From: Ian Envis, Crowborough, East Sussex
Subject: RAF 11Grp BoB Bunker at the former RAF Uxbridge

The following article brings back fond memories - from Sep 1979 through Apr 1981, my RAF Secondary Duty whilst serving at RAF Uxbridge included responsibilities for this very bunker, which is now open to the public. For various reasons, I suppose I went down ''the hole'' at least once a week and had the pleasure of showing numerous visiting groups around the facility that was first returned to view by some volunteer work by RAF Techies in the early 70s.

FYI: For RAF Movers, ''H'' Firth, as a Squadron Leader, was OC Supply & Engineering at RAF Uxbridge and will recall the facility.

IMHO an amazing place and sad that the RAF does not have ownership of such an important historical feature. That said I'm delighted to acknowledge that Hillingdon Borough Council have spent money to ''refurbish'' the facility and to open same for access by the public. I know I will be visiting and this time will pay for the privilege.

Cheers,  Ian
The historic operations room from where the RAF conducted Battle of Britain defences has been opened to the public after a £6million redevelopment.

Based in a bunker 60ft below the ground, the RAF's No 11 Group's Operations Room at Uxbridge, Middlesex, was central in protecting London and southern Britain in 1940.

It was known to serving personnel as 'the hole' and was constructed underground so it could withstand bombing and gas attacks. The base was also the place where Sir Winston Churchill came up with his famous 'The Few' speech to pay tribute to the bravery of the RAF who defended the nation when Britain stood alone against the might of the German military.
Battle of Britain RAF war room reopens after £6m revamp
The RAF's No 11 Group's Operations Room, housed in a bunker at RAF Uxbridge, has been opened to the public following a £6million revamp. The conditions inside the bunker have been designed to recreate how it looked on September 15, 1940, otherwise known as Battle of Britain Day, which was one of the largest aerial conflicts of the conflict. Pictured is one of the staff members arranging the huge map on which RAF personnel would plot out the battles with the Luftwaffe.
The bunker, pictured, also inspired Winston Churchill's famous 'The Few' speech after the then prime minister visited the base on August 16, 1940, and said to chief military assistant Major General Hastings Ismay 'never in the history of mankind has so much been owed by so many to so few' as he was getting into his car to leave. Four days later he repeated the line in the House of Commons while praising the bravery and success of the RAF after they repelled German air attacks.
The bunker also includes a 'tote board', pictured, which was used an electric lamp system to let commanders know when the enemy had been sighted and how strong nearby units were so decisions could be made over which squadrons to send out in defence.

It was the responsibility of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) to update and maintain the tote boards.
The WAAF plotters would collate all the information on squadrons and then record it on a typewriter, pictured, so it could then be transferred onto paper tote boards and then eventually the electronic system. The operations rooms typically consisted of three layers: a large plotting table on the lowest level, communications operators above them and a second storey, sometimes behind glass, where commanders could observe and communicate plans.
The 11 Group control room is pictured here during wartime operations on an unknown date. It proved vital on Battle of Britain day after helping the RAF coordinate defences against two massive Luftwaffe waves involving around 1,100 German fighters and bombers, with the RAF vastly outnumbered. Nevertheless, Spitfires and Hurricanes shot down around 60 Luftwaffe planes - double the British losses - and disrupted their bombing raids.
11 Group personnel used this rudimentary 'hotline' telephone, pictured, to contact other bases around the country quickly to report intelligence and movement of German planes. Numbers of staff in 11 Group doubled to 20,000 between April and November 1940 as more and more people were recruited in defence of the nation as Britain stood alone against Nazi Germany following the defeat of France.
A statue of Air Vice Marshal Keith Park, pictured, has been erected at the base in tribute to his leadership of 11 Group during the Battle of Britain, during which his forces faced the brunt of the Luftwaffe attack. AVM Park, who also organised fighter patrols over France during the Dunkirk evacuation, had a reputation as a shrewd tactician with an 'astute' grasp of strategy, while his men saw him as a popular 'hands-on' commander and he personally commanded his forces in a Hurricane on Battle of Britain day.
The exhibition and visitor's centre at RAF Uxbridge also has a Spitfire raised on a plinth outside. The aircraft became a symbol of the RAF's 'determination, innovation and grit' and had only been introduced just two years before the Battle of Britain. Although more Hurricanes were flown in the battle, Spitfires enjoyed more success countering German raids because they were able to manoeuvre better at higher speeds.
The exhibition has recreated fine details of the bunker, including this plotting room, pictured, where communications personnel would convey German movements and battle reports. Speaking about the bunker's revamp, Ray Puddifoot, of Hillingdon Council, said: 'We regard it as both an honour and a privilege to now be custodians of the Battle of Britain Bunker which was, a few years ago, in danger of closure.'
These are the 76 steps that lead up to the ground from the bunker 60ft below ground at RAF Uxbridge which Winston Churchill walked up with General Ismay on August 16, 1940, shortly before coming up with his famous 'The Few' phrase. The bunker was built so RAF commanders would be protected from German bombing raids or gas attacks.
Also above ground at RAF Uxbridge is a mounted Hurricane fighter, pictured, which bore the brunt of the Luftwaffe assault in 1940 because there were more of them than Spitfires, although it has been cast into the other aircraft's shadow due to its superior performance throughout the conflict.
This map shows how Operation Sea Lion was supposed to work in 1940 following Hitler's defeat of France. The Nazis would have made beach-heads along the south coast at Portsmouth, Brighton, Bexhill, Folkestone and Ramsgate and would have dropped paratroopers behind enemy lines before moving north to take Bristol, Oxford and London. But Hitler needed both naval and aerial superiority to launch a full-scale invasion, which he never achieved.
A tote wall, pictured, in the bunker would have shown commanders exactly what position and state nearby squadrons were in to let them know who to deploy in the event of a German attack. The many options include whether a squadron is refuelling, whether it is in place to mount a counter-attack, if it is in the air or if it has spotted an enemy incoming.
Wooden markers on the table in the bunker, pictured, show the positions of RAF squadrons and where they would have been engaging Luftwaffe forces on Battle of Britain day. It was a pivotal event in the war because it convinced Hitler to abandon Operation Sea Lion even though German fighters still vastly outnumbered the British.
Mr Puddifoot said the bunker, pictured, was an important part of British history and the £6million expense was justified to keep it available to the public. He added: 'It is an amazing building in both design and content and I would like to thank all of those involved in the design, construction and fitting out of this tribute to what was, undoubtedly, one of this nation's finest hours'.
'Never in the history of mankind has so much been owed by so many to so few'.
The wartime prime minister delivered the immortal line while praising Battle of Britain heroes at the House of Commons on August 20, 1940.  But it actually came into his head four days earlier as he was leaving the bunker at RAF Uxbridge having observed a day's operations towards the end of the battle for the skies between the RAF and the Luftwaffe.

After climbing the 76 steps from the subterranean bunker, he paused in silence as he was getting into his car and told his chief military assistant Major General Hastings Ismay: 'Don't speak to me, I have never been so moved.'  A few minutes later he uttered the soon-to-be immortal words 'never in the history of mankind has so much been owed by so many to so few'.  Four years later, it was used to coordinate air support for the momentous D-Day landings on June 6, 1944.

The bunker, which was previously at risk of closure, was acquired from the MoD by Hillingdon Council in 2016.  The local authority has now carried out a refurbishment of the venue and opened it to the public after spending £6million to build a new exhibition and visitor's centre.

