From: Wendy Mulqueen, Hastings Sent: Monday, November 17, 2014 3:11 AM Subject: Thank you
Thank you so much for all the e-mails, they were a lovely tribute to Terry and were displayed on a board at his wake, as were photos past and present which were of interest to friends who only knew him at a particular time of his life.
It was good to see a few old bods as well; I noticed they had a good chat together. We did him proud on the day and I was so proud of my son, son-in-law and grandson who, along with others, carried his coffin in. He went out of the church to the tune of Glory, Glory Tottenham Hotspurs, which raised a smile and was so typically Terry.
The church was packed and we even had an overflow in the vestry. One local group he was chairman of are writing a tribute to him for our local paper, so he is not disappearing just yet.
Regards to all
From: Paddy Gallaugher, London Sent: Thursday, October 30, 2014 5:12 PM Subject: Re: UKMAMS OBA OBB#103114
What a great read! Thank you for all you do to keep the spirit of old Movers upbeat!
I notice H Firth is still going strong - Having taken up rowing in my retirement (I mean with oars, not the wife) I meet Heather Andrews who sculls very elegantly and tells me it was H that introduced her to the sport. Good job H!
And what a joy to read Bryan Morgan’s story - good job Bryan!
Invasive surgery to remove a tumour is like cutting off your nose to cure a cold!
Putting chemo into your body is compromising your immune system - a system that, given the right nutrients, will kill cancer by itself. Chemo is toxic and causes cancer
Radiation is like using a shotgun where a sniper's rifle will do - X-rays cause cancer
In the Western World in this day and age, one out of every two men and one out of every three women will face a cancer diagnosis at some time in their lives; but modern medicine is still operating in the dark ages using "traditional methods" that are just not working.
All of us have been touched by cancer, losing both family and friends to a corrupt and greedy system. There are alternative natural cures available but big pharma stands to lose trillions of dollars if this becomes common knowledge.
There are those who have broken away from the herd and spoken out - and I for one wholeheartedly support them in breaking the silence. Cancer does not have to be a death sentence. I urge you to watch the following documentaries - they hold a wealth of knowledge that will save lives, quite possibly your own:
RAF Takes Delivery of First A400M Atlas
The Royal Air Force has officially taken delivery of its first Airbus A400M Atlas airlifter with the aircraft landing at the Brize Norton airbase Monday 16 November, heralding the staged delivery of a further 21 aircraft, in a schedule expected to be complete by 2019.
Although the aircraft will employ its strategic reach and impressive payload capacity by operating initially in the strategic air transport role, Atlas is primarily a tactical airlifter. Its tactical capabilities will be developed over the next 8 years as it assumes the roles performed by the Lockheed Martin C-130J Hercules prior to the C-130’s planned retirement from RAF service in 2022.
The Airbus A400M Atlas isn’t a C-17A Globemaster III and (although the visuals are closer) nor is it C-130 Hercules - but then it isn’t supposed to be! Atlas is designed and scheduled to replace the C-130J in the tactical air transport and special forces’ support roles and to complement Voyager and the C-17 in providing air mobility to the Future Forces.
With the future forces likely to be reliant on bulky, heavy protected mobility vehicles and humanitarian operations looking to deliver relief more quickly to more remote or desolate regions, the Atlas requirement was: ‘to deliver what you can’t get into a Hercules into landing zones that a C-17 can’t get into’.
As with all air mobility aircraft, one of the most important features of A400M Atlas is the cargo bay. The A400M is capable of carrying up to 37 tonnes of payload with the cargo hold dimensions optimised for carriage of heavy vehicles, helicopters or cargo pallets along the central cargo area and troops seated at either side.
For combat operations, Atlas can carry protected vehicles with side armour and top-mounted guns fitted allowing a deploying force to arrive ready to fight. In the humanitarian role, it can deploy a mobile crane or an excavator and large dump truck for clearing earthquake sites.
