London, 14th November, 2021. A large contingent of RAF Air Movements Veterans marched past the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday
Millions Watching as RAF Air Movements Veterans March Down Whitehall
From: Steve Harpum, Faringdon, Oxon
Subject: Remembering Jim Stewart and Ozzie Oswald
I'd like to mark the memory of the late, great Jim Stewart.
He was the UKMAMS Ops Officer when I knew him in the early 80's. He was a true character, and an absolute gentleman, and I will always be grateful to him for the kindness he showed me as a young Plt Off team leader on my first movements tour. His great claim to fame was that he had been an LAC mover in the Berlin airlift (1948-49), and had had 6 overseas tours of duty, rising to the rank of Flt Lt. He retired in 1983.
The stories about him are legion, but my personal favourite is seeing Jim appearing in full yellow waterproofs, including sou'wester hat, to wash his car in the rain, saying that it made perfect sense as the rain saved him having to rinse it!
I'll also mention, if I may, Ozzie Oswald - my team corporal out in Belize and another of those with whom it was a genuine pleasure to serve alongside.
I last saw him when he was working as a civilian contractor in Afghanistan, at Kandahar, and it was the same old Ozzie - big beaming smile, a warm friendly greeting and nothing was too much trouble.
I often think of both of them.
From: Richard Lloyd, Dunfermline, Fife
Subject: Remembering Jude Whittle
In 1967, I was serving at RAF Khormaksar. My job was passenger handling and I had a shift of a half a dozen chaps, and we worked an 11 hour day with 24 hours off, then a 13 hour night with 48 hours off.
I got a new airman on passenger handling duties - J T Whittle - always known as JT, but his real name was Jude Thaddeus. As he explained it to me, when his father first saw him, he decided to call him Jude, after the patron saint of hopeless cases and Thaddeus meaning gift of God.
He hailed from Bolton, had a great sense of humour, and was a really nice lad. Passenger handling wasn't his thing though and soon I had him moved out on the apron loading freight into big cargo aircraft along with the best of them. No-one was ever able to find out how a 40 gallon drum of aviation fuel, destined for an up-country airfield, came off the fork lift tines, but it did, and it killed JT.
54 years on I remember him so well, and I remember his funeral in Silent Valley Cemetery; the three volleys of shots over his grave, the playing of the Last Post, then the utter silence, the searing heat, his grieving parents and the guys he had worked with.
His name lives on in a lasting way at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, and in my memory until I die.
From: Don Hunter, Saint Quentin de Caplong
Subject: Remembering Ivan Gervais
Without any doubt, the person who made the biggest and most positive impression on this young officer, in all my service career, was Ivan Gervais.
He was a Flight Sergeant when I joined Kilo Team, and already hugely respected within the Movements Trade. Experienced, wise, fair, disciplined and fun all rolled into one immaculately turned out gentleman.
The 1970s were not particularly a time that showcased racial equality or emancipation, but Ivan did more, I think, than anyone else I know to gently and almost unconsciously break down racial barriers whenever they presented themselves, whether it was within the services or down route in some other environment. After leaving the RAF he used his considerable experience as a probation officer, working with some very difficult and troubled people. A perfect role for such a wise man.
There is a wonderful, oft told story of Ivan in Kathmandu when a Britannia was AOG and a snotty-nosed Engineering officer was sent out to fix it. He made some disparaging remarks about the fact that most Movements Officers didn’t have a university degree, whereas he had a BSc.
Ivan remarked that he as a Flight Sergeant had a BA.
“Really,” said the Engineer.
“Yes, sir, I have a Black Ass!” replied Ivan, the smiling tiger! End of conversation!
He and his wonderful wife Wilma set examples I will never forget. RIP.
From: John Leek, La Ronde Deux Serves
Subject: Remembering Geordie Daverson
Geordie Daverson and I plus several other movers went on the thrash downtown, ended up at the fish & chip wagon on the Senaz Roundabout and, both being slightly less than sober, Geordie and I fell out about (I think) who paid for vittles or who paid for the taxi back to the main gate.
When we got back to our billet, Geordie cleared everyone outside and, with several colloquial words, told me my days were numbered to zero and a severe hammering was coming my way! I took off my glasses, said I had no intention of fighting him and started to retire to bed. The following morning I awoke with a blood saturated pillow and a sore nose. Geordie had gone to sick quarters to get his busted wrist and knuckles fixed.
In 1964, while I was on Movements at Northolt, I met an inbound 84 Squadron Beverley and Geordie was one of the pax - his first actions were a handshake and “sorry”. We embraced on the pan!
Footnote: Charlie Cormack wrote the following in May 2001 regarding the chaps that went over the wall during the operation: "The names you want for posterity are Geordie Daverson, Dave Rossam and Fergie Ferguson who were all from MEAF MAMS at Dar-Es-Salaam at the beginning of the oil lift and their team leader was a P/O Wiblin - the Dreaded Pilot Officer Wiblin - DPOW!"
Ed: I received an e-mail from Rory Daverson, Geordie's son, in early 2010, "I write to you to inform you that Geordie passed away on the 31st 12 2009 peacefully in his sleep at his house in Kempton Park in South Africa at the age of 68."
My recollection is, that during the Zambian Oil Lift in 1966, he, along with two other chaps, went AWOL in East Africa and he ended up playing professional football in South Africa.
From: Robert Pountney, Forres, Moray
Subject: Remembering Bob Turner
Hope this finds you well and keeping clear of Covid. I've had it, been triple jabbed and hope I'm now bomb proof! You asked for memories of those who are no longer with us and here's my bit about Bob (Neep) Turner, RIP.
