Operation Shoveller involved 2 teams from NEAF MAMS [plus one team from UKMAMS - see Tim Newstead's e-mail below]. They were tasked with handling Hercules and Argosy aircraft from 70 Squadron in Akrotiri and a swingtail CL44 from a civilian airline, Tradewinds. The aircraft flew troops with their equipment to Amman to help keep peace in Jordan after an attempt was made to overthrow King Hussain of Jordan by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.
For their part in the Operation, the teams were presented with The People of Jordan's Medal. This is currently on display in the UKMAMS HQ.
The inscription reads:   NEAF MAMS  The People of Jordan’s Medal presented to the Near East Air Force Mobile Air Movements Flight in October 1970. It was given in gratitude for the NEAF MAMS handling of the relief airlift utilising Hercules and Argosy aircraft of No 70 Sqn and CL44 aircraft owned by Tradewinds into Amman resulting from a Palestine Liberation Organisations plot to oust King Hussain of Jordan.
Flt Lt James
FS Hudson
FS Ainslough
Sgt Lister
Sgt Henderson
Cpl Turner
Cpl Wood
SAC Marlow
SAC Stevens
SAC Barfield
SAC Husband
Sgt Mason
FO Wood
The plaque with medal was formerly handed over to the United Kingdom Mobile Air Movements Squadron in January 1987 by Flight Sergeant (formerly SAC) Marlow on his retirement from the Royal Air Force.
From: Tim Newstead, Cheltenham 
Sent: Friday, April 04, 2008 05:45
Subject: Operation Shoveller

Hi Tony

UKMAMS was also involved in Op SHOVELLER in 1970 as my logbook will testify, yet there is no mention - probably because, until now, no one had let you know!

My logbook shows 7 trips in to Amman from Nicosia and Akrotiri on a Cargolux CL-44 (sitting on a crate of Keo, I recall) along with a Herc and an Argosy. I do remember being "buzzed" while in an Argosy over Damascus by a couple of Syrian Migs, flying over the infamous Dawson's Field where 3 airliners (BOAC VC-10, TWA and Swissair) ended up after being hijacked and were subsequently blown up in early September 1970.

I remember too that we had to join the Red Cross before we flew and had to travel in civilian clothes, having lodged all military clothing, ID and insignia etc at Nicosia before departure. Cpl Ian Berry was working as a "stacker" in the clothing stores at Nicosia at the time and issued us with some "civilian" clothing!

Sadly, I cannot remember for sure who the other UKMAMS team members were - possibly Flt Sgt Bob Hope, Sgt DK Henderson, Cpl Jimmy Jones, and SAC Harry Jones? Does anyone remember?

Anyway, keep up the good work.

Best regards to all

Tim Newstead
From: Ian Berry, West Swindon 
Sent: Tuesday, April 15, 2008 13:03
Subject: RE: UKMAMS OBA - OBB #041108

Hi Tony,

After reading Tim Newstead's story and the article on Operation Shoveller I feel I have to correct a few things...

Cheap shot Tim turning the tables and calling me a 'Stacker!'... I was attached to the Supply Flight RAF Nicosia and worked in Tech Stores where I was NCO i/c but my primary task at RAF Nicosia was as RAF Liaison Officer and if there were RAF aircraft or Charters arriving at Nicosia Airport I had to drop tools and carry out my primary task. Exactly the same tasks as todays RAFLOs. Arrange accom, fuel, engineering, transport, rations, pax handling etc.

When Operation Shoveller began, 70 Sqn Argosies were tasked to deliver Red Cross freight from Cyprus to Amman in Jordan but the lift was immediately stalled as the RAF insisted all the aircraft were painted white all over and sported Red Crosses instead of roundels. This inactivity was quickly picked upon by the press and so to relieve the heat CL44 Aircraft from Tradewinds and then CargoLux were Chartered to fly the waiting freight from Nicosia into Jordan.

The NEAF MAMS Teams were tasked to load and fly with the aircraft and prior to departure it was  discovered that they had to travel in civilian clothes. Nobody had brought any and so my wardrobe was emptied to clothe them - I never was recompensed! Before the loading began on the first aircraft the interference continued by higher authority and they decreed the aircraft should be parked and loaded on Alpha Pan which was sited some distance away from the main Airport Terminal and had not been used for quite a while. Whilst taxying into Alpha the first CL44 managed to clip a telegraph pole with its wing tip!
A lot of hammering and some speed tape cured the problem. The first freight to be moved was a British Army Field Hospital followed by many tons of standard relief supplies including tinned pork sausages. (To a Muslim Country!). Sadly some of the kit 'fell off the back of the lorries' but good old NEAF MAMS handed it to me for safe keeping till they returned.

I don't recollect seeing any UKMAMS teams at Nicosia but do remember Dave Barton and Tony Saw both from Gulf MAMS in Muharraq appearing on a newly painted Argosy. My involvement in this Op lasted about two weeks from my recollection. DK Henderson incidentally was one of the NEAF MAMS Team and not UKMAMS at the time.

Some weeks after the Dawson Field hijackings the Jordanian Army managed to rout the palestinians and they all fled to Lebanon. Shortly after that all the male hostages were found and released and flown back to Nicosia. I was there too doing my RAFLO bit and taking messages between the families land side and the arriving fathers airside, lots of crying ensued including me I might add! Very emotional as I remember...

Yes, a medal was awarded by King Hussein to the NEAF MAMS Teams. However it was not presented to UKMAMS in 1987 by FSgt Charlie Marlow..... He was in fact returning it as he stole it off the crewroom wall some years before at a previous reunion while under the influence!! So there! Sue me for slander...

Keep the stories coming.