Gatineau/Ottawa
14 November 2008

 

New members joining us recently are:

CAF

 
Andy Cotnoir, Ottawa, ON, Canada

"Excellent website"

Steve Richardson, Trenton, ON, Canada "Great site!! Keep the stories a coming!"

Welcome to the OBA!

 

From: Rick Loveridge, Brough
Sent: 30 October 2008 21:31
Subject: Re: UKMAMS OBA OBB #103108

Okay, Okay, I've finally parted with some of my hard earned cash, Tony, but in return, you might print the reason why...

Having joined THE trade in 1979, I made a concerted effort to enjoy myself, maybe even slipping one stage, promotion wise, because of this (I was close to gaining a third stripe when I left in 1991).

By 1990, I had had a really good run, two tours on Mobile (MAMS) and an accompanied tour at the Movements Unit in Ottawa. With a young family, twins, my wife asked me to consider a more stable employment, i.e., not flying off around the world enjoying myself whilst she stayed at home struggling, and it was a struggle, even on corporal's pay. My decision to go, was made at least a year before I finally left, so I managed to gain one or two extras before leaving, HGV and forklift tickets come to mind.

The fact is, I did not want to leave. For a number of years, my only "contact" with HM Forces, was to buy a poppy each year. I made no effort to keep in touch with anyone, apart from Steve "Spider" Jolley, who, together with his wife, Janet, have been real friends. I hope I have given back as much as they have given me.

Anyway...Come the internet. I was one of the first to join your original "Old Boys" website. Since then, I have been in contact with many "old boys" I served with, and it's been a real pleasure to see how they have progressed, serving and retired. I have made several visits back to Lyneham; Colin Allen and Gus Turney deserve special mention, for making me welcome.

I joined The (official) Association, enjoying all the Newsletters, even if most of the later issues left me puzzled due to the acronyms used! Now, the Association is on its arse, my only way of keeping in touch, would seem to be by your efforts, hence the donation, albeit offset, by my no doubt, soon to be cancelled subscription, to the Association.

So, fellow readers, put your hand in your pocket, dig out your "flexible friend", and donate a few dollars to the cause.

Hope to see many of you, at the next "Top Table",

Dibs

Many thanks Dibs, really appreciated. There's a link for donations at the bottom of this page

The Giant South African Earthworm can grow up to 22 feet long and 1 inch thick.

From: Gus Turney, Calne
Sent: 31 October 2008 04:20
Subject: Belize Prop

Dear Tony,

On the subject of the prop, here is a piccy taken next to said item, circa early '82.

Left to right is Jock Rennie, myself, Gid Wych, Pat Hartigan, and finally FS Mike Humphries.

I will be mailing my details to Mick. It would be great to see the prop restored , and residing in a suitable resting place.


Here is a picture of yours truly at the controls of an Eager Beaver rough terrain forklift. A very rugged piece of kit, which was capable of 40 mph if you were brave or stupid enough to try.

Suspension was provided by the air in the tyres, which made for a sometimes bumpy ride.

Lift capacity was limited to 4000lbs, but this could be increased with the addition of a couple of large blokes hanging off the rear end.

This photo was taken on the access road from the pan towards Williamson site, where the Puma's operated from. The old terminal in the background has been demolished as part of the modernisation of Belize International Airport.

That's all for now.

Regards to all,

Gus .T.

Good memories - thanks Gus!

 

From: Robert Taylor, Doncaster
Sent: 31 October 2008 05:41
Subject: Brief 103108

Hi Tony,
 
Having just read the latest brief I was disgusted to read that only 32 members out of approx 300 have made any donations to your site.
 
If the rest of the guys gave only $10.00 each this would raise a considerable sum. It's so easy to do using the Paypal link, just a few seconds
and a couple of clicks of the mouse job done.
 
Come on guys you must have some disposable income so get off your arse or rather get your arse in front of your PC and make a donation.
 
Cheers 

Robbie Taylor

Thanks Robbie - your thoughtfulness is appreciated.

In an average lifetime a person will walk the equivalent of three times around the world.

From: David Powell, Princes Risborough
Sent: 31 October 2008 06:14
Subject: OBA Brief: My first real MAMS Task

Thanks Tony and your contributors for another magnificent dose of memory stirrers.

The picture of Clive Price with Geordie Redman reminded of my first real MAMS task on 10 Sep 1967. I say ‘real’ because technically the first task in my log book was an uneventful Argosy run Boscombe Down-Wattisham-Benson recovering some odd-bits of 111Sqn Lightning support pack-up 2 days previously.

