From: Chris Goss, Marlow, Bucks 
Subject: RE: UKMAMS OBA OBB #043022


I remember doing a number of MACs [Military Aircraft Commander on the recently acquired Tristars from British Airways] being one of the first DAMOs Tristar-Trim qualified (following a course with BA - most of the other officers were MAMS team leaders (Steve Harpum, Graham Howard and Steve Heaton were on the course with me and I would join MAMS from BZN via ASI in 1985)). 

The killer was 8 hours to Calgary, 3 hours on the ground, BA crew slipped but then the MAC flew 8 hours back.  Generally did this during our stand downs, but, as could be anticipated, all too soon the DAMO/DDAMO MACs were exhausted - I slept after one such trip for 24 hours which resulted in my missing a friend's wedding!  

We then were allowed on the ASI route to stay at Dakar for a week; a 3 hour flight to ASI was much more gentlemanly.  I remember the BA crew too was embedded with offering for me to fly back to UK with them first class via Switzerland... so tempting.  As I was the only one that could speak French, I had made their life much easier!


From: Andy Gell, Truro, Cornwall 
Subject: RE: UKMAMS OBA OBB #043022

Hi Tony,

Thank you for the latest UKMAMS OBA OBB, another great read.

The second of Andy Spink’s articles concerned the use of movements officers as Military Aircraft Commanders (MAC) on the fledgling TriStar fleet and brought back memories that had not surfaced for several decades.

As a movements-qualified flying officer on the Mobile Explosives Team at Chilmark, I got the call to go to Brize and become the MAC on a return trip to Ascension. I recall receiving a pre-flight briefing from the DSAMO – Tony Davenport I think. It was a mainly BA operating crew, but OC 216 Sqn was in the right-hand seat as part of his work-up training. I can remember that Andy Kime met the aircraft on arrival at Ascension. He was the DAMO of the day, but I seem to think that for some reason his boss was a naval Lt Cdr – or have I got that wrong? Perhaps Andy can shed some light. As to the year, my best guess is 1983.

Best wishes


From: Terry Jackson, St Albans, Herts
Subject: Strange Loads

Hi Tony,

Reading my first newsletter. Wonderful memories!

Regarding strange loads, I was the sergeant in charge of Air Cargo at RAF Changi during the withdrawl in 1971. A 47 Squadron Hercules would arrive from RAF Lyneham every week. On one occasion, the Sgt Air Loadmaster asked for half-height pallets on the main floor. We were used to loading full size NATO pallets as, during the withdrawal, we needed all the payload we could get. I questioned this with my Sdn Ldr but was instructed to follow the Air Loadmaster’s request.

The Senior Air Movements Officer at Lyneham at that time was Wing Commander David Owens (ultimately a Group Captain), whom I had previously served with at RAF Henlow. David would meet every inbound aircraft at Lyneham.

A couple of years later I met David again whilst I was at JSATC Hendon. We were chatting about strange loads one day and I mentioned the half-height pallets requested by the loadmaster at Changi, which I couldn't understand. David told me that the aircraft captain had bought himself a small boat down route and had flown it home on the Hercules!

Kind Regards


Canadian Forces Airlifting Military and Humanitarian Aid to Ukraine
From: Allan Walker, Burnley, Lancs 
Subject: Strange Loads

Hi Tony,

Thanks again for another great Newsletter!

This photo is of fuel tanks from a German V2 rocket being returned to Germay in the early 1970's. A GAF C160 Transall  flew into RAF Abingdon, at that time the home of UKMAMS, to collect the tanks.

As you can see from the photo, there are no less than 5 UKMAMS officers making sure that it is loaded correctly! Two of the recognisable ones are Brian Shorter (bottom right walking past the loading) and Roger Wood in typical pose with hands on hips. As I was Training Officer at the time in question, I was watching from the hangar doors so am not in the photo.

Yours aye


From: Colin Eyre, Ogmore By Sea, Mid Glamorgan 
Subject: Strange loads

Hi Tony,

In 1970 BOAC, as it was known then, introduced the B747 to its fleet. Whilst they had the planes they needed a simulator to train their pilots. There was one in Canada and here I am guessing that they must have approached MoD with a view to having it transported to the UK as the matter was passed on to the development unit who came up with a plan to load it into a Belfast. The planners passed this on to UKMAMS. This was passed on to E team who had been tasked with the movement of a Wessex from Boscombe Down to Uplands.

