From: Thomas Geoghegan, Folkestone
Sent: Monday, October 24, 2011 08:51
Subject: Re: UKMAMS OBA OBB #102311
Thanks for publishing my article on the Belfast freighter. By coincidence a few days later I came across a magazine full of the aircraft praises, so there you are!
When I was stationed at RAF Northolt 1968-69, we would cater for many VIP's including the HRH's. We had to deploy to London Heathrow one morning to see Prime Minister Harold Wilson off on his negotiations for our entry into Europe. All the chaps and lassies were in best blue. I was primed to open the door of the posh car, which I was looking forward to doing (I liked old Harold at the time).
The car stopped right in front of me and I proceeded to open the door when I got pushed aside by a ruddy plod with a lot of brass on his shoulders, trampling all over my lovely bulled shoes with his size 13's! Well SAC or not I gave him a right rollicking in front of all of the dignitaries, including Mary Wilson in her curlers and the poor young DAMO. Then we erks proceeded to the rest room ending up in the gent's.
I was anticipating a bit of a talking to at least or maybe frequent visits to the guardroom over the next few weeks. It gets worse.
I looked to my right and Harold Wilson was standing at the next urinal to me, he looked at me with that handsome tanned face and never said a word!
I never heard another thing about my behaviour.
Years later I visited Harold's grave on the Isles of Scilly and I said "Thanks Harold, you were a good old bloke".
As a matter of interest there is an Horatio Nelson buried in the same graveyard, not the one we know from the history books though, it's another one.
Anyway Tony, thanks for the latest letter.
I was standing at the urinal when someone next to me said, 'What did you think of him Tod?' I replied, 'Do you know, he never said hello, goodbye or kiss my behind.'
From: Mark Davies, Auckland
Sent: Thursday, October 27, 2011 03:50
Subject: Re: UKMAMS OBA OBB #102311
Hi Tony, another great issue of the OBA.
The RNZAF Mystery picture is taken from Jun 2011 RNZAF News and features Logistics Specialists graduates.
Back row (L-R): LAC Laura Smidt, LAC Stacey Carline, LAC Tama Dance.
Front row (L-R): LAC Joanne Uncles, LAC Joel Wiapo.
From: Dave Moss, Barrow
Sent: Friday, October 28, 2011 15:19
Subject: Re: UKMAMS OBA OBB #102311
I read Gerry Davis' letter and wondered what the prize would be for recognising that ancient piece of kit behind him in the photo at Bahrain.
It looks very much like the Mover's nightmare, the BFLP (Britannia Freight Lift Platform)
I was fortunate enough never to have to use one of these in anger, but still remember with shivers the times we practised mantling one together at Abingdon, just in case anyone found a use for it once the Condec was in service.
As usual a great edition.
Best regards to all members of the OBA, especially any who may remember the good days at Abingdon.
The Radar Plane that Powers the World’s Most Advanced Long-Range Surveillance System
After seeing long-range surveillance’s effectiveness during the first Gulf War, the UK acquired Airborne Stand-Off Radar (ASTOR) technology and integrated it into its all-seeing Sentinel surveillance system.
Originally developed to monitor the movements and formations of enemy armor on the battlefield, Sentinel consists of Air, Land and Support segments. The Air segment is made up of five converted Bombardier Global Express aircraft, known as the Sentinel R1, which are outfitted with Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) and Ground Moving Target Indicator (GMTI) technologies. The Land segment comprising two transportable Operational Level Ground Stations and six mobile Tactical Ground Stations. The Air and Land segments share data between themselves and command via high-speed Link 16 datalinks.
The Sentinel R1 aircraft is powered by dual Rolls-Royce BR710 turbofan engines, each producing 14,750 pound-foot thrust, providing a top speed of Mach .75 and enabling a 40,000-foot service ceiling. Missions in an R1 can routinely last nine hours and require a crew of five-pilot, co-pilot, an Airborne Mission Commander and two image analysts. While some of the analysis is performed onboard, the R1's primary objective is data collection, not interpretation.
Each R1 is outfitted with a Dual Mode Radar similar to that used by the U2 spy plane-Raytheon Systems’ SAR/MTI radar, which can operate at high altitude (up to 47,000 feet), over long distances, and in inclement weather. SAR radar emits pulses in a modified grid pattern and employs a relatively long aperture to produce a high-resolution, 2D image of the battle field or focus on individual targets. MTI Radar is also employed to track vehicle movements, differentiating between moving and stationary objects by comparing sequential pulses-much in the same way astronomers search for supernovae. Together, SAR/MTI radar can spot the strength, location and speed of enemy troops from up to 160km away.
Altogether, the UK’s Ministry of Defense has spent approximately £954 million for the entire Sentinel system-including the five aircraft and eight associated ground stations
From: Michael Downes, Budleigh Salterton
Sent: Saturday, October 29, 2011 09:32
Subject: Frank Holmes enquiry
This may strike you as a random enquiry and I'll quite understand if you can't be bothered to reply.
