Final Operational Flight of the CC-115 Buffalo Aircraft
Ottawa - January 15, 2022.  The final operational flight for the CC-115 Buffalo aircraft was flown today by 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron, based out of 19 Wing Comox, British Columbia.

As they have done countless times over the course of the Buffalo’s service to Canada, the final operational flight involved airborne search and rescue standby training, conducting a flight within Search and Rescue Region Victoria, ready to divert to an emergency at a moment’s notice from Joint Rescue Coordination Centre Victoria. Training included Search and Rescue Technician parachute jumps and parachuting of emergency equipment as the aircraft visited locations around Vancouver Island.

While work continues to prepare the CC-295 Kingfisher aircraft for its new role as Canada’s fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft, interim search and rescue coverage for the Search and Rescue Region Victoria will be provided by the CC-130H Hercules fleet. Aircraft from 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron will augment 442 Transport and Rescue Squadron to ensure consistent fixed wing search and rescue coverage.

National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

[Ed: 'Fraid I dropped the ball on this one - apologies to Mick and Myra - I owe them a pint of whatever they're drinking!]
Mick and Myra Maybery, Alnwick, Northumberland 

Here's wishing you all a safe and Happy Christmas and New Year, especially those away from friends and family.

Mick and Myra Maybery

From: Roger Smiley, Fawcett, AB
Subject: Season's Greetings

To all movers, active and retired, wishing you all the best for 2022.

From: Mark Attrill, Tallinn
Subject: Re: UKMAMS OBA OBB #123121

Hello again Tony,

GREAT Newsletter!  I had fun reading through this last evening and was especially pleased to get news about Ian Russell; my first 'Mentor' on UKMAMS when I was holding on the Squadron before my professional training - I subsequently served with Ian when we were both Staff Officers at HQ 38 Group at Upavon but lost contact when he went on his NATO travels - I'll forgive his comment on photoshopping!

Then there was Rod Stone who was Best Man at my wedding just over 28 years ago!

Anyway, another great end to the year and many thanks again for your sterling work with the newsletter and for the Association as a whole.

All the best for the New Year of 2022!

Mark Attrill

From: Charlie Marlow, Freshwater, Isle of Wight 
Subject: Re: UKMAMS OBA OBB #123121

Hi Tony,

Once again I thank you for the excellent work you do - May 2022 be a great year for you.

As it’s that time of year, New Years Honours etc., I feel that I should bestow upon you the Charlie Marlow BEM - Bloody Excellent Mate!


Task Briefing Sheet - From Back in the Day
This example - courtesy of Gordon Gray - was created by the individual teams and served the purpose:
From: Rebekah Jacques, Brize Norton
Subject: RE: Request for Task Briefing Sheet

Hi Tony,

I’m Becky, one of the current UKMAMS Flt Cdrs. I’ve received your below request from OC UKMAMS ref the task prep sheet.

PFA a blank copy of the task folder we are now using, as you will see it goes through all the team preparation, briefing and post task actions. Before each task departs, the team leader will go through this page by page as part of the task brief, ensuring all team members are fully aware of the task, ache available, local environment etc.

This current folder is definitely a lot more detailed than your task briefing sheet, which I’m sure would have been more than adequate at the time. It is strange to see how much things have changed over the years, I’ll certainly share the attached with the team, I’m sure they’d love to see what the Sqn previously used… As you say, how times have changed!

Kind Regards,


Using the arrows, scroll though the frames to see the current task folder
And Now For Something Completely Different
From: Chris Goss, Marlow, Bucks 
Subject: Warrant Officers I Have Known

Hi Tony,

Can only be Dave Eggleton.  First met him at RAFMS and then he was then WO out in Ascension in 1983 when I was one of the three DAMOs.  He taught me how to drive and safely over-balance a Henley 10.5K forklift.  If I remember correctly he had a slight stammer and we JOs liked to try and get him to say Bananarama.  A true gentleman and I felt it my due to go to his memorial service in Abingdon. 

From: Gerry Davis, Bedminster, Somerset
Subject: Warrant Officers I have known

Hi Tony,

Geoff Beare - I first met Geoff on the Movements course at RAF Kidbrook in 1962, he was an SAC and I was a corporal. We then met again at RAF St Mawgan, then again in Cyprus and once more at Lyneham; we kept in touch whilst he was at Upavon and Bicester. The wife and I got to know all his family and even used to visits him when he retired to St Buryan in Cornwall, where he originally came from.

He had a very interesting start to his working life and started off as a fisherman sailing out from Newlyn, until one of the boats got lost at sea; he then joined the RAF, he left, then re-joined a few years later.