The plotting room, with its large map table, squadron display boards, balloon and weather states, is exactly how it was when Churchill visited on September 15, 1940, at 11.30am - otherwise known as Battle of Britain day which saw one of the largest aerial conflicts of the war.

It came towards the end of Operation Sea Lion, the Nazi's plan to invade Britain which Hitler enacted after defeating France.  Hitler planned to land at beach heads along the south coast in Sussex and Kent but wanted air and naval superiority beforehand, prompting him to try to wipe out the RAF with the Luftwaffe, only for the British air force continuously frustrate German raids.

On September 15, the Luftwaffe launched an all-out attack on London after German intelligence mistakenly believed the RAF was on the verge of collapse due to a string of attacks on the capital meeting little resistance. But Britain's defences had recovered from earlier attacks and the RAF were ready for the German offensive.  The Luftwaffe attacked in two huge waves with around 1,100 fighters and bombers combined, while the RAF sent around 630 fighters to counter them.
The planes 'the Few' flew in, the then newly-released Spitfires, also became a symbol of British determination, innovation and grit as the RAF struggled its way to victory in the autumn of 1940. 

At the start of the Battle of Britain, the RAF had only slightly more than 600 frontline fighters to defend the country when the Nazis launched their offensive.  The Germans by contrast had 1,300 bombers and dive-bombers and about 900 single-engine and 300 twin-engine fighters.  But with the UK's superior equipment and flying skills, Germany lost three planes for every one RAF aircraft. British fighters were shooting down German bombers faster than the German industry could produce them.

RAF fighters shot down around 60 German planes - double the British losses - and severely damaged another 20, successfully disrupting their bombing raids and convincing Hitler he could not achieve air superiority, causing him to end Operation Sea Lion and change tactics to bombing raids on major cities, prompting The Blitz.

Speaking about the bunker's revamp, Ray Puddifoot, of Hillingdon Council, said: 'We regard it as both an honour and a privilege to now be custodians of the Battle of Britain Bunker which was, a few years ago, in danger of closure. 

'To ensure that the bunker could both be kept open and its historic significance remembered, understood and enjoyed for generations to come, we provided funding of £6million to build this state-of-the art Exhibition and Visitors' Centre. 

'It is an amazing building in both design and content and I would like to thank all of those involved in the design, construction and fitting out of this tribute to what was, undoubtedly, one of this nation's finest hours.

'We should never forget that our brave British pilots fought alongside those from other nations - notably Poland, New Zealand, Canada and Czechoslovakia - and that their success, and indeed their lives, were often in the hands of the ground staff underground in the No. 11 Fighter Group Operations Room here on this site in Uxbridge - 85 percent of whom were women.'
'The Few': Churchill's tribute to the Battle of Britain heroes
The following is an excerpt from Winston Churchill's 'The Few' speech to the House of Commons on August 20, 1940:

The gratitude of every home in our Island, in our Empire, and indeed throughout the world, except in the abodes of the guilty, goes out to the British airmen who, undaunted by odds, unwearied in their constant challenge and mortal danger, are turning the tide of the World War by their prowess and by their devotion.

Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.

All hearts go out to the fighter pilots, whose brilliant actions we see with our own eyes day after day; but we must never forget that all the time, night after night, month after month, our bomber squadrons travel far into Germany, find their targets in the darkness by the highest navigational skill, aim their attacks, often under the heaviest fire, often with serious loss, with deliberate careful discrimination, and inflict shattering blows upon the whole of the technical and war-making structure of the Nazi power.

On no part of the Royal Air Force does the weight of the war fall more heavily than on the daylight bombers, who will play an invaluable part in the case of invasion and whose unflinching zeal it has been necessary in the meanwhile on numerous occasions to restrain.
Daily Mail Online
UK military investigators have attributed a 2017 incident, in which a Lockheed Martin C-130J operated by the Royal Air Force’s 47 Sqn was written off, to the flightcrew’s lack of situational awareness as they attempted to land on a temporary strip in darkness.  However, the Defence Safety Authority (DSA) notes that a “variety of inter-linked factors compounded this lack of [situational awareness] making the accident more likely.”

The turboprop airlifter was subjected a 4.2g impact as it landed short of the runway on upward-sloping ground, sustaining damage to its fuselage.

Flying in support of Operation Shader – the UK’s contribution to the fight against Islamic State – the C-130J (ZH873) was performing on a routine resupply mission from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus to a temporary landing zone (TLZ) in northern Iraq on 25 August 2017.  Having acquired the touchdown box at the TLZ – a 150m (500ft)-long area marked with infrared lights to indicate the start of the runway – the crew began their approach around 3nm (5.5km) out.

After a “largely uneventful” initial approach, both pilots, wearing night vision goggles, struggled to discern the semi-prepared strip during the latter stages of the landing.  They described it as “very dark with little visual acuity” and the pilot flying said the touchdown box area appeared to be “floating”, with minimal ground definition.

A pre-flight meteorological briefing appeared to overestimate the amount of light that would be available at the landing strip, the report notes.  Confusing operational doctrine over the lighting configuration for tactical missions, as well as potentially degraded or inoperable infrared taxi and landing lights on the aircraft, compounded the issue. 

There were “insufficient visual references to judge a flare and make a safe landing” and the crew should have instead performed a go-around, says the DSA.  As a result of the poor illumination, the crew were unable to discern precisely where the runway began. “Both pilots stated in interview that, as the [co-pilot] called 20ft [altitude], the ground appeared to rise up at the aircraft and the aircraft made a heavy contact short of the touchdown box,” the DSA says.

Although the crew believed they had touched down around 15-30m short, subsequent analysis “indicated that the actual point of impact was on an upslope 120m short of the runway”.  No surveys available to the crew identified the upslope, although they had been informally warned of “unusual” radio altimeter readings on final approach.

Analysis of satellite data identified a section of terrain, sloping upwards at an angle of 4°, immediately before the 90m-long overrun area preceding the runway.

Errors relating to the glideslope flown – 2.5° rather than the prescribed 3° – and the pilot’s aiming for the front instead of the centre of the touchdown box, also contributed to the short landing, the report says.

Had the correct procedures been followed, the Hercules would have landed around 45m further on, which “would almost certainly have resulted in less structural damage”, says the report.

Compounding the issue was a flare that was “late and incomplete”; had the manoeuvre been performed correctly and completed, the turboprop would have touched down nearly 120m further along the runway, the report says.

With the C-130J operating at 61.5t, the rate of descent should have been around 5ft/sec according to the RAF’s safe operating limits; post-incident analysis suggested a figure closer to 9ft/sec.  However, landing onto the upward-sloping terrain exacerbated this already high descent rate, giving an effective figure of 23.7ft/sec – more than four times the RAF’s limit, and still twice that of a higher rate cleared by Lockheed. Calculations suggest that the C-130J was subjected to a 4.2g impact at touchdown, which rippled the skin and caused pulled rivets.
As the aircraft bounced, “the [pilot flying] initiated a go-around”, says the report, “and following subsequent bounces the aircraft began to climb away”.  However, so violent was the impact that the turboprop was “initially climbing away on a heading approximately 20° displaced from the runway centreline.”

While in the climb the flightcrew noticed that the C-130J was not pressurising sufficiently, while personnel in the cargo compartment observed a “whooshing sound” that they believed was caused by air escaping through the fuselage aft of the port wing root. 