I work as volunteer press officer at Fairlynch Museum in Budleigh Salterton. Currently I am trying to write a decent obituary for the Museum's past membership secretary, Hilary Rolls OBE, who died in 2009, aged 61. From what I have read, Hilary was a high-flyer in the Ministry of Defence as well as being an energetic member of many organisations and charities in Budleigh, where she retired.
Details of her life as recorded in the local newspaper mention her friends of 40 years' standing, Frank and Mandy Holmes, whom she met while living in Cyprus from 1971-73.
Being a keen googler I tried 'Frank Holmes RAF Cyprus' and came across your site, where I found that a Plt Off Frank Holmes was mentioned with the date of 1971.
Could it be the same man and would you have his contact details I wondered. I'd be keen to ask him for more memories of Hilary Rolls.
By coincidence my parents-in-law were stationed at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus in the late 1960s. They might have come across Hilary without remembering her.
If you're able to help by putting me in touch with the right Frank Holmes I'd be most grateful.
Press Officer Fairlynch Museum
The RAF contingent will recall having received an e-mailed enquiry in search of Frank at the end of last month. The response was overwhelming and I'm happy to report that not only were we able to locate him and put him in touch with Michael, but we were also able to bring him in from the cold to become one of the latest members of the OBA!
From: Steve Tomlinson, Brisbane, QLD
Sent: Monday, October 31, 2011 03:05
I met up with Stuart Cloke (fellow Mover) in Hong Kong a week ago ostensibly for attendance at the World Nuclear Association Symposium. We managed to stay out of trouble in Wan Chai (several times!), and, yes, the bars are still all there (so are the girls!).
Spent the following week up in Chengdu, Jiuzhaigou & Huang Long and am currently in Shanghai for another relaxing week and a few Tsing Tao’s before heading back to the “coalface” in Brisbane.
Hope all is well in the other Colony of Canada?
New members joining us recently are:
Oli Bailey, Witney, UK
Frank Holmes, Stratford-upon-Avon, UK
Welcome to the OBA!
Navy's new Wildcat makes first landing at sea
The Royal Navy's next-generation helicopter, the Wildcat, has landed on a ship at sea for the first time.
On 7 November, the aircraft touched down on the flight deck of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) aviation trials ship Argus off England's south coast, at the start of four weeks of tough trials for air and ground crew. Wildcat is the 21st century variant of the Lynx helicopter which has served the Navy since the 1970s.
A team from AgustaWestland, the Yeovil firm which builds the Lynx, experts from the Aircraft Test and Evaluation Centre at Boscombe Down, and Navy air engineers and technicians have joined Argus for the trials.
It fell to Lieutenant Commanders Robert Dowdell and Lee Evans to make the historic flight - assisted by a Lynx Mk8 of 815 Naval Air Squadron, which will get its hands on Wildcat in a little over two years' time:
"This marks a significant milestone in the life of Wildcat," said Lt Cdr Rob Taylor, Commanding Officer of 700W [W for Wildcat] Naval Air Squadron [NAS] - the trials unit set up at RNAS [Royal Naval Air Station] Yeovilton in Somerset specifically to bring the new aircraft into service.
"The deck landing's the first in a series of trials which will see Wildcat cleared to operate on all classes of Royal Navy and RFA ships in all theatres of the world."
Wildcat is bristling with new sensors and kit - improved radar, improved communications suite, more powerful engines, more firepower, and a 'glass' cockpit with four large display screens replacing the older dials and screens.
The cockpit's layout has been heavily influenced by input from the pilots and observers to allow them to find, collate and report contacts at sea or on land rapidly. At the same time, engineers should find the Wildcat easier to maintain - which means the aircraft will have an even higher rate of availability than the already-reliable Lynx.
At the same time, a training course will be designed ahead of the first Wildcat crews converting from the existing Lynx joining 702 NAS, the Lynx operational training unit, in January 2014.
From there, the qualified fliers will move to the front line Lynx squadron, 815 NAS, which provides frigates, destroyers and the Navy's ice patrol ships with dedicated Flights of helicopters, plus air and ground crew, for their global deployments. The first Wildcat Flight is earmarked to deploy in 2015.
Some 66 Wildcats are being bought by the MOD, 38 for the Army Air Corps and 28 for the Fleet Air Arm. The Army variant is due to begin operations in 2014.
The landing on RFA Argus heralds four weeks of 'operating limit trials' for the Wildcat, which will lay the foundations for flying the new helicopter when it enters front line service.
The first Wildcat arrives at Yeovilton, home of the Navy's entire Lynx Force, in January 2013, when the team at 700W NAS will determine how aircrews will operate the helicopter on deployment.
From: John Holloway, Shrewsbury
Sent: Tuesday, November 08, 2011 16:14
Subject: NSRAF Cosford Branch
As usual our meeting was well attended with about 70 members turning up.
John Titterwood was our speaker for today and called his talk "The Real 'Allo 'Allo" telling us of the great escape of his father from occupied France. John is the son of a Lancaster navigator and told us of his father's adventure.
They took off in the early evening of May 3rd 1944 from Silsby Lincolnshire and joined a force of over two hundred aircraft. The pilot and the rest of the crew were all NCOs.
