RAF C-17 Globemaster celebrates 20 years at Brize Norton
C-17 loaded with support for Operation Ruman - aid for victims of Hurricane Irma
It is 20 years today [23 May, 2021] since the first C-17 Globemaster III arrived at RAF Brize Norton.  The C-17 is the most powerful aircraft in the RAF, capable of delivering strategic effect anywhere in the world in a matter of hours. Today, 99 Squadron is one of only eight C-17 operators outside the US, and the UK is the only nation in Europe to operate an independent fleet of C-17s.

Providing support to Operation Herrick in Afghanistan was initially the core of 99 Squadron’s activity but it has since been instrumental in providing support to Operation Telic during Gulf War II, Operation Shader and the battle against Daesh, as well as supplying numerous anti-terror operations in Africa.

The C-17 has also delivered humanitarian aid around the world during countless natural disasters, such as providing support to the British Virgin Islands in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma in 2017 or the aeromedical evacuation of critically ill British nationals during the Ebola crisis and more recently the Covid-19 pandemic.  It is a long-range, heavy-lift strategic transport aircraft, which can deliver enormous, outsized loads rapidly into challenging locations that are not normally accessible to an aircraft of its size.

“ZZ171” or “UK one” was flown by 99 Squadron from Boeing’s Long Beach facility across the Atlantic to its new home on May 17 2001. Four C-17s were initially leased by the UK but they quickly provided huge value to defence and the fleet soon doubled with eight permanent aircraft being bought.  ZZ178 was delivered to the RAF by Boeing on May 18 2012, just over a decade after the first aircraft.

Since it entered service with the RAF, the C-17 has maintained the airbridge between the UK and its operations overseas.  Over the past two decades 99 Squadron have flown 150 thousand hours and travelled a distance equal to 2,000 laps around the globe, carrying everyone from soldiers to celebrities and cargo from animals, submarines and helicopters to medicine, food and shelter.

Oxford Mail

From: Dave Green, Huntingdon, Cambs 
Subject: Re: UKMAMS OBA OBB #043021

Hi Tony,

Thanks again for a great edition and loved the comments from Simon Baxter on 2 Eunuchs and the Kama Sutra.

I think it's only fair though that I get right of reply on behalf of Mark Attrill and myself showing what Simon thought was a leg-over back in 1982 on Ascension Island.

Sorry Jerry!


Dave Green

Jerry Allen and Simon Baxter
From: Harry Grace, Fort Saskatchewan, AB
Subject: My Last C-130 Task

Hi Tony,

My last flight on a C130 was on 27 June 1992 from Prestwick, Scotland to Edmonton, AB, on a return from a 14-day trip to Europe.

Best regards

From: Ian Place, Meanwood, West Yorks
Subject: My Last C-130 Task

Tony, my last C130 flight was RR4268,  Jan 29th 1976. It was a good old Bloodhound missile exchange; my 15th over 5 years.

This one was RAF Marham-RAF Bruggen return, nothing exciting just the usual heavy pushing and pulling, lashing and loading. It took 3 hrs 25 mins flying and I cannot remember any of it!

From: Tony Street, Buffalo, NY
Subject: My Last C130 Mission

My last C130 mission was dropping supplies to the Canadian Airborne Regiment who were "camping" on top of Mount Logan, Yukon, at 19,550 feet it's the tallest mountain in Canada.  They were conducting experiments on how to survive at altitude without supplemental oxygen. One experiment was to inject some kind of drug into their arms that helped their blood to absorb oxygen more readily. I was told later that nothing came of the project.

We started out dropping propane tanks from 600 feet. On approach to the DZ, the altimeter reading went from 20,000 feet to 600 feet in a heartbeat. We ran into trouble right off the bat. In the rarified air, the parachutes opened with a violent snap that tore the 'chute from the tanks that kept their forward velocity, and overshot the mountain top. We watched one disappear from sight until it exploded beautifully when it struck mother earth. We went with larger 'chutes that absorbed the shock nicely.

We operated out of Whitehorse and flew every day for about a week. On one trip, we flew about a 600 feet above a glacier. As we came around a bend, we saw a strange looking campsite on the ice. We were told that it was a bunch of Canadian scientists measuring the speed of the glacier, I kid thee not!

At Whitehorse Ops, we got the names and radio frequencies of the group so we could chat with them as we passed overhead. After  one conversation, it was decided to surprise airdrop some beer for them. So we bundled up two 24's and a whole bologna and dropped it to them as a surprise. It was a mixed blessing as it turned out. "Although we loved the beer, now we have to backpack the empties out as we have to preserve the environment."

No good deed goes unpunished!

From: Colin Froude, Salisbury, Wilts
Subject: My Last C-130 Task

Hi Tony,

Your current topic got me thinking so I got my log book out.