To me he will always be Neep. This nickname goes back to when we first met back in 1957 up in Rosyth and stems from the Scottish “turnip” or neep. We both joined the Air Training Corps at Pitreavie and we became great friends with our shared interests of aircraft and girls, mainly the latter and at times a bit of a competition. He had a major advantage over me in that he could dance and I couldn’t. My mother doted on him and he was treated more like my brother spending lots of time at our house in Aberdour.
One evening we were in a bus returning from Burntisland when we decided we would try and join the RAF and we soon found ourselves in the recruiting office in Edinburgh. I was seen after Bob and by then the choices were very few so when they asked me which trade I would like to join I asked what Bob had asked for. Supplier, they said, that’ll do me then, I replied, not having a clue what a supplier was but desperate to join an organisation that had aeroplanes!
Later Bob went on to Air Movements where he became a well-respected, hard-working and very popular team player and leader until leaving the service.
On one of our meetings when I was an AQM, I suggested that he should try for a job as a civilian loadmaster and he soon joined Anglo Cargo where he excelled and again, was very popular. His last flying job was with the Omani Royal Flight operating on the 747SP which he thoroughly enjoyed, especially the perks. On coming back to the UK he worked part-time at ASDA in Swindon until he was taken into hospital and sadly died in May 2011.
Bob was a keen member of our 37th annual reunion, attending every year until his passing and I well remember the scattering of his ashes at the National Arboretum by Clare and his daughter, Roisin. Knowing that the scattering of ashes was frowned on by the management, Clare was being very careful trying not to attract attention until Roisin took over and threw the contents up in the air! There were a few onlookers some distance away but nothing was said and we were left to our private thoughts.
Bob is still missed and is always remembered at our reunions and Maureen and I visit Clare as often as we can and take her on holiday with us, often feeling that Neep is along too.
RIP old friend.
On the 11th of June 1959 we were attested as Boy Entrant Trainee Suppliers at RAF Hereford and spent the next 18 months sharing the same wooden hut with some 20 other young lads, he was 16 and I was 15 and a bit. Sadly, on posting, we went our separate ways but kept in touch over the years and often met up.
From: Tony Gale, Gatineau, QC
To: Robert Pountney
Subject: RE: Remembering Bob Turner
I’m so very happy that you have written this long-overdue homage to Bob Turner; I got sand in my eyes reading it!
Bob was the corporal on my team (Foxtrot) when I joined UKMAMS in 1968 – he taught me so much in the few months up until his promotion to sergeant and subsequent move onto Hotel team. I will always hold him in the greatest esteem!
I believe I have thanked you for dragging my sorry arse out of the English Channel all those decades ago when you were an S & R crewman on the Whirlwind, although I suspect that you were more interested in retrieving the liferaft sponge; they were great for washing cars!
From: David Powell, Princes Risborough, Bucks
Subject: Remembering Bob Turner
Could I add my name to those who will never want to forget Bob Turner, F Team's Corporal while I was at RAF Abingdon from 1967 to 1969.
As many of you will know (I've told the tale many times) Bob saved my life at RAF Luqa in April 1968 when I stupidly swigged Carbon Tetrachloride (used for cleaning the ops white board) in mistake for a lemonade, having just been run over by a helicopter while unloading a Belfast.
Thankfully, at the same mid-morning NAAFI van team stop, Bob had picked up a bottle of milk which he immediately gave me as a chaser. I passed out a few minutes later. My last memory was being driven by Bob in a Land Rover hurtling for sick quarters.
I woke up in Bighi hospital the following morning with the Doc saying that they didn't have a cure as I was the first live one they had had! The CTC had neutralized itself on Bob's milk rather than dissolving my guts.
I had two glorious years with 'if it moves I'll drive it' Bob. Sadly I only have this one photo of the two of us, loading an Andover at RDAF Skrydstrup in February 1969.
Thank you quick thinking Bob Turner, personality extraordinary!
And to colleagues still travelling on this crazy planet called Earth, stay safe and remember to check the label on the bottle.
F Team UKMAMS RAF Abingdon 1967-69
From: Bryan Morgan, Abingdon, Oxon
Subject: Remembering Dave Eggleton and Norrie Radcliffe
If I had to chose one outstanding member of the Movements trade it would have to be Dave Eggleton.
On my first tour on Movements as a DAMO, as far back as 1964, I was fortunate to have him as my pax sergeant on shift at RAF Changi. His handling of personnel, especially stroppy colonels at six o’clock in the morning, was delicate to say the least. On the odd occasion when his charm fell on deaf years he would summon the help of my deputy - one Fg Off Virginia Latimer-Allen who, dolled up to the eyebrows, having spent the night asleep in the VIP lounge whilst all the cargo was being loaded for early morning departures, reduced the said colonels to meek and mild. For this tour I was on secondment from the Physical Education Branch and Dave really did look after me and I was always grateful for the support he gave me.
If space permits could I also include Flt Lt Norrie Radcliffe as another outstanding serviceman who was firstly a team leader and secondly the training officer on UKMAMS during my time as OC.
As an ex Sgt PTI he stood no nonsense but he was much admired by all those who served with him. An absolute character and to have him and Dave on my staff at the same time was indeed a blessing.
At the end of that tour I transferred to the Supply Branch and was fortunate to serve with him on two further occasions - as boss of UKMAMS I had the great pleasure in approving his promotion from FS to Warrant Officer and, later, on my last tour as OC of the Movements School, I was lucky to have on my staff again. In retirement, when we both lived in Abingdon, we remained firm friends and I was grateful to have had the opportunity of giving his eulogy at his funeral.
From: Stephen Davey, Tadcaster, North Yorks
Subject: Remembering Gus Cobb
I was saddened when looking at the website to learn of the death of Angus Cobb.
Gus, as he was affectionately known, and I were on the same Movements team at Brize Norton in the early 70's. He was a character right enough. If my memory serves me correctly he played water polo and I think his wife was called Elaine. I lost contact with him when I was posted to RAF Bruggen in November 1973. He went on to serve with UKMAMS.