He was the most likeable character that anyone would wish to meet, he certainly had his opinions and voiced them when aroused in that unmistakable Cornish accent. A lot of those that served in those past years may have witnessed his American car that he imported, via indulgence P/E’s, from Canada where he had served.

Geoff sadly became very ill, he literally smoked himself to death. We attended his funeral in Penzance and often visit his grave whilst on our frequent visits to Cornwall. We are still in touch with his daughter Eyvette.

The attached photo was taken at Lyneham seeing off Princes Diana. Geoff is second behind her, looking very important!

He is sadly missed.


Geoff Beare is behind the Group Captain and behind him is Dougie Betambeau
(In the following e-mail from Andy Spinks is a much clearer photo of Geoff when he was a sergeant stationed in Ottawa)
From: Andy Spinks, Falmouth, Cornwall 
Subject: Geoff Beare

Hi Tony,
Ottawa, Ontario, Andy Spinks is seated and behind him are
Sgt Geoff Beare, SAC Mal Palfrey and Cpl George Templeton.
The photo was taken in the RAF Movs Unit at CFB Ottawa (South), where we were collocated with 3 AMU, albeit as a separate unit. The year was 1979; George Templeton retired from there and his replacement was Clive Bishop.

Poor Geoff has since passed away, as did his successor Colin Allen, sadly both prematurely.

I had been meaning to cast my vote for the WO but have probably missed the boat - sorry. It was a close run thing but wobbly Dave Eggleton was the mentor I most respected.

All the best,

1971 - A Blast From The Past
Back in the day (it might have been a Wednesday), during quiet periods when the majority of the squadron members were not tasked, the Training Officer, Flt Lt Allan Walker, scheduled helicopter training days.  This was our opportunity to hone our underslung load skills and have some fun practising rapelling from the helicopter into rough terrain - we were indeed a dynamic bunch back then!

The photograph below was taken during one of those days.  Rather than naming everyone present (although I'm kneeling, third from the left), as an aide-mémoire, I have provided a listing of squadron members from that period, see how many chaps you can recognise!
UKMAMS Roster as at 30th April 1971 (5th Anniversary of the Squadron)
From: Howard Farrow, Swansea, Glamorgan 
Subject: Warrant Officers I Have Known

Hi Tony,

Here’s my top six of Movement’s Warrant Officers I have known, in no particular order, who I have the greatest respect for; great blokes and were marvellous tradesmen, but most importantly always made time for the younger tradesmen:

1. Dave Wall  2. Dave Lacey  3. Dave Eggleton  4. Colin Allen  5. Chic Hatch  6. Bill Kearney

There are loads of other great Warrants, but above are the stand-out ones for me!


Taff Farrow

From: Keith Hubbard, Kilgetty, Pembroke
Subject: Warrant Officers I Have Known

Hi Tony,

I remember one WO in particular and that was John Hatherill. He was OC Air Cargo in Cyprus in the early 1970's.  He was a pure gentleman who loved his pipe!


From: Sean Culligan, Valetta 
Subject: Warrant Officers I Have Known

Dear Tony,

Two WO's who made an impression on me.

No.1 - The one and only great man himself- Colin Allen. His calm, gentle yet firm manner and encyclopaedic knowledge helped me out of more jams and junior office banana skins than you can imagine. Worked together in the Training Office and other places. Still think of him and still miss him.

No.2 - The diminutive Reg Carey. How many people met him at Swindon Station when he was the RAF meet-and-greet there?  We worked together in what was the TSO office and despite being unable to exist without a cigarette in his hand or attached to his lip, his amazing knowledge and fund of stories both entertained and imparted knowledge - he was also good for knowing how to “fix” or “acquire" almost anything!

Do people like Colin and Reg still exist in the trade?



From: Phil Smith, Exmouth, Devon
Subject: Re: Christmas Blockbuster Brief

Hi Tony,

Many thanks for the 5-star deluxe Christmas Blockbuster Brief. Knockout stuff!

Thanks to your “conduit to camaraderie"  I have subsequently been in touch with both Chris Thistle and Roger Whittington - guys from the mid-70's at Lyneham.

Keep up the good work and regards,

See inside the Airbus A400M Atlas Military Cargo Plane - Part One
The UK Royal Air Force brought one of its Airbus A400Ms to the Dubai Airshow last November.
RAF announces retirement destinations of its BAe146 fleet
The UK Royal Air Force announced on 21 January that of its remaining four BAe146 aircraft, the two BAe146 Mk2 will go to museums in the UK and the two BAe146 Mk3 aircraft have been acquired by a civilian operator. The aircraft will be flown to their respective retirement locations over the next few weeks. The RAF said of the two Mk2 aircraft, one would be delivered to the air museum at Duxford, Cambridgeshire, and the other, to the South Wales Aviation Museum at St Athan.

