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From: Jack Riley, Urangan, QLD
Sent: Monday, December 05, 2011 16:08
Subject: Season's Greetings

Greetings Team,

As always there is good news and bad news. The good news is that we are here to celebrate yet another Christmas and New Year; the bad news is that they come round faster year by year.

And so it is that I send to you, and to those you love, my warmest good wishes… especially to those of you at the sharp end. You are always in our thoughts.

It would be remiss of me were I not to thank Tony for keeping us all together and for scribing ever-better briefs.

Take care all… and go well


The New Zealand Ministry of Defence has taken delivery of the first two NH90 TTH helicopters from NH Industries, after ordering eight of the aircraft in July 2006.

NHI chartered an Antonov AN 124 cargo aircraft to freight the two helicopters and a range of spares and other equipment from Marseille Airport to Ohakea Air Base, where it landed yesterday. The helicopters have been produced at the Eurocopter facilities in Marignane, France.

NH Industries said the early delivery was motivated by the planned temporary closure of Marseille Marignane airport to heavy cargo flying activity for maintenance activities in January.
Earlier this year the Royal New Zealand Air Force took delivery of its first AgustaWestland A109 LUH Light Utility Helicopters. Five A109s were ordered in 2008 and another three were ordered last year. The new A109s are being used for training, light utility tasks in support of the other services and government agencies.

New Zealand’s Air Force is modernising and is refurbishing and upgrading its five Lockheed C-130 Hercules transports and six Lockheed P-3K2 Orion maritime patrol aircraft.
NHI remains responsible for those helicopters until the start of test and evaluation flying, which will take place after reassembly of the helicopters and when the required support elements will be available and operational in New Zealand, under NHI supervision. It is planned that NH90 flights will commence in January next year.

Firm orders for the NH90 have been placed by 14 countries including France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Greece, Spain and Belgium in Europe, as well as Australia, New Zealand and Oman. The NH90 has been developed in the TTH utility transport and NFH naval versions.

The NH90 programme is managed by NAHEMA (NATO Helicopter Management Agency) representing France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and Portugal, and by the NHIndustries industrial consortium comprising AgustaWestland (32%), Eurocopter (62.5%) and Fokker (5.5%).
There is no narration accompanying the video, and only sporadic sound.
3 News / Defence Web
From: Steve Richardson, Trenton, ON
Sent: Friday, November 25, 2011 23:30
Subject: RCAF Mystery Photo 112511


I will try to give you the names on this course, Traffic Tech QL 6A 0101- 22 March -11 May 2001. Here goes....
Front Row - Sgt. Heidi Warrington, Sgt Gerry Mongeon, WO JJ Poulin, MWO Caron, Capt. Sears, WO Mike Desranleau, WO Gisele Tanney, Sgt. Ted Fudge, MCpl Bob Forgues

Second Row (L-R) - MCpl Alain Roy, MCpl Margaret O'Reilly, MCpl Ken Reynolds, Sgt Duncan Suggitt, MCpl Peter Conlin, Sgt. Jean Leblanc, MCpl John Dumoulin, MCpl Paul Crowe, Sgt John Andrews, MCpl Dave Lavine, Sgt Lu Critch, Sgt. Chantel  Roy, MCpl Archer

Third Row (L-R) -Sgt  Steve Bressette, Sgt  Brian Rose, MCpl Don Forbes, Sgt. Barry White, Sgt. Rick Barrett, Sgt George Lake, Sgt Glen Clendenning Sgt  JP Landry, Sgt Edna (Rusty) Wilkes, MCpl Yves Larocque
Seasons Greetings  to the Canadian Movers  all around  the World!

Be safe over the Holidays and have a great 2012!

Take care,

Steve Richardson

From: Gerry Davis, Bedminster 
Sent: Saturday, November 26, 2011 06:50
Subject: Christmas Cheer

Dear Tony,

Bless all those who serve for us in places far away, you're going to continue to have to play.

For Christmas is that time of year for sharing all good cheer and wishing that you could share with us the festive atmosphere.

Now those of us who’ve done our bit thank our lucky stars, as we gather round our families and share our loved ones fares.
Thank all of you, the chosen few, who’ve worn the Mover's tag, and keep submitting stories 'cos we all like to brag.

Good health, good cheer for all Movers for the coming year.

All the very best.

Gerry Davis
The Department for Transport (DfT) has announced its plans for the future of search and rescue (SAR) provision in the UK, and confirmed that the Ministry of Defence will stop delivering services following the retirement of its current Westland Sea Kings in early 2016.

Announcing the plans in a statement on 28 November, secretary of state for transport Justine Greening said a contract should be signed in early 2013 for "a search and rescue capability provided by civilian crews".

The decision to end the military delivery of SAR cover from several bases around the UK has been made with the support of defence secretary Philip Hammond, she said, and will enable the armed forces "to focus activity on their front line operations".

The UK government cancelled its proposed SAR-H private finance initiative deal with the Soteria consortium last February, leading to a review of its plans to deliver Sikorsky S-92 aircraft for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy.

"Royal Navy and Royal Air Force crews have shown great dedication and professionalism in delivering an exemplary search and rescue service for many years," Greening said.

"We are confident that a fully civilian service will be able to maintain the same standards in the future."

The DfT will launch a competition via the European Union, with the aim to establish a UK-wide service with an initial contract duration of about 10 years. Bidders will be invited to offer "a mixed fleet of modern helicopters", Greening said.

She added that the proposed contract award date "will ensure that the Ministry of Defence is able to meet its previously announced intention to withdraw from service and retire its fleet of Sea King helicopters by March 2016". Flightglobal's HeliCAS database lists the RAF as having an active fleet of 22 Sea King HAR3/3As and the RN 11 Sea King HU5s dedicated to performing SAR missions.

The planned replacement service will be delivered from 10 full-time bases around the UK, with Greening also announcing plans to cease such activities at RAF Boulmer, Northumberland in 2015 and from Portland, Dorset, from 2017 . Despite this reduction in infrastructure, the DfT said it expects the selected contractor to "provide at least the same level of service as at present".


From: Victor Smith, Brassall, QLD
Sent: Sunday, November 27, 2011 03:58
Subject: Re: UKMAMS OBA OBB #112511


Read OBB #112511 and good stuff but the fellow in the RAAF mystery photo looks a bit dodgy!
Speaking of scary moments in flight etc: on my first (or 2nd) MALT (Mobile Air Load Team) task in a C-17 we had flown to the mid east destination via Diego Garcia (lovely beaches there). 

Due to some confusion, we were on deck  for a good 30 minutes before being allocated a parking position.  With good work from the RAAF and USAF movers on the ground, a reasonable turnaround time was achieved.  Then we waited for over 2 hours for take off clearance.
Anyway, take off happens, the aircraft gets to cruising height and the Captain switches off the seat belt signs.

Now as you would know, the C-17 is equipped with a passenger aircraft style toilet up front.  Having to respond to a call of nature, I go into the toilet, ascend the throne and start communing with nature. 

Shortly afterwards, I find myself still in the sitting position but 3 feet above the seat.  Came down with a thump, grabbed the hand rail and clung on for dear life!  After a minute or two, having composed myself, I finished up and vacated the toilet.  The Loadie asked me if I was OK and then told me that the Captain had had to take evasive action due to a fighter coming towards us.  Fortunately none of us suffered anything more than scrapes and bruises but it was a hairy few seconds.

As you know, I am now fully retired after resigning from the Active Reserve on medical grounds but I do miss the Movements game and the sense of achievement. 

My regards and a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all of our Air Movements brothers and sisters wherever you are.


From: Michael O'Brien, Kiev
Sent: Sunday, November 27, 2011 13:34
Subject: A note from an Antipodean, albeit a bit further West than usual ...

G’Day Tony, 

Just a note from me, currently in Kiev, assisting the Ukrainian Military with their deployment of Mi-24s to the UN Mission in Congo [MONUSCO].  Altho’ by the time this is published I’ll be home [I hope!!] enjoying a typical Oz Christmas, you know:  prawns, beer, prawns, more beer, some rum, a Guinness or two to go with the steak, probably a red and some more prawns - tough life, and a damn’ site warmer than Kiev!

