the guy crying in front of the scrapped VC10 is apt - I have a picture of the refuelling incident with possibly the same one sat on it's backside and it's nose high in the air - I'll send it to you.

Small world too about the white caramic mugs issued on arrival at RAF Hereford. I was issued with my mug on arrival as an Admin Apprentice on the 6th January 1965 and my mug was destroyed within the hour after a visit by the Senior entry who were then the 50th Boy Entrants and a thug called Gale broke mine!

Amazing to see Bob Tring also burst into print, he may have hinted about my forthcoming free bus pass but he has just received his this month and I DO still have photographs of him as a bugler from Hereford days!!

I also thought Syd's response about Aircrew was rather eloquent and he didn't degenerate into a mud slinging match. I, as most of us, had similar experiences but made some very good friends of the 'Front Enders' themselves whilst they were on ground tours as Operations Officers. No offence to the Canadian guys but I use do quite often ask, "What is the difference between a RAF Loadmaster and a Terrorist?" - The answer was "You can negotiate with a Terrorist!"....

I would also like to thank anyone who bought raffle tickets from me for the SSAFA Draw - I've handed over £420, many thanks.

Another topic I came into late was the problem of fundraising and lack of it from Movers. Well, welcome to the problem we encountered with today's Movers and their attitude to the Official Association. The question they all ask is "What's in it for me?...." It seems we are now from a different life.

And finally.... the attendance at Dave Eccles 'Farewell Piss-up' was very well attended with a group of Movers spanning 40 years of service, too many to list here. It was an enjoyable night under the circumstances and humbling to watch Dave's performance. His wife Denise told me they aim to be back next year and do it again!

More news and gossip as the gin goes down.

Cheers to all

Ian

No rush Ian - whenever you wake up is just fine!

 

From: Kevin Skinner, Wootton Bassett
Sent: Saturday, September 20, 2008 2:45 PM
Subject: Looking for BBH

In reply to Sandra Hinks' request for Brian Birken-Hewitt perhaps you could post or forward the following.

I left Lyneham a little over one year ago and Brian had recently arrived back at Lyneham from 99 Sqn. I believe he was destined for 70 Sqn as he was on the K OCU when we met during ERO training, but don't quote me on that one as he may now be on J's.

The post room at Lyneham would be able to forward any correspondence to the correct Sqn.

Snail mail address for Lyneham:

c/o Post Room,
Royal Air Force Lyneham,
Chippenham, Wiltshire SN15 4PZ,
United Kingdom

All the best

Kev Skinner

 

Seaweed is used to thicken icecream.

From: Mike Hagarty, Orleans, ON
Sent: Saturday, September 20, 2008 7:48 PM
Subject: CAF Mystery Photo #091908

Tony

Unless my memory is failing me that is a much younger Tom Walker, I'm not sure where the pic was taken or when.

I'd also be interested in hearing from some of the RNZ Loadies who could tell me the whereabouts of Boots Hayward or a chap who's last name was Sheppard. We flew some TAL missions back in the 70's in 435(T) Sqn. out in Edmonton and then we went over to NZ and did the same down under.

Thanks

Mike Hagarty

Thanks Mike - you're right about Tom Walker, but it wasn't that long ago. Answer to the CAF Mystery Photo later in this issue.

 

From: Neville Whitham, Preston
Sent: Sunday, September 21, 2008 4:42 AM
Subject: Mystery Photo #091908

Tony,

Re. Mystery Photo #091908

Just had another look at the mystery photo and think that the chap who is 2nd from left looks a bit like Eric Batty, who I also met at Thorney Island.

Ah the passages of time!

Regards,

Nev Whitham

Tsk Tsk Nev, nice try....

Dragonflies can fly up to 60 mph and although they have six legs they cannot walk!

From: Gordon Black, Swindon
Sent: Sunday, September 21, 2008 10:43 AM
Subject: Mystery photo 091098

Tony

It's Blue Team NEAF MAMS.

Colin Allen, Pete Cowan, Pete Herring, John Middleton, Neil Middleton (No relation) and Frank Holmes in front.

Frank had got black flying suits for them all to wear. Blue team always were a bunch of posers!!

Photo taken at RAF Akrotiri probably in 1973?