In those far-off days, sprog team leaders were rarely let out of the country until they had completed at least one West Raynham Bloodhound task. This was handling missiles rotating for servicing between Germany and the UK. Deployment to West Raynham and recovery was by Landrover. For my ‘baptism’ I had a scratch team which included the aforementioned Geordie Redman. Our task was to load Bloodhounds for dispatch to Germany.

For reasons I do not recall, our Belfast had arrived flat floor and the first job was to lay out the required 4-track roller fit. This done, the trailer with the Bloodhound for loading was brought up to the horizontal ramp, where I was standing, for transfer and securing, marshaled in by Geordie at ground level. The load was presented and, you’ve guessed it – my carefully supervised roller fit was in the wrong position. Which would mean another 20 minutes of back breaking, finger-nail snapping, Belfast roller PT.

I looked down at Geordie who analysed the situation with, “You stupid four-eyed …” I couldn’t quite make out the last word over the noise of the ground power unit. It certainly had four letters, began with a ‘C’ and ended with a ‘T’, probably ‘clot!’ I remember thinking and admiring this articulate airman for his accurate succinct observation, and all I could do was to shrug sheepishly and join in with the unnecessary Belfast PT.

The worrying thing is that last month we went on holiday to Crete, to the same part we had stayed some 20 years ago, and although Sue was happily recalling and pointing out shops and tavernas and places we had visited before – I had absolutely no recollection at all. Yet the sight and sound of that 41-year old scene at West Raynham is as vivid now as if it had been yesterday.

David Powell
F Team 67 – 69.

I'm thinking it was probably raining too...

 

From: Charles Collier, Devizes
Sent: 31 October 2008 16:53
Subject: Valiant Q Feel System

Hi Tony,

I'm sending this story of my corporal airframe fitter days when little did I realise that the job was causing me to begin knocking the edge of my hearing level over the proverbial cliff never to be recovered. This was the sort of task we undertook on all the V Force of those days but it was the Valiant that suffered most in its low level penetration bombing role.

At No 60 MU our stock in trade in the early 1960’s was driving down from our base in Yorkshire to RAF Finningley to carry out cat 3 repairs to the resident Valiant bombers. The task, which was predominate, was the removal by de-riveting of two inline fuselage side skins just aft of the trailing edge of the mainplane on the port side. The flexing of the fuselage in this area resulted in rivets being sheared off frames and stringers inside and opening up the diameter of the 1/8th flush rivets securing the skin to the fuselage frame.

All this would result in our team re-riveting with greater diameter rivets and in some cases inside, where we had to secure the frame to stringers with nuts and bolts!

At the time the Valiant aircraft still had a future in its role as a strategic bomber. So we were trying to see with every repair that we carried out if we could improve our results. With this in mind we were considering the following: Inside the Valiant at the starboard side of the fuselage to where we carried out the skin repairs on the port side was a large dustbin like structure securely strapped to the starboard side with control rods coming out of it. We enquired what this was and we were told that it was the “Q” Feel system for the pilots.

The net result of having this box strapped to the starboard side was that when the fuselage was flexing in flight the resulting structural forces were being imposed on the portside only – hence the damage to port side frames, stringers and skin!

Our suggestion was that a similar light but strong structure should be incorporated into the port side opposite to the “Q” Feel system and then flexing of the fuselage would be contained and balanced out without structural damage. However, this was not to happen because we were overtaken by events culminating in the grounding and scrapping of the Valiant bomber force.

What I would like to know, is what the “Q” Feel system was? We assumed it provided artificial pressure on the control column and rudder pedals so that pilots could feel this, although the control surfaces were activated by servo-motors. I have searched the internet to find out but to no avail. Is there anyone out there from the Valiant force who can clarify?

Charles

Apples are 25% air.

From: Reg Tudor
Sent: 02 November 2008 16:33
Subject: RE: UKMAMS OBA OBB #103108

I read with interest the recent OBA newsletter and noticed the names and photographs of Doug Betambeau, Keith Parker, Tony Geerah, Pete Biggs, Gordon Black, Jim Cunningham and finally Charlie Marlow. It must have been great for old friends to be together again some thirty years on. I will try to attend the next meeting to share old times.

I am off on a cruise for three weeks to the Caribbean to visit a few islands and see a few friends.

I have been retired for a few years and spend my time writing a book of my life for my grandchildren and time in Barbados.

Please say a big hello to the above mentioned chaps.

