17 October 2008


A new member recently joining us is:


Simon Twitchett, Kuching, Malaysia "Great to see so many movers and ex movers getting together and sharing an electronic beer and pulling up a cyber sandbag!!"

Welcome to the OBA!


From: Jerry Allen, Cheltenham
Sent: Friday, October 03, 2008 1:17 PM
Subject: RE: UKMAMSOBA OBB #100308

Hi Tony

Easy answer to the mystery photo.

It was FO John Buchanan in 1982 at Ascension Island. He was manifesting Argentinian prisoners being repatriated to Argentina. I hope you didn’t expect me to name the Navy guy and the prisoner!

Have a great weekend

Jerry Allen
Kilo (pound stretchers)

Thanks Jerry, just one name? I was hoping to at least get the name of the ship they were on...

The glue on Israeli stamps is certified kosher

From: Mick Cocker, Swindon
Sent: Friday, October 03, 2008 4:13 PM
Subject: RAF Mystery Photo 100308

Hi Tony,

I must confess to having some possible inside info on this one - I think I published it in a "Team Brief" a few years ago. It's FO Neil? Buchanan processing Argentine prisoners, possibly onboard the MV Uganda (hospital ship during Operation Corporate).

I had the pleasure of doing the Ascension-Falkland Island route on this ship in 1983, and a very pleasant experience it was too. Despite the best efforts of the RSM to get the RAF to do PT, it was deckchairs and Fosters all the way (well, until it got too cold anyway).

I remember doing a Tac Demo with FO Buchanan, probably in 1984, when he landed rather heavily on his camera during one of those positive "G" moments and took it away rattling more than was good for it.

As a matter of interest, the MV Uganda sank (in one of the Devon estuaries I think) while being towed away for scrap in the late 1980's.

Cheers for now.


That's a great story Mick... very close, but not quite on the money.


From: Ian Berry, West Swindon
Sent: Saturday, October 04, 2008 6:03 AM
Subject: Re: UKMAMSOBA OBB #100308

Hi Tony,

Just in case you don't have the full information for the RAF Mystery Photo....

On 25th April 1982, the Argentinian submarine 130 SANTA FE was spotted off Cumberland Point in South Georgia and attacked with depth charges and missiles and rendered unable to submerge.

The crew of 130 were captured and put on board the RFA Tidespring and taken to Ascension.

The photograph shows Fg Off John Buchanan, a UKMAMS Team Leader, processing an Argentinian sailor on board the Tidespring on May 2nd off Ascension Island prior to their repatriation to Montevideo on a chatered aircraft from Wideawake Airfield.



Thanks Ian - You are correct sir!

Tibetans drink tea made of salt and rancid yak butter

Tornado F3 flies south the easy way

Amidst strong winds and occasional blizzards, one of the largest aircraft in the world, an Antonov AN-124 Condor, landed at Mount Pleasant on Saturday, carrying three aircraft in its vast hold.

A Tornado F3 from RAF Leuchars in Scotland and two Lynx helicopters which have been specially modified for South Atlantic flying were packed inside the massive aircraft as it touched down at Mount Pleasant Airport.

This piggy-back arrangement was part of Operation Southern Cross, described by a Mount Pleasant spokesperson as a ‘roulement’ of aircraft between RAF Leuchars and 1435 Flight at MPA, designed to avoid airframe stress issues.

A nine man team of Air Movements staff unloaded the three aircraft and loaded an out-going Tornado, bound for BrizeNorton, all within 24 hours of the Antonov’s landing.


From: Andy Jack, Brampton ON
Sent: Monday, October 06, 2008 10:14 AM
Subject: RE: UKMAMSOBA OBB #100308

Hi Tony,

In the latest newsletter Chas Cormack asked if that was me in Cyprus in 1964 when they were needing 'em and not feeding 'em - that was me.