The obligatory touristy pic of Kiev attached - it was minus bleedin’ 5 Celsius!  Was I grateful for my old flying gloves?  You bet!

All the best for the Festering Season to all,

“It’s a great day to be in the Air Force,” said the Chief of the Defence Staff, General Walt Natynczyk, as he addressed members, families and friends of 436 Transport Squadron from 8 Wing Trenton as they welcomed home Task Force Canuck from its recently completed mission in Afghanistan.

“It’s a cold day but we can all certainly feel the warm support of everyone,” said Captain James Brown, a pilot from 436 Squadron.
In the early morning on Nov. 17, the last remaining CC-130J Hercules left Kandahar after 10 years of continuous service in support of coalition forces in Afghanistan.

“We are happy and proud to have served in the longest continuous tactical airlift operation in the Royal Canadian Air Force history,” said Lieutenant-Colonel Colin Keiver, commanding officer 436 Squadron.
As the aircraft was taxiing in front of 7 Hangar, people stood and clapped while they watched the CC-130J Hercules approaching.

“I’m proud of your 10 years of incredible service in Afghanistan,” said Gen. Natynczyk. “I’m proud of the professionalism you’ve shown and I’m proud of this day.”

The Tactical Airlift Unit known as “Task Force Canuck” traces its service in Afghanistan to Op Apollo in 2001, through Op Athena in 2003 and lastly through the Joint Task Force-Afghanistan Air Wing in 2008, making this unit’s contribution to the mission in Afghanistan a milestone in Canadian air mobility operations.
On its flight back home, the CC-130J Hercules flew through India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, and the Philippines to pay tribute to 436 Squadron’s historical roots and help further enhance Canada’s air force to air force friendly relations with the region. It allowed Canadian airmen and airwomen to pay tribute in a solemn ceremony of remembrance to the 15 Royal Canadian Air Force veterans who are interred at the Delhi War Cemetery.

“Your legacy journey recognizing your historic roots as a Squadron, while crewing the RCAF’s newest aircraft, the Super Hercules, is a poignant reminder of what it means to again be the Royal Canadian Air Force,” said BGen Hood, who attended the event on behalf of the commander of the Royal Canadian Air Force. “As we become more agile with the reach and power required for Canadian Forces operations, we do not, and will not, forget the legacy of those brave men and women who have served with great distinction before us.

It was truly a great day to be in the Royal Canadian Air Force. As the members of 436 Transport Squadron and those who served in TF Canuck proudly say, “We carry the load”.

Prince Edward County Live
Major-General Alain Parent, commander of 1 Canadian Air Division, and Brigadier-General Michael Hood, deputy director general of international security policy as well as a former 8 Wing commander and a former commanding officer of 436 Squadron, joined Gen Natynczyk and more than 300 people giving a warm homecoming welcome to TF Canuck.
“These men and women were the ones who ensured each of our fallen comrades were brought home with great dignity and the most heartfelt respect,” said Gen Natynczyk. “They’ve brought great honour to the whole of the Royal Canadian Air Force and I am extremely proud of the monumental task they’ve achieved.”
From: Andy St Laurent, L'Ile Bizard, QC
Sent: Monday, November 28, 2011 14:08
Subject: Korean Airlift

Dear Tony:

Here is a story about my involvement with the Korean Airlift in 1950.  In those days my trade was Air Traffic Assistant, known nowadays as Loadmasters or Movers.
Our Squadron, 426, was moved from Montreal to McChord Air Force Base in Tacoma, Washington to assist the United Nations in its involvement with the Korean conflict.  Our mission was to transport troops and freight to Tokyo. Once in Tokyo, our passenger load and freight was transferred to a U.S plane to continue their trip to Korea.

Our fleet of planes consisted of 6 North Star (non-pressurized) to fly from McChord AFB to Tokyo via Elmendorf AFB (Anchorage, Alaska) and Shemya AFB in the Aleutians.  The whole flight was flown at an altitude of 8,000' and needless to say that we had to deal with a fair amount of turbulence.  
We returned home via the same route. Total flying time for the return trip was 52 hours. That means 52 hours of listening to those 4 Rolls-Royce, 12 cylinders engines. Considering that the cabin had no insulation didn’t help at all.

The North Star had an all-up weight of 73,500 lbs. with a payload of 18,970 lbs. The cruising speed was 223 kts.

My duties on the airlift were as an Air Traffic Assistant. This is a term now known as Loadmaster or Logistic mover. I didn’t have much to do in flight except for a pre-departure passenger briefing and also to distribute box lunches at meal time.
McChord to Elmendorf: 8:00 hours.
Elmendorf to Shemya: 8:00 hours
Shemya to Tokyo: 10:40 hours
The flying time for each leg was as follows:
Note: We had crew rest in Shemya and also Tokyo.
I was also responsible to look after the crew. I was supplied with a food locker that had a storage compartment for a slab of dry ice.   Before my scheduled departure I would go to the PX on the base and purchase my supplies: ground coffee (I had bought a coffee percolator pot), bread to make grilled cheese sandwiches, cheese slices, a jar of pickles, pop, chocolate bars, Styrofoam cups and napkins etc. 
Last month I joined a group of Air Canada retirees to go to Ottawa to visit the Aviation museum. There was a North Star being refurbished in the hangar; tail #17515, which I believe is the only one left in the world.  I asked the group leader if I could say a word; he said to go ahead. I mentioned to the group that I served on that particular aircraft during the Korean airlift in 1950. I was asked a few questions about what it was like back then.

Being on board that aircraft in 2011 (61 years  later) gave me quite a feeling of nostalgia.



There was a 2-burner electric stove located in the cockpit for my use in preparing food for the crew.  Altogether I made 26 round trips to Tokyo. I qualify this assignment as the most enjoyable in my life and will never forget it.
From: Clive Price, Brecon
Sent: Friday, December 02, 2011 13:08
Subject: Merry Xmas and a late aircraft scare story.
Myself and the late one-time Cpl. Bob Turner were on a empty Belfast going into Akrotiri, Cyprus. The aircraft sprung an almighty hydraulic leak, and Bob was pouring bucket loads of fluid into a portside tank while I was pumping a stubby handle attached to a pressure gauge to keep it flowing.
As we left the aircraft the skipper said it was lucky we were empty otherwise we would have been off the runway in a big heap with Bob and me embedded in a bulkhead!

I'm still waiting for my medal!

Season's greetings for Christmas, and a prosperous New Year to our worldwide family of Movers; those both retired and still serving.

Taff (the fat one) Price
RAF Abingdon.
A touch of any aircraft control reset the gauge to zero and I had to pump even harder to restore the pressure.   I was near collapse when we touched down!
From: John Bell, Cairns, QLD
Sent: Friday, December 02, 2011 19:40
Subject: Annual Newsletter - muchly condensed version

It has been a year of mixed natural disasters from Cyclone YASI, which was very big and very destructive, through some bad floods and onto bushfires. We were in the area where all these events wreaked havoc but we were blessed in that nothing serious touched us; all around us but not ON us. This and the series of global disasters since have left us fairly stunned.

It was with this background that we left Australia in May for 8 weeks holiday in the UK. It was another very good UK holiday with a couple of highlights that will remain in our memories for some time, if not forever.
The day after we arrived we learned that an old friend and team-mate, Bob Turner, had died. We attended the funeral and met up with a score or more of ex-RAF friends that we had not seen for over 30 years in some cases. A very emotional occasion exacerbated by the reunion aspect.

All our family except Dan & Jo now live in the UK, so we have decided to return to live in the UK. We put our house on the market three weeks ago and, subject to no hiccups with the buyer’s finances, it has been sold. We expect to buy a place somewhere in the Market Harborough area after we arrive in the UK on 19th Jan.

We love Australia and will miss much of it but this will be offset by being in the UK, which we also love and being able to see all our family and friends more often.  The pace has been hectic as we fixed many of the defects we never realised existed in our home until we thought about selling it. All done now; just a short wait of 7 more days and the contract will be final, all being well.

