07 December 2007


New members joining us recently are:

Barrie (Tug) Wilson from Weymouth, UK

Don Stewart from Lincoln, UK

Lucy Temple from Basingstoke, UK

Paul (Harry) Harrison from Calne, UK

Colin Baines from Witham, UK

Norman Munslow from Sutton Coldfield, UK

Steve Legg from Wigan, UK

David Moss from Clitheroe, UK

Bob Thacker from Lincoln, UK

Gid Wych from Palmerston North, New Zealand

Dave (Ecky) Eccles from The Cotswolds, UK

Aurora Borealis - The Northern Lights
as seen from Canada

Welcome to the OBA!


From: Charles P Collier
Sent: Friday, November 23, 2007 11:05
Subject: Conference

Hello Tony,

The picture is of yours truly at the Banquet and Ball of the Institute of Transport Administration receiving the annual shield for the best centre, the "Wessex Centre" (Swindon).

We meet in the Blunsden House Hotel throughout Autumn, Winter and Spring of each year.

What I'm coming to is that there are quite a number of movers out there in the Swindon catchment area and if any are interested then they only have to drop me an E-mail and I'll respond with more information.

The National Institute website is at  which will show the Wessex Centre programme. So please investigate the website and find out more yourself!

Keep smiling everybody and keep active!

Rgds Charles

In Houston, Texas, it is illegal to grunt while moving boxes.

From: Babs Sugg
Sent: Friday, November 23, 2007 12:22
Subject: Nice One

Hi Tony,

It's good to read the latest update on the Old Bods Association and to see the photo's of people we knew and see some familiar names..

I was having a browse through the Member's list and realised the years I gave you as an honorary member of UKMAMS is incorrect. That number was the time Gwyn, my late husband, was in the RAF (34 years) and as we met while square bashing I felt we had done the time together. After reading through the Old Bods members I realised the dates you wanted was of service time spent as a mover on UKMAMS.

As far as I recall Gwyn was at Lyneham from 1974 to 1980 and was on Lima team. We were then posted to Deci from 1980 through to 1986.

I think Gwyn would have been on Lima team from 1974 -1975 but not sure.

I just felt I had to clear up how the figure 34 years came to light...

Hope this makes sense to you Tony

Regards Babs Sugg.

[No explanation required Babs - I'm good with the 34 years number!]


From: Paul Weir
Date: Fri, 23 Nov 2007 18:10:25 +0000
Subject: Latest OBB

Hi Tony,

Can you do me a favour please.  Could you re-transmit your latest OBB.

 I have fingers like pigs tits at this end and deleted it by mistake.

Thanks and take care

Paul Weir

[No wonder he has fat fingers - Paul and his wife, Diane, run a basket weaving business from their home in Leighton Buzzard, Beds. Here's more info:

I am not sending the briefs out via e-mail nowadays - so many were being returned as undeliverable because of content, it's all to do with the security settings in the e-mail and blocking of junk mail - such are the times we live in.

What I am doing is letting members know that there is a new briefs on the website and providing the link to the actual page.]

In 1990 the French government created a new cabinet position - Le Ministry du Rock 'n' Roll.

From: David Cromb  
Sent: Saturday, November 24, 2007 18:33
To: Nige Stevens
Cc: David Eggleton; Anita Swayne; Tony Gale; Babs Sugg
Subject: Yours truly

Hi gang,

All ok here but flat out like a lizard havin a drink. Sorry no comms for a while but am off to Tasmania in the morning for a business trip so heaps of things need doing. I return on Saturday 1/12, so wiil reply to any mails asap upon return ok.

Great OBA rec'd Tony thks, nice to see Nig n DW onboard.

Take care, and stay safe.

Hooroo, DC
Alias walkabout man.


