The person in the RCAF Mystery Photo #092812 is Maj Spott (commonly referred to as Spottie). He was my CO 2 Air Mov Sqn in 2007 replacing Maj Dan Harris. Spotty was posted in from 1 CAD A4 Mov that year. He was a good CO except for the fact he cheers for the Montreal Canadiens NHL team
From: Steve Richardson, Trenton, ON
Sent: Thursday, September 27, 2012 23:15
Subject: RCAF Mystery Photo 092812
The photo you have selected is Major Aaron Spott who was the former CO of 2 Air Movements Squadron, Trenton. He was the CO prior to Major Ken Mills.
LCol Deborah Graitson took over command from Major Ken Mills on July 19, 2012 in Trenton. The CO position was upgraded to Lieutenant Colonel from Major to command 2 Air Movements Squadron.
From: Phil Galbraith, Winnipeg, MB
Sent: Saturday, September 29, 2012 22:22
Subject: RCAF Mystery Photo #092812
This is a picture of then Maj Aaron Spott. He was the CO of 2 Air Mov Sqn, and is now a LCol and the Administrations Officer at 17 Wing Winnipeg.
RAF Brize Norton Hercules noise 'exceeds MoD guidelines'
The Hercules aircraft fleet at RAF Brize Norton has broken official Ministry of Defence guidelines on noise, according to a report. The number of complaints about the Oxfordshire base increased from 23 to 958 after the fleet moved there last year.
The MoD said it was actively working to reduce the effects of noise. Thirty three Hercules have been based at Brize Norton since 6 July 2011 after RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire closed.
Air Commodore Jon Ager said: "The results show that, prior to any mitigation, the measured noise in some local villages exceeds the MoD guideline levels." He said the MoD had apologised to residents and was working with them to improve the situation.
Engine ground runs will now only be conducted when "deemed to be essential to current military operations" and, when possible, aircraft would be towed to areas from where noise had "less of an impact".
Permanent noise monitoring stations are being installed and the MoD is investigating the possibility of building indoor testing facilities to enclose the noise.
West Oxfordshire District councillor Mark Booty said: "I think it was a mistake by the RAF when they first did their planning in that they didn't actually plan for ground running noise. They did take-off and landing noise, but not ground running.
"It's really irritating. Where I am [3.5 miles away] it's a hum and when you get into Black Bourton it's almost a roar. But to be honest, since the report was commissioned they are taking steps. They've started towing these aircraft around the base and facing them in different directions.
"We recognise the importance of all the good work they are doing in relation to transport to Afghanistan. We absolutely welcome the report, but I don't think there is this magic bullet."
From: Andrew Kay, Colorado Springs, CO
Sent: Monday, October 01, 2012 13:33
Subject: Question for next newsletter
I'm hoping you find room to include a general question in the next OBA newsletter.
Can you (or anyone else) point me in the right direction to get information about what I might be entitled to from HMG in terms of possible RAF pension, and how I should go about applying for it? Bearing in mind my RAF service was fleeting compared to some as I only did my initial enlistment of 6 years regular plus 3 (?) years reserve commitment - which in those days consisted of nothing at all. However I have been told that even this limited term of service means I am eligible for some form of pension and no matter how little it is, I'm of the opinion of "if I'm entitled to it, I'm going to apply for it"!
I've also been told that this kicks in at age 60 as opposed to the UK regular retirement pension of 65 and as that particular landmark is coming up next year I probably need to start work on it sooner rather than later. I've looked at some websites, mainly the MoD site and it's not very helpful or simple to navigate so maybe if there's a few others living outside the UK that have been through this process they can point me in the right direction.
Cheers, Andy Kay
From: Tony Gale, Gatineau, QC
Sent: Monday, October 01, 2012 13:54
To: Andrew Kay, Colorado Springs, CO, USA
Subject: RE: question for next newsletter
It’s a formidable challenge if you don’t know where to start.
I’ve been enjoying an RAF pension for the past 5 ½ years which has been administered by the ”Service Personnel and Veterans Agency”
I’ll still publish your letter as there may be some other chaps trying to navigate the confusion.
