31 October 2003

A new member joining us recently is Terry Smith from Stafford, UK

Welcome to the OBA!


From: Ian Newlands, Didcot, UK
Date: 04 Oct 2003 1148
Subject: Re: OBB 100303

Hi Tony 

All I can say is Guilty for not sending anything to your great Website this past few months, I have been totally occupied with tracing my ancestors and compiling my Family Tree. I have been trying to trace any ancestors of my Grandfather's Sister Catherine Newlands who married a John Cameron in Speymouth Morayshire about 1900 and emigrated to Muriel Lake, Alberta, Canada about 1902-04 but have not been able to get any more information on them from the many sources I have investigated. Once you get into this Genealogy lark it sort of takes over.

Anyway that's my excuse. Anyway long may the OBA continue as it is nice to see some old names and faces come up. I was really surprised to see so many at the 50th BE reunion and shocked to read about Phil Todd. I tried to get a 301st Entry Apprentices reunion up and running but could only contact 4 ex apprentices from the 60 or so who I was at Hereford with.

Well Tony keep up the good work I really appreciate your efforts on our behalf.

Regards for now 

Ian (Foddy) Newlands


From: Steve Maunder, Exeter, UK
Date: 05 Oct 2003 2316
Subject: Surreal or wot?

How many base shift movers can remember the dread of being called over to the DAMO's office? The guilt complex trips in automatically even if you can't recall doing anything on....

As you may know, I am now a Flt. Lt. Volunteer Reserve (Training) branch and Officer Commanding 13 (City of Exeter) Squadron A.T.C. Last weekend my drill team won the Devon and Somerset Wing Drill Competition. This meant we had to travel to Lyneham (STILL can't believe they are going to close the place...where the hell are they going to park all the a/c at BZZ? Be worse than an NCP car park) on Sunday 5th October, for the South West Region final. A very strange feeling indeed driving in the gate, as the last time I was there in uniform, was as an S.A.C. in 1984!

The drill competition went well and we achieved a very creditable third place, well done troops! Problem - cadets finished drill at 1200 have lunch and then have to hang around until 1545 for the final parade and awards, what do we do to keep them occupied?

Answer - leave it to an (ex) mover to solve it! Easy, arrange a tour around the air cargo hangars and hopefully an airframe as well (tip - if cadets can see an aircraft "up close" when they visit a flying station, they are happy!).

Off I trek to the terminal building looking for the DAMO. The office is still in the same place, although the snack bar has moved and the check-in desks are now next to the office. Knock on the the door and await acknowledgement (old habits die hard), nice voice calls "enter", so in I walk. The DAMO was from D shift and a very pleasant young lady Flying Officer, the DDAMO, D.A. Patterson (didn't recognise the name or the face from my time in the service) are in the office. Introduce myself and explain the problem, (first names of course!) DAMO very helpful and gets an SAC James Booth to escort us around the facilities AND an airframe! It wasn't until after I left the office that I realised that I was the senior guy present!!! 

I can just imagine the likes of DC and Pig Clarke chuckling at the thought of that! 

Anyway, young James does his stuff very well and the cadets think Movements is a wonderful job, so all credit to D shift at Lyneham (WHY are they closing it????) for entertaining the RAF's future recruits at such short notice.

Also, on the Saturday night prior to all this, had an Email out of the blue from "Arfur" English asking about VR(T) commissions as he has been involved with the Chippenham Sqn for a while and was getting some "pressure" to go back into uniform when he is demobbed. We met up and had a quick chat (Hope you've made up your mind Arf!!) 

I agree with the messages in the last brief, it needs everyone to contribute to keep the system going......surely reading anecdotes and stories triggers the memory and you recall a similar incident...get it down and send it in! This will keep the cycle going. 

DC what was the surname of the SAC called Joe (redheaded crew cut, if I recall) on shift and deputising in your absence on traffic ( I think you were on a course) when I joined C shift at Lye in early 1979? It's bugged me for years......

Keep up the good work Tony and best wishes to (ex) Movers worldwide

Steve Maunder

"Old movers don't die, they just de-tension"


From: Neville Whitham, Carterton, UK
Date: 13 Oct 2003 11:22
Subject: Where have you been?

I have been rather concerned for the past 6 weeks, as your regular Friday despatches have not dropped into my e-mail in box. Have I been disenfranchised, or worse still, have you gone bankrupt? Probably just some technical blip on the software side of things! If you are feeling the pinch Tony, then I will certainly send you a donation. You do more than an excellent job of this professional website, which must eat large chunks of your time and that you also run for free. Keep up the good work. 

Whilst I am here, I thought I had better say a few things in order to appease Dave Cromb and help swell your mail bag too. Its nice also to hear from Pig Clarke every now and again in your columns, little wonder that he lives a few thousand miles away and is armed with a six shooter. Perhaps he thinks that the "aircrew mafia" is coming to kick down his door at some point, sort of, "come and get me copper" but in reverse. He should be awarded the "wooden spoon" for his endeavours, but I expect that he already has a sizeable collection. Hiya Pig! You all right mate?

