16 October 2009

New members who have joined us recently:

Phil Horton, Harrogate, UK
"Served on various Air Movs Units: Wildenrath / Gibraltar / Gan. Only spent short time at Lyneham on base. Mostly at Brize / Northolt, did time as Instructor on 4624 Sqn (twice) which enabled me to get some MAMS tasking as well as evaluating 'Oggies' when they were doing MAMS Tasks."

Mike Stepney, La Nucia, Spain "First class site, and extremely interesting."

Richard Castle, York, UK

Arthur Rowland, Cambridgeshire, UK "Joined UK MAMS in its formative years with Gordon Spears as its CO. Left in 1966 to go to OCTU,and then Bill Jacobs took the teams into formal squadron status."

Nigel Robinson, Chippenham, UK "Currently Wing Warrant Officer, 1 AMW, Lyneham."

Jeff Thomas, Llandrindod Wells, UK
"Re-mustered to P ed. Branch / PJI / ALM. 34 years of varied and exciting service. Retired from the RAF in 1994 and worked in Local Government for 10 years before becoming a 'senior' on the golf course."

Peter Orton, Camberley, UK "Congratulations on a bril site. Thanks Tony."

Bob Parker, Huntingdon, UK

Alan Potts, Las Vegas, NV, USA "A good site to keep track with what old friends and colleagues are up to. Not too many old boys in my neck of the woods. Regards to all who remember me."

Phil Overson, Wiltshire, UK

Roger Titmarsh, Cwmbran, UK

Rae Sault, Jersey, UK  

Welcome to the OBA!


From: John Belcher, Chippenham
Sent: 17 September 2009 19:40
Subject: Mystery Photo #090409


After Gus has named most, a couple more names:

C01 Russ Russell
C04 Mick Jennings

(Left click on image for larger view - use backspace to return)



Right-handed people live, on average, nine years longer than left-handed people

From: Paul Dolan, Sydney, NSW
Sent: 17 September 2009 21:02
Subject: UKMAMS Squadron Plaque


I am trying to purchase a UKMAMS Squadron plaque and my searches on Google have been fruitless.

Do you have any idea how I can get hold of one?



Paul, I can give you two options. First, contact the webmaster of the UKMAMS Association at Lyneham, John Belcher. He should be able to send you one methinks – e-mail John

If that doesn’t work then contact C.H. Munday Limited, Oxford House, 8 St Johns Road, St Johns, Woking, Surrey GU21 7SE. Tel: 01483-771588 e-mail C.H. Munday


From: Jack Riley, Hervey Bay, Qld.
Sent: 18 September 2009 20:49
Subject: Briefs

Dear Tony

I sometimes look back to 'the old days ' when we used to complain that only a few of our members ever contributed to the briefs and a handful helped to keep it going financially. Even so you managed to turn out an award winning website.

Now compare this with the vibrant site we have today. This is largely due to your move to extend our membership to our friends in Australia, Canada and New Zealand ( alphabetical order !! ) whose contributions make for such interesting reading. But mostly we should be thankful that we have such a brilliant and hard-working webmaster.

So thank you, Tony, from all of us


PS Yes are allowed an "Aw shucks "!

Aw Shucks Jack!

Blue eyes are the most sensitive to light, dark brown the least sensitive

From: Gerry Davis, Bedminster
Sent: 20 September 2009 11:41
Subject: Ex Air Movers Unite

Battle of Britain open day at the newly named Cotswold Airport, formally RAF Kemble, 19th Sept 2009.

Not seen since the 1960s/1970s. Britannia XM496 "Regulus in retirement and on static display.

On opening the cargo bay three ex-Air Movers, pictured here, were found after all this time, still looking for lost sweat and tears, in between swopping their many stories and tales about working on this and all the other Britannia's.

In fact a meeting, thanks to the UKMAMS Old Bods Association web site, of three comrades from times gone by.

Left to right... Gerry Davis, Malcolm Porter and Brian Kent.