My last Hercules flight was 1st April 2011, as Captain on a CMK4 (ZH871) training flight a mere 24 days before I retired after 39 years in the RAF.  My last K model flight was CMk3 XV290 on 31st July 2008 and on Snoopy (W Mk 2 XV208) it was way back on 25th July 2001 just before it was grounded (until sold to Marshalls for the A400M engine programme).
"Snoopy" was grounded in 2001 and sold to Marshalls for the A400M engine program.
I had to go back to 2007 to see that I took a Hercules out of the UK – the intervening flights were all either flight test or training.  So my last flight under an Ascot callsign was the recovery from a parachuting trial at Yuma in Arizona in April 2007.  As my fellow pilot was a USAF exchange officer we found ourselves routing through Milwaukee; apparently there was a baseball game on although I declined to watch.  Somewhere along the line I managed to get food poisoning and don’t remember much of the last night in St John’s (CYYT/Torbay for the old hands) – so you could say my last flight was memorable but for the wrong reasons!

I probably stretched the point on ‘last flight’ but I am guessing that most responses will be based on route flying.  While the flying may seem piecemeal, I was filling my boots with the Andover and BAC1-11.



From: John Leek, La Ronde, Deux Serves
Subject: My Last C-130 Task

Hi Tony,

Last flight in Fat Albert was a “jolly” in 1987, just before I left the service.  It was a troop exchange between Germany and Northern Ireland: Lyneham-Wildenrath-Aldergrove-Wildenrath-Lyneham.

I had a mate at Aldergrove, so got a bottle and 200 and left it with him, then the same for me on the second turnaround at Wildenrath.  It was a great day playing cards with the loadie most of the time plus catching up with a couple of old mates.

From: David Powell, Princess Risborough, Bucks 
Subject: My Last C-130 Flight

Hi Tony,

My last C-130 flight nearly didn’t happen.  First a bit of background.  This was in 1981, and the focus of Central European Cold War operations was at HQ Allied Forces Central Europe (HQAFCENT) at Brunssum in Holland; mainly concerned with air and land operations with an international staff drawn from the NATO Nations.  Collocated at the Headquarters, each nation contributing forces to AFCENT had a small, actually very small, national liaison team.   At the time, I was having fun as a Sqn Ldr logs specialist in the MoD Central Staffs in London.  I was a SCPL, which stood for Staff of Chief of Personnel and Logistics;  in fact SCPL9A.  I shared an office with a Lt Col, the world’s expert on PG Woodhouse, and we worked for a RN Captain.

To return to HQAFCENT, and my reason for nearly missing my last C-130 flight, the UK National Liaison Team (UKNLT) comprised just one full time member, one Army Lt Col, a charming gunner Robin McQuoid.  The UKNLT reported back to MoD through our office in London.  The NLT also included a war time only RAF squadron leader post.  In peace time this slot was covered by a part-time no-cost/low cost individual.  That was me.  I would go across to Brunssum for a couple of days every two or three months.

On the occasion in question, Col Robin, suggested it would be a brilliant idea to drive up the RAFG Headquarters at Rheindahlen for a bit of liaison and a spot of lunch at the excellent Mess there.  This fitted in with my plans.  For this trip, my no cost/low cost NATO officer return travel was to be by hitching a ride on a C-130 returning to UK from RAF Laarbruch, an operational airfield not too far from lunch.  ETD 15.15 local.

Having completed our liaising and enjoyed lunch, we jumped into Robin’s Mk 1 VW Golf and the unforgettable conversation.
“OK David, how do we get to Laabruch?”
“I don’t know,  you’re the local; you’ve spent most of your service life here!”
“But you’re the Crab you should know where you’ve put your airfields! There’s a tourist road map in the glove box”.
“OK, I think it’s over in that direction,”  pointing vaguely North West.

The civilian-map was not a great deal of help as, being the Cold War, useful information to the enemy, and me, such as the locations of military airfields was not included.

Anyway we set off at what turned out to be the right direction, aided by a Canberra doing circuits.  We arrived at the RAF Laarbruch Guardroom at about 15.05.  As I lowered the window, I could hear the unmistakable rumble of a Hercules warming up.  I yelled, politely, at the duty guard to ring Air Traffic and tell the Herc that its passenger was on his way.   And, with windows down instructed Col Robin to head for the aircraft noise.

We arrived on the ramp just as the aircraft was about to start taxying.  The loadmaster was in the rear doorway.  We headed for the aircraft with headlights flashing.  I jumped out with my suitcase; sprinted the last few yards for my ride; slung my suitcase into the aircraft and scrambled after it, assisted by the loadmaster grabbing the collar of my coat.

And so began my last ever flight in a C-130!