My main aim in this letter Tony, was to get back on the mailing list and also to inform you that have updated my address/tel no and status. 

Thanks a million,

best wishes, Nev Whitham 


From: Ian Place, Leeds, UK
Date: 13 Oct 2003 1037
Subject: One From the Archives

You can use this as evidence if you want all you who engage the Loadies on Pprune, but don't expect me to join in!!

Date 03 March 1973 30 yrs 6 months ago EXERCISE OVERCAST

TEAM Sgt D.K.Henderson (Team Leader) Cpl George Lynes (Team Poser) SAC Ian Place (General Dogsbody)

Briefed to collect an Army Ground Radar unit and all their rubbish from Winnipeg and bring them back to Lyneham field.

Route Lyneham-Gander (nite stop)-Winnipeg (nite stop)-Gander (nite stop) and then home

AIRCRAFT Hercules XV186 Crew Capt FLT LT Mckinnon plus 6

Arrived in Winnipeg 1255 local to find the load not available until the following morning. Retired to barrack block accommodation on CAF base. The captain, Flt Lt Mckinnon, came to our room to ask if we were happy with our accommodation. We said we had stayed in worse (RAF West Raynham springs to mind). He said the loadmaster was not happy and wanted off-base. We spent the night trying to buy a drink for some CAF Corporals in their Club, but failed miserably. 

The following morning after staggering back to our barrack room in -30 blizzard conditions we loaded the Herc. After loading, the Loadie decided to go sick and we had to slum it downtown at the Winnipeg Inn, until they found another Loadie pretending to work on a Calgary destined Herc. I must have a resistance to alcohol as I was the only UKMAMS member to make it to the cabaret/bar in the Winnipeg Inn that night. 

The rest of the Task went to plan, apart from the 26 hr delay caused by our flying tea boys in blue with the spotless new flying suits.

I will leave you to judge for yourselves

Ian G Place

PS. If you cant remember me I'm the one talking to Troop Smith in the back of that Herc that Ian Berry put on the Web except that I have not gained any weight----Troop?????


From: Charles Collier, Marlborough, UK
Date: 13 Oct 2003 12:22
Subject: Emplanement of passengers who have been drinking

Hello Tony,

Your message regarding the combination of Windows XP and Outlook Express being a potential computer software disaster has given me some food for thought. It hasn't happened to me yet!

Anyway, back to my days as a DAMO at RAF Changi circa 1971 - it was the withdrawal of British forces from that far east theatre of operations and the daily VC-10 departing in the early evening was the method by which most of the forces were repatriated.

Of course, all farewells - in the military - are tinged with varying degrees of alcohol poisoning! I well remember an RN medical unit turning up for emplanement with the surgeon captain in a long dress cloak being supported either side by two surgeon commanders - the captain's feet were off the ground, although this was difficult to see because of the long cloak. He was taken up the steps and seated between the two escorts obviously as drunk as a lord but not causing anybody any trouble.

On the other hand, a certain chief tech - equally, as drunk as a lord - was not going to sit where he had been put by my deputy Chris Heyland and caused a commotion. I arrived on the scene just as the chiefy took a swing at Chris' head which just missed. I managed to grasp his swinging fist and put it into a half nelson behind his back whilst I summoned for police support. They rushed up the steps and arrested the chiefy. However, in the ensuing commotion which involved the aircraft's captain the chief tech was released from arrest, sat where he was told to and the captain took responsibility for him.

Those were two separate incidents - I've no doubt others have had similar experiences!

All the best 



From: Jim Aitken, Brisbane Qld., Australia
Date: 13 Oct 2003 10:39
Subject: No Subject

Hi Tony

Received the following today... does the name ring a bell? Seems like the Lynes family are truly touchy!! Did you also get a serving?

I'll see if I can find any more that will ruffle their feathers. 




Sent: Tuesday, October 07, 2003 9:58 PM
Subject: (no subject)

Dear Australian, You are a bigot. Sara Lynes


Lisa Burnett, 23, a resident of San Diego, was visiting her in-laws. While there, she went to a local supermarket to pick up some groceries.

Several people noticed her sitting in her car, her eyes closed and both hands behind the back of her head.

One customer, who had been at the store for a while, became concerned and walked over to the car. He noticed that Lisa's eyes were now opened and she looked very strange. He asked her if she was okay and Lisa replied that she'd been shot in the back of the head and had been holding her brains in for over an hour.

The man called the paramedics who had to break into the car because the doors were locked and Lisa refused to remove her hands from her head. When they finally got in they noticed that Lisa had a wad of biscuit dough on the back of her head - a Pillsbury biscuit canister had exploded from the heat making a loud noise that sounded like a gunshot and the wad of dough hit her in the back of her head. When she reached back to find out what it was she felt the dough and thought it was her brains. She initially passed out, but quickly recovered and then tried to hold her brains in for over an hour until someone noticed and came to her aid.

Lisa is blonde.