Sad to say that all offers of a billet, beer or bar-b-q are withdrawn since we are heavily into packing (After 16 years in one house – the longest I have ever lived at one address – I had forgotten how much is involved with C3s, packing lists, prohibited items etc) and will soon be staying with friends here for a month or so before we return. Our current address will be OK for some time yet and we will advise you when we have found a new nesting place.

The events of 2011 have left us feeling a bit “zapped” but looking forward to a new beginning. We hope your year has been less stressful than ours and wish you (and us) a Happy Christmas and a great 2012.

John & Jean
From: John Philps, Bexhill-on-Sea
Sunday, December 04, 2011 04:48
Subject: Season's Greetings

Hi Tony,

Please pass on my "Season's Greetings" to all the Old Bods, especially those that remember me.

Could you please add a line in the next brief and ask if any of the 50th Entry, C Flt. RAF Hereford, Sept 1963, would be interested in a 50th year reunion during 2013?  

If so would they like to contact me with suggestions. We had a very successfull 40th reunion and perhaps it's now time to meet again!

Best Regards, Happy New Year to all.

From: Bruce Oram, Alicante
Sent: Tuesday, December 06, 2011 12:47
Subject: Christmas Greetings

Hi Tony,

I hope I am not too late to use your next newsletter to wish all movers, both past and present a very Happy Christmas and a prosperous and healthy New Year.

To all those serving in overseas unfriendly locations, keep safe and hope you are back with your families soon.

Happy Crimble!

from Bruce and Shirley Oram
Australia saves six F-111s, offers seven, buries 23
Australia is offering to loan seven retired General Dynamics F-111 aircraft to Australian museums and other organisations, while it has buried another 23 aircraft in a landfill.

"Following their retirement in December, aircraft museums around the country contacted me expressing strong interest in displaying the F-111," said minister for defence materiel Clare.
He invited interested organisations to submit a request for offer.

Clare said the aircraft will be on loan so the government can manage the risk of hazardous materials in the aircraft, such as asbestos. It has also set a number of conditions that must be met to obtain an aircraft.
Conditions include an enclosed space for the aircraft, assurances to limit public access, and the ability to provide preservation maintenance. Since the aircraft were manufactured in the USA, organisations that seek to display them must have approval from the US Government under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations.

The request for offer will close on 28 March 2012.

In addition to the seven aircraft on offer, six will be preserved at four RAAF bases: two each at Amberley and Point Cook, and one each at Edinburgh and Wagga.

Separately, Australian media reported that 23 F-111s were buried in a landfill near the Australian town of Ipswich. The decision to dispose of the aircraft in this manner incurred the displeasure of the nation's aviation enthusiasts.

From: Alan Potts, Las Vegas, NV
Sent: Thursday, December 08, 2011 21:57
Subject: Christmas Greetings

Hello Tony,

As always kudos to you for a great job with the newsletters and to all those who regularly contribute.

Seasons greeting to all my old colleagues and to all serviceman wherever they may be this Christmas.  Some will obviously be in inhospitable places and my wife and I pray for their safe return, in turn our thoughts are also with those who have lost loved one this year.
Mystery RAF photo:   Mal Porter and the building gives the location away:  RAF Changi, Movers soccer team circa 1969/70.

Mal tried to get me to play but I was far too immersed in basketball.
Alan Potts
Sunny Las Vegas

From: Gerry Davis, Bedminster
Sent: Thursday, December 15, 2011 12:49
Subject: RAF Mystery Photo #112511

Dear Tony.

I can only recognize one individual of the football team taken 'sometime' in Singapore.  That's the tallest chap, centre rear row, which I believe is a rather young looking Malcolm Porter.

On leaving the RAF Malcolm has had a rather interesting career as a Loadmaster. Moving about a bit especially in Libya and Rhodesia, where he was the only Flight Sergeant serving on a Cl44 and DC6 of the RRAF, until someone torched the Cl44 whilst it was in the hangar. Don't ask what the loads were though.

He continued  as a loadmaster with airlines within the UK , specializing on the largest loads carried within Cl44's and a Guppy.  When he eventually gets down to writing his memoirs, that'll be some story. Yep , he did his time on MAMS too, I know I was with him.

From: Charles Collier, Devizes
Sent: Friday, December 09, 2011 10:55
Subject: Frank Holmes

Dear Tony
It's so refreshing to see old members of the Sqn come back from their pastures of retirement like me.

And to see Frank there dressed in No1 HD carrying sword reminded me exactly where he was - at my wedding at RAF Laarbruch on 21 February 1971.
Rgds to all

From: Budgie Baigent, Takaka, South Island
Sent: Saturday, December 10, 2011 05:56
Subject: Another 'scary flight'
Back in 1982 the Islands of Tonga were devastated by Cyclone Isaac and the RNZAF, along with the RAAF, was mobilised to provide support. An airbridge was set-up between NZ and Tonga using C130 aircraft whilst RNZAF Andover aircraft provided intra-theatre support to the outer islands.  The Andovers' STOL capability made it ideal for this sort of work.

Toward the end of the deployment I was despatched to Ha'apai Island to recover 9 Sqn RAAF [Iroquois] pack-up and equipment.  In those years the airfield at Ha'apai consisted of a narrow crushed coral strip about 2000' long, mostly used by Britten-Norman Islander aircraft.  Even with the Andovers' short field capability of 1600' there wasn't much fat to spare.

Anyway, we duly landed and loaded up to the gunnels with the Aussies gear then taxied out for take-off. Part way down the strip the right-hand undercarriage sunk into mud at the very edge of the strip. No amount of power would budge the aircraft and soon the props [being low to the ground] started picking up bits of coral and hurling them all around, many pieces 'pinging' off the aircraft skin.  It was obvious we were well and truly bogged so the aircraft was shut down and we vacated to survey the situation. 

Whilst the strip may have been fine for the much narrower Norman Islander, the Andovers' wide undercarriage meant our aircraft had completely straddled the crushed coral and the R/H undercarriage wheel was deep in a boggy furrow. As this was a single strip, rescue by another aircraft was out of the question so we were literally on our own. The crew and the hapless RAAF team began unloading the cargo as I set about mustering whatever local support I could find to help us out of that bog. 

I managed to source 1 x Landrover, 1 x Fordson tractor and 1 x very dodgy front-end loader.  I chained the landrover and tractor in tandem, placed them aft of the left undercarriage and tied 5000lbs strops around the oleos as towing ropes.  I filled the bucket of the loader with stones [for weight] and tied that machine to the rear of the R/H undercarriage, also with 5000lb strops.

Then the fun began... coordinating 3 drivers with dodgy machinery, with dodgy driving skills and with limited understanding of the English language whilst attached to a very expensive piece of Her Majesty's inventory had the crew wondering whether they had done the right thing in trusting me with this delicate operation! After a couple of nerve wracking stalls, false starts and much skidding the aircraft finally started to budge and foot by foot was slowly dragged backwards to the very end of the strip.

The crew then 'paced out' the distance from the end of the strip to the bog hole while I used the loader to source rocks and gravel to fill that hole. It turned out the hole was at the 1300' mark so with the Andovers' short field capability at 1600', things would be tight - even with the aircraft completly empty!

We bade farewell to the 9 Sqn chaps and wound up the Rolls Royce Darts ready for action. Max power, max water meths, release brakes, head between knees... at the 1300' mark we had enough air under the wings to briefly lift the R/H undercarriage over the bog hole then put it back to ground for another couple of hundred feet before finally getting airborne. A sharp banking 180 degree turn followed by a high speed, low pass back down the airfield and we headed back to the main airport at Fua'amotu, never again returning to Ha'apai! One of those events one will never forget.  

I can still clearly remember those poor 9 Sqn RAAF guys spending the rest of that day and from 'daylight til dark' the next day underslinging their gear back from Ha'apai, hot refuelling at each tap to get it all done in time.