From: Duncan Grant, Edinburgh
Subject: Remembering Gerry Pengelly
GERALD (GERRY) PENGELLY – FINAL POSTING DECEMBER 2020 AGE 85
I first met Gerry when he became my Boss at Marham in 1970. I had just completed my first Movements tour and been posted as chief paper pusher in the well known role of OC SCAF. You can imagine my withdrawal symptoms! He was the ideal leader: plenty of West Country humour, time for everyone on the squadron and understanding of life’s challenges faced by those of us on a front line Victor station at the height of the Cold War. On the Movements front he had the courage to let me out of the office from time to time for which I was truly grateful . He even allowed me to assist Dave Gutsell in loading a flight refuelling pod onto Hastings “1066” with the well known fork lift technique of “lift and swing”! In turn my morale was greatly improved when I was released for an onerous tasking to Cyprus during Exercise Bersatu Padu. Gerry was truly understanding. He made my tour less onerous than it might otherwise have been.
Gerry was my boss on two other occasions, when he was a Gp Capt and later as an Air Commodore, both in the cesspit known as MoD. The frequent Friday “lunchtime” adjournments with the late Ray Smith alongside were truly cultural events which made us quite keen to work -but on the Monday Gerry had always aspired to be D Mov (RAF) and so it came to pass. By then in a moment of weakness he had agreed to me joining his team for third time: what a brave fellow!
Gerry was without a doubt a great leader who understood people. I learned a great deal from him over the three tours where I had the pleasure in working for him.
From: Brian Kent, Carterton, Oxon
Subject: Remembering Malcolm Porter
Malcolm Porter was a close friend of myself and my family since 1964, after we met in Cyprus when he was on NEAF MAMS and then onto Brize Norton. We kept in close touch over many years, including the time he spent in the Rhodesian Air Force on Movements and then later as an ALM on the CL-44 Swingtail Freighter. During his career he worked for many different airlines and was even involved in arranging the sale of the BAe-146 to the RAF.
His main interest was vintage types of all aircraft and he was heavily involved in maintaining the Bristol Britannia aircraft at Kemble Airfield and of course the swing tail "Guppy" at Bournemouth Airport Museum, with which he was very much involved in over many years with the owners of the aircraft
He kept in touch with me during my time in the RAF, visiting me and my family at various postings around the UK. Malcolm`s main achievement was setting up and organising the CL-44 Association for all aircrew and enthusiastic groundcrew in the UK and USA. The response was very surprising from people who had been involved with the CL-44; from Airline Captains, Engineers, Cabin Staff, Company Directors and many who were ex-RAF and general aviation enthusiasts.
Malcolm wrote monthly newsletters keeping everyone informed on the Bournemouth "Guppy" and organising annual weekend meetings at various hotels; the last few years being at the RAF Club in London, which everyone enjoyed visiting, especially all ex-RAF people.
Malcom passed away on 17th December 2018, following a long illness - I still miss him very much.
Although Tony Saw was not on India Team, we travelled and worked together quite a lot since the 'composite' team structure was very much in place as the Squadron struggled with too many commitments and not enough personnel. I was still relatively fresh to the Movements world, since UKMAMS was only my second tour, straight off the Officers Movements Course in March 1983 (although I had previously held on the Squadron for 4 months back in 1980). Tony looked after me very well and I like to think the feeling was mutual. We got into a couple of scrapes since we always seemed to attract 'trouble' whenever we worked together.
The most memorable was the 'Scampton Incident' with the Red Arrows which has been related here before, but there were others including a trip to Bardufoss in the depths of a Norwegian winter when we had neither the equipment nor the clothing to really cope but we did. I was disappointed to leave people like Tony behind, when
From: Mark Attrill, Tallinn
Subject: Remembering Tony Saw and Keith Smith
There are many of course but two of our departed friends stick out in my memory.
The other individual I would like to 'call out' is Keith Smith. Again, our working relationship was all too brief. I had not met Keith prior to my arrival in Hong Kong as the 2IC of the Joint Service Movements Centre, by which time Keith was already into his rundown period and preparing for his next tour. That said, my arrival was a baptism of fire, as we collectively wrestled with a major exercise (in the middle of which a significant earthquake hit Nepal) and the recent imprisonment of one of our RAF staff on gold smuggling charges! The earthquake required a major shift in focus, as we re-tasked and re-configured in-theatre AT assets (supporting the exercise) to assist with the relief operation, in close cooperation with our colleagues at the RAF Airport Unit. Through all of this, Keith maintained a cool, calm air of authority, delivered with some subtle but sharp elements of wit as was his way. His experience and wisdom, especially dealing with our Army friends, really set me up for success and I was really pleased when Ian Williamson was appointed as his successor since he was cut from much the same cloth.
I have little doubt that both of these gentlemen, with very different personalities, traits and working methods, were key to my success (and survival!) in the movements world during my early years.
RIP Tony and Keith. Gone but not forgotten.
I left UKMAMS prematurely in early 1985, but we later met up and worked together again when Tony was on the Mobility Flight at Wittering. IIRC he had vowed never to work in an MSF (after I had threatened to bring him to Coltishall from UKMAMS) but once he got to Wittering they had to prise him away with a crowbar!
From: Alex Masson, Tunbridge Wells, Kent
Subject: Remembering Don Hepton and Jack Riley
Does anybody remember, John Donald Hepton (Don), 2424279 Flight Lieutenant, who was the SAMO on Christmas Island, during the Hydrogen Bomb Tests – for the first tranche, 1956 – 1957?
I worked with him, and got on well with him. When I arrived on the Island, he had three Sergeants who had never seen an aircraft in their whole service - because they were Supplier Two – they were “Store Men Proper” – Oh! They knew about Road Movements, Rail Movements, and Sea Movements but they had no experience in Air Movements. They were useless to me! To cap it all, they would not even lift a box – they claimed that they were only here to supervise me! The one and only SAC; that was before I had my four man loading party, two months later.