It was not the PPCLI, it was the Royal 22 Van Doo's. I remember this because the regimental Sgt Major came up while we were working with RAF equiptment and complained about our dress and deportment. Our fearless corporal asked him what the hell that rat in his hat was, to which he replied, "I am Van Doo 22!"

The corporal said, "l dont give a damn if you're 23, get off this this aircraft, you're a safety hazard!"

If Chas is looking for Jim Bostock, he may be in Edmonton. Go to our LMA site, and ask in the forum. Someone there should know where he is. Meanwhile I will enquire among my sources.

Great site, keep up the good work.

Andy Jack

Thanks Andy - Mike Steven in Victoria BC managed to come up with a street address for Jim in Comox, BC, which I already passed onto Chas.

In the meantime, Rick Newton made this observation about you in the LMA forum: I first met Andy Jack in Beirut in the spring of 1975 when I flew from Cairo for a weekend. Andy was the best host a person could ever ask for. He took me all around the city. What struck me the most was that everybody seemed to know him. When I mentioned it, he said he knew everybody and everybody knew him. I made a bet that I could stop a taxi and the driver would not know him. He accepted and I stopped the third cab that went by. As soon as he looked up he said “Hi Andy”. A few drinks on the roof of the hotel and I bet him he didn’t know anybody really famous. He said he knew everybody. I invited him back to Cairo to see if he knew the President of Egypt. We were walking in the Cairo airport and there was Anwar Sadat. He broke away from his bodyguards and came over and said “Long time no see Andy”. Well, I just couldn’t believe it. It just so happened there was a Canadian Herc flying some dead Italian soldiers home then returning to Cairo the next evening. I challenged him to prove he knew the Pope. Off we go to the Vatican. It is a rule that the Pope will only see one person at a time so I wondered just how Andy would prove he knew him. Andy says “The Pope comes out on the balcony every morning to bless the people. I’ll be beside him”. Next morning I’m way back in the crowd, hardly able to see anything. I’m standing next to one of the Swiss Guards when the doors open and two people come out onto the balcony. I couldn’t see very clearly and ask the Guard “Who is that?” He said “I’m not sure who the little fat guy in the white cloak and beanie is but the other guy is Andy Jack.”

Steve Richardson also added a comment: I served with Andy Jack on a UN tour in Cyprus from Oct 1978- Feb 1979. As many may recall, there were a few businesses going on at this time. There was the gold dogtags, gold nametags, puzzle rings, tee-shirts, big fluffy towels, family portraits from pictures, fruit and vegetables. Andy had the connections in Lahr, Baden-Baden and the Middle East. One day he asked me if I wanted ice cream and chocolate milk at the mess hall in Nicosia.On the next Herc flight lo and behold, there it was and I mean a lot of ice cream. I got back from my UN leave in England - Germany and there was an AM radio installed in our famous UN white Dodge pickup. Somebody went down to Capital City Auto Wreckers in Ottawa and got us a radio for the truck. So if you wanted something special from Canada or a unique gift from Cyprus - Middle East, Andy was your man! This was over 30 years ago and I remember like it was yesterday.

Try this yourself - you can't create a folder called 'con' in Microsoft Windows!

From: David Howley, Melton Mowbray
Sent: Wednesday, October 08, 2008 5:47 AM
Subject: Thorny Island - Herc XV181

Hi Tony,

Nev Whitham’s mention of the crashed Herc at Thorney Island prompted me to dig out my photo, taken on the Sunday that I returned from walking the Pennine Way, in June 1975.

Later that week I saw some footage on the TV of the crash – it was a distant view, possibly from Portsdown Hill or similar location and it was just possible to see the a/c porpoising and then a great trail of flaming avtur. The later flight safety report recorded it as a bounced roller by the co-pilot, followed by the staff captain taking control but he was unable to prevent a second bounce onto the nosewheel and the wing dipped into the grass – lucky the wing broke and she did not cartwheel!