Kind regards,


New members joining us recently are:
Grahame Caine, Forest Lake, QLD. Australia
James McKinstry, Barrie, ON, Canada

Andrew Funnell, Reading, Berkshire, UK

Paul McLean, Oxfordshire, UK

Robert Devlin, Torquay, Devon, UK

Bob Robinson, Finedon, Northants, UK

Thomas Iredale, Heidelberg, Germany

John (Hoss) Wall, Fairford, Glos., UK

Mark Knighton, Göteborg
, Sweden
Paul Austin, Aylesbury, Bucks, UK

Bernie Hurdsfield, Corby, Northants, UK

Terry Joint, Murcia, Spain

Steve Byatt, Marlborough, Wilts, UK

Keith Jevons, Swindon, Wilts, UK

Simon Baxter, Oundle, Northants, UK

Geoff Maple, Langport, Somerset, UK

Paul (Sandy) Sanderson, Calne, Wilts, UK

Marcus Breen, Akrotiri, Cyprus

Stretch Mansfield, Swindon, Wilts, UK
Steve Sparkes, Folkstone, Kent, UK

Tim Buckeridge, Calne, Wilts, UK

Kev Smith, Cambridge, Cambs, UK

Neil Beck, Antrim, N. Ireland, UK

Terry Bell, Trenton, ON, Canada

Mick Brummell, Truro, Cornwall, UK

Dave Brixey, Wellington, Somerset, UK

Keith Simmonds, Nottingham, Notts, UK
Donald Milburn, Swindon, Wilts, UK

Peter Clarke, Birmingham, UK

Ron Meredith, Splading, Lincs, UK

John Gardiner, Carterton, Oxon, UK

Steve Boucher, Bridlington, Yorks, UK

Sam Heaphy, Royal Wootton Bassett, Wilts, UK

Nige Summers, Newfoundland, Canada

Duncan Metcalfe, Trowbridge, Wilts, UK

Eddie Hewitt, Dorset, UK

Robbie James, Matlock, Derby, UK
Sean Culligan, Nairobi, Kenya

Ben Bennett, Calne, Wilts, UK

Frank Breithaupt, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffs, UK

Eric Howlett, Peterborough, UK
Paul Cantrill, Nottingham, UK

Tony Last, Huntingdon, Cambs, UK

Dennis Wood, Swindon, Wilts, UK
Welcome to the OBA!
UK Harrier fleet sold as £115
million worth of spare parts

The UK has sold 72 BAE Systems Harrier GR9 aircraft to the US Marine Corps for £115 million ($180 million) to use as a source of spare parts to support the USMC's fleet of Boeing AV-8B Harrier II aircraft, the Ministry of Defence said.
The MoD claimed that when added to the savings made from retiring the Harrier fleet from service, the sale contributes to an overall saving of £1 billion.  However, the UK had previously spent around £1 billion to upgrade the Harrier fleet in a project begun in 2005.

Peter Luff, minister for defence equipment, support and technology, said: "Harrier served this country with great distinction, but retiring it eight years earlier than planned was the right decision. Had we taken the decision in the Strategic Defence and Security Review to decommission Tornado instead we would not have been able to carry out the missions that were required simultaneously in Libya and Afghanistan. It was essential to retire older, less capable aircraft to allow us to invest in more modern, cutting-edge fast jets.

"As our operations over Libya proved, we have the capability to project decisive air power and can utilise our extensive basing and over-flight rights to great effect."

The sale of equipment to the US includes spares and associated support equipment.

Two aircraft will also be offered to museums to preserve the Royal Navy's military heritage.

From: Grahame Caine, Forest Lake, QLD 
Sent: Saturday, December 10, 2011 15:23
Subject: RAAF Mystery Photo 112511

Hi Tony,

The person with the half wing "G" is Corporal Vic Smith.  He was then an Airfield Defence Guard and a Door Gunner for the Iroquois chopper.  He later remustered to Equipment and got involved with Air Movements. 

He was later promoted and made Warrant Officer, and when the RAAF made Movements a mustering he was there as a WO.

I have no idea who he is shaking hands with except it would be his CO as he is receiving his DFSM (long service). I am sure Vic will contact you himself as he does mention you regularly.
There were 3 teams; one full time, MATU1 (which I was in),  based at Richmond New South Wales, then two part time teams which were Air Movement Section trained troops MATU2, from Laverton Victoria and MATU3 from Edinburgh South Australia.

Hope that makes sense.


Grahame Caine
Corporal Vic Smith Receiving the DFSM
To shed a little light,  the RAAF had MAMS teams that were made up from people in the Equipment Branch who worked in Air Movements.  At first MAMS were part-time for exercises and overseas trips.  Then the RAAF decided to have a full time MAMS team, and they called it MATU (Mobile Air Terminal Unit). 
From: Adrian Ryan, Saint John, NB
Sent: Monday, December 12, 2011 10:45
Subject: RE: Christmas Newsletter

Thank you Tony for giving me the opportunity to wish all members a happy, healthy and trouble free 2012.

Best wishes to all. 

Ade Ryan
From: Hugh Thompson, Swindon
Sent: Monday, December 12, 2011 10:48
Subject: Re: Christmas Newsletter

Hi Tony

Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year to Movers and their families the world over.

Hughie Thompson
From: Jack Cross, Moralet  Alicante
Sent: Monday, December 12, 2011 10:52
Subject: RE: Christmas Newsletter

Hi Tony,

I'd like to wish all Movers (old, young, current and ex), wherever you are, a very Merry Christmas and a safe 2012.

Best wishes to you all.

Jack Cross

P.S.  If anyone knows any contact details for Des & Jenny Dawson I'd appreciate an e-mail.
From: John Wickham, Dubai
Sent: Monday, December 12, 2011 11:04
Subject: RE: Christmas Newsletter
MAMS Invite
Lydia and I now have a Large 3 Bedroomed apartment so we would like to invite you to stay, up to 4 Guests at a time can be accommodated easily, more at a push if children or grandchildren are in tow!

Living in Jumeirah Lake Towers on the 5th Floor overlooking a lake, next door to the Bonnington Hotel

The Hotel can offer you six Bars and Restaurants

For Sports Fans there is McGettigans  in between The Bonnington and our Tower Block with summer garden.

We are within 15 minutes walking distance of Dubai Marina Mall

Halfway to Marina Mall is Jumeirah Lake Towers' Metro Station where you can access the rest of Dubai easily.

Going in the opposite direction is Ibn Battuta Mall accessible by Metro or a £2 Taxi fare.

Also in within walking distance is Dubai Marina

5 minutes further on is Jumeirah Beach

The Apartment Tower has its own pool on the 45th Floor (but no diving boards!) c/w Gym, Sauna and Steam Room.

The weather here is fantastic but does get a little unbearable August - September with the humidity,  but don’t forget you don’t go outside much as everywhere is air conditioned; the apartment, taxis & malls.

Current Weather conditions can be found here

For the ladies there are the Gold Souks and if you buy it here its value in the UK will be x3.  We have outlet malls for designer clothes at bargain prices.

For the men we have Bowling Alleys, Sky Diving, Sub Aqua, Skiing, Dune Bashing, Desert Safari’s.

You can’t come to Dubai and not participate in a Friday Brunch; eat and drink all you can for 4 - 5 hours for approx £35, the Thursday Evening Brunch is good too but not the two together! 

Sometimes there are evening Brunches but I don’t recommend you go from one to the other!

Flights are available from most UK airports. Summer is cheaper, direct flights are the more expensive and I recommend KLM, Air France, Gulf Air, or Qatar Airways.  If you find it's cheaper to fly into Abu Dhabi come that way as we live 30 mins from Dubai 45 mins from Abu Dhabi.

Alcohol is expensive if you buy it in Hotels, £6 - 7 a pint but I know some shady places where you can get it for £3 a pint and I have loyalty cards to get 20% off most places.

If I get bottled beer or cans it's cheaper here than Tesco’s, last week’s 1664 for 24 x 500ml cost me £13.50 and Jacobs Creek wine £5 a bottle.  Even spirits can be purchased at off licences cheaper here.

Well that’s all from Sunny Dubai

John & Lydia

If you can include the attached - would gladly host any ex-RAF TG18 as long as they brought me a beer and would accept one in return!
Toronto Elephants
might fly to
The debate over the fate of the Toronto Zoo's three aging elephants has expanded to include a possibility of a military airlift to a California sanctuary.

Since the city council voted overwhelmingly to shut down the elephant exhibit, employees there have denounced the decision to send Toka, Thika and Iringa to the Performing Animal Welfare Society in Galt, California.