From: Jim Aitken, Brisbane Qld., Australia
Date: 08 Oct 2003 16:35
Subject: 50,000 Sheep

The crisis of the ship containing 50,000 Australian sheep in the Persian Gulf has been solved. The ship has been redirected to New Zealand and renamed "The Love Boat".


From: Gordon Gourdie, Euxton, UK
Date: 14 Oct 2003 03:32
Subject: Crappy Happy Jappy Joke

Hi Tony,

This might just bring a smile to your face !!

A dustbin man is going along a street picking up the wheelie bins and emptying them into his dustcart lorry. He gets to one house where the bin hasn't been left out so he has a quick look for it, goes round the back, but still can't see it so he knocks on the door. There's no answer so he knocks again.

Eventually a Japanese bloke answers... "Harro" says the jappy chappy.

"Alright mate, where's your bin?" asks the dustman

"I bin on toilet" replies the Japanese bloke, looking perplexed.

Realising the Japanese fellow has misunderstood, the binman smiles and says "No mate, where's ya dust bin?"

"I dust bin on toilet I told you" says the Japanese man

"Mate" says the dustman... "you're misunderstanding me... Where's your Wheelie Bin?"

"OK, OK" says the Jap, "I wheelie bin having w*nk"


From: John Bell, Cairns Qld., Australia
Date: 15 Oct 2003 10:49
Subject: Rugby World Cup Plus Other Items of Interest...


Following complaints made to the International Rugby Board about the All Blacks being allowed to motivate themselves by performing the “Haka” before their games, other nations were asked to suggest pre-match rituals of their own. 

The IRB Rugby World Cup 2003 Organising Committee has now agreed to the following pre-match displays:

The ENGLAND team will chat about the weather, wave hankies in the air and attach bells to their ankles before about how they invented the game and gave it to the world and how it’s not fair that everyone still thinks that New Zealand are the best team in the world.

The SCOTLAND team will chant “You lookin’ at me Jimmy?” before smashing an Iron Bru bottle over their opponents’ heads.

The IRELAND team will split into two, with the southern half performing a Riverdance, while the Northerners march the traditional route from their dressing room to the pitch, via their opponents dressing room.

Unfortunately, the Committee were unable to accept the WELSH suggestion following representations from the RSPCA.

ARGENTINA will unexpectedly invade a small part of the opposition territory, claim it as their own “Las In Goals-Areas” and then be forcibly removed by the stewards.

Two members of the SOUTH AFRICAN team will claim to be more important than the other 13 whom they imprison between the posts whilst they claim the rest of the pitch for themselves.

The AMERICANS will not attend until full time. In future years they will amend the records to show that they were in fact the most important team in the tournament.

Five of the CANADIAN team will sing “La Marseillaise” and hold the rest of the team to ransom.

The FRENCH will park lorries across the halfway line, let sheep loose in the opposition half, much to the delight of Wales, and burn the officials.

The AUSTRALIANS will drink a six-pack whilst cranking the barbie before offering the opposition a 20 point start and option of changing the game to any sport of their choice, have an unassailable lead by half time and head off to the pub to watch their victory live with a 4X in their hand.

Australian Etiquette

General Rules:

- Never take a beer on a job interview.
- Always identify people in your yard before you shoot them.
- It’s tacky to take an esky (Cooler Box) to church.
- If you have to vacuum the bed it is time to change the sheets.
- Even if you are certain you are in the will, it is rude to take a trailer to the funeral home.

Dining rules:

- When decanting wine from the box, tilt the paper cup and pour slowly so as not to “bruise” the wine.
- If drinking directly from the bottle, hold it with both your hands.
- A centrepiece for the table should never be anything prepared by a taxidermist.
- Do not allow the dog to eat at the table – no matter how good its manners.


- Dim your lights when approaching vehicles, even if the gun is loaded and the pig is in sight.
- When approaching a roundabout, the vehicle with the largest tyre size does not always have the right of way.
- Never tow another car using panty hose and duct tape.
- Do not do wheelies while travelling in a funeral procession.
- When sending your wife down the road with a petrol can it is not polite to ask her to bring back a beer as well.


Commenting on a complaint from a Mr Arthur Purdey about a large gas bill, a spokesman for North West Gas said, "We agree it was rather high for the time of year. It's possible Mr Purdey has been charged for the gas used up during the explosion that destroyed his house." (The Daily Telegraph)

Police reveal that a woman arrested for shoplifting had a whole salami in her knickers. When asked why, she said it was because she was missing her Italian boyfriend. (The Manchester Evening News)

Irish police are being handicapped in a search for a stolen van, because they cannot issue a description. It's a Special Branch vehicle and they don't want the public to know what it looks like. (The Guardian)

A young girl who was blown out to sea on a set of inflatable teeth was rescued by a man on an inflatable lobster. A coastguard spokesman commented, "This sort of thing is all too common". (The Times)

At the height of the gale, the harbourmaster radioed a coastguard on the spot and asked him to estimate the wind speed. He replied he was sorry, but he didn't have a gauge. However, if it was any help, the wind had just blown his Land Rover off the cliff. (Aberdeen Evening Express)

Mrs Irene Graham of Thorpe Avenue, Boscombe, delighted the audience with her reminiscence of the German prisoner of war who was sent each week to do her garden. He was repatriated at the end of 1945, she recalled "He'd always seemed a nice friendly chap, but when the crocuses came up in the middle of our lawn in February 1946, they spelt out "Heil Hitler." (Bournemouth Evening Echo)


A list of actual announcements that London Tube train drivers have made to their passengers...

