The UK Government has signed a multi-million-pound contract for 17 additional F-35B Lightning II combat jets. The new order will double the UK current F-35 stealth jet fleet to 35 by the end of 2022. In total, the country has committed to acquire 138 F-35 joint strike fighters (JSFs) over the programme’s lifetime. The new short take-off / vertical landing (STOVL) fighter aircraft variant are slated to be delivered to the country between 2020 and 2022.
These additional F-35Bs will join the existing fleet of 16 UK aircraft currently based at the Royal Air Force (RAF) Marham and in the US, in addition to the two jets, which are already on order. British manufacturing companies are expected to produce 15% of the overall global order for 255 JSFs valued at $6bn. The F-35 programme is estimated to generate approximately £35bn to the UK economy, supporting nearly 25,000 job opportunities in the country.
UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “I am delighted to confirm that we are doubling the size of our F-35 force into a formidable fleet of 35 stealth fighters. This is another massive order in the biggest defence programme in history. Our military and industry are playing a leading role in the F-35 programme. We are now building this game-changing capability that will soon be ready for frontline action. This programme is set to bring an immense boost of £35bn into the British economy, and it will be welcome news to our firms that many more jets are now set for production.”
Verdict Media Limited.
From: Brian Hunt, Witney, Oxon Subject: Re: UKMAMS OBA OBB #102618
In the latest team brief I was interested to see Cyprus evacuees arriving at Brize in 1974.
Several UK MAMS teams were deployed to Akrotiri at the time and the attached photo may bring back a few memories. Some of us had gone to Kingsfield first to handle tourists who were flown down to Akrotiri. When we got back to Akrotiri we were only allowed to load freight; we were far too dangerous to be let near the passengers! I am sure some of those in this photo will be able to add some interesting stories!
From: Richard Lloyd, Dalgety Bay, Fife Subject: 2018 Movements Officers' Reunion
Nothing for you on Brize, but I did attend the Movements Officers Reunion at the RAF Club on 2nd November. It was a lot of fun, and attended by, I estimate, more than 100 Movers past and present.
Among the pasts (but by no means ‘past its’!) were Martin Henderson, Tom Iredale, John Pye, John MacDonald, Dave Bernard, Peter Whalley, Paul Crotty, John Lambert, Kit Ayers and me. We were each presented with a rather handsome slate coaster (see picture).
Richard (Dick) Lloyd
UK Veterans To Be Able To Apply For ID Cards From 2019
RAF Air Movements veterans on parade earlier this month.
Military veterans are to be given ID cards to recognise that they have served. The cards will initially be given to all personnel leaving the military, while veterans who have already made the transition to civilian life will be able to apply for a service leavers ID card from next year.
The initiative is designed to give veterans easier access to public and charitable support including healthcare and housing. Veterans are also being asked to identify themselves with their GP as having served, so that they can receive appropriate support.
When the next stage of the ID card scheme was announced, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: "It's absolutely vital that we remain resolute in our support for those who have served our country so well. We must never forget the sacrifices they have made. So I am determined that the Ministry of Defence does all that we can to ensure those who struggle after serving their country are properly supported."
The plans were first mentioned by Tobias Ellwood, the minister responsible for defence personnel and veterans, in the Commons in October 2017. He said the ID option was part of Government plans to improve the information it keeps about ex-military personnel.
Mr Ellwood, who was in the Royal Green Jackets for five years, serving in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Germany, told 'The Sun' newspaper last year he was "delighted" about the introduction of the initiative. He said: "As a former soldier, I am aware of the personal attachment with the service ID. "Carried at all times, it becomes symbolic of the responsibility and there is a strange sense of loss when upon departing the Armed Forces, it is taken from you. I'm delighted this initiative, which sits in the Armed Forces Covenant, will help us all better recognise our veterans and their service to our country."
It is being reported that the cards will give veterans better access to specialist services such as priority healthcare, housing and retail discounts as well as giving a sense of pride for having served their country.
From: Neil Collie, Canberra, ACT Subject: 'When We Were Young' Photos
Enjoying the ‘When We Were Young’ photos. I am particularly amused by the Mick McCann (RAF) and OBie O’Brien photos.
I know them separately, but both were DJ's in Masirah and Butterworth respectively, and both good mates. Oh, and ‘Arfur’ English was one of mine; he’s clearly sorted himself out!
Anyhow, I thought that I might add this photo, three DAMOs at Gutersloh circa 1990, Flt Lt's Rick O’Keefe, Phil Gough, and myself.
At Gutersloh at Christmas time we were flooded by Christmas cards from other units on the base. So we put this spoof one together and flooded the Station Mail system with them.
Us three DAMOs on the airstairs of the Britannia B-737 Trooper, Luton - Gutersloh - Luton.
Might be worth a post.
UK Atlas A400M breaks parachute delivery record
An A400M Atlas aircraft deployed with the British Royal Air Force (RAF) has delivered a record-breaking cargo load during a test conducted to evaluate the aircraft’s next-generation capabilities. During the trial, the Airbus-built turboprop military transport aircraft dropped a cargo load of 23t by parachute over the Salisbury Plain in the UK. The A400M Atlas demonstrated its ability to deliver heavy loads such as military equipment, supplies, and humanitarian aid, without the need to land on the ground.
The tests were conducted under the supervision of the UK Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) together with the RAF, the Joint Air Delivery Test and Evaluation Unit (JADTEU), and the Air Warfare Centre (AWC). QinetiQ and Airbus also supervised during the tests.
DE&S Atlas A400M delivery team leader James Dowson said: “These successful trials involving the largest load ever air-dropped by a UK aircraft are an impressive demonstration of A400M’s ability to deliver essential cargo to where it is needed. This has been a fantastic team effort bringing together staff from DE&S, the RAF A400M community at Brize Norton, as well as our industry partners to mature tactical capabilities for front-line use in RAF operations.”
Results obtained from the trials will now be provided for the Atlas development programme, which has been designed to qualify the Atlas aircraft to carry out heavy-load air-drop operations while in active service with the RAF.