The handlers maintain the 80-acre site that includes whirlpool baths large enough to treat elephants with arthritis isn't an accredited zoo and the lengthy road trip would be too great a strain on the animals.

The animal welfare group Zoocheck Canada has stepped in and said it would fund travel costs, and spokeswoman Julie Woodyer said there was an alternative to a long road trip -- a military flight.

She said she had made inquiries with the Royal Canadian Air Force about commissioning a giant C-17 long-range aircraft for the job and learned it would cost about $300,000, the report said.  That's at least twice the cost of truck transport, she said.

Several zoo staff members have protested Zoocheck's involvement and are scheduled to visit the PAWS facility this weekend.

In 2007, the U.S. Air Force flew an ailing elephant from Alaska to the PAWS facility, the Star said.

19 Dec. Bob Barker of the 'Price is Right' fame has agreed to foot the bill for the move in the Spring 
From: Peter Clayton, Wroughton
Sent: Sunday, December 11, 2011 09:52
Subject: Meet 'n' Greet

Hi Tony,

Attached is a photo from the latest Meet & Greet at the Swindon RAFA Club.  Not a big attendance but better than the one in September when only 2 members turned up.


From: Terry Mulqueen, Hastings
Sent: Monday, December 12, 2011 11:09
Subject: Season's Greetings!

To all my old buddies or anyone who remembers me, have a great Noel, and have one or two, with the reminder that you all are unique just one of a kind --- THE BEST!

All the best for 2012


Terry Mulqueen
From: Alan Rae, Corby 
Sent: Monday, December 12, 2011 11:14
Subject: Season's Greetings!

I would like to say Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to all Movers old and new.

Also for those who are away at this time of year may you keep safe, you are in our thoughts at this special time!

Alan (Jock) Rae
From: Charles Cormack, Lyneham Village
Sent: Monday, December 12, 2011 11:50
Subject: Season's Greetings!

Wishing all Movers past and present all the very best for the festive season and the coming year.

Stay safe and well

A Herculean Christmas gift arrives at Cosford
A Hercules C130K Mk.3 has just become the latest aircraft to go on display at the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford, arriving just in time for Christmas.

The aircraft was moved from the airfield to the Museum’s site yesterday and placed in its new permanent display space, outside overlooking the Museum site. This supersized Christmas present took a team of fifteen Museum Technicians and RAF Personnel three hours to safely move the aircraft into position, once the aircraft had been defueled.
The XV202 Hercules C130K Mk. 3 was an American aircraft built by Lockheed in Marietta, Georgia and acquired by the RAF in 1966, used mainly on longer routes and for paratrooping. This particular aircraft was one of 30 Hercules modified during the early 1980’s, with the fuselage being lengthened by 15ft. Work was carried out by Marshall of Cambridge (Engineering) Ltd, using fuselage plugs in front of and behind of the wing.

RAF Museum Curator, Al McLean says: “We are very pleased to have this iconic aircraft, particularly as it has such a long record of service with the Royal Air Force and it makes a fine addition to the Cosford site.”

Visitors wishing to see the Hercules can now do so on a daily basis and over the Christmas period. The Museum will be open daily throughout December from 10am apart from Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day. The Museum will then close again on New Year’s Day and will reopen on Monday 2nd January 2012 from 10am. Admission is FREE. For more information on the Museum please call 01902 376200 or visit
Now one of the largest aircraft in the Museum’s extensive collection, the Hercules C130K Mk.3 made its final flight into RAF Cosford in August courtesy of No 47 Squadron, RAF Brize Norton. Since its arrival earlier this year, the aircraft has undergone a short period of maintenance carried out on the airfield.
From: Mike McCann, Harrogate
Sent: Monday, December 12, 2011 12:09
Subject: Re: Christmas Newsletter


Firstly, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you -  and a bloody great thank you for maintaining this marvellous site!

For all Movers, Groovers and (even) Suppliers -  may next year be a little calmer.


Mike McCann
From: Gus Cobb, Royal Wootton Bassett
Sent: Monday, December 12, 2011 12:13
Subject: Re: Christmas Newsletter

Please pass  on Season's Greetings for Christmas and New Year

From Gus Cobb
From: Kenneth McKinstry, Barrie, ON 
Sent: Monday, December 12, 2011 13:02
Subject: Re: Christmas Newsletter

Thank you for the invite to say a few words.

Firstly, I want to say thanks for accepting me into the Association as an Honorary Member considering that I was never an Air Mover in my service days in the 1950's. Through my finding the web site for UKMAMS OBA recently quite by chance, I have been able to get into contact with a very long lost friend - Babs Sugg whose late husband Gwyn served with me back in 1958 to 1962 in both Germany and the UK.

My one regret is had I known about the Association previously I could have reached them sooner. I would like to say how good it has been to read all of the previous newsletters . I found them to be very informative about the RAF and the people who kept it moving so well. I had got out of touch once I ended my service career.

In closing I wish all the present members and yourself a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. 

Kenneth McKinstry

From: James Marchant, Newton-of-Falkland 
Sent: Monday, December 12, 2011 13:14
Subject: Christmas

Christmas greetings to all movers both old and new.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year wherever you might be.

Jim Marchant

Air Force makes successful drop to stricken vessel
A Royal New Zealand Air Force plane has dropped a pump, fuel and other equipment to the Russian fishing vessel stranded in Antarctica's Ross Sea.

The Sparta, with 32 men onboard, is trapped in pack ice, with a hole in the hull beneath the waterline.

Maritime New Zealand says that the Sparta's crew have stopped the ingress of water into the holds.

They will be using the equipment dropped by the RNZAF to continue making repairs to the hull.

The RNZAF C130 Hercules departed Christchurch at 11am today (Friday, 17 Dec) and reached the Sparta before 7pm.

It completed the equipment drop and is now flying to the Pegasus Airstrip near McMurdo Station.

The crew of the Hercules will spend the night at McMurdo before making their way home to New Zealand Saturday.

Nearby vessels are proceeding towards the ship, and are expected to take several days to reach the vessel.

Meanwhile the Sparta's owner has commissioned a South Korean icebreaker to go to its assistance. The icebreaker Araon will leave New Zealand tonight and is expected to take about eight days to reach Sparta.

The ship issued a mayday call at 3am yesterday. The 55 metre vessel is located near the ice shelf of Antarctica, 3704 km south east of New Zealand in the Ross Sea, and has taken on water.

The ship is reported to have a list of around 13 degrees and is pumping the water out and in no immediate danger of sinking.

The New Zealand Rescue Co-ordination Centre (RCCNZ) search and rescue mission coordinator Chris Wilson said crew had been pumping water from the hold overnight and moving cargo around the boat to stabilise it.

"They've made good progress - the vessel is certainly in a safer position than it was yesterday," Wilson said.

"The crew which left the vessel yesterday as a precautionary measure are now back on board, which is good. With Sparta now more stable, the vessel is the safest place for them."

"The second pump will provide greater capacity to the crew and will also provide back up in the event one of Sparta's pumps fail.

"Pumps aren't designed to work 24/7, so it is important they have that security."

RCCNZ search and rescue mission coordinator Ramon Davis said the 32 crew attached a tarpaulin to the outside of the vessel yesterday, which helped slow the flow of water into the hold.

The Sparta has been in Antarctic waters gathering the Patagonian toothfish.

The ship has 32 crew on board, 15 Russians, 16 Indonesians and a Ukrainian, and all are understood to be safe. They are said to have special clothing and other resources to cope with Antarctica's extreme weather.

"They have plenty of supplies - there's water, there's plenty of food, plenty of special clothing and a full set of emergency equipment," the ship's agent Andrey Kulish told ONE News by phone yesterday.

ONE News
From: Peter Tuite, Trowbridge
Sent: Monday, December 12, 2011 14:41
Subject: Season's Greetings!

Hi Tony

To all Movers everywhere and especially those of you who cannot make it home this Christmas to be with loved ones, because you are keeping the rest of the forces going.  Have a very Merry Christmas and I hope you all have a great 2012.

All the best to you all. 


