Page 1

The Forcesit' e favourer pap


Bucc Boys 2 Win! See p19


Ace'sW Spit in! album See R'n'R p5


Depp hit Win! film R'n'R p5

Friday September 10 2021 No. 1519 70p


ISTAR: Get set for the next generation See pages 16-17 to find out how the RAF is keeping one step ahead in the information war


World title tilt for Hall

Calm after Kabul chaos irport a l u b a K

See p27


Vet Stu nets Tokyo gold

See p7 & p29

Safe at Brize

RAF PILOTS have spoken of how they faced chaos and bullets as they flew into Kabul to rescue more than 15,000 Afghan men, women and children fleeing the Taliban. UK Crews launched 165 sorties during the biggest evacuation mission since the Berlin Airlift in 1948. They faced scenes of total mayhem as terror-stricken crowds stormed the airport perimeter and swarmed across the runway in a bid to escape reprisals as the hardline Islamist group seized power. See pp2, 3, 4 and 5 for report

Photo: Cpl Lee Matthews

Royal Air Force News Friday, September 10, 2021 P2


Flying into chaos as RAF PILOTS who lifted more than 15,000 people to safety from Afghanistan have revealed how they flew into chaos as the Taliban seized control of the capital Kabul. Air Force crews launched 165 sorties from Brize Norton ahead of the evacuation deadline following the withdrawal of all US Forces after more than 20 years. They confronted scenes of total mayhem as tens of thousands of Afghani families fleeing Taliban reprisals swept into the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul. Pilots had to abort landing manoeuvres at the last second as crowds swarmed across the runway and dodged vehicles careering across their path. Operating without air traffic control following a Taliban attack, crews in the first wave of sorties were guided in by US marines fighting to maintain control on the ground.

I asked the Loadmaster how close she thought we were to the bus on take-off, she said ‘10ft, maybe less’

C-17 pilot Wg Cdr Kev Latchman missed a bus by just 10ft as he took off carrying 365 people in the aftermath of the suicide bombing which claimed the lives of 73 people, including 13 US Marines. He said: “I asked the Loadmaster – ‘how close do you think we were?’ and she used some interesting colourful language then said ‘10 feet, maybe less,’ she was looking out of the left-hand troop door porthole window and could see the bus as it went underneath the left undercarriage and number two engine.” A400M - Pilot Sqn Ldr Mark Parker landed with 16 Air Assault Brigade troops on board as the fight for the capital reached its peak. He was forced to abandon his first approach as crowds broke through the perimeters and on to the runway but touched down on his second attempt as the fight for the capital escalated. He said: “We could tell the guys in the Air Traffic Control Tower were under direct attack and we could see smoke rising from the south side of the field. There were rounds hitting the ground around the aircraft. “We eventually took off and contacted our Command and Control, who told us that Kabul had just fallen. That didn’t come as that

DEADLINE: US Commander Maj Gen Chris Donahue boards C-17 as the last American serviceman to leave Afghanistan PHOTO: PLANETPIX

much of a surprise to us given what we had just witnessed on the ground.” Operating without Air Traffic Control, A400M pilot Flt Lt Neil Franklin navigated the 120 tonne transporter through airspace where rogue helicopters were swarming above the runway and launching flares during his first sortie – his debut as a RAF Captain. He witnessed the worsening conditions on the ground as he made his first approach. He said: “There was a slight crosswind and we kicked off the drift at 100ft but we had to initiate a go-round because a civilian vehicle and three military vehicles drove across the runway. “I was in the left-hand seat and looked around, I could just see the vehicles go beneath us. There were several civilian aircraft parked and they were covered in people like flies.” Deputy Commander Operations Air Marshal Gerry Mayhew paid tribute to the hundreds of personnel who took part in the largest transport operation mounted by the RAF since the Berlin Air Lift in 1948. He said: “The vast majority of the RAF’s transport fleet has been involved in this operation, carrying out 165 sorties from Brize to the region – 100 landings in Kabul and then the hubs in the Middle East. “We have brought 15,000 out of Kabul in two weeks. It is a superb effort from everyone wherever they are, not just the air crew. Everybody has leant forward to do a great job. “It is what we do. We crisis respond and that is exactly what the Air Force has done, not just at Brize but our logisticians, medics, transport folk – it has been superb. “This beats everything the Air Mobility Force has done that I have seen in the 30 years I have been in

the RAF. It is an astonishing effort from logisticians to our drivers, and medics, all of the contractors working behind the scenes and those who have been working to protect our people both here and in Kabul. “The 20 years we experienced in Afghanistan is definitely in people’s minds. There is deep respect for those who have been lost before this was part of that 20-year operation and real pride at bringing our people out.” Chief of the Air Staff ACM Sir Mike Wigston added: “We have

given new hope to the thousands of Afghans we have moved to safety. It has been a harrowing end to the two decades of Coalition operations in Afghanistan which have shaped the careers of many of us. “There has been significant sacrifice, and I know that for some of you, your lives have been changed forever by what you experienced. “Our operations since 2001 have denied extremists a safe haven to plot terror on our streets, and we should never lose sight of all that we did to improve millions of lives in Afghanistan during that time.”