They walked to the nearest village, Fermage, and knocked on the door of a cottage. They were still in their uniforms so the local was a bit taken aback but did help them to contact some others who were members of the resistance. They in turn passed them on to the SOE (Special Operations Executive).
Dressed to look like locals they now had to make their way to Paris. They were put on a bus to Sens and then went by train to Paris. They were put up in the Cafe Foch which he told us the second floor was where they were to stay for a while. They could move around as the first floor was a brothel used by the Germans so no problems there as men were going in and out all the time. Here they met up with seven US airmen and six other English chaps. They were provided with forged identity papers and permits.
Eventually they left Paris by train for Toulouse and from there they were guided over the Pyranees by a Basque guide, leaving on the 1st June and arriving in Spain on the 6th June. They were arrested by Spanish troops and jailed. On the 7th June they were released and taken to the British Embasy in Madrid. The Spanish were mellowing which was probably due to the Allies having landed on the Normandy Beaches the day before.
They eventually reached Gibraltar and were flown back to the UK. John told us they had many narrow escapes like when his dad bumped into a German soldier knocking his rifle to the ground and saying "Sorry mate", luckily the German didn't understand!
Trust that the foregoing is of interest
They delivered their bomb load okay but as they started their return to base were attacked by a night fighter and one of the engines was hit and put out of action.
The Lancaster could manage ok on three engines but gradually lost height after being attacked again and the order was given to bail out. The rear gunner couldn't get out of the turret and perished when the aircraft hit the ground. The pilot bailed out too low and he also perished. John's father bailed out okay and landed in a field where he was joined by another member of his crew who had survived.
From: Howard Firth, Mossel Bay
Sent: Tuesday, November 01, 2011 09:08
Subject: Hangar Fly Through
I can remember being at Thumrait when they used to fly the Hunters down the flight line very low. But this is something quite special.
How the guy on the ground can sleep with this going on is amazing!
From: David Powell, Princes Risborough
Sent: Tuesday, November 08, 2011 18:52
Subject: Service Pensions - Linked to CPI not RPI
If you haven’t already picked up on this petition, sent on to me by Tim Newstead, then may I suggest that you read the following, sign the petition and spread the word. I don’t mind so much if we are all suffering together but it’s not to be with it would seem one rule of the Bank of England (whose lack of control helped get us into this mess) and Judges and another for the rest of us!
In November 2010, Theresa May's aide, David Beckingham, wrote to me on Theresa's behalf, "the Government believes the CPI provides a more appropriate measure of pension recipients' inflation experiences and is also consistent with the measure of inflation used by the Bank of England."
Two weeks ago I asked the Bank of England on the telephone which inflation index was going to be used in 2011 to increase Bank of England and Court pensions. The pensions are increased in July. They refused to answer on the phone so I submitted a Freedom of Information request. Yesterday I received a letter from the Deputy Secretary of the Bank of England which was the Bank's reply to my pension increase FOI question. The Deputy Secretary wrote: "The RPI will be used for calculating increases in 2011."
It may come as a surprise to learn that Bank of England and Court pensions will be increased in 2011 by the RPI, a measure which is not consistent with the inflation measure used by the Bank of England!
You couldn't make it up.
If you draw a Service Pension take note!
The recent Forces Pension Society newsletter tells of an RPI/CPI e-petition which has been established hoping to reverse the Government's decision to link pension increases to CPI instead of RPI. The Government will debate e-petitions that achieve 100,000 signatures, so please can you pass on the following link to ex-servicemen that you know in the hope that they'll sign it, as it affects all of us. The link is:
Hercules muscle for disaster relief in Indonesia
Four RAAF Hercules from Sydney's Richmond Air Force Base - worth an estimated $30 million - will be given to the Indonesian Government for disaster relief and humanitarian work. And a further three, high speed naval intercept vessels will be deployed to Indonesian waters to launch a new offensive against people smugglers.
The agreements struck yesterday in Bali between Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Indonesian President Susilio Bambang Yudhoyono marked new strategic partnerships in what appeared a peace offering to soothe tensions about Australia's deal to host more US troops. The aircraft, which will need about $25 million in maintenance to restore them to airworthiness, were due to be sold on the open market as Australia upgrades its fleet.
"These aircraft are very important to the movement of people and equipment and food in times of difficulty," Ms Gillard said.
In a further strengthening of military ties, Australia will also provide support for an Indonesian Armed Forces Peacekeeping centre.
But Ms Gillard denied the provision of intercept boats to Indonesia was an admission that her Government had failed on border protection policy.
"It should not be read as a response to the legislation before the Parliament related to offshore processing," Ms Gillard said.
Ms Gillard admitted that relations had been strained with Indonesia over the live cattle ban row, but said the issue wasn't even raised when the two met for the first leader-to-leader summit between the two countries, following the East Asia Summit.
Speaking from Bali before flying home for the start of the final parliamentary sitting week, the PM said great progress had been made on fostering stronger economic and strategic ties between the two countries.
Herald Sun Victoria
However, the ADF has agreed to give them to the Indonesian military, following a request for resources to boost disaster relief in the region.
Red Tails set for release on January 20th
A new film by George Lucas - telling the story of the Tuskegee Airmen, the World War II fighter group composed of African-American pilots and support personnel who fought discrimination and prejudice in order to serve their country.