On Tuesday 22 January 1957 I was made Corporal and within the month I was made ‘Substantive’, back to the 22 January. I often think, in hindsight, my CO, ‘Don’ Hepton could’ve had a hand in this.
I got on well with ‘Don’ and when we were down at the airfield waiting for a ‘kite’ to arrive, now that the Sergeants were not there to overhear us, he would open up and tell me about himself, he was married, he had a good education, grammar school, but not University, loved the opera and he was a Manxman!
This was a man whom I admired, and thinking back to my days on the Island would have been so much different had I had another boss. I tried to get in touch with him again, after I had been demobbed, he had given me his address as 3 West View, Douglas, Isle of Man. I know that he left the service in January 1968, from his record of service, having joined in 1950.
The other member of your team, is Squadron Leader Jack Riley, who impressed me greatly.
(Corporal – Lyneham and Christmas Island) 1955 – 1957.
(Ed: From 1975 to 1993 Don worked for the Royal Air Force of Oman. He died on 28 May 1993 aged 63 years. He is buried at the Mina Al Fahal Christian Cemetery, Muscat, Oman, Plot #123.)
From: Allan Mitchley, Rhyl, Denbighshire
Subject: Remembering Chick Hatch
Michael “Chick” Hatch was the inspiration who made me realise that the movements trade was for me. His attitude and professional knowledge was a credit to the trade.
In the attached picture are myself (RAFA Rhyl Branch Chairman), Cllr Diane King (Mayor), Ted Hamilton (ex -MAMS) and local Air Cadets as standard bearers.
From: George Graves, Carlisle, Cumbria
Subject: Remembering Bill Young
It would be about 1968 or 69, Bill Young and I were on a FEAF MAMS tasking en route to Kathmandu with a night stop in Bangkok. Bill and I ended up in a bar where there were a few Americans so we joined them. The evening went well, the banter was good, but after several drinks one of the yanks said, "Why aren't you Limey's in Vietnam?
I honestly don't remember saying this, but apparently I replied, "Well, it seems the Vietcong are doing quite well without us!" Needless to say we left in a hurry!
Bill passed away in 2017. Happy Memories.
New members who have joined us recently:
Alex Swift, Northwich, Cheshire
Louis-Marie Ste-Croix, Ajijic
From: Mark Attrill, Tallinn
Subject: Re: UKMAMS OBA OBB #103121
Many thanks for the latest newsletter... brilliant as always... and I know how much work goes into these... I currently produce a bi-monthly one for an Aviation Special Interest Group with 475 members spread across 58 countries.
Anyway, I also need to offer my apologies... I had planned to send the attached in time for this last newsletter but I have been incredibly busy at work since my sidekick suddenly decided to resign and walk out on the military just before we deliver a major part of our contribution to the course curriculum (so much for semi-retirement!). Then again, if previous iterations are anything to go by, you'll feature some more of these 'early years' photos in the next edition.
The caption should read: 'Initial Officer Training at RAF Cranwell circa May 1980, immediately after one of the infamous Leadership Agility Test (LAT) Runs that many will remember'.
I loved the Passport Photo Spread (though I've seen a similar version before). I'm sure that if we presented that array to an unsuspecting member of the public they would probably suggest it was a group of mugshots from Wormwood Scrubs!... there is just something about 1960-70s era passport photos.
Thanks again for your sterling efforts and Stay Safe!
From: Kevan Lawrence, Doncaster
Subject: Re: UKMAMS OBA OBB #103121
Another interesting and entertaining edition. In those passport photos I saw a couple of people that I definitely remember, and a couple of names that sounded familiar.
Ivan Gervais was my first SNCO out of training in ESG, Wittering (as you will remember). He was a good SNCO and a nice guy. He gave me a tip that I have used ever since that time, 'Keep your ears open, your mouth shut and learn!'.
Then up popped Stan Seggar! For no reason in particular, other than my encroaching senility, his name popped into my head recently so it was astonishing for him to turn up in your newsletter.
Take care mate!
From: Chris Kirby, Lincoln
Subject: Re: UKMAMS OBA OBB #103121
Old Passport Photos? Oh Dear!
Many thanks for another great issue. Interesting idea including the old passport photos. But I bet there's not just a few folks now wondering how many more you've got access to and whether theirs might unfortunately see the light of day?
March of the Spartans
'March of the Spartans' by RAAF's No. 35 Squadron has demonstrated its readiness to deliver airlift support during contingency operations. On October 19, aviators simultaneously launched seven C-27J Spartans at RAAF Base Amberley, with an eighth Spartan already interstate on a separate task. Massed launches such as this are also called an ‘elephant walk’, describing the trail of aircraft taxiing to the runway.
Commanding Officer of No. 35 Squadron Wing Commander Scott Egan said it was the first time any global C-27J operator had conducted a mass launch on this scale. “Defence remains ready to provide relief to communities in Australia and across the region, and evacuate people to safety,” Wing Commander Egan said. “The C-27J Spartan is one of many Defence capabilities that can provide vital support to the nation, and our near region, particularly as we enter the high-risk weather season. The mass launch demonstrates that No. 35 Squadron is prepared to support whole-of-government operations and deliver that response to remote airfields.”
Air Force has a fleet of 10 C-27J Spartans, providing a light tactical airlift capability between Army’s rotary-wing fleet and larger Air Force transports such as the C-130J Hercules and C-17A Globemaster III.
From: Dave Wilmers, Durham
Subject: Trenchard Boy Entrants' Mess
1960's - Trenchard Boy Entrant Mess. Our first meal in the RAF, which was also the first of many queues we stood in, was in the Trenchard Mess at Hereford, which fed all of 2 Squadron (Clerk Secretarial etc.).