Gordon

You are correct Gordon! One of the "posers" got it right also - see below

 


Thieves have stolen files containing the personal records of thousands of serving and former RAF staff, the Ministry of Defence said. The information was stored on computer hard drives at the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency at RAF Innsworth, Gloucester.

Police are investigating the incident which took place last Wednesday within a high-security area at the base. The MoD said it is treating the breach "extremely seriously".

The agency provides support services for some 900,000 serving and ex-service personnel.

It is as yet unclear what information was stored on the three disc drives taken and how many people's records are affected.

A spokesman for the MoD said: "We can confirm that an investigation is being conducted by the MoD Police, with the support of Gloucestershire Police into the apparent theft of three USB portable hard disc drives.

"We are taking this incident extremely seriously. In view of the ongoing nature of police inquiries, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage."

The data loss will come as the latest embarrassment for the Government, which has already suffered a series of lost or stolen data files. Earlier this week, a disc containing the names and addresses of almost 11,500 teachers went missing in the post.

Commenting on the latest data loss, Nick Harvey, Lib Dem Defence spokesman, said: "This is just the latest in a seemingly endless stream of stories involving personal information being lost or stolen.

"The first priority has to be ensuring that nobody's security has been put at risk, but we also need a serious look at the way such sensitive data is being handled. The current situation is unacceptable. How can the Government expect people to support ID cards when personal information is apparently so insecure?"

Source: Ananova

The word 'gymnasium' comes from the Greek word gymnazein which means 'to exercise naked.'

From: John Middleton, Huntingdon
Sent:Tuesday, September 23, 2008 12:19 PM
Subject: Mystery Picture 091908

Hi Tony

Mystery Photo 091908

This is Blue Team NEAF MAMS, Akrotiri 1972/73, and from the left is Cpl Colin Allen, Sgt Pete Cowan (I think!), SAC Peter Herring, myself, F/Sgt John Middleton, Cpl Neil Middleton and kneeling is Flying Officer Frank Holmes.

I remember this tour well. I was posted from the UK to the team in January 1970 as a Sgt. Halfway through the tour I was promoted, but, unfortunateley only two teams, Red and Blue, were established in NEAF at the time. As a F/Sgt I became surplus to requirements so was promptly detached to Akrotiri supply squadron.

After 6- 9 months a vacancy occured back on MAMS and I returned to Blue team. ( I think it was Rocky Hudson being tour-ex which created the vacancy) I went on to complete nearly 4 years on NEAF MAMS in Cyprus, having been granted and extension on the strength of my eldest son, John, completing his "O" Levels at St Johns, Episkopi.

John had applied to join the RAF as an apprentice. On return to the UK he received a letter to say all RAF apprenticeships were full, and suggesting he continue his education for a further year at which time his application would be re-considered.

Having considered that, he applied for an Army apprenticeship, was successful, and went to the Royal Signals College in Harrogate. 22 years later he retired as WO1 and is now Head of Communications at the Westland Helicopter estate at Yeovil. Looking back I think the RAF did him a pretty good favour.

Re the tasking of the C130 into the C5 Galaxy, I was amazed the planning of the Op took two years, next time send for Bob Turner!

Best Wishes

John Middleton

 

DEFENCE BULLYING REPORT - "RAF Worst of the Three Services"

A recent report by the Equal Opportunities Audit Team has found that allegations of "a culture of widespread bullying and brutality" within the British Forces are, in the most part, unfounded. The audit team, which travelled to every Defence establishment across the UK and abroad and interviewed staff from all three services, found surprisingly few cases of unfair treatment and bullying within the Army and Navy.

When it came to the Royal Air Force, however, the report told a different story. Complaints to the EOAT came from a total of 13,555 RAF members, compared with three from Navy and just one from Army.

While this statistic is alarming in its own right, it becomes horrific when one considers that each complaint represents a sad story of abuse, mistreatment and neglect. As one senior RAF officer put it, "Each story is, in itself, a sad indictment on the RAF. When taken as a whole, however, they demonstrate a reprehensible lack of regard for personnel on the part of RAF managers at all levels."

One young pilot told of having to spend two nights in tented accommodation, despite the fact that there was an empty five-star hotel just 1km away.

Another said that he had been forced to endure a gruelling fitness test every year since he joined in 1997.

One airwoman alleged that she had been overlooked for promotion on numerous occasions, simply because she was fat, lazy and stupid.