What has this got to do with the OBA?
Long before the loss of "Big Beautiful Doll" at Duxford earlier this year ("The Doll is Lost - Rob's Amazing Escape" ), our own Rob Davies was invited to participate in the making of the film and fly the lead aircraft in the trio of P51's.
The film is scheduled for general release on January 20th, 2012
From: Rob Davies, Ashford
Sent: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 05:41
Subject: Red Tails
Google "Red Tails" and watch the trailers. Film opens Jan 20th.
Filming done in the Czech Republic, the Doll was painted as a Red Tail and we pilots had to wear black balaclavas etc.
The ex-Russian fighter base at Milovice, east of Prague, was turned into Rimatelli airbase in Italy, winter of 44/45, complete with mud.
Some pictures on www.woodchurchwarbirds.com
From: Malcolm Porter, Upton-upon-Severn
Sent: Friday, November 18, 2011 11:51
Subject: Re: The Next OBA Newsletter
Can your request for info on our scariest flights include civilian flights? I have my brown trousers and bicycle clips from the day we were intercepted by MiG's!
Also Tony, could you put in a small notice for folks to pay a visit to the Wellesbourne Mountford museum - every Sunday 10am till 4pm. The Vampire and Piston Provost are now complete. The Sea Vixen can be viewed from alongside the cockpit and they have a dodgy old loadmaster trying to re-fit the elevators to a Yak 52 that was abandoned some while ago.
On another note, my source at Cairns tells me that the Belfast has NOT been scrapped yet - all the Heavylift titles were painted out - somewhat crudely but that Al Rash (ex 53 Sqdn Flt Eng) is still kicking the tires and counting the Tynes.
We have an underground WWII command bunker and a collection of aero engines including a Merlin.
From: John Wickham, Dubai
Sent: Friday, November 18, 2011 12:11
Subject: My Scariest Flight(s)
Bristol Freighter, Changi to Butterworth and I was only 9 or 10 but I understood the rivets weren’t meant to move in the holes! We came home to Singapore by taxi, all the way from Penang! In those days that was a long way on a Sgt’s Pay!
I went up in a Shackleton as a Boy Scout circa 1969.
I must have enjoyed it as 30 years on I volunteered to go up in one whilst on detachment at Lossiemouth. 18 hours later, vibrating like a drum, I touched terra firma again! Dad told me never to volunteer, but when does a boy listen to his father?
From: Nicholas Price, Cheltenham
Sent: Friday, November 18, 2011 14:31
Subject: Scariest Flight
In 1969/70 I was working in SCAF at RAF Ballykelly. Like many corporals I was beginning to think to gain the third stripe definitely depended on dead man's shoes. I decided the only answer was to go for aircrew selection as an Air Load Master. My boss thought I should at least do some flying to see how I got on.
It was arranged that I should go on a ten hour flight in a Shackleton; my job was to hand out the rations and make the tea.
I was up-front in the cockpit observing the endless vista of ocean, when suddenly there was this almighty bang, I nearly jumped out of my skin and thought my time was up. The Captain calmly turned his head to the rear and said, 'What the heck was that?' After some investigation it apparently turned out to be a life jacket and the air bottle had exploded because it had been left next to a heater. To me that was very scary.
Incidently I still went to Biggin Hill, quite an experience. To cut a long story short I was told to come back in two years and try again. Needless to say I didn't, I left the service in 1978 and gave some well deserving SAC the chance to fill my shoes. Funny but when in civvy street I eventually got my PPL so my scariest flight didn't totally put me off flying.
From: Rick Loveridge, Brough
Sent: Friday, November 18, 2011 18:35
Subject: Re: The Next OBA Newsletter
Retirement, I'd like some...
After taking an ill-health retirement from the police at the end of June, I'd thought I'd spend my days enjoying myself, lots of woodwork in my garage, packed with machinery designed to shape any thickness wood to to any dimension I desired, but also having the capabilty to cut off an intrusive digit or limb, should I get careless.
I've had a couple of trips to the Emergency, plus a few more episodes where I've packed the wound with out-of-date Germolene and aftershave (It's a man thing!).
After a few weeks I got bored, and was lucky enough to get a job with a local courier firm, driving up and down the country, even the odd trip to Royal Wootton Bassett. I don't know how long it will last as the owner is a fiery red haired guy with a short temper, and I've made a solemn vow not to take crap from anyone again. There's been some angry telephone and text mesage exchanges, but I've held my own. The other guy, taken on at the same time as me, has already been sacked, so let's see if I can hold out until Christmas, (spelled without an "X"!)
Tonight, after along day, I got an urgent call asking if I would call and see an old friend who appeared to be having a nervous breakdown. I arrived to find him in a bad way, but was told an ambulance was on its' way. After almost an hour, 3 of my former colleagues (police), arrived to arrest my mate for alleged threats to kill someone. Whilst discussions took place, my mate got hold of an air rifle and a nasty looking lock knife, and a Mexican stand-off ensued.