As a result, the pilots elected to make an emergency landing at Erbil International airport in Iraq, which was considered the nearest “safe” location. The crew, along with items removed from the Hercules – which included the cockpit-voice and flight-data recorders – were subsequently relocated to RAF Akrotiri on 27 August.  Only minor injuries were reported by the nine personnel aboard the aircraft.

No holes in the fuselage were located, with the investigation concluding that the noise was caused by “turbulent air” from the separated edges of the fuselage skin panels.  Analysis concluded that “significant design limit loads had been exceeded across much of the airframe” with “widespread damage to its primary structure”. 

Although valued at £17.5 million, parts worth £5.5m were salvaged from the damaged C-130J, the report says. The aircraft was delivered new to the RAF in 2000, records Cirium's Fleets Analyzer.

Both pilots were experienced flying instructors, with more than 13,000h between them. However, the pilot flying – who had also been nominated as the aircraft commander – had not been deployed on operations for three years and was unfamiliar with the landing zone. He was seconded from XXIV Sqn – an operational conversion unit – for a period of 10 days.

His colleague, however, was assigned to 47 Sqn in September 2016 and had made 20 landings on semi- or unprepared runways over the preceding seven months. He was also familiar with the landing zone.

“Nomination of the pilot flying as aircraft commander exacerbated the issues of a flat cockpit gradient, setting circumstances for unassertive behaviour from the [co-pilot],” the report notes.

Flight Global
Lack of situational awareness blamed for RAF C-130J write-off
From: John Guy, Northampton
Subject: Memorable

Hi Tony,

On 21st June 1974, Bravo Team of NEAF MAMS was tasked to pick a passing Belfast on its arrival at Akrotiri, and accompany it to offload the aircraft in Ethiopia. This entailed a pick-up in the very early hours of a Sunday morning.

Having been to our pre-flight breakfast, we made our way to await the arrival of the aircraft on the pan which was void of other aircraft and personnel at this unearthly hour of the morning. As dawn was breaking it felt, to me anyway, that it was a lovely place to be with it being so peaceful and then...  one became aware that the Officers' Mess Summer Ball was still very much in progress when the next song over the air waves played it was the Hollies singing "The Air That I Breathe”. The Belfast duly arrived a few minutes later, which we boarded to eventually offload at Addis Ababa what were 2 x 3 ton vehicles.

To conclude, that record has just been played on our local radio, and it always is a lovely reminder of that particular task.

Kind Regards,


From: Tony Gale, Gatineau, QC 
To: John Guy, Northampton
Subject: RE: Memorable

Many thanks John – I can relate to your story.

Back in 1969, Foxtrot team was tasked in a PCF Britannia to support the Toronto Air Show, but when we arrived and did our thing, there was nowhere for us to park (it was so very crowded).  We became a “training” flight down to San Francisco for the August Bank Holiday weekend.  It was at the height of Flower Power and it did not disappoint.  We stayed at the San Franciscan Hotel (all the coins had been washed before being given out as change in the various establishments in the hotel – which gives you an idea of the opulence).  We took in everything we could including cable car rides and a trip to Fisherman’s Wharf – plus a few questionable establishments!  To top it all off, there was a float parade on Market Street, below our hotel windows, on the Monday morning.

Whenever I hear Scott McKenzie’s “San Francisco”  I think of that wonderful weekend.

Best regards

From: Andrew Finlayson, Adelaide, SA
Subject: Many Thanks!

I have to thank you Tony for reuniting me with my dear friend, Paul Fitzpatrick, whom I had lost touch with. He had found me a year or so back through seeing my picture in the Newsletter. However, communication had stopped since he has now moved back from France to the UK. Because you were looking for him and because you asked me to help I was able to find him again and we are again in regular communication. We can once again revisit our youth and recall our misdemeanours (mainly mine, he was, and still is, a much more upstanding chap). So thank you again for allowing two old codgers to reminisce and hopefully to catch up when I’m next over there.

Yours indebtedly,

From: Glen Falardeau, Devon, AB
Subject: Re: UKMAMS OBA OBB #042619


Among all the other most interesting stuff in the last newsletter (including your story about Fat Albert in Addis Ababa), there is one that takes it all and must be mentioned.  It is from Len Bowen and is entitled "Bowen and the Beverley - a Saga across Several Continents". Wow!  What a piece of work! 

This chap has got to be commended for his write up!  What a story teller; very well written with loads of typical British humour, riveting and informative.  Was he a writer in his spare time, was it an extract from a book or his memoirs ?

Again lots of good stuff for a wide audience in here and thank you again for putting it all together for us: the Movers' community and others I know from other trade occupations and elements (Army and Navy) at home and abroad.

I can't wait for the next one!


From: David Forsyth, 85270 St Hilaire de Riez    
Subject: Regarding Richard Bond

Having enjoyed the story about Dick's pistol bluff in the last newsletter, I thought readers who knew Dick might enjoy another story of bluff - albeit a bluff with rather more success.

Dick Bond - Fortune Teller - Bluff or Capability?

Dick, by then Richard, was my senior Wing Commander and my Deputy at Quedgeley in the early 90s. As with most RAF Establishments, to help promote good will locally and to earn a few shillings for Charity, we mounted each year an Open Day with lots of money-spinning stalls.

Dick (I prefer to call him Dick from our Cranwell days), set up a small tent and erected a sign for Fortune Telling for 50p by Gypsy Rose Lee, or something like that. The Gypsy welcomed punters dressed in a fancy blouse, skirt, headscarf and so on. The giant ear-rings and rouged cheeks did little to divert attention from the Bond moustache but apparently just enough.

She/he went down a storm with people queuing to have their fortunes read and he made a significant amount for charity. Best of all, in Year 2 he even had repeat business from Year 1 with some ladies so impressed by his accurate forecasting the previous year that they came back for more.

Bluff or a professional quality? We never knew! But, somehow, it was Dick to a T (leaves that is).

Best to you

From: Chas Clark, Sprucedale, ON 
Subject: My latest trip and a Beverley Memory

Hi Tony,

Just got back from 3 months in Arizona and Texas. Yes, even saw the pink Jaguar from Boscombe Down there at the Pima Aircraft and Space Museum. Sadly, the aircraft graveyard tour at Tucson's Davis-Monthan Air Force Base is no longer available, unless you are an American with a  passport and apply 10 weeks in advance. Fortunately, I managed to get round it some 3 years ago and was drooling over 300 Hercules just sitting there mothballed.
Missed the latest Beverley issue. My story was we took off in a 47 Sqn Bev from RAF Abingdon and flew to Salisbury Plain to pick up a Bessonneau Hangar that had been used as part of a firepower display at Round O.

We had a bunch of squaddies to help us and by the time we had loaded it on, the bandstand was blocked as was the ladder to the tail. We had no option but to sit on the sill, the clamshell doors had been left at base, so we roped ourselves in and sat with our feet dangling over the sill. It was bloody cold and we were flying to Catterick to offload the hangar and, as we were passing RAF Finingley, we noticed the traffic on the A1 North was overtaking the Bev. Apparently, a very strong headwind was affecting us and we diverted into Finingley to spend the night. Before taking off next day, we managed to shift a sufficient gap in the load to be able to crawl to the bandstand and sit inside for the final leg. You always learn something new, always sit on the inside, it's warmer!


