01 November 2002


A new member joining us this week is Tony Saw from Wittering, UK

Welcome to the OBA!


From:     Charles Collier, Marlborough, UK
Date:      24 Oct 2002 04:23
Subject:  A Very Small World

Hello Tony,

This story is from when I was stationed in Aden at RAF Steamer Point 1965-67. My telephone rang and it was my Wing Commander explaining that I was to go on a two month detachment to Madagascar as the detachment equipment officer. He also explained that although I was not trained I would be receiving the weekly scheduled Argosy freighter from Khormaksar and I was to act as the DAMO. I was thrilled! Madagascar was one of those places I thought I would never get to and here was the opportunity being offered on a plate! I had been an avid reader of the Eagle comic when I was a lad and the centre page of that publication ran a story line "Sgt Luck of the Foreign Legion". The setting for the story was Madagascar!

I duly arrived on the vast tropical island at Majunga and took over from a Flt Lt Dave Eden who had been there to start up the equipment procedures which I would have to assume from then on

It proved to be a fantastic two months. Madagascar, although independent, was heavily supported by the French in terms of finance and infrastructure. In fact every high ranking local official had a French deputy. Which meant that there was a large contingent of French stationed there. I got friendly with the local doctor who was a retired French Army medical officer. He had travelled the world tending the medical needs of the army, mainly in Indochina, were he was for a time honorary physician to the King of Cambodia. He proved to be a delight to spend an evening with and introduced me the best restaurants in town.

During one of these evenings Dr Jospin lamented that his children were not with the same desire, as had been with him: to see the world. His boy(s) remained in France and his daughter had married an English man and lived in the English provinces. He didn't know exactly where but he remembered the name of the road - Slade Lane! I was born and brought up in South Manchester and Slade Lane extended from the bottom of Osborne Road (where I Lived) to Burnage Lane (where I went to school). I said Immediately to the good Doctor - MANCHESTER!  He agreed that that was the right city, for his daughter's husband was a lecturer at the University,

So, it just shows you - you can go to the ends of the earth, and still feel at home!

Incidentally, I'm sure that the last French socialist Prime Minister, Lionel Jospin, was one of his sons - there was a remarkable family resemblance.

p.s. There's more to my time in Madagascar but that will do for now.

Many regards to the OBA


[Ed:  Thanks Charles.  I did receive your next story from Madagascar and will include it in next week's briefs.]


From:    Andy Kay, Stafford VA, USA 
Date      25 Oct 2002 06:23
Subject:  RE: Old Boys Briefs 102502

Hi Tony,

Just had my Friday morning ‘fix’ of OBA e-mail and the note from Dave Barton about Crayfish tails from Masirah fired off some old memories of Oman (I loved those Crayfish tails!).

I'm not sure what made me think of this, but it’s a fairly funny story.  When I was in SOAF, Tony Davies and I ran Air Cargo at Seeb taking one shift each along with a Pakistani sergeant who had the third shift.  On a handover one day Tony and I were in the Cargo shed when one of our Omani Jundees (airman) came over and told us there was “a box of snacks in the cargo office”.  Good news!  The boys managed to filch some in-flight rations off the C130 before the catering guys got there.  Tony was going off and generously told me to go ahead and keep it.  A late afternoon snack was always appreciated, so I was quite happy. 

A couple of hours later the young Omani reminded me the “snacks” were still the office.  I told him not to worry as I would have the snacks later.  He gave me an odd look and wandered back to the crew room.   Later when we got a break I was in the office and picked up a fair size box that was in the corner (assuming it was the aforementioned snacks) and put it on my desk. I was a little concerned to hear the box rustling - unusual even for SOAF in-flight catering meals!  I found the inbound paperwork and on checking the waybill discovered that my box actually contained  - snakes!!  They were live poisonous snakes bound for the hospital downtown to be ‘milked’ for their venom so anti-snakebite serum could be made.

After that I was always very careful to check the pronunciation of certain English words whenever the younger airmen were talking with me! (to be fair their English was a lot better than my Arabic).

Regards, and thanks for my regular Friday morning trip down memory lane!

Andy Kay

[Ed:  Thanks Andy.  Do you remember the Silver Krates and Camel Spiders?]


From:     Murdo Macleod, Newport-on-Tay, UK
Date:      25 Oct 2002 06:25
Subject:  Re:  Old Boys Briefs 102502

Reference the rumour about a giant plane, I thought that was absolutely hilarious, 20 feet above the sea, who's kidding who, did anyone mention wave heights I hear myself ask.