Other meetings are planned where, subject to enemy fire and sand storms, these three old pals will exchange further tales of of distant times, and catch up with all that water passing under the bridge. Anyone else who knows us is welcome, but must bring their own sand bags.

Dress: KD Shorts and Bondu Boots.

Medals must not be worn, 'cos I 'aint got any.

Gerry Davis

Good stuff chaps!


From: Phil Horton, Harrogate
Sent: 20 September 2009 11:41
Subject: Guest Book Entry

Tony, what an excellent nostalgia trip your web site is. Seeing the mystery photos of RAF Movers certainly tests the grey cells and also brings back memories.

Hello to anyone who remembers me.

Keep up the good work and thanks.

Phil Horton

Thanks Phil and welcome to the OBA!

The earth travels through space at 660,000 miles per hour.

From: Chas Cormack, Lyneham
Sent: 21 September 2009 17:31
Subject: RAF Mystery Photo 091809

Warrant Officer's Conference at the RAF Movements School, 1993.

(Left click on image for larger view - use backspace to return)

Pete Johnson
Ken Morris
Dave Allen
Colin Allen
John Calver
Bert Wilford
George Lynes
Tony Ferrison
Tony Last
Dave Gillender
Dave Lacey
Mick Day

Ian Berry
John Billingsley
Chick Hatch
Bill Kearney
Frank Thorington
Tony Cornett

Gordon Black

Terry Fell
Owen Connell
Tony Dunphy
Dixie Dean

Brian Goswell
Richard Johnson
Crotty (?)
Dennis Micaleff

I believe the two I don't know of the troops (R01 & C02) are from Northolt and Coltishall as they didn't have WO's at the time.

Frank Thorrington, Tony Ferrison and Bert Wilford were all from the Oggies at 4624 Sqn.
The front row are all officers with the exception of yours truly.


PS I passed on Jeff Vincent's address to Norman Munslow and I shall be out of contact from 1-24October as I am at your side of the pond and hope to meet Ron Smyth in Niagara on 4th for dinner at Michael's inn. We last met in 1968 on FEAF MAMS

From: Gordon Black, Swindon
Sent: 22 September 2009 11:24
Subject: RAF Mystery Photo 091809


Love the RAF Mystery Photo. WO conference at the RAFMS circa 1988/99. Too many WO's to name, but if the devil could cast his net! No doubt chas has got them all nailed..

Keep up the good work



RAF Lyneham Mover Wins Top Flight Safety Award

An RAF Lyneham Corporal has been awarded the Adrian Ray Memorial Award during an award ceremony at the Defence College at Shrivenham. It is the first time that anyone other than an RAF Engineer has received the award which was instituted in 1982 in memory of Flight Lieutenant Adrian John Ray who lost his life whilst serving with the Royal Air Force.

It is awarded annually to the Officer or Airman, of Ground Branch or trade, who has made an original, outstanding and practical contribution to flight safety.
Corporal Matt Fish spoke of his experiences which lead to him attending the award ceremony on 18th August: “My Flight Sergeant called me to one side during my latest detachment to Afghanistan and informed me that I would be returning to the UK with the advance party – 1 week before I had been due to return. He told me that there was a senior directive stating that I was to be back home for the 18th August and would be requiring a jacket and tie. For the next week I constantly asked whether a further explanation had evolved but kept getting told “no, but don’t worry it must be something good”.

I felt really bad as somebody else’s detachment had to be extended to cover my unexplained absence! After landing on home soil on the Saturday, I had to wait until Monday morning (17th August) to find out what was going on. I went into work and nervously knocked on Squadron Leader Hancock’s door. She told me that I was attending a dinner for RAF Warrant Officers and Officers the following night as a few junior ranks who had recently been commended had been invited. I thought that it must be in recognition of my recent flight safety commendation or the work I had recently completed at Camp Bastion.

I was meant to meet Squadron Leader Hancock at Shrivenham at 7pm, but I arrived early so took the opportunity to have a look around to see if I could find out what was going on. I soon discovered that I was attending the annual Warrant Officer and Officers’ Engineering and Logistics annual conference and the table plan for dinner told me that there were only 2 junior ranks in the 350 people in attendance. After being wrongly accused of being a senior officers’ driver, Squadron Leader Hancock arrived and we took our seats for dinner.