The RAF is developing the A400M fleet to complement its existing fleet of C-130J Hercules aircraft, which can deliver a maximum cargo weight of approximately 15t via its Container Delivery System. The trials on the A400M Atlas jets [!] are being carried out by the RAF’s 206 Squadron, which is based at RAF Brize Norton alongside front-line squadrons XXIV and LXX.
The RAF will receive a total of 22 A400M aircraft from Airbus, all of which are expected to be delivered to the service by the early 2020's.
Ministry of Defence & Air Force Technology
RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire is the largest Royal Air Force station with approximately 5,800 Service Personnel, 1,200 contractors and 300 civilian staff.
The Station is home to the RAF's Strategic and Tactical Air Transport (AT) and Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR) forces, as well as host to many lodger and reserve units.
With its mixed fleet of aircraft, RAF Brize Norton provides rapid global mobility in support of UK overseas operations and exercises, as well as AAR support for fast jet aircraft both on operations and in support of UK Homeland Defence.
From: Clive Price, Brecon Subject: Mobile Memories.
No memories of Brize Norton, I can't even remember passing through. I have a near neighbour who is a chief tech armourer there, he tells me that its population is bigger than Brecon, the town where we live.
Loved the last newsletter with the German Atlas video, very impressive. Where I live in Wales, the low fliers come right past my house, and I've seen the Atlas at probably 1,000 ft. Big buggers, very impressive.
At night, I've seen an Amercan Osprey, with tilting engines that can land vertically flying our army "secret squirells" about. Up on the army range it set fire to the moorland and burnt out about a square mile before it was put out. As we used to say, if you can't take a joke, you shouldn't have joined!
Seeing the young photos of Geordie Readman and Pete Price in the last newsletter, I realised they were fat even at that age!
Taff Price, Old and Bold Formerely F-Team, Abingdon.
Videos - Inside RAF Brize Norton - Episodes 1-7
A series of seven videos that first aired on British TV in 2013, provided an in-depth look at the workings of RAF Brize Norton
Inside RAF Brize Norton - Episode 2
Inside RAF Brize Norton - Episode 3
Inside RAF Brize Norton - Episode 4
Inside RAF Brize Norton - Episode 5
Inside RAF Brize Norton - Episode 6
Inside RAF Brize Norton - Episode 7
An A400M Atlas flying the Mach Loop in Wales
From: Duncan Grant, Trentham, Staffs Subject: Memories of Brize Norton
RAF Movements School Brize Norton
How lucky was I to have Messrs Castle, Thomas, Gaskin and Steiner to look after me during my all too short tour. Of course, the late, great, Dave Eggleton kept us all on our toes at the Movements School. Instructor quality was also second to none, exemplified by the likes of Tim Newstead and Dave Walsh. I could go on, but you will be pleased to know I will not!
The real privilege was COMMAND under whatever QR allowed a mere Sqn Ldr to fly his flag on a Station commanded by a Group Captain! Why did I particularly enjoy this privilege? First, I appreciated being master of my own destiny after three years determining Supply Branch and Trade Policy in the bowels of the MoD. Secondly, it was the satisfaction of seeing the “students” being turned into Movers ready to support the Front Line. Thirdly, I particularly enjoyed reminding OC Admin Wing that he had no powers of direction over me!
But what an introduction into Command; a very satisfying bedding down in the first weeks of March 1982, then wham - enter Operation Corporate! Accelerated training did work - 8 hours classroom then 8 hours in the Cargo Shed soon made boys into men! That was my first introduction to Kit Ayers! At the time we also had an interesting reminder of the more clandestine aspects of war: Hunters being loaded discretely ready for export to a “friendly nation" (Chile so the story goes ). I am led to believe that JATE (as most of us remember it) also had to work harder than usual.
I must have done something right because after only 18 months on a tour that was second to none, I was whisked away to take over Tactical Supply Wing from Mike Barham (of Mov Ops fame). That was when Pete Berry uttered a sigh of relief! Little was I to know that in just under ten years I was to be back at the School to attend graduation ceremonies as the “reviewing offIcer". It was always a pleasant outing to get away from what some of you would remember as the “9th Floor" at MoD. Happy days at Brize!
From: Keri Eynon, Thatcham, Berks Subject: Memories of Brize Norton
My time at RAF Brize Norton covered October 1979 to June 1982 and was spent on the Movements School as an instructor. This entailed working in the hangar where the mock-ups of aircraft were kept and used. We gathered items to be used as loads for various situations with the appropriate paperwork prepared in readiness for whichever course would be using it.
At times it also meant showing the courses how to actually use the tie-down equipment in all its various ways. On occasion, I went with other instructors taking courses to overeas stations for actual practical work which included junior courses to Germany and officer's courses to Cyprus.
My other experiences of Brize was attending the Senior Movements Course and numerous times to catch flights while on UKMAMS and a few times on different postings.
Movements School Hangar with aircraft mock-ups
On the social side, I enjoyed the ten pin bowling and the Movements School was lucky enough to have a strong Inter-section team and we won a number of trophies. But the most memorable event of my time at Brize was when, in 1981, I met the love of my life, Mary, and we were married the following year.
From: David Powell, Princes Risborough, Bucks Subject: Memories of Brize Norton
First a bit of background to my 1960s memory of Brize Norton. At the time RAF Abingdon (cheers - drinks all round!) was the hub of the RAF’s air movements community. As well as UKMAMS, units of this period included: Andovers, 46 Sqn and the OCU; 47 Sqn Beverley’s until disbandment in 1967; the RAF’s Parachute School, the Movements School, the station’s Air Movements Squadron, and the Joint Air Transport Establishment (JATE).
A quick side-track if I may? I can’t prove it (and I haven’t really tried), but while researching some notes for a talk about the story of RAF mobile air movements, it occurred to me that the unusual (but as it turned out very sensible) top-heavy MAMS team structure of junior officer, flight sergeant, sergeant, corporal and two professional air movements qualified airmen, was not the result of some detailed staff work based on logical research, analysis and synthesis. It was just a happy accident borne out of necessity and practical reality! My theory is that when, in the late 1950s, there first arose a need for scratch teams of movers for an off-route task, the logical place to look was JATE.