Regards

Reg Tudor

I want an autographed copy of that book when you publish it Reg!

 

Indian Air Force fly in to see Hercules in action

High flyers from RAF Lyneham have been sharing their airborne expertise with their Indian counterparts.

Two officers from the Indian Air Force visited RAF Lyneham to see how the Wiltshire base operates the J–Type Hercules, of which it has ordered six.

Wing Commander Mansij Lal and Wing Commander Simranpal Singh Birdi got to see all aspects of Hercules’ operational work. As well as night and day time flying operations they also got to experience low level flying in a Hercules and were there during a number of air drops.

RAF Lyneham’s station commander, Group Captain Mike Neville, said: “We were delighted that we were able to share our experiences of air transport operations with the Indian Air Force and hope that this will be the start of a fruitful relationship with a fellow J-Type Hercules operator.”

Squadron Leader Simon Brewis, of RAF Lyneham, flanked
by Indian Air Force Wing Commanders Simranpal Singh
Birdiand and Mansij Lal

If your stomach didn't produce a new layer of mucous every two weeks, it would digest itself.

From: Bill Nangle, Kingston, ON
Sent: 02 November 2008 18:22
Subject: CAF Mystery Photo

Tony,

Hope your supply of snow shovels and salt are nearby and at the ready :-)  No snow yet here in Kingston, but we had a very near miss last week.

CAF Mystery Photo #103108 is a high shot of CFB Trenton
as seen through the bleary eyes of a few Loadies I know!
You are correct Bill - the original was inverted, swirled and blurred which is probably what happened to some Loadies also! This picture was taken by a high altitude Russian surveillance aircraft under the "Open Skies" agreement.

I'll have to dig a few photos out, from both air forces, for you to publish.

Cheers,

Bill

 

From: Dougie Betambeau, Swindon
Sent: 03 November 2008 04:34
Subject: RAF Mystery Photo #103108

Hi Tony,

From the left: Squadron Leader Roger Cresswell (OC Supply & Movements), N/K, N/K, Princess Diana, Station Commander (RAF Gatow, Berlin), The late great Warrant Officer Geoff Beare, Sergeant Dougie Betambeau (yours truly!), SAC Neil Jenkinson & annoyingly the Plods name escapes me, Brian ? I think. Taken in 1986/87.

Hope all's well in your neck of the woods & that you are in good health.

Best regards,

Dougie B

Good effort Douigie... that was quite the occasion!

Some toothpastes and deodorants contain the same chemicals found in antifreeze.

From: Jim MacKintosh, Glasgow
Sent: 06 November 2008 12:00
Subject: Mystery Photo #103108

Hi Tony,

Thanks for another great newsletter.

Mystery Photo, Royal visit to Berlin. RAF Gatow 1985.

Picture left to right:

Sqn Ldr Roger Cresswell - OC Logs Sqn, Captain Queens Flight, GOC Officer Commanding Berlin, Princess Diana, Group Captain Arnold - Station Commander, WO Geoff Beare, Sgt Dougie Betambeau, SAC Neil Jenkinson, RAF Policeman.


Keep up the good work

Regards Jim

Thanks Jim, you and Dougie both get second place and according to our Giftmeister in Vienna you have to give each other a prize!

 

From: Bill Nangle, Kingston, ON
To: David Cromb, Brisbane, Australia
Cc: Tony Gale, Gatineau, QC, Canada
Sent: Sunday, November 02, 2008 3:16 PM
Subject: Tribute to the CAF

Hi Dave,

Funny, I was just sitting here the other day thinking about you and Pilkie. Hard to believe that was 30 years ago!!

My brother-in-law is over in Afghanistan at the moment, he's a company commander with 3rd Bn The Royal Canadian Regiment. Fortunately Canada has no troops in Iraq, we told Georgie Bush that we weren't interested in playing ball with him there.

I now work as a civvy on the local army base here in Kingston at the Military Family Resource Centre. You always know when we have lost one of the boys as the Padre comes screaming over looking for all sorts of support. Lucky for us we have only lost 2 from Kingston.

Hope all is well down under and that you're fully recovered. Winter is about to arrive here along with mounds of snow.

Cheers,

Bill

Cold water weighs more than hot water.

From: David Cromb, Brisbane
Sent: 03 November 2008 17:25
To: William Nangle, Kingston, ON, Canada
Cc: Tony Gale
Subject: Re: Tribute to the CAF

Morning guys. Thks for yours.

So have you given up loadie duties now?.