To avoid things getting out of hand, I went upstairs, alone, unarmed and with no protective gear. After smoking a cigarette together, he gave up his weapons to me, and the police took him away for a mental health assessment - something he had been asking for, for some time.
Right now, I'm enjoying the odd tincture or two and the garage is looking an attractive option!
I haven't been able to get next Friday off, so I will miss the Top Table at Brize Norton, an event I have enjoyed for the last few years. Perhaps another reader will be kind enough to post a review.
Best wishes to everyone.
Rick "Dibs" Loveridge.
Proud to Serve.
From: Howard Thomas, Caravonica, QLD
Sent: Friday, November 18, 2011 18:47
Subject: Scary Flight
I heard one but not sure if it was true and it apparently took place in the early 1980’s when Air Force One and the B52’s were parked up quite a lot at Brize Norton.
The story goes that it involved some Air National Guard Movers (US ) coming to Brize from Keflavik.
Apparently the aft restraint was all good hence great on the ascent but the forward restraint was non-existent, so on the descent there was nothing to stop it crashing out of the front of the aircraft if left unchecked.
The pilot aborted and went into a steepish climb while some RAF Movers who had cadged a lift got underneath and sorted the job (there were lots of RAF exercise flights into and out of Keflavik in those days).
Now I heard this in the Spotlight Club over a few beers so have no idea if it was true or not. Can anybody shed any light on whether it was true or not or pure legend?
P.s. John Bell has been in touch on his arrival back here and I'm hoping to get together with him soon.
There were some ground refueller tankers loaded in the front of the Galaxy. They had a good flight until the aircraft started to descend.
As the angle of the aircraft adopted a nose-down attitude one of the tankers started to roll quite quickly towards the front of the aircraft.
From: Jack Riley, Urangan, QLD
Sent: Friday, November 18, 2011 19:20
Subject: (One of my) Scary Flights
Take one ATC Cadet on his first flight. Park him in the rear seat of a Koolhoven recently “escaped“ from Holland. Add one mad Dutch pilot.
Take off from Northolt in wartime England. Fly through London balloon barrage… up Oxford Street at roof level… back through the balloons and land.
The rest of you? No contest!
From: Paul English, Swindon
Sent: Sunday, November 20, 2011 10:35
Subject: RE: The Next OBA Newsletter
On your topic of scariest flights, got two....
First was on Britannia 737 trooper from Gutersloh into Luton. Captain said it would be a bit bumpy en-route. We got to Luton and we were "crabbing" all the way down the approach because it was so windy! Straighten up at last minute! Bit hairy!
Second trip was just after I had done my Tristar 500 dispatchers course at the "School". The Tristar was a separate course from the controllers course them days.
"I think not sweetheart," was my retort, "I have a ticket with 1A on it."
"Well you shouldn't have!" says she.
Time to play my trump card, "I'm a Tristar dispatcher."
Her colour drained and she scooted off in a snit. Soon afterward she came back and said the Captain would like to see me!
On visiting said Captain, he said he hadn't seen me in the bazaars and I told him I was from Brize. He gave me an invitation to the flight deck for the landing.
We were still on the auto pilot tracking the ILS and getting close to the decision height for landing. I thought to myself that this is going terribly wrong; we were landing "downwind" which is not recommended and my butt was going half-a-crown/sixpence until the Captain finally took control and made a perfect landing!
Flew out to Spain on British Airtours Tristar. After a bun fight with cabin crew over the use of seats 1A & 1B, (hostess tells me they're crew seats).
From: John Holloway, Shrewsbury
Sent: Sunday, November 20, 2011 11:22
Subject: 16th Mauripur Re-union
The weekend was our 16th Annual Reunion held as usual at the Falcon Hotel in Stratford on Avon. Not so many attending this year, just a total of forty members and partners sitting down to dinner on Thursday and Friday evenings.
Friday we had the usual array of photos set up along with member's photo albums for us to have a look at and we had a video of the history of the TSR2 and the decision of the government of the day scrapping the project in favour of the F111. As we all know, that didn't happen but the RAAF had them in service for thirty odd years.
Friday evening and Saturday morning members of the Aden Association were arriving as usual for their reunion and one of the chaps that I've spoken to on previous occasions was stationed at Khormaksar at the same time as me was on the Lincoln squadron. He remembers well the occasion I wrote about (in the Khormaksar article on your home page) when the Linclon had shed its fuel load all over the pad and he recalls the effort made hands-on to push the aircraft clear of the flood of fuel as they could not use a tractor in case of a spark causing an explosion.
The drive down to Stratford was in brilliant sunshine and we are having amazingly good weather people are of course are saying it's an Indian summer we are having. My memory of summers at Mauripur was a stinking hot and humid three months then at the end of July the winds picking up with sand storms and rolls of tumble weed blowing all over the place, some as big as four foot in diameter. Then the monsoon rains following this with thunder storms at night with fantastic lightning flashing along the horizon and the poles carrying the overhead electric cables flashing down as they earthed and the eletrical sub-stations providing a colourfull "fireworks" display. The joys of an Indian Summer!
One of the problems was that our Archivist has finished and there is a vast collection of memorandia to be passed on to anyone who might take over the job, so that problem has still to be resolved.