Let’s face it, the actual movements squadrons which supported ‘the route’ were all pretty busy. On the other hand, JATE was a relatively quiet backwater beavering away developing and testing tie down schemes for air landed loads and lashing schemes for air dropped stores, and without next hour, next day deadlines of the front line movements squadrons. The nature of JATE meant that the need was for brains rather than brawn. Consequently, without digging out establishment charts for the period, I would expect that there would have been a preponderance of experienced junior officers and SNCOs at JATE with just a few humpers for the actual loading trials.
Therefore, when the calls first came for a team of half a dozen spare movers to go on task off-route, the torchlight fell on JATE. Ping a junior officer and get him (no hers at JATE then) to pull together a few blokes. And, the nature of the pool was such that the likely offering would have been a couple of SNCO’s, a corporal to do the paper work and a couple of lads. Having a couple of SNCOs, a Flight Sergeant and a Sergeant, proved ideal for organising labour from available on site assets, typically an army company or local labour. And, so the MAMS team concept emerged, or to be more accurate, fell out, from JATE manpower availability!
Your comments please on the back of a Beverley trim sheet?
Where was I? Memories of Brize, circa 1968. During my time with F team, the Squadron had expanded to some 9 (or was it 10 teams?). And, with such numbers and a heavy task load, the gods were not always as kind as they could be in providing hidden challenges, traps and misfortune driven failures. So it came about that there was at that time one team, and in particular one team leader, who had really upset the gods who kept an eye on movers. No names, no clues, those who were there will know of whom I speak!
Anyway, Brize Norton, one early morning and F team was dropped off at the brand new shiny 53 Squadron Belfast ready and looking forward to our next task, USA here we come. Welcome arms did not, however, await us. Instead, at the foot of the steps an even more than usual unhappy AQM (sorry Air Loadmaster) literally barred our progress.
“Are you Flying Officer X?” was the challenge.
“No it’s your lucky day, it is I and F Team!”
“Stay there”. The AQM disappears and is seen in agitated conversation with the Captain and Crew up in the glass house cockpit. He returns.
“The Skipper says he will only let you come on board if you provide a written piece of paper certifying the at you are not Flg Off X and his team of lunatics.”
So SAC Jack Murry, our mobile ‘office’, produces some paper, and I draft and sign the required certification which is handed to the AQM.
“Stay there!” And he disappears back into the Belfast.
For those unfamiliar with the RAF’s Belfast, this meant not just a climb up the integral aircraft steps up in to the aircraft but a further dozen or steps up the steep circular staircase to the ball room, sorry spacious cockpit. And, then back again.
On return our now somewhat breathless doorkeeper eventually welcomes us. “Skipper says he’ll have you, so get a move on!”
And after 50 years, that is the one abiding memory I have of RAF Brize Norton!
David Powell F Team UKMAMS 1967-69
PS. I think that this was the trip when on the approach to the runway at Trenton, with the co-pilot ‘at the helm’, air traffic apparently called a 4 knot starboard cross wind. This turned out to be 40 knots port cross wind. On the Belfast’s first bounce, the skipper took the controls. We fishtailed down the runway with the low sun coming in through the windows on alternate sides. When we climbed out ‘shaken and stirred’ the chalk writing on the side walls of the aircraft tires ‘BZN INV 123’ had been scrubbed off during the landing!
From: Alexander Angus Subject: Memories of Brize Norton
I have several memories of Brize. Two offloads come to mind, one was a load of teak railway sleepers that had been laid by POWs on the infamous Burma railway. I believe they now form part of the Far East Prisoners of War (FEPOW) exhibit at the National Memorial Arboretum. A shard from the load is also in the display cabinet of my RBL branch.
The other offload concerned a 6 litre Mustang that came in on a Belfast from the States. Yes, it was drivable, so I did, not gently to the shed, but with the rest of the team crammed inside, and pedal to the metal, down the pans. With the rear full, the front was off the ground, and I don't know how we didn't hit something. Came back from the big hangar at a more sedate pace, half expecting the Snowdrops [RAF Police - named for the white-topped caps they wore] to show up.
As several of us had been posted to Brize with the Britannias from Lyneham, there was a period of commuting back and forth from Lyneham to Brize until quarters were available. Three of us on my shift, Alan Nicholson, Pete Gulliver and myself, traveled together in the same car. One night the fog came down so thick that nothing was moving, and it was forecast to stay for quite some time. I asked Chiefy if we could stand down as it was going to be a long drive back to Lyneham, he agreed and so Pete, Alan and I set off. Pete was driving, but he could barely see beyond the front bumper, Alan curled up on the back seat, and I had my head out of the window telling Pete how far from the edge of the road he was. It took us almost three hours to cover the trip that we usually did in 45 minutes. I was soaking wet, Pete was shattered, and Alan knew nothing about it!
From: Stephen Bird, Chester Subject: Memories of Brize Norton
I have so many memories having done 3 tours there between 1980 and 1998. But only one thing sticks in my mind, and that is the deafening roar of VC10s taking off on still frosty mornings. You could hear them over half of the county. The locals in Brize Norton village/Carterton/Alvescot and many other villages must have had the patience of a saint!
Stephen Bird Head Porter University of Chester
From: Daniel Fraser, Liverpool Subject: Memories of Brize Norton
I finally have one for the newsletter - it’s a both a sad and funny story of one [dark and stormy?] night on shift.
It started out the same as any normal night at Brize - check all the vehicles, see what’s on for the night, and prep for the flights. Check-in began for a couple of flights; one to Cyprus and the other to the Falklands. It was the latter where the story continues...
All was going well, the lads were stacking bags in the terminal and pallets of freight were being dragged. As the loading began, the team leader (who shall not be named, still serving) passed out instructions to one lad to collect a pallet from the secure locker. This isn’t a normal pallet of freight, it’s the body of a Falkland Islander returning to be buried.
We all knew what was happening and we even offered the family the opportunity to see it loaded, which they declined, thankfully! When the lad pulled up with the dolly in tow he was questioned as to why it was empty!