The RAF announced in October 2021 that it would replace its BAe146 in the VIP transport role with a pair of executive aircraft. The winning bid under phase one of the GBP80 million “Command Support Air Transport Recapitalisation” (CSAT RECAP) contract is expected to be announced later this year. Under phase one, the Ministry of Defence will own the executive jets and these will be leased back to the chosen operator, which will provide servicing, support, and aircrew. Under the first phase a cadre of RAF aircrew would be trained to operate the jets and the aircraft would be operated on the Civil Aircraft Register. Under a second subsequent phase of the CSAT RECAP project, commencing in 2024, the aircraft would undergo “military modifications” and the RAF would take over their operation.

From: James Gallagher, Oxford, Oxon
Subject: Warrant Officers I Have Known


It will come as no surprise to you that I have nominated Dave Eggleton as that warrant officer. I was appointed training corporal for UKMAMS in 1973. As you will know from our time together, Norrie Radcliffe was i/c Training and Dave was his number two. I couldn’t have wished for better leaders.

Dave was not only a committed serviceman, but he was also a gentleman. He was respected for his knowledge and integrity, along with his kindness and consideration. Dave gave me the confidence to stand in front of a class of higher rank and mostly more experienced “students”. He also supported me in my long term decisions. I will never forget him.


From: Bryan Morgan, Abingdon, Oxon 
Subject: Warrant Officers I Have Known


I am sure most readers will be well aware of my thoughts on WO David Eggleton, which I have written about in this publication in the past.  I had the good fortune to share postings with him on three separate occasions between 1964 and 1988 and, on each occasion, he proved to be a supreme operator whose enthusiasm and reliability knew no bounds.

The only time we had a slight difference of opinion was when I decided to take early retirement before him. However, all was forgiven when he also left the service six months later and we continued our close friendship, both living in Abingdon, until he died.  At the end of a long friendship I was privileged to be asked to give the eulogy at his funeral.


Bryan Morgan

From: Ian Berry, Eastleaze, Swindon, Wilts 
Subject: Warrant Officers I Have Known

Hi Tony,
I joined the RAF as an Admin Apprentice in January 1965. Hundreds of Boy Entrants and Apprentices were there at the time. There was one Warrant Officer on strength as the School WO - Taff Llewellyn. Obviously I had very little to do with him as he was God, although I did sit beside him for the Entry photograph.

Four years on (1968) and I was posted to RAF El Adem in Libya. Who should be the Squadron WO on the Air Movements Flight but the same Taff Llewellyn. Being still wary from my apprentice days, I was blown away by his approachability, kindness and advice; he certainly made my tour in hell bearable.

Of course I'm sure one or two others will mention Dave Eggleton. I initially knew Dave on UKMAMS at Abingdon when he was a Flight Sergeant and I a Corporal. He was then promoted in-situ and replaced Roy "The Skull" Brocklebank.

In a horrible development, the squadron was moved from Abingdon to Lyneham to amalgamate with the squadron there. The marriage was not that clever and for the next year or so there was a definite purge to post all of us ex-Abingdon guys as soon as possible. Dave was the rock and fought in our corner throughout this period. I will never forget his efforts at that time. Of course our paths crossed several more times before his retirement and then he joined 4624 Sqn RAuxAf and they gained the benefits of his talents.

Both of these guys are sadly missed.


See inside the Airbus A400M Atlas Military Cargo Plane - Part Two
From: Colin Eyre, Ogmore By Sea, Mid Glamorgan 
Subject: Warrant Officers I Have Known

Hi Tony,

Warrant Officer Roy Brocklebank

It was in the early 1970's that I came to know Roy. I had been chosen to join the training team at Abingdon where our leader was the one and only Flt Lt Norrie Radcliffe. I had been on Echo team up until then, so it was a bit of a wrench. There were however some pluses one of which was the opportunity to play rugby for the station in mid- week and for the town on Saturdays. All was well until I foolishly went and broke my leg. There I was laying back in my bed in the Radcliffe hospital wondering how my wife would cope. Not to worry - step in Roy, who not only made sure she was able to visit me but also went that extra mile and, along with his wife, Jean, they did some baby sitting for us.

Roy went to work in Saudi Arabia after leaving the RAF, but we kept in touch and I am pleased to say we managed to visit Roy and Jean on a few occasions when they returned to this country. They lived in Cornwall before settling in Cullompton in Devon.  We had visited them both the year before Jean passed away and then again we visited Roy one year later. We had booked another trip to Cornwall when the lockdown kicked off so that was cancelled.