Stay safe, stay sane

David Powell
F Team UKMAMS 1967-69

From: Mark Attrill, Tallinn 
Subject: My Last C-130 Task

Hello Tony,

Interestingly, my last C-130 Task (i.e. actually working the aircraft) was also out of Hong Kong in September 1989, delivering some classified material from Kai Tak to Kadena Air Base (Okinawa). If I recall correctly, the aircraft had been re-tasked en route from the UK and with no MAMS team onboard, the RAFAU and JSMC in Hong Kong had been asked to provide a composite crew to perform the offload in Japan. I completed quite a few trips in Greek, Turkish, Swedish and RAF C-130s during subsequent tours. My very last flight on any C-130 was an RAF C-130J from Qatar into Basra in January 2009.

With best regards and stay safe


From: Syd Avery, Guardamar del Segura, Alicante
Subject: Last Hercules Flight

Hi Tony,

My last Albert flight was a bit of a saga, before we even left Lyneham. It was scheduled to be a trip to Kathmandu via Akrotiri. However, one of my team members was taken off and A N Other took his place. For various reasons I declined the trip, and Ops was told that under no circumstances was I to have a Swansong, which this was to be. (OK by me!). The Kathmandu trip departed.

A day or so later, a MoD Special reared it's head. As I was the only team leader left, I was tasked for it! So it could be said that it was not a Swansong as it was not planned!  Turned out to be a bit of a cracker. LYE - KEF - YQX (ns) -WPG - McChord (ns) - Scott (ns) - Stevenville (ns) - LYE. XV305 for the route, behaved impeccably, on time all the way round the route.  We had an ATLO team on board for part of the route, and they and the crew were great. Everybody clicked, and a good time was had by all, as is said.

After return to Lyneham, it was straight on the re-settlement course then terminal leave. So I had a last Hercules flight, but not a Swansong!


Two Pfizer Syd

From: Jim MacKenzie, Gatineau, PQ  
Subject: My Last C-130 Flight

Hi Tony,

My last flight in a C-130 Hercules was a two-fer in that it was also my first flight on the type.

To set the stage a bit, I had just joined up with the Canadian Coast Guard as a helicopter pilot and being the new kid on the block put me right at the top of the list for unscheduled or other types of   assignments.  So, when the telephone rang, in Ottawa, on the 30th of June 1967, it wasn’t entirely unexpected.  I was told to pack a bag and the following day I’d be off to Goose Bay, Labrador on forest fire fighting duties.  This was to be about a five day trip.

On July 1st the engineers broke two Bell 47J-2A’s down into manageable pieces and these and several of us were loaded in the back of a CAF Hercules.  Away we went to Goose Bay.  We arrived late in the afternoon and during the night the J-2A’s were reassembled and our flights began on the 2nd of July.  Our main job was personnel and equipment transport to various hot spots.  Larger base camps were setup here and there and supplied by the CAF CH-113s, we then moved small groups to wherever they wanted to go.  Or, more accurately where they were told to go.

Goose Bay was, at that time a fully operational airport, with the USAF and the RAF in constant activities.  The RAF Vulcans always provided something to amuse and amaze us with their low level fly overs away out in the middle of nowhere.

One night we were to stay over at a small outpost camp on the side of a lake about five miles south of the Kenamu river where float planes had made a fuel dump.  The Army had a much larger camp down on the river and the CH-113s brought the men up to the smaller camps and we scattered them throughout the area during the day.  In the late evening the CH-113s had gathered up their people and returned to their main camp when out of the gloom an army officer of some unknown rank appeared.  It was one of those ‘Where are my men? Which way did they go? I’m their leader’, scenarios. 

So, the only thing to do was to return him to his gang.  I loaded him up and away we went down to the main camp, with no compatible radio frequencies I mixed in with the very much larger CH-113s who had absolutely no idea I was there.  Luck was on our side and we didn’t get run over.  I then returned to our little outpost camp, but I’ve always kind of wondered if that officer had been left behind by accident or on purpose.

On one occasion we landed beside a wreck of a B-24 of some type and unknown ownership.  It had obviously been picked over but as there was a considerable amount of what we took to be .50 caliber ammunition laying around we decided distance was our best bet.  We reported the find but never heard anything about it.

The five day trip began to stretch and soon turned into three weeks.  On the 21st of July I flew out to join the CCGS C.D.Howe for a supply and medical trip into the Eastern Canadian Arctic.  We visited just about every port, settlement, outpost and discontinued DEW Line station that you can find on the map.  Some you can’t find.

Returning somewhat southward I was then informed that I’d be getting off the ship in Charlottetown, PEI, to work with the Coast Guard Base for a few days.  That happened on the 15th of September.  During that stay of a few days I again was on board the CCGS Tupper for lighthouse maintenance support.

I returned to Ottawa on the 10th of November.  So, my flight time in the Hercules was a miniscule few hours but the trip lasted some 133 days.  Some chicken, some five day trip!



Canadian Coast Guard Bell 47J-2A Helicopter
From: Gus Turney, Chippenham, Wilts    
Subject: My Last C-130 Task

Hi Tony,

My last trip in a C-130 was my swansong, just before I left the RAF in April 2001. The task was to be part of a flying circus, supporting the deployment of two XV Sqn Tornado GR1.B that were participating at the Aerospace India show in Bangalore, and then the Avalon Air show, just outside Melbourne, Australia. The latter was also a celebration of the 80th anniversary of the formation of the RAAF.