"Ladies and Gentlemen, I do apologise for the delay to your service. I know you're all dying to get home, unless, of course, you happen to be married to my ex-wife, in which case you'll want to cross over to the Westbound and go in the opposite direction".

"Your delay this evening is caused by the line controller suffering from E & B syndrome, not knowing his elbow from his backside. I'll let you know any further information as soon as I'm given any."

"Do you want the good news first or the bad news? The good news is that last Friday was my birthday and I hit the town and had a great time. The bad news is that there is a points failure somewhere between Stratford and East Ham, which means we probably won't reach our destination."

"Ladies and gentlemen, we apologise for the delay, but there is a security alert at Victoria station and we are therefore stuck here for the foreseeable future, so let's take our minds off it and pass some time together. All together now....'Ten green bottles, hanging on a wall.....'".

"We are now travelling through Baker Street, as you can see Baker Street is closed. It would have been nice if they had actually told me, so I could tell you earlier, but no, they don't think about things like that".

"Beggars are operating on this train, please do NOT encourage these professional beggars, if you have any spare change, please give it to a registered charity, failing that, give it to me."

During an extremely hot rush hour on the Central Line, the driver announced in a West Indian drawl: "step right this way for the sauna, ladies and gentleman... unfortunately towels are not provided".

"Let the passengers off the train FIRST!" (Pause ...) "Oh go on then, stuff yourselves in like sardines, see if I care - I'm going home...."

"Please allow the doors to close. Try not to confuse this with 'Please hold the doors open'. The two are distinct and separate instructions." 

"Please note that the beeping noise coming from the doors means that the doors are about to close. It does not mean throw yourself or your bagsinto the doors."

"We can't move off because some idiot has their ****** hand stuck in the door"

"To the gentleman wearing the long grey coat trying to get on the second carriage - what part of 'stand clear of the doors' don't you understand?"

"Please move all baggage away from the doors (Pause..) Please move ALL belongings away from the doors (Pause...) This is a personal message to the man in the brown suit wearing glasses at the rear of the train - put the pie down, four-eyes, and move your bloody golf clubs away from the door before I come down there and shove them up your a**e sideways"

"May I remind all passengers that there is strictly no smoking allowed on any part of the Underground. However, if you are smoking a joint, it's only fair that you pass it round the rest of the carriage"


A major earthquake measuring 6.5 on the Richter scale hit in the early hours of Friday September 26th 2003. The epicentre was Liverpool City centre. The earthquake decimated the area causing almost £30 worth of damage. Three areas of historic burnt out cars were disturbed, and many locals were woken well before their giro cheques had arrived.

Apparently looting, muggings, and car crime carried on as normal. 

The British Red Cross has so far managed to ship 4000 crates of Sunny Delight into the area along with 20,000 Red Band cigarettes to help the stricken locals. Rescue workers are still sifting through the rubble and have found large quantities of personal belongings including benefit books, jewellery from Elizabeth Duke at Argos, crow bars, lock picks, power tools with the serial numbers ground off and several pieces of bone china from Poundstretcher. 

How can you help? This appeal is to raise money for the unfortunate people of Liverpool. Your contribution counts! 

22p will buy a biro for filling in claim forms 
£3 will buy 8 cans of "ACE" or budget lager from Tesco 
£5 buys chips, crisps and fizzy blue drinks for a family of 9 
£10 will send them on a Sun newspaper family break in October 
£15 will provide an individual with enough Special Brew for an afternoon 
£99 will get a family's sky dish and receiver replaced 

Thank you for your support! 


From: Peter Clayton, Swindon, UK
Date: 13 Oct 2003 1046
Subject: Luanda

Hi Tony,

I recall a very interesting trip to Luanda, Angola to help out with the Portuguese Airlift back to Lisbon. We had the VC-10 out there doing 6 flights a week and I was helping with the check in of baggage and 'refugees'. As the local currency was almost worthless outside Angola and there was a ban on taking it out anyway, most of the baggage contained anything valuable that could be carried or fit into a suitcase. On one flight we had a suitcase that was checked and inside was a dismantled Honda 50cc, a bit heavy but we accepted it with good humour.

We of course got a very good rate for our dollars and spent many hours in our limited time off searching the tool shops for some very good tools, most of mine are still going. Camera shops or watch shops etc were long since emptied of any stock, so in the end I was showing the crews the good tool shops in town.

Food was in short supply so on the one night a week when we could make the hotel restaurant, it was best to order all the choices, that way at least you would end up with something to eat. On other night we enjoyed the left over in flight meals from the VC-10, a luxury indeed to be supplemented with some local beer.