I have seen some real extremes of weather at sea lads, and I can assure you that anything flying along at 20 feet won't do so for very long without learning to become a submarine.

Incidentally, Murdo is off on his travels again, and that won't be for much longer as retirement is raising it’s ugly head and MoD has cottoned on, so I get the bums rush next June.

Might not be too bad though.  Anyway, I'm off to lovely Norway for the annual booties hols, three months in the land of winter, dark and snow.  Wonderful stuff,  but then again a good opportunity to save some money as there’s not much in the way of night life in the exotic part of Norway that we visit, something like northern Quebec in winter.

Regards and a Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year to you and all our readers, I know I'm early but I don't see much possibility of getting e-mails where I'll be going


[Ed:  All is not lost (at sea)  Between us, Murdo and I devised a method whereby he can still receive the Old Boys Briefs and keep in touch by e-mail - Anchor's Away!]


From:     Ian Berry, Swindon, UK
Date:      25 Oct 2002 09:00
Subject:  Matters General


I received a copy of Dave Cromb's plea for an address on Fred Kitts and have passed it on.

Reference the correspondence on the Masirah sawfish, as you may recall there was the business end of a sawfish languishing in the MAMS crewroom as one of many souvenirs. Last year on an 'Antiques Roadshow' it was announced that the said items were worth £300 - £500 each, the one in the crewroom has subsequently vanished!

As for Dave Bartons' query on the Gatow carving I will ask around those who remember Berlin.



[Ed:  Thanks Ian. - appreciated.]


From:     Dave Yeoman, Hadleigh, UK
Date:      25 Oct 2002 14:56
Subject:  Dave Barton’s Masirah  "Crayfish" OBA briefs 25/10/02

As usual found the Briefs very interesting but as a "static" Mover a lot doesn’t apply to my time in Movements.  However, I was very interested to read Dave Bartons account of the cray fish tails sent from Masirah to Muharraq in 1969.

From April ‘69 until May ’71, I was one of the "lucky guys?" to get allocated a continuity posting. I say lucky because I wanted an unaccompanied tour due to the kids just settling down in new schools. The powers that be decided this wasn't going to happen, and, after fruitless attempts to get it changed I had to accept it.

However, I digress. During the time I spent on Movements at Muharraq,  first as SNCO "C" shift loading, and for the latter
part of the tour on PAX, we had an inter-base trade set-up using the Lyneham – Cyprus - Muharraq turnaround Britannia. Cray Fish Tails were sent up by Masirah and if I remember correctly Sharjah on the Argosy’s which did the run from Bahrain down to the other Gulf Stations. Some Crayfish did go to the Officer’s Mess and also to the SNCO’s Mess as well. However, the bulk were loaded onto the Britannia returning to Akrotiri in Cyprus c/o, of course, the Air Movements Section. 

The following week the incoming Brit from Akrotiri would arrive at Bahrain carrying quantities of Cyprus grown fruit and of course the occasional bottle of "fermented grape juice" courtesy of Air Movements Akrotiri. This was shared equally between the Air Movements teams at the Gulf Stations involved.  Fresh fruit was in short supply and a bit of a luxury so both sides gained in the exchange.  So far as I can recall this was still in operation up to or just before I left Muharraq. The containers for the Cray fish were either supplied by Akrotiri or "loaned" by In-Flight Catering in Bahrain.

Thanks to Dave Barton for bringing back some happy memories.

By the way, my Wife and I used to provide a lot of the Social Life for those less fortunate and have had one or two of the lads wives out to stay with us on holidays during our time out in Bahrain.

Dave Yeoman
ex “C” Shift,  Humpy Dumpys

[Ed:  Thanks very much for that Dave - did any of the OBA Member's wives stay with you in Bahrain?]


From:     Jack Riley, Urangan Qld., Australia
Date:      25 Oct 2002 19:35
Subject:  Pelicans

Greetings Tony,

Greatly enjoyed the article on the Pelican. Watching them, with their ungainly bodies, riding the ground effect so effortlessly as I walk the beaches is an unending joy.

[Ed:  Thanks Jack.....  by the way, while you're bumming around on the beach kicking up the sand you might want to think about me in my new mukluks kicking up the snow!]


Butterflies taste with their feet.

In 10 minutes, a hurricane releases more energy than all of the world's nuclear weapons combined.

On average, 100 people choke to death on ball-point pens every year.

On average people fear spiders more than they do death.

Ninety percent of New York City cabbies are recently arrived immigrants.