John Guy – nice to see you back on the radar - Movements School Warrant Officer during my tour there 1978-80

Charles Collier, Wg Cdr Vic Kings “right hand man” when I arrived at HQ 38 Gp in 1980 – a very different view of Aden, quite fascinating.

Gp. Capt Bob Dixon (Chairman of the UKMAMS Assoc) reported on the “Big Weekend” - I managed to make the dinner and it was a real pleasure to meet so many familiar faces. Colin Allen take a well deserved bow for organising an excellent evening.

I got well and truly stumped on my arrival in the bar when Nigel Richardson said halloo – it was really nice to see one of the Thorney Island crew making it to Warrant Officer. Mind you, how I managed to confuse Mick Day and Gordon Gray (who was not there) I am still wondering about.

I always had a problem remembering names – faces I do remember but names! Now of course it is much worse – old age and stupidity creeping in, plus the loss of “placing the face in context”, really cause problems.

Unfortunately, the onset of a bad migraine forced an early departure – wish I had recognised the early symptoms and taken the pill.

It is a real pity to see the Association having to “wind-up” – perhaps there is another path as Bob suggests “UKMAMS Lite” to see people staying in touch or perhaps we ought to go down the “Retired Association” path – it appears to work well for others.

Best wish to all


That's a great shot David. Now I'm curious - whatever happened to her?


From: Peter Clayton, Wroughton
Sent: Wednesday, October 08, 2008 1:07 PM
Subject: Yet another bike!

Hi Tony

Yet another bike that I can ride, tried this one in France recently.

The things you do when going ashore after a good sail!!

Cheers for now.


I suppose with inflation they don't call them the "Penny-Farthing" anymore, more like the "Half a Crown - Sixpence" !

The original Mile High Club - Eagles mate while airborne

From: Chris Goss, Marlow
Sent: Thursday, October 09, 2008 7:11 AM
Subject: Paul Steiner Spotted!


Paul Steiner in 1969

Just got back from duty in Luxembourg where, on walking into the British Ambassador’s reception, I spotted Paul Steiner who was on the Movements School when I went through in 1983.

He has been all over the place since retiring at his 55 point and now works for NAMSA (NATO Maintenance & Supply Agency) as, apparently, their Transport & Movements man. He said that Mike Connor (who I recall was SMovO Support Command and then in Cyprus) also works for them and is about to retire for good.

Paul never gave me my course debrief (something to do with me, Cindy Jones and a can of silly string in his coffee) so did I ever graduate? Some would say no!

All the best and must go back to my (supply) duties.

Chris Goss

Nice to hear from you Chris - pity about you having to work in supply - but I 'spose someone has to!


More than 200 British soldiers who had just finished six-month tours in Afghanistan were forced to endure an 18-hour flight home via Oman and Cyprus this week after the RAF Tristar airliner scheduled to take them direct to Brize Norton developed a fault. The troops were eventually transferred to a cargo aircraft hurriedly fitted with basic passenger seats, but told that because it had no secure overhead lockers, safety regulations meant they would not be allowed to take hand baggage on board at Kandahar.

One of the military personnel who contacted The Herald said: "We were allowed to take only what we could stuff into our pockets. Our main luggage had already been taken away for the aborted Tristar flight and could not be retrieved to allow us to squeeze personal items into our bergans (military backpacks). "The expected seven-hour flight turned into an 18-hour marathon in the hold of the military equivalent of a flying delivery truck. We landed at Muscat in Oman and then at Akrotiri in Cyprus to refuel for the final leg.

"When we finally touched down at Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, onward movement had been thrown into chaos by our late arrival. Some were lucky and had transport standing by to take them back to their barracks. Others had to start making arrangements on their own. "The only good thing about the episode was that at least we weren't stranded for days at Kandahar. That's a common occurrence because of the unreliability of the old Tristars used on the trooping route."