Royal Air Force News Friday, September 10, 2021 P3

By Simon Mander and Simon Williams

Taliban seize Kabul EVACUATION: British and American troops work together at Hamid Karzai International airport. Below left, evacuees on board RAF C-17, below right, US Marine cradles Afghan baby MAIN PHOTO: LPHOT BEN SHREAD

WG CDR Kev Latchman, Officer Commanding 99 Sqn, captained three C-17 sorties out of Kabul rescuing a total of 1,156 people. But he’ll never forget his giant Globemaster transporter surviving a near-miss with a convoy of vehicles on the runway as he was about to take off with hundreds of passengers on board. The close call came on his second mission, in the immediate aftermath of the suicide bomber attack on the airport on August 27 that killed 60 Afghans and 13 US soldiers. “When we got into Kabul the situation on the ground was chaotic. When we landed we were told to keep all our doors closed and lights off. Once we got approval to load our 365 passengers the airfield lighting went out,” he said. “As we went to take-off, three vehicles drove out in front of us – we’d noticed them driving down the parallel taxiway but they weren’t a threat at that time then suddenly they turned onto the runway – a pickup truck, a bus in the middle, and then another truck, with passengers heading for another aircraft. “They couldn’t see us because we had our lights off and I didn’t have enough space to stop the aircraft because they were 1,000 feet ahead of us, so we decided to rotate early and I lifted the aircraft off about 15 knots early and we wallowed into the air clearing the convoy, which was quite exciting and pretty scary. “I asked the Loadmaster – ‘how close do you think we were?’ and she used some interesting colourful language then said ‘10 feet maybe less,’ she was looking out the left-hand troop door porthole window and could see the bus as it went underneath the left undercarriage and number two engine.” Wg Cdr Latchman, who flew TriStar tankers before switching to C-17s, described the fleet’s operation – flying from Minhad airbase in the UAE to pick up passengers from Kabul then on

to the massive Dubai World Cargo hub to board UK-bound Voyagers and charter aircraft – as unprecedented. “At the height of the operation we had six of our eight aircraft flying, four of them in theatre, and had six waves a day going into Kabul, and in the final phase we had seven, so the C-17s were the backbone of the operation but the A400Ms and C-130s contributed as well.” “Even at the end of Operation Herrick when we did the mass withdrawal of British forces at the end of 2014, when we closed down Bastion and Kandahar, that was busy, but didn’t compare to this operation.” Wg Cdr Latchman said crews had only two weeks to prepare before the first aircraft was sent in with 16 Air Assault Brigade troops to hold the airport and allow the exodus. “It wasn’t predicted and all of a sudden we had a time-bounded operation; then August 31 was set by the Taliban and the US were working to that, so we then had a very limited time in which to retrieve as many evacuees as possible,” he said. The last aircraft out of Kabul airport was flown by 99 Sqn C-17 pilot Flt Lt Ben Mountfield, who took off with 436 passengers including 135 paratroopers. “My first run in to theatre was a daylight one and it was OK – we had 433 people on board, which at the time was a C-17 record,” said Wg Cdr Latchman. “On my third sortie we knew we were doing the last passenger evacuation run because after that was the withdrawal of 16 Air Assault Brigade. “As we were about four to five miles on the approach to Kabul we saw lots of tracer coming up so we changed the flight path of the aircraft and ducked down underneath what was essentially a bullet bridge and went in and landed to pick up another 358 people to get on the last flight,” he said.