From: Don Stewart
Sent: Sunday, November 25, 2007 13:35
Subject: Welcome Back

Hello Tony,

I've been in Lincoln since I left the RAF in '87,  working in the food industry in Worksop as a Supply Chain Manager for world's largest sandwich factory (someone's got to do it).  We have a website at: 

I'm at the Manton Wood facility which produces 2,200,000 sandwiches a week,  about 400,000 on high day.  I should be grateful that the great British public are too lazy to make their own as it keeps me out of trouble most of the time.

Good to see the website up and running again and glad that you're healthy enough to start up again.

Take care


[I was amazed to learn that there are such things as sandwich factories that employ thousands of people! When you mentioned that I had a flashback of "Billy Bean and his Funny Machine" - do you remember that?]

Shooting Stars:  There are asteroids named for Eric Clapton and each of the Beatles.

From: Bob Thacker  
Sent: Wednesday, November 28, 2007 12:33
Subject: OBA Membership

Really pleased to see the OBA is up and running and great to see the photographs and many familiar names.

For those that knew Dawn at Abingdon and Lyneham, I regret to report that she passed away last year at age 57 as the result of a brain tumour.

Keep up the good work with the site.



From: Babs Sugg
Sent: Wednesday, November 28, 2007 16:08
Subject: Hello Again

Hi Tony,

Thanks for your e mail, I am glad I let you know about the date.. so I have a clear conscience now.

I have been in touch with Mal Porter after I read the members list and he brought me the couple of photo's he had of Gwyn.

Mal and I met up with a couple of friends on Sunday 25th and had a good "catch up". We hadn't met since 1960/1962 when we were all at 16 MU Stafford, the funny thing is that we recognized each other!

If you want to add this e-mail to your UKMAMS OBA newsletter that is fine by me and Mal, in fact he insisted I write to let you know we had met up.


Babs Sugg

[Thanks Babs - reading this makes it all worthwhile!]

The world record for haggis hurling is held by Alan Pettigrew: 180' 10"

From: Peter Clayton
Sent: Thursday, November 29, 2007 03:35
Subject: Re: UKMAMS OBB #112307


Another good Old Bods Brief, thanks. Reading back through the October edition I noticed Mike Rowan is still flying and I would like to contact him, nothing listed on the members details. Do you have an e-mail address for him?

Peter Clayton

[You raise a good point Peter - there actually are e-mail addresses listed for Mike in both the member's listing and the Old Bods Brief - but they're both "hidden" in order to avoid having the Spam merchants pick up on them.

In the member's pages the e-mail address is listed towards the end of the row showing as the member's name (or nickname) underlined and in black (instead of the traditional blue).

In the Old Bods Briefs, the member's e-mail address is hidden beneath the flag against their name in the heading of their letter. In Mike's case it would be the Union Flag.

Left clicking on either one of the above hidden links (a hand will appear when you hover over them) will automatically open up an e-mail compose screen with the recipients address already filled in.

Trust this clears up the mystery for you. Oh, by the way, Mike's address is here ]




We can so easily demonstrate that we are proud and care for our forces out in Afghanistan and Iraq by sending a Christmas parcel.  While we will be celebrating the festive season with family and friends in the comfort of our homes, many of our servicemen and women will be living in a tent, in stifling heat and dusty conditions in the desert.  They will constantly be on operations, facing danger, fear and the unexpected and will be deprived of any social and family life and Christmas celebration.  Many will be in their late teens and probably away from home for the first time, so it is not hard to imagine the joy a parcel will bring, with the realisation that people back home are thinking about them and appreciate their courage, commitment and sacrifice.

Please send a parcel.  It is very simple and does not have to be expensive.  Please do not send items that would melt – it is extremely hot out there.  Here are a few suggestions but you will have your own ideas:

 Anything in a tube, vacuum packed or tinned (toffee sauce, condensed milk, salsa dips etc)

Non chocolate biscuits   


Cream cheese (foil packs)    


Dried fruit and nuts   

Fruit or Dundee cake     

Haribo, jelly babies etc     

Vitamin C sachets

Gingerbread or malt loaf

Cheese straws

Fish paste

Chorizo sausages or dried meat

Mint imperials

Chewing gum

Pick ‘n Mix sweets

They have to drink vast quantities of water, so powder flavourings in a package such as Berocca and Soduko.   Puzzles and small board games are always welcomed in addition to playing cards  -  Magazines (Nuts, Zoo FHM etc)

                                           Alcohol & Porn is not permitted!