An aircraftman stated he had been refused permission to wear civilian attire to work, despite the fact that his uniform clashed with his eye colour.

Another had been forced to wear uncomfortable safety boots for periods of up to eight hours straight.

An RAF clerk could not understand why she had been sent to work in a Joint military headquarters, "I have been forced to work for horrid Army people who just don't understand what the military is all about. I feel the RAF has victimised me by forcing me to do this, I will be seeking compensation."

Shockingly, RAF Senior Ranks are also subject to mistreatment. One SNCO Flight Sergeant stated, "I was deeply upset when I was addressed as Flight Sergeant by an officer. He knew my name was Robert. It was just horrible - I have never been more humiliated in my life." In response a senior RAF officer stated, "the officer in question has been moved on."

A number of personnel complained of having to attend courses that were not relevant to their jobs, such as rigorous ground combat courses and drawn-out lectures on occupational health and safety. To add insult to injury, a young corporal was even ordered to pack up chairs in the classroom after one such course.

The huge backlash against treatment of Air Force personnel should provide senior officers with a vital clue with regard to the massive retention problems experienced by the RAF in recent times. Over the past two years, Defence has spent some £19.8 million looking into the issue.

Not all of the Air Force's hierarchy, however, were upset by the revelations. Said outgoing Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Errol Flynn, KCB CBE DSO ADC BSc(Eng) FRAeS RAF, "I'm delighted with the result. I am very happy that our retention problems are due, in the most part at least, to something as harmless as bullying. I thought everyone was leaving because of me."

Contrary to popular belief, London Broil is not a cut of beef but rather a method of cooking.

RAF Mystery Photo #100308

 

From: Wayne Flaherty, Winnipeg, MB
Sent: Tuesday, September 23, 2008 1:27 PM
To: Dave Cromb, Brisbane, Qld.

Hi from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Where, in their short-lived summer, the mosquitos are big enough to carry off a human baby!).

I caught your reply in the last newsletter (#091908) and am glad to have a response from a fellow Mover.

Please note that my blurb was in reference to two Flight Engineers not Loadies. I had the pleasure of meeting a couple of your Loadies a couple of times and found out they were pretty good guys. I have been to your beautiful country only once. We landed in Canberra, Sydney and Darwin. My wife and I were seriously considering emmigrating to the land of Oz a couple of years ago but the cost of visiting our 5 kids realistically took that out of the picture. Instead we bought a place in Mesa Arizona USA and go there for the winter from October to April.

By the way, out-drinking a couple of engineers was not a problem but NEVER, NEVER, NEVER, again. It took me a month to get over that one. I will gladly buy you or any other mover a beer or two and anytime,anywhere but I just can't do that other thing again. Too old now anyway. All said and done it was still good to meet anyone from Oz and the two oilers and I had a good time that day.

Best for now.

Wayne Flaherty

p.s. If those two loadies (forget their names) remember meeting me in Trenton or New Delhi please feel free to email me with your stories. Also I have you on my joke list. I will start sending my Canadian jokes if you respond that you want them. Just let me know your tolerance level as I get some dandies

Honey is the only food that will not spoil.

From: Fritz von Kaitz, Edmonton, AB
Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2008 12:17 AM
Subject: Re: UKMAMSOBA OBB #091908

Tony,

CAF Mystery Photo #091908, in the latest newsletter is of CWO Tom Walker, although I'm not sure where or when.  I've cc'd Tom in this email and hopefully he can fill in the details.

Fritz

Thanks Fritz, we did hear from Tom, his response appears later in this newsletter.


 

From: Alex Masson, Chelmsford  
Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2008 6:41 AM
Subject: RAFA Wings Appeal Charity Collection at Chelmsford

Hello each!

Collecting from 9.00am – 5.00pm, sometimes later! Counting from 7.30pm – 10.00pm. We had three sites, Asda’s Sainsbury’s and the Meadows Town Shopping Mall Monday to Saturday. Saturday was the Town Street Collection where we were assisted by our local ATC Cadets. Three Pubs, with our assistance put on theme nights during Battle of Britain Week!

Result – we have raised a little more than £10K again this year! I don’t know the final figure as I still have some boxes to check and count.