May 1973 - Charles Collier, Roy Brocklebank, Bryan Morgan and the AOC
Unbeknownst to us, It would have been the last chance to call in and see him. We were not aware just how unwell he was, and so it was with sadness that we read in the OBA newsletter that he had passed away.

Fond memories of the kindness shown to us.

From: Clive Price, Brecon
Subject: Warrant Officers I Have Known

Hello Tony,

We only had flight sergeants in UKMAMS at RAF Abingdon. They were all acting paid, except the youngest, who by chance was substantive. I seem to remember his name was Trevor Tipton (I wonder what happened to him?).

My life-saving WO was named Fulford when I was an 18 year old airman stationed in the Yemen at 114 Maintenance Unit in Steamer Point, Aden.  I ran the Motor Transport desk, stocking and supplying parts to the RAF, Army and Navy.  In error I double-ordered truck tyres from the UK which I subsequently tried to cancel. The reply was that I was too late, they were already on a ship.

I let WO Fulford know that we will be swamped with 300 truck tyres very soon. He told me to take a fortnight's leave and he would sort it.  The CO hit the roof when the depot was covered with tyres, but WO Fulford talked the Army into changing every vehicle's tyres that they had.

Saved my bacon!

Taff Price
F Team 1966/70

From: Phil Overson, Swindon, Wilts 
Subject: Warrant Officers I Have Known

Dear Tony,

A particular favourite Movements WO of mine, and many others, was the wonderful Terry Roberts, sadly now deceased. I first met Terry when I worked on B shift in the cargo shed at Lyneham in the early 1990’s and he was WO i/c Exports. Chatting to Terry and listening to his wonderful stories, I realised that he was from Norfolk like me (and many other Lyneham Movers at that time like Paul Amies, Deano Dawson, Dave Drake, Mik Gidney, John Day and Damian Smith).

He soon took me under his wing and offered all kinds of fatherly advice to this sproggy airman. It was Terry who first sparked my interest in applying for Mobile duties and he put a good word in for me with WO Colin Allen, who eventually approved my move across to J5 hangar, despite me being an inexperienced Movements Operator at the time. I enjoyed five wonderful years of globetrotting on Kilo Team with the likes of Keith Parker, Figgy Fitches, Taff Brayshaw, Keith Edwards, Brummie Overgaard and Tim Pyne, followed by a rewarding two-year stint in MAMS Ops. I was once lucky enough to be tasked with Terry and a JATE team to Eglin AFB in Florida around ‘92, and saw first hand how knowledgeable Terry was and what great fun he was down route.

I demobbed in ‘98 but stayed in the Swindon area and regularly bumped into Terry around town and at reunions and meet & greets and we remained good friends. It was terribly sad to hear of Terry’s illness and rapid decline after being diagnosed with the horrible Motor Neuron Disease and it was heartbreaking to see this proud man reduced to a shell of his former self. I was able to attend his funeral at Swindon Crematorium alongside so many friends and former colleagues, pay my respects and share our favourite stories of this clever, funny and mischievous man. I, like many others, still miss Terry to this day. Another Movements icon taken far too soon but have lots of happy memories of times we shared and advice he offered. Rest in peace Sir. I’ll be forever grateful for your friendship and help. A true Movements legend.

With very best wishes,


Air Movements Teams Lend a Hand
Royal Australian Air Force Air Movements teams from No. 23 Squadron are playing a vital part in the Australian Defence Force’s support to Tonga following the January 15 volcanic eruption and tsunami.  The first humanitarian supplies provided to Tonga as part of the Australian Government’s response have already arrived.  An RAAF C-17A Globemaster III aircraft carrying the humanitarian supplies departed RAAF Base Amberley and touched down at Fua’amotu international airport on January 20.

No. 23 Squadron Air Movements personnel and Air Mobility Group aviators and aircraft were at the centre of the initial response.  Flying Officer Jorge Elosegui Guerra, from Air Movement Detachment Amberley, coordinates the teams loading and unloading the cargo from the aircraft.  “The first aircraft was loaded with water containers, food supplies, construction materials for temporary shelters, generators, medical supplies and communication equipment,” Flying Officer Elosegui Guerra said.  “It is a huge honour to be part of the team supporting one of our Pacific families during their time of need. We have an opportunity to contribute to the wellbeing of the Tongan community and we’re all motivated to doing our best to ensuring all cargo is prepared efficiently and effectively with no delays to the aircraft departure.”

Over the coming days, as the disaster relief effort ramps up, No 23 Squadron personnel will continue to work with Air Mobility Group to ensure all requirements are met and there is maximum use of the space available within the aircraft.