Royal Air Force News Friday, September 10, 2021 P4


Into hell on his debut as A400 Captain A400M PILOT Flt Lt Neil Franklin dodged rogue helicopters over the airstrip as he came in low but was forced to abandon an attempt to land on the Kabul taxiway at 100 feet as crowds of desperate Afghan nationals attempting to flee swarmed onto the airstrip. He landed on his second mission the following day, flying more than 100 passengers to safety. The 40-year-old airman (pictured) said: “I’ve done a few ops in Afghanistan before on other aircraft but this was my first flight as a Captain. That is quite a debut. “As I walked to the aircraft I was told that the airfield had been overrun by civilians, but that we were still going. As we entered Pakistani airspace we were told to go at maximum endurance. “We had already taken fuel on as we were expecting to have to hold because of conditions in Kabul. We held over Kabul for two hours because of the conditions on the ground. “There was no air traffic control but we were in touch with a US Marine on the ground who told us we were not cleared because of the number of civilians on the airstrip. “We were asked if we could land on the taxiway. I got the airfield diagram out and took a rough guess at how long it was and decided to go for it. “It was a dusty approach and we didn’t see the runway until about two miles out, at which point the runway was clear so we

set up our approach. There was a slight crosswind and we kicked off the drift at 100ft but we had to initiate a go-round because a civilian vehicle and three military vehicles drove across the runway. “I was in the left-hand seat and looked around, I could just see the vehicles go beneath us. As I looked across there were several civilian aircraft parked and they were covered in people like flies. “We were briefed to do a left-hand circuit

back to the runway but were told that there were uncontrolled helicopters airborne. “As we went underneath one a second one dropped flares. We were so close we flew through the smoke. At that point I turned right. “If we had turned left it would have taken us towards the city, where there was substantial threat from the Taliban and surface to air weapons. “After holding for so long we were

running low on fuel. We went to reset for the approach but the US Marine on the ground told us that he could not guarantee a clear runway. I knew that if we landed there was a clear threat of the aircraft being mobbed. “With no fuel on the ground we were at a critical point and I made the decision to return to base. That was a very difficult call to make and we did it as a crew. I felt dreadful thinking that we had left people on the ground. When we got back we saw the pictures of the US C-17 being overrun. We felt we made the right decision. That would have been us. “I had conflicting emotions of feeling bad because we had not got people out but knowing that on balance we had made the right decision. “We went in the following night and apart from having to land without runway lights that was a success. We picked up more than 100 men, women and children and flew them to safety. “When I got the chance to go down into the back and look I felt the full force of the humanitarian value of what we were doing. Seeing exhausted families with children the same age as my own kids. “What will stay with me for the rest of my life was the image of a little girl of about 10 fast asleep in her dad’s arms as they were getting off the plane. “They had nothing with them but the stuff they were wearing. I remember thinking ‘I hope we have given them the chance of a better life’.”

‘We landed as Kabul was taken’ RAF News Room 68 Lancaster Building HQ Air Command High Wycombe Buckinghamshire HP14 4UE Editor: Simon Williams Email: Features Editor: Tracey Allen Email: News Editor: Simon Mander Sports Editor: Daniel Abrahams Email: Tel: 07966 429755 All advertising: Edwin Rodrigues Tel: 07482 571535 Email: edwin.rodrigues@ Subscriptions and distribution: RAF News Subscriptions c/o Intermedia, Unit 6 The Enterprise Centre, Kelvin Lane, Crawley RH10 9PE Tel: 01293 312191 Email: rafnewssubs@

SQUADRON LEADER Mark Parker (pictured) was one of the first to land with troops from 16 Air Assault Brigade. He held his ground as machine gun rounds hit the tarmac around him as the Taliban stormed the Afghan capital and closed in on the airport. He said: “I was one of the first four crews to deploy and we flew the first A400M task, which turned out to be an eventful day – it was the day Kabul fell. “We knew that the country was being quite rapidly overrun but the predictions were that Kabul would hold out for several more days at least.

The guys in Air Traffic Control were under direct attack

“When we got there it was quite obvious that things were moving far quicker than anyone had expected. There was a disabled aircraft on the runway so we had to hold for quite a long time. “Eventually we were cleared to make an approach. We had to go round from a few hundred feet because of the runway incursion and the vehicles. We landed on the second attempt but by the time we had unloaded there was an attack on the south side of the airfield.

“We had to hold for a precarious few minutes while traffic cleared and eventually took off with some kind of attack and firefight going on around us. “As far as we could tell the guys in the Air Traffic Control Tower were under direct attack and we could see smoke rising from the south side of the field and there were rounds hitting the ground around the aircraft. “We eventually took off and contacted our Command and Control, who told us that Kabul had just fallen. That didn’t come as that much of a surprise to us given what we had just witnessed on the ground. “The speed of the collapse took us by surprise. I remember when we came into land it was a bit chaotic but