As we were so short of our own volunteer members turning out to help – I enlisted the help of our local Girl’s Grammar School which ‘Young Legs’ attended.

These were my assistants in the Shopping Mall. – No wonder we did well!


Alex

No one has ever been able to domesticate the African elephant. Only the Indian elephant can be trained by man.

From: Robert Taylor, Doncaster
Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2008 10:15 AM
Subject: Mystery Tie

I have had this tie since I was at RAF Akrotiri Air Movs 1971 to 1974. For the life of me I cannot remember what it was all about. I am sure one of the Old Bods can help.

The wheel on the motif is obviously Air Movs, but the penguin?

All I can remember from that time was a Pax DAMO being involved, cannot recall his name but he was a big guy, played rugby I think and wore glasses. Not much to go on but any info received would help my poor memory.

Cheers

Robbie

 

From: 10 Downing Street, London
Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2008 10:53 AM
Subject: Government response to petition 'Wounded'

The Government is entirely committed to providing excellent medical care for the members of the Armed Forces and for veterans and we share the aspiration of the petitioners to see Servicemen and women and veterans receive the best medical care possible. However, we do not believe that this would be achieved by attempting to create a separate military and veterans hospital in the UK.

This position has been stated many times, and indeed by the MOD’s Surgeon General who said:

“I am adamant that the interests of sick and injured Servicemen, both in peace and on operations, is best met by the current partnership between the Defence Medical Services and NHS Hospitals and that a return to Service Hospitals would be to the detriment of the increasing quality of care provided.”

This view was supported by the cross-party and independent House of Commons Defence Committee in a report on ‘Medical care for the Armed Forces’ published in February this year. It found that:

“The principle behind the decision to move from stand-alone military hospitals to facilities which co-operate with the NHS was the right one, from a clinical, administrative and financial point of view.”

The former UK military hospitals, which have been progressively phased out from the mid 1990s, increasingly failed to offer the range and volume of cases that military doctors, nurses and allied health professionals needed to remain at the leading edge of their professions. This is a pre-requisite for providing the best possible operational medical care which is at the heart of the Defence Medical Services.

That is why, in addition to the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine with its links to NHS hospitals in Birmingham, we now have arrangements with five major NHS Trust hospitals. They have all agreed to host MOD Hospital Units (MDHUs) to provide training, development and maintenance of the clinical skills of Defence medical personnel. The NHS hospitals that host the MDHUs are also close to military population centres, and so can offer local secondary care facilities for military patients living or working in the region.

It is precisely because our military medical personnel keep their skills at the forefront of increasingly advanced medical techniques by working in major NHS hospitals that our troops receive such unprecedented levels of medical care in our field hospitals in Iraq and Afghanistan. And, of course, our medical reservists who play such a significant role in our field hospitals have developed their life saving skills in the NHS.

We fully appreciate the need for Service patients to feel part of the military family, which is why we have already created a Military Managed Ward in the trauma and orthopaedic department at Selly Oak. When their clinical condition permits, our casualties are treated on this ward by a combination of military and civilian medical personnel. A survey of the military patients at Selly Oak in 2007 showed that almost all respondents rated their treatment highly.

The current military arrangements at Selly Oak will be developed further when the new NHS hospital in Birmingham starts admitting patients in 2010. The Chiefs of Staff strongly endorse this plan for the future, which builds Defence medical care into Europe’s largest and most modern critical care teaching hospital. The new layout of the hospital will enable the MOD, with the full co-operation of NHS Trust authorities, to introduce a Military Ward within the Trauma and Orthopaedics Division of the Trust. It will have special features for the exclusive use of military patients. The ward will have a quiet room for relatives, a communal space for military patients to gather and facilities for exercising. A dedicated military physiotherapy area will also be provided close to the ward.

Once the crucial hospital phase is over, and patients have received the most appropriate clinical care, we provide rehabilitation for military patients in a wholly military environment. Many go on to the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court in Surrey, which is a military establishment providing advanced rehabilitation for military patients in an environment that is inspirational and where comradeship abounds. In May, the Government announced an additional £24 million for the Headley Court site to be spent over the next four years to maintain and enhance the establishment’s capabilities. Other less serious cases may go on to one of MOD’s 15 Regional Rehabilitation Units in the UK and Germany. These military units provide accessible, regionally based assessment and treatment, including physiotherapy and group rehabilitation facilities.