The Atlas cockpit comes fully loaded with pilot’s ‘toys’. It features Head-up-Dispays (HUD) which provide the pilots with all primary flight information together with eight large interchangeable LCD head-down displays. There is also an Enhanced Vision System (EVS) based on Forward Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) technology which, in low visibility conditions can project an image of the environment in front of the aircraft onto the HUD
raf.mod.uk & Defense News
New members joining us recently are:
Alister Cheesewright, Royal Wootton Bassett, United Kingdom
Peter Mahon, Greenhithe, Kent, United Kingdom
Claire Mcleish (Marshall) Pocklington, Yorks, United Kingdom
This custom dates from at least the 17th century, and originated with British troops stationed in The Netherlands, where it drew on an older Dutch custom, called taptoe, from which comes the term Tattoo as in Military tattoo, and also the term Taps. The taptoe was also used to signal the end of the day, but has more prosaic origin. Taptoe originated signalling the moment that beer taps had to be shut, hence that the day had ended. It comes from the Dutch phrase Doe den tap toe, meaning "Close the tap": however the Dutch bugle call Taptoesignaal, now used for remembrance events, is not the same tune as the Last Post. Neither Last Post nor Taptoesignaal is to be confused with the U.S. call "Taps", which has a similar function but different tune and origin.
The "Last Post" was used by British forces in North America in colonial times, but its function was taken over in the United States by "Taps", which has been used by the United States Army since 1862.
Several (3) eagle-eyed members wrote in to inform us that the item submitted by Keri Eynon in OBB #103114 regarding the origin of The Last Post as having been written in the American Civil War was not factual.
(This item is open for further discussion.)
From: David Stevens, Bangor Sent: Wednesday, November 05, 2014 10:47 AM Subject: RE: UKMAMS OBA OBB#103114
This latest issue was absorbing and full of interest as usual.
The attachment would hardly qualify for a mystery picture but I would offer a wee prize to anyone who can recognize those three handsome young officers! The event? Not a sudden burst of religious fervour, but attending Ted Worsley's wedding in Whitehaven, Cumbria circa 1965, if my memory serves me.
It is the 10th anniversary of the Tusnami this upcoming December. Our British Red Cross Society Logistics Emergency Response Unit was there in Sri Lanka. We arrived AM 28 Dec. I am going down to Cardiff tomorrow to help with a wee production being put together by ITV Wales. That was in my younger days - only 62!
Have a good one. As ever, Kind regards
There is a prize in the offing for a correct guess!
From: John Guy, Northampton Sent: Friday, November 07, 2014 5:37 AM Subject: CAS WO
Can any of your readers enlighten me? What is “CAS WO” ?
Refer to RAF News Edition 1358, dated 7th November 2014, page 9. The article refers to a posting of the SWO RAF Brize Norton to that of CAS WO.
From: Ian Berry, West Swindon Sent: Friday, November 07, 2014 7:56 AM Subject: Re: CAS WO
The CAS WO is the Chief of the Air Staff's Warrant Officer and the post was created in 1998.
He advises the Air Chief Marshall in post of all matters relating to Airmen and Airwomen. Although some "blurbs" state he is the Senior WO he is not... time wise, seniority etc and carries out a three year tour.
Annually there is a meeting with the CAS and his WO, normally now at Cranwell, when all WOs are invited to get an update on where the RAF is going and also an opportunity to "vent their spleen" to the CAS. I found them enjoyable as we always manage to burst a few bubbles where his commissioned advisors and minions have always put their "slant" on his advice and now he hears it from the "shop floor!” It was definitely a positive step.
Does this answer the question?
RAF Hercules Detachment Leaves Afghanistan
This event marks the end of a long chapter in the history of the C-130 Force, having been the only Royal Air Force capability that has been present for the full 13 years of the Afghanistan Campaign.
Though the operation has presented challenges, the whole force of aircrew, engineers and dedicated support personnel, military and civilian, consistently delivered throughout.
Wing Commander Andrew Garbutt, Officer Commanding No. 30 Squadron said, “This is hugely poignant for me; I was there at the start, when we first deployed the aircraft to Afghanistan. It's been a privilege to be the final tactical air transport detachment commander to bring the guys and girls home who've worked so incredibly hard."
Friday 14th November 2014 marked the end of the UK C-130 Hercules Wing’s contribution to Operation HERRICK, as the last two permanently deployed aircraft landed at Royal Air Force Brize Norton earlier today, having left Kandahar Airfield, Afghanistan, two days previously.