I still harbour misgivings at not enlisting in the RAAF, but it was their loss, they weren't able to guarantee me a career within the air movements mustering, had to go in as blanket stacker n take my chances, no thank you!!.

As you may know I applied for loadie whilst on UKMAMS, but was marginally short on academics----huh !, to be a loadie. I'll give F/L Dick Finch full marks for his efforts getting the RAF to make an exception in my case, but no go, humpph. It got some sort of recognition tho, my cpl tapes, only 6 years overdue !

All positives here lads n life is good. Foots are just about 100% recovered now, and even the head is ok, well I think so anyway.

OK, time to saddle up n earn a quid. Take care n keep in touch.

Cheers n beers,

DC.

 

The future of RAF Lyneham will not be decided for at least another eight months according to government ministers.

No decision has been made on whether the air base will be the permanent base for all the UK’s military helicopters, which is thought to be the most likely idea when the site becomes vacant in 2012.

In a letter to MP James Gray, defence minister Kevan Jones said no decision on the helicopters will be made until the summer.

But he did reveal that a major factor for any site being considered would be the noise nuisance, something which could give Lyneham an advantage over other sites, because residents are used to the noise of the Hercules transport planes.

Lyneham’s famous Hercules fleet is moving to RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, leading to uncertainty over the future of the base.

Ideas include turning the site into a commercial airport, selling it for housing or an industrial estate or returning it to farmland.

Residents and civic leaders are largely against any widespread development of the site, and any use as a commercial airport, but are said to be in favour of continued use by the Armed Forces.

Mr Jones confirmed the base was in contention to be the home of all the Ministry of Defence’s helicopter fleets, which were being reorganised in a project called Programme Belvedere.

A toaster uses almost half as much energy as a full-sized oven.

From: Tony Street, Buffalo, NY
Sent: 04 November 2008 17:32
Subject: Tony, I read your entry on the web page and saw you were at Lyneham; so was I....

I was in Lyneham in June of '66 on a Yukon a/c. I don't know if you realize that the CC106/CL44 a/s is a copy of the Bristol Britannia.  Canada realized that we needed a large transport a/c so went to Bristol and bought the drawings.  The a/c was built in Canada by Canadair.

We ended up with 10 of them at 437 Sqn.  Basically, the a/c had 17ft added to it and a beefed up undercarriage. It was operated in two configurations 125 pax/11 crew & cargo ~ 27 tons. 
The CL44 was effectively a Canadian built Britannia by Canadair, with
different engines and fuselage modifications. It received the name Yukon.

While there, at their request, we flew over to Bristol where all the employees were given time off to "visit their offspring." In turn, we visited the plant where the Concorde was being assembled. Years later, I was to fly on it (see picture at the end of this letter).

My second visit was on a C130 in April of '73. We were part of the airdrop competition "Cross Check IV".  I was teamed with an RAF Loadie whose name I disremember, John ring a bell.  He was from Leeds and before the RAF was a coal miner.  He could down a pint in a heartbeat.  During one weekend we went to Leeds to watch some footie. We were in the end zone where all the drinking was taking place!  Wow!  I met his family who were proud of him.  They were quick to tell me, "Argh, when he come up frum the mine, he cud puttaway 17 pints befare fallin to his face!  His neck was as thick as a tree.


Many years after visiting the Concorde
assembly plant I flew on one!
He flew on my a/c as a Loadie, and at the time we could smoke on the a/c. The RAF co-jo was in the RH seat, and was feeling poorly from the endless de-briefings when John pulled out a cigar, flashed it up and blew columns of smoke into the CP's face.  It took 30 seconds to puke time

On one incident, we flew to Macrahanish and back low-level. We were not in the best of shape and we were in competition to see who could drop a container closest to the A.  We were puking into bags on the open ramp and dropping them on the countryside. We entered the DZ and upon the green light order, cut the container loose manually.  Mine flew a graceful arc and impacted the centre of the A.  Unbeatable!  However, we were disqualified as the chute didn't come off the load!  We were too sick to follow the checklist and remove the parachute transit restraint

John also introduced me to a charming lady in Wootten Basset who was almost the cause of me missing the flight home. I made the kite with all engines running and the front crew door closing.

Regards

Tony

I think you have the fighter jocks beat Tony - Mach 2 and you didn't even spill your drink!

 

RAF Mystery Photo #111408

Your skeleton keeps growing until you are about 35, then you start to shrink.