 Please include a Christmas card, with an encouraging message and sign with your Christian name only and do not include an address as we do not want any obligation regarding thank you letters.

The easiest method to send a parcel is to use a large padded envelope or empty shoe box etc.  It must not exceed 2 kilos.  Secure it firmly and write one of the following addresses (the 1st address is to Afghanistan and the 2nd address to Iraq):

A British Soldier
c/o Capt S Beattie MBE SO3 J I
HQ Task Force Helmand 
Lashkar Gar  
BFPO 715
A British Soldier
c/o J I Branch
BFPO 641

Take it to a post office – postage is FREE – parcels take about 5 days


From: Malcolm Porter
Sent: Thursday, November 29, 2007 14:58
Subject: Meeting


Just to let you know that Babs Sugg and her new husband Ray and I met up in Swindon last Sunday evening. Also present was a great friend of mine, non RAF but very much an aviator, Geoff Leach from Sydney.

It was particularly pleasing to meet Babs again and I understand that subsequently she has been in touch with my old mate Neville Marshall - a surface mover from No 1 MU Hook of Holland who also knew Taff and Babs way back in the 50's...

I sincerely hope that this isn't the last meeting we have, so if anyone else in the Swindon area is reading this please do get in touch and maybe we can arrange a few beers! (There's always the RAF club in Oct 08)

Alas, no news of Bob Turner yet...

Malcolm Porter

See the website  click the newsletter, or better still buy the book!

Whoa!  An alligator can run as fast as a horse.

From: Gid Wych
Sent: 30 November 2007 04:26
To: Ian Berry
Subject: Unclassified : Greetings from Beyond Down Under

Hi Ian,

Great to hear from you, believe or not I have been meaning to get in touch with you and the association but somehow time has just flown by, also having a Masters Degree in procrastination doesn't help !

Well its 3 years since I hung up my blue suit and changed it for a foreign green one, I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss some of my past life but this new one is working out just fine. The transition from blue to green has gone surprisingly well, the NZ Army has been extremely patient with me, so much so that they promoted me back to Sgt in August. I've still not got my head round the regimental side of things but its generally accepted that "Gid has a different approach, keep him off the parade ground and you'll be fine !"

The Army's fascination with PT took a bit of getting used to and having to pass the fitness test TWICE a year came as a shock, no static cycle machines here, its get out and run ! I have changed my title from that of former "UKMAMS Sports Prevention Officer" to that of "5 Mov Coy Sports Avoidance Specialist" I've had a lot of fun (don't let them hear me calling it that) taking part in live firing exercises, using 72 & 84mm rockets, M203 Grenade launchers and even crawling up to bunkers and dropping live grenades in feeling the earth shudder beneath you as they go off with a hell of a bang!. I even got a deployment to East Timor last year and spent 6 months under canvas with the Australian SF, no more hotels for me I'm afraid, but hey its just like a Boys Own Adventure !

Myself, India and Christian all agree that we made the right move, life out here is great we can afford a nice house, a car each (plus a classic Triumph Spitfire, Dads toy) and all those little things that always seemed so unaffordable back home. I wouldn't like to say where we will be in 5 years time though, In January I get my Kiwi citizenship, that opens the door to Australia and you never know once we see all that there is here, we may go off to Oz to carry on the adventure !

I've attached a couple of photo's, you'll note the familiar aircraft I'm stood in that was chartered by the Aussies to move some of their Kiowa Helicopters from Timor to Aus. I hadn't realised they were still flying ! but it brought back memories of handling them in Belize during the Falklands and also out at TFD during the 1st Gulf Conflict.