I think the other squadrons ate in the School of Catering.
As we were the lowest of the low (sprogs) all members of entries above us could "queue bash" us, which meant they had the (unofficial) right to be fed first and push us out of the way. Our food was served to us by fellow Boy Entrants who spent a week serving in the mess - our turn would come! Serving the food meant a very early start for serving breakfast and a late finish after serving tea. The upside was there was a lot of extra food to eat.
The standard of the food was not bad and was packed with carbohydrates which we needed for our active lifestyle. There were not any healthy options in those days and salad and fresh fruit were not on the menu. We started the day with a big fry-up of greasy eggs, fatty bacon, or sausage accompanied by fried bread, tinned tomatoes and watered down beans. There was also cereal, toast and jam.
All meals were accompanied by stewed tea, which was rumoured to have bromide in it to stop any sex urges; I think it has just started working! It did not take long for our big, half pint, white china issue mugs to be smashed, usually by the senior entry. We then had to buy a plastic replacement from the NAAFI. The tea used to stain the plastic mugs black, so goodness knows what it did to our stomach linings.
The lunch and tea meal were very similar to each other - a main and a pudding. Stodgy food was the order of the day and if we wanted we could have "chips with everything". One pudding I particularly liked was a jam sandwich dipped in batter mix , then deep fried and served with custard.
In training we ate as much food as possible and then tried to sneak out sandwiches for later. If we were caught with them while leaving the mess we were made to sit down and eat them.
When we finished our meal we washed our mugs, knife, fork and spoon ("irons") in disgusting metal troughs full of boiling water, which were located outside the mess. If you dropped one of your "irons" in, you had to wait until the end of the week (when they changed the water) to get it back.
The following is courtesy of John Belcher
From: Gordon Gray, Powick, Malvern
Subject: Remembering Terry Roberts and Terry Titterington
Greetings from windy Worcestershire, I hope you’re well.
I deliberated this one for days and weeks and, as always this time of year at Remembrance evocative memories flood in. But reading through the recent roll from John Belcher took me back more than thirty-six years when TG 18 had about six hundred Movers in the trade.
There are so many names of such personable characters who are too numerous to single out, but two of whom I had contact with come to mind very often; Terry Roberts and Terry Titterington. Terry Roberts and I first met in ‘73 on passenger duties at Brize, he had not long returned from Germany and was in the throes of signing on which at the time was difficult, then through the MAMS years and both of us going to Barnwood for WO uniforms.
Our penultimate meeting was during his holiday to the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) when he and Issy entertained us at their hotel when Brenda and I lived just outside Kyrenia. Sadly, I was unable to visit him in the Hospice during his final days. Always remembered for his spontaneous and somewhat dry sense of humour.
Terry Titterington and I met at the early days of Brize in the Movements Building (118?) just across from Hangar 49 in November ‘65. He had just returned from Akrotiri and I from Gan.
Two scenes during that period spring to mind; Terry in DMS boots enticing (chasing?) a little black poodle belonging to our boss Norman Myers, to skid across the highly ‘bulled’ floor. Terry went off to Zambia for the Oil Lift and left a few of us (including Baz Chappell) shunting furniture to MQ’s.
The second scene at which I was absent, was at the Spotlight Club when TT did a ‘zulu’ on a table; I can only imagine the repercussions in those days!
MAMS followed but I lost contact after ‘85 then met Terry T again when working at Honda. Still a lively character but a source of much encouragement to the much younger guys and girls in his team.
Finally, just to say I dare not continue! ‘There but for the Grace...’ and there’s another, Eddie, Bangkok.
Fond regards Tony,
From: David Jarvis, Lunenburg, NS
Subject: Literary Offerings
The following (soon to be) classics, authored by yours truly, are now available on Amazon:
The Curse of the Warm Toilet Seat - Follow Jarvo on a Churchillian marathon of a journey as he travels the globe successfully making himself and almost everyone else around him utterly miserable. Endeavouring to cope simultaneously with possibly the most stressful things in life, divorce, homelessness and unemployment followed swiftly by marriage, buying a house and striving to cook a decent soufflé, he recklessly volunteers to be a Movements Control Officer herding African Union Soldiers onto aircraft bound for Darfur blissfully unaware of just how much worse things could get.
Jarvo hilariously recounts epic disaster after disaster from a lifetime of dramatic over achievement as he rampages around Africa trying to save the world and keep his unruly nasal hairs under a semblance of control. Chased by an overprotective hippo in Central Africa, mauled by bloodthirsty leeches in Nepal, menaced by an expectant dung beetle in Chad, accidentally dropping hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of equipment in the Nile, having his underpants surgically removed in Addis Ababa and getting a particularly nasty paper cut while stacking maps in Dusseldorf, he scales the highest peaks of ineptitude while struggling to retain his stiff upper lip and to control his wobbly bottom one.
The Mountjoy Deception - Derek Mountjoy lies beneath a park bench next to an inexplicably large dog turd on a grassy knoll overlooking Tesco car park with a sniper rifle in his hand ready to kill one of his enemies gathered below him but who should it be?
His irritating wife Irma and her lover Fat Barry the kebab loving drug dealer; Monkey Silverback the armourer; his boss the Esteemed Desmond Wilbury the third; Wendy Shawshank the receptionist with the hairy feet; the woman with the large lady lumps from the Internet; the bloke in the pub from Corby or his nemesis from the Global Mega Condom Corporation of America, the interminably smug Jed Rhombus.
Having been caught up without his knowledge in a global conspiracy to dominate the world’s stock markets using clones controlled by the evil FLOTSUM and its perverted boss Bud ‘Audrey’ Schwartz, can Derek Mountjoy piece together the sinister goings on at Erasable Rubbers, get together with the gorgeous and mysterious Melissa Goldman, discover why he gets an erection whenever he sees a squirrel and ultimately save the world?