When that task was complete, after a night stop in Ottawa, we moved on to Montreal. Our friends across the water can tell you how cold it can get on the ramp there in February. Around -20ºC comes to mind. The team was led by Fg Off Paul Steiner with FS Dave Eggleton, Sgt Roy Armstrong, SAC Sandy Sandiford, LAC Dave Hammond, plus yours truly and the planner from the development unit who came along to see how the plan worked out.

We were parked on the ramp outside the hangar where the simulator was kept. It was shaped like the nose cone of the aircraft and was brought out on skids. We attached two Tirfor winches and started to haul it in. Then we hit a problem. We found it was too big to enter the Belfast freight bay so it had to be taken back into the hangar to have some adjustments made.

It appeared that the nose cone was made of fibreglass and so they were able to trim it down so that we could have another go. This time it went in. Once loaded we left for Gander before going on to Heathrow. On arrival we were parked by the maintenance hangars. There was quite a large crowd there to meet us. I am still not sure if they came just to see the Belfast, the simulator or UKMAMS finest in operation offloading their bit of kit!

Just to add a bit more to the history. Last year we saw the final departure of a British Airways B747 from Heathrow. The end of an era where UKMAMS were involved at the beginning.



From: Victor Smith, Brassall, QLD
Subject: Strange Loads


Adding to the stories of strange loads was a National Tour, courtesy of an RAAF C130, for Sweetheart the (dead) crocodile. This beast had been terrorising fishermen in Darwin Harbour as it had a great dislike for outboard motors and had attacked several boats. A decision had been made to relocate Sweetheart, however, in that process, the animal was drowned.

Quite some time later, arrangements were made for Sweetheart to be taken on tour to various museums. The animal had to be crated up, and that crate was loaded onto a triple married pallet. I was a Corporal at RAAF Base Richmond when this tour happened so it was sometime between 1980 and 1986.

Kiwi's helping out with the international Ukraine effort
Our team, along with the New Zealand Army team, deployed to Europe as part of the multinational response to the invasion of Ukraine, recently assisted with the movement of vital supplies.  Almost two tonnes (4,380lb) of medical supplies for Ukraine were picked up by our Hercules aircraft in Malta. The three pallets of supplies were being distributed to a centre coordinating aid before making its way into Ukraine to support those in need.

NZ Defence Force personnel have integrated with international partner militaries and have been assisting efforts to cohere and coordinate the movement of donated military aid to Ukraine.  The deployment of the Hercules, air transportation and logistics personnel is in addition to the deployment of other NZDF personnel, including intelligence staff to the United Kingdom.

Wing Commander Lisa D’Oliveira, Commanding Officer for RNZAF No 40 Squadron, said, “It is fantastic that the NZDF is able to provide much needed aid to support the Ukrainian effort. The two contingents are working together to ensure these missions are successful.”

Royal New Zealand Air Force

From: George Graves, Carlisle, Cumbria 
Subject: Bill Girdwood

Hi Tony,

After reading the letter from Terry Jackson, I would just like to agree with him when he said Bill Girdwood had been a nice guy, he sure was! I was on FEAF MAMS 1967/69, Bill was a Flt Lt then and I was his corporal, it was only for a few months though as Bill was nearing the end of his tour. 

Years later, in the mid 80's, I was out of the RAF and employed as a civilian at 14 MU Carlisle. This particular day we were told that the new CO, Group Captain Girdwood, was inspecting the site.  When he entered the warehouse he saw me standing there (he hadn't seen me since 1967).  He walked over and said, "Bloody hell George, where's all your hair gone?"

When he retired from the RAF, he lived in the Carlisle area for a few years and it was him who introduced me to the OBA. Happy memories!
Thanks for your good work Tony.



From: Troy Lee, Kanata, ON
Subject: Dan Brinklow Deceased

Hello Tony,

I just browsed through your strange loads issue.  Great to hear from Glen Falardeau again.  We served in TAMS at Edmonton Garrison together 2001-2005.  His accident in '06 was devastating. 

I knew Dan Brinklow passed away a few years ago and we served together at 2 AMU 1996-2001 and glad he made the issue.  We were fishing buddies and entered the Bay of Quinte Pickerel Tourny in the Spring.  We served together on 4 MAMS and were roommates in Aviano for a stint.  50¢ beer in 1997!

I was wondering if you ever hear from Steve Richardson anymore?  He  was quite active on the topics.  Another great Mover.  Served in Kingston and 2 AMU. 

Thanks for the work you do.  Cheers,

Troy Lee

Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee to feature flypast with 70 aircraft
Planes from the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force will soar over Buckingham Palace on Thursday June 2, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) has confirmed. 