Let me know how you get along
From: Andrew Kay, Colorado Springs, CO
Sent: Tuesday, October 02, 2012 18:00
Subject: RE: Question for next newsletter
I took your advice and started with the Veterans UK website and from there I emailed the Joint Personnel Administration Center with all my information and got this back from them today:
"From the information that you have provided you are eligible for a preserved pension and terminal grant which is three times the value of your annual pension, both payable at age 60. If you would like a forecast of your pension payments please apply in writing to the address below with your service number, dates of service and date of birth. We will then despatch the forecast to your home address. Please be aware that this process can take up to 20 working days upon receipt of your letter."
So it appears I am in for something, which is a lot better than nothing of course! For all of you that have 60 coming up in your headlights and haven't looked into this, drop them a line as they are even giving out free money to the likes of me that only did a Cooks tour!
Australia invests in maritime aircraft project
Australia will commit further funds toward the development of Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, to replace the RAAF's ageing AP-3C Orions from the end of this decade.
Defence Minister Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare have signed a new agreement with the United States Navy to participate in the third P-8A development stage, contributing $73.9 million towards the project.
That formalizes Australia's ongoing participation in the US$5 billion project. Mr Smith said Orions had served Australia but they would eventually be replaced. "We will ultimately replace our Orion P-3s with the P-8. That is a long-term project," he told reporters at RAAF Amberley in Queensland.
"The Orions are expected to remain in service until the end of this decade or the start of the 2020s. But we have committed ourselves to further work on the P-8 project in collaboration with our United States colleagues.
“The RAAF currently operates 19 Lockheed AP-3C Orions which entered service in the mid-1980s. They have been progressively upgraded with advanced radar and camera systems and can perform maritime and overland surveillance, search and rescue missions and also hunt for submarines.
“Orions have played an important role in border protection operations and two operated in the Middle East from 2003, conducting missions over the Persian Gulf region as well as over Afghanistan."
In 2007, the government gave initial approval to acquire the Poseidon, an aircraft based on the widely-used Boeing 737 airliner and which is set to replace Orions in US Navy service. Australia initially contributed $150 million to join the P-8A program, subsequently adding a further $100 million.
Mr Smith said the Orions had long been based at RAAF Edinburgh in South Australia and it was anticipated the Poseidons would also be based in South Australia. "Whilst we have made no formal decision - it's a decision that we don't need to make for some considerable time - there's an expectation that the P-8s will probably end up in Edinburgh," he said.
Sydney Morning Herald
From: Tony Last, Huntingdon
Sent: Sunday, September 30, 2012 07:44
Subject: RAF Mystery Photo 092812
Isn't the 3rd guy from the left Colin Allen?
[To the best of my knowledge, from left to right, Jim Brett, Tony Thompson, N/K, N/K, Ken Feast, N/K. Richard (Dick) Lloyd, who was their DAMO in Khormaksar at the time, wrote about his experiences. Click on the title picture below to read the article.]
From: Grahame Caine, Forest Lake, QLD
Sent: Wednesday, October 03, 2012 22:04
Subject: RE: UKMAMS OBA OBB #092812
In regards to the RAAF Mystery Photo #092812, I can tell you it was taken at Air Movements RAAF base Richmond NSW, but as to the occasion I am at a loss.
Most of the faces I do remember, but the names have been deleted with age. Those I do remember are far left the Senior Air Movements Officer Sqnldr John Shepard, the three girls from left are Flgoff Fiona Cook, Cpl Lee Crawford and LACW Annie Cahill.
Then 4th from left back row is LAC Steve Marshall, 6th from left Cpl Daryl Bent and 4th from right is LAC Greg Grabham, known as Jack Brabham.
Hopefully someone will shed more light on the subject.
From: Len Bowen, Chisholm ACT
Sent: Tuesday, October 02, 2012 20:53
Subject: RE: UKMAMS OBA OBB #092812.
Great to see the OBB back on line. Very well done indeed. Some input/feedback:
RAAF Mystery Photo #092812 is the motley crew at Air Movements, RAAF Base Richmond, c. 1985.
