October 25 2002


From:     Phil Clarke, Vienna, Austria
Date:      18 Oct 2002 4:37
Subject:  Very Interesting

Hi Tony,

Salient excerpts from an ad in the Financial Times dated 15/10/02

The Defence Training Review Rationalisation Programme

A Major Public/Private Partnership programme for the rationalisation of specialist military training on a Tri-Service or MOD wide basis.  The aim of the Defence Training Review (DTR) Rationalisation Programme is to provide modern, cost effective specialist rationalised training, improved accommodation and better utilisation of training facilities, in order to contribute to operational capability.

The specialist areas of training, currently delivered on a single service basis, are:

Electro-Mechanical Engineering
Aeronautical Engineering
Communication & Information Systems
Military & MOD Police
Military Personnel Admin
Security, Languages, Intelligence & Photography

The range of services expected to be included, comprises training design & development (incl course design), training execution, training support, the provision of technical, recreational & other facilities, and accommodation, including some single living accommodation, facilities management services and relocation from existing sites.

The private sector is expected to:  offer innovative solutions; accept and manage risk inherent in the delivery of the services and the transition from single service to tri service arrangements; demonstrate flexibility (in view of the uncertainty in the long term requirement) value for money, continuous improvement; maximise potential for exploiting modern technology.

Expressions of interest are invited from parties interested in meeting all or part or the DTR Rationalisation Programme and are to be placed with the Issuing Branch by 5pm on the 27th October 2002. Ends

(Privatisation Rules OK)

Cheers Phil

p.s.  I very rarely see the FT, but this copy was in a bar I frequent - glad I did.  I look forward to hearing some comments from the more vocal Old Boys.

[Ed:  Perhaps you should read that publication more regularly Phil!]


From:     Dave Cromb, Brisbane, Australia
Date:      18 Oct 2002 5:21
Subject:  Fred Kitts

Just received issue 44 of  the Team Brief, thanks, as always brilliant. Keep it up. Have been trying for many years to contact a certain Mavis Sanderson, wife of the late Errol (Geordie).  Geordie is/was Godfather to my only son Christopher.  Mavis returned to the homeland and we have lost contact. 

I noticed a former bunkmate of mine at Abingdon, Fred Kitts, is in the area where Mavis possibly still is.  Do you have any contact details you can give me?



[Ed:  Is anyone in touch with Fred Kitts?]


From:     Charles Collier, Marlborough, UK
Date:      20 Oct 2002 09:31
Subject:  Another Changi Memory

Hello Tony,

Going back to 1970 and my DAMO experience there. I recall an incident which was most amusing to those not involved!

There was a certain air movements officer working at the air booking centre Singapore based in the Headquarters complex at RAF Changi. During his off duty hours he was in the habit of taking his WRAF officer girlfriend in his open top MGB to the small strip of beach adjacent to the Changi airfield. This was a public beach with hard sand close to land and softer sand further down towards the channel. Hence, those driving vehicles on the sand stayed at the top to avoid the drive wheels digging in. Just in case some unsuspecting driver got stuck there was the local four-wheeler pickup with small crane at the back to recover stranded vehicles. This was run by some enterprising local lads who saw their business drying up. So what they did at dead of night was to dig some pits - car size - in the hard sand area at the top of beach and then fill them with soft sand!

The next evening this movements officer drove his girlfriend to the usual spot to watch the sun set over the South China Sea and when they had finished he switched on the engine and put it gently into first gear to move off - but to no avail! He got out tried to scoop out the soft sand from the drive wheels but failed. It was at that moment that the locals pickup arrived and asked if they could help. They were accepted and the MGB and occupants were pulled the dry land.
The fee paid was exorbitant but the said officer did not want his girlfriend to sense he had been duped so he paid it!

I've not mentioned his name but he became a very senior officer!



{Ed:  Thanks Charles.  I've reserved your story about Madagascar for next week....]


From:     David Barton, Kings Lynn, UK
Date:      22 Oct 2002 11:49
Subject:  RAF Gatow

Hi Tony,
Am wondering if any of our members can help with the whereabouts or what became of a wonderful wood carving which used to hang above the back of the bar in the Sgts.Mess at RAF Gatow. It must have been all of 5-6 ft. in diameter and if I remember it had an eagle as the main piece.
I left Gatow in 1979 and believed that this wooden 'crest' was 'inherited' or 'acquired' after the war and there was some talk that it should be preserved in the RAF museum should Gatow finally close. It would be interesting to know what became of it and as a matter of interest, what became of Gatow after the RAF left?
Dave Barton.