Our only real relaxation time was on a Tuesday when there was no flight and one week we managed to do a boat trip to an outlying Island with a local British guy who was intent on staying on in Angola. I often wonder how he got on in the end. Luanda certainly looked good from that island, a world away from the reality of broken down equipment and the odd gun fire going on in the streets. On our last day there the lift broke down in the Hotel and several of us were stuck for sometime, but we forced our way out in the end and made it to the airport for our flight to Lisbon. There was a great party organised in Lisbon for all the crews and ground crews etc and we consumed vast amounts of BBQ chicken and loads of Mateus Rose.

Good old days.

Peter Clayton
Alpha team 1975-78


From: John Holloway, Shrewsbury, UK
Date: 13 Oct 2003 1219
Subject: Cosford 2

Hi Tony

I had a moan at Cosford about all the disappearing exhibits and had quite a comprehensive reply from the assistant curator, Claire Davies.

In it she says that Hendon has two new display hangars that are due to open on the 17th December and consequently require aircraft from Cosford to display there.

Hendon has taken quite a few aircraft a few months ago they had the Sopwith camel replica and now they’ve taken the Messerschmitt ME 262, Republic Thunderbolt, Hawker Siddeley Buccaneer, de Havilland Gipsy Moth, Hawker Hart, Saro Skeeter, Westland Whirlwind and the only existing Kawasaki KI 100. However she tried to sweeten it by saying that they gained the oldest Spitfire Mk 1A but failed to say that they had to let a later Mk Spitfire go in exchange for it. Also arrived at Cosford are a North American Mustang, a Tornado prototype and a Hawker Hind.

As I said, based on what she said, the TSR-2 is perfectly safe at Cosford as it forms the centrepiece of the Research and Development collection which is staying here. Then she also said, “as far as we know” - so that could change some time in the future.

Whilst I was there I noticed that quite a large empty space now existed and enquired what was that all about ;the answer given that it is for the use of "corporate hire" which will help raise money for the museum.

It has been mentioned that Cosford could be developed for a new Midlands civil airport that they want for Wolverhampton, anything could happen !!!!

Cheers for now



From: Ian Berry, Swindon, UK
Date: 16 Oct 2002 1053
Subject: DC8 V B of B Ball No 2
Very very last time in Service Mess Dress, shame Mick (The Loadie) had to be wearing a reflective jacket! 


From: David Cromb, Brisbane Qld., Australia
Date: 07 Oct 2003 1124
Subject: Communication

Hello Mate,

Great last briefs - thanks. I was thinking (settle down everybody) if it would generate a bit more enthusiasm & get more comms on the go if we followed the lead set by the UKMAMS Assoc., and introduced a mystery pic & poss a bit of trivia into the occasssional brief?. Just an idea, your call? [Ed: There was a Mystery Picture featured on the OBA site every month for almost two years - but eventually no-one was guessing anymore so I discontinued it about a year ago.]

Just remind me, all pics must be in jpg format & at a min 300 pixthings, right or wrong. [Ed: Almost right - it would be preferable to receive them at a minimum of 600 pixthings wide.]

Had to chuckle at Jim's comment re the "well" of info drying up, notso really, you just have to lower the bucket a little further down. Sorry Jim.

On a different tac, 'ave u 'erd this un:

An 80 yr old man is having annual check-up. The Dr asks him how he's feeling. "Never better," he replies." I've got an 18 yr old bride who is pregnant with my child!!, what do you fink about that?

The Dr considers this for a moment and says, "Well let me tell u a story. I know a guy who is an avid hunter. One day he accidentally grabs his brolley instead of 'is gun. So, there he is out walking in the forest and suddenly sees a bear. The bear is about to attack 'im when the hunter raises up his brolley, points it at the bear and squeezes the handle... Suddenly, he hears a loud gunshot and the bear drops dead in front of 'im." 

"Thats impossible!" said the old man," Someone else must 'ave shot the bear."

"My point precisely" says the Dr.




From: Jim Aitken, Brisbane Qld., Australia
Date: 26 Oct 2003 1002
Subject: Where on Earth is Hervey Bay?

Howyadoin' Tony

My wife Pat and I visited Hervey Bay for a long weekend to do a spot of 'whale watching'. The area called Platypus Bay lies in the lee of Fraser Island and is about an hour out from Hervey Bay. Over the last few years it has developed a reputation as being one of the finest whale watching areas, not only in Australia, but in the world.

Whales migrate north to the Barrier Reef warm waters to calve. They then return to the Antarctic. The protected waters of the bays such as Hervey Bay and Moreton Island are a stopping off point for them during this migration. Whales have also been sighted in Sydney Harbour. From a population of an estimated 60,000, until whaling was banned in Australia in 1965, it is estimated that the whale population had declined to around 300 animals.

The latest scientific evidence puts the number today at around 3000. So a tenfold increase in forty years. It will take some time for their numbers to get back to where they were but at least it is a start.