The entire fragile airbridge between Britain and Afghanistan depends on two Tristar jets bought second-hand from bankrupt US airline PanAm more than 20 years ago. The RAF is forced to rely on the ageing aircraft because they are the only two long-haul RAF passenger jets equipped with missile defences. Replacements for the transport fleet are not due to begin entering service for at least another three years.

Tory leader David Cameron has already accused the Ministry of Defence of giving soldiers in Afghanistan a "raw deal" over operational leave by including delayed flight times and unplanned diversions in mid-tour rest breaks. On a visit to Sangin, the largest British base in the country, three weeks ago, he called for the introduction of a system where the clock began ticking on time off only after troops set foot in the UK to return to their families.

At the moment, many of those fighting the Taliban lose four or more days of their two-week rest period waiting for late or cancelled flights or stuck on aircraft diverted elsewhere.

Hundreds of soldiers were stranded or delayed for five days at Kandahar's military transit airfield in mid-August when both airbridge jets were declared unserviceable because of problems with cracks in their wing flaps. The jets each routinely make two round-trip flights a week carrying up to 266 passengers from Afghanistan to Brize Norton.

The MoD said: "Whilst the impact of delays or diversions on individuals is regrettable, the airbridge successfully and routinely moves thousands of people and pieces of vital equipment in extremely hazardous and challenging conditions. "Of all airbridge flights over the last six months, 75% departed RAF Brize Norton within one hour, and 90% within three hours of their published departure times."

Unlike dogs, pigs, and some other mammals, humans cannot taste water. They taste only the chemicals and impurities in the water

RAF Mystery Photo #101708


From: Jimmie Durkin, Stafford
Sent: Thursday, October 09, 2008 5:25 PM
Subject: OBB 100308

Hello Tony

Thanks for another excellent brief.

Al Kelley, CAF (must be an oldie like me!) mentions being a mover in the pre-MAMS era.

In 1957, I was moved from "equipment trade" duties on posting to Abingdon. The SEO Abingdon and I "fell out" on my arrival and he told me to report to Flt Lt Hedger, SAMO in "A Hangar". This was my introduction to Air Movements and a move I never regretted.

Just like Al, in those days MAMS teams were not established so when a flap broke out, usually in the Middle East, the SAMO would send one or two officers plus SNCO's and numerous airmen (nil WRAF on strength at that time) along the route to handle our special flights. Ad hoc teams were usually set up in Orange or Nice, Luqa, El Adem, Nicosia, and Bahrain (later Muharraq) AMS Abingdon would be left to operate sometimes with about one or two officers and 25% manning and it could become quite hectic at times.

I wonder does anybody remember the pallets we used to load the Beverley? They were made from timber the size of railway sleepers. In fact some people said they were railway sleepers! I'm not sure but I think the Beverley (or maybe the Comet) was the first RAF Transport Command aircraft to use a trim sheet. (what a blessing).

The Hastings were still using weight & balance sheets where the final trim was calculated distance from the datum point, weight multiplied by arm gave you a data total with about ten digits. Our older Q's will be able to enlighten us I expect as I have forgotten.

If I remember correctly the tare weight allowed for the Beverley pallet was 960 pounds or thereabouts. We used to prepare these pallets with freight and load up to four per flight plus pax in the boom. We had an exercise to practice for a second Berlin Airlift. Using palletized loads and pax the operation was to turn around an inbound flight in passenger-come-freighter (PCF) roles. Sgt Peter Smith plus 1 Junior NCO and three airmen turned his flight around with a maximum payload in twenty minutes. For the purpose of that exercise he was not allowed help from other AMS staff. I think his team leader was Fg Off James McDonald or Fg Off Gordon Spiers. At that time apart from the SAMO they were the only junior officers on strength. Very busy but happy days and a great learning stretch for me and a few others! I believe Gordon was very much involved in getting the UKMAMS operating - eventually!