Left is (then) SQNLDR John 'Shep' Shepherd to took over as Senior Movements Officer from me in May 1983. The short - sorry, vertically-challenged - FLGOFF next to him is Fiona Cook.
Fiona was the first ever female to serve in any RAAF Air Movements Section, at RAAF Base Laverton (LAV) in Victoria in 1978/79. She was then a CPL Clerk Supply, working for me in the Base Squadron Stock Control Section. (I was the Senior Stores Officer BSLAV, recently arrived from UK & the RAF in March 1977). The MOVO at LAV was FLTLT Bill Cudahy, an ex-pat Scot. Bill came to me one day and said that he was desperately short of staff for his Load Control Office, and with the increased flow of traffic with the introduction into service of the 36SQN C130Hs he just couldn't keep up. After some horse trading, I reluctantly offered him CPL Fiona Cook, not that I wanted to get rid of her in any way - she was one of my best troops - but she was the only person in any position in Stock Control that I could cover with somebody else who was doubled up in another job.
Bill's reaction was typical of the time "I'll no have a women in Air Movements! It's no job for a lassie!". Me: "Sorry, Bill. Take it or leave it, she's all I can spare for now, and that very reluctantly. You're only getting her because being an old Mover myself I know that you really need her in the Load Control Office, and I want her back as soon as I get somebody posted in that I can swop with you". Bill very reluctantly took Fiona on.
About three or four months later, I had a number of new staff posted in, and went across to see Bill. Self: "OK, Mate. Send CPL Cook back to me; I've got a good young bloke just posted in and he's got a year at Air Movements at Richmond under his belt already". Bill: "Nay bluddy likely! She's the best damned Trim Clerk I've got, and she's great wee' the passengers, especially the families with wains!"... and the rest, as they say, is history. Fiona was commissioned as an Equipment Officer in 1980 or 81, and now GPCAPT Fiona Dowse, is working here in Canberra as the RAAF Director of International Engagements.
Ref the RAF VC10s passing 50. I was at RAF Seletar in Singapore when the VC10s first entered RAF Service. At Seletar we didn't handle the 'Shiny Fleet' - all the strategic transport movements transited though RAF Changi - but from time to time FEAF MAMS did do some relief manning over there. About the same time, the Air Ministry in its infinite wisdom decided that as the VC10 was especially big and especially shiny, all qualified VC10 Captains should be Squadron Leaders. Overheard shortly thereafter in the bar of the RAF Changi Transit Hotel: WRAF Officer, on being chatted up by visiting aircrew member: "Are you a real Squadron Leader or just a VC10 Captain?"
Finally, before I sign off...
Attached photograph of the Exercise PITCH BLACK 12 International Observers' Group (PB12 IOG) at RAAF Base Darwin in August this year.
Second left, centre row, is your truly, once again working in the Top end as RAAF Protocol Branch Movement & Transport Officer for the PB12 IOG Program.
Can't be too bad to still be active as a MOVO, deployed inter-State at 67 year of age! (Alternatively; Gawd the RAAF must be hard up for MOVOs!)
Best wishes, and thanks again for a job very well done with OBB #092812,
From: Ron Coupe, Houston, TX
Sent: Thursday, October 04, 2012 20:26
Subject: Lapel Pin
The lapel pin is great!
I served in the RAF from 1952 – 1955 initially at RAF West Kirby then to RAF Habbaniya.
Long time ago but still keeping up. I was in Air Movements at Habbaniya; Hastings and Valettas from Habb to Shaibah, Bahrain, Sharjah and Mauripur and back three times a week.
Cheers and thanks for your great pages.
From: John Holloway, Shrewsbury
Sent: Tuesday, October 09, 2012 13:30
Subject: NSRAFA Cosford
Todays monthly meeting at Cosford our speaker was Simon Footer, the regional director for the Wales & West Country area of the RAF Benevolent Fund based at RAF Brize Norton.
Simon also spends time at RAF Cosford as an instuctor for the City of Birmingham Flying School. He spent 33 years in the RAF predominantly as a special forces Hercules pilot.
I should imagine that as most of his service life was as a Hercules pilot out of Lyneham some of the lads might have known of him.