The Shattock Retribution - It takes an awful lot of luck to be able to finally escape the confines of Dines Close in Hurstbourne Tarrant and get your dream home with a gazebo in Faccombe. But as the Shattock family find, there is always a price to pay for a slice of luck.
Possibly Hampshire Constabularies’ most average officers, Detective Sergeant Mathew Paynt and his new partner, Detective Constable Threpsil, are called in by Marcel Duguid the Insurance Investigator after the horrific but slightly amusing, if you are that way inclined, death of the Shattocks eldest cousin Raymond Callcentre. He was found glued to the TV, quite literally, and he is not the first of the family to die and he almost certainly won’t be the last.
Everything seems to be linked to Trevor, the self-styled and rather nasty ‘Facilitator’ with the really lovely hair. Will the bumbling detectives find a way to cut to the chase and stop the rot before another innocent man is lost to a terrible paper cut, a paddling pool full of Nutella or being sucked to death by an over-amorous beluga whale whilst kayaking in Nova Scotia?
And can the mystical soothsayer, Hermione Harbinger, bring her friend from the girl guides in Hong Kong, Susan ‘The Nutter’ Shattock, back from the edge in time for her to give birth yet again, get a new tattoo and still make her latest bail hearing.
Awarded the Order of the British Empire by the Queen for his charity work, the NATO Meritorious Service Medal for his efforts in Africa and a giant Toblerone by his wife for making a particularly spanking curry, the hapless Jarvo undergoes a life changing experience, falls in love and desperately struggles to avoid the French.
More importantly can he make his escape from the Tesco car park in a metallic orange Twingo with racing stripes without losing his beloved Chris de Burgh CD? A dramatic confrontation on the Eurostar from Paris brings his world into focus, is he who he thinks he is?
From: Brian Carlin, San Diego, CA
Subject: On the Line in the Far East
Labuan was a station to which young, married airmen hoped they not be posted because it was a one-year, unaccompanied tour that separated them from their wives early in the marriage, and sometimes from young children.
Although in reality it was much more desirable than some other unaccompanied postings. Overseas bases such as Aden at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula, or the small island of Gan in the Indian Ocean come to mind.
Singapore, on the other hand, was a "plum" posting. First of all, it was an "accompanied" posting, which meant that there was no separation involved. It was also a "full tour" with a duration of 2½ years, where our servicemen rubbed shoulders with a dynamic, multicultural society.
This book is my personal recollection of having experienced both types of posting, and the contrast between the two, both on and off duty. Many servicemen have been stationed at both Labuan and Changi, or in the broader sense, Borneo and Singapore, because both had several other bases besides the two at which I served. In many respects, their experiences may be, and probably are, different from mine, which I understand. On the other hand, there is sure to be common ground and I hope my ramblings will resonate with any reader who also served out there.
After the withdrawal of Britain from "East of Suez" in 1971, neither of the subject postings, nor any others, in the Far East, are available to those serving today, so this book might also be regarded as a small "snapshot in time" of one serviceman's experience of that theatre.
(The book is available from Amazon in both paperback and Kindle editions)
From: Malcolm Symonds, Cardiff
Subject: Remembering Dave Wall
After all the years that I have enjoyed reading your wonderful Newsletter, I am embarrassed to say that this may be the first time I have responded.
Your theme for the November newsletter struck a chord with me and I started recalling the many Movers who made an impression on me during my 27 year involvement with the Trade. There genuinely were too many to list them all here but probably the first was Dave Wall, who was Mover afloat between The Falklands and Ascension Island back in 1982/3. As a wet-behind-the-ears, Mobile Team Leader, on my first of many trips to Ascension Island, Dave helped me master the transfer of troops, baggage and mail, from the RFAs to the newly acquired, still in BA colours, Tri-Star's. His support, insight and good humour, made a tricky job, much easier.
A few others were Bob Satterly, Big Bill Kearney, Derek Pilkington, Kit Ayres and Bert Wilford. Characters like these had huge knowledge and happily and often humorously passed it on to anyone willing to listen and I miss them and so many other former colleagues.
Very Best Wishes
From: John Wickham, Pegeia
Subject: Cyprus Stackerfest
CYPRUS STACKERFEST 19th March – 2nd April 2022
Ladies and Gentlemen, Guys and Gals, Wives, Girlfriends, Partners, Children:
It has been a terrible 2 years of Covid Lockdown, not seeing friends and family, holidays cancelled not once, some two times, some more, So I am organising a TG 18 Supplier Cyprus reunion in Paphos, Cyprus. I’m being very selfish, and it will be the western end of the Island (I am too olde for Ayia Napa but I still have the white flares and penny collars though!).
You are more than welcome to attend for as long or as short as you would like, but I do recommend the weekend of 25–27th March as we will be having a Hog Roast around the swimming pool at Neptunes in Coral Bay. I have already negotiated a room rate of €40 per room per night (£34.50 in £sd). This is twin or double, single or shared. I can also organise villas for couples to share; you can book your own holiday package, but I will better it!
I have attached an Itinerary but it's not set in stone, you can do your own thing, rent your own vehicles etc., but I do have contacts that enable me to get vehicles for between €20-€30 per day depending on vehicle type, taxed, MOT’d, Insured any driver under 70 (if over, an excess can be arranged for a nominal fee).
We do have 3 Villas that have been rented and for 3 nights they will lay on a BBQ. You bring your own food and beverage, what I can promise is a good relaxing time, and we will see the real Cyprus, enjoy Cypriot cuisine, wines and brandies.
I have written to RAF Akrotiri, Troodos and Episkopi and invited fellow TG18 colleagues. I am hoping we get an invite back so we can see how times have changed and we can say it wasn’t like that in my day!