From: Ian Envis, Crowborough, East Sussex  
Subject: Warrant Officers I Have Known

Hi Tony,

Your request regarding Warrant Officers is a challenge as so many WO's influenced my Movements career both professionally and importantly life in general. Of all of such fine gentlemen I've known I'm going to nominate - Derek PILKINGTON.

I first met Derek when I underwent Air Movements training at the RAFMS Brize Norton in 1973. Due huge demands on UKMAMS the School was asked to provide a ''team'' to do a trip with an on/off mission. Led by Clive Upton the team included Derek, me, Terry Pemberton-Piggot (also a trainee) plus 2 NCOs. Apparently Derek thought Terry and myself would pass the course and actually prove useful on the ''Team''. The mission was a success and Derek's sense of professionalism plus his humour (often irrelevant) endeared him to me for ever more.

I later had the good fortune of commanding 4624 Squadron RAuxAF [Oggies] where Dave Bernard had recruited Derek from the regulars to be WO Training. Once again his professionalism, sense of humour and outstanding loyalty were traits that by late 1986 had started to get the regulars onside with the Oggie concept that led to the integration of the Oggies with the regulars that is so powerful today.

One specific story - in 1975 (I think) Derek was sent to Kai Tak from Singapore to assist the overworked folks in HKG, during which he suffered a heart attack. Many will recall his legendary one-armed press ups - suffice to say once fit he continued to still perform same - often at dining-in nights, into the late 80s. They certainly were a sight at 4624 Squadron Dinner Nights.

In his later years Derek and Trudy (his lovely wife) mentored many, including me, and for this I shall be eternally grateful.

Regrettably Derek passed away leaving Trudy to remain a friend and reminder of the great man that I knew for the best part of 20+ years. RIP my friend.

Cheers, Ian

From: Stan Seggar, Sheffield 
Subject: Warrant Officers I Have Known

Hi Tony,
How about this one taken from the Station Magazine, RAF Hereford (Credenhill), Winter 1964 - a picture of Warrant Officer B. Harbourne who was the discipline officer in charge of parades and pass outs etc. I remember him as being a very strict WO who, if we saw him in time we tried to dodge him but, no such luck, he always caught us, as we stood to attention waiting in dread of our sentence, no matter what.

I recall being out on parades, lined up in flights and Mr. Harbourne was even pulling up the officers for the slightest of infractions.  WO Harbourne also had a human side, if we ever we met him off duty he was actually a very nice human being who treated us like human beings too, and he liked a good laugh. Perhaps he did like Boy Entrants after all!

Regards, Stan
From: Tony Last, Huntingdon, Cambs 
Subject: Warrant Officers I Have Known

Hi Tony,

Way back in 1975/76, I had the pleasure of working for WO Bill Fitt, whilst enjoying a tour on Movements at RAF Gatow, in Berlin. Although Bill was an old school WO, he was an absolute gent. He suffered the whims of us young Corporals with a smile and was wont to say, "Yep done that, seen the film, got the tee shirt" but, nevertheless, let us get on with our jobs, make our mistakes, and correct them, throwing in his two pennyworth as and when the situation required it. 

Bill always had a positive outlook on life, despite his own aches and pains (a martyr to his long suffering bad back) and having a wife who had mobility issues. However, a nicer couple you couldn't meet. They were both ever ready with a welcoming smile when visited at home or seen out and about, and did their level best to attend social happenings as and when they came up. 

Bill's approach to problems was always with a calm and positive attitude and did not accept the need for raised voices or the stamping of feet. I have seen him put a senior commissioned officer in his place, when his wife was refused an indulgence seat on an aeroplane (he didn't see me, I hasten to add). To be fair, the said officer came back next day to apologise to Bill, and even left a small donation for a drink for the boys (despite his wife having to use a civilian airline flight to get home). You don't have to lose it to get your point across he used to tell us. Just be calm and be right about what you are saying and I will always have your back. Mind you, he knew how to give someone a bollocking too, and you knew you'd been bollocked, and yes, ''had that.'' 

I recall an incident where some junior army officers, seeing off one of their own on a flight, poured Deutscher Sekt (German sparkling wine) into our ornamental fish tank in the passenger lounge, which eventually killed off the fish. Fortunately someone had seen them do it (I think it was Sally, employed to run the bar). A few days later, Bill had them and their CO in, and words were said. The upshot was an apology from the officers concerned, and a promise to pay to have the fish tank restored to good use and restocked with suitable fish (which they did). There was also a 'voluntary' donation made to the Movements Fund (suggested by their CO, I believe) for the trouble caused. Bill thanked the CO for coming and they shook hands before the CO gave him a friendly smile and a pat on the back on departing.