By all means pass on my details, I will contact Tony Gale and re-register with him. Pass on my regards to anyone who remembers me and to the Association.  If anyone wants my home address please contact the Webmaster

If anyone happens to be down this way by all means give us a call, we have a spare room and plenty of hospitality,

All the Best



Return to Aden, without Mad Mitch

Exactly 40 years ago a British evacuation fleet was steaming away from the abandoned colony of Aden ending over 130 years of imperial control. An insurgency had been crushed under the leadership of a British soldier nicknamed Mad Mitch. As the last BBC Aden correspondent, Brian Barron reported on these seismic events - and has returned to take in the mood.

The best way I can describe the betrayal and melodrama that engulfed Britain's last post in Arabia is to say that a Falklands moment it was not.

Among the half-dozen or so end-of-empire sagas that I have witnessed, this was the saddest, the most abject.

But at least it marked the final act - for Her Majesty's forces and proconsuls - of a big mess in a very small place.

Whoever chose Things Aren't What They Used to Be for the military band bidding farewell to the last governor - as I watched at the RAF [Royal Air Force] base in 1967 - evoked the right note of seediness and frayed national self-belief.

Once - and that word "once" encompasses well over a century of unchallenged British supremacy - Steamer Point was as famous as Piccadilly Circus.

Everyone came through heading east or west, from chroniclers of empire, like Kipling, to viceroys of India, to millions of migrants heading for white dominions at the bottom of the world.

Today Steamer Point looks unchanged from 1967, but the crescent of curio shops and watch dealers stands shuttered and silent, beneath a massive Rolex sign, weathered and rusting, that once enticed liner passengers ashore.

The only outlet open from colonial days is Aziz's bookshop. Aziz himself has long gone to some trinket-filled stall in paradise, but his grandson sits on the pavement at the threshold, playing cards with three friends.

Each person is chewing a bunch of green leaves of Qat, a mild narcotic, which sedates millions across the nation every afternoon.

The Aziz emporium is a cornucopia of vinyl records still in their sleeves, Christmas cards from the 1940s, photo panoramas of Aden as the world's third busiest port, and children's books printed before World War II.

Tourism hit

"Today not many tourists," says Aziz junior, gazing out at a port which has been undermined by al-Qaeda attacks on shipping.

Britain's imperial stamp is everywhere, including Her Majesty's moribund pillar boxes. What was Flagstaff House, the British commander's HQ overlooking the Gulf of Aden, is now the president's palace, when he is visiting from united Yemen's capital in the north.

Above Steamer Point stand the ruins of the Naval Semaphore Station, from the heyday of the Victorian empire.

It was destroyed by missiles in the 1986 civil war that finally doomed the revolutionary regime in power since Britain left.

But the failure for two decades to repair one of Aden's most prominent, historic landmarks reveals the inertia today and the lack of entrepreneurial instincts.

Maybe that commercial spirit sailed away with the British - and whatever remained was destroyed by the revolutionary regime.


Colonial Aden expired under a state of emergency. British civilians like me were given revolvers because of the risk of assassination.

The heart of the insurgency was Crater, an Arab town nestling in the hot embrace of an extinct volcano.

It was here that a mutiny by the British-trained Aden armed police in mid-1967 led to a massacre of British troops.


As the British high command and London government hesitated, a controversial colonel named Colin Mitchell seized the initiative.

He re-occupied Crater with his Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders - earning the nickname Mad Mitch - and in Fleet Street's judgment he restored British military honour.

A fearless soldier, he was born 100 years too late. His mouth often ran ahead of him.

Once we stood together in Crater watching the Argylls stacking, as in a butcher's shop, the bodies of four Arab militants they had just shot and Mad Mitch said: "It was like shooting grouse, a brace here and a brace there."

Today Crater is calm. Any Western veneer has gone. Women are veiled. Arab tea shops are thriving. The bank building used as Mad Mitch's headquarters, with his snipers on the roof, once again dispenses banknotes, not bullets.