The Queen is expected to watch the spectacle, which will take place on the first day of the jubilee weekend, from the palace balcony with other members of the royal family.  The 96-year-old monarch has limited appearances at the Trooping the Colour event to working royals only and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex and Prince Andrew will not be present on the balcony. Prince Charles, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Princess Anne are among the royals who will be joining the Queen for the historic occasion.

“I’m proud that the Armed Forces are leading the nation in celebration with such a spectacular display,” U.K. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said.

Toronto Sun

From: Jerry Allen, Cheltenham, Glos 
Subject: How MAMS/Air Movements influenced my post air force life

Hi Tony,

A great topic and I am sure this will resonate with many.  For me, air movements had a significant impact on my civilian life.  It was the main reason I was employed immediately on demob by IATA.  One of my interview panel was an ex-BA despatcher and knew all about RAF movers. Fortunately his experiences were good ones! 

RAF Movements gave me confidence to be around airlines and airports, and an ability to use the same terminology and relevant stories.  Generally speaking, I have not left the airline world since I left the RAF in 2000, only last week I was with an airline client as part of its ground handling training.
On a personal note, I have always encouraged my family when travelling to pack light and avoid cases with wheels (on the last point I failed desperately) – always thinking of movers! 

Keep up the good work


From: Stephen Davey, Tadcaster, North Yorks  
Subject: How MAMS/Air Movements influenced my post air force life


It's funny that you mentioned that particular phrase [Maximum use of available payload], as I've applied it many times over the years since my RAF Movements days. When loading cars to take our daughters to University in Liverpool as all available space was maximised. The loads were checked before loading with heavy items first and strategically placed between the axles, lighter items on top.

On one occasion when my daughter and son-in-law were moving down to London, I even emptied his car and reloaded it to my satisfaction as he was unable to get everything in!

I have just applied that very system today, loading the car before travelling down from North Yorkshire to North Luffenham in Rutland and I wish I'd taken a photograph just to confirm how perfectly the car was loaded. My wife always jokes about how pernickety I am when it comes to car loading responsibilities, but always gets me to do it! Do you think once taught it remains in the DNA? Until next time, all the very best.



From: Maddie Smith, Brize Norton, Oxon  
Subject: How MAMS/Air Movements influenced my post air force life

Dear Tony,

Clearly, having not left UKMAMS yet, let alone the RAF, perhaps I am not qualified to respond! However I do have something that your readers may be interested in that links with this newsletter’s theme.

When I was OC B Flight in 2014-16, I became an unofficial Squadron historian (thankfully we have a WO running with it now and an utterly fabulous history room!) and came across a buff file with all sorts of letters and papers in it. Attached is a photograph of a poem I found in the file, and it resonated with me so much I copied it and kept it.

Coming back as the Sqn OC, I have it pinned on my board and intend to have it typed up and framed for the History Room. I do not know the author but it was attached to a letter sent by the spouse of a former UKMAMS member, thanking the Sqn for its support to her following her husband's death. I believe he had been long retired and it was read at his funeral.

I hope your readers enjoy!

Best regards,


Friends Reunite After 32 Years
Old Bods Steve "Spider" Jolley and Mark "Turk" Bird are reunited after 32 years. Mark, who
lives in Edmonton, Alberta, was visiting Steve in his hometown of Wakefield, West Yorkshire.
From: Andy Kay, Bowling Green, KY 
Subject: How MAMS/Air Movements influenced my post air force life

Hi Tony,

How did Air Movements influence my life after I got out?  Well I certainly learned how to pack a load of stuff into a small space. On our cross-country move from Colorado to Kentucky we used a 12 foot PODS container to move ourselves, and I amazed my wife and neighbors by successfully packing all our "stuff" into it. 

I also learned to never volunteer for anything, and that one was probably the most important!


Andy Kay
From: Brian Harper, Glenwood, NL   
Subject: How MAMS/Air Movements influenced my post air force life

Hi Tony,

Became a loadmaster on DC-8 aircraft with MK Airlines. After that ran my own courier firm, me being the only driver!

From: John Leek, La Ronde Deux Serves  
Subject: How MAMS/Air Movements influenced my post air force life

Hi Tony,

Not exactly influenced but always thought about writing a book titled, "100 ways to use lashing tape"!

From: Kevin Koslowski Smith, St Neots, Cambs  
Subject: How MAMS/Air Movements influenced my post air force life

Hi Tony,

How MAMS/Air Movements influenced my post air force life? I think I fought against the idea of staying in logistics, I wanted a change after over 22 years as a Mover; what a stupid mistake! It's the main reason, that the following year I retired from the RAF and joined HM Prison Service.