Saturday morning we had our Annual General Meeting with the usual agenda and one of the things discussed was whether we should keep on going.
From: Keri Eynon, Newbury
Sent: Sunday, November 20, 2011 15:49
Subject: Scariest Flight
I presume, like many others, there have been more than one of these. In my case there was the time the pressure seal around the central escape hatch on a Herc gave up causing us to descend rather rapidly from 29,000 feet to 9,000 feet, the screeching noise was ear shattering.
Then there was the time when the ramp started to open in flight on the way home from Tromso causing an emergency diversion so that we could move the load off of the ramp.
But my scariest flight was in fact my last flight in a Herc, although by then I was on shift and no longer on mobile. I did a job to Dakar in Senegal; it was a few days before I was to go on terminal leave.
Everything was fine until we took off for the flight back to the UK. As we got airborne and the undercarriage came up there was a terrible screeching noise. The Loadmaster and Ground Engineer tried to see if there was any noticeable damage to one of the undercarriage wheels, but could see nothing apparent. We continued on to Lyneham and as we approached a "State Two Emergency" was called. The captain told us to sit on the port side of the aircraft and he would put that side down first then lower the starboard side and hopefully the undercarriage would hold up.
Thankfully, everything was OK, and we taxied in followed by fire engines and other emergency vehicles. What a way to finish my time on MAMS and in the RAF, in July 1988.
Thanks for the wonderful newsletter which brings back so many happy memories, have a great Christmas!
From: Chris Ottewell, Bristol
Sent: Friday, November 18, 2011 06:30
To: Jack Riley, Urangan, QLD., Australia
Subject: 99 Squadron Story
Whilst looking for Britannia Aircraft information, I have just found your excellent web-site and spent an enjoyable hour reading about the Britannia “in uniform”. My father (John Ottewell) ran many of the conversion courses for Britannia crews and must have met many of your contributors. He is still going strong at 87 by the way.
Apart from congratulating you on an excellent site, I am writing to ask permission to use a extract from your site in a future edition of “Anglo Polish News”. This is a newsletter distributed to members of the Bristol Anglo/Polish Society. Many of the older members are ex Halton Brats and enjoy reading anything which has both a Polish and an RAF connection.
From: Jack Riley, Urangan, QLD
Sent: Friday, November 18, 2011 20:11
To: Chris Ottewell, Bristol, UK
Subject: 99 Squadron Story
Good to hear from you. I am sure we would be delighted to have you use this extract. Just to be on the safe side I am copying this reply to Tony Gale our webmaster just in case there are any copyright implications but I very much doubt there will be.
I was interested to read of the Polish magazine. During the war I lived off the end of Northolt runway in London. The Polish Spitfire Squadron was based there and we often saw them going out… and the tattered remains returning.
Later, at Burtonwood, I roomed next door to Flt Lt Tony Janucz. He had made his name as a member of the Free Ballooning Team which held the world record. If my memory serves they caused a major panic at the time because they took off from Warsaw and were found five days later near Vladivostock!
It was always interesting to visit his room. He had constructed a telescope from lenses, a cardboard tennis ball container and the remains of an old alarm clock to project the moon on his ceiling!
My best wishes to all your readers
From: David Packman, Stafford
Sent: Monday, November 21, 2011 04:30
Subject: Tactical Supply Wing - Badge Dedication
Arrangements are well in-hand for the dedication of a plaque of the Tactical Supply Wing in the floor of the Central Church of the RAF, St Clement Danes, in London . This will take place during a service on the morning of Sunday 29 April 2012 and it is hoped to have a social gathering afterwards in the church crypt.
It will be helpful if any OBA member who would like to attend the event would get in touch with David Packman - or by telephone on 01432-851724.
Looking through the list of members it was good to see the names of David Eggleton and ‘H’ Firth. David was my sergeant in the Electronics Stores at RAF Wittering in 1961 and I have rowed with ‘H’ at many regattas.
From: Keith Parker, Bowerhill
Sent: Monday, November 21, 2011 10:02
Subject: Just another job for UKMAMS
I think some of you Canadian Bods may be interested in this.
I was at work one day in MAMS Training when I got a call from Ops, they had an interesting job for me. As I went upstairs I tried to guess what sort of job was so special to me, was I going to the States for a month or two, was I going somewhere really exciting? I was soon put out of my misery by MOpso.
The farmer and his son, Keith Parker & Brian Goswell
And so it was that a few days later after a phone call to the said farmer we pulled out of Lyneham on our way to Yeovil with two Landrovers plus trailers to seek our quarry.
We were given a fantastic welcome complete with a Full Farmer's English Breakfast and I do mean Full, after which we were taken out and shown all of the stuff. It took the two vehicles two trips to get all of the stuff back to Lyneham.
There were Flight Manuals, Flight deck instruments, even an old Irvin heated flying suit, absolutely loads of stuff, the best bit being a Mid Upper turret, which was the whole reason for being there as apparently the Nanton Lanc didn't have one.
They had received a telephone call out of the blue from a farmer down Yeovil way. Apparantly a chance meeting with a Canadian guy on holiday in this country at an "Aero Jumble Sale" at Yeovilton Museum had revealed some spare parts for an Avro Lancaster.