It was not until we had finished the meal that things started to become clear as Air Vice Marshall Kurth announced it was time to present the Adrian Ray Memorial award. When my name was read out as the winner, there was a big cheer from the room; it was then that I was informed that this was the first time a member of the logistics branch had ever been nominated, let alone been presented with the award. When we left the dining room to make our way to the bar, so many people were shaking my hand and congratulating me. All of the logistics officers were offering to buy me a drink for thanking me for finally taking the award from the engineers. Unfortunately, I could not accept as I had to drive myself back to Lyneham.”

A synopsis of the citation is below:

Corporal Fish was made aware that an aircraft his team was handling was unusually tail-heavy, to the extent that it would be unable to accept the planned number of passengers without exceeding the aircraft's trim envelope. As a result, the load had to rapidly re-configured to allow the aircraft to operate. When the aircraft returned to his location, Corporal Fish took the initiative to investigate the problem further. Visual observations failed to identify any reason for the irregularity. Corporal Fish therefore turned to the aircraft documentation for an explanation and completed a manual document which revealed that the aircraft was actually nose-heavy. He worked with the aircraft loadmaster to conduct a comprehensive review of the data within the aircraft's computer system and its hard copy documentation. As a result, a significant error was found in the manual documentation which had been transferred to the aircraft computer, thus making the system believe that the aircraft was tail-heavy.  The awareness and diligence of Corporal Fish addressed a potentially hazardous error which had an adverse affect on aircraft performance, and could conceivably have lead to the loss of the aircraft. His diligence, professionalism and Flight Safety awareness were truly outstanding, and his actions amply demonstrate that Flight Safety is the responsibility of all Royal Air Force personnel.

He was presented with an engraved silver platter and a certificate, upon which the winning citation was written. 

Corporal Matt Fish was born in Greys, Essex in 1982. He joined the RAF in May 2000, completing basic  training at RAF Halton before going on to complete his professional training at the Movements School at RAF Brize Norton. With a preference for freight moves, he was fortunately posted to RAF Lyneham in 2001 where he began work as a Movements Controller on UKMAMS. Following a 3 year posting to Gibraltar in 2004, he returned to (the newly named) Air Mobility Wing at Lyneham in 2007.

The Lyneham Globe

An egg will float if placed in water in which sugar has been added.

From: Chas Cormack, Lyneham
Sent: 23 September 2009 13:28
Subject: Joe Gray

Hi Tony

I don't know if anyone can help me find Joe A Gray (the A is for Alouicius) who I was on FEAF MAMS with and also at Abingdon in the 70s.

He also did a spell with Airworks/Aerospace in Jeddah and the last time I saw him was when he was aeromeded from Saudi with peritonitis and ended up in Hillingdon Hospital.

As Pam and I are nearing our Ruby wedding anniversary and he was my best man in 1970 we would like to get back in touch with him. The last I heard of him was that he had married and moved up to Derbyshire, I was told somewhere near Belper but that is not confirmed.

If anyone has contacts with Airworks/aerospace pension people they may know as the RAF need to know service numbers which I don't have.

Thanks Chas

Congratulations to you and Pam on your upcoming 40th Anniversary! It would be very special if we could find Joe.


From: Charles Collier, Devizes
Sent: 27 September 2009 09:15
Subject: CL 41 Sightings

Hello Tony,

Malcolm Porter's CL41 experience made me think of the last time I saw one in the flesh (so to speak). It was during the Rhodesian "End of UDI" time when the insurgents led by Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo were nearing Salisbury for an eventual lay down of arms. However, this was not guaranteed at the time and there was the possibility of a fighting war of attrition.

At the time I was at HQ 38 Gp Upavon (the Transport Command HQ) and was picked as one of a team under the Gp Capt Air Transport to seek out bolt holds in close proximity to Salisbury in case the fighting started and civilians would have to be quickly airlifted out of the way.