So far we have 218 members on the Cyprus 2022 Stackerfest Facebook page, but this letter is going to 4,931 people that I have access to. Please feel free to pass it onto anyone who has a connection with TG18; suppliers, members, wives, children, widows and widowers. We are one big family.
I am also sending it members of the Tactical Supply Wing (MONGS) and they are more than welcome to invite Techies, Rocks, anyone associated with the Wing. This isn’t a reunion to impact on Stackerfest Blackpool, Lincoln, South West or TSW, I had this planned for 2 years ago and the damned COVID got in the way and only 3 weeks ago Pat Farley, Mick and Caryn Partis came to taste the Watter, Beer, Wine, Brandy Sours & Brandy Sweets and they want more so if they like it I am sure you will.
Please give it some thought and if you are interested drop me an Email at firstname.lastname@example.org Join the Cyprus 2022 Stackerfest Facebook Group or text me on +447771525167.
(Ed: John is the son of the late Don Wickham)
Inside the RNZAF Boeing 757 used by NZ PM Jacinda Ardern
There's been much fuss made of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's use of an air force aircraft on her visit to Auckland on Tuesday. While the images people may dream up of what that air force aircraft experience may have looked like, the reality is likely very different. It's no airborne Beehive.
Putting aside the fact the aircraft flies daily, and often to Wellington, Palmerston North or Blenheim, it really isn't an aircraft someone would push for over the much quieter and more reliable aircraft from within Air New Zealand's domestic fleet.
The nearly 30-year-old Boeing 757 was first flown for Transavia Airlines, a Dutch low-cost airline in 1993, before being purchased by RNZAF in 2003.
Photos from inside the cabin reveal it doesn't appear to have had any work done to it since its first flight, and there's no such thing as first class. In fact, it looks like it would be more comfortable to fly as freight rather than a passenger onboard this aircraft.
And it's not just the interior that needs some work. Newshub revealed earlier this year that the aircraft is often out of service and unavailable for use. In May, Chief of Airforce Andrew Clark said "anything can go wrong on an aeroplane at some stage".
Documents obtained by Newshub at the time showed the Boeing 757 fleet has been unavailable for a total of 156 days since 2019.
In 2019, Ardern had to deal with a week of breakdowns and in the same year a second plane had to be sent to pick up former Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters when one of the Boeing 757s broke down in Vanuatu.
Former Prime Minister Sir John Key had to be saved when a 757 broke down twice in 2016, stranding him and a delegation of nearly 100 in Australia en route to India.
But the Government has no plans to replace the aged 757s until around 2028. Perhaps then, New Zealand will have a Jacinda Jet which will be worthy of headlines.
*** Breaking News ***
RAF branded 'woke' as it drops terms 'airmen' and 'airwomen' for 'aviator'
28 November 2021 - The RAF has ditched the terms “airmen” and “airwomen” in favour of the gender neutral title “aviator”. The policy change was quietly unveiled in the force’s magazine Air Clues.
Today Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston confirmed the move as more than one in five of RAF recruits are now women. He said: “The title ‘airmen’ does not reflect a modern, diverse Royal Air Force. Our business is aviation. The Army has soldiers, the Royal Navy has sailors, and the Royal Air Force has aviators.”
But Conservative MP and former Army colonel Patrick Mercer blasted the gender plans as “woke b*****ks”. He said: “You have two perfectly good, historic, tried-and-tested terms which have never caused any difficulties. It is needless wokery.”
From: Victor Smith, Brassall, QLD
Subject: A newsworthy item from Downunder
I have a newsworthy item for you:
A Helping Hand for the Australian Navy
A month or so ago, the Royal Australian Navy lost a Seahawk in a crash in the South China Sea. A C-17A Globemaster from RAAF Base Amberley transported a replacement Royal Australian Navy MH-60R Seahawk to Yokota Air Base, Japan, assigned to 816 Squadron, bound for HMAS Brisbane.
From: Tony Street, Buffalo, NY
Subject: A JATO Adventure
A JATO Adventure*
*To the best of my recollection with some names changed to protect the guilty.
In another forum, a question was asked,” Does anyone recall doing a C130 JATO take-off with the ramp and door partially open?” I’m all over this one!
It happened during my tenure at 435(T) Sqn Tactical Airlift School in Edmonton, Alberta some years ago. Our CO, Maj. Frank Fay, his faithful sidekick, Ted (Tonto), Parnwell and us, the school loadies, were kicking around ideas on how to steal the thunder of The Snowbirds, The Thunderbirds and sundry other teams of fighter a/c that seem to clutter up an air show. I and others noticed that they have fly to an adjoining country just to turn around and come back. When they do get back, however, they are only here for an instant before bogging off again to find their way back to make more noise and smoke.
As for us C130 rubbish, I believed we should do our trick right on the show line, in front of thousands of suitably awed peeps by giving them a show to remember and relate to their heirs and scions. I appointed a planner.
“Now, here’s my plan” said Sgt Bob Lloyd, SNCO I/C Air Show Planning. “We enter stage left from our holding point (in an adjacent country), and LAPES our unit mascot (a 36,000 lb bulldozer named Old Shaky) in front of the crowd. When I, the Loadmaster, scream, “Load Clear!” you, Maj Fay, will firewall the throttles and raise the nose, while you, Capt Marvel… er... Parnwell will simultaneously mash the JATO button. The FE will also act in harmony and select the Ramp & Door switch to “Close.” I can see it now.” He continued, “What with Old Shaky trundling along the show-line with a ground speed of over 100 knots, the roar and colourful, flaming JATO jugs, and us, with a sudden loss of 36,000 lbs climbing vertically through Vno, Vx and Vy Vne in that order! It’ll be a fantastic milestone in the annals of transport aircraft at stupid air shows.” (By this time, Bob was in a transport of delight of his own making!). “I’ll advise the base photographers to use wide angle lens and high-speed film! With the ramp and door now closed” he went on, “We will execute a wing-over and carry out an assault landing, right on the numbers, show ‘em a four-engine full reverse for 50 feet, or so, and then a max effort take off! And Tony, you start on an all-crew position checklist for Operation Thunder Theft!”