Excited families were taken to greet their loved ones as they disembarked from the aircraft and were able to celebrate their reunion with a glass of champagne. The C-130 Force’s role was to provide tactical airlift capability and, in the run up to the draw down of Camp Bastion, transferred a vast amount of freight back to the UK.
Beyond the drawdown of Operation HERRICK, the C-130 Force continues to be committed to operations overseas and remains ready for any future crisis, for which it will inevitably be one of the ‘first in and last out’!
Air Commodore David Lee, Air Officer Air Mobility, said, “This is not the end of HERRICK for the Air Mobility Force as we still have people deployed on that operation. Moreover, we will continue to provide enduring support to Op KIPION and Op TORAL and our presence in the Middle East will continue.
However, the return of the C-130J element of the Tactical Air Transport detachment is a very significant milestone and brings to a conclusion a long term and highly distinguished deployed commitment to UK operations in Afghanistan. The crews of all three C-130J squadrons, the engineers of No. 33 (Engineering) Squadron and the myriad of movement and support staff that have delivered that capability have done a magnificent job, overcoming daily challenges in often harsh conditions in order to enable critical coalition missions. They can be very proud of what they have achieved and we can be very proud of them.”
From: David Powell, Princes Risborough Sent: Tuesday, November 11, 2014 4:05 PM Subject: Re: UKMAMS OBA OBB#103114 - Frank Murray
Mention of Frank Murray, and Bryan Morgan’s yarns, stirred the grey cells. I had first met up with Frank and Bryan at Changi where I had been posted (first tour) to stores.
Our paths next crossed when Frank went as a Staff Mover at HQ38 Group, Odiham, and I had in the meantime broken the glass ceiling (or was it rotting floor boards) and got my wish to join MAMS despite being ex-Cranwell. (Why in the 1960s and 70s were all the best jobs labelled non-career posts?)
Anyway, of particular memory, was Frank’s first formal visit to UK MAMS Abingdon, possibly a pre-AOC’s staff inspection, I am guessing it was Spring 1968. Frank turned up at the squadron just before midday, on a Friday, just in time to be escorted by Jock McKay (MAMS Ops Officer) and those team leaders on base and head to a certain conference centre to the west of the airfield (locally known as the saloon bar of the Black Horse pub), where we stayed until about 3.30, when Frank remembered that he had an engagement at the Odiham Mess that evening, and was duly escorted back to MAMS to collect his car and head back home.
This meant that Frank had to reappear at Abingdon the following Tuesday in order to complete (or to be pedantic ‘start’) his staff inspection.
David Powell F Team UKMAMS 1967-69
The Black Horse Pub, Gozzard's Ford, Abingdon
From: John Holloway, Shrewsbury Sent: Tuesday, November 11, 2014 5:16 PM Subject: NSRAFA Cosford Branch
It was our November meeting at Cosford today; 39 members attended with 10 guests; and apologies were received from 20 other members. Our speaker was Dr Baldwin and it was his third visit to us. The subject of his talk today was on the German defence of the Channel Isles and the Atlantic wall.
He gave us another illustrated talk with numerous slides of all the fortifications and bunkers built for the Germans by 165,000 prisoners mainly Russians, Jews and even German engineers.
There was quite lot of French equipment that was brought from the Maginot Line and gun turrets off captured French tanks that were mounted on top of concrete bunkers and huge German guns that were never used.
It was estimated that over a million tons of concrete were used just on the Channel Isles and over thirteen million tons for the length of the Atlantic wall.
The materials used on the islands all had to be shipped from the mainland, cement, steel and timber as there were none of these available on the islands.
He showed us slides of many of these gun emplacements and bunkers that are still in existence now. We all know that the islands were never invaded by us and it was not until May 1945, nearly a year after the D-day landings, that a formal surrender by the Germans was made.
So all in all it was stated by Albert Speer that it was a huge waste of men and materials. For the German army stationed there it was a cushy number as there was little armed resistance made against them as the islands were so small and there was no cover for the islanders to operate from, not like the mountains and forests on the mainland.
From: Andrew Spinks, Dubai Sent: Sunday, November 16, 2014 9:46 AM Subject: Re: The Next OBA Newsletter - My Mentor
Who was my mentor is a nice topic. Actually, there were a few of them for me and, if I mention names like Bill Wellman, Don Hunter, Mick Day and Colin Allen (each for a different reason), I hope this will bring back good memories for many fellow readers.