PC 2273 Pete Tuite
Armed Response unit
Wiltshire Police
(Ex Sgt Rock, UKMAMS)
From: Grahame Caine, Forest Lake, QLD
Sent: Monday, December 12, 2011 14:50
Subject: RE: Christmas Newsletter

Hi Tony,

To one and all a Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year, and to those who are still serving and cannot get home, your efforts are appreciated, everyone travel safe.

Grahame Caine ex-RAAF

From: Thomas Geoghegan, Folkstone
Sent: Monday, December 12, 2011 14:58
Subject: Re: Christmas Newsletter

Hello Tony,

A great opportunity to wish all our friends throughout the world a lovely Christmas and if possible a peaceful New Year.

As for myself, think I've had my Christmas present as I had a heart attack on Nov 22nd and I'm a lucky chap thanks to the NHS and the cardiology department at Rochester Maritime Hospital, on the way to recovery!

Best Wishes to you Tony and your family in far-away Canada, great Webmaster, great articles every month.

Tod Geoghegan
From: Gordon Black, Swindon
Sent: Monday, December 12, 2011 16:32
Subject: Christmas Greetings

Wishing all our comrades wherever they may be a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous Christmas and a great New Year.

Keep safe all those away from home and loved ones.

All the best.

Gordon and Ann

RAAF Wants C-27J
Rather Than C295
Australia’s air force has made it clear publicly that it prefers the Alenia C-27J over the Airbus Military C295.

The chief of the Australian air force, Air Marshal Geoff Brown, says a letter of request (LOR) has been issued for the C-27J, but no such request has been issued for the C295. All that has been issued for the C295 is a request for information in regard to pricing, he says.

Australia has a long-standing requirement for tactical transport aircraft to fill the void created when the country’s military phased out its de Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou aircraft. It is clear that the C-27J is a more expensive aircraft, so the Australians may be using the C295 pricing to negotiate a more competitive deal with Alenia.

Brown says the issue the air force has with the C295 is there are some types of Australian army military vehicles that the C295 is unable to transport. He cites as an example the army’s new G-Wagon all-terrain vehicles.

He says armies in Europe may be content to just drive a G-Wagon, but “you have long distances in Australia,” so these vehicles have to be transported by air.

The Australian air force could use larger aircraft, such as its Lockheed Martin C-130s, to transport the G-Wagons. But Brown says “then you end up with small loads on the C-130 and this is not an efficient use” of the aircraft. He also says the air force wants to avoid a situation in which the Australian armed forces’ Boeing CH-47 Chinook helicopters are used for airlifting such cargo. These helicopters are “better for tactical scenarios,” he adds.

Brown spoke to Aviation Week on the sidelines of the LIMA Airshow in Langkawi, Malaysia, on Dec. 7.

Airbus Military chief Domingo Urena-Raso also spoke to Aviation Week at the show. He says he hopes that Australia will open up the tactical transport requirement to a competition in which the C295 is allowed to participate.

Aviation Week
From: Michael Maybery, Andalucia
Sent: Monday, December 12, 2011 16:44
Subject: Christmas Newsletter

Hi Tony,

Firstly let me thank you for all the stirling work you put in producing the newsletter, and here's hoping you have a great Xmas and New year.

To all Movers around the world, known or unknown to me, have a peaceful, safe and Happy Christmas and New Year.

Mick Maybery, Andalucia Spain
(but will be in UK for Christmas)
From: James Aitken, Sunshine Coast, QLD 
Sent: Monday, December 12, 2011 17:03
Subject: Re: Christmas Newsletter

Hi Tony

With the Christmas newsletter cut-off date on the 22nd, we will be in Singapore on that day !!
So whilst you might be shovelling snow we will be sweating cobs!  But there will be lots of goodies on board and just think... no washing-up after Christmas dinner!

Thanks for another great year of newsletters.

A Merry Christmas to you and yours and all members of the OBA.  May 2012 be another great year for us all.


Jim and Pat Aitken
Pat and I and our daughter Joanna, fly from Brisbane via Darwin to overnight in Singers on the 21st. We board the cruise liner called "Legend of the Seas" on 22nd and set off for a cruise up the Malacca Straits calling at Port Swettenham (for KL) then Langkawi Island and on up to Phuket in Thailand. We are berthed in Phuket for Christmas and Boxing Day before we make the return trip to Singapore.
From: Samuel Mold, Hove
Sent: Monday, December 12, 2011 19:36
Subject: Christmas Greetings

With the festive season almost upon us, it is time to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Here's hoping this seasonal greeting finds you in the best of health and enjoying life.

This picture of the Butterworth Air Movements Section was taken in June 1953.

That's me on the left - all the other chaps wearing berets,  including Fg. Off Walker on the far right, were National Service.
From: Don Lloyd, Calgary, AB
Sent: Monday, December 12, 2011 21:47
Subject: Re: Christmas Newsletter

Hi Tony,

My wife Judy and I would like to send to you, and all the "Movers" around the world, especially those that will remain "on duty"  and will not make it home for the festive season, the very best of a "MERRY CHRISTMAS" and a "HAPPY NEW YEAR" to you and your families.


Women to be allowed
to serve on submarines

Women had previously been excluded from any submariner roles due to concerns about higher levels of carbon dioxide in a submarine atmosphere being a risk to female health.
Women are to be allowed to serve on submarines for the first time in the Royal Navy's history, the Secretary of State for Defence Philip Hammond announced today.

The decision comes following an 18-month review conducted by the Royal Navy looking at the legal, operational, health, social, technical and financial issues of allowing women to serve on submarines.
"The Royal Navy has always been at the forefront of innovation, and this decision represents another step in its distinguished tradition of recognising the contribution of its people and making the very best use of the talent from which it can recruit."

The first female submariners are expected to take up their posts towards the end of 2013. Initially this will be a small number of female officers - volunteers who will begin training next year for service on the Vanguard Class of Trident submarines. The first female ratings will be recruited and trained from 2014.

Women will also be able to serve on Astute Class submarines from 2016 when the necessary modifications to on-board accommodation have been made.

The Second Sea Lord, Vice Admiral Charles Montgomery, said:  "Our primary objective in the Royal Navy is maintaining our operational effectiveness both now and in the future.

"This carefully considered decision will allow the Submarine Service to draw on the widest range of talent and skills of our people - those in service and those yet to join. It will therefore enable us to further consolidate our operational success, and it will give our women the same opportunities as men to enjoy a fulfilling and rewarding career in the Submarine Service."

Currently, more than nine per cent of Royal Navy personnel are female, approximately 3,420. Women have been serving on board Royal Navy ships since 1990.

Defence News
But recent research by the Institute of Naval Medicine showed that these risks were unfounded and that there were no medical reasons for excluding women from service on submarines.

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said:  "I am pleased that women will now have the same opportunity to serve on board our submarines, carrying out vital tasks maintaining Britain's defences around the clock, across the world.
From: Victor Smith, Brassall, QLD
Sent: Monday, December 12, 2011 23:03
Subject: Re: Christmas Newsletter


Please pass on my very best wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy and prosperous New Year to all Movers. 

For those on duty or standby: may the weather gods refrain from creating storms, earthquakes and tsunamis. 

For those on deployment: may all be peaceful and quiet.


Vic Smith
SAMCO Tullamarine

From: Don Stewart, Lincoln
Sent: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 02:37
Subject: Re: Christmas Newsletter

Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year to all Old Bods everywhere.

Still working away in Lincoln inhabiting the world of convenience foods; thankfully the great British public have still not discovered how to make sandwiches. Waiting for the decent weather so we can take the caravan and go wandering in UK and France.

Best E-Wishes

Don & Sandra Stewart

From: Len Bowen, Chisholm, ACT 
Sent: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 03:36
Subject: RE: Christmas Newsletter

A very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year to you and yours.  To all of you out there in harms’ way tonight and tomorrow; safety and strength - and a safe return to wherever you call home.

Len Bowen
RAF FEAF MAMS 1966 - 68
RAAF MATU ALT1 1980 - 81
(Oh, and now RAAF Active Reserve through to November 2013, when I turn 69.  They must be hard up!)

P.S.  A lighter moment from Movements history attached.  Might bring a smile for the festive season.

29th April 1966.  Ghurkha Family Lift.  Labuan - Anduki - Labuan.