Components of the Bessonneau hangar - designed in 1908, it was widely used during World War I
From: Gordon Gray, Allestree, Derby
Subject: 36 Squadron is missing again!

Hello Tony,

A friend gave me a print of what you see here, which is framed and hangs on a wall among several proper limited edition aircraft prints.

When I read Ian Berry’s point about the missing 36 Squadron entry in your RAF squadrons listings for the Hercules, I checked my print and saw that their squadron crest was missing!

Having spoken with the producers of it, ‘SP 50’, they had no idea of why it was omitted. But suffice to say it was probably those who commissioned the job years ago; very strange!


From: Mal Robinson, Gateshead, Tyne & Wear 
Subject: Pathfinder Armed Forces & Veterans Resettlement Expo

The second Pathfinder Armed Forces & Veterans Resettlement Expo of 2019 will be taking place at St Mary’s Stadium, Southampton on Thursday June 27.

The event is free for all of the military community to attend and will feature advice and networking opportunities on anything from careers to training to general welfare and support.  The first set of exhibitors for the show have been announced.

The expo starts at 09:30 and ends at 13:30, with free registration for tickets available on Eventbrite  or through Facebook.

Pathfinder International editor and former RAF Mover, Mal Robinson, said: “The resettlement expos have been a huge success so far and we are excited to bring the event down to Southampton in June. It is an event for the military community and anyone connected to the forces in any way, be it veterans or dependents, are encouraged to come along.”
The first seven exhibitors announced then are as follows:

Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) - DSTL carries out a broad range of work from high-level analysis to support Ministry of Defence policy and procurement decisions, to technical research in defence areas such as biomedical science and electronics, alongside operational work such as forensic analysis of explosives and providing paid volunteer scientists to Iraq and Afghanistan to provide rapid scientific advice to British forces. It has done work for around 40 government departments and agencies including the Home Office and Department for Transport. It undertakes research with both industry and academia to achieve its role.

Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) - AWE plays a crucial role in national defence. They have been at the forefront of the UK nuclear deterrence programme for more than 60 years. Supporting the UK’s Continuous At Sea Deterrence programme and national nuclear security are at the heart of what they do.  Their team of world-renowned scientists, engineers and specialists undertake critical work, providing and maintaining warheads for Royal Navy submarines – everything from design and manufacture to in-service support and decommissioning.
Old Mutual Wealth - Old Mutual Wealth provide long-term investment solutions to help you achieve the lifestyle you want for you and your loved-ones. There is no such thing as ‘one size fits all’, so it’s important that you identify and define your personal financial goals with the help of a financial adviser.

NHS Step Into Health
- Step into Health has been created because the NHS recognises the transferable skills and cultural values that the Armed Forces community develop, and how they are compatible with those required within NHS roles.  Step into Health is open to all service leavers, veterans and their families. It is an incredible opportunity in which employers are working with the Armed Forces community to provide career and development opportunities within the NHS.

Wiltshire College & University Centre
- The College is based on four main campuses in Trowbridge, Chippenham, Lackham and Salisbury and offers a wide range of apprenticeships as well as full-time, part-time and university level courses.

Forces Pensions Society -  The Society started life in 1946, formed then to campaign for better Service pensions in the aftermath of the War. The Society performs two principle functions: It is a WATCHDOG, scrutinising the actions of the MOD and government to make sure that they apply the rules concerning Armed Forces pensions fairly and consistently and that the rules themselves are appropriate. The Society also acts as a GUIDEDOG for its members. This means answering their questions about their particular pensions issues, enabling them to seize control of their destiny and make informed decisions about their future. Armed Forces pension schemes are consciously used as a manning and retention tool and also provide an income stream earlier than most civilian schemes.

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust - commonly known as University Hospital Southampton operates the Southampton General Hospital, the Princess Anne maternity hospital, Southampton Children’s Hospital, Countess Mountbatten House (a palliative care service), and the New Forest Birth Centre at Ashurst, Hampshire. It also provides a few services at the Royal South Hants Hospital.  It was named by the Health Service Journal as one of the top hundred NHS trusts to work for in 2015.

Mal Robinson
Editor/Publication Manager, Pathfinder International, Baltic Publications
Baltic Publications Ltd | GEAR House, Saltmeadows Road, Gateshead, Tyne & Wear, NE8 3AH
Tel: +44 (0)191 442 4001 | Fax: +44 (0)191 442 4002 / M: 07513238580
Royal Air Force Lockheed Hercules C.1 XV186 about to line up on RW24 for departure
Luqa, 16 January 1973
Royal Air Force Bristol Britannia C.1 XM518 "Spica" on RW24 after landing, Luqa 17 January 1973.
RAF Britannias were frequent visitors to Luqa.
RAF Police Lightweight Land Rover in attendance with Hercules C.1 XV304 in Park 1, as another Hercules C.1, XV186, taxies out of Park 2 for departure. Belfast XR365 also in Park 2.
Luqa 16 January 1973.
Hawker Siddeley Andover C.1 XS638 from 46 Squadron, RAF, departs from RW24 at Luqa on 5 January 1973. The aircraft was derived from the civil HS.748 airliner, with the main difference being the addition of a rear loading ramp.
Lockheed Hercules C.1 XV205 "Hyperion" from 70 Squadron (then based at Akrotiri, Cyprus), lines-up on RW14 for departure at Luqa on 31 December 1972. This aircraft was damaged on landing in Afghanistan on 29 August 2007 and was destroyed by the crew to prevent capture of sensitive equipment.
The very clean lines of the de Havilland Comet are evident in this photo of XR395, a C.4 version of 216 Squadron, RAF, seen on RW24 after landing at Luqa on 29 December 1972.
Short Belfast C.1 XR366 "Atlas" of 53 Squadron, RAF, on finals to RW24 at Luqa on 29 December 1972. The RAF acquired just 10 of this strategic freighter, all operated by 53 Sqn from 1966 to 1976.
Antonov An-26 8307 of the Libyan Arab Air Force landing on RW14 at Luqa on 10 April 1989.
de Havilland Canada CC-142 (Dash 8-102) 142801 from 412 Squadron, Canadian Armed Forces, in three-tone camouflage, at Luqa Park 9 on 17 March 1989 after a night stop. At the time based at Lahr, West Germany.
Boeing VC-135B 62-4130 of the United States Air Force on a VIP mission to Malta, pictured at Luqa Park 8 on 12 December 1988.
Lockheed C-130H Hercules 115 of the Libyan Arab Republic Air Force on Park 9
Luqa on 19 October 1988.
Very rare aircraft in the form of the VFW-Fokker VFW-614. This one, serial 1703, is from 1 Sqn, SAMW, West German Air Force, as seen at Luqa Park 9 on 3 October 1988. Note the unusual configuration of engines mounted on pylons over the wings.
Affectionately known as the Whistling Wheelbarrow, Armstrong Whitworth Argosy C.1 XP450 of 70 Squadron, RAF, taxies to RW24 for departure from Luqa on 16 December 1972. XP450 was one of the very few Argosies in RAF service to be camouflaged.
Departing RW24 at Luqa on 6 December 1987, Antonov An-26 71377 of the Yugoslav Air Force. Quite frequent visitors around this time.
DHC-5D Buffalo serial 216 of the Kenyan "82 Air Force" seen on RW32 after landing at Luqa on 10 November 1986 for a night stop on its delivery flight to Kenya. The aircraft was in company with Buffalo serial 214, also a new delivery.
DHC-5D Buffalo 214 of the Kenyan "82 Air Force" seen at Luqa Park 1 on 11 November 1986 being prepared for departure on the next leg of its delivery flight. The aircraft was in company with Buffalo serial 216, also a new delivery. Sadly this aircraft crashed 1.7Km SW of Nairobi-Moi Air Base, Kenya, on 16 April 1992 with the loss of all 50 POB  and six other persons on the ground.
Antonov An-26 "Curl" 71351 of the Yugoslav Air Force departs Luqa RW32 on 28 April 1986 after a technical stop en route to Libya.
Piper PA-31-350 Navajo serial 903 of the French Navy seen taxi-ing into Park 9 at Luqa on 15 April 1986. The aircraft has the badge of 3 Escadrille de Servitude (a communications unit) on the nose.
Transall C-160D 5045 of the West German Air Force seen landing at Luqa RW14 on 14 March 1986. Note the early-style camouflage and large national markings. Introduced into WGAF service in the late '60s, the C-160 is incredibly still in use by today's German Air Force.
West German Air Force Lockheed Jetstars were occasional visitors to Luqa in the '70s and '80s. Aircraft 1103 is seen backtracking a very wet RW14 after landing on 16 March 1986.
LET L-410T Turbolet OK-RXA pictured on Park 9 at Luqa on 27 February 1986. The aircraft was one of several that staged through Luqa on delivery to the Libyan Air Force. On this occasion OK-RXA was in company with 'RXB and 'RXC. Note the odd spots in the camouflage which the two other aircraft did not have.
Aeritalia (Alenia) G.222 MM62122/46-23 of the 46th Aerobrigata, Italian Air Force, seen on RW32 after landing, Luqa 18 December 1985. Loreto Chapel dominating the background.
Antonov An-26 "Curl" 71359 of the Yugoslav Air Force on RW32 after landing, Luqa 19 December 1985. At the time such visits were quite frequent, stopping for fuel on their way to Libya.
Antonov An-12 7T-WAC/514 of the Algerian Air Force departs RW32 at Luqa, 26 April 1985.
Antonov An-12 7T-WAA/402607 of the Algerian Air Force backtracks RW32 for departure
Luqa 26 April 1985.
Malta Airport Movements by John Visanich
Part One of Two
From: Daniel Fraser, Liverpool
Subject: The Pains of Working with ACHE