On the way from the hangar to the aircraft, the pallet had jumped the stops and slid off! We all ran to the road which he had taken to see it laying on the ground. Someone scurried away to get a JCB and forked it back onto the dolly, a quick look around by everyone to check if we had been seen, nobody about, we had got away with it.
Once the aircraft was loaded, we all went to the baggage hall for a debrief from the team leader which went along the lines of “No one saw that, did they? Right then, pub tomorrow, first round is on me!"
From: Syd Avery, Damme Subject: Memories of Brize Norton
Never had the pleasure of being based at Brize, only using it as a departure/arrival point. I do remember our erstwhile Boss trying to walk through a plate glass window from airside, mistaking it for a sliding door. Did it go Bbboiiing!
The only other incident of note was in the build up to Gulf War 1 whilst flying for African International. Arrived in our stealth DC8, and standing at the top of the steps eating a pie. A Cpl. of the loading team walked passed several times looking a bit puzzled. Then stopped and asked me, "WEREN'T you Syd Avery?"
No answer to that, really!
Regards to all,
From: Tony Freeman, Thornhill, Dumfries Subject: Memories of Brize Norton
Thank you Tony. As you know, 4624 Squadron was formed at Brize Norton in 1983 and I have a couple of amusing tales from my time there.
Many readers will remember WO Reg Carey, known as "Uncle Reg" and celebrated for his rendering of "Eskimo Nell" at dinner nights. When he retired from the Squadron, he was towed off the Station in the rear cockpit section of a Buccaneer. Once ensconced in the cockpit, 'imagine his surprise when he saw his own eyes' as the pilot stood up and turned around - it was Reg' s son who was a qualified Buccaneer pilot, flown in for the day!
On another day, the OC, Sqn Ldr Ian Envis, was inspecting my flight and I was dutifully plodding along behind him when he stopped in front of an airman who was wearing his cap a little too far on the back of his head. He said, 'SAC Xxx, you look like a bus driver!' to which I whispered he IS a bus driver Sir' which he was. After all, it was an auxiliary squadron!
You couldn't make it up!
From: John Leek, 79380 La Ronde Subject: Memories of Brize Norton
I was at Brize between 1981 and 84 but on POL, Supply. My wife, Lynne, worked in the terminal as a civilian and was conniving with a Movements Officer (Flt/Lt Fealey?) to get her on a flight to Kenya to visit our best friends (he was seconded to the Kenyan Air Force at Laikipia and living in Nanyuki). Subsequently she was booked on a VC10 flight allocated to a troop movement but, at the last moment, the cunning plan was discovered and squashed. However, since I was on leave (to cover her absence), it was suggested that I went instead!
So, posing as a Sergeant in the 2nd Battalion, the Light Infantry, I was boarded first and seated with the CO. During the flight, via Palermo, I was quizzed about A) Why I had a seat with leg room. B) Why I was supposed to be in his unit but unknown to him, and C) Why I was going to Kenya. I responded to all three of his questions that, “My mission is above your pay grade.”
So, arrived Nairobi and met by my mate on the pan with his own vehicle. As we got my bag out of the belly hold, the CO arrived, looking for his. Put my bag in the car, winked at the CO and departed!
During the next week, I spent most days socialising in Nanyuki and learning that you never, never, never mix Tusker with White Cap. One night, we went to the local hostelry that was the informal Sgts/Officers Mess and, whilst trying to outdrink 3 USAF pilots, guess who walked in? Yes, the CO!
Fortunately, we had briefed all and sundry about the possibility of meeting the guy so, as one, the 3 jockeys leapt to attention and saluted - not the CO but me, before I made a sharpish exit!
Return flight was on the first returning trooping aircraft out to Kenya by the Tristar - 6 pax and 17 mixed RAF & BA Aircrew - the bar was still there but not offered to the inbound troops - say no more!
From: John Gardiner, Carterton Subject: Memories of Brize Norton
Having seemed to have spent most of my service life at Brize Norton, I thought I had better answer your ‘call to arms’ with by Brize recollections.
For the record, I never actually ever applied for Brize but managed to be posted there as follows:
1972/1975 - Following assimilation to Movements Controller (Shift Cargo/Traffic/Load Control/Load Plans) - SAC/Cpl 1978/1981 - Shift Traffic/Passenger Terminal (escaped to the Movements School in 1980!) - Cpl/Sgt 1985/1987 - Movements School - Following Commission into Supply Fg Off/Flt Lt 1993/1995 - OC Tech Supply Sqn - Sqn Ldr 1999/2001 - OC Airportability JADTEU - Sqn Ldr (PVRed 2001) 2003/2018 - Air Tanker - Primary Sub-Contract Manager / Head of Material Logistics (retired Aug 2018) - The only time I applied for a job at Brize.
As you can imagine, I have many memories of Brize. These include the Maltese and Cyprus withdrawals with the Cyprus one being the most memorable in 1974 as we were working out of Fairford at the time as our runway was been repaired.
Working in the Passenger Terminal was probably not my greatest experience although there was always a laugh to be had… Dave Giles and Derek Cheatham with their own method of dealing with difficult passengers was always interesting, but referring to a Naval Commander as a ‘Fishhead Zob’ was probably not Derek’s finest hour. Making up passenger announcements for the new WRAF D Pax Os to broadcast on the tannoy was always great sport which was sure to bring looks of incredulity from some of the passengers.
My first tour on the Movements School as a Cpl were some of the most enjoyable, particularly having the pleasure of working with Dave Wall in the Training Support Cell where every day would be a laugh. Hearing the late WO John Hathrill asking us every Monday morning if we had had a good weekend... Dave’s reply was always the same, ‘yes, thank you Sir, wife left me and the dog died’. John never batted an eyelid but would reply with ‘good, good, carry on!
Watching the antics of the Exam Cell encumbents of Chris Bird, Eddy Grace, Dave Howley and Bob Satterly was hilarious as they worked in the Portacabin where entrance to outsiders was strictly forbidden. MALM Ivan Burns riding his horse to the RAFMS one morning because he wasn’t allowed to bring his dog to work when some of the Flight Commanders had theirs with them. Ken Morris running foul of the Loadies with his very own descriptor of that particular profession…brought him much unwanted attention! I'm sure Ken will reveal all for the price of a pint!