If I miss anyone I apologise but I think my best mentor was Dave Eggleton. He and I were DAMOs on opposite shifts at Masirah in the mid-70s and I always respected Dave for being professional and determined, yet with such a nice character when offering "advice". I always thought that was a great combination and one to which I aspired. I probably did not thank him at the time but perhaps I can put that right now - thanks, Dave!
All the best,
From: Charles Collier, Ewhurst, Surrey Sent: Sunday, November 16, 2014 9:55 AM Subject: THE MENTOR IN MY INITIAL MOVEMENTS EXPERIENCE
In the autumn of 1962, as a corporal rigger, I was detached overseas as a member of a repair team to carry out 3rd line repair to a Canberra B1 8 bomber that the pilot of which had decided to fly through a cu nimbus cloud that contained some sizeable hailstones!
We were at RAF Nicosia and we stayed until the spring of 1963 carrying out this repair. When Christmas arrived we were invited to attend a party organised by the station air movements unit which we did. It was here that I found out what air movements was all about. I was talking to a WRAF flight lieutenant (DAMO) and she was only too pleased to show me around the air terminal facilities.
So it was this lady who put into my mind's eye that there was more than engineering going on in the RAF. So she probably was my mentor in this direction!
Regards to all
Jimmy Barr, Glen Morton, Dave Eggleton, Ted Moore, John Bell. Photo by Syd Avery
Dave led by example and was faultless as a professional mover and equally skilled at dealing with people and non-standard situations. He was a very patient man and would take hot heads aside and gently put them straight. (me too on one occasion!) Never, in the years we were together on UKMAMS, did I see Dave lose his cool or raise his voice. His knowledge of movements and the aircraft and associated organisations was first class, as was his application of this knowledge.
Dave supervised task prep and taught us how to ensure we did not forget something vital. He would let different team members do the actual prep just as on task he delegated to ensure that all the team developed both the practical loading and administrative paperwork aspects of the job.
Of the many excellent movers I have worked with over nearly 40 years, Dave was the guy I learned the most from.
From: John Bell, Desborough, Northants Sent: Sunday, November 16, 2014 10:14 AM Subject: My Mentor
When I first met Dave Eggleton I was a Sgt on my second tour on UKMAMS at RAF Abingdon. I had already had movements tours at RAF Eastleigh (Nairobi), Mombasa (just three movers there, Sgt Pete Skidmore, Fg Off (ex Major) Harry Lawson and myself), and MAMS at Abingdon on F team. I then did a couple of tours in Supply. We were all "Suppliers" then until trade group 18 split into Supply or Movements. I opted for Movements and was posted back to Abingdon in October 1971 where I was put on G team with Dave as my FS, Sydney Avery was our corporal with SAC Jimmy Barr and JT Ted Moore the two airmen. Fg Off Glen Morton was the Boss. After a training period our first task was to take a Harrier to the Japanese air show at Yokota. Despite my previous experience Dave proved to be a great fountain of knowledge and for the next couple of years we six stayed together as a team.
From: David Powell, Princes Risborough Sent: Sunday, November 16, 2014 12:38 PM Subject: Re: The Next OBA Newsletter - My Mentor
My Movements Mentors? Easy: the SNCOs, Cpls and Airmen of F Team UK MAMS RAF Abingdon 1967-69 on task (for the most of my time FS Les Mather, Sgt Eric Batty, Cpl Bob Turner, SAC’s Jack Murray and Clive Price). We also had quite a reputation for happily taking along 'spares', usually from MT or Catering to give them a 'day out' at the sharp end of what they were supporting. Also, before Les arrived we had a SNCO gap and Paddy Storey came along on several trips. At one reunion Paddy told me that he liked coming on trips with me and F team as 'you were never quite sure what was going to happen, but it was always guaranteed to be interesting and often fun!' I think that was a compliment!
I must mention Flt Lt Jock Mackay, (Ops O), and my fellow living-in team leaders Fg Offs John Beadman, Chas Clark, John Furney, Robbie James and Nigel Saunders off task.