Flew into Jordan to help recover the SF lads after they had done their bit in 2003. A few of us flew forward from Akrotiri to help the lads on the ground, this was my first real taste of deploying to a conflict area so I was buzzing.

We land at the airfield and we are right at it. “This frame needs to be turned round ASAP!”  I’m thinking I love this, fast tempo, smashing jobs all over the place, amazing experience.

The Herc was a MK3 and only had twin track roller fitted so it could be as versatile as possible on its routes. Well, we offloaded it in minutes and went to move the ATLAS; one small issue, the rear stop won’t come up and the pallets could have easily gone off the back. I think we had this problem last week in AKT and I know how to fix it....

I go over, grab the rear stop and it doesn’t budge. I try again with a big 2-6 and nothing. I tell the operator to keep flicking the switch, all of a sudden it moves just as I’d put my hand under it to lift, it never went up it, it came down and crunched my pointy finger...
OMG! The pain was ridiculous. I managed to get my hand out sharply enough so not to cause any more damage, a very close call which the medic thought was hilarious when he asked how long ago it happened. I say 25 minutes ago. OK, says he, how long have you been in theatre. Umm, about 35 minutes - ha ha ha!

We did laugh about it over the next few weeks and I’m still good friends with the ATLAS driver.


From: David Powell, Princes Risborough, Bucks 
Subject: The Pains of Working with ACHE

Hi Tony,

Actually, during my all too short periods with F Team and Gulf MAMF, I don’t have any immediate memories of problems with ACHE.  On F Team we had Bob Turner.  If anything we came across couldn’t be ‘fixed’ in some way by Bob – it didn’t exist!  And, on the Gulf MAMF, ACHE tended to be a luxury.

However, it was not uncommon to be at the forward-end of a deployment and faced with some real challenges when the dispatching UK airfield appeared oblivious to our total lack of ACHE when it came to the offload, often requiring some interesting improvisation.  This could also inspire the occasional interesting backload.
ACHE and its cousins, in particular Ground Power Units such as the 25kVA "Houchin" Ground Power Units could provide such exercise recovery entertainment.  There was one recovery when a Houchin (quite a big piece of wheeled kit to younger readers) was chained down by a nest of chains under the GPU.  The Beast was then ‘tied down’ externally by yards of lashing tape mimicking the usual fore, aft and sidewards restraint.  Sadly, we were not at the receiving anonymous Britannia base to see the initial expressions of shock horror and disbelief of the duty movements shift at the sight of 2 or 3,000 lbs. of GSE apparently just restrained by tape!  Anybody on shift that night, and how heavy was the Houchin?
There was also the time when UKMAMS were deployed with the tactical mobile rough terrain fork lifts or RFTLs (a posh description of a small farm tractor with forks).  One particular squadron exercise deployment recovery include a lot of fly away pack boxes, a couple of dozen main wheels, and a flat floor.  As a ‘get your own back’ the wheels were loaded first using the nimble Dinky toy which could be driven into the Hercules with no problem to produce two side-by side ‘towers’ of stacked main wheels (probably Phantom or Hunter).  I regret that I cannot for the life of me remember which team it might have been!  However, knowing that the receiving airfield didn’t have anything like our baby forks, but only the normal big forks, the team then loose loaded the FAP boxes so that, if extracted with a bit of thought, they could then be used to provide a sloping ramp within the aircraft to manhandle the off-load of the wheels.  That was the mistake.  Apparently, the off-loading crew just heaved off the FAP boxes as quickly as possible, before coming upon the two towering stacks of wheels!  Oh dear!

Happy days, stay safe.

David Powell
F Team UKMAMS 1967-69
From: Pauline Andrews, Swindon, Wilts
Subject: The Pains of Working with ACHE

With a MAMS team in Pristina, in 1999.  We had several IL-76s in, loaded flat floor with equipment on NATO pallets, which we offloaded easily by driving onto the aircraft in a rough-terrain forklift (RTFL).

One day, a loadie said "You can't use that on this aircraft if it weighs over 6000lbs".  No worries we said, we're sure it doesn't, and continued to offload.

The following day the engine of the RTFL caught fire outside the pax terminal, which was successfully extinguished with bottled water.  We weighed it to send it back home for repair, and discovered it was actually 15,000lbs.

Haven't driven one onto an aircraft to offload it since!


From: Stephen Bird, Chester
Subject: The Pains of Working with ACHE

Where do I start?  I think my topic should cover the lack of ACHE, especially in the early 80's at Brize Norton during the Falklands War.

There are two incidents which come to mind immediately with me; firstly, the introduction of the Tristar 500's and the lack of handling aids to load the lower holds, in particular the rear holds. The way we got around it was to use an adapted slave pallet which had rollers bolted on it and guidance rails (for a want better description) shaped in an L. We then positioned the dollies alongside the slave pallet where good old 2-6 brute force came into play. One tin at a time and up and down until it was all loaded.