In terms of providing a dedicated hospital for veterans, it is worth noting that since 1948 it has been the policy of successive Governments that the NHS should be the main provider of health care for veterans. The range of general medical treatment required by veterans is in most cases no different from other civilians, and it would be wrong to expect them to travel large distances to receive treatment at a single hospital, especially when excellent care is already provided closer to their home and families.

So while we fully appreciate why your concern for the welfare of our armed forces has led you to sign this petition, we hope you appreciate the reasons why we believe the current provision of hospital facilities for injured personnel is the right one.

Lake Nicaragua in Nicaragua is the only fresh water lake in the world that has sharks.

From: Tom Walker, Ottawa, ON
Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2008 8:23 AM
Subject: CAF Mystery Photo #091908

Tony,

This is a picture of me when I was deployed in Haiti on Operation HALO in 2004. Here's a write-up by Captain Rae Joseph:

Operation Halo - When it comes to shipping and handling one Air Reservist would give his civilian counterparts a run for their money. Moreover, in military operations, it's a critical link to success.

Master Warrant Officer Tom Walker, a traffic technician from the Ottawa Air Reserve Flight now the J4 Air Movements, desk officer for Operation Halo, ensures the movements of materials and personnel - in and out of theatre - flows smoothly.

"My primary responsibility is to coordinate all the activities related to movements," said MWO Walker, who has a combined 31 years of Regular and Reserve time in. "I communicate with our counterparts in the Combined Joint Task Force Headquarters here in Haiti, as well as numerous units in Canada."

To aid him in his duties, MWO Walker uses a tool called the National Material Distribution System (NMDS). This system allows him to track material shipped either by military or commercial modes.

"For example, when we require a part that is critical to the operation, we can trace exactly where that shipment is in the system and have it tagged for the next flight," he said.

According to the Task Force Commander Lieutenant Colonel J.P. Davis, MWO Walker and the tools he uses are vital assets to Task Force Haiti.

"I am impressed by the support provided by MWO Walker and the capability in aiding his command priorities for shipment into theatre is a force multiplier," commented LCol Davis. " Since Task Force Haiti basically relies on just-in-time delivery, the ability to have visibility on the movement issues allows me to shift priorities to meet the needs of the task force."

MWO Walker was instrumental in keeping up foreign relations when he provided airlift support through the US/Canada Airlift Cooperative Agreement to the United States Marine Corps.

"The Marines needed to change an engine on one of their Light Armored Vehicles (LAV), but did not have an engine stand in theatre and their next support flight was not for 6 days," he explained.

However, MWO Walker offered support and with the use of the NMDS, he said the unit was able to confirm space on a sustainment flight; and deliver the engine stand from Charleston, SC to Port au Prince in less than 2 days.

"To which the USMC was most appreciative," he said.

He also gets involved in other logistic tasks outside his specific trade, such as ordering food from the US Forces, track consumption of rations, request ammunition requirements from Canada, prepare Unsatisfactory Condition Reports (UCR) on equipment, ordering sea containers for re-deployment and request authority for the return of all material from theatre returning to Canada.

"This has been an extremely valuable experience both personally and professionally," he said. "I get to provide many years of traffic tech experience and at the same time, learn more about the supply field and logistics as a whole."

This is MWO Walker's first UN Tour throughout his military career, which he credits to being at the right location but just the wrong rank for past missions.

"I Thought it was about time that I do my part," he said adding that being able to contribute and give a Reg Force person some relief was personally rewarding.

When he's not serving his country or working as the Director Air Staff Coordinator 4-2 (Air Command Orders Coordinator) at the National Defence Headquarters, MWO Walker enjoys camping, hunting and downrigger fishing off Manitoulin Island, especially with his two sons Jason, 24 and Daryl, 20.

 

World War III

Fighter jets, infantry troops, destroyers and submarines will converge on Wales this month for one of the largest military exercises of all time. The two-week exercise – codenamed "Joint Warrior" – is designed to recreate a scenario in which Britain and other sovereign nations go to war against a “state-sponsored terrorist movement” – using a vast array of lethal modern weapons. Taking place between October 6 and October 16, it will provide coordinated training for all three UK Armed Services, plus forces from EIGHT allied nations.