Bill was an exceptional and very knowledgeable man, both in the trade and in life in general, with a heart of gold, who was well liked by his staff and everyone from the CO down. I can honestly say that in successive years since, I always tried to abide by his style of leadership, through to me becoming an 'old' Warrant Officer myself. Bill has long since departed for the great Terminal up there, but will always be a friend, for whom I, and I am sure others, who were lucky enough to have served with him, will always have very fond memories.  RIP Sir.

It would be very remiss of me though to not mention some of my old buddies who, between them, also showed me the ropes and were my guiding light. Namely; WO's Chas Cormack, Mick Day and Colin Allen. There were of course countless other people, over the years, who also deserve my thanks.

Finally, I would like to think that all of us, throughout our service careers, contributed something to those long since retired, and to the remaining WO's and Seniors still serving today, who were our SAC/LACs from those years long ago.

Best regards to you all,

Tony Last

From: Stephen Davey, Tadcaster, North Yorks  
Subject: Warrant Officers I Have Known


One WO does spring to mind for me, and that was when in August 1968, as a very young SAC, I was posted to RAF Leuchars. After an initial two weeks training in POL on the Squadron, I was allocated to ESG (Electronic Supply Group). My WO there was George Ross but of course I always called him sir!

Unlike other WO's I'd met in the past, he was a kind father figure for the younger staff in the section. He was very patient and understanding when explaining all the tasks that we were required to do and I rate that time there as one of my happiest in the RAF. I owe him a debt of gratitude for giving me an excellent introduction to all things Supply.

Many regards

Steve Davey

(More about the CC-115 Buffalo later in this issue)
Bye-Bye "Buff"
“The CC-115 Buffalo aircraft, its aircrew and personnel have provided crucial assistance to Canadians for more than five decades.

To those who worked with the “Buff”: your dedication, service and commitment to excellence demonstrate that Canadian Armed Forces members put duty before self to help Canadians in time of need. Thank you for your service.”

The Honourable Anita Anand, Minister of National Defence
From: John Gardiner, Carterton, Oxon
Subject: Warrant Officers I Have Known

Hi Tony,

When I think back about the Warrant Officers I worked with, many of them were noteworthy; however, there is one I remember in particular: WO Taff Erasmus.  When I went through Apprentice Training at Hereford in 1966/7 his brother was there as a FS Discip.  I think both brothers were ex-Air Gunners and saw active service.

I worked for  WO Erasmus at RAF Masirah in 1971 and to say his arrival was a breath of fresh air would be an understatement.  We had only about 10 people on the Movements Flight and had yet to see the UKMAMs reforce kick in.  I remember recording 267 aircraft movements for the month of June 1971 alone.  Muharraq and Sharjah were both closing down and every day saw the arrival of Argosys loaded to the gunnels with their discarded cr*p!  That included a piano falling out onto the pan from an Argosy as the Loadie lowered the ramp!  Taff Erasmus took no prisoners in his down to earth matter of fact leadership and I have no doubt that it was his calm and incredibly supportive demeanour  that got us through those days.  He respected and supported everyone that worked for him.

There are many on this forum who will remember him but in particular they will recall that he called everyone ‘Butt’  from SAC to the Station Commander.  I remember him calling a Britannia Captain, ‘Butt”. The Captain replied, ‘Mr Erasmus, don’t call me Butt’!  Taff’s reply was,’Sorry Butt’!

My final memory of this WO was when I applied to assimilate to Movements in 1972 only to find on posting that I was going to Supply at Uxbridge.  Taff went to SHQ to sort it out and found that the Movements Clerk had filed my Gen App in his drawer and left the Island.  Taff sorted the mistake out for me and got my assimilation upheld even though the closing date had passed.

In my mind, he was definitely a ‘one off’ and I can remember him as clearly as yesterday despite 50 years having passed 

Below is Taff blowing the bagpipes…  Ive got a glass to my mouth… just for a change!

John Gardiner

From: Richard English, King’s Lynn, Norfolk
Subject: Warrant Officers I Have Known

Hello Tony,

When our first and only child was delivered I was stationed at RAF Rheindahlen. My dear wife, Pat, has a stubborn streak and fears no man. When our son. Robert, reached the crawling stage he started to shake his cot (airmen for the use of) that duly collapsed every time. My wife and I were very concerned. Pat arrived at the families stores (or whatever it was called) and requested a replacement ASAP of the Warrant Officer who happened to be serving at the counter (most unusual). He calmly told her (oops) that he only had "officers cots in stock".

Pat flew into a rage but the WO was adamant "No cots, airmen for the use of" (by this time several store's erks and erkesses had gathered to watch the fun).