Berlin Airlift Airport Closes - Friday, October 31, 2008

Resting on his walking stick, Woolgather Vote took a last look at the airport that saved his life. For millions of Germans, this monolithic limestone terminal with its cavernous check-in hall was just a city airport, a transit point in the busy endeavour of getting from A to B.

But to Vote and a dwindling band of the old guard, this was more than a traffic hub. It was a lifeline, a marooned city's link to the outside world.

"Without Tempe we would have starved," said Vote, who was 15 when the Berlin airlift started in 1948. "It was our savior. We were surrounded by the Soviets; we were shot at from all sides." All of which makes the last call for flights from the airport a moving affair.

As cameras clicked and the departures board flickered for the final time, Vote held a homemade "danker America" sign above his felt hat."This is a sad moment.

This place is part of our lives, a part of Berlin," said Heel Stock, recalling how, aged eight, she had stared in awe at the non-stop stream of
aircraft descending on Tempe, crammed with the goods to sustain a stranded city. "For us, Tempe is a place of hope."

 

For the grand finale, two 1940s planes - an American Douglas DC-3 and a German Junk ers Ju-52 - were due to take off before midnight, leaving nostalgic Berliners to dwell on the airport's role over eight decades of German history.

With an airstrip dating from 1927, the vast building, once the world's largest airport, was designed by Hitler's architect Albert Peer, and was built by forced labourers between 1936 and 1941. At the end of the war it became the gateway for more than 2m tonnes of goods, turning it into a cold war icon. The architect Sir Norman Foster called Tempe "the mother of all airports", and it continued to play a vital role.
One aircraft landed every 62 seconds during the height of the airlift.
 

When the Berlin Wall split the city, the air link became the safest way of traveling out of west Berlin, underlining its importance in the lives of many Berliners. "I remember meeting my wife here after she came from western Germany in the 70s," said Paul Billstein standing outside the crowded Air Snack Bar. "This airport may have negative Nazi connections but it is also linked to many positive personal memories."

He was one of those who voted against closing Tempelhof in April, a vote that failed because of low turnout. During months of political crossfire, even the chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the tabloid Bild have thrown their weight behind saving the airport. But Berlin city authorities pressed ahead with their plan. Officials point out that Tempelhof, one of Berlin's three air hubs, has low traffic and is surrounded by densely populated neighbourhoods. Its losses of more than €10m (£7.9m) every year have proved too heavy a burden for a city in debt.

Construction is under way on the new Berlin Brandenburg International airport, due to open in 2011 on the eastern outskirts of the city. Tempelhof's airfield is roughly the size of New York's Central Park. Development ideas mooted so far have ranged from an environmental housing complex to a expensive private clinic, but its future remains unclear.

 

The first Canadian content is on the website!

There are currently three articles which have been added recently, all written by, according to his peers, the "Master Story Teller", Tony Street.

In addition to the articles, Tony's bio has also been uploaded to the site.

All can be accessed through the Canadian Portal page http://www.ukmamsoba.com/rcaf_portal.html

Crocodiles swallow stones to help them dive deeper.

Featured Video

 

Jet Pack Experiments - Whoops!
(no sound)

 

From: John Holloway, Shrewsbury
Sent: 11 November 2008 12:02
Subject: NSRAF Cosford Branch

Hi Tony

We had three speakers at today's monthly get-together so we were rather spoilt

Alan Clifford, a navigator in a 218 Squadron Lancaster, was shot down on a raid on Duisburg  in September 1944 and having successfully bailed out was taken prisoner. He tells us of his many adventures being moved around from camp to camp as the allies gradually took over Germany; once facing a firing squad after an attempted escape and being saved by a German woman who ran in front of him and refused to get out of his way. Also at another camp where they were guarded by soldiers in Irish uniforms who were part of the Free Irish Brigade who were fighting for the Germans. He was eventually freed by an American driving a transport ammo wagon trying to keep up with Patton's rapid advance toward Berlin.

Alan Austin, ex-Staff Sergeant who told us of his training to become a glider pilot and whose glider was badly damaged on its way to Arnhem and had to crash land in Holland. He, along with other Paras, were hidden by the Dutch underground and eventually were smuggled out in fishing boats and picked up by a Norwegian manned destroyer.

Cyril Ashley (now 94 years old), 2nd Lieutenant KOSB'S 2nd Airborne Division, was in one of the first Horsa's to land at Arnhem and after many skirmishes was, along with his platoon, forced to surrender. He said, much to his surprise, a German officer approached him and shook hands congratulating him on the gallant fight that they had put up. This unfortunately spoilt when later being moved to a prison camp, Dutch women and children were giving them apples and food, and when the guards told them to stop refused and many of them were shot. He spent six months in a prison camp.