The other would be coming onto shift to find a B747 freighter on Bay 50 waiting to be loaded with a number of dismantled Hunter aircraft destined for Chile, to be loaded through the nose with only a Condec to complete the task. The Condec  did not have the height to reach the hold so therefore it was adapted by attaching 3 x sections of Anthony Allen docking to the Condec bed, after the safety rails were removed the docking was tied down with 10k chains and tensioners.

We loaded the double/treble pallets onto the docking and they in turn were secured. But this presented the next problem. When the Condec complete with the AA was at full height, there was no means of unlashing the pallets from the AA. So, two willing volunteers(!) were asked to attach themselves to the offside of the Condec with P-Strops and go up with the load. It was again then a case of the good old 2-6 until the automated rollers grabbed the pallets. To round it all off we had to stop loading several times due to a high crosswind, causing the Condec to sway with said Movers attached to the side!

I would be very surprised if the present Corp of Movers would get away with this nowadays!


Stephen Bird
Head Porter
University of Chester

01925 534374
From: Syd Avery, Guardamar del Segura, Alicante
Subject: The Pains of Working with ACHE

So long ago, 1974 I think, a review at Abingdon. UKMAMS took part in this and at one end of B Hangar there was a display of the ACHE that we used; a veritable crowd puller(?).

People say that the Britannia Freight Lift Platform (BFLP) was difficult to build and operate, nah, that was a pussy cat compared to the Anthony Allen Transfer Loader, an archaic conglomeration of lumps of metal that ever there was. It was extremely heavy and unwieldy, liable to squash unwary bits of body and punch holes in the fuselage of an Albert if not kept an eye on. One Corporal Sydney, on his stint as a fount of all knowledge on this... thing... A gentleman approaches, takes an extreme interest in the monstrosity. (The AATL not the Cpl!).  Gentleman asks all sorts of piercing, technical questions, answered to his great satisfaction. Then the killer question from said Gentleman, "And what do you think of it then?"

"Well, I've only been involved in using it once and..."  There followed a discourse on the parentage of the machine and the difficulties in operating it and showing where unwary appendages could be trapped/sliced/hurt.

"Oh dear," from said Gentleman, "We never thought of that when we designed it!"

I respond, "Luvverly machine, Sir, bonzer design, Sir, well before it's time, Sir, don't know what we would have done without it, Sir."

Then there was the occasion when I pulled the side off an empty Condec as I was charging across the pan in said machine at El Adem, a loose chain wrapped itself around a rear wheel. That earned me a visit to the Station Commander's office where tea and biccies were not offered!.

Best rgds,  Syd.
RAF Abingdon back in the day (I believe it was a Wednesday).  Ben Johnson and Roy Brocklebank are figuring out a tie-down scheme for the Anthony Allen Transfer Loader to make it air portable ("dog's dinner" would have been a kind description).
From: Len Bowen, Chisholm, ACT 
Subject: The Pains of Working with ACHE

G'day Tony,

Roller Pry-Bars and Flat Floor Loading. My Air Movements Course at Abingdon in April 1965 included a couple of days - and nights - at RAF Lyneham, supposedly seeing how the shiny fleet boys did it. One evening we had to unload an elder Ace Freighters Connie.   Ace Freighters was a charter company that the UK Ministry of Defence used from time to time. Their airframes were somewhat elderly, and 'flat floor loading' was apparently the norm according to the Lyneham movers who were showing us the ropes. That evening part of the offload was a u/s aircraft engine coming back to UK from somewhere down route for overhaul.  It was sitting flat on the floor on a 1" sheet metal 'load spreader'.  With some difficulty we coaxed a couple of pry-bars under the steel sheet and started to gingerly move the engine towards the forward cargo door. 

About half way there, there was a loud crack, and the leading pry-bar went through the wooden aircraft floor.  "Oh s**t!"   How for all of us to fail our movements course in one easy lesson!  And of course the Ace Freighters' loadmaster was on hand to hear and see the damage.  "Don't worry, chaps" he said,  "happens all the time. Once you've got the @#$%ing thing off I'll just nail another bit of ply over the hole". That was what he was doing as we thankfully got the engine clear of the cargo door, left the aircraft and repaired to the Mess Bar for a steadying ale - or two.
Beverley Ramps. Have just been reading a review of a 1/144 scale plastic kit of a Beverley (I'm a keen modeller now that I have [some] time on my hands and am waiting for a 1/72 scale injection mold Bev kit, to augment the 1/72 VacForm one I've been building on and off for the last ten years) in a UK modelling magazine.  The review talked about how well the light-weight ramps (my italics) were molded. 

Obviously the reviewer had never had to man-handle a pair of ramps along the locating channels when said channels were full of mud and muck from the last dozen sorties into up-country strips.

Also the reason that every Beverley-trained Mover always had a small crescent wrench in his or her pocket for loosening and tightening the nuts on the ramp locking plates.

Each of the two ramps has two pieces, normally hinged. The ramps are carried inside the doors and they were attached by hinges to the sill at the rear of the Freight Bay. Electric motors raised and lowered the ramps.

Beverley Overhead Gantry.  Seldom fitted because of a significant weight penalty, but a life-saver when we were handing bloody great crates of hyro-electric gear on the two FEAF MAMS Indian Aid Mission tasks from Bharawa to Pokhara in April 1967 (photos available somewhere).

Tirfor Winch.  An essential part of the loading equipment necessary to shoe-horn three Whirlwind Mk 10s onto a Belfast. Operation TIGERBALM, November 1966.  Three bloody hard-work FEAF MAMS sorties, bringing 230 Sqn back from Labuan to Changi (photos available somewhere).

Britannia Freight Lift Platform (BFLP).  Probably the most hated piece of  ground handling equipment in the Movers' catalogue.  Not my story to tell, but featured largely in the Baira oil lift tasks.

CONDEC 25K. Most wonderful piece of kit we ever got into the system after wrestling with roller-bed trailers, roller pallets and whatever for years. Did the CONDEC Instructor/Examiner Course at Abingdon in October 1966 as a most generous gesture from my new boss on FEAF MAMS, to give me a breather back in UK between my year at Labuan another two years on MAMS at Seletar.

As an aside, saw my first real mini-skirt in Wootton Bassett as I drove away from RAF Lyneham, on arrival by Comet from Changi to do the course.  No such thing as mini-skirts in Singapore  in 1966, as the 'swinging sixties' hadn't reached us there.  Damn near put Dad's car into a tree on the Wootton Bassett village green watching the young lady's progress!
C130 Winch & 'Big Bertha' Forklift.  A combination we quite unofficially used to back-load several RAAF 40' semi-trailers onto Hercs out of Learmonth on Exercise WESTERN REWARD 80 in September 1980.

Thanks to somebody's brilliant planning every RAAF-owned 40' trailer finished up at Learmonth, having been used to deploy all the WESTERN REWARD logistics support gear to Western Australia by road convoy (another saga for another time). 

Following an urgent request to get the trailers back East, MATU ALT1 improvised.  Winch the trailer rear-end-first slowly into the Herc, then as the dolly wheels were about to hit the ramp, lift the goose-neck up with 10K Big Bertha and slowly follow the winching into the aircraft until the dolly wheels were over the load-spreaders we'd positioned on the aircraft floor.