Beside it, the old Anglican Church is no longer the secret police interrogation centre it became following the British retreat.

Battered and bruised

Looking back we can see the magnitude of Britain's strategic blunder here. The political, military and diplomatic establishment in the late 1950s and early 1960s misjudged the strength of Arab nationalism, completing a colossal military base despite local hostility.

There was an absence of reliable intelligence (doesn't that sound familiar?). As the insurgency turned deadlier, we withdrew - abandoning moderate allies.

Twenty-three years of police state thuggery followed, with the Soviet KGB replacing the British.

Even after Aden and the rest of the south merged with North Yemen, there was another civil war in the 1990s. No wonder Aden today seems battered and bruised, and its people frustrated by the follies of their rulers: a forgotten place anchored to a forgotten time.

Yeuch!  Cabbage was once considered an aphrodisiac

From: Ken Browne
Sent: Sunday, December 02, 2007 07:56
Subject: Old Bods Briefs


Glad you are fighting fit again. Its a marvellous effort you have made in resurrecting 'The Old Bod's Brief '
and including me on your circulation list. I certainly qualify as an old bod, being well into my 73rd year.

Best regards

Ken Browne

'E' Team - Early 70s

[Good to hear from you Ken, and thank you so very much for your kind words. You’re 73 now? Wow!

It is very hard to believe that it’s been 35 – 40 years! We were special people doing very special work that made a positive difference in a lot of lives back then.

It’s a real shame that the squadron identity has been lost to a giant wing. If we can at least help to keep the squadron spirit and camaraderie alive then there’s hope that some day the powers that be might just see the folly of their ways and reverse their decision. Having said that though, there might be little hope if someone has to admit they were wrong.]


From: Martin Weir
Sent: Friday, November 30, 2007 16:41
Subject: Hastings TG516 in the 1950s with 99 Sqn

Dear UKMAMS chaps

I'm ex-RAF and run a small family business making aircraft models, but am stuck with one particular Hastings that flew with 99 and 511 Squadrons at Lyneham in the 1950's. I cannot find anywhere the callsign or more importantly the 3 letter code it would have carried on the fuselage

Do you have anyone with any note or photos of TG516? From squadron archives to the RAF museum there is no record or photos.

Any help would be most appreciated and of course we do offer special deals for OBA members, £89.99 delivered in the UK.  We make aircraft of all squadrons,  right down to individual aircraft if required.

Kind regards

Martin Weir
Nice Airplanes Limited

[A sample of Martin's work is shown with this 34 Squadron Beverley.  I believe the wingspan is about 18" so it is by no means a small model.]

By English law, "time immemorial" means history before the reign of Richard I

From: David Stevens
Sent: Tuesday, December 04, 2007 08:30
Subject: UKMAMS OBB #112307 Feedback

Hi Tony,

 Many thanks for the latest.

I read your bulletins as I travel round the world with the British Red Cross Society (BRCS). One day I will try to make a useful contribution!!

For now I can tell you that I am leaving Israel next week en route for Bangladesh via the UK. The BRCS has a logistics team out there already. I am a member of the replacement team and we expect to be there for 4 to 6 weeks. Another huge natural disaster as many will have seen on the news. We can hardly keep up with things!

Best regards

David Stevens

PS Perhaps you could apply a UK flag to my name. For although I live in Wales at the moment I could never pass as a

[Thank you David - the Welsh flag is an indication of your current permanent residence and not your ethnic origins - so it stays!  As for contributions - well, unbeknown to you I lifted the following snippet off of the Internet - Thanks!]


An Urgent Response

David at work with the Red Crescent in Bamm, Iran After a career with the RAF and British Aerospace, David Stevens from Bangor now offers his expertise to those who are in need following war or disasters overseas. He answered our questionnaire in 2004, before being called on to help in the aftermath of the Asian tsunami disaster.

Which organisation do you work for?
British Red Cross

What sort of voluntary work do you do, and where?
I'm part of what the Red Cross calls the Emergency Response Unit Team. We are a team of four people who come from all over the UK and we each have a specialisation, mine is logistics.