As well as the C-130K (XV185), the trail  also included a SAR Nimrod (XV227), a VC-10K.4 tanker (ZD240), and an almost new C-130J. I was part of a three-man team flying route on the K, along with Sgt Gary Pym, and SAC. Mark Stedman. Sgt Gareth Beynon  also went along, as part of the J support crew. The freight consisted of the usual Tornado GSE, and was split between the two Hercs. We were tasked  with hauling the Mk11 rig, UFTBO, and pax, to the other side of the world. We had a total crew of 12, half of which were on a last jolly before leaving the service.

We left Lyneham on the 2nd February (having picked up the kit from Lossiemouth the previous day, and returned to Lyneham for a night stop). We finally arrived back at Lyneham on the 27th February. The route was as follows: Lyneham - Akrotiri (NS)  - Seeb (NS)- Yelehanka AB / Bangalore Int Airport (6xNS).

At this point, our aircraft was tasked to carry out a relief aid flight to Bhuj, approximately 900 miles northwest of Bangalore. The region of Gujarat had recently suffered a massive earthquake, and Bhuj was pretty much the epicentre. We could see the destruction as we flew in. We delivered assorted supplies, and returned to Bangalore where we were officially thanked by local dignitaries at the hotel. Unfortunately, Mark Stedman could not take part, as he, along with nearly a third of the detachment, had contracted a nasty stomach bug, and were confined to the hotel!

After India, we routed through Singapore, then Darwin, and on to Avalon Airport, just to the west of Melbourne. Whilst there, I took the opportunity to meet up with a cousin of mine, and his family, who had emigrated there, and who I had not seen for some 15 years.

We had a great time in Australia, and were warmly welcomed by air show spectators, who repeatedly expressed their gratitude to us for making the long journey from the UK. After 7 days in Melbourne, we started the return trip, via Darwin (NS), Payar Lebar (NS), Muscat (NS) and Akrotiri (NS). From Akrotiri, it was on to Bari, in Italy, and then to Lossiemouth, where we dropped off all the Tornado kit, before returning to Lyneham at 2230hrs local, on the 27th February.

In summary, a fantastic trip, and a great way to end my service career. As an added bonus, we had a superb crew, who were insistent that we were to have an enjoyable trip, which we most certainly did!



Windsor Sheraton Hotel, Bangalore
From: Philip Clarke, Swaffam, Norfolk
Subject: My Last C-130 Task

Hi Tony,

My last C130 task was my Swan song on my posting from UKMAMS to the Movements school at Brize Norton. It all started on the 3rd Dec 1984.

Flt No 5681, the task name was Instant Mercury, Lyneham - Gander - Andrews AFB - Wright Patterson AFB - Norton AFB - Hickam AFB - Nandi - Ohakea - Christchurch - Richmond - Darwin- Paya Lebar - Colombo - Bahrain - Cairo - Palermo - finally arriving back at Lyneham on the 18 Dec 1984. 

We had 2 days of work; we took a light tank to the States for land mine trials, then picked up TCW in New Zealand. The team was myself, Mick Cocker and John Farrell.  The flight over the Pacific was a bit bumpy because Mick was flying the Herc with the help of the captain. It was a great Swan Song!

Regards, Nobby

From: Michael Cocker, Swindon, Wilts
Subject: Re: Instant Mercury

Hi Tony,

Sadly, I don't have any pictures of that task - It was however an epic flight, with little work and lots of fun. OC 47 Sqn was the Captain (Wg Cdr Steve Wrigley), and he had me in the Co's seat quite a lot, to the point where, as I was about to get out of the seat on approach to Bahrain he told me to sit back down as it was my landing! Apparently 23 hours of flight instruction is enough to land a Herc! We remained in Bahrain for a few days with a double prop change - fortunately not my fault.

The other guy was John Farrelly (not Farrell - I did tell the old duffer!), affectionately known on the Squadron as "JF", although the more unkind members of the Sqn said it stood for "Just Functioning"!  We were team mates for some time and always had a great time together down route, under the ever watchful gaze of FS Don Milburn. I mentioned to Nobby the other week that I have no idea what happened to him - I believe he went back up to Sheffield after doing 9 or 12 years and disappeared, never to be heard of since. Something I find very odd for a guy that did a tour in Germany, a MAMS tour and I believe a tour at Brize. I'd be very surprised if no one has heard about him.

As an aside, Steve Wrigley is now one of my customers and often calls into the shop - many a sandbag pulled up over the fly fishing gear.



From: Andrew Spinks, Falmouth, Cornwall  
Subject: My Last C130 Task

Hi Tony,

Re: the last C130 task on UKMAMS, this was a full 8 months before I left UKMAMS on posting to CFB Ottawa.