From: Tony Saw, Ruskington, Sleaford, Lincs Sent: Sunday, November 16, 2014 2:45 PM Subject: RE: The Next OBA Newsletter - My Mentor
My mentors were Bob Satterly and Ivan Gervais because they took the time to explain things and why it was done a certain way (plus they made me laugh!).
From: Richard Allen, Somewhere Sandy Sent: Sunday, November 16, 2014 11:18 PM Subject: Re: The Next OBA Newsletter - My Mentor
Sorry, been off line recently but was "asked" to come back to Afghan and work one more three- month rotation.
My "mentor" was FS Jim Mackintosh when in 1981, as an 18 year old, I was posted to the dizzy heights of JHQ Rheindahlen. A pretty unique posting for a young single mover and unlike anything I was equipped to handle at either Brize or Lyneham!
However with the likes of SAC Baz Murgatroyd, Sgt Clive Smith, Sgt Derek Baron, Sgt Martin Skelton and Cpl Colin Hawson we had some great days. Thanks, mainly through Jim's "guidance" he kept me on the straight and narrow and taught me a few things that I can honestly say stayed with me for the rest of my career, and into Civvy Street.
I can name numerous Movers who over the years I have had the honour to work alongside who have had a significant impact on my career, however due to the specific time and place back in 1981, it has to be Jim Mackintosh.
From: Murdo Macleod, Newport-on-Tay, Fife Sent: Monday, November 17, 2014 4:53 AM Subject: Re: The Next OBA Newsletter - My Mentor
My mentor - that's a good one. I certainly don't recall having one of those, I was mostly left to my own devices back in the day, everybody had their own probs, without worrying about anyone else, I know it wasn't meant to be like that, but hey, that's life!
There were ups and downs, swings and roundabouts, loads of laughs, and sometimes when I think back on it, I think we were all quite certifiable, but it was enjoyable just the same.
From: Jimmie Durkin, Stafford Sent: Monday, November 17, 2014 9:16 AM Subject: Re: The Next OBA Newsletter - My Mentor
Sgt Peter Smith at Air Movements Abingdon gave me my first all-round introduction to air movements and particularly air cargo which kept me going for many years and dare I say it was better than the movements course we did at Kidbrooke!
He also taught me to drive the stackers which proved very handy even though to drive the biggest was illegal for B and C Class drivers. I can't remember if he was an ex-AQM but his instruction on cargo and pax handling never let me down at Abingdon or elsewhere particularly at HQRAFG, Changi, Labuan, Brunei and Long Akah.
I recall my Cargo Control Office Documents team at Abingdon was joined by a very smart young Cpl Ivan Gervais in about 1959. Of course we were updated by the Senior Air Movements and Explosives courses in the 60s.
Those were the days!
See you, Jimmie
From: Allan Walker, Burnley. Lancs Sent: Wednesday, November 19, 2014 3:30 PM Subject: Re: The Next OBA Newsletter - My Mentor
My mentor was a gruff Scotsman called Sergeant Willie Semple.
Fresh faced from Movements School at RAF Kidbrooke I was posted to RAF El Adem as a Duty Mover. I was “allowed” to work on the aircraft under the guidance of Willie who was a very experienced Mover with years of experience. He didn’t suffer fools gladly.
During the return phase of an exercise we were backloading private cars of personnel who had completed their tour of duty. My nemesis came when we had to load a Morris Cowley into a Hastings.
The car was loaded onto the back of a scissors truck and driven to the aircraft. Because the Hastings was a tail-wheel aircraft loading was complicated because of the angle of the floor.
The scissors truck had only one plane to move in which was up and down so it was necessary to bounce the car into the aircraft.
As the Cowley was a large vehicle there was very little room on the platform to manouvere it. Willie suggested we remove the stanchions from the sides of the truck but being confident that there was no need to do this I overruled Willie and said we would load it with the sides dropped and stanchions in place.
All went well with 5 of us bouncing the car round and there was a great deal of muttering from Willie that it would not work. After a while we got to stage where we could go no further as the car was jammed hard against one of the stanchions and halfway onto the floor of the Hastings and it was hanging precariously of the end of the truck and would not move in any direction.