During an overseas emergency some of our flights were replaced by civilian York and Bristol Freighter cargo only flights and of course they used trim sheets, but horror, they used kilograms for cargo and litres for fuel and water weights. The first time it happened it was a York flight to Luqa, a special flight to transport an iron lung for a Malta based patient. So we had to learn very quickly how to convert lbs to kg etc. but we coped. Incidentally, we were not allowed to use calculators except as a means of checking figures already calculated by hand. However the civilian crews were fully equipped and helped us initially to convert our loads.

I do not recognize the tie incorporating the movements wheel with the penguin. However I see that MWO Tom Walker CAF is wearing a red armband with a yellow or gold coloured wheel. The only staff I saw wearing that armband regularly at Abingdon were were army liaison staff, mainly WOs' acting as Air Transport Liaison Officer (ATLO). We were told however that the armband was intended to replace the RAF Movements armband and an AMO (Air Ministry Order pre DCI) said it would eventually become a Joint Service armband.

Best regards


Thanks Jimmie - here's a Beverley trim sheet, just click on it for a full size view then use your browser's back button to return.

Bamboo plants can grow up to 36 inches in a day

From: Syd Avery, Torrevieja
Sent: Monday, October 13, 2008 11:32 AM
Subject: A photy.

Hi, Tony,

A photo you may wish to use. It goes back to 10/11 November, 1971 and was taken in the grounds of the Changi Creek Transit Hotel in Singapore. Left to right: Jimmy Barr, Glen Morton, Dave Eggleton, Ted Moore, John Bell. I was behind the lens, handsome as usual.

We were on our way back from Yokota AFB Japan after collecting a 1 Squadron Harrier which had been at an airshow and sales tour due to BAE´s demonstrator going dead.

(On the way out to Yokota, just as we were leaving Kai Tak, Glen discovered he had left the imprest in his hotel or Mess room, can´t remember which.)

We had leapt off the Belfast at Changi to have a couple of days 'rest' before coming home by 10. (VC type, not bed time!!)



Now there's some faces that bring back memories - thanks Syd!


From: John Holloway, Shrewsbury
Sent: Tuesday, October 14, 2008 11:52 AM
Subject: NSRAF Cosford meeting

Hi Tony

Today was our usual monthly meeting with a turnout of about fifty; our guest speaker was Sqdn/Ldr Neil Hope, Communications Officer at RAF Shawbury. He joined the RAF in 1982 and trained as an Air Traffic Control Officer and was in the 90's senior training officer at Shawbury. He's the contact you need to arrange a tour of the base.

He gave us a talk on the history of the base from when it opened in 1917 when it was a training base for pilots for both the RAF and the RAAF and up to the present day now as the main base for training helicopter pilots; Army, RAF and Navy, of which at the present day there is an accute shortage.

Over the other side of the airfield, in two de-humidified hangars, there are are over 140 aircraft in storage including ten Tornados, Chinooks and many other types. It was a very interesting talk he gave us with a specially computerised film for us to see.

Alex - He tells us that your favorite, Squadron Leader Sally Varley, is leaving Shawbury, being posted to RAF Valley in Anglesea where she will take up instructing duties in ATC.

A few Briefs ago I told you about the NSRAF parade at Cosford in June and there are now photos of the event available and I thought the lads might like to see a couple of them.

A true RAF family; this is Percy Woodhouse, one of our members carrying the Cosford standard with his son, a Wing Commander on his right, and grandson, a Pilot Officer on his left - quite something !!



Percy has every right to be very proud - nice one John!

SONY was originally called 'Totsuken' The first product that Sony came out with was the rice cooker

CAF Mystery Photo #101708



The popular RAF Air Movements website for current serving members at has been compromised by a hacker attack - one has to wonder what someone would gain from such an action - bragging rights? I certainly would not want to brag about being an idiot!

In ancient China, people committed suicide by eating about a pound of salt

Featured video


A400M - The Versatile Airlifter
Soon to be in RAF Service


That's it for this issue

Have great weekend!


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