[Ed:  I suspect that someone from MAMS has an idea of whose fireplace its hanging over now.....]


This old guy goes into the doctors office for his checkup..."Any Questions or problems"?, asks the doc...

"Well", says the old guy, "I do have one problem...  the first time I have sex with my wife I gets all hot and sweats a great deal and then the second time I have sex with her I gets all cold and shivers."

The Doctor tells him he will look into it for him and get back to him later.

The old guy's wife is next to see the doctor and while she is sitting on the exam table the doctor asks... "I have a question you may help me with, it seems your husband has told me that when he makes love with you the first time he gets all hot and then on the second time he gets all cold and shivers, would you know anything about this?"

"Ahhh that old fart", replies the wife, "The first time we make love is in July and the second time is in December!"


From:     David Barton, Kings Lynn, UK
CC:        Joe Hanke, Newark CA, USA
Date:      22 Oct 2002 12:11
Subject:  Masirah Item – Sawfish

In reply to Joe Hanks question ref. Sawfish with painted  turtle and RAF Masirah. I frequented the island many times in 1968/9 when there was a brisk trade in turtle shells and saw fish snouts. The locals caught the fish and turtles for the meat and discarded the shells and snouts. It did not take long for someone to realise that the was a trade value and I was frequently asked by guys in Sharjah and Bahrain to bring them back and at the time they were very cheap.
It was not long after that  when the trade was stopped (conservationists!). I managed to get several items which I gave away but did keep one saw fish snout in great condition but can't beat the American for size - mine is only 30 inches!!
As a matter of interest, there was also a brisk trade in crayfish from Masirah, mainly for the Officers Mess at Muharraq at about 4 tails for £1. Occasionally the Sgts. Mess got a look in and they made an excellent meal. Once again the quantities were later rationed as believe the Sultan stepped in once again with regards to conservation and I think the trade eventually ceased. I can't for the life of me remember the name of the cold boxes which were used for the transit of the crayfish.
Dave Barton

[Ed:  Much appreciated Dave]


From:     Asif Ansari, Sialkot, Pakistan
Date:      22 Oct 2002 11:26
Subject:  Badges Etc.
Dear Sirs:

We came to know about your esteemed house through a web search and we feel pleasure to introduce ourselves as a bonafide Manufacturers-Exporters of:

Hand Embroidery Badges, Insignia, Coats of arms, Metal Badges, Patches, Embroidery Ties, Caps, Polo Shirts, T-Shirts, Sweat Shirts, Plaques, Pendants, Military Uniform, Braids, Tussles, Banners, Embroidery Flags, Dress Cards, Sword Knots, Chin Straps, Firings, Hackles, Crest, Emblem,  Berets and Pipe Band's Musical Equipments etc.

For which we have a large number of labors and equipment in our factory to  meet any size order.

We are exporting our products to U.S.A, Europe, Japan, Korea, and Canada,  where the quality and price of our goods have been highly appreciated.  Our company would be pleased to send you a sample, when we have got your  specific inquires with all the details (Size/ Quantity/ Picture of designs/ attachment described).
We provide our goods on most competitive prices, which definitely will beat your market and boost up your business to its maximum extent.

We hope to start a good business relation with your esteemed organization and look forward for your valued inquiries.

Best whishes and regards,

Yours truly,

Asif Ansari (Managing Director)
E-MAIL:  /


Rumour Corner – you didn’t hear it from me, but…

Britain is beginning to consider holding onto its fleet of C-17 strategic airlifters once the lease expires, rather than return the aircraft to manufacturer Boeing as UK government officials have long opined.

C-17s were leased by the Ministry of Defence to meet an airlift shortfall underscored by the 1998 Strategic Defence Review (SDR).  The aircraft were intended to provide an interim lift capability until the much-delayed A400M airlifter finally becomes available.

Senior MoD officials now admit, however, there is a growing interest in retaining the C-17 beyond the lease period, even following any eventual entry into service of the A400M.  “If we give up the C-17, the RAF will lose its true outsize lift capability, and we don’t even have enough of this now,” one senior source said.

MoD officials have begun exploratory talks with regard to retaining the C-17s beyond the present lease agreement a US government official confirmed.

