From: George Graves, Carlisle
Subject: Lockdown Special Part III.

Hi all,

We're still plodding on but getting more bored now with not being able to get out, but hopefully it will be worth it in the end.  Although not being a keen reader I've at least been able to read several autobiographies of various sportsmen, gifts I'd been given over the years, so now I've finally got through them.

Keep safe everyone, we're getting there.

George & Eileen Graves

From: Bob Dixon, Royal Wootton Bassett, Wilts  
Subject: Vera Lynn encounter

My Vera Lynn story.

It was the 40th Anniversary of D Day and I was at Caen Carpiquet airfield with a small MAMS Team to handle the British Royals and VIPs arriving and departing for the anniversary. A handkerchief sized airfield which had just one passenger-handling small building only and the Team was ensuring our Royals (in 2 Andovers) departed as well as several other Royal Families, the French President and our UK Veterans and widows.

Into this chaos a little lady scuttled into the building telling me "I am dying for a toilet" There was one in the building and it had no door. So I posted an airman to stop any other people disturbing her.

Shortly, she left with her thanks for our help. The airman then said to me "Who was that boss?" and I replied "That was Dame Vera Lynn."

No pretence, no fuss, and very grateful. That was Vera Lynn.

From: Norman Stamper, Torrevieja 
Subject: Lockdown Spec 2

Hi Tony,

Andy Kay's set of photo's in the last newsletter jogged a long forgotten memory of my time in Aldergrove, 1978/9. The last photo looked very familiar, so out came the album for that period. It was one of the many section 'do's' that were held in the Families Club 'Centre Spot Bar', this one, sometime in January 1979, so the entry in the album states. The photo's attached were taken on the same night.

I missed the last Lockdown Special as Spain had gone up to Phase 2, so we had the builders in to fit a new bathroom. We had moved into our neighbour's holiday home for the week. We are back home again now and all is well with the new build. In this phase we have a bit more freedom of movement and access to more facilities. If all goes well, on Monday we should go up to Phase 3 and life should become a lot easier.

All the best, Norman

Terry Mulqueen and Tony Blackborough

n/k, Taff Brimble, Mel Sykes, Henry Leese (Ops) (at the back)
John "Dylan" Willans, Andy Gregory (Ops), Andy Gray, n/k.

Families Club 'Centre Spot Bar'

Right to left. Alan & Anne Irving, Steve Croston, Yvonne Heap, Gill Stamper, Andy Gregory, Maureen Fowell, Tony Balkeborough (ATSY), Pat Gutsell.

New Zealand to Buy 5 C-130J-30 Super Hercules to Replace C-130H Fleet

The New Zealand Government has confirmed that five Lockheed Martin C-130J-30 Super Hercules transport aircraft will be purchased to replace the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s existing C-130H Hercules fleet, Defence Minister Ron Mark announced today, June 5, 2020.


“Last year, Cabinet selected these aircraft as the preferred option to replace the current Hercules fleet. Procurement of the Super Hercules has been my highest capability priority as Minister of Defence,” Ron Mark said.


“Along with the new fleet, the $1.521 billion project will deliver a full mission flight simulator and other supporting infrastructure. This fleet will ensure the Defence Force can continue to support New Zealand’s community resilience, our national security, our contribution to our Pacific neighbours and the wider global community.”


“This decision ensures tactical airlift will remain available to undertake operations in New Zealand’s immediate region, as well as support our interests in Antarctica, often in support of other government agencies,” the Minister added.


The new C-130J Super Hercules aircraft can carry a greater payload, is faster, and can travel further than the current Hercules aircraft. The variant being procured by New Zealand is the C-130J-30, the stretched version of the C-130J which adds 15 feet to the fuselage.


Each RNZAF aircraft will be fitted with additional specialist capabilities, including a wide bandwidth, high-speed satellite communications (SATCOM) system, and an electro-optical/infra-red (EO/IR) camera. The SATCOM system will allow imagery, video, and data to be streamed in real-time, and the camera allows for aerial surveillance, including at the same time as the aircraft is undertaking transport tasks, particularly useful on humanitarian and disaster relief operations (HADR) and search and rescue (SAR) missions.