The Canadian guy thought would be useful for a group he belonged to at a place called Nanton where they were patiently trying to put a poor old "Lanc" back together again.
Eventually a flight to Calgary was nominated to take the goodies to Canada and with the help of RAFLO Andy Machelle we were sent on our way courtesy of a "Med Man" aircraft.
Brian was unable to go and so it fell to Ian Ralph and Tim Ketcher to escort me there. On our arrival we were met by Andy and a representitive from Nanton and all the goodies were handed over along with a UKMAMS plaque.
Andy, Tim, Nanton person and Ian (I took the photo!)
Photo's taken we all settled down to some well earned beers.
All this was forgotten in the mists of time, until last summer when as if by chance I was at the Air Day at RNAS Yeovilton when the BBMF Lancaster flew over and the commentator announced that this was one of only two surviving Lancaster's flying today, the other being the "Nanton Lancaster" and so, over to our Canadian cousins, perhaps they can bring this story up to date.
The request was, would it be possible to get these items to Canada. The MOpso was my old Team Leader and so knew of my liking of Historical Aviation and, as always ready for a challenge asked if I would like to take on the job of getting the stuff brought back to Lyneham and later to Canada. I didn't have to be asked twice and Brian Goswell, who worked in MAMS Ops at the time also volunteered.
Brian loading one of two turrets
He said, “I’ll start up with that, then put it on! - I’m not coming back!”
I protested, “But Chief, you’ll be tail heavy, that thing weighs a ton and I can’t get it for’ard enough!”
He looked at me and said, in his gravel voice, “Put it on Boy! - just put it on!”
Still protesting I said, “You’ll be way out of trim Chief!” He grinned at me and repeated, “Just put it on Boy!”
From: Alex Masson, Chelmsford
Sent: Tuesday, November 22, 2011 19:23
Subject: One Hairy Take Off!
After the first three Hydrogen Bomb Tests had been completed at Christmas Island in 1957 (actually, the second was an Atom Bomb, because they couldn’t be sure if the Hydrogen Bomb would really work - but no-one knew that at the time), there began the recovery of all the flash recording, radiation counting and seismograph equipment from the area of ‘ground zero’ which was, for those first three tests, Malden Island; some 400 miles south east of Christmas Island.
On Saturday the 22nd of June I flew down to Malden with F/O Slater and crew on 1325 Flight’s Dakota KJ 945 coded ‘C’ and stayed at ‘ground zero’ backloading all the recovered equipment, which the Royal Engineers had dug out of their emplacements and had boxed up, ready for me to airfreight to Christmas Island for ultimate onwards transmission to Woomera in Australia.
All week two Dakotas arrived daily, one in the morning, the other in the afternoon, and with the help of the ‘Sappers’ I backloaded all this recovered equipment.
This went on until Saturday 29th June when Flight Sergeant Laurie Powell arrived in KN 598 coded B.
I loaded the last packing cases of the recovered equipment but found that I had a problem.
I explained to the Captain, Flight Sergeant Powell, that I could not load the last item which I had been asked to bring back from Malden: the ‘Trolley Acc’!
I remember saying, “Sorry Chief, but you will have to come back for the ‘Trolley Acc’ and me. You’re not overweight, but you’ll be ‘hellishly’ tail heavy if I put that Trolley Acc on - it’s so heavy! I’ve had to put the priority stuff on first so it’s left me no room for this equipment.”
Then, as the engines were ticking over, with the help of the Navigator, Signaller, the Corporal who was acting as Air Traffic Controller and who was staying on Malden Island along with a couple of Royal Engineer soldiers we managed to lift the ‘Trolley Acc’ onto the aircraft. Having rammed it as far forward as we could I hastily lashed it down, and after waving to the lads left behind, I stowed the step, closed and secured the doors and hurriedly made my way up to the Co-pilot’s seat.
I indicated to the Flight Sergeant Powell that the doors were closed and secured. He nodded, and I scrambled into the Co-pilot’s seat.
Already the Dakota was taxiing to the far end of the strip and Chiefy Powell ran off into the rough before wheeling the aircraft around and lining it up on the strip. He looked behind and both the Navigator and the Wireless Operator held their thumbs up.
With the brakes on, he ran the throttles up checking the engines and watching the instruments. Gradually he opened the throttles further and further until the Pratt and Whitneys were whining and the whole aircraft was juddering. Then he released the brakes and we surged forward. Slowly we gathered speed swaying and bouncing along the crushed coral track which formed the air strip and which had been laid by the Royal Engineers
I watched as the pilot concentrated on holding the throttles forward and keeping the Dakota straight as it bounced and swayed evermore. I offered my hand to the throttles, he nodded and put both hands on the yoke. I held the levers hard against the stops to prevent them creeping back with the vibration. Then he pushed the yoke forward and the tail came up we were still gathering speed but he still held the craft firmly on the deck. We were now past the point of no return. I still held the throttles forward and could see that we had now reached flying speed.