Going back to the School after commissioning to set up FDCS and ALP training ably assisted by Nige Robinson and Ian Almond - two of the biggest wind up merchants in the trade. To think that we were funded to go to British Airways for six weeks with 10 SNCOs from the Trade to learn all about FDCS etc….not sure it would happen today. Looking back though, it was probably one of the most enjoyable projects I worked on.
Finally ending my RAF Career at JADEU was a memory I will not forget even though I short toured when a not-to-be-missed opportunity presented itself ‘outside'. I still live within earshot of Brize having been in this particular house for over 30 years. I still see many of my old ALM adversaries around Carterton from my days on Trims in Load Control. We are, you will be pleased to know, mostly on speaking terms!
From: Allan Mitchley, Rhyl, Denbighshire Subject: Memories of Brize Norton
I had 2 stints at Brize Norton, 1980-83, C Shift Cargo and Pax.
On swing shift the whole shift went for a social pint with the Masons being a favourite pub.
1992-2002 worked on day cargo imports and customs clearance after Bruce Oram persuaded me to go back when he spotted me working as a restaurant shift manager.
I had some great times and bosses at Brize - Sam Borland, Owen Connell, Frank Thorrington, Jim Muir, and Pete Biggs.
I now live in Rhyl and am chairman of the Rhyl RAFA, keeping in touch with ex-movers.
The Masons Arms, Carterton
From: Jim Nadin, Lincoln Subject: Memories of Brize Norton
Sadly, I had very little connection with Brize Norton in the early years, apart from it being the point of departure for a couple of trips overseas and doing rollers in the back seat of a Red Arrow Hawk.
My closet connectivity was the MoD Harrogate-based desk officer for the Tristar fleet when Tim Leaning was OC Supply Wing. That was seat of the pants stuff along with the then Strike Command, Marshall Aerospace and a Gulf war thrown in for good measure.
From: David Moss, Sorbie, Dumfries and Galloway Subject: Memories of Brize Norton
Having arrived back at Waddington from my holidays in the sun at Khormaksar, I met the lady, Nina, who in 1969, became my first wife. As Airman's Married Quarters (AMQ's) were very scarce, we were living in a static caravan in the local village. It was just starting to get a bit cool as winter got under way when I was "invited" to move to Brize Norton. We applied for my wife to also get posted there with me and duly applied for an AMQ.
I went on on ahead to Brize Norton and started duties in the Pax Section. A few weeks passed and we were allocated a flat in one of the new blocks that had just been built and we would be moved in before Christmas. Having reported at the flat for march-in and signed the necessary papers, I walked out of the door and who should I bump into but Dennis Smith who was on Movements at Khormaksar with me and was just moving in next door.
Dennis was working in the cargo shed and seemed to be enjoying himself playing with all the posh new toys that we would have been really needed in Aden.
The pax section was rather more complicated than Aden. Out there we did tend to have a much less complicated way of doing things, but most of the time I found Brize to be interesting and managed to get myself a PWS number one uniform (what a luxury after wearing battle dress in all weathers).
After a couple of years, there was a bit of a swap around and I moved to the cargo shed and got checked out on all the toys again including the gantry crane and how to escape from it if the electrics decided to fail. It was really a nice break to move back onto doing the real job again, but it was a bit hair raising operating that crane to unload 7.5 ton ships' propellers off of the lorries as the cranes SWL was only 5 tons and if the vehicle could not get close to the end of the cross beam it did tend to sag alarmingly. I can't imagine what the health and safety boys would say in their panic mode if that was to be done now.
In the middle of 1971 we found to our delight that Nina was expecting our first child so as was the rules the she would be leaving her job as an assistant air traffic controller in the WRAF to take on a new 24/7 job as a mum. This meant that there would not be a problem about getting posted together so I applied to join UKMAMS and was accepted.
My birthday present on 20 March 1972 was to travel around RAF Abingdon the real home of the squadron, signing into all the necessary departments as I was being posted in.
Then the best part of my time in the RAF began!
From: Gordon Gray, Allestree, Derby Subject: Memories of RAF Brize Norton
It was exactly 53 years ago on 10 November 1965 when I was posted to Brize after a 12 month stint in Movements on Gan. For unmarried airmen arriving at the time we shared billet accommodation with Airfield Construction (Squadron ? great Guys but mud was everywhere and 'bull' nights were manic) opposite the Spotlight Club.
This was to be my second Movements posting since leaving Supply duties at Valley in 1963 There was a great deal of speculation whilst abroad about the 'scuttlebutt' going around of the possibility after the US Air Force vacated the Base in April '65 that it might become the new London Airport.
I was thankful I'd got a Movements posting and that PMC had not bounced me back to Supply; but initially it might just as well have been. On arrival at the base in time for Christmas '65 we were just a handful of half a dozen or so Movers in the Section; no aeroplanes, non in sight with only odd jobs to do and working with Barrack Stores delivering furniture to Married Quarters.
Occasionally, volunteers for detatchments would be offered to whomever might be in the crew room at the time; that used to relieve some of the boredom, off to either Lyneham Air Cargo or Cargo Allocations at Upavon. Yes! there were the odd Trade Training sessions when Sgt Moynihan gave us a Beverley, Britannia or Hastings Trim Sheet to complete but no physical freight to shift.
My recollections of personalities in the crew room then, some of whom OBA members will remember, namely Terry Titterington, sent away on the Zambian oil lift, Paddy Gleeson, Mick Pursey ex Akrotiri, Baz Chappell, Terry Foster and Jock Sutherland, both ex Gan, Taff Jenkins, Roy Platford (Storeman) and I think, Mick Day. It's with sadness, I know that three of those have passed away.
There were times of being confined to camp on standby due to national emergencies or Operations, one of which was an impending rail strike. Operating from a small brick built building (my recollection, No.112) just inside the security fence and in front of the prospective Cargo Hangar 49.