The first of the new Super Hercules will be delivered in 2024, with the full fleet operating from 2025, allowing for a phased retirement of the current C-130 Hercules fleet.





From: Andrew Kay, Bowling Green, KY
Subject: Long shot request

Hi Tony,

Still doing some clearing here and I have this print that I really don't have room for in our new apartment, so if possible I'd like to offer it up to (hopefully) someone on the Old Bods network that might be interested in it.

It is a print by Ken Howard of a montage of images from Aldergrove in 1975 (pictures attached).  It has been framed since I've had it but it looks like it has a couple of creases on it.  I really don't want anything for it, but if any postage can be refunded that would be good.  I'll take it out of the frame and put it in a poster tube to send it out.  It looks like it was signed in pencil by the original artist [Ken Howard ‘75] in the bottom left corner.

It's a good memory for me, but honestly one day it will just end up in the dumpster and I'd rather it went to someone that would give it another good home.

Let me know if you can squeeze this in the next issue, and they can contact me directly.


Andy Kay

Wg Cdr Tom Walker, current OC 1 AMW, placed the following request in the last newsletter: “1 Air Mobility Wing are in the process of constructing a history room to celebrate 50+ years of movements, UKMAMS and 1AMW. We know the history but we currently lack the photos, artefacts, and stories that bring it all to life – can you help us?”


I was able to put Andy in touch with Wg Cdr Walker


From: Richard (Taff) Allen, Llanmartin, Newport, Mon  
Subject: A celebration

Chris Owen, Taff Allen, Al Hart, Robbie Robinson, Viv Neary-Phillips,
Yorkie Arundal, Chris Austin, John Belcher, Derek Read

Before the unpleasantness kicked off...

Hi Tony,


Viv Neary-Phillips’ top-table took place back on 5 March, in WO’s and Sgt’s Mess RAF Brize Norton.  Excellent send off for Viv, after 36 years’ service.  Some old faces and blasts from the past.  Picture attached of retired movers who attended.


Bird attacks Atlas - loses the fight!

A Royal Air Force A400M was damaged following a bird strike while operating at Getafe Air Base, Spain.  You might ask what kind of bird it was? I believe it was a dead one!


From: Allan & Kay Mitchley, Rhyl, Denbighshire  
Subject: Lockdown Special Part III

We have moved from the guesthouse which we decided to close down. We now have a 2-bedroom bungalow which we are updating. Since March, I have lost several ex-RAF Supply and Movements colleagues including Victor Ingledew, Gordon Mackie and Mario Cavallino. My youngest son passed away suddenly on 11th May.

Phil Gibson from the Movements trade has today been released from John Radcliffe Hospital after a long fight with Covid-19.  He's been through a lot and we hope he and his family can go forward.

The RAF Association branches have not been able to operate properly due to the restrictions and in Wales there is a 5 mile travel limit unless its for work or urgent care. Things can only get better. Stay safe.

Thank you for all you do for the movers family. 

Best regards Allan and Kay

From: Mike Lefebvre, Burton, NB 
Subject: Lockdown Special Part III

Yes there is the weather  and the stay at home policy, but a ride down the St. John’s river in a breeze Jeep and a beer is a quick fix! 

The Lefebvre's

From: Harold Jones Neston, Cheshire 
Subject: Lockdown Special Part III

Greetings from a wet and cold Neston, what a change from the 8 weeks or so of continuous warmth and sunshine!  Still my pond is now full and the strawberries are abundant; I have to be up early to beat the blackbirds to them.


Hopefully, now that we are allowed to, I will be having a couple of friends and Val round for a few drinks and nibbles this afternoon.


For my locked-down birthday in April, Val bought me a bottle of Bell's whisky. It came with it's own Corona mask!


Best wishes to all Movers.


Many Cheers,  Harold.

From: Keith Parker, Bowerhill, Wilts
Subject: Lockdown Special III

I am looking forward to having my locks shorn.