However, I only did 4 years as a Prison Officer, and then 4 years as a Support Worker for Adults with Learning disabilities. It was only after I found myself in huge debt (working in the care world was and is very badly paid!),  when I realised I had to go back to what I knew.

I spent just over 2 years at SERCO Imports at Brize Norton and then back closer to home, as warehouse "Operative and Supervisor" for a number of jobs. I went back to looking after people for a short while (6 months - working with homeless veterans in and around the Bedford area). 

I finally returned to logistics, albeit MT at RAF Henlow. However, I think the main cause of staying away from Air Freight or Passengers was I that chose to be over an hour's commute from the nearest airport, Stanstead.

All the Best.


From: Tony Street, Buffalo, NY 
Subject: How MAMS/Air Movements influenced my post air force life

Air Movement Training

My training in the Air Movement field was a boon both to myself and the companies I worked for after my retirement where we both made (lots of) money.

The knowledge I had experienced in Tactical Airlift Operations enabled me to take a team consisting of a Pilot, Loadmaster, Parachute packer, Load Rigger and an Engineering Tech to various countries where we installed cargo systems on many and different types of cargo aircraft. We then trained their crews in all aspects of aerial delivery, including LAPES.

We did this in Spain, Portugal, Algeria, Egypt, Italy, Chile, Indonesia, India, Thailand, Paraguay and Argentina.

In 1981, when President Nixon opened trade with China to the US, we went there with a C130 out of Lockheed Marietta, Georgia, to promote the sale of C130s to the PLA. There, we conducted demonstrations of all methods of aerial delivery, and again, included LAPES.



From: George Graves, Carlisle, Cumbria 
Subject: How MAMS/Air Movements influenced my post air force life

Hi Tony,

Whilst on FEAF MAMS, my main task was completing the trim sheet.  Occasionally, when finishing up the trim, other team members would look over my shoulder and, although the graph would finish safely in the envelope, they would make comments like, it's a bit nosey or slightly tail heavy, or should we move something?

We had a young officer on the team for a short while, Fg Off Jeff Jones, who would say, "The trim is fine, don't move anything."  I do recall his favourite saying though, "You'll be defeating the object of the whole exercise". I find myself still using that saying quite often!

Cheers Tony,

From: Gary Basterfield, Calgary, AB
Subject: My life after leaving the RAF

Hi Tony,

The influence RAF Movements had on my life? Great question! I think it was to always push myself to be the best I possibly could be.

Upon leaving the UK in January 1991, I emigrated to Canada to join my wife. Trying to find a job in a small city (Calgary was a lot smaller and quieter back then), I ended up joining a fairly new company called FedEx! I spent the next 30 years still working aircraft and helped set the standards for professional aircraft handling and audit compliance.

What was ingrained in me through the RAF Movements School and numerous tours with the RAF never left me.

Life is never dull, eh?


Exercise Hedgehog
From: Dave Salmon, Springfield, OR
Subject: How MAMS/Air Movements influenced my post air force life

Hi Tony,

I left the RAF in 2001 after 25 years and moved to Springfield Oregon.  I had a few jobs before I was finally hired by the Springfield School District in October 2008 working as part of a 4 man team as a Warehouse Utility Material Handler .  The team consists of a lead inventory specialist and 3 utility workers. The district has 13 elementary schools, four middle and three high schools.  There are many areas to our work, in district mail courier five days a week, delivery of food to the kitchen, providing custodians with cleaning materials and laundry service to name but a few.

When I was hired, I had to obtain a CDL B class license to be able to drive the food delivery truck; being HGV 3 qualified, driving K Loaders and the many types of aircraft handling equipment was extremely helpful. The other aspects of being an ex-mover, building pallets of food and loading vehicles with all the discard material we have to pick up and dispose of yearly.  I am always the one that crams the trucks to the maximum capacity, I seem to be able to get double the load, probably due to all the VC-10 vents I have crammed over the years!

In Oct 2021, three of my fellow warehouse workers refused to get the Covid shot. Under the school district policy, they had to leave.  I ran the warehouse almost solo for six weeks and I did get promoted to the Lead Inventory Specialist position, with a nice pay rise. 

I am in the midst or training new staff in the movements way,  "Cram it in, I still see some light, you can get another 20 old sofa's in that spot!" 

At the ripe old age of 65 and 1 day, I am finally able to hand-off most of the hard work, but not all.