In the main his talk was on all the help and donations given to RAF and ex RAF personnel which over the year amounts to twenty six million pounds a year all coming from donations made to the organisation.
Of course they need all the donations that they can get and we made a collection for him amongst our members and as he said every donattion made whether it be just one or a hundred quid all is gratefully received.
From: Al Allcroft, Southampton
Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 14:21
Subject: Last of the Britannia.
Although I wasn't a 'Mover' but merely a humble Chief Tech Engine Fitter on Britannia Base Servicing at BZN 1971 – 76, I came across your superb web site with soooo much information.
Thought you might like the picture I have of the last Brit to leave Base 1 Servicing in the 'big' hangar at BZN. I am fourth from the left trying to pull my weight.
The next two NH90 helicopters arrived at Base Ohakea in the Manawatu earlier this month.
Once introduced into service the NH90 helicopters will vastly improve the Air Force’s capability to conduct military, disaster relief, search and rescue and other helicopter operations.
“The Air Force is undergoing a complete renewal of its operational fleet, with the introduction of new and upgraded aircraft, supported by new advanced training devices.
The NH90 helicopters are a very important part of our upgrade programme,” says Deputy Chief of Air Force, Air Commodore Kein Short.
“Once fully operational, the NH90 will be providing support to the Royal New Zealand Navy, New Zealand Army and other Government agencies.”
Air Force Welcomes Next Two NH90 Helicopters
The NH90 helicopters are manufactured by European company NATO Helicopter Industries (NHI). In total, eight NH-90 helicopters have been purchased. The first two helicopters arrived in December 2011, and the remaining four helicopters will be progressively delivered by the end of 2013.
AIRCDRE Short says all the NH90s will undergo a rigorous introduction into service programme that will ensure their capabilities are maximised as the fleet is progressively made available for military operations. Air and ground crews were also undertaking extensive training programmes. The NH90s will eventually replace the Iroquois helicopters which have been in use for more than 40 years.
From: Alex Masson, Chelmsford
Sent: Friday, October 19, 2012 05:48
Subject: Last of our Charity Collections.
I'm back again at last! This is my busy period now over.
This last week-end we held a Dinner Dance at The Hawthorns, Braintree, Essex, a retirement complex which offers hotel living for the retired, many of whom are ex forces personnel both men and women including one who worked at Bletchley Park.
Well we raised quite a tidy sum for our charities - we, the RAF Assoc'n shared it with the Army RASC/RCT Assoc'n. We had WW2 vehicles and memorabilia on display along with pictures and paintings of RAF aircraft.
Many participants were dressed in 1940's clothing and dancing was to music of that era.
Since 10th September our small team of stalwarts have been out at all our Chelmsford supermarkets and shopping malls from early morning till late afternoon and I am pleased to say, that despite the economic downturn, we have achieved our £10K target again this year - and by a very wide margin.
It's all in a good cause, as every penny we collect goes straight to our welfare to help those who served and the families and dependants of those killed or injured in service.
Tony Carey, our aviation artist member joined me at the foot of the stairs. Outside the enthusiasts displayed their WW2 vehicles, weapons and equipment. I surprised myself, I found I could still strip down the old ‘Bren gun’ to it’s five basic parts but had forgotten just how heavy the Lee Enfield .303 could be!
From: Tony Street, Buffalo, NY
Sent: Monday, October 22, 2012 10:09
Subject: "Freebish" and the Hat
In September of '68, with an augmented crew totaling about 12, we were preparing for a flight from Trenton, Ontario to New Zealand on a 437 Sqn Yukon.
At the end of the final all-crew pre-flight briefing, the lead pilot, nicknamed "Freebish," instructed the loadmasters: (He may have been recalling what must have been a particularly unpleasant event), "I want no loose articles in the a/c at any time! Everything will be tied down and secured for takeoff, cruise and landing! Do I make myself clear? Let's go!" (Rather harsh, I thought coming from the mild mannered, pleasant and smiling fellow the squadron had come to know and love).