Anyway... not only is Hervey Bay renowned for it's whales... it is also the home of our illustrious Honorary Chairman, Squadron Leader Jack Riley and his charming wife Jude. When Jack heard that Pat and I were planning a trip to his neck of the woods he invited us to call and see them. Not only that, but he even suggested that staying with them would be no problem. We had already made our bookings so we declined this gracious offer.
However, we did spend an evening with them in their home where the hospitality was of the highest order... some solid and even more liquid !! On our final evening the four of us visited a local French restaurant which Jack had booked. We had a delightful evening where the food and wine were excellent and the company most entertaining. We feel that we have made some good friends and are hopeful that Jack and Jude will allow us the chance to reciprocate when next they visit our part of the coast.

Left to Right: Jim, Jude, Pat & Jack

As an aside, I was disappointed in the lack of ex Movers who are registered with Service Pals. Maybe not many know about this site so I am including the URL should any of our guys feel inclined to have a 'butchers'. Many of us made buddies with guys in other trades and this site is a way to make contact with colleagues from the past. 


Jim Aitken


[The following was received from Jack Riley regarding the above meeting:]

Hi Tony,

The "Inaugural Meeting of the Central Queensland Branch of UKMAMS OBA" has just ended, which is a complicated way of saying that James and Pat Aitken came up to our neck of the woods to do a spot of whale-watching and for some R & R.

After a practice session at our place on the Friday we took ourselves to the Aegean Waters French restaurant (No comments on oz geography please) which is where the photo was taken.

You will be pleased to note that MAMS consumption rates were maintained throughout the visit !!




How to know when you are getting old

Everything hurts!
What doesn’t hurt doesn’t work.
The gleam in your eye is the sun shining on your bi-focals.
You feel like the morning after, but you haven’t been anywhere.
Your children begin to look middle aged.
You join the Health Club but you never go.
A dripping tap causes an uncontrollable urge.
You have all the answers, but nobody asks you the questions.
You look forward to a dull evening.
You find you need glasses to find your glasses.
You turn the lights out for economy but not for romance.
You are in a rocking chair but can’t make it go.
Your knees buckle, but your belt won’t.
Your back goes out more than you do.
Your house is too big, but your medicine box is not big enough.
You sink your teeth into a big juicy steak and they stay there.
Your birthday cake collapses with the weight of the candles.
You will never admit to any of the above!!!!!!


From: Colin Williamson, South Africa
To: John Holloway, Shrewsbury, UK
Date: 28 Oct 2002 2023
Subject: Memories of RAF Khormaksar

Elizabeth II Coronation Celebrations 2 June 1953 - Crescent gardens at Steamer Point were decorated with arches – Morning parade and RAF fly past at Steamer point. Special lunch at Khormaksar, celebrations at Steamer Point in the evening

Dust Storms – haboobs

Rain – I only remember rain on 3 or 4 occasions

The Indian barber shop with constant Indian music 

The horrible taste of the drinking water

Chaai being delivered to the billets after tiffin by the bearers

A friend on jankers being admonished by the officer of the guard for dirty brasses and the officer commenting, "Who is your bearer? Get him to clean these properly!"

Walks to the salt pans - and being chased by roaming dogs

The rest house at Mukheiras

Climb to the top of Sham Shan

The incessant wind in the hot season and blowing sand

Introduction of afternoon tea in the cookhouse when a new catering officer arrived in 1953

The Military Hospital at Steamer Point (No.4 Military Hospital?)

Farm guard holidays in Kenya used by some of the guys 

AOC inspection when the NAAFI had new umbrellas installed and the waiters with new uniforms and turbans. The next day these were no longer to be seen.

The day from which the `cheese cutter` hats were no longer part of proper RAF uniform and were sadly missed.

The ceremonial burial of part of a Brigand, when these aircraft were sent back to the UK

The heat in the hot season, coming up from the ground being hotter than that from the direct sun

The occasional ground combat training courses give by the RAF Regiment (who I remember as a great crowd of guys.) We fired the .303 Lee Enfield rifles and the Bren gun on the range in the early morning – one night we had practice assault in the desert to the north of Sheik Othman. In small patrols we had to make our way to a defended lantern and if possible capture it. The sergeant in charge suspected that a lot of the guys had found a comfortable sand dune to relax on and enjoy a cigarette!

A trip on one of the MCU search and rescue boats

A trip in a Brigand over the firing range 

Places of interest :-Crater Pass, Crater City, Sheik Othman Gardens,

Aflo – our bearer boy - `the toothless one`

All those forces songs and party pieces which were very bawdy

The Brigand trying to land that couldn't get its undercarriage down – the pilot flew around till most of the fuel was used up - then landed on its belly on the peri track

Government Levies and Aden Protectorate Levies and how smart they were. 