Restrain load and close ramp. Worked a treat, and though I got a mild bollocking for doing a load that hadn't been cleared - or even thought of - by the Air Movements Training & Development Unit (AMTDU) back at Richmond, we got a big Bravo Zulu for getting the much-needed trailers back across to the East.
An example of the RAAF's Big Bertha Forklift in action during OPERATION PACIFIC ASSIST 2015
Len Bowen
Canberra, ACT
May 2019
On Board with Fast Broadband
HIGH-SPEED internet on six of Air Force’s C-130J Hercules will provide Defence with increased flexibility when deploying on operations. In  2017, one Hercules was fitted with a Honeywell Ka-Band satellite communications (SATCOM) system antenna, which permits broadband connectivity on board. Beginning late this year, the first of an additional five aircraft will be fitted with this system during scheduled heavy maintenance at RAAF Base Richmond.

Commander Air Mobility Group AIRCDRE William Kourelakos said the system would provide increased flexibility and awareness for crew and passengers. “This will help bring the Hercules well and truly into the 21st century and allow it to better work within a fifth-generation Air Force,” AIRCDRE Kourelakos said. “Even after 60 years, a RAAF Hercules is often one of the first aircraft on the scene during a crisis and up-to-date information is critical for our people  when they step off the ramp.

”RAAF became the first air force to fit the Ka-Band SATCOM system to the C-130J Hercules when it began trialling its applications in 2017. This Hercules – called the “Jericho Demonstrator” – has  explored its applications during local mission rehearsal exercises and humanitarian airdropactivities in the Pacific.

“Crews  and  passengers  can  undertake complex mission planning  en-route  to  their  destination, stream video of their mission back to a headquarters or receive  it  from  another node,” AIRCDRE Kourelakos said. “There’s significant potential for the Hercules to serve as a tactical command and control platform, combining its range and loiter with its ability to airdrop or operate from austere airstrips.”

Ground Liaison Officer with No.37 Squadron, Army CAPT Ian Carter, said SATCOM connectivity would be  equivalent to having broadband internet for embarked forces. “Having half the Hercules fleet fitted with this system provides greater assuredness of capability-boosting technology being available for embarked Defence units. RAAF is interested in understanding the interoperability implications this system could have for  forces and special operations command units, whether it be used for deploying forces or sustaining them on operations.”

Air Force’s entire fleet of 12 C-130J Hercules was fitted with a slower speed L-Band SATCOM system beginning in 2015. This provided Hercules crews with global voice and data  communications, greatly increasing their situational awareness and flexibility when on tasks.

Air Force News [RAAF]
Transall C-160F F13/61-MH of the French Air Force leaving Park 9 via taxiway Charlie
Luqa 3 April 1985.
Lockheed L-100-30 Hercules KAF323 of the Kuwait Air Force landing RW32 at
Luqa, 14 February 1985.
With its props spinning vapour rings, Aeritalia G.222 226 of the Libyan Arab Air Force departs RW32 at Luqa on 28 January 1985. The Libyan AF examples were the only ones powered by Rolls Royce Tyne engines, due to the US embargo on Libya at the time.
de Havilland Canada DHC-6-300 Twin Otter 300/OZ, at the time serving with GAM.56 of the French Air Force, on Park 1 at Luqa, 4 July 1984. This aircraft is still in service with the FAF, although completely devoid of markings except for its registration F-RACE. It visited Luqa as recently as 7 March 2019.
Learjet 25B 70402 of the Yugoslav Air Force on Park 9, Luqa 31 March 1979. The visit coincided with the formal end of the British bases on Malta on the same day.
Piaggio P.166M MM61924/15 of the Italian Air Force on Park 9, Luqa 9 December 1978. The gull-winged P.166M has two rearward-facing piston engines (later versions have turboprops) driving pusher propellers, producing a very distinctive sound.
Douglas DC-9-32CF KAF320 of the Kuwaiti Air Force on Park 9, Luqa 12 August 1978. This aircraft was damaged beyond repair on 2 August 1990 at Kuwait International Airport by Iraqi forces during the invasion of Kuwait.
Hawker Siddeley Andover E.3 (converted from a C.1) XS640 of 115 Sqn RAF on Park 4, Luqa 16 June 1978. This version of the Andover was used for ILS calibrations.
Nord 262D 91/AN of the French Air Force seen on Park 9, Luqa 21 May 1978.
Lockheed C-130E Hercules 10689/H of the Pakistan Air Force on Park 9, Luqa 20 April 1978. This aircraft formerly served with the Imperial Iranian AF as 5-108 and then 5-103.
Nord Noratlas 172/XR of GAM.56, French Air Force, a type which regularly visited Luqa once a month for many years, seen on Park 8, 5 April 1978.
Lockheed Hercules C.1 of 70 Sqn, RAF, tucks up its undercarriage on take-off from RW24
Luqa 20 March 1978.
Royal Air Force Lockheed Hercules C.1 XV206, still in the original camouflage scheme, seen landing on RW24 at Luqa, 8 March 1978. [This aircraft was subsequently written-off on 24 May 2006 after encountering a buried anti-tank mine at at Lashkar Gar, Afghanistan. All 27 on board managed to escape - see Aviation Safety Network Report]
Nord Noratlas 174/XZ of GAM.56, French Air Force, rolling on RW32 after landing at Luqa, 8 March 1978. This unit's Noratlases were regular visitors to Luqa.
Vickers VC-10 C.1 of 10 Squadron, RAF, just before touch-down on RW24, Luqa 16 February 1978. One of the most beautiful airliners ever.
Lockheed Hercules C.1 XV222 departs from RW24 at Luqa on 6 February 1978. The aircraft was returned to Lockheed in 2001 and delivered to the Mexican Air Force as 10616 on 04.11.2001.
Vickers Valetta C.2 VX574 ex-RAF Malta at Hal Far fire dump on 28 December 1977. Served with the Malta Communications and Target Towing Squadron (MCTTS) until struck off charge in 1969. Then scrapped at 137MU at Safi and the fuselage transported to Hal Far where by some miracle it escaped the torch. Relocated to Luqa fire dump in 1978 and disappeared. Could it be that it was taken to the UK? Can anyone throw some light on this? Note the Canberra nose section in the background.
Lockheed C-130E Hercules 64310/J of the Pakistani Air Force seen on Park 9, Luqa 5 December 1977. At the time Pakistani Hercs were quite frequent visitors. This one is ex-Iran Air Force 5-104 and Imperial Iranian AF 5-111.
Royal Air Force Lockheed Hercules C.1 XV196, still in the old camouflage scheme, lines up RW06 for take-off, Luqa 8 November 1977.
Royal Air Force Lockheed Hercules C.1 XV305, one of the first to appear in European camouflage colours, on RW24 after landing, Luqa 1 November 1977.
West German Air Force Boeing B707-304C 1001 taxies into Park 8, Luqa 19 November 1977.
Malta Airport Movements by John Visanich
Part Two of Two
First CC-295 rolls off assembly line
On March 8, 2019 [I know - I'm late with this one], the first of our 16 new CC-295 fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft rolled off the assembly line in Spain, bringing us one step closer to first delivery.

This aircraft is the first of 16 to be built following a contract award in December 2016 to Airbus Defence and Space. The CC-295, as it has been designated by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), will replace the Buffalo and H-model Hercules fleets in the fixed-wing search and rescue role.

The RCAF will operate the new fleet from 19 Wing Comox, 17 Wing Winnipeg, 8 Wing Trenton, and 14 Wing Greenwood. A training centre for CC-295 aircrew and maintainers is also being built at 19 Wing Comox.