Growing interest in retaining the C-17 is in part driven by the realization that emerging strategic requirements require the ability to deploy and sustain forces over a greater global footprint than even that originally envisaged within the SDR.

“The SDR said that the size and shape of our armed forces should be determined by the requirements of operations in Europe, the Gulf and the Mediterranean.  But terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda can operate worldwide,” the Secretary of State for Defence, Geoff Hoon, said announcing revisions to the review in July of this year.

Under an agreement signed in 2000, the MoD leased four C-17s for a seven year period, with an option of extending the lease by a further two years.  Deliveries of the A400M to the RAF were anticipated as beginning in 2008.  This has since slipped to 2010 as the formal launch of the programme has continued to be delayed.  The RAF is now looking to have 17 out of a total of 25  A400M aircraft it has on order to be delivered by 2012.

“We will retain the C17 until the A400M is available and will negotiate an extension to ensure there is no gap,” one MoD official said.

Asked whether the MoD was reconsidering it’s position with regard to exploring a financial arrangement that would allow it to retain the C-27, he added, “any decision is a long way down the road.  We don’t need to make a firm decision for several  years.”

The medium-to-long-term airlift capability envisaged by the SDR was built around the C130J and the A400M.  The C-17, procured under the Short Term Strategic Airlift Programme, at a cost of £750 million pounds (USD $1.12 billion), was initially portrayed publicly as a gap filler.

As the A400M programme has faltered, however, the MoD has looked into an increased number of C-17s, alongside the C130J as a fallback should the Airbus programme collapse.

With the new German government set to review its defence expediture plans, the A400M programme has yet to be secured.  Germany is slated to purchase 73 aircraft.  This figure, however, is treated with skepticism by industry officials.

If, despite it’s trials and tribulations, the A400M does finally proceed, then this will leave the RAF with a dilemma in that it has previously argued against operating three types of aircraft within it’s airlift fleet.  It could, suggest some industry sources, look to an early disposal of the C130J.


More rumours -  shades of Howard Hughes methinks…

Boeing Phantom Works is studying the possibilty of producing a giant 500 foot wingspan “Pelican” cargo aircraft that would cruise in ground effect but would be capable of flying above 20,000 feet over land, carrying a payload of 2.8 million pounds.

The project is an internal study for long-range transoceanic transport and is being promoted as an idea for the US Army’s Advanced Mobility Concept Study, set for release next April.

“The Pelican could meet the Army’s goal of deploying one division in five days or five divisions in 30 days, anywhere in the world,” said John Skorupa, senior manager of strategic development for Boeing Advanced Airllift and Tankers.

The Pelican could carry 17 M-1 main battle tanks.  “It would be much faster than ships at a fraction of the operational cost of airplanes,” said Pelican programme manager, Baline Rawdon.

Exploiting ground effect to reduce drag, the Pelican is sized to carry 1.5 million pounds of cargo for 10,000 nautical miles over water.  This drops to 6,500 nautical miles out of ground effect over land.  The company says the wing area would be greater than an acre, which is 43,560 square feet.  Maximum take off weight would be 6 million pounds.

Though much of a flight might be spent 20 feet above the sea, the aircraft will not be a seaplane.  It would land on conventional ruinways with 76 wheels to distribute its weight.  The outer half of each wing panel would fold up to provide clearance on the ground.  The angle of the fold may vary – a minimal amount for take off and landing, and up to 90 degrees for other ground operations to reduce ramp space requirements.  Once airborne the tips would fold fully down to their inflight position and fold up again for landing.  Details of this inflight folding mechanism have yet to be determined.


Two elderly ladies had been friends for many decades. Over the years they had shared all kinds of activities and adventures. Lately, their activities had been limited to meeting a few times a week to play cards.

One day they were playing cards when one looked at the other and said, "Now don't get mad at me.....I know we've been friends for a long time.....but I just can't think of your name. I've thought and thought, but I can't remember it. Please tell me what your name is."

Her friend glared at her. For at least three minutes she just stared and glared at her. Finally she said, "How soon do you need to know?"


New on the site this week.... a profile of Charles Collier, which can be accessed from the Pen and Paper icon against his name in the Member's pages.  It would be nice to get more profiles... just send me your life story and a couple of pictures and I can work some 'webby magic' on it.


Well, that's it for this week

Have a great weekend!

Best regards