The air turned blue as Willie gave me a dressing-down doubting my parentage. I was despatched to the Movements Control Office to check that the trim sheet had been completed correctly. It took some time for the problem to be sorted out and the car was eventually loaded with a large dent in its side.
From that day on I listened intently to what Willie had to say regarding aircraft loading and learned a great deal from him which stood me in good stead later on when I had my own Team on UKMAMS.
From: Brian Harper, Glenwood, NL Sent: Wednesday, November 19, 2014 5:48 PM Subject: RAF Recruiting Video 1962-65
Well here's one to bring a smile to your face!
I recognise a few of the chaps at the tail end - including Jock Kennedy, Sqn Ldr John Wilkinson, Geordie Allan and Connor Nannery!
From: Syd Avery, Guardamar, Alicante Sent: Friday, November 21, 2014 9:11 AM Subject: Poppy Parades
As a fully paid up member of the Torrevieja Pipes and Drums, I was instrumental (?) in helping to celebrate the occasions at which we appeared, all on behalf of the various Royal British Legion branches in the area. The initial parade on October 15, was the launch of the Poppy Appeal in Torrevieja. Beautiful weather on the sea-front alongside the Hombre del Mar statue.
Well, we are now steadily plodding on towards Christmas, the next major event of the year. Cards are all written and stamped, waiting to be cast into the gentle ministrations of the Spanish Correo and U.K. Royal Mail systems.
The last major event was, of course Remembrance Day and the events surrounding that. I believe that the Admin. Apps. Association had a presence at the Cenotaph on the Sunday, something which was on my Bucket List. A little known fact is that the Association, and U.K.M.A.M.S.O.B.A., had a presence at Remembrance Day parades held here on the Coata Blanca.
On the dias was the British Vice Consul and the Mayor of Torrevieja amongst R.B.L. Officers. After the parade, the R.B.L. was kind enough to provide us with a buffet lunch. My Lady from Belgium, Rita, was here on holiday for this parade. She is a Flanders girl, so it was poignant for her. She was so impressed with it, that when she returned to work in Oostende, she contacted the R.B.L. to have a collection box and poppies placed in her hotel.
Also “on parade” there were two of the red-coated gentlemen from the Royal Hospital Chelsea.
Our next foray out, or rather in, was on November 6 and was a concert in aid of the R.B.L., and it was held in the Municipal Theatre in Torrevieja. We performed with other bands and dance troupes. From all reports, it was a resounding success and raised the odd centimo or ten for the R.B.L. Remembrance Sunday, with good weather, saw us at Mil Palmeras, where we again led the parade of Legion Standards to the church. After the service, one of our pipers played a lament as wreaths were laid. To finish the day, we led a march past of organisations and individuals, the U.K. Defence Attaché taking the salute. We were told, “….after the Dias, sharp right hand down….”, and the parade, believe it or not, actually ended in the restaurant where drinks were laid on!
On 11 November, we played in Hondon. This time we were inside as the weather on this day was heavy rain. A Drum Head Service was held and music was provided by a Spanish choir, the Phoenix Concert Band and ourselves. Again, a lament was played during the laying of the wreaths. The feed-back was that it was a brilliant service for this special day. We were due to march to the square in front of the church and play there, but the weather prevented that.
With the only musical experience for me prior to joining the band in March was switching the record player on, I was extremely nervous about taking part in such parades. The rest of the band all have some sort of musical experience, most of it from the Services. However, once the first “BOOM” was hit, the butterflies calmed down
The appreciation from audiences wherever we perform is tremendous, and makes our efforts, for me, worthwhile. No more band performances until 2015. Individual pipers have Hogmanay and Burns Night engagements. Burns Night I’ll attend, being back from Belgium in time, wearing my family’s tartan!
The first major event of next year is Easter, Semana Santa. No pipes or drums, just 100 old geezers carrying 1,500kg of Paso through the streets of Torrevieja in the Easter parades. No bonnets though.
Go well everyone, enjoy your families and Christmas.
From: Len Bowen, Chisholm ACT Sent: Sunday, November 23, 2014 6:04 AM Subject: Re: The Next OBA Newsletter - My Mentor
A mentor? My movements mentor? Okay.