In my head, I was already writing Bob’s annual assessment. He got a seven. No fault could be found in his planning. By any of us.
We were to practice this cunning array of stunts on Friday afternoon and take it to the people the next weekend at the annual Abbotsford Air Show in British Columbia, a two-hour flight (from an adjoining province).
Let me make two small points here.
One: If you look at the back of a C130 hung with eight JATO bottles, they don’t point straight back. In fact, they point downward and towards the centreline of the a/c, directly across the path of a closing ramp. Oooh!
Two: Most of our bad luck with new things occurred on Fridays; a good thing really, as it gave us all weekend to clean up any wreckage.
We were gobsmacked, stunned into silence. The plan had worked! (Like many others, I always like to have a plan, as it gives you something from which to deviate).
But it was here things went pear-shaped. Amid the column of flame and smoke appeared both large and small chunks of brightly shining burning and melting material falling to the ground. We, as one, realized that this was the ramp’s “Elephant Ears,” being burned from the ramp as it rotated up through the flames from the JATO jugs! With the a/c on fire, the crew carried out the assault landing, now in full emergency, (instead of entertainment), drill. The ramp never did get completely closed. Us C130 types know what happens to all the smoke and dust at the back of the C130 when the door is open in flight. It gets sucked forward to the 245 Bulkhead! The flames disappeared as soon as the jugs burned out and the remaining chunks of the elephant ears, were doused using an on-board extinguisher as they taxied in trailing smoke. The video is a thing of beauty.
Meanwhile, the tower troops saw the event and hit the panic button. The result caused all non-essential troops to down tools and head to the flight line to rubberneck and get in the way of the Fire Fighters and Air Cops.
One of the first guys who jumped into the a/c was the armourer who had hung the JATO jugs. He knew something was amiss and wanted to know if he’d messed up and had time to cover his ass. He was met at the 245 BH by Sgt Bob, now, covered in settling dust and JATO ash. He was wide-eyed and in shock from the sudden turn of events that had overwhelmed him. He was numbly holding his copy of the Operation Thunder Thief checklist, while gasping in lungsful of newly JATO enriched air, looking akin to some Saturday morning cartoon character who just survived a TNT blast.
The gun plumber took one look at Bob and asked, “Ya didn’t breathe any a that JATO smoke into ya, didja, Sarge? It's poisonous, ya know!”
While Bob was on his way to the hospital, we raced into the hangar and hit the phones. We were trying to locate medical personnel at both Command and HQ levels in Trenton and Ottawa to see if we could find out how much time Bob had left. There was no such expertise on base, according to the armourer (remember, this was Friday afternoon in western Canada, with shops all closed in the East).
But it was at the base hospital, the situation was resolved. A medical officer dragged from the mess during happy hour, laughed and informed us that the smoke (though dirty, extremely smelly and irritating) was not toxic. In fact, it was far from it. Apparently, it was composed mostly of protein and, the Doc remarked, “If your sergeant had ingested enough, he won’t need to eat for a few days.
Bob was released, after 24 hours of observation (curiosity, mostly), and now has another war-story to bore us with.
During the Board of Enquiry, the question was asked of Maj Fay, “Whatever led you to believe that you could do this kind of stuff, JATO with the ramp open?”
“I checked the Dash One and it is not a prohibited manoeuvre, Sir.”
It is now.
“Showtime!” With the ground support team in place and the LAPES zone laid out, our Intrepid Birdmen took off for the first, and only, dress rehearsal of Operation Thunder Theft. They approached the extraction zone, deployed the drogue, had a good wheel height (one meter), and deployed the three, 28ft extraction chutes (over 100,000 lbs of extraction force!). With a roar and clatter, Old Shaky left the C130 on its 103rd drop!
Simultaneously, the Herc, now 36,000 lbs lighter, leapt its normal 100 feet vertically, just as the JATO bottles fired. There was a tremendous thunderclap, accompanied by an almost vertical pillar of flame and colorful smoke 200 feet long. Sitting atop of it, and rapidly disappearing into the ether, was our C130. “Yeeee Haaaaw!”
From: Ian Berry, Eastleaze, Swindon, Wilts
Subject: Death of Jean McKerron
Could you please spread the word in your next missive of the death last night (Sunday, 28th November) of Jean McKerron, widow of Ross McKerron; ex-Echo Team UKMAMS Abingdon, Changi and Kinloss.
No further details are available at the moment and I have no close contact myself as the information was relayed from Ken Browne.
Calling All OBA Members!
Yes, in case you haven't noticed, it's that time of year again. The Christmas and New Year's OBA newsletter is scheduled to be published on Friday 31st December, with a cut-off for submissions of Wednesday 29th.
The newsletter will take a similar format to recent years, with the theme of sending seasonal greetings to all. Just as an aide-mémoire, last year's Christmas and New Year's newsletter is here: http://ukmamsoba.org/obb122820.html
Just a couple of sentences will suffice, and if you have a photo you can send along then all the better (don't worry about formatting, I can look after that).
This year, more than ever, we need to stay in touch with each other, so don't be shy, place fingers on keyboards - the earlier the better!
This Newsletter is Dedicated
to the Memories of:
Keven Jolicoeur (RCAF)
Jean McKerron, w/o the late Ross McKerron (RAF)
Also, all the Air Movers and Traffic Technicians
of the RAF, RCAF, RAAF and RNZAF who are
no longer with us - we will remember them.
If you wish to make a donation,
you may use the above e-mail