Pat asked him what was the difference was between the two types of cots - the WO (stupidly) advised that "officers cots had beads whereas..." he didn't finish his sentence, Pat leaned across the counter and grabbed the (short) WO by the lapels and started to drag him... luckily Pat had gone with a friend who persuaded her to let the WO go and they left, Pat advising the WO that she would take up the matter with the Families Officer directly.

That very afternoon a truck arrived outside our quarter with, would you believe, a cot airman for the use of!
VBR Richard

From: Barry Tappenden, Shortstown, Beds  
Subject: Warrant Officers I Have Known

Good evening Tony,

I left RAF Hereford trade training under a bit of a cloud as I only just passed the exams. I passed out as an LAC and was sent to RAF Gaydon, whereupon I was put into SCAF (Supply Control and Accounting Flight) under the watchful eye of the WO in charge, Dave Green. He could see that I was not a Supplier in any shape or form. After about 6 months I was given a “Father to Son” talk. He realised that I would be more suited elsewhere so he recommended that I should be sent on the first Air Movers course as soon as I made SAC.

From a kind chat and understanding from that WO ensured that my career had started, I have never looked back. I spent a lot of my service career in Movements but also in Supply (Heli-Replen, Falklands) manly hands-on jobs.

When I became Station Warrant Office (SWO) at RAF Uxbridge, I always remembered the WO who took the time to listen to me and it wasn’t all screaming and shouting to get the job done.

Best regards and stay safe


From: Maddie Smith, Brize Norton, Oxon  
Subject: Warrant Officers I Have Known

Good morning Tony,

My immediate thoughts took me to the most influential WO I have worked with who, perhaps a cliché, was the WO in my first tour. Mr Brown was an MT Driver, around 6' 3’’ and was an exceptional mentor to an incredibly keen but utterly clueless Junior Officer. Whether he realised or not, his advice has always stuck with me and I was privileged to be invited to his Top Table, as he retired from the RAF after 37 Years.

My first memory of him was on my first day of handover, to become OC MT at RAF Lossiemouth. My predecessor and I were sitting in his office having a chat, with his huge German Shepherd looking ominously at us from under his desk. (I later learned that said dog, Kai, was an incredibly soft and loving beast, but he did the job of terrifying junior drivers just by the way he looked, so well!)

There was a gentle knock on the door and a sheepish Airman apologised and said he would come back later, to which Mr Brown bellowed, ‘Not at all young man, the Ma’ams can hear this.’ He proceeded to verbally savage the lad, who had seemingly had too much to drink after a Station Rugby match and then been rather unwell all over the bus on the way back. I felt like I was the one being told off! As I stared at my knees I could see the lads legs shaking like the proverbial. Either way, I had a clear understanding of his style from that moment onwards, but that’s not to say that he couldn’t be empathetic when required.

Welfare of his staff was paramount and he taught me how to find the balance between being too hard and being too soft. His advice on managing the mass of confusing civil service HR policy, reading charges against rogue Airmen and generally just being a better officer was gratefully recieved. I can honestly say we worked well as a team and I often think about what I learned from him. Over the years I did call him a couple of times for advice, which he readily gave and I am hugely grateful for.

Best regards,


From: Tom Iredale, Heidelberg 
Subject: Queen's visit to RAF Benson - either 1970 or 1972

Dear Tony,

The local newspaper here, the “Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung”, is featuring the Queen in its magazine section on the weekend 5/6 Feb.

I was asked if I had met the Queen and indeed I did and had lunch with her (and a whole bunch of fellow officers), whilst SAMO there. I no longer remember the date (either 1970 or 1972?) or the menu.

Could you please canvas the members to see if anyone recalls this visit or can point me to a source? Google only mentions her visit in 1989…

Thanks in advance

RNZAF First Hercules Flight To Tonga
Swift To Move
By Squadron Leader Chris Goss
(Written in 1999 - the Eve of the Millennium)
Deployments, detachments and out-of-area operations are a regular part of life for today's Serviceman. However, many have taken for granted how they and their personal effects get where they are going (and more importantly how they get home). 

The July/September 1999 issue of Air Mail mentioned the small part played in Operation PALATINE by the 'Movers' of the RAF Airport Unit at Split.  This unit was the successor of a detachment formed at the start of the United Nations involvement in the former Yugoslavia by the United Kingdom Mobile Air Movements Squadron (UKMAMS), the RAF's only specialist movements unit which, since the mid-1960's has been at the forefront of the vast majority of every major and minor operational deployment and recovery all over the world.

Based at RAF Lyneham in Wiltshire since 1974 and currently under the command of Wing Commander David Blore, UKMAMS numbers just over 300 officers and airmen.  The officers are all from the Supply Branch and have successfully passed the Officers' Movements Course  whilst the airmen all come from Trade Group 18 (Movements).