Background: My father was an air gunner with RAF Coastal Command during WWII, during which time he rose from Corporal to Warrant Officer and he took his commission at the end of the war, transferring to Air Traffic Control. When I graduated from Officer Cadet Training Unit at RAF Feltwell in June 1964, his only word of advice to me was “Listen to your NCOs and particularly your SNCOs”.
This advice was to prove invaluable when I arrived at RAF Labuan (‘Lab’) in Borneo in early August 1965 as one of the two Duty Air Movements Officers (DAMOs) who worked day on/day off with our teams of RAF personnel and local Borneo labouring personnel.
My shift SNCO was one Sergeant ‘Nobby’ Clark. He first struck me as an overage and overweight SNCO just waiting out his time to a pension. How wrong I was! From day one, Nobby showed me how the system at Lab worked:
First light to 11:00: Launch the up-country tasks.
11:00 - 14:00: Prepare for and handle the daily schedule from Singapore; usually either a Hastings or an Argosy.
14:00 - last light: Handle the incoming tasks returning from up-country.
In between times make sure that the team is fully briefed on what is happening, not just for today but possibly tomorrow also - although that was really the other shift’s problem - or possibly what could be 7 - 10 days ahead. When I made a suggestion on how we should handle a situation or, heaven forbid, a problem, Nobby’s response was always “Wellll, Sir. We could do that, but have you considered……?”
As the weeks passed Nobby and I came to an understanding about who really ran the shift, at least until Nobby was tour-ex in December. I finally reached nirvana for a very young and junior Pilot Officer when Nobby asked me to come across to the Sergeants’ Mess for a beer after a particularly long and sh*tty day. Over several Tiger beers in the Snake Pit beer garden I heard his story; not directly from him, but from several other SNCOs.
In late 1943 a very young Aircraftsman Clark had been bored out of his skull counting blankets in a hot and dusty RAF stores depot ‘somewhere in Northern India’, when he saw a notice on the bulletin board calling for equipment mustering volunteers for “an interesting and challenging special operation”. In Mach 1944 then Corporal Clerk was one of the air movements personnel working the Chindits’ forward air head at Broadway, miles behind the Japanese front line in Burma! DC-3s, gliders and assorted light communication aircraft became their daily bread, as well as mounting all-round defence and being ready and able to fight their way out should the need arise.
Wow! Who better to mentor a green young officer on his first tour at the sharp end - or as near as Labuan would ever be to the sharp end?
Oh and who else could ensure that when, later in his tour, his idiot young officer decided to go flying up-country on his days off, introduce him to the Kiwi SASR just down the road where he could exchange his issue and totally unreliable Mk II STEN for a Remington 870 12 Ga and a box of SSG and/or an Owen Gun and four mags of 9mm for 24 or 48 hours for the cost of just one case of Tiger beer?
As my time at Lab progressed, and my experience and confidence built, Nobby slowly slipped back into the role of shift SNCO subordinate to his DAMO - me. He would still from time to time slide across behind me and say quietly “Wellllllll, Boss, we could do that, as you well know, but have you considered the possibility of……?”…but we’d usually then finish up back at the Sergeants’ Mess beer garden or at one of the bars in Victoria Town after we’d run our local laborers down to the wharf to get their boats back out to their floating villages.
By the time Nobby left Lab in December 1965 I was fully confident in my ability to run a 16-hour day shift that could include handling multiple RAF Whirlwind Mk 10s and RN Wessex Vs, RAF and RMAF Single and Twin Pioneers, RMAF Alouette IIIs, RAF Valettas and Pembrokes, Beveleys, Argosys, and Britannias, civilian charter Britannias on Ghurkha exchange lifts to Hong Kong, and even the occasional RAAF C130A.
Right up until I finally hung up my uniform in December last year, after just fifty years and one week in Air Force blue (..and just when I was thinking of making a career of it, too!), whenever I was about to make a really major decision that would affect not just myself but the rest of my team, Nobby’s words would come back: “Wellll, Sir. We could do that, but have you considered……?” ...and, if I hopefully had the time, I’d consider long and hard before I made the ‘D’!
From: Victor Smith, Brassall QLD Sent: Tuesday, November 25, 2014 12:41 AM Subject: White Ribbon Day
In 1999, the General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed 25 November to be recognized as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The symbol for the day is a white ribbon.