The WAAF party Christmas 1953 at Steamer Point (a few of us had invitations because one of our friends. Frank, the telephone switchboard Corporal at Khormaksar, was married to one of the WAAFS)

The camel trains that used to travel along the beach

The NAAFI and forces swimming pool at Steamer Point (though I didn't go there often)

The Khormaksar swimming pool adjacent to the beach to the east of the camp

Khormaksar library with a good selection of books

Walks along the beach

Bed bugs and occasional burning of these with runway goose necks

Ice boxes and lemonade powder issued to sections - (the ice was melted by the afternoon)

Salt and vitamin tablets on the dining room tables that were rarely taken

Land crabs at certain times of the year

The open air cinema 

The cool season football matches which were very popular

The boxing matches – on a ring constructed between the barrack blocks

The riots at the oil refinery at Little Aden when the RAF riot squad were sent to calm things down. 

The faithful Land Rover and Bedford 3-tonners and the newer (at that time) Bedford 4 wheel drive vehicles.

RAF staging posts Riyan, Salalah and Masirah and the RAF guys that serviced them – and Mukkulah town, with its tall buildings seen from the air on the way to and from Riyan. 

Drinking places – the hotel in the Crescent (it was not the Crescent hotel - that was the posh one)

The Khormaksar families club. The Khormaksar NAAFI which had a good atmosphere with some good sing songs

El Hamra Transit Camp in the Canal Zone 

Extracts from the Khormaksar station magazine:-

Farewell to No. 8 Squadron – When they left to go to Cyprus for training (Sung to the tune Widecombe Fair)

Now 8 Squadron has left us and flown far away.
All along down along across the Red Sea.
They've headed for Cyprus and nice cooling shade
With Jimmy Davies, Johnny Curd, Peter Pratt and the rest
And dear Uncle David and all
And dear Uncle David and all

Now the station is quiet and isn't it nice ?
All along down along across the Red Sea.
No screaming jets up at dawn's early light.
But the mess and the NAAFI's so quiet on Saturday night
Without dear old David and Co
Without dear old David and Co

Now they told us the station would close and decay,
When once 8 squadron had gone far away.
But, so far, the flying goes on all day
Helped by the mechanics, electricians and all
And Uncle Gus Wildish and all, and all
And Uncle Gus Wildish and all, and all

For Comm. Squadron is here with much work to do
All along down along across the Red Sea.
There's also the Ansons and wee Austers two
With passengers, cargo and Perrins boys too
And busy old Timber Wood's crews
And busy old Timber Wood's crews

There's also Air Traffic to guide near and far
All along down along across the Red Sea.
Manned by Whitbread Jonah, Paddy Warren, Barney Barnes
And old Uncle Jimmie Barr too
And old Uncle Jimmie Barr too

And of course there's the Regiment so smart and upright
To protect us from foes – all around the Red Sea
With Bren guns and rifles and fists they would fight
Every hour, every day and all through the night
With dear Wingco Robbie and all
With dear Wingco Robbie and all

There's Headquarters, Fire Section and so many more
Stationed in Aden and loving their tour!
They are all cogs in a great big strong wheel
Hard working and cheerful is how they so feel
They are - all of them – keen on their work
Yes they are all so keen on their work

But we'll welcome 8 Squadron when they're back again
All along down along across the Red Sea
To a brand new runway that's been laid just for them
To churn up and make holes in all over again
Those 8 Squadron boys and their Vamps
Those 8 Squadron boys and their Vamps

[Ed: Edited for brevity]


From: John Holloway, Shrewsbury, UK
To: Colin Williamson, South Africa
Date: 30 Oct 2002 1705
Subject: Re: Memories of RAF Khormaksar

Hi Colin

Sat down at last and had a good read thru your article memories of RAF Khormaksar and outlined as follows my memories of my time in Aden

I was stationed at the RAF Staging Post Mauripur in Pakistan; I arrived there in December 1954 and when Pakistan became a republic in 1956 we had to gradually evacuate the station. I arrived in Aden in April 1956 and initially was posted to HQBF Aden in Movements. My main task was phoning around the various orderly rooms; RAF, Army and Navy calling forward passengers for next day departing Khormaksar to the South Arabian Staging Posts, Sharjah, Bahrain and Eastleigh Kenya and the lucky ones flying home to the UK.

In October 56 when SUEZ started I was posted to Khormaksar. The officer in charge was a F/Lt Weedon who really hadn’t got a clue .One morning I had to stop him putting the Eastleigh passengers on the kite going to Masirah.

Anyhow my main duties were with passenger handling and organizing the flight rations for the various flights as well as the patrol aircraft. The ration boxes were put up by NAAFI and I was usually first at the section to see that the boxes were put on the various aircraft. The patrol aircraft was an old Lincoln and one morning I arrived on the pan to find that it had shed most of it’s fuel and was grounded there and then. It was replaced by a Mk1 Shackleton. On one occasion there was a hell of a panic and when we arrived with it’s flight rations it was already moving toward the runway and the driver had to manoeuvre in between the wing and tail whilst I chucked the rations to one of the crew standing in the side door.

Because of SUEZ all normal scheduled flights were cancelled and we had all sorts of aircraft coming in and out. Avro Tudors and Yorks carrying freight and on the passenger side Hastings, Hermes and BOAC Britannia's commandeered even before BOAC could get them into service which didn’t happen until March 57..