As this 8 months without flying on Fat Albert was so unusual, I should explain.  After what had, unbeknown to me at the time, been my final UKMAMS task on a C130 (of which more in a moment), F Troop did a Pond Jump West exercise (VC10), then we flew down to Belize by VC10 for a 6-week stint.  But a signal came in to Belize one night to recall me to UK to prepare for second 4-month detachment to Kathmandu.  A second stint was unheard of, and I remember sending a signal back to Mike Perks, the OPSO and – probably using the Eagle codes that were popular at the time – told him not ‘rubber dick’ me.  A reply came back very quickly telling me it was serious and I was to get the next flight back (a VC10 flagging in Bermuda – a flagon of Gordons Gin at $5 from the Bermuda BX/NX of course).

The reason I got another stint in Kathmandu was because the UK and Nepalese had reportedly agreed that, when Royal Nepal Airlines Corporation (RNAC) was ready and had a suitable aircraft, they could take over the Gurkha Trooping task.  MOD directed that someone who had already done a Gurkha Trooping detachment with the VC10s must be the first representative to work with RNAC.  I was incredibly lucky to get the call.  Eddie Gordon went with me and we deployed by BA to HKG for a briefing, Cathay to Bangkok and RNAC up to KTM.

Anyway, back to the subject of this month’s Brief – the C130!  My last flight on MAMS was non-stop Lyneham to Tel Aviv on 31 May 78 (RR4883).  F Troop and a ground engineer were deployed there for 2 weeks to turnaround 10 VC10s and 2 Hercs deploying a contingent of Fijians to join the UN Force UNIFIL.  It was a memorable couple of weeks.  We were looked after extremely well by both El Al and the British Embassy, in fact all 7 of us were invited to HM Ambassador’s Queen’s Birthday Cocktail Party – in our best KD.

After HMA’s Cocktail Party, the SNCOs felt that the boys deserved a wind-down drink or two in a bar in downtown Tel Aviv, not least because of their impeccable behaviour at the Ambassador’s residence. Because we were still in uniform, I was somewhat reluctant to agree but thought that a ‘quick one’ on the way back to the hotel would be OK. Well, readers do not need to be Mastermind contestants to imagine the direction of travel so, after the quick one, I said we should call it a day and go and get changed. “Listen, Boss, the boys have done us proud this evening, let it go” (or words to that effect) was the sage advice from the ever-wise SNCO. The only thing I insisted on was to remove our rank tabs. Thereafter, I recall having a very enjoyable evening....and we all got safely back to the hotel and of course were fighting-fit for the next day’s aircraft.

It was all a bit surreal, including possibly being the first ever MAMS task there.  There were several other highlights and the odd c**k-up but, given the current sensitivities in the region, these are probably better left untold for now.  And so it was that I never flew by C130 again on UKMAMS.  Of course, that was by no means the end of my time airborne in Fat Albert as I spent a further 29 years in the RAF and this included a parachute course and some memorable jumps with Tactical Supply Wing.  But the Tel Aviv trip is the tale of my last MAMS flight on a C130 – deploying on a task which ended up being hugely enjoyable and memorable.

Regards, Andy

A RNA 727 took over the Gurkha rotation flights between Kathmandu and Hong Kong from the RAF VC-10's
From: Kenneth J. Usher, Edmonton, AB  
Subject: My Final C-130 Task

In early March of 1989, I was the Chief Loadmaster Instructor at 435 (T) Squadron, Tactical Airlift School in Edmonton.  This one morning early March, the OC TALS (Major Pete Francis) called me and said I was to accompany him to the CO’s office for coffee!  “WTF!”  I wondered what I had done!

We arrived at the CO’s office and were invited in.  The CO looked a bit miffed at something which rather concerned me.  The OC kept looking at me with that “What have you done now Usher?” look.  They both laughed and handed me a message that I was being promoted to Major and posted effective 01 July 1989!  I was absolutely shocked!  C’mon guys,  I was a Loadie!  Officer or not!  Behavior was not one of my strong officer attributes!

So the congratulations were applauded!  The CO said that he was also leaving the squadron and that he would like to have me as his Loadie for his final mission.  I was quite honoured and asked what the mission was going to be.  He indicated it was to move the United Nations Observer Force from Islamabad, Pakistan to Srinagar, India.  I thought to myself (so as not appear ungrateful), that’s no gem of a trip… I’ve done that one a couple of times, and it’s a crap show!  He then added we would be travelling around the globe to do it!  My ears perked up!

The trip departed Edmonton and we flew to Hickam AFB, Hawaii;  Wake Island; Clark AFB, Philippines;  Singapore; Maldives; Islamabad, Pakistan; Bahrain, UAE; Cairo, Egypt; Athens, Greece; Gibraltar; Keflavik, Iceland and home!  Sixteen days with two great friends and fellow Loadies, Gary Dixon and Kirk Newhook!  The evenings are a bit of a blur but what a great time and a tremendous way to leave the world of the incredible C130!