Beverley XB 264.  Captain: Flt Lt Lansdell.
I should have known that the day wasn’t going to be that simple when we walked out to the Beverley.  Because the Ghurkha family pick-up was a ‘one off’ task, and so as not to waste time in the normal air drop schedules, it had been decided not to re-hang the clam-shell doors; just stretch a couple of cargo nets over the 10´ x 10´ gap at the rear of the fuselage for safety. 
Not an insurmountable problem, however.  We arrived at Anduki, and with the aid of a couple of Queen's Ghurkha Officers as translators, sorted out our load of passengers.  We got the baggage on board and netted down quite easily, and then selected the families with younger kids to sit downstairs.  Ghurkha children are wonderfully well behaved, and we knew that if they were told to stay in their seats for the short flight, and not approach the open albeit netted rear of the fuselage, they would do so.  We also made sure that there were a couple of seats right by the safety-netted rear for the AQM and myself, to act as shepherds just in case anyone got inquisitive about our ‘drop-head coupe’ configuration in flight.

This left about two dozen or so ladies and older kids to help up the side of the fuselage and into the boom.  Not a big deal really, and most of the wives and kids shinned up the stringers without any problem.  A couple of the more matronly ladies needed a bit of a helping hand, however, and I was in the process of doing just that when it happened.  I was about a foot below the lady in question, and a little to one side, when the world went brown, and I couldn’t see at all well.  What had happened was that the lady was well endowed in the ‘busty substances’ department, and in stretching up to grasp the next stringer above, her left breast had escaped from the halter top of her sari, and slapped me fair across the face, knocking off my glasses and then remaining there like some early film test for the face hugger in ‘Alien’.  I initially did not know what was happening, and it was only when I went to remove what was obscuring my vision, and encountered a substantial amount of warm brown …. err …. womanhood …. that all became clear, so to speak.  I was a lot less worldly wise in those days, so quickly removed my hand.  The lady, quite unperturbed, took one hand off the side of the aircraft, tucked the appendage back from whence it came, and completed her climb unaided.

Unaided by me, that is, because even with the ‘face hugger’ mammary removed, without my glasses everything was a blur.  Unaided, too by my small team of ‘movers’ and the 34 Sqn crew, who, having seen what had occurred, were now draped over the aircraft floor and seats in paroxysms of mirth, joined wholeheartedly by the rest of the Ghurkha wives seated below.  Eventually I recovered my glasses and my composure, in that order.  The plastic frame of my glasses had not fared well in the drop to the aircraft floor, however, and it required a couple of turns of ‘Instant Airframe’ tape from the Flight Engineer before clear vision was at least partly restored.

The rest of the flight was uneventful, and the off-load of the PAX at Labuan equally so, courtesy of an aircraft servicing ‘giraffe’ to facilitate the passengers’ disembarkation from the Boom via the rear para hatch.  The fun re-started when I presented myself to Sick Quarters in order to get a Purchase Order for a new frame for my spectacles.  Labuan being a small place, the story of Plt Off Bowen’s close encounter with a flying boob had circulated quickly, and the young Medical Orderly who filled in the necessary Form Med No XXXX for me to sign to get the replacement specs took much delight in having me carefully record in great detail where, when and, particularly, how the work-related accident had occurred that required the RAF to replace my glasses frame.

It took me several days to live the incident down, and it was only when I swallowed my embarrassment, and pointed out somewhat forcefully that of all the Air Movements and 34 Sqn personnel on almost-celibate Labaun at that time, I was the only one to have had close personal contact, albeit fleetingly, with any part of a female body for some considerable time!
No problem, except for some reason there were no inter-deck ladders at Labuan, presumably because they were not needed for in-country air drop tasks, and took up valuable space on the deployment / redeployment legs from/to Seletar on aircraft change over.
After fitting what few passenger seat sets we had in Labuan on the lower deck floor, and rigging the para-seats along the side walls.  This gave us about 50 seats downstairs, but still not enough for all the PAX, so some would have to go up into the tail boom to use the seats there.
From: Basil Hughes, Pattaya
Sent: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 05:10
Subject: Re: Christmas Newsletter

May Neeann and I wish all the ex-MAMS members and their families a very Happy Christmas and every blessing for the New Year.

Here in Thailand Christmas is not a holiday but most houses have a tree with lights and the shopping malls are playing Christmas carols in a variety of languages -- What I shall be eating on Christmas day is debatable  but unfortunately any alcohol is banned as I am recovering from bronchial  pneumonia.

Still I will be thinking of all the good times we had -- I don't remember the bad.

From: Martin Liggett, Swindon
Sent: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 05:34
Subject: Re: Christmas Newsletter

Season's greetings to all Military and Civilian Movers who are away from their loved ones at this time of year, our thoughts are with you.

From: Antony Dunphy, Swindon
Sent: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 08:17
Subject: Season's Greetings!

I wish all MAMS, both Ex and serving, a Merry Christmas and all the very best for the New Year.

Take care and be happy.

Tony Dunphy
From: Anupam Kumar Mohindra, Doha
Sent: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 10:52
Subject: RE: Christmas Newsletter

Hello Tony, 

As I head homeward bound from Doha, I  wish all the Movers back home and all those who are out and about around the world at the behest of Her Maj and all your families a very Merry Xmas  and a healthy, prosperous and happy New Year.

Those of you who know me will know that as always I will be raising a glass or 2 of the amber nectar on Hogmanay to present and past friends & colleagues who have gone to the final departure lounge.

Safe home lads.

God Bless.

Uncle Mo
From: Anthony Bennett, Calne
Sent: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 12:17
Subject: Season's Greetings!

To all the guys and gals

Have a great Yuletide!

Benny Bennett
From: Robert Taylor, Doncaster
Sent: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 13:22
Subject: Christmas Message

Hi Tony,

Could you please wish every mover out there a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

For those you stuck on duty somewhere in the world, special greetings to you all.

Rob Taylor
From: Bernie Hurdsfield, Corby
Sent: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 17:54
Subject: Season's Greetings!

To all movers past and present may I wish you all good health and happiness for the festive season.

And to those of you on active service please come home safely.

From: Tony Last, Huntingdon
Sent: Wednesday, December 14, 2011 06:08
Subject: RE: Christmas Newsletter

Greetings to all my old pals (wherever they are) and all those others who I had the privilege of working with who remember me (for whatever reason).

Hope you all have a very happy Christmas and I wish you all Prosperity and Good Heath for 2012 and onwards.

Thanks Tony and OBA, what a great website.

Tony Last
From: Barrie Wilson, Weymouth
Sent: Wednesday, December 14, 2011 07:07
Subject: Season's Greetings

Hi Tony

I would like to send Seasons Greetings and Best Wishes to all 'Movers' past and present. I hope you all have a great and peaceful time, wherever you are, or serving, at this time of year.

Thank you Tony for your excellent work and contributions throughout the year.

A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Barrie (Tug) Wilson.
From: Sam Heaphy, Royal Wootton Bassett
Sent: Monday, December 12, 2011 17:25
Subject: Season's Greetings!

Happy Christmas to the present movers and to all the old boys who are still out there

From: Dougie Betambeau, Swindon 
Sent: Wednesday, December 14, 2011 12:16
Subject: Season's Greetings!


I would like to send warmest wishes to all HM Forces, home & abroad but especially to those away from their loved ones at this precious time of year. My thoughts to those that are no longer with us and of course their loved ones also.

To Movers, old, new or part worn! have a lovely Xmas & best wishes for 2012


Dougie & Jackie B

From: Gus Turney, Chippenham
Sent: Thursday, December 15, 2011 03:45
Subject: Season's Greetings!

Dear Tony,

I'd like to say Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year to all movers worldwide, past and present, particularly those serving away from their families.

I finally got to grips with modern technology and put this little vid together. I don't think Martin Scorsese has anything to worry about, but it should bring back a few memories for those who served on Operation Bushel.

My own special memories are of the heat at Assab, the stoicism and patience of the local people I met at the dropzone, and the awesome scenery on the low level flights. Lighter moments include the stay at the Ghion Hotel, waiting to get my room key in reception at the Addis Hilton after a day's flying, covered in milk powder, Pig Clarke getting buried under a collapsed stack of supplies, and nights out at the buffet de la gare and the British Embassy club!