We called in at friendly African States around about and it was when we landed at Lagos Nigeria that the following happened: The engines stopped; the crew door opened and out stepped the gp capt followed by his staff (including me). We waited under the shelter of the midday sun under the Hercules main planes. About 40 minutes elapsed and then we noticed a delegation walking towards us of senior Nigerian officers accompanied by what seemed to be a political officer who was consulted all the time by the delegation. They welcomed us to Lagos and then invited the gp capt to accompany them back to their HQ - he agreed and they went away! Some of our group were rubbing their hands together hoping that that was the last we would see of Gp Capt Lee!

At that time at CL41 landed and parked some way from where we were next to a storm drain. The swing tail opened and a fork lift truck started to offload large wooden pallets with cardboard tops. On the next offload the pallet dislodged from the tines and broke up on hitting the aircraft pan. It contained underwear of all descriptions blowing in the wind. All at once an army of locals emerged from the storm drains and ran after the underwear clutching as much as they could carry before disappearing down into the storm drain with their ill-gotten gains!

The offload crew carried on as if nothing had happened and our Gp Capt returned and we got underway again.



Hands up all those people that just put an egg in some sugar water!

Wily Charles flies Canadian

Prince Charles will save the taxpayer a fortune on his Autumn Tour next month — by hitching a lift on a Canadian military aircraft. Instead of chartering a private jet at a cost of more than £350,000, Charles and Camilla will hop across the Atlantic and back in a jumbo belonging to the Canadian Air Force.

Their decision means they will have to share the plane with Canadian troops and equipment heading to and from Europe.  But their Royal Highnesses' willingness to 'rough it' for a change will mean the British taxpayer will face a travel bill of ZERO.

The entire cost of the tour — which will see the future King visit 12 Canadian cities in 11 days next month — will be met by the hosts. The recession-busting plans, unveiled October 6th, are a world away from the Prince of Wales's recent trips.

In June Prince Charles was blasted for spending more than £1 million on travel last year.  The bulk of the bill was made up of the cost of chartering private planes for trips he made to South America and the Far East.

And it was not just the huge costs involved that landed the 60-year-old Royal in hot water.  He was criticised in some circles for travelling to the Brazilian rainforest to preach about the environment — in a private jet.

Sources at Clarence House said the Canadian tour will highlight the close links between the world's second largest country and Britain.  During his whistle-stop tour of Canada, Charles and Camilla will pay their respects to the country's brave troops who died fighting alongside Britain in a host of conflicts since World War One.    Over the 11 days their Royal Highnesses will travel more than 4,000 miles including stops in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Vancouver.

The Sun


From: Derek Barron, Calne
Sent: 02 October 2009 08:47
Subject: Change of E-mail address

Hi Tony,

Greetings from deepest Wiltshire!


After years of putting up with AOL I've finally decided to change my ISP. My new address will be here

For those who are interested I retired early from the Wiltshire Police in April and now run a few market stalls at Blunsdon in Swindon.

I would be happy to supply a cuppa for any old friends who call in

Best Regards

Derek B

When you eat too much, your hearing becomes less sharp.

From: Malcolm Porter, London
Sent: 04 October 2009 06:42
Subject: Hidden vintage aircraft and the BAe 146 STA

During the Battle of Britain weekend at Kemble, I took the opportunity to look around the local countryside in Worcestershire. I stumbled through some undergrowth on a farm only to discover...

These aircraft were hidden inside a load of farm machinery-tons of straw bales: People knew they were there somewhere! If any of the readers wants a Jet Provost-its going free-of-charge. It's in one piece and would make a good enough gate guard.


With regards to the 146 STA - I had a great time at BAe - probably the best Loadies job there has been.