The first aircraft is on track to be accepted by Canada in Spain in late 2019, and to be flying in Canadian skies in the spring of 2020.

Government of Canada
From: Keith Parker, Bowerhill, Wilts
Subject: Brize Norton Visits

(A Message to Members of the RAF Movements and MAMS Association)

I would like to send out my appreciation to all who have helped me with my efforts as Deputy Chairman (and gash shag) when organizing our trips to Brize. I'm sorry to say to all those on my standby list that I am standing down in that role after a few close scrapes I have decided to stop driving any distance on my own and this of course includes Brize Norton. I am still around and hope to be for some time, after all I do still have my beloved allotment.

Thanks again to all those that helped me in the past, if someone would like to take over the Brize visits then I will be only to pleased to help, with the knowledge I have gained.

Cheers for now

From: Tony Street, Buffalo, NY
Subject: Forks, Tuning

Early in my career, in the late ‘50s, I was a "Bin-Rat," (Supply Tech) at RCAF Station, Claresholm, Alberta. A loathsome job.

I was working in Tech Stores and one of my duties was issuing and returning tool kits.  I remember one crusty old Flight Sergeant, an aircraft rigger by trade. (Sgt Shatterproof comes to mind), who was retiring after 35 years service and was turning in his tool kit.  He had all of it, in good condition and had no trouble parting with any of it, 'till we got to, as I checked it off his inventory, "Forks, Tuning, Set of 8, c/w Mallet".

He handed me a small leather box that had a deep patina gained from years of use.  I opened it to see, set in velvet, a set of tuning forks and a small hammer.  He looked at me, a pimply faced Aircraftsman 1st Class, and asked, "Son, is there any way you could see it clear to let me keep these?  I was issued them on day one and have tuned the rigging on many types of aircraft all over the world and over many years."

It didn’t take much thought to tell him he could keep them as I didn’t see a need for any tuning forks in the future of the RCAF. After all this was the 1950s.

That Friday at Beer Call in the Wets, I went to the bar and ordered a 50¢ beer. On putting my money down, I was told that I had $5 worth of credit, compliments of the old Flight Sergeant!

A welcome surprise, and a supplement to my $75 monthly pay package (plus all I could eat!).


Don't forget that this year's Air Show will feature the Tucano ahead of its retirement later this year. It has been used by the RAF to provide basic fast jet training for 30 years. We’re pleased to have 72 Squadron providing a full aerobatic flying display of the type at the show this year, for the first time since 2014!

Tickets will not be sold on the gate, this is an advance ticket only event, so go to to buy your tickets. Alternatively, tickets are for sale at selected Tourist Information Centres and RAF Museums.
Aeroplane Magazine
From: Alan Potts, Las Vegas, NV
Subject: Graduation Day

Hi Tony,

Now in Vegas after a very wet spell in San Francisco.

From SF my wife, Josephine, and I drove to Monterey Bay where our granddaughter, Yasmin, was graduating university. Very proud as she suffers from cerebral palsy.

Also in the photo is our daughter, April, and her husband, Will, a 29 year USMC vet.

Vacation mode now.  Back in France 12 June.

Cheers, Alan
From: Graham Parker, Limassol
Subject: Old friends meeting - 30 years overdue!

Haven't seen this big fella for 30-years! Reminded him that he still owes me 20-bucks for the bloody pizza he drunk- ordered when we shared a hotel in St Johns all those years ago. Yorkshireman you see... we never forget!

Anyway, wonderful catching up fella and I look forward to your next visit! Safe travels Turk.

From: Mark "Turk" Bird, Edmonton, AB
Subject: Details

Where? - Lincoln, at the Lion & Snake

When? Tuesday May 21st, 2019

Why?  Because it is 30 years overdue! We agreed to make this an annual thing so next year we will do again but hopefully on a Saturday so we can get more Old Bods involved.
From: Paul Amies, Swindon, Wilts 
Subject: Befriending - RAF Association

Befriending - RAF Association

This is a great scheme. Not blowing my own trumpet but just found out that I'm the only RAFA Befriender in Swindon. So many serving and ex-serving RAF people here. May be due to lack of publicity/advertising. Please help if you can. (Click on image below)
From: Andrew Finlayson, Adelaide, SA
Subject: Where are they now - Chick Hatch

Now you have got me started Tony, I have another request. Your mission, if you decide to accept it, as they say, is to help me find someone.

Cpl ‘Chick’ Hatch and I were teamed up on two occasions to do off-base handling at Aldergrove while we were both stationed at Lyneham in 1972. There is no record of those detachments (I checked with Records) which is a mite surprising because they were assigned by the normally meticulous David Owens. But I know they happened because I was there. 

Chick and I  were good friends as well as being a small team and I would like to contact him if he’s out there somewhere, so I just thought I  would ask  you. I hope that’s OK.

Incidentally, our mission in Aldergrove was to turn around Britannia's full of squaddies from Germany complete with all their kit and return others who had done their stint to the UK.

Upon arrival in a Herc from Lyneham, we were met by what they informed us was the Supply/Air Movements staff. This consisted of two people and  a forklift.  It struck me, being a lowly junior officer, as slightly odd that the only RAF station in a then active service area (to my limited knowledge anyway), that the resources were a little slim. Upon reporting these meagre resources to the aforementioned then Wg. Cdr Owens (later to be Gp. Capt.), I was instructed to write up a report, which I duly did.  I wonder what happened to that?

Anyway, I digress. It would be nice to catch up with him and recount tales of this and other stories of our old jaunts together.


[N.B.  - Andrew was directed to the RAF Member's page G-L, where Chick's contact details are available]
From: Patrick Hirst, East Grinstead, West Sussex  
Subject: Where are they now.

I'm looking for Chris Cahill and Gordon Woods, Gulf MAMF 1971.


Paddy Hirst
From: Richard Bass, Newark upon Trent, Notts
Subject: Where ae they now - Dan Archer & Jim Buchanan

Hi Tony,

Looking for Dan Archer - The last time I worked for him, he was OC Supply and Movements Squadron at RAF Laarbruch. I think he moved to 2 Group afterwards and was a Wing Commander. I left in 1996 post a tour at RAFC Cranwell.

Jim Buchanan (found, thanks to you) was my fantastic Flt Sgt at MSF Wittering in the 90's. He was stuck at Wittering desperate to get back to MAMS. 

Kindest Regards


From: Barrie (Tug) Wilson, Chickerell, Dorset
Subject: Queen's Garden Party

Good morning Tony,

The picture is of my son Pete (also Tug) with his wife Sim, FS on the left, at the Queens garden party at Buckingham Palace on May 21st. 

They are both Movers, Pete is currently WO MAMS training, Sim is MAMS Ops FS

Very best regards

Tug (senior)
The D-Day Darlings Wow Judges & Audience at Britain's Got Talent!
More Relevant Stuff
This Newsletter is Dedicated
To The Memories of:
Alan Clegg (RAF)
Floyd Fynn (RCAF)
Jim Wallace (RCAF)
Carl Skinner (RCAF)
Brian Gowrie (RAF)
Christian Long (RAF)
Doug Dearing (RCAF)
Oscar Henaut (RCAF)
Eric McPherson (RCAF)
Tony Gale

If you wish to donate to the OBA, drop me an e-mail