Thirty-five percent of the people who use personal ads for dating are already married.

Elephants are the only animal that can't jump.

Only one person in two billion will live to be 116 or older.

It’s possible to lead a cow upstairs, but not downstairs.

Women blink nearly twice as much as men.

It's physically impossible for you to lick your elbow.

A snail can sleep for three years.

No word in the english language rhymes with MONTH.

Almost everyone who reads this will try to lick their elbow.

Average life span of a major league baseball: 7 pitches.

Our eyes are always the same size from birth, but our nose and ears never stop growing.
The electric chair was invented by a dentist.

All polar bears are left handed.

An ostrich's eye is bigger than its brain.

TYPEWRITER is the longest word that can be made using the letters only on one row of the keyboard.

Go. - this is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.

If Barbie were life-size, her measurements would be 39-23-33. She would stand seven feet, two inches tall. [Cor blimey!]

A crocodile cannot stick its tongue out.

The cigarette lighter was invented before the match.
You tried to lick your elbow, didn't you?


From:     Terje Eriksen, Lierskogen, Norway
Date:      26 Oct 2002 12:09
Subject:  Bristol Beaufighter


I am Terje from Norway  and I want to build a big scale model (1:7) of Bristol Beaufighter. I am wondering if someone could help me to find drawings/plans/close pictures of this great aircraft.

I need all details from cockpits, flaps, wheel systems etc. etc.  Yes, you could say I need it all.  If you know anything about this, please give me a hint.

With hopeful thanks,

Terje Eriksen,  Ekebergveien 11,
3420   Lierskogen    NORWAY

[Ed:  Here's one for you Scottie!!]


From:     Malcolm Porter
Date:      28 Oct 2002 15:48
Subject:  Possible Opportunity for an Old Boy

Not really a job opportunity (yet) but I am possibly looking for someone to augment our single crew operation if (I repeat if) our current plan proceeds.

Johnson Air of Accra, Ghana, operates the Conroy CL-44-0 Guppy from Teeside International Airport (MME).

The aircraft remains in commercial service although we are restricted in hours due to engine life.

In 2003, the aircraft will probably take some world-wide ad hoc charters together with a European airshow circuit.

The operating crew are Ghanaian licensed but are British nationals.

If the position becomes vacant due to my old age, it would suit a retired professional with some operational experience.  Additionally, someone with a commercial aptitude would suit.

Pay is irrelevant – this would be the final consideration for the right person.

[Ed:  Can you give us a better description of the duties to be performed?]

Really, this is a Loadmaster/Project Manager’s job, nothing really too specific, rather everything.

We do not expect it to last more than a year then the Guppy will go into retirement - probably at Kemble - that's my long-term plan for her. We also have 2 DC-8's and 3 707's but rarely do we interface. Would suit someone just wanting a bit of interest but as I said, it depends when I decide to pack it in!


Malcolm Porter
ex Surface Movements Clerk
Kidbrooke 1960

[Ed:  Two names immediately spring to mind that could fit this possible position.... Chas Cormack or Dave Barton!]


From:     Pete Chappell, Honiton, UK
Date:      31 Oct 2002 13:21
Subject:  Change of Details

Hi Tony,

Just a line to let you know I have moved.  I am now living and working in Devon. My new address is Broad View,
Broadhembury, Honiton, EX14 3LW.  Phone number is 01404-841484.

I am working at Exeter Airport for a company called Direct Flight, a very small operation with two aircraft and 12 crew, doing fisheries patrol work.  It’s a bit different to my previous job, but great fun with a good bunch of people.

My E mail address will stay as is for the time being.
Rgds Pete.

[Ed:  Thanks Pete - I've changed your details on the Member's pages.  Good luck with your new job!]


Ten reasons why golf is better than sex:

1. A below par performance is considered good.

2. You can stop in the middle and have a cheeseburger and a couple of beers.

3. It's much easier to find the sweet spot.

4. Foursomes are encouraged.

5. You can still make money doing it as a senior.

6. Three times a day is possible.

7. Your partner doesn't hire a lawyer if you do it with someone else.

8. If you live in Sun City, you can do it every day.

9. You don't have to cuddle with your partner when you're finished.

........and best of all

10. If your equipment gets old and rusty, you can replace it.


New on the site this week is "Operation Palliser" written by  Flight Lieutenant Ellie Pook (WRAF).  It describes her experiences in Sierra Leone in May 2000 whilst she was a UKMAMS team leader.  You can find it on the Articles page.


Well, that's it for this week

Have a great weekend!

Best regards