My wife tells me I look like Uncle Albert out of "Fools and Horses".

I think Captain Birdseye from the fish finger advert is who greets me every day in the mirror!

Best regards and stay safe everyone!

From: David Moss Sorbie, Dumfries and Galloway 
Subject: Lockdown Hairdo



Well we are still here alive and kicking.  Restrictions are being eased quite a bit but not for us as we are in shielding due to Darrelle's heart problem and me with COPD.


Still things could be worse. At least here we have our neighbours (landlady & landlord), who are only 75 yards away so we can have a chat from a distance. Our shopping is still being done very kindly by Ann's daughter so we rarely end up short of anything and if we do we eat something else.


You asked for photo's of haircut or lack thereof so please find one attached. Hair referred to as the lawn and beard as the hedge. I must admit that it will be nice to get them both trimmed again once we are released from lockup.


I have managed to make a space in a couple of the cases of duty free bottles that I had gathered while on MAMS which have been stored away in the loft for years. The Bacardi does need a drop more coke now but still hits the spot.


Very best wishes to all.





From: Clive (Taff) Price, Brecon
Subject: Lockdown in Wales

Hello Tony,

Lockdown started at a frantic pace, clearing the weeds from my garden, painting some windows, my front gate and the door of my man cave. I soon calmed down and went into full relax mode, something the RAF taught me to do well.

I was fortunate that my neighbour Amanda offered to do all my shopping, even getting me my daily paper. I sent you a photo of her.  A lovely lump of a girl, who will get a big hug (a "cwtch" in Wales) when this is all over!


My other photo is myself on my patio on VE day, beer, cake and baccy to hand. The whole street was out celebrating, it was a very pleasant evening.


In the morning four of us members of the local branch of the Royal British Legion laid a wreath for the fallen at the town war memorial.  I was only five when the war ended, but I remember two of my school pals who lost their fathers in that war.


We do go out a bit now, but in Wales we still have to be six feet apart. We can only drive five miles max, but if we want to we can cycle forty miles; strange rules!


Cheers, Taff Price (Foxtrot Team 66/70)



Mark Bagnall, Huddersfield

Chris Clarke, Burlington, ON

Gaetan Chasles, Gatineau, QC

Richard Lloyd, Dunfermline, Fife

  (Before and after -  thanks Sue!)

New VIP Voyager paint job looks like something out of Austin Powers

The UK Royal Air Force (RAF) has revealed the RAF Voyager “Vespina” aircraft, which will provide transport for Government Ministers and the Royal Family, in a new paint job.


The aircraft recently completed its refurbishment and now proudly displays the Union Flag alongside RAF markings. According to RAF, the new paint scheme will promote the UK around the world while transporting Ministers, senior members of the Royal Family and their delegations on trade, diplomatic and other missions.


After weeks of work, the Voyager “Vespina” returned to RAF Brize Norton where it will operate alongside the rest of the RAF Voyager fleet. [In addition to] its VIP Role, the aircraft remains certified for its original use, including Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR) and personnel transport. It can fly from and to almost any airport across the world that can take an Airbus A330, and its range allows it to reach much of the world without costly and time-consuming refuelling.


“This project was a privilege to have been involved in and I am delighted to have seen it delivered so quickly and efficiently, together with our industry partners. The aircraft’s new paint scheme will better reflect its prestige role which we are proud to undertake,” said Air Commodore Simon Edwards, the Senior Responsible officer for the project.


The aircraft, known as Vespina and also often referred to as ‘ZZ336’ which is its military registration number, was previously visually indistinguishable from the rest of the Operational Voyager Fleet which has a grey military livery. This external paint scheme will better reflect its VIP mission and contribution to ‘Global Britain’. The paintwork concludes a refurbishment stemming from the 2015 SDSR.


The Project first created and agreed an outline design before being modified to account for commercial, legal, operational and design needs. This process was not only about the visual design, this was a complex engineering project requiring detailed drawings which were developed by AIRBUS. Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group were then chosen to deliver the project on time and within budget.