The whole of Wales has been designated as a flying area for the exercise, while so-called “managed danger area” ranges at Castlemartin and Manorbier in Pembrokeshire and Pembrey near Llanelli will be used for ground strafing, bombing and missile practice using live ammunition. An area of the West Wales coast has also been earmarked as a maritime “warfighting” area for Joint Warrior. The exercise is aimed at giving pilots, ships’ crews and ground troops vital training before they deploy to war zones like Iraq or Afghanistan.

According to the RAF, Joint Warrior will be particularly useful for Forward Air Controllers (troops directing airborne missile strikes), the role made famous by Prince Harry who became known by his call sign Widow Six Seven while directing fire against the Taliban. Six companies of infantry, 29 surface and four sub-surface maritime units and 60 aircraft – flying at a rate of about 80 to 100 sorties a day – will be involved in the exercise.

An MoD spokesman said: “The two weeks will develop through a period of tension into simulated warfighting/open hostilities.”

The exercise aims to provide opportunities for all warfighting disciplines including:

  1. Close Air Support (CAS) – executed by fast jet aircraft and Forward Air Controllers, often using live weapons;

  2. Convoy Support, Time Sensitive Targeting (TST) and urban close air support scenarios – “in order to replicate current Middle-East operational missions”;

  3. Large Force Element (LFE) missions – which will target fixed and mobile targets including inflatable Scud Decoys and Electronic Warfare (EW) emitters simulating surface-to-air threats;

  4. Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), Anti-Surface Warfare (AsuW) and also, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions – all carried out by Maritime Patrol Aircraft;

  5. Joint fires – involving live weapons on ranges in Welsh Wales;

  6. Submarine training – boats will complete sub-vs-sub and sub-vs-ship exercises.

The MoD spokesman said: “The exercise will accommodate a squadron of Tornado GR4s from 12 Sqn, RAF Lossiemouth and a squadron of Gripen aircraft from 171 Sqn, Swedish Air Force plus asso-ciated support personnel drawn from support units throughout the RAF. This is a particularly important exercise for the Tornado GR4 deployment as this will also act as a full mission rehearsal for their forthcoming deployment to Afghanistan.”

But Squadron Leader Peter Sinclair of the RAF in Wales moved to allay fears about the impact on people – and the environment. He said: “Some of the exercise areas overlap environmentally-sensitive conservation zones, which contain a wide variety of marine wildlife, sea bird breeding grounds and protected fauna and flora. Furthermore, the farming, fishing and tourist industries are important economic activities, which benefit from the natural beauty and relative isolation of some of the exercise areas. Against this background, the MoD recognises the impact of military activity and takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously.

“During the planning of the exercise, Environmental Impact Assessments are conducted for all potentially damaging activities, such as the use of active sonar and live weapons. Furthermore, close working relationships with landowners and key national stakeholders, combined with engagement with local communities, ensure that appropriate environmental mitigation procedures are put in place and then adhered to.

“It should be noted that the MoD has decreed that environmental considerations are always to take priority over the achievement of training objectives. This direction remains a primary consideration throughout exercise planning and execution.”

The director of the exercise, Capt Paddy McAlpine OBE said: “Joint Warrior will offer high-quality joint tactical training with maximum tactical interaction, tailored to meet the participants’ requirements across the whole of the UK whilst creating as little impact on the environment as possible. I am sure that the high-fidelity joint tactical training environment provided by JTEPS within Joint Warrior will ensure that UK and allied participants are rigorously prepared for operational tasks in theatres world-wide.”

Robin Turner, Wales On Sunday

The venom of the king cobra is so deadly that just one gram of it can kill 150 people.

 

As Webmaster for The Royal Air Force Servicing Commando and Tactical Supply Wing Association,
OBA member Wing Commander Tim Newstead is pleased to announce the re-launching of their website.

Click on the logo on the left to visit the site and don't forget to leave Tim a message in his Guestbook!

 

CAF Mystery Photo #100308


In Nepal, cow dung is used for medicinal purposes.

Gurkhas win right to stay in UK

A group of retired Gurkhas fighting for the right to settle in Britain have won their immigration test case at London's High Court.

They were challenging immigration rules which said that those who retired from the British Army before 1997 did not have an automatic right to stay. Prominent supporter actress Joanna Lumley said it was a "chance to right a great wrong".