Most Tuesdays I go for a walk along the river just outside Shrewsbury at a village called Atcham. This takes me through St. Eata's churchyard where in the graveyard there are five war graves. Each November the Legion put crosses and poppies by the headstones. I call it a little bit of the Commonwealth; there's an Aussie, a Canadian, a New Zealander and a couple of RAF lads; all in their twenties. A few years ago Jim Aitken did a little research on the Aussie and I thought as we now have many Canadians who have joined us perhaps one of them would like to do a little research on the Canadian. Service No. R71701 D.A.E. Bremner, Sergeant Pilot aged 21, died 23rd October 1944. I've attached a photo of the church - it's a beautiful resting place for them right by the River Severn.

It's the 13th Mauripur reunion this coming weekend the 13,14 and 15th at our usual venue at the Falcon Hotel in Stratford on Avon. I'm the second youngest and I'm afraid we are gradually fading away and it could be our last get-together.

Cheers

John

Women wishing to enter Canada to work as strippers must provide naked photos of themselves to qualify for a visa!

From: Chris Clarke, Burlington, ON
Sent: 12 November 2008 13:16
Subject: Rocks in a Hard Place

Tony,

Check this out. It’s a reality type documentary on 2 Squadron RAF Regiment. I really enjoyed watching it and I thought some of the OBA guys might enjoy it!

http://www.raf.mod.uk/careers/basrahub/index.cfm

Cheers

Chris

Thanks Chris - I did check it out and it's very well done - there are 22 episodes

 

Air Force Appeals for Reservists

A new scheme to lure experienced people back into the air force could see part-time pilots step out of a commercial flight one day and into a military aircraft the next.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force has launched an active reserve to attract experienced people, including pilots, back into the air force part-time to cover staff shortfalls.

The scheme will cater for trained and experienced people who had left the air force and not people seeking a new career.

Air force spokesman Squadron Leader Glenn Davis said it could mean a pilot or navigator who had left the air force to pursue a career in commercial aviation, could be re-enlisted.

Where there was a shortage, the individual and the air force unit would agree on how much time a civilian would devote to the air force.

"It might be for one day a week for example,' said Sqn Ldr Davis.

"It is up to the individual squadrons and the individuals to work out. If it is one day a week for three weeks and then two days a week for the next half a dozen (weeks) then that is the intent."

The first active reservist, a former air force pilot, was due to begin as an instructor next week for one day a week, he said.

Active reserve pilots could be deployed overseas if there was a desperate need but would probably fly Hercules, Orions, Boeing 757s or helicopters in New Zealand.

The scheme was also aimed at ground crew, including specialist technicians and engineers, ground support staff, air force police, firefighters and administrators.

"It is filling holes with good ex-air force people who still have an interest in the air force," said Sqn Ldr Davis.

Air force chief, Air Vice Marshal Graham Lintott, said in the latest issue of Air Force News the reserve would cover staff shortfalls across all trades and specialities.

He said the air force had "reached the point where it can no longer ignore the immense benefits that can be had from a reserve structure".

NZ Herald

Before toilet paper was invented, French royalty wiped their bottoms with fine linen.

One-third of flights to bring home troops are delayed

More than one-third of flights bringing British soldiers home on leave from Afghanistan between February 2006 and last month have been delayed.

Of 596 scheduled departures from Kandahar, 223 were delayed for anything from an hour to several days.

In one case, 200 British soldiers ending six-month tours in Helmand Province endured an 18-hour journey via Oman and Cyprus after the plane scheduled to take them to Brize Norton developed a fault.

The entire airbridge from Britain to Afghanistan depends on two Tristar jets bought second-hand from former US airline PanAm.

The RAF is forced to rely on the ageing aircraft as they are its only two long-haul jets with missile defences. Replacements are not due to enter service for at least three years and may be delayed.

The jets each routinely make two round-trip flights a week, carrying up to 266 passengers from Afghanistan to Brize Norton.

Defence Minister Bob Ainsworth said: "In the event of a protracted delay, where practicable, an alternative means will be found to move passengers."

Seventy flights were delayed up to three hours, 48 for three to six and 105 for longer

 

CAF Mystery Photo #111408

 

 

That's it for this issue

Have a great weekend!

Tony
ukmamsoba@gmail.com