Looking at the events you mention my memories are as follows

I can remember sitting in the open air cinema in the middle of a huge sandstorm, couldn’t see the film only hear the sound.

Haircuts; I used to go to an Italian hairdresser in Steamer.

Drinking water; I got hooked on Coco Cola or the local brew Kitti Cola.

Can’t recall char wallah’s in Aden only the ones at Mauripur

Never climbed Sham Shan; should have done so.   I returned to Aden four times one being ten years later on my way to Oz on the P & O liner Orcades.

Went to Mombassa on the leave scheme for two weeks. It was on Eagle Airways Vikings

Never did any weapon training.

We had a Pakistani civilian working with us at HQ and he took a couple of us to a wedding in Crater; he also used to take us sea fishing in various places around the coast.

The WAAF’s at HQ- have a look at the UKMAMS website and see my memories in the Khormaksar article !!!!

You’ll also see my photos of Steamer and a few more memories.

Bed bugs I recall the feet of our beds were in paraffin filled cigarette cans .

When I was at HQ we used to have Adenii shopkeepers and fishermen selling their wares, the lobsters and crabs were still alive with their claws tied with string and whilst he was in the office with the married blokes we used to cut the string and they’d run all over the offices and he used to curse us whilst he tried to recapture them. Another Adenii called Gahleb had a shop in No 1 street in Steamer and he used to come up to HQ selling all the necessities like soap, shaving creams etc a lot cheaper than NAAFI prices.

We had Arfur English the cockney spiv come to entertain us in the open air cinema and I believe the likes of Terry Thomas and Jimmy Edwards also came but I missed them.

I remember the Airman's Club opening; it took a lot of trade away from the NAAFI.

Many thanks for your letting me see your article. I’m going to forward a copy to Tony Gale who is the webmaster of the UKMAMS OBA who also has many memories of Aden and the South Arabian staging posts.




[Ed: How Stupid Can You Get?]

The first British tourists to visit Iraq since the war returned home this week and admitted they were lucky to have escaped with their lives.

Christine Bailey, a member of the tour group and a keen archaeologist, said the two-week trip had taken them to Baghdad, Babylon and a host of historic sites, but there had been anxious moments.

"I felt very uneasy when we drove through bandit country on the road from Amman, Jordan, to Baghdad," she said, "and later in the northern city of Mosul when we passed a man being beaten to death with iron bars."

Nevertheless, she believes luck was on their side. "We didn't get bombed, blown up or shot at. Nor did we run out of petrol," she said.

The tour was organised by Hinterland Travel and led by Geoff Hahn, an Iraq specialist who has been taking groups to the country for 30 years.

With the Foreign Office advising against all but the most essential travel to Iraq, the tourists - three Britons, an American, a Canadian and an Irish student, aged between 25 and 75 - knew the risks were high.

"Tensions were running high, particularly in Baghdad, which has seen a spate of car bombs," said Mr Hahn. "Many American soldiers were edgy and there were road-blocks everywhere. Getting round the city proved very difficult."

At one point, while visiting a mosque, the tourists clearly heard the car-bomb explosion outside the Turkish embassy that injured more than a dozen people. On another occasion, one of the group was briefly arrested after taking photographs of an American military vehicle outside a restaurant.

"Obviously we had to be extremely careful, and outside the capital we always travelled with an armed guard," said Mr Hahn. "But we went out of our way to avoid confrontation and to make it clear we were not with the military."

In addition to Babylon, the group visited the spiral minaret at Samarra and the shrine cities of Kerbala, Kufa and Najaf - where almost 120 people were killed in a car bomb attack in late August.

Mr Hahn said that, despite the tension, the group had been met with extraordinary friendliness by local people and that by and large they had not detected anti-Western or anti-British sentiment.

"People were very nice to us - and outside the hotspots, it was great to see them getting on with their lives," he said. "Although there were difficulties, the situation was not nearly as bad as some imagine."

Most of Iraq's best hotels were damaged in the war or subsequently taken over by the Americans and British, but the group managed to find accommodation in modest hotels and guesthouses.

Mrs Bailey, a 70-year-old from Somerset, said: "Despite nervous moments it was an extraordinary experience. I'm so interested in ancient civilisation and it was marvellous to go to Babylon and see Nebuchadnezzar's throne and stand where Alexander the Great once stood.

"I've always wanted to see the sights of Iraq and I thought this might be the only possibility. Who knows what's going to happen there in the future?"

Another member of the group, Melrose Cruickshank, from Vancouver, said: "We got a fascinating insight into post-war Iraq and saw nearly all the sights we wanted to. . . But clearly a lot of people would not be comfortable visiting Iraq right now."

A spokesman for the Foreign Office said he was glad the group had returned safely but that Iraq "is not a place to go on holiday at the moment".

The FO advice says the security situation in the country remains dangerous and terrorists continue to target British, American and other Western interests. It also warns of possible attacks using chemical or biological materials.

Mr Hahn is not deterred, however. He hopes to run another "post-war Iraq" tour later this year and to recommence a full programme of tours to the country next year.


Well, that's it for this week

Have a great weekend!

Best regards