However, Chiefy was in no hurry to lift the Dak yet and he pushed the nose firmly down. I saw the end of the runway coming up to us at an alarming rate and at the same time the vibration ceased. I realised we were airborne. Then I looked ahead and saw the sand dunes and coral rocks which rose up some fifteen or twenty feet. As we approached I was aware that the undercarriage was coming up and at the same moment he lightly tugged the yoke and the Dak responded gently clearing the obstruction. Having overcome that obstacle the nose was pushed down again to gain more flying speed and we raced across the flat surface of the sea inside the reef.
Two or three hundred yards ahead was the reef with the Pacific swell breaking over it sending waves crashing twenty or even thirty feet into the air. My immediate thoughts were “Shit! If we fly through that we’re going to be brought down!” and I held the throttles even harder forward; not that it made any difference. The Pratt and Whitneys were doing all that was asked of them.
Just as it seemed we were going to get a soaking, the yoke was nudged back again and the Dak rose to the occasion leaping into the air and clearing the bulk of the deluge. Heavy spray splattered all over the windscreen and the windscreen wipers were going ‘nineteen to the dozen’. But we had avoided being plucked from the air.
Once through the water I was greatly relieved and even more relieved to find that my duty at the throttles was over. The pitch of the propellers was changed and the throttles relaxed accordingly. Only slowly did the altimeter show a gradual increase and for the rest of the journey, almost 400 miles, the yoke stayed in a very forward position. The Dak was horrendously tail heavy, but we made it, thanks to Flight Sergeant Powell!
There were four crews for the three Dakotas of 1325 Flight. Sqdn Ldr Joe Hurst and his crew, F/O Slater and his crew, Master Pilot Boyes and his crew and Flight Sergeant Laurie Powell and his crew.
I flew with all of them but I much preferred flying with ‘Chiefy’ Powell. He was simply ‘unflappable’, stoic and unmoved. He had been a Bomber Pilot during World War II, as his medals indicated. I had the highest regard for him.
I had one other hairy return from Malden with him when one of our engines developed an oil leak and had to be shut down leaving us to fly almost 300 miles on one engine - but that’s another story.
Only this year did I meet up with this man’s family and discovered that he had sadly died last year and that he had been living not far from me in Essex - See OBB 070111 -
I then came out again and fitted the Trolley Acc into the aircraft’s socket, saying “OK Chief d’you want to start up now?” He nodded and climbed aboard. I stood by while he started the engines, then, at his signal, removed the ‘Trolley Acc’ and trundled it to the door of the aircraft.
Dakota KN 598
I quickly re-arranged some of the smaller packing cases, pushing them on top and further forward than they were and lashed them as best I could, then stuffed my own bed and baggage as far for’ard as I could.
This was the man who, as we returned light from Malden on another occasion, allowed me to have ‘hands on’ flying the Dakota.
The Christmas Holiday edition of the Old Bods Briefs is scheduled to be published on Friday 23rd December.
You are encouraged to send greetings to other Movers around the world - some will be far away from home and family at this time, so let's show them that we are thinking of them!
If at all possible share a picture of yourself (& family) - don't worry too much about formatting - the bigger the better.
From: Budgie Baigent, Woodbourne
Sent: Wednesday, November 23, 2011 03:57
Subject: Scary Flight
A big life change for me this past week... I've just retired from the RNZAF after 40 yrs service (over three different periods). Had a real blast but time to move on and enjoy retirement before it's too late.
No problem southbound although I do remember the weather being rather inclement, such that sitting in the 'jump seat' in the large front cargo door I had to dodge the large drops of rain seeping through those clam shells!
Coming north with our passengers (NZ Police heading to Auckland to assist during US Vice President Agnew visit) was a different matter. After leaving Dunedin we stopped at RNZAF Wigram to refuel and pick up additional Police. A wee while after leaving Wigram a few of the pax started their own version of in-flight refreshments by bringing out hip flasks (no hosties on those aircraft). I turned a blind eye [mistakenly] figured they would behave themselves but soon afterward some of them made gestures about having a cigarette to which I gave them the 'no go'. Next one of them asked if a couple of them could go down the back to play cards [in the space adjacent to the rear entry door]. I said that would be okay and then dozed off.
Sometime later the crew hatch above me opened violently and the nav came scambling down the ladder and rushed to the rear of the aircraft. I quickly discovered what had happened. Unbeknown to me, the 'couple' of guys that went to play cards had been joined by an ever increasing group of enthusiastic onlookers and of course the trim had moved very much aft of where it had should have been! The crew up front must have been pushing forward on the stick and wondering what the H was happening to their B170.
I stayed very much awake for the rest of the journey and there was no further sign of any hip flasks.
I learnt from that one.
On reflection, one of my most scary flight memories was in an RNZAF B170 (Bristol Freighter) in January 1970. I was just an AC at the time and was tasked at the last minute to accompany the crew on a one day round trip Auckland - Dunedin - Auckland, quite a 'one-day' feat for the B170. We had a load of freight to deliver to Dunedin and a full load of passengers northbound. The crew wanted a quick turnaround in Dunedin which involved rigging seats after unloading the cargo.
That's it for this issue!
Be sure to send your holiday greetings in nice and early