We boarded the a/c and took our positions. Freebish was the last aboard. He hung his tunic on the coat rack and, as he walked toward the flight deck, casually flipped his hat onto the crew rest bunk.
As we were taxiing out on this grand adventure, a loadie, his ears still ringing, grabbed the hat, placed it on the floor seat track beside the coat rack, popped a 5,000lb tiedown ring fore and aft of the offending item. He then got a cargo strap and cranked the hat into the floor.
Some hours later, upon our arrival in Honolulu, the crew were milling around the area trying to look as nonchalant as possible while awaiting Freeb's reaction.
Freebish left the flight deck and came back to the coat rack and, without so much as batting an eye, unstrapped the hat, punched the dome out (Its true shape never quite returned), slapped it several times against his thigh, raised it and blew the dust from it as best he could.
He then grasped it fore and aft, snapped it on his head (John Wayne comes to mind), and calmly said, "Follow me," as we all trekked off the aircraft behind him into the Immigration Hall.
Not a word was ever spoken about the incident; there were a lot of giggles though.
From: Nick Price, Cheltenham
Sent: Monday, October 22, 2012 10:20
It was 40 years ago in August that the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin expelled all the Asians.
I remember that many came in through Brize Norton. At the time I was working in Passenger movements and helped with baggage.
I was wondering did UKMAMS get very involved and if so, have you anything in the Archives ?
Ironically many years later when I had my own Dairy delivery service, one of the Asians who came through Brize had eventually bought a corner shop and I supplied him with dairy produce. Great people; his son became a policeman. I think there are very many success stories to be told of those who once here in England had to start from scratch again.
From: Tony Gale, Gatineau, QC
Sent: Monday, October 22, 2012 10:57
To: Nick Price, Cheltenham, UK
Subject: RE: Uganda
I did a site search to see if there was any mention of UKMAMS being involved with the expulsion of the Asians from Uganda and couldn’t find anything.
Ian Berry has access to the 540’s (tasking sheets) from that era so maybe he could check August 1972 for any Ugandan presence and let us know.
From: Keri Eynon, Newbury
Sent: Monday, October 22, 2012 14:41
Subject: Greenham Common
I am sending you a couple of photos taken at a special event that took place at Greenham Common on 21st September.
In 1944, on 12th and 15th December, there were two crashes involving American service personnel. The first was a Horsa Glider on a training flight and the second was when two B17's collided on their return from a raid. In both instances all involved were killed.
For the last 18 years there has been a memorial service for the paratroopers from the glider, but this year it was decided to have a second memorial to the bomber crews. It was further felt that a third memorial be placed to remember all Americans who served and gave their lives for freedom.
On the 21st September, I was privileged as Royal British Legion Chaplain to plan and conduct the Memorial Service in the presence of HRH The Princess Royal (hence photo of me shaking her hand) for the dedication of the new memorials. The RBL in Newbury are entrusted by the US Forces with carrying out the memorial service each year which takes place on the at 12 noon on the 12th December and will continue on that day for as long as possible now to incorporate the other memorials.
It is proper to remember sacrifices of US Forces and in particular those who served at Greenham and not just to remember it for the Women's Peace Camp that was held there in protest over Cruise Missiles. Although I retire in August next year as a URC minister (not in charge of any particular church), I will continue for as long as I am able to be Chaplain to the RBL.
Once again, thanks for keeping the newsletter going; it is great to keep in touch with what is happening to old comrades.
From: David Eggleton, Didcot, Oxon
Sent: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 03:07
Subject: Re: The next OBA newsletter Info.
Having seen an email from Bernard Connelly who you knew in your earlier RAF days, I noticed he and his wife run a shop opposite Madisons Tea Rooms in Wantage, where I and friends have met for breakfast for a good while on Tuesday mornings; we have now met and will do so regularly.
We did not serve together during our service as he became an AQM and I carried on in the Movements world until leaving the regulars in 1988.
Just to say "it's a small world".