The government said it would now review all Gurkhas' cases.

'Debt of honour'

The regiment moved its main base from Hong Kong to the UK in 1997 and the government had argued that Gurkhas discharged before that date were unlikely to have strong residential ties with the UK. That meant those who wanted to settle in the UK had to apply for British residence and could be refused and deported.

The judgement could affect some 2,000 former Gurkhas who retired before 1997. The judge, Mr Justice Blake, said the Gurkhas' long service, conspicuous acts of bravery and loyalty to the Crown all pointed to a "moral debt of honour" and gratitude felt by British people. He ruled that instructions given by the Home Office to immigration officials were unlawful and needed urgent revision.

Lawyer Martin Howe said: "Today we have seen a tremendous and historic victory for the gallant Gurkha veterans of Nepal. This is a victory that restores honour and dignity to deserving soldiers who faithfully served in Her Majesty's armed forces. It is a victory for common sense; a victory for fairness; and a victory for the British sense of what is right."

The five ex-Gurkhas involved in the test case were L/Cpl Gyanendra Rai, Deo Prakash Limbu, Cpl Chakra Limbu, L/Cpl Birendra Shrestha and Bhim Gurung. Gita Mukhiya also took part on behalf her deceased husband. Gurkhas have been part of the British Army for almost 200 years and are hand picked from a fiercely contested recruitment contest in Nepal to win the right to join. They have seen combat all over the world, with 200,000 fighting in the two world wars.

'Wonderful vindication'

Lumley, whose father served with the Gurkhas, was one of those leading the campaign. Outside court, she said: "This day is more important than I can tell you because it gives our country the chance to right a great wrong and to wipe out a national shame that has stained us all."

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said it was a "wonderful vindication" for those who had campaigned for a change in the law. "I've always felt that if someone is prepared to die for this country, then they should have the right to live in this country," he said. The key thing now is to look at the ruling in detail and to make sure that the government now translates that into action and doesn't try and squirm out of it."

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said in a statement that the Home Office would revise its guidance surrounding the 1997 cut-off date. "I have always been clear that where there is a compelling case, soldiers and their families should be considered for settlement," she said. "We will honour our commitment to the Gurkhas by reviewing all cases by the end of the year."


From: Bob Dixon, Dauntsey
Sent: Friday, October 03, 2008 11:59 AM
Subject: UKMAMS Assoc Weekend - report

Hi Tony

Please find attached a report on the Big Weekend. I have had no photos sent to me yet so I have decided to meet the deadline and will send any photos – if any turn up – later.

Hoping you are well – the winter snows cannot be that far away and some bloke ruined my day yesterday by pointing out that there are only 12 weeks to Christmas!

Cheers

Bob.

 


UKMAMS Association – “Big Weekend”

The UKMAMS Association “Big Weekend” was a great success and the support given by members exceeded the expectations of the organisers.  Most importantly, and particularly relevant in the light of the plans to disband the Association, those who attended enjoyed meeting old friends and much chat and quite a few beers and glasses of wine were the result.

Meet and Greet in the Winch Inn

It all started on Friday evening and the Winch Inn was humming as over 40 members joined a group of serving personnel of No 1 AMW to talk the evening away.  Surprise of the evening was the arrival of Peter Underwood from Canada with his wife Jane and her sister Valerie.  Pete was at Abingdon even before the official formation of UKMAMS in 1966 and he joined in the dinner on Saturday as well, earning applause for being the longest traveller to the weekend’s events.  The members cannot all be named but they included Dennis Smith, Mike Stepney, Gordon Black, George Lynes, Neil Jones, Brian Connellan, David Bell, Jim Buchanan, Martyn Skelton, Joe Cobert, Dermot Murphy, Charlie Marlow and Bob Turner as well as all members of the Council.  The 2 curries provided by the Wessex Restaurant were very popular, but we must remember to ask for serving spoons next time!  Together with the food and a generous sum put behind the bar to pay for drinks, the Association did its part in full to welcome the new OC No 1 AMW to his new job!