During the period of inactivity with the runway undergoing installation of Belfast (Autoland?) system, 53 and 10 Squadron aircraft operated from Fairford. But with Belfast aircraft (specifically XR367) coming into service with 53 Squadron, the opportunity of flying down to Boscombe Down to pick up spares often occurred; then luckily see the dead TSR-2 parked on the side taxiway. Fortunately no such things as Tacevals then!
Postings to Brize, in '72 and again '78, were very memorable, but a couple of personal occurrences stick in my mind.
Concorde with BA crews were training before going into commercial service allowing the opportunty for air experience on the aircraft were often notified to the shifts during quieter periods.
My lucky trip over the Bay of Biscay on G-BOAE with one Captain Airs in Feb 1978 was not supersonic but, during flight sat at the rear and seeing the airframe flex at the forward point near the cockpit was quite a unique experience too. That airframe is now parked at Grantly Adams, Barbados.
Concorde G-BOAE speeds past media during trials at Brize Norton
An unusual but regular feature for guys receiving foreign aircraft was the Imperial Iranian Air Force (707?) picking up a priceless cargo for their government; that was always accompanied by a complimentary thanks of generous quantities of pistachio nuts.
Satisfying memories of Brize after my initial trepidation was the period 1974-75 when taking over from Taff Sugg and being designated as 'squadron schoolmaster' for that year instructing nearly 50 LAC Mov Ops for their PE1 Trade exams. It was a case of catching them, getting their release from shift duties or during standown time. Well they all passed!
Unfortunately there are some conflicting emotional memories too. During the Falklands conflict of 1982 on Ascension Island, a VC10 (Red Crossed) on Casevac duties one night had Op Corparate AOG spares for the Harriers and on move to Port Stanley. The aircaft was staging through to Montevideo to pick up, amongst others, casualties of the conflict. No warlike stores were to be on that aircraft into Montevideo.
We could not find the spares even after numerous searches. Loadmasters, Brize Movers and DAMO's could not account for their location on the aircraft. Believe me, serious and frantic calls to Brize, discussions with the Crew, a creeping delay to the aircraft departure all accumulated to give me as Team Leader a major problem for the remainder of that night. Of course the aircraft was impounded on arrival at Montevideo. The missing spares were found in the obvious place for last minute loading, right at the top of the vent of the aircraft; the last place to look, hindsight and all that! Gray was on the mat that morning, as questions were being asked in the House of Commons.
Too many memories for me to divulge further, but generally happy ones.
Footnote: A couple of decades later since that night in Ascension I scanned Hansard for that period but found no record of Questions in the House! But my question is, did Sqdn. Ldr. Mover boss try to frighten the life out of me? I was already s......g bricks!
A phenomenal change at Brize, so very different now from those early years. Human resilience must surely be under greater pressure with the role of the Base now.
Thank you Tony for this opportunity!
Royal Canadian Army sappers await attack after constructing makeshift barricades near Alvdal in central Norway during Exercise Trident Juncture, November 4, 2018. Rob Kunzing/NATO
Power Index rating: 0.4356 (NATO member) Total population: 35,623,680 Total military personnel: 88,000 Total aircraft strength: 413 Fighter aircraft: 60 Combat tanks: 80 Total naval assets: 63 Defence budget: $16.4 billion
Taiwanese submarines at a navy base in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, March 21, 2017. Reuters
Power Index rating: 0.4331 Total population: 23,508,428 Total military personnel: 1,932,500 Total aircraft strength: 843 Fighter aircraft: 286 Combat tanks: 2,005 Total naval assets: 87 Defence budget: $10.725 billion
Algerian soldiers at the Tiguentourine Gas Plant in In Amenas, 994 miles southeast of Algiers, January 31, 2013. REUTERS/Louafi Larbi
Power Index rating: 0.4296 Total population: 40,969,443 Total military personnel: 792,350 Total aircraft strength: 528 Fighter aircraft: 97 Combat tanks: 2,405 Total naval assets: 85 Defence budget: $10.57 billion
Polish soldiers during a military exercise with the US 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division near Drawsko-Pomorskie, November 13, 2014. Kacper Pempel/Reuters
Power Index rating: 0.4276 (NATO member) Total population: 38,476,269 Total military personnel: 184,650 Total aircraft strength: 466 Fighter aircraft: 99 Combat tanks: 1,065 Total naval assets: 83 Defence budget: $9.36 billion
An Australian soldier crosses a beach during an assault exercise as part of multinational EXERCISE RIMPAC, in Kaneohe, Hawaii, July 29, 2014. Hugh Gentry/REUTERS
Power Index rating: 0.4203 Total population: 23,232,413 Total military personnel: 79,700 Total aircraft strength: 469 Fighter aircraft: 78 Combat tanks: 59 Total naval assets: 47 (two aircraft carriers) Defence budget: $26.3 billion
Vietnamese soldiers march in a parade marking the 70th National Day at Ba Dinh Square in Hanoi, Sep 2, 2015. REUTERS/Kham
Power Index rating: 0.4098 Total population: 96,160,163 Total military personnel: 5,488,500 Total aircraft strength: 283 Fighter aircraft: 76 Combat 1,545 Total naval assets: 65 Defence budget: $3.365 billion
A sniper and spotter from the Spanish Lepanto Battalion line up their target as part of an exercise near Folldal during Exercise Trident Juncture. Photo by 1st German/Netherlands Corps
Power Index rating: 0.4079 (NATO member) Total population: 48,958,159 Total military personnel: 174,700 Total aircraft strength: 524 Fighter aircraft: 122 Combat tanks: 327 Total naval assets: 46 (one aircraft carrier) Defence budget: $11.6 billion
18. North Korea
Power Index rating: 0.3876 Total population: 25,248,140 Total military personnel: 6,445,000 Total aircraft strength: 944 Fighter aircraft: 458 Combat tanks: 5,243 Total naval assets: 967 Defence budget: $7.5 billion
A Pakistani Ranger gestures during a daily parade at the Pakistan-India joint checkpoint at Wagah border, on the outskirts of Lahore, October 23, 2011. Mohsin Raza/Reuters
Power Index rating: 0.3689 Total population: 204,924,861 Total military personnel: 919,000 Total aircraft strength: 1,281 Fighter aircraft: 321 Combat tanks: 2,182 Total naval assets: 197 Defence budget: $7 billion
Israeli soldiers secure the Israel-Lebanon border, Jan 28, 2015. Ariel Schalit/AP