From: Don Hunter, Saint Quentin de Caplong 
Subject: How MAMS/Air Movements influenced my post air force life

Hi Tony,

Having spent virtually all of my short (10 years) RAF career as a young Mover, those turned out to be very formative times for me. I emigrated directly to the USA from the RAF and was initially a bit daunted at the prospect of both entering civvy street (without the Service “safety net” beneath me), and moving to what was perceived in those days the fast-paced, dog-eat-dog business environment of California.

But Service life as a Mover had taught me a few things I never realised!

* The importance of real teamwork. Everyone in the team has strengths and something to offer. With a team member out of action, the machine doesn’t function fully.

* Leadership. Recognise as a “young boss” you probably don’t know a damn thing about your new job, so don’t bullshit! Listen, learn, lead. Involve the team, then try to make a decision based on their input. You won’t please everyone, but people feel included in making tough decisions.

* Leadership (2). A Mover boss of mine once told me “Really acknowledge what your skills and strengths are. But far more importantly, honestly acknowledge what you are NOT good at/not interested in, and surround yourself with people who are good and passionate about those areas”. (We have all worked for people who think they know it all and micromanage people into the ground. Not good.).

* STFU. We all know what that means. More politely “You can’t listen with your mouth open”. No point in arriving in Hong Kong or Oman and constantly telling people, “When I was in the USA, we did it this way”. Listen to the people who are used to the new environment you find yourself in.
*Support those who stay at home. The wives, husbands, partners, children are just as much part of the team as those earning the salary. Involve them.

There were many more lessons I learnt (often the hard way) during my time as a Mover, at MAMS in particular, we travelled to all sorts of out of the way places and met many people, both military and locals when we were on detachment or task. People of all sorts of backgrounds, nationalities, religious faiths. We saw people who had nothing and were dying in front of us, and people who had everything and cared nothing of others. We saw conmen, good people, militia, aid workers, press, some incredibly good examples of human kindness, leadership and compassion - and we saw the total opposite, too. We saw hope and despair in equal measure in some places. We didn’t realise it at the time, but it all soaked in to what we eventually became; better, and hopefully more tolerant people.

The core values and principles learned in the RAF set me in good stead for the next 40 years of work and I’d do it all again!

With best regards


From: Syd Avery, Guardamar del Segura, Alicante 
Subject: How MAMS/Air Movements influenced my post air force life

Antonio, Dear Boy,

Some of the influences I took away with from Movements and the Air Force as a whole was, as our Willie said, how “to be many things to many men.” (Sorry if the quote is not as it should be.)

Being in the position where the buck stops is not as easy as people think.

Responsibility for other people’s or company money is quite heavy. (Try having $25,000 lifted at the company base.)

Loyalty to the person who pays your wages.

Loyalty (should) work both ways.

If you are right, don’t back down.

A closed mouth gathers no foot.

If you are wrong, admit to it.

Listen and learn.

Do not be afraid to question.


Everyone, at some stage, has to learn.

Eat and sleep when you can.

Alcohol and aeroplanes do NOT mix.

But the main thing, which has served me well from being an Hotel Owner, Airport Ops Officer, Loadmaster, Flight Manager, Coach Driver and Pensionista is this: No matter what a person’s gender, race, colour or belief is, they are all human beings and all should be treated both with respect, and in a manner in which you would like them to treat you. Of course, it doesn’t always turn out like that, does it? But then revenge is a dish best served cold!

Tony, you do an epic job for us all. I take great delight in reading all the bits and pieces which you put together, something I know I could not do, but there, I’m a Numpty. (Speaking of which, could anyone out there tell me where it says that Humpty Dumpty was an egg?)

Lang may yer lumb rheek, laddie.



Heavy Planes Return from Jubilee Flypast Practice
Royal Canadian Air Force Ships M777 Howitzers to Ukraine
A new member who has joined us recently:

Welcome to the OBA!

Dusty Miller, Carterton, Oxon
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From: Charlie Marlow, Freshwater, Isle of Wight 
Subject: Thanks from Jo Cunningham

Hi Tony,

Jo Cunningham and family ask if you would be kind enough to send a message thanking everyone that attended Jim’s funeral and all who sent condolence cards and messages They are so grateful.


From: Kevin Giles
Subject: Thank you

Dear Tony,

A big thank you for the members of UKMAMS that attended the funeral service for my late father, David Kenneth Giles. 

As his son, may I request a copy of any UKMAMS service records or photographs of David's service life. I have very limited photographs of his life on the job and this would be very much appreciated in remembering his service with the RAF.

Many thanks in advance.   

Kind regards,

Kevin Giles

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