From: Lindsay Campbell, Mount Barker, SA
Sent: Tuesday, October 23, 2012 06:19
Subject: RE: The next OBA newsletter
Thought I would make a small contribution from my No.1 (TAC T) SQN days in the RNZAF, and one from my current gig within the RAAF – two sorties below if of use:
RAF/RNZAF C-MK1 Andover – Tactical Air Transporter
For all those Brits and Kiwis that served on the venerable HS C-MK1 Andover, I thought you might be interested in this great model of the Andover now available through ‘Nice Airplanes’
The Andover started out a bit shaky Downunder in the ‘Shaky Isles’ but matured into a really great workhorse. It was a bit limited on payload sometimes.
I recall a trip from Auckland to Amberley, Queensland, via Norfolk Island (we nearly always went everywhere via Norfolk Island) and the available payload with min crew and min role equipment was less than 400lbs! But it had a great galley and great toilet – very important for those long overseas flights from NZ to anywhere!
The flight gear was also classic British, WWII style gear – this picture of me was taken on a patrol (yep we did maritime coastal patrols in RNZAF Andovers in between freight shuttles up and down NZ) heading down the West Coast of the South Island one warm afternoon in 1979 after a very pleasant lunch stopover at Nelson.
We were headed down to Invercargill to stay overnight, then pick up about 100 dozen fresh Bluff oysters the next day and, after a quick patrol back up the East Coast of the South Island, get back into Auckland (Whenuapai) by about 1800 hrs to a huge line up of RNZAF staff waiting to pick up their oysters!!
The other picture is classic RNZAF in the South Pacific – this was real Andover/truckie territory – just 700mtrs of dirt strip, water at each end, and on a stunning island (Malolo Lailai Island) just 27km west of Nadi Intl in Fiji.
The picture was taken back in 1980 when a famous Australian aviator, Dick Smith, owned the island. We used to come out to the island when on deployed exercises on the main island (Viti Levu) to practice STOL landings – not for the fainthearted I can tell you!
The good thing was a couple of hours off on the island to sample the delights of ‘Plantation Resort’ in between the two circuits and bumps we were authorized for each day.
Of course that was back in 1980 – you wouldn’t get a Flight Commander signing off that sort of a mission plan in the 500 these days.
WOOMERA – Fire Across the Desert
Calling all ex-service personnel who had the great fortune to serve at the famous Woomera Test Range in South Australia.
While this famous piece of Australian Outback dirt (which by the way is roughly the size of England at 127,000sqkm - or about 49,000sqmls) has been ‘quiet’ for around 30 years, the whole place is now back in full operation.
I am compiling as much information as I can about the history of Woomera, but in particular about the airfields; RAAF Woomera aerodrome (active), Evetts Field Airstrip (now a UAV test strip – what’s changed?), Emu Airfield (inactive) and Maralinga Airfield (still active but no longer inside the Woomera Prohibited Area and also not managed by the RAAF Woomera Test Range).
In particular, I am very interested in the air transport aspect of support between England and Woomera. Any stories, photos or whatever about how it worked, what sort of aircraft operated there – and of course ‘the incidents’.
By the way we have only had one crash at Woomera airfield in recent years and that was a hard landing by a BAE Herti UAV which was being tested there in 2009 – and yes there is still a lot of British activity at Woomera today!
The pictures show a BAE UK Herti on finals to RAAF Woomera, and the very recognizable control tower and Air Movements Apron 2.
In 2009, there were over 1,800 aircraft movements through the base – which (not counting exercises) made it busier than RAAF Darwin that year! For the ex-RAF types who have been through Woomera, the air movements apron is now fully operational again – and in the last three years, we have had six RAF C17’s into the base to drop off or pick UK trials teams.
The last photo is of me showing the local school kids around a Hornet at Woomera Airbase in 2003. It was rare to see a Hornet there back then.
These days, we support over 200 Classic (FA-18) and Rhino (F18F) sorties a year through Woomera.
For those who remember Woomera village (now Defence Support Base Woomera), the population has dropped from 7,000 to just 150, but we put through over 100,000 bednights a year in the famous ELDO Defence Hotel for trials personnel deploying into the base to conduct trials on the Range. It’s still one of the great places to go!
From: John Wickham, Abu Dhabi
Sent: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 14:48
The following positions are available with Qatar Airways. Click on the links for info and applications.