Power Index rating: 0.3444 Total population: 8,299,706 Total military personnel: 615,000 Total aircraft strength: 596 Fighter aircraft: 252 Combat tanks: 2,760 Total naval assets: 65 Defence budget: $20 billion
Indonesian soldiers arrive in Palembang to reinforce firefighter teams in south Sumatra province, September 10, 2015. Beawiharta Beawiharta/REUTERS
Power Index rating: 0.3266 Total population: 260,580,739 Total military personnel: 975,750 Total aircraft strength: 478 Fighter aircraft: 41 Combat tanks: 418 Total naval assets: 221 Defence budget: $6.9 billion
Brazilian navy personnel patrol in an armored vehicle during an operation against drug dealers in Mangueira slum in Rio de Janeiro, June 19, 2011. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes
Power Index rating: 0.3198 Total population: 207,353,391 Total military personnel: 1,987,000 Total aircraft strength: 723 Fighter aircraft: 43 Combat tanks: 469 Total naval assets: 110 Defence budget: $29.3 billion
A soldier on an Iranian navy destroyer at Port Sudan in Sudan, October 31, 2012. Reuters
Power Index rating: 0.3131 Total population: 82,021,564 Total military personnel: 934,000 Total aircraft strength: 505 Fighter aircraft: 150 Combat tanks: 1,650 Total naval assets: 398 Defence budget: $6.3 billion
Egyptian military police at the Almaza military airport where bodies of soldiers who died in attacks in north Sinai were given to relatives for burial, in Cairo, January 30, 2015. Associated Press
Power Index rating: 0.2751 Total population: 97,041,072 Total military personnel: 1,329,250 Total aircraft strength: 1,132 Fighter aircraft: 309 Combat tanks: 4,946 Total naval assets: 319 (two aircraft carriers) Defence budget: $4.4 billion
An Italian soldier patrols the Lebanese coast from a helicopter, as the Italian aircraft-carrying cruiser Garibaldi patrols near Beirut, October 1, 2006. REUTERS/Fadi Ghalioum
Power Index rating: 0.2565 (NATO member) Total population: 62,137,802 Total military personnel: 267,500 Total aircraft strength: 828 Fighter aircraft: 90 Combat tanks: 200 Total naval assets: 143 (two aircraft carriers) Defence budget: $37.7 billion
German Bundeswehr soldiers fire mortars during the Joint Air Warfare Tactical Exercise 2014 at an army training area in Bergen, May 20, 2014. REUTERS/Fabrizio Bensch
Power Index rating: 0.2461 (NATO member) Total population: 80,594,017 Total military personnel: 208,641 Total aircraft strength: 714 Fighter aircraft: 94 Combat tanks: 432 Total naval assets: 81 Defence budget: $45.2 billion
Turkish army tanks and military personal in Karkamis on the Turkish-Syrian border in the southeastern Gaziantep province, Turkey, August 25, 2016. Umit Bektas/Reuters
Power Index rating: 0.2216 (NATO member) Total population: 80,845,215 Total military personnel: 710,565 Total aircraft strength: 1,056 Fighter aircraft: 207 Combat tanks: 2,446 Total naval assets: 194 Defence budget: $10.2 billion
Japanese Ground Self-Defence Force tanks fire during an annual training session at Higashifuji training field in Gotemba, west of Tokyo, August 19, 2014. Yuya Shino/REUTERS
Power Index rating: 0.2107 Total population: 126,451,398 Total military personnel: 310,457 Total aircraft strength: 1,508 Fighter aircraft: 290 Combat tanks: 679 Total naval assets: 131 (four aircraft carriers) Defence budget: $44 billion
A South Korean army K1A1 battle tank fires during South Korea-US joint live-fire drills at Seungjin Fire Training Field in Pocheon, near the North Korean border, August 28, 2015. AP
7. South Korea
Power Index rating: 0.2001 Total population: 51,181,299 Total military personnel: 5,827,250 Total aircraft strength: 1,560 Fighter aircraft: 406 Combat tanks: 2,654 Total naval assets: 166 (one aircraft carrier) Defence budget: $40 billion
A British Parachute Regiment soldier prepares to load a helicopter during a simulated medical evacuation at the Hohenfels Training Area in Germany, June 17, 2016. Sgt. Seth Plagenza/US Army
6. United Kingdom
Power Index rating: 0.1917 (NATO member) Total population: 64,769,452 Total military personnel: 279,230 Total aircraft strength: 832 Fighter aircraft: 103 Combat tanks 227 Total naval assets: 76 (two aircraft carriers) Defence budget: $50 billion
Tanks drive down the Champs Elysees avenue during the Bastille Day parade in Paris, Friday, July 14, 2017. Associated Press
Power Index rating: 0.1869 (NATO member) Total population: 67,106,161 Total military personnel: 388,635 Total aircraft strength: 1,262 Fighter aircraft 299 Combat tanks: 406 Total naval assets: 118 (four aircraft carriers) Defence budget: $40 billion
Indian soldiers, followed by Bhishma tank and vehicle-mounted Brahmos missiles in a Republic Day parade in front of the presidential palace in New Delhi, January 23, 2009. AP
Power Index rating: 0.1417 Total population: 1,281,935,911 Total military personnel: 4,207,250 Total aircraft strength: 2,185 Fighter aircraft: 590 Combat tanks: 4,426 Total naval assets: 295 (one aircraft carrier) Defence budget: $47 billion
Soldiers from a special unit of the People's Armed Police in Xinjiang at a training session in Kashgar, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, China. Reuters/Stringer
Power Index rating: 0.0852 Total population: 1,379,302,771 Total military personnel: 2,693,000 Total aircraft strength: 3,035 Fighter aircraft: 1,125 Combat tanks: 7,716 Total naval assets: 714 (one aircraft carrier) Defence budget: $151 billion
Russian President Vladimir Putin inspects the Vice-Admiral Kulakov anti-submarine-warfare ship in Novorossiysk, Sep 23, 2014. REUTERS/Mikhail Klimentyev/RIA Novosti/Kremlin
Power Index rating: 0.0841 Total population: 142,257,519 Total military personnel: 3,586,128 Total aircraft strength: 3,914 Fighter aircraft: 818 Combat tanks: 20,300 Total naval assets: 352 (1 broken a/c carrier) Defence budget: $47 billion
US Marines practice "combat gliding" at Camp Wilson on Twentynine Palms, California, January 31, 2015. USMC photo by Lance Cpl. Kathryn Howard/Released
1. United States
Power Index rating: 0.0818 (NATO member) Total population: 326,625,791 Total military personnel: 2,083,100 Total aircraft: 13,362 Fighter aircraft: 1,962 Combat tanks: 5,884 Total naval assets: 415 (20 aircraft carriers) Defence budget: $647 billion
From: Syd Avery, Damme Subject: Remembering the Fallen
Now that Riet has retired, we spend about 6 months in Damme, just outside Brugge, Belgium, and 6 months in Spain. We are about 60 kms from her five brothers and one sister. We split the time to cover holidays and family bits and pieces and social events. The most social events are down south, lunch clubs, sunshine etc. We joined a U3A (University of the Third Age) club in Torrevieja but have decided not to continue with it as things are constantly getting cancelled and things changed.