All the best and please STAY SAFE!


From: Roger Whittington, Prescot, Merseyside  
Subject: My Last C-130 Task

Hi Tony,

My last C130 task was a fairly routine, Op Cimnel, Deltic engine re-supply to Bahrain in support of the Lumpy (Lumpy Gravy - Navy) who were using the Fleet Clearance Diving Team to clear Iranian mines from the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. My logbook shows it was on XV210 with Al Farnsworth and Jeff Alleyne and the route was Palermo, Bahrain, Masirah, Seeb and Akrotiri. It was a routine Herc trip that went totally as planned.

Much more fun was my last C130 trip ever which was when I was lucky enough to be selected to take part in Ex Littlelook when the Black Watch deployed from Hong Kong to New Zealand for a month. It came right at the end of my tour in Hong Kong and it was the perfect end to a great three years in the Far East. Ten “hanger-ons” accompanied the regiment down to NZ and we took a NZ C130 via Brunei, Darwin, Amberley and Christchurch where the Black Watch deplaned. The ten of us went on to Ohakea where the rest of the pax got off and then I went on to Whenuapi and finally to Hobsonville (an army base) where I was to be based for two weeks before spending two more weeks at Burnham camp near Christchurch.

I was able to meet up with my old mate Tim Pyne who was down on Ex Longlook for four months (lucky so and so). It turned out I went to Hobsonville because they thought I was army but, as they didn’t really know what to do with a blue job, I was given a fairly free rein and was left to my own devices to amuse myself.

One day Tim and I spent a day in Auckland; supposedly on a shopping/orientation visit but it rapidly turned into a serious pub crawl and it was well into dawn patrol territory when we got back. The next morning when I stumbled into work looking like the All Blacks had spent the night practicing their more violent rucking techniques on me for the past ten hours, they took one look at me and sent me back. We recovered back to Hong Kong on a Cathay Pacific 747, so I was never to set foot on a C130 again.

Incidentally, I was really impressed by the way that the Black Watch were seen off at the end of the exercise. While they were down in Christchurch, local families who had connections with Scotland adopted a Jock for a night which no doubt provided a link to their roots. These civilians all traveled up to Auckland at their own expense to wave them off.

That’s it Tony. Hope that you and yours are staying safe and best wishes to everyone in the Association; here’s hoping that all this madness ends soon and we can go back to normal.

Regards, Roger

From: Brian Harper, Glenwood, NL   
Subject: My Last C-130 Task

Hi Tony,

My last trip was on 18th Feb 1993,  my last trip was a gift from 240 OCU. It was a trip to BZE via several locations in the USA, arriving in YQX 21st Feb 1993.  And life started in YQX and other Candian locations.


From: Keri Eynon, Thatcham, Berks   
Subject: Newsletter

Hi Tony, once again thanks for the excellent newsletter; it's great to receive it and keep up to date with all that is happening within the Movements world both active and retired! Here is my article regarding my last Herc flight, in fact my last RAF flight.

My last Hercules flight took place on the 7th and 9th May 1988. At the time I was on A shift at Lyneham, when a request for a couple of volunteers was asked for for a trip to Dakar, Senegal to deliver some cargo before the aircraft carried on to Ascension with other equipment. This meant that after offloading at Dakar, we, the Movers, were  were left there to await the return of the flight back to the UK.

The aircraft arrived back in Senegal on the 8th and night stopped.  We loaded a few boxes ready for our departure on the 9th. At the prescribed time we boarded and steeled ourselves for the 8 - 9 hour flight back to Lyneham. However, as we took off and the undercarriage was retracted there was a horrible screeching noise. A quick inspection from inside the aircraft into the wheel well did not throw any clear indication as to what had happened. After a short discussion amongst the crew it was decided to carry on to the UK.  If there were any further suspect noises then there would be a diversion into Gibraltar.

Nothing else appeared to raise concerns, so we pressed on to Lyneham where the captain instructed us to be seated on the port side, then he would land mainly on the port side first and lower the starboard side down as gently as possible. A "State Two" was called for the landing at Lyneham, which thankfully went without a hitch but necessitated us being followed in by the fire engines etc. I never found out what caused the noise to the undercarriage but obviously will never forget my final flight in the RAF.

Cheers, Keri

From: Ian Berry, West Swindon, Wilts  
Subject: My Last C-130 Task

Hi Tony,

My final C130 task was when I was still on JHSU [Joint Helicopter Support Unit] in 1999. I had just finished a 10-week stint in Macedonia/Kosovo on Operation Agricola and was rotating home. I was staying at a place called Magure in Kosovo, alongside a company of Gurkhas. The 27 Sqn Flight Commander, Sqn Ldr Steve Shell, had promised me a lift down to Skopje to meet my flight on a Chinook, but that morning had a wire strike. Steve is still serving and is presently an AVM.