Families Day and Association AGM

Fog persisted at Lyneham on Saturday, only lifting after the start of the Association AGM held in the Cricket Pavilion, smiling on the Wing Families Open Day and allowing several Hercules sorties to get families airborne into the local area.  The AGM was attended by some 25 members and there were 105 postal proxy votes to vote in the same Chairman and Council members as last year.  Wing Commander Andy Killey gave a short and punchy description of the busy year faced by those currently serving on the Wing and outlined the challenges to come, including eventual move from Lyneham to Brize Norton.

Once the formalities were over and we had noted the current membership as 343 with about £7K in our funds, we got down to discussions about the disbandment plans and discussed what could be salvaged and maintained for the future.  There was some lively discussion but the consensus was to, reluctantly, accept that the Association would call an Extraordinary General Meeting at the end of January 2009 to finalise disbandment arrangements.  However, there was relief expressed when the Chairman indicated that some elements could be preserved as “UKMAMS Association Lite”!  i.e. try and maintain records, keep a website open and arrange a ‘get- together’ from time to time.  If an e-mail short version of Team Brief could be produced, it would be tried.  Although there would be no further formal subscriptions, it was hoped that some would volunteer small sums to pay for the basic administration expenses so that a skeleton organisation could be sustained for the future.  The formal Association would be disbanded before next June so that Standing Orders could be cancelled and members who have paid up several years in advance would be asked if they wanted a refund or were happy to leave the money with the Association.  Members were reminded that, after all bills had been paid, the Constitution required the surplus should go to charities with special consideration being given to RAFA and the RAF Ben Fund.   The AGM was wound up so all could go out to enjoy the Open Day but not before special votes of thanks were made to Colin Allen for his extra work for the ‘Big Weekend’, to Dave Betts (with the proviso that he was identified by his UKMAMS name of ‘Nip’!) for his anonymous financial support in recent times and his kind offer to continue such support, and to the Council as a whole for its efforts over the years to keep the Association running.

Dinner in the Sergeants’ Mess

And so to the Grand Dinner on Saturday evening ..... Coaches were laid on to get the majority of attendees to the Dinner from Wootton Bassett and Swindon Hotels.  Lots more people turned up, many with wives and partners, including former OC Brian Morgan, David Powell, Dave Eggleton, David Stevens, the Betambeaus’, Richards’, Roberts’, Cunninghams’, Irvings’, Tews’, Lasts’, Blythes’ ‘Biggs’, Geerahs’ and so many more ... also including the very welcome presence of several executives of the Wing supporting the new OC and Mrs Killey.  The diners filled the Sergeants Mess to capacity and the meal was conducted in an informal but fairly ordered fashion (following a Sam Heaphy “special grace”) under the auspices of the CMC, WO Mark Taylor (serving on No 1 AMW and a member of the Association anyway!)  He decided upon an impromptu speech himself and pointed his finger at individuals in the room who had had an effect on his career in Movements and why!  The Chairman, Bob Dixon, gave the main speech and offered toasts to the Ladies and to No 1 AMW, the modern successors of UKMAMS.  He spoke about some of the characters who have influenced the Squadron over the years and had a special word for the late Jim Stewart and for his wife Eileen who was a very welcome diner that evening.  He toasted “Absent Friends” as all present remembered those from Australia to Canada who would like to have been there but could not and those who had passed on and who have served the Squadron over the past 40 years.  He also mentioned that the Council had decided to commission a special limited edition Commemorative Coin to celebrate the 40 years of the Squadron’s illustrious and proud history which would be sent (free!) to every current member of the Association.   Everyone was in such good humour that even his corny jokes got a good laugh, but he was very surprised and touched by the standing ovation he received when he had finished speaking.  Wg Cdr Killey spoke in reply and he led everyone in the final  toast to ‘the UKMAMS Association.’

The chat and excitement went on until the early hours when the coaches took their contented customers ‘home’ from a splendid evening and others staggered into the night.

Special Team Brief

At the afternoon AGM it was decided that we should publish another special edition of Team Brief to explain the detail of what has been happening within the Association, discuss alternative Movements associations – from a future ‘Movements Association’ to joining with the existing ‘Movements Control Association’ - and to give details of the EGM in January 2009.  It should be out in November.

R Dixon
Group Captain RAF (Ret)

Chairman
United Kingdom Mobile Air Movements Squadron Association

President
4624 (County of Oxford) Movements Squadron Old Comrades Association

 

That's it for this edition

Have great weekend!

Tony

Submissions to: ukmamsoba@gmail.com