(One media source said the paint job looks like something "from Austin Powers".  The revelation triggered a barrage of aircraft-linked jokes on social media about the hit comedy starring Mike Myers as a British spy and his arch enemy Dr Evil.)




C-17 Aid Flight Transports Medical Supplies for Coronavirus to Africa

The first of a series of Royal Air Force flights taking medical supplies to Africa to help fight the coronavirus pandemic departed today - Saturday, June 27th 2020. 


The RAF C-17 took off from RAF Brize Norton, Oxfordshire, on a journey funded by the Department For International Development. The transport aircraft was carrying a field hospital, which will be used for frontline aid workers in Africa. Aid workers are playing a crucial role in West Africa working to improve health systems, prevent the spread of coronavirus and save lives.


Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “The RAF and NATO are always here to help our Allies, friends and those in need around the world. I’m proud that while dealing with COVID-19 we have the generosity of spirit to provide such support to Ghana and other countries.”


The field hospital, which weighs approximately 130 tonnes, the equivalent of seven buses, will be transported to Accra in up to five flights. WFP will then arrange for it to be built to support the coronavirus response where the need is most.


NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said: "NATO Allies are working together to address the COVID-19 pandemic, and to support our partners. Last month, NATO agreed to support the UN's global call for airlift assistance. I warmly welcome that the United Kingdom is the first NATO Ally to come forward with an aid flight, delivering supplies to build a field hospital in Ghana. This is a concrete demonstration of solidarity in action – NATO Allies stepping up to save lives."


Operated by 99 Squadron, the C-17 Globemaster is the RAF’s long-range, heavy-lift strategic transport aircraft that can operate close to a potential area of operations for combat, peacekeeping or humanitarian missions worldwide. Assisting the loading process were personnel from 4624 Royal Auxillary Air Force Squadron, providing a valuable contribution to the RAF global humanitarian effort at the end of Armed Forces Week that celebrated Reserves Day on Wednesday.


Royal Air Force



From: Ian Berry, West Swindon 
Subject: Lockdown Special Part III

Doesn't time fly when you are enjoying yourself!

Things are gradually easing here but the news is always still depressing as there is always a contradiction. Stay in/Go out, we are doing Well/Awful, Red Wine is good for you - No it Aint!!

In between the monsoons and the heatwaves I've managed to develop a nice tan. Reading that Nev Witham is involved with the UK Motorways immediately explains all the traffic cones and NO workmen!

Of course I remember Ian & April's wedding and they reciprocated coming to mine some 19 months later. I indulged back from Singapore to get married, two weeks later Christine got a telegram to fly back out... I didn't! That's another story.

God Bless the Movements Mafia.

Best wishes to all,

From: Mark Attrill, Tallinn  
Subject: Lockdown

Hi Tony,

Greetings from Tallinn! Like everywhere else, we have been feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic though, for a number of reasons, appear to have got off lightly. The 'worst' period in terms of restrictions was during March/April though we were never fully locked down and I was managing to work 'one week on' (in the office') and 'one week off' (working from home) with a strict 'firewall' between our two shifts so that we could maintain a 24/7 capability throughout. The Estonians have been very resilient with the lockdown and I suspect much of this has to do with their recent history and the oppressive nature of the Soviet regime so keeping to themselves, at home, is probably in their DNA. As a result everyone behaved themselves and the Covid-19 situation was brought under control very quickly.  

We are now struggling (in the nicest possible way) with the unseasonaly high temperatures here in Tallinn although, now that the 'Baltic Bubble' has been safely established, the Covid-19 restrictions have been eased significantly. I believe we have now adopted the 'New Zealand' model which means that very few are being allowed to enter Estonia (and only from the so-called 'safe' countries) with those wishing to travel overseas from here fully understanding the consequences when they return (strictly policed 14-day quarantine etc). Since Finland is now included in the local 'bubble' we are seeing an increase in visitors from there, Latvia and Lithuania and TBH, when the weather is this good why would we want to go anywhere else and suffer the extreme hassle with air travel etc.