Anyway, on 29 July 1999, I flew back to Lyneham from Skopje on Hercules XV219. the flight lasting 5hrs 10mins. I hope that as 22 years have elapsed that the Fun Police will not chase me? When I arrived at Lyneham in the evening, I was carrying my SA80 rifle. I was going to stay at home (Swindon) that night and drive to Odiham the next day. The Lyneham Movers told me to take the rifle to the armoury, call out the Duty Armourer and then collect the next day. Being an enterprising Mover myself, I thought this was going to sap a lot of my limited free time plus I really relished the thought of returning the next day to reverse the procedure. Consequently the rifle went into my car boot and that night was under my bed. Next day I returned it to the Odiham Armoury - nobody the wiser!


From: Neil Middleton, Ipswich, Suffolk 
Subject: My Last C-130 Task

Hi Tony,

My last task on a C130 was on 24/25th April 1974.  We flew down to Masirah on the 20th of April on Britannia XL637. Then on the 24th April on C130 XV189 - Masirah - Seeb - Salalah - Masirah - Akrotiri.

That was the last task I did on NEAF MAMS, with a total of 981.35 hours flying in C130’s and 187 hours in other aircraft over a 3-year tour. What a fantastic time I had working with fantastic people and with some great memories.  I was then posted back to the Supply Trade, (not through choice I might add).

Regards, Neil

From: Len Bowen, Chisholm, ACT 
Subject:  My Last C-130 Task

Ironically, my last C130 task was in neither a RAF nor a RAAF Herc, but a RNZAF C130, NZ7007.  It was RAAF Base Darwin – RAAF Base Tindal and return, 29th July 2010, travelling as the RAAF Protocol Branch MOVO, escorting the overseas observers for Ex PITCH BLACK 2010.

30 odd PAX from 17 nations spending a week in the ‘Top End’ observing the air and ground activities of the biennial PITCH BLACK extraviganza. Bit like herding cats, as the ranks of our visitors varied from Flight lieutenant (Equivalent - E) to Group Captain (E), from countries as far apart as France and Saudi Arabia, all with different expectations from their visit – and from the RAAF Protocol Branch team!  Some were a joy to host, while others... well, in the interest of continued international cooperation I’ll leave it there.

It had been some 43 years since my first C130 task; RAF Tengah – RAAF Butterworth and return. A 74 Sqn Lightning deployment support task with FEAF MAMS in RAF C130 XV203. 15th December 1967!

Members of the RAAF Base Air Movements Flght carrying ‘Eric the Eski’ (cold drinks container) in from the Kiwi Herc for replenishment
From: Don Lloyd, Calgary, AB   
Subject: My Last C-130 Task

Good Morning Tony, 

My last C-130 task before I was heading off to Germany for my 4 year posting , was short and uneventful I'm glad to say.  It was on the 22nd of May 1984,  consisting of a live para drop at Edmonton with a total log time of point five.   

Cheers and stay safe! 


From: Clive Price, Brecon 
Subject: Hercules rides

Hello Tony,

The nine month change of the garrison in Belize was a much sought-after UKMAMS trip because it meant a fully loaded Bristol Britannia to Nassau in the Bahamas.  A top hotel on the beach for fourteen days, and we ferried the troops, twenty at a time, to Belize in an old Handley Page Hastings twice a day.

And then came the Hercules; a new toy.  We were tasked to take seventy troops direct to Belize in a Herc for jungle training. A full load to Belize without stopping; a full ten hours flying.  Sponge ear plugs which were useless and the usual rubbish sandwiches. To get to the rear toilets we had to climb onto the centre seats rail and do the circus walk to them and back again.  When we landed we were well and truly scrambled. And then the CO of the camp ordered us erks to stay at the army camp in a tent on the edge of a swamp, instead of our usual hotel. After that I didn't mind loading them, but flying in them. NO THANKS!

Your old mate

Taff Price
(The fat one who used to drink with Bob Turner)

From: Mark Stephenson, Dieppe, New Brunswick   
Subject: My Last C-130 Task and Last C130 Flight

My last Hercules trip on a UKMAMS task was on 5 Sep 1988 in Herc C3 XV197. This was an IALCE deployment task from Lyneham to Corlu (Turkey) as part of the NATO movements team participating in an AMF(L) deployment. This was my last UKMAMS task before heading to HQ 1 Group in the Exercise group as Ex4b (Logistics) taking over from Steve Harpum. Steve greeted us at Corlu in his IALCE role with the usual happy welcome! The work at the airfield was great, the off base “luxury” accommodation plus the hair-raising drive to and from that location were memories that could contribute to some form of mental anguish. The MAMS Land Rover survived the Turkish roads and the interesting concept the locals had about travelling on these roads (no rules – biggest vehicle has priority).