White Ribbon Day is Australia's only national, male-led campaign to end men's violence against women. This year, as part of the national campaign, two of No 37 Sqns J model C130s have had White Ribbons painted on their tails. These aircraft have been seen in the skies over Canberra and Sydney amongst other areas as part of the White Ribbon campaign.
From: Syd Avery, Guardamar, Alicante Sent: Wednesday, November 26, 2014 6:53 PM Subject: My Mentors.
Well, I think I would have to select three mentors.
Firstly, Sean "Hector" Young. My first sergeant as I ventured into the Movements world at Changi in 1966. I'd been propelled through the AMTS mill at Abingdon, and of course, as was the norm, and I don't suppose the system has changed, I was posted to Changi, in... Supply. Having badgered my way down to Air Movements, Sean was my shift Sergeant and proceeded to teach me everything I should have known!
Secondly, Dave Eggleton, one of my team Flight Sergeants. From Dave Egg, I learned not to go off half, or even three-quarters cocked, and that a little bit of thinking goes a long way. The six "P"'s (Proper Preparation Prevents P*ss Poor Performance). Also, to be a gentleman as much as one possibly can be.
Thirdly, Guy Blyth, my one-time team Leader and FLOPO, another calm, resourceful person who would listen and advise.
Not to forget every person I worked with, be they juniors or superiors. I would like to think that I learned something from them all, and that they, hopefully, learned something from me. "I taught them everything I know, and they still know nothing!" So, I can blame them all for what I am today, aha! I knew it wasn't my fault.
Thanks for the tremendous work you do with the Newsletter, Tony. Sincerely appreciated. Syd p.s Off to Damme, Belgium on 5th December for the Christmas and New Year's Holidays, but before I go can I pass on a couple of websites which may interest folks with children, grandchildren and, like me, with great grandchildren!
NORAD do a Santa tracking site whereby his progress can be followed around the world www.noradsanta.org
The other is Portable North Pole, fill in the questionnaire, and a personal video is e-mailed to the named child from Santa. I think the video can be downloaded.
See, Santa is real!
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Many stories abound concerning Rich Prime's time as the SAMO at RAF Aldergrove. Making VIP's wait in the rain, the spoof phone calls that have resulted in many a smashed telephone, Lt. Col's and above being threatened to be shown 'a thing or two' about air movements and infamous nights in disreputable Berlin establishments.
This story surrounds a Christmas draw and a Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer lamp. Rich turns to his wife and suggests that there is no way that the lamp would make its way into his house should it be won. Indeed, he would rather skip down the road naked wearing only a Father Christmas hat and a pair of antlers.
His wife was rather taken by this lamp and plotted to ensure it found its way into the house with the help of the PMC and the duty movements staff that were on call.
Upon returning home Rich was horrified to see the lamp in his front room; however, being a man of honour, he performed the "full monty" before skipping naked up and down his road much to the amusement of his flight and the watching neighbours.
The subsequent photographs did find their way around the flight, and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer has never appeared as innocent again.
From: David Stevens, Bangor Sent: Tuesday, November 18, 2014 11:02 AM Subject: RE: The Next OBA Newsletter - My Mentor
My Mentor(s): a couple really. But first a little background to set the scene.
My movements training was 'tacked' onto the end of my Supply training at RAF Kirton-in-Lindsey circa 1962. This comprised loading boxes into a Varsity 'shell' in a hangar and doing a couple of trim sheets for said aircraft. This was scarcely ideal preparation for what lay ahead in the REAL movement’s world. But, so be it.
First Mentor: My first posting. I duly arrived at RAF Sharjah in Sep. 1962. I was truly your original 20 year-old wet-behind-the-ears 'sprog'. My 2 i/c, WO Edwards was my first mentor because with the utmost respect, humour, patience and steely determination he really did show me the ropes, both air and sea movements.
Second Mentor: From RAF Sharjah I was posted to UK MAMS in Sep. 1963. Here I met one Flt Lt Gordon Spiers and he was my second mentor. He taught me, mostly by example, the softer skills needed for life; care for your team, organisation, planning and writing skills etc. etc. - what a man.
I kept this brief in order not to bore our readers. Cheers David
This issue is dedicated to the memory of Ray Beauchemin (RCAF)