The squadron has three main tasks: firstly unloading, loading and processing all passengers and freight flying into and out of RAF Lyneham.  Secondly, providing movements support world-wide where no movements organisation exists. Finally, supporting the British Army in its ever increasing air/land operations.  On paper, these tasks seem simple and straightforward but as every 'mover' will tell you such things are never so.

The on-base movements task at RAF Lyneham is performed by the Base Air Movements Flight (BAMF). The 190 personnel (both male and female - there have been non-commissioned female movers since 1991) give Lyneham 24 hours a day, 365 days a year movements cover and are capable of handling four simultaneous arrivals and departures an hour.  To ensure this cover, there are four shifts working a 12-hour day or night in a two days, two nights shift pattern and it is the shift personnel that do the physical loading, unloading and processing of every transport aircraft using RAF Lyneham.  Additionally, there is an Air Cargo Section (further sub-divided into Imports and Exports) whose task is to allocate freight for outbound flights and assist with the reception, clearance and onward movement of inbound freight.

On paper, BAMF's task seems straightforward but a glance at the arrivals/departures board any day of the year would give the uninitiated a surprise as to the range of destinations of Lyneham's Hercules, whilst a study of BAMF's statistics for each month show that 6,000 - 7,000 passengers and their baggage are processed in addition to 1,000 tonnes of freight. Additionally, when trouble flares up somewhere in the world and the decision is taken to send in troops, BAMF has to deal with the almost immediate surge of aircraft and personnel departing from RAF Lyneham - a regular occurence nowadays.

BAMF does have its more interesting tasks which is best illustrated by the Foreign Aircraft Section, part of the Air Cargo Flight.  This section deals with the many foreign visitors to Lyneham and has recently handled Cossack horses destined for the Royal Tournament, sanitary ware for King Hussein of Jordan's palace and even Richard Branson's Balloon after it was recovered from North Africa.

The other halls of UKMAMS is known as Mobile Air Movements Flight (MAMF) and consists of 14 teams (each composed of a junior officer, Flight Sergeant, Sergeant, Corporal and two airmen) capable of deploying to anywhere in the world, normally at very short notice. Teams have operated as far north as Tromso in Norway, as far south as Durban in South Africa, as far east as Fiji and as far west as Hawaii.  Why?  Because the British military, and to a lesser degree British Government, want to get there and to then get back.

The job is hard; last year each team member spent 150 nights and 250 days away from Lyneham supporting the British Army (50% of their tasks), RAF (30%) with the remaining 20% devoted to the Royal Navy and other Government departments.  Today, the Flight is busier than ever, as shown by the very large tasking board in the Operations Room, which is festooned with all sorts of colours indicating who is where, on what task and what he or she will be doing when they get back.

Notwithstanding the hard work, the chance to handle civilian and military aircraft of many nationalities, and to visit such countries as Fiji, South Africa and Chile are additional rewards and morale amongst MAMF's personnel is high.  Added to that, over the years, some of the jobs have proven to be very different, ranging from being on hand when Princess Diana's body was flown from Paris, flying Rudolph Hess' body from Spandau to be buried in his home town in Southern Germany, and the move of two gorillas from Jersey Zoo to London (and not forgetting loading onto a Hercules the same balloon belonging to Richard Branson which was later offloaded by BAMF at Lyneham).

All MAMF personnel must must be medically and dentally fit at all times, must have completed a four-week training course (which covers driving, trade matters, field deployments and then a week living in the field) so that they can give movements support in any environment at any time.  To help ensure this, MAMF has its own training section and because the vehicles needed to offload different aircraft are so diverse and specialist, its own MT section.

The next time you see an item on the news which shows RAF aircraft landing on a humanitarian mission somewhere in the world or recently released hostage returning to RAF Lyneham, just remember that the officer who is seen by the back of the aircraft helping offload bags of flour, or the airman driving away from the aircraft is not there by accident.  It is more than likely that both are from UKMAMS and are both living up to and perpetuating the Squadron's motto - 'Swift to Move'.

Tony Gale

If you wish to make a donation,
you may use the above e-mail
through PayPal.

This Newsletter is Dedicated
to the Memories of:

Jim Rice (RAF)

The Crew and Pax of Buffalo CC1155461
shot down by Syrian Missiles August 9th 1974
They are known as the "Buffalo Nine"
Captain George Gary Foster (Pilot)
Captain Keith Mirau (First Officer)
Captain Robert Wicks (Navigator)
Master Corporal Ronald Spencer (Flight Engineer)
Corporal Bruce Stringer (Loadmaster)
MWO Gaston Landry
MWO Cyril Korejwo
Corporal Michael Simpson
Corporal Morris Kennington