We joined a similar group in Rojales, which we've christened the Wrohales Wrinklies! 90% Spaniards. It is a blast, absolute chaos but a great bunch of people, so sociable. Eating out, theatre, golf etc., is so much cheaper in Spain than Belgium. We go back to Spain on Dec. 5th., and that weekend, we have a round of golf, Captain's Dinner then next day the Wrinklies Christmas dinner. Riet says that it is a good thing she is retired, otherwise she would not have the time to fit everything in.
Anyway, Riet and I attended the Armistice Centenary in Ypres. Sunday 11 November 2018, we were up early for the 60km drive to Ypres to watch the First World War Armistice Day Centenary ceremony. We thought that by being there at 9a.m. we would find a parking space and be in front of the crowds. Wrong! Whilst not quite bursting at the seams, Ypres was well on the way to it. The area of the greatest interest was the Mennen Gate, the road out of Ypres, towards the town of Mennen. It was along this road that the majority of troops headed to the various front lines. (A large arch monument, was built over the road, and engraved on it are the names of 54.395 troops who are unidentified, or who have no known grave. A further 34,984 unknown troops are commemorated in the same fashion in Tyne Cot cemetery a few kms. outside Ypres.)
The Mennen Gate is where, each evening, trumpeters from the Last Post Association play the Last Post, and on the 11th., there were two other such ceremonies during the day. With there being so many invited guests, politicians and those who had invitations, the area around the gate was cordoned off. However all the ceremonies were transmitted to large TV screens around the market square so all could see and take part.
There were many nationalities who took part in the parade and march past, from Canada in the west through to New Zealand in the east, U.K in the north to South Africa and all points in between.
After lunch, we went to see the Great War Remembered Concert in St. Martin’s Cathedral. This was the reading of the recollections of a wounded Belgian soldier of the months that preceded the Cease Fire. His readings were interspersed with choral and orchestral music, pipes and drums and songs specially commissioned for the concert.
My “reportage” of the ceremonies does not do them justice, it was an interesting and emotional day. Certainly not as big as the U.K. Cenotaph ceremony, but more poignant, because this is where it happened!
Just to the south of where we are in Belgium, there are numerous War Graveyards, some with thousands of graves and some with just one or two, beautifully tended by the War Graves Commission. If you are ever in the Ypres area or just travelling through, it is well worth visiting some and also the German, Canadian, French and Belgian cemeteries and monuments.
Keep up the good work, Mate.
Regards to all.
Countdown - The Top Military Rankings 2018
On a Cotswold pimple, near Bradenstoke-cum-Clack and in the vicinity of Wootton Bassett, spreads the huge, ugly and now famous Royal Air Force station at Lyneham - once called “Steptoe and Son in Cinemascope.” Based there is the Long-Range Force, fleets of Britannias and Comets. This complex route terminal publishes its own newspaper fortnightly - the Lyneham Globe, largely in self-defence.
In the autumn of 1962, two earnest and high-ranking officials of the Ministry of Watsit, Mr. Ad Minn and Mr. Org, began a search which makes the Holy Grail affair look like “hunt the thimble.” The Globe despatched two reporters to cover the investigations of these two gentlemen (and also clear office space). Flight Lieutenant Richard “Dicky” Thornborough wrote the epic story, chapter by chapter, while Flight Lieutenant Malcolm “Drac” Fraser drew pictures. This he did (a) because he can’t write, (b) the Editor sat on our cocoa-tin camera, (c) the average Globe reader NEEDS pictures.
Dicky “deserted” after our distinguished pair reached the Antipodes, and retired to a Northumbrian fastness, there to contemplate, among other things, a somewhat chilly navel; but the indefatigable “Drac” remains a faithful, if slightly sardonic, chronicler of the heroes’ pilgrimage through the military transport world. In his spare time he flies Britannias, for a small fee.
People may consider that the adventures of Messers. Ad Minn and Org at Wootton Lynestoke bear a resemblance to events, people and routine current at R.A.F. Lyneham and on its associated trunk route (Lyneham - Tobuk/El Adem - Aden/Khormaksar - Gan Island - Singapore/Changi), and that beyond this sphere of activity there would be no interest in their doings.
We ask you to tune the pages, look closely at the superb illustrations and see just how wrong these people can be.
Once upon a light year…
Thanks to Barry Fletcher
...to be continued
Well, that time of year is fast approaching again and, as in previous years, there will be a special Christmas edition of the Old Bods Briefs enabling you to send greetings to Movers all around the world
The special edition is scheduled to be published on Friday December 21st, that's just three weeks hence, so please get your good wishes in nice and early. The cut-off will be Wednesday 19th.
Just a few lines and an appropriate photo if possible (not previously published).
To give you an idea of what's expected, I'll be sticking to a similar format as last year which you can review here OBB Christmas 2017.