Oh… and causing the Archbishop of Ethiopia some pain, after jumping off a grain stack, and landing on his bare foot with my flying boot!

All the best,

Gus Turney (currently working as a range ops supervisor on Salisbury Plain).
From: David Howley, Melton Mowbray 
Sent: Thursday, December 15, 2011 04:52
Subject: RE: Christmas Newsletter

Hi Tony,

Attached Xmas Card.

Best Wishes and Thanks for all your hard work on our behalf.

From: Keith Parker, Bowerhill
Sent: Thursday, December 15, 2011 07:20
Subject: Season's Greetings!

Hi Tony

Yet another year gone by.

Please pass on our Seasonal Wishes

"A Very Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year to all our Friends around the World especially to all Movers and ex Movers spending the Christmas time away from Home."

We will be thinking of you all

Keith & Daphne Parker
From: Mike and Avril Stepney, La Nucia  Alicante
Sent: Thursday, December 15, 2011 15:06
Subject: RE: Christmas Newsletter


Appreciate if you could squeeze-in my Christmas wishes to Movers far and wide, and a special mention to those Movers currently serving in operational areas who will not be with their familes at Christmas this year.

Merry Christmas to you all... and may those abroad return safe to their families in 2012.

Regards and Best Wishes to you and yours

Mike and Avril Stepney
From: Fred Hebb, Gold River, NS
Sent: Thursday, December 15, 2011 19:42
Subject: Seasons Greetings

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all the Movers of the world. 

A special wish to all those deployed, may you all be safe and have a speedy return home. 

Fred Hebb

RCAF retired
From: Allan Walker, Burnley
Sent: Friday, December 16, 2011 06:36
Subject: Re: Christmas Newsletter

Hi Tony

As the Christmas spirit will be flowing over the festivities I would like to share an experience with you all, about drinking and driving.

As you well know, some of us have been known to have had brushes with the authorities on our way home from the odd social session over the years.

A couple of nights ago, I was out for a few drinks with some friends and had a few too many beers and some rather nice Port.

Knowing full well I may have been slightly over the limit, I did something I've never done before - I took a bus home.

I arrived home safely and without incident, which was a real surprise, as I have never driven a bus before and am not sure where I got this one.

Brings back memories of Gan many years ago!!

My best wishes to all Movers old & new. Have a great Christmas and Prosperous New Year wherever you may be. Keep up the good work.

Allan Walker

p.s.  The following Christmas card was penned by the late Steve Taylor, Foxtrot Team Leader at Abingdon Circa 1970:
From: Tomm Everett, Calgary, AB
Sent: Friday, December 16, 2011 23:08
Subject: Re: Christmas Newsletter

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Years to all Movers.

May the new year bring prosperity and good health for you and you families. God Bless!

From: Mike & Eva Gerigk, Port Alberni,  BC
Sent: Saturday, December 17, 2011 13:42
Subject: Merry Christmas

Have a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year to all the old "TRAPPERS" and new ones, as we would call them.

From Mike & Eva Gerigk
(Cdn MAMS/LM Master)
From: Andy Zimmer, Haverfordwest
Sent: Sunday, December 18, 2011 07:39
Subject: Re: Christmas Newsletter

Wishing all friends and old colleagues a very merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year. To all those currently OOA best wishes and safe return.

Kindest regards

Andy Zimmer.
From: Neale Harrison, Barnstaple
Sent: Friday, December 16, 2011 07:09
Subject: Season's Greetings!


For all those fellow ex and current Movers around the world , may your celebrations over the Festive period be enjoyable and safe in this troubled world we live in.

Best wishes

Neale Harrison
From: George Readman, Yate
Sent: Friday, December 16, 2011 12:41
Subject: Season's Greetings!

Hi Tony,

Best wishes to all the Old Bods where ever you are. Have a very Happy Christmas and New Year.

Many thanks Tony for your continuous hard work on our behalf.

Geordie Readman
From: Peter Clayton, Wroughton
Sent: Friday, December 16, 2011 14:57
Subject: Greetings

Hi Tony

A special Christmas Greeting to you and many thanks for providing us all with the Newsletters for another year.

Happy Christmas and a Wonderful New Year for 2012 to all movers around the world, especially those serving in Afghanistan.  Stay safe and enjoy the holiday period as best as you can, no doubt the MAMS spirit will prevail.

Tony, I had a sad letter from John Bowerman today in with a Christmas Card, John's wife Moira died of a heart attack in May 2011.  Although John was not on MAMS to my knowledge, we worked together at RAF Kai Tak on Movements and we met up again when I joined Redcoat Air Cargo at Luton many years ago now.  In fact it was John that put me onto the job, having heard Tradewinds were making loadmasters redundant. 

John was not able to let many of his friends know about Moira's death at the time and he say's he now knows how many friends he missed telling having used Moira's Christmas Card list.  I am sure that there will be some friends within the OBA that knew John & Moira, if anyone wants me to pass on their belated condolences, let me know.

That is it for now, enjoy the Festive Season, guess it will be a white one for you and possibly for some of us here too!

Merry Christmas


From our house to yours, we wish you and your families a Very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. 

May you enjoy a fun filled holiday season with family and friends. 

To those Movers serving abroad, we wish you a safe and uneventful Merry Christmas and a speedy return to your loved ones.  Thank you for your dedicated service to preserve PEACE and FREEDOM throughout the world.  We are extremely proud of you all.  Thinking of you at this special time of year. 

A toast to a peaceful & prosperous 2012...
From: The Wood Clan, Pembroke, ON
To:  ALL Movers (former & still serving) & their families
: Sunday, December 18, 2011 12:39
David, Diane, Chris & Len (Woody) 
From: Ron Meredith, Spalding 
Sent: Sunday, December 11, 2011 12:22
Subject: Application Comments

I believe that I was the last RAF OC Troops (Train) in 1960, a V-Bomber dispersal exercise without air transport support. I was also responsible for the shipment of about 8,000 x 1,000 Lb bombs back to the UK from the Middle East. Served as Deputy SAMO at Idris and in assorted Movements related roles over the years.
From: Harold Jones, Neston
Sent: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 05:04
Subject: Season's Greetings!

Just to let the whole Mover's world know that I have, after a 4 year chase, finally recruited my very own Christmas card writer, fellow cook and bottle washer, though on a purely trial basis with the option to renew on a date to be detailed.

Wishing all humpers and dumpers every where the very best seasons greetings and wishing all a happy new year.

Val, Harold and Hounds.
From: Andrew Kay, Colorado Springs, CO
Sent: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 11:13
Subject: RE: Christmas Newsletter

Hi Tony

I just want to send my good wishes to all movers past and present wherever they are in world and hope that they have a wonderful Christmas and a safe and happy New Year. 

On a quick personal note, after being in Virginia for over 20 years, my wife and I have recently relocated to Colorado Springs in the beautiful state of Colorado to be at my company's head office.  Not a move we would have predicted 12 months ago, but I have an amazing view of the Rockies from my office window (and from our new house) and we are slowly getting settled in to our new surroundings.

Best regards to you Tony and thanks for the great work you do on the OBA - I'm sure everyone anticipates the arrival of the new "issue" of it as much as I do.

Andy Kay
From: Brian Spademan, Larnaca
Sent: Wednesday, December 21, 2011 05:18
Subject: Season's Greetings!

Christmas greetings and best wishes to past and present, wherever you are have a great Christmas and a very safe New Year 2012

Farewell to Dave "Chunky" Allan
From: Keri Eynon, Newbury
Sent: Sunday, December 18, 2011 10:02
Subject: Christmas

As we bid another fond farewell to yet another "Old Bod", especially at this special time of year, our thoughts must be with the family and close friends at this sad time of loss.

Yet we need also to remember the hope associated with Christmas with the Birth Of Jesus Christ.  I therefore do send the following to all members, as we remember friends no longer with us let us celebrate the true meaning of this occasion as I wish you all:

A blessed and peaceful Christmas with best wishes for the New Year.

Keri (Taff) Eynon
This issue is dedicated to the memory of Dave Allan