Following an initial tour to Australia and the Far East, STA was fitted with an air to air refuellling probe. To examine the 146's performance during a2a, we were despatched to Boscombe Down to conduct flight testing. On 26th Oct 1990 with Capt Al McDicken
handling the 146, we teamed up with Victor XL190-somewhere over Wales!
Whilst the STA was very well capable of para-dropping (the rear pax door was adapted to become an up n over), the hazards of being a 6'2" despatcher can be seen here. The only other 'learning curve' that was discovered was that the L/M had to confirm with the flight deck that the Air Brake circuit breaker was pulled-otherwise one of the jumpers might have suffered a sore head-or worse!
This one at BZN 11th Sept 1989 - I had convinced the STA Sales Team that we
needed to ensure that the freight door system was compatible with the Condec
The STA appeared at the 1989 Paris Air Show (Participants No 205 on the nose). Here we are on short finals following a free fall para drop by the French National Team from 12,000' Amusing story to this drop. The French Team, under Maurice Bernhard who was Air Show Organiser, dropped right on cue onto its X on the airfield. They were then arrested by Security as they had no airfield passes! Crew was Capt Peter Sedgwick, Capt Vic Nightingale and myself.
Farnborough Air Show-showing Marshall vehicle loading ramp and 'typical' pallet load'
BAe146 STA and Hawk over Malaysia whilst on the Far East Tour of 1988.

Pity the time was wrong for it-plenty of interest and plenty of used 146's around even then (the STA was by no means a new aircraft when we got it!)



From: Howard Firth, Hythe
Sent: 05 October 2009 13:32
Subject: Gan 1979 001- HM The Queens Visit

Hi Tony,

Prompted by the article in a Newsletter, I have enclosed a copy of a picture taken during the above visit.

It was taken in the Blue Lagoon Hotel and shows Her Majesty meeting the most important servicemen of Gan, "The Movers", for without them there would have been no post and no rations. The picture shows SAC Glyn Jones, Cpl 'H' Firth, (centre stage), Cpl Ken Morris, and SAC Alex Alexander and an unknown Scribbly.

After the visit, HM left on the Royal Yacht Britannia and some of Gan's Movers were tasked with taking the hangers-on, journalists and excess baggage to the Seychelles. On arrival and after unloading the flying Britannia, we were told there was a tech problem. Oh joy, a night stop away from Adu Atoll. It was not to be, the Ground Eng fixed it after a couple of hours and we were on our way back to BFPO 180.

Regards to all.


Hong Kong has more Rolls Royce's per person than anywhere else in the world.

From: John Holloway, Shrewsbury
Sent: 13 October 2009 10:15
Subject: NSRAFA Cosford Branch

Hi Tony

Another good turnout today for our monthly get together. Our guest speaker was Steven Harper who gave us a really entertaining talk and slides on his occupation and interests. He is a Deep sea Diver and Aviation Artist just having had a display at the Cosford Museum. He also loves motor sport and has completed many paintings of famous race drivers and their cars.

He told us of his dives searching for sunken ships and aircraft and  the dangers which are all part of it. He has completed over seven thousand five hundred dives in the sea and flooded quarries where there are many wrecks and where he instructs people in the various techniques involved.

He told us of one of the flooded quarries where a number of aircraft have been deliberately sunk, including a Vickers Viscount, and his fellow divers were apt to have a bit of fun like putting a skeleton in the pilots seat of the Viscount and watching the reactions of the novices.

He showed us a diving suit and told us that a deep sea suit and equipment weigh up to nine and a half stone (132 Lbs).

I asked him if he had done any specific searches and he told me that he is a great friend of Glen Miller's nephew and it is an option to see if they can find his downed aircraft somewhere in the English Channel.

He has a good website outlining his exhibition at RAF Cosford museum, have a look at The Motor Sport and Aviation Art of Steve Harper It's quite large and gives a good insight to his most exciting lifestyle






From: Chas Bidmead
Sent: 10/13/2009, 11:20 am, EDT
Subject: Guest Book Entry

Just been looking at the Oil Lift article - great to read the MAMS view of things having been one of the 511 AQMs partying in the pool at Dar.

Definitely a quality site.


Rats multiply so quickly that in 18 months, two rats could have over a million descendants.


Contrary to popular belief, lightning travels from the ground upwards not from the sky downward


That's it for this issue

Have a great weekend!