Sadly, and again like many other places, Tallinn is now suffering from the after effects, particularly in the tourist sector. The photo is of the old town square which would, in normal times, now be buzzing with large numbers of tourists, open air restaurant and bar terraces, stalls etc. One of the local hotel companies, that has three very nice hotels in Tallinn have just gone bankrupt, the Hilton will not re-open its doors here and so it goes on. Still there are signs of life elsewhere as others slowly get back to business and we are going to do our bit to support the local economy.


I was due to retire in August and take up employment with the Baltic Defence College in Tartu but have now been asked to extend in post until my very last day of service in January 2021 since my relief simply cannot get organised from the UK in time. Fortunately the College have been very understanding and will be keeping the post available for me until I can extricate myself from the RAF in an orderly fashion. My Royal Canadian Navy work colleague, who also served with me in Norway, is in the same boat (pardon the pun) and has been extended for a full year so its affecting very many people and will continue to do so for some time to come, I fear.


Anyway, Stay Safe wherever you are.    





RAF convert two BAe146 aircraft to carry medical patients

Two BAe146 Mk.3 aircraft operated by 32 (The Royal) Squadron have been adapted to transport critically ill patients and RAF medical staff for the first time, say the Royal Air Force in a news release.


Wing Commander Jo Bland is Officer Commanding Tactical Medical Wing, she was quoted as saying: “This has been an amazing achievement in all areas bringing together 32 (TR) Sqn residual capacity, Tactical Medical Wing’s aeromedical evacuation (aeromed) capability and the design, production and engineering skills of Joint Air Delivery Test & Evaluation Unit. This project embodies the very spirit of Astra; using existing military aircraft in a dual-hatted role and optimising use of key Defence assets. TMW have never delivered aeromed on the BAe146 in this manner before and it has been achieved at zero cost and in record time by smart use of pre-existing, available assets.”


The RAF also say that the Astra Programme aims to encourage innovation across the RAF. Personnel from TMW and 32 (TR) Sqn looked at the options for using the BAe146 on the 1st of April and concluded that stretcher stanchions already in use on Voyager could potentially be affixed to pallet flooring inside the aircraft.


“The engineering task was passed to the Joint Air Delivery Test & Evaluation Unit (JADTEU) at RAF Brize Norton who swiftly designed and produced a cleared and serviceable solution. Within a fortnight the adaptation was ready for prototype trials which determined the adaptations were suitable for all types of aeromed, including use by the Critical Care Air Support Team. Following some crew training the BAe146 was declared available for use in its new role some two months after the initial request.”


In addition, Atlas, Hercules, Globemaster and Voyager are all able to transport patients and medical personnel, similarly Puma and Chinook helicopters.


The addition of the BAe146 allows greater flexibility as Wing Commander Bland explained: “The advantage of the BAe146 is that it can land at airports where Voyager can’t due to its smaller size and footprint. It suits our purposes brilliantly for short hops which can be completed at less cost and with less impact on the environment.”


UK Defence Journal



From: James Buchanan,. Minster-in-Thanet, Kent
Subject: Lockdown Special Part III

Hi Tony and all the Old Bods,


Thought I'd try a few lines and a pic or three


Hair has gone haywire. Would be okay but its all grey-ish


Toenails - usually have a nice lady in the beauty parlour do them for me - had to do them myself last week -  took me two days to stand up again


Faceless - with a face like mine... (no comment!)


Stay safe keep smiling and keep on drinking in the shed - oops, I mean summerhouse!


My best to you all



From: Allan Walker, Burnley, Lancashire 
Subject: Lockdown Special Part III

Hi Tony,

Attached are before and after photos of my Lockdown Haircuts.

Your latest e-mail provided me with an excellent link with your parachute story...  In the background of my "after haircut" you will be able to see  a [partial] photograph of a Low Level Herc taken on a trial run of the RAF's ULLAD (Ultra Low Level Air Drop) System.  This trial was carried out during my time at JATE and I was lucky enough to be an on- board observer during one of the trials.  The Aircraft was laden with a single pallet which had two parachutes attached. Firstly a drogue chute which deployed the main chute which dragged the loaded pallet from the inside of the aircraft. The aircraft flew at some 5-10 feet from the ground and released the pallet.