The UKMAMS contingent consisted of S/L David Thompson, FS Tony Dunphy, Cpl John Kerswill, SAC Deano Dawson and SAC Andy Rice. We joined other NATO movers (UK, US, German, Italian) handling the multitude of aircraft (C130, C141, C5, Transall, VC10 etc) bringing loads in. We were assisted by local Turkish personnel who occasionally had to be reminded that driving vehicles around an aircraft handling area requires some care! I think the most impressive load handled was a chalk of 3 AH-1 Cobras offloaded from a C5 with support vehicles and personnel. By the time the empty C5 was taxiing to leave Corlu, the rotors of the helicopters were turning and as the C5 rolled down the runway, the helicopters took off as well.

My last Herc trip was on a Belgian Herc on 7 Jan 1990 from Zaventem (Belgium) via Crete (to refuel) with final destination Incrilik (Turkey) for an IALCE exercise planning meeting. Ian Russell (soon to be promoted to S/L & take over from Richard Bond as Ex4 (Logs) at HQ 1 Gp & become my best ever boss!) went with me as well as WO John Parris from MCSU (Mobile Catering – Hullavington). The reason I share this is the interesting seating fit in this Belgian Herc. It consisted of palletized forward facing airlines type seats. The first pic shows Ian Russell discussing stuff with the loadmaster while the other NATO participants made themselves comfy. 

However impressed we were by the seating, soon after take-off we were offered suitable inflight refreshments (Stella A). Apparently, the Belgian loadmasters are allowed to show their entrepreneurial side by selling such refreshments to their passengers (gobbly boxes were complimentary).


From: Gordon Gray, Powick, Worcs   
Subject: Last C-130 Task

Hello Tony,

This last task was also my final RAF flight and the Swan Song on promotion and posting to Cargo Allocations Centre at RAF Upavon. I was at the time Co-Ord on B shift and I think then may have been rotating 3 months between Base Movements and Mobile; not sure!

The Task was a Mk1 Herc. XV 297 on a Gyro Trainer, the various off/onloads along the route were nothing out of the ordinary until we got to Shearwater. Knowing the uplift from there to be this naval gun, it was a surprise when it appeared minutes before departure on a NATO pallet at the ramp sill.

This was an artefact and despite it being a piece of freight, we needed to treat it carefully with some reverence as it was destined for the 'Mary Rose' Project of Prince Charles'.  Well, it tied down ok but there was some consternation by all, especially myself, as to whether it might shift; it didn't fortunately but I seem to remember we surrounded it with baggage! 

Our night stop in Bermuda was pleasantly spent in the Hog Penny Pub in Hamilton with accommodation at Flatts Village.

Reflecting on Shearwater, had it involved a longer night stop I feel sure we would have visited the Titanic Exhibition and Graveyard, (which I learned of later) as we stayed in the Lord Nelson Hotel in Halifax.

Just to finish this tale; my second Swan Song 19 years later took my wife and me on a Cruise which involved a short stay in Bermuda in 2003 on retirement from Honda Manufacturing. Needless to say, we dropped in at the Hog Penny Pub. 

Thanks Tony, I hope this finds you well and moving quicker out of current restraints. I shall feel out of touch with Air Force aspects not seeing the Transport fleet circuiting above in our very close proximity at Lechlade but feel sure your splendid OBA web will maintain those ties!

Bye for now and best regards


New members who have joined us recently:

Welcome to the OBA!

Barrie Thompson, Calne, Wilts

Mark "Dutch" Holland, Market Drayton, Salop
Roger Smiley, Fawcett, AB

John Risk, Hughenden Valley, Bucks

Seven Days to White Tent
Follow three members of the RAF; a Harrier pilot testing his aircraft in the Arctic, an engineer on a Belfast and the capitain of a Lockheed Hercules. Circa 1972...  [I'm fairly certain that Dave Eggleton is doing the marshalling of the onload at minute 41:50]

Joseph Caruana
From: Dave Green, Huntingdon, Cambs  
Subject: Windrush


The Windrush Generation issue in the UK is in the news again and the latest BBC report includes a picture including an RAF Movs Sqn Ldr, just wondered if we could find out who he is?


Dave Green

From: Len Bowen, Chisholm, ACT 
Subject: Rocket Assisted RAF C130?

Having a little time on my hands lately, I did manage to download a few old 35 mm slides.  Amongst these, I came across the off-load of a Stonechat solid fuel rocket motor at Woomera on 26th September 1974. 

A task from JATE (Joint Air Transport Establishment) at Abingdon, I travelled with the load as the resident MOVO. Over 9,000 lb NEQ, encased in a specially-built 36 ft long container which locked into the Herc roller system sidebars, and hence was completely un-jettisonable, we reckoned that if we got onto trouble in flight we'd just open the rear cargo doors and be (very briefly) the first C130 in orbit. 

The whole trip from the UK to Woomera (and back) was a bit of a saga which I will write up and submit for the next OBA newsletter.

Kind Regards,

Len b

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