We only react to a war or disaster situation abroad and there's a team on standby 365 days a year. I most recently went out to the earthquake in Bamm, Iran, where I was called out with eight hours' warning.

How did you get started?
I literally sat down and decided, after retiring, that I wanted to do something useful. So I wrote off to some voluntary organisations and the Red Cross were the first to respond.

How long have you been a volunteer?
Three years.

Are there any special skills you need to be a volunteer?
The Red Cross have a group of people who have developed the necessary skills over a lifetime of experience, though you can also gain skills through the organisation.

I have an extensive knowledge of airports, seaports, warehousing and transport on a global basis as I've worked abroad so much. It's important to be able to work in a different country at a moment's notice.

Human relations is also a big part of it - it's important to be able to interact with people from all over the world, from all walks of life and from all levels. You work with everyone, from the guy who's digging the holes for you to your counterparts in other international organisations.

David Stevens working with the Red Crescent in Bamm, Iran, following an earthquake

How many hours a week/month do you give?
When I'm on standby (for a month at a time, four or five times a year) I can't go anywhere. I have my case packed and I must be able to leave at a moment's notice. I was last away in Iran for three months, which was longer than usual for various reasons.

What are the best and worst things about being a volunteer?
The best thing is that you really feel that you're doing something worthwhile and that you're making a contribution to humanity. It's also great to be working with a huge team and to be meeting and working with people from all over the world.

The worst thing is hanging about, being on standby. You do see some very unpleasant sights, but you must learn to blank these out.

How can others get involved?
First of all, there has to be that inner willingness and drive. It's unusual for people to send off their CV as I did. You should just go along to the nearest outlet for an organisation - a shop or centre - and ask them what it's all about.

The British Red Cross also do a great job helping out with first aid in the UK. I received all my first aid training with the BRC - they offer training to anyone right from the beginning, young or old.

North West Wales

In India, milk is sold in frozen blocks; in Denmark, it's sold in dehydrated sheets.

[ Jim Rice and I have been corresponding back and forth and getting a page together of  some of his photographs from the Falklands war era.  "Port Stanley Gallery" can be accessed from the Photographs page on the website]

From: Jim Rice  
Sent: Tuesday, December 04, 2007 14:49
Subject: RE: Web Page Draft

Hi Tony,

Brilliant!! Thank you so much, I'm sitting here almost in tears, how the memories all flood back!  For four months we worked, ate, slept, argued, laughed and cried with each other, there was never a moment to ourselves.

One morning I decided, just for a spell alone, to walk to the airfield to get to work. It was a 3 mile hike. After about a mile a Landrover pulled up alongside me and a Flt Lt asked me what I was doing. I tried to explain but he didn't believe me, suggested I was skiving off and bundled me into the back!

Thanks again Tony. I'm more than happy with your "diplomatic" approach to some of my wording, it looks great and I hope we get some feedback from some of my fellow "Bennies".


Jim Rice


From: Ian Place
Sent: Thursday, December 06, 2007 04:03
Subject: The Running Man

Hi Tony,

Thanks for the enquiry. I've been involved in distance running since I was 35. Over the last 23 years I've managed to run in excess of 50,000 miles in training and completed 52 x 26 mile marathons.

The statistics are; 8 races completed in under 3 hours, 51 under 4 hours, best time 2 hours 56 minutes and worst time was 4 hours 28 minutes. That worst one was in Los Angeles and was it extremely hot, far too hot for marathon running really.

I have now given up running full marathons, but I still enjoy the sport and plan to go back to Arizona to run the Lost Dutchman Half in February of next year. I've included a recent picture of me enjoying my sport in San Francisco.

Best regards





The next issue of the Old Bods Briefs will be on Friday Dec 21st and will also be the final issue for 2007, so if you have any special greetings to send out, or any stories to be told from Christmas past, then now is the time to do it. 


That's it for this issue

Have a great weekend!