I was on the flight deck of one of the trials when this occurred and at the moment the pallet left the ramp the pilot had the difficult job of controlling the aircraft as it looked as if he was stirring porridge with the control stick!

I was very lucky to have seen the trials from both the inside and outside of the aircraft. My picture shows RAF Hercules 269  doing a very low level pass after having dropped its trial pallet. Great days.

It looks as if we are in for a long haul with this Corona Virus so everybody "Stay Safe" and look after yourselves.

Yours aye,

Allan Walker
Derek Grayson, Holbeach, Lincs   
Syd Avery, Alicante

John Anderson, Darlington

Dave Elliott, Skelmersdale 

From: Pat Rowney, East Tytherton, Wilts

Subject: Memories


Hi Tony,


Photo was taken in Venice when we took a day trip out from working on an Exercise at Aviano circa 1975. 


There were two teams deployed, Don Hunter’s and mine (Golf Team).


The personnel in the photo from left to right are: Keith Ford, Ivan Gervais, Jack Adams, NK (thought to be Sgt from UKMAMS Eng)  and Don Hunter.


More photos in the following frames ---->







"Hastings at Nicosia" by Aviation Artist Chas McHugh.  This oil painting shows an RAF Hastings aircraft on turn-round at RAF Nicosia Cyprus. Nicosia Airport remains technically an RAF base despite being embedded inside a UN Buffer Zone, and only used these days by UN helicopters.


From: Chris Goss, Marlow, Bucks


Thanks for the latest.  Brought back some pleasant memories.  Nice to see Tony Last and Jim Bissell and of course Paul "Porky" Newman.  Sad to read that Terry Christie is no longer with us-what happened?  He was a rogue on my shift at Brize (so was Steve "Psycho" Smith) and on my shift as ASI.  I always remember him saying to the Shift as soon as I came off the plane at ASI and saw him I would call him by his nickname (which in these days of PC I cannot mention now) which I did and from then on that was what the Shift called him.  Always in trouble (incident with a WRAF/newly painted tennis court/reporting short shift next day with green paint on his knees springs immediately to mind).


Interesting that Don Hunter is moving to Bergerac-whereabouts as we have a home between Mussidan and Bergerac.  Although Don and I never met, Ian Envis and Peter Arnold I did.  Maybe a MAMS get together?  Finally, looking at wedding photos, here is Delta Team Leader getting married 21 June 1986 (sorry Jim Bissell).  All there apart from Pig Clarke who forgot.  Is Tony "Fat Boy Barbeque" Feast still living near Lyneham? Still married to Sally. Regards, Chris



From: Richard Lloyd, Dunfermline, Fife 


It’s the Summer Ball at Brize Norton, 1978 – that’s Me and Sue and we’re with Dave Bernard and his wife Joy. I recognise the guy at the back, but can’t put a name to him. There was a Sec guy, Mike Hunt, also in our party...


Regards, Richard

From: Jerry Allen, Cheltenham, Glos 


Hello Tony,


I was digging through my loft archives and I came across the attached cartoon.  It really hit the spot for me and I chuckle each time I look at it.  Drawn in 1991 but I am not sure of the artist, I expect someone out there will know.




Sue and Mick Bedford (RAF) celebrated their 50th anniversary earlier this month.  Congrats!

David Jarvis (RAF) of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, is checking on his <ahem!> tomato plant

Roger Blow (RAF) of Crown Point, Indiana spending precious time with his grand children


More Relevant Stuff


This newsletter is dedicated

to the memories of:

Dame Vera Lynn

John Harney (RAF)

Gordon Mackie (RAF)

Mario Cavallino (RAF)

Victor Ingledew (RAF)

Paul, son of Allan & Kay Mitchley (RAF)

If you wish to help support the OBA:


In Canada, via bank e-mail transfer to


Overseas (including the UK), you may send Cheque or Money Order to:


Tony Gale

602-60 Rue Cormier,

Gatineau, Quebec, J9H 6B4