there wasn’t any war-like activity going on until we left. There is not a lot you can do when it is happening all around you. You just focus on keeping the aircraft and the crew safe. “It was quite an easy decision to make to get out of there as quickly as possible and then reassess in the air. “We took troops in and waited on the ground for passengers to fly out but because of the difficulty getting people to the airport with the rapid advance of the Taliban we ended up flying out freight. “During our second flight I don’t think any of us knew just how we would be affected by the evacuees. Everybody found it extremely moving. So many of the people on board had few or no possessions. Some of them looked totally traumatised by what they had been through and there were a lot of children. “All we could do was make them as comfortable as possible and take as many as we could. I don’t think there was a single crew

member who wasn’t moved by what they saw. “This has been a life-changing experience for a lot of us. Seeing the evacuees has changed my perspective on everything. I feel like I have had an extremely privileged life up to now. I don’t think any of us will take things for granted in the same way ever again.”

‘Wherever the LOADMASTER SGT Andy Livingstone of 70 Sqn was on three A400M sorties out of Kabul, two to extract refugees, and on the last A400M flight picking up British soldiers. He said movers and aircrew did their best to welcome refugees on board, clutching the one bag allowed, many of whom had never seen a military aircraft before, by removing their helmets and offering a smile. But it was an encounter with an Afghan family on his second mission to pick up 153 people that will stay with the father-of-two. “We’d closed the doors and there was a family to the right of me, mum, dad, three daughters and one son. The mother was shocked and exhausted, so I tried to get them to take some water,” he said.

Royal Air Force News Friday, September 10, 2021 P5

By Simon Mander and Simon Williams

The last RAF plane out

SAFE: Evacuees arrive at Brize Norton PHOTO: SAC SAMANTHA HOLDEN

‘I hope that we’ve given people the chance of a better life’

eir new lives take them, they’ll be safer now’ “The mum had a baby who was about two weeks old. Fifteen minutes into the flight out of the corner of my eye I saw something fall at her feet which she couldn’t hold because she was so tired. So, I tried to strap the baby to her using the seatbelt, so they were more comfortable. “A little bit later, I saw this poor woman scramble to pick the baby up again and at that point I spoke to the husband and said I’d take the child so she could sleep – it weighed nothing at all. “So, I looked after the baby for about an hour, went to the back and popped my headphones on the child because it was so noisy, then handed her back.” Sgt Livingstone (above) who has two daughters – five-year-old Lily and three-year-old Elsie – said

he would never forget seeing little Afghan girls dressed in their best clothes by their parents determined to make their life-changing escape less scary and more exciting. “It was like when as a dad if we go to visit the grandparents. Children are children no matter

where they’re from and I saw in them what I see in my girls. “At the end of the flight, when we got to Dubai, they just walked off the aircraft into whatever their new lives hold and that’s probably the last I’ll see of them, but they’ll be safer wherever they go now.”

VOYAGER PILOT Flt Lt Chris Cookson supported US F-18s maintaining armed overwatch over Afghanistan during the last US evacuation operation. And as the American operation continued for two days after the British mission ended, his 101 Squadron tanker was the last RAF aircraft out of Afghan airspace. “It was the biggest air operation I had been involved in with 37 tankers in total, most American, with some British and an Australian one as well,” he said. “There were fast jets, F-18s and F-15s, B-52s, ISTAR aircraft and US C-17s that were going into Kabul to pick up their people. Flt Lt Cookson’s task was refuelling two F-18 Hornet fighters off the American carrier USS Ronald Reagan in the Arabian Gulf – flying out of Minhad, across Pakistan to Kabul, daylight into dusk, so the F-18s could guard the C-17s that were landing. “We were positioned to the east of Kabul and there’s a lot of very big mountains around there. For us, typically we refuel over the North Sea at 20-25,000 feet above the surface, but around Kabul we were significantly lower than that, at about 9,000 feet above the ground,” he said. It was too dangerous for Voyager tankers to land in Kabul but they were a vital part of the final US withdrawal. “We felt a lot of pressure as it was all quite sensitive beforehand as the Americans had told everyone they

REFUELS: Flt Lt Chris Cookson and Voyager

were withdrawing on August 31 and this was the day before,” he said. “It was pretty hairy – they had acknowledged that they were going in and had to get out. “We sort of knew that this was it, the last push and they were going in to do a very dangerous mission. “They were the last ones taking off so anything might’ve happened – the Taliban might have started firing or people might have streamed onto the airfield – so it was really important to have the close air support.” The Voyager vet and former 47 Sqn Hercules pilot, who deployed to Afghanistan 10 times, described the end as ‘poignant’. “It was quite emotional; when you’ve spent so much of your life there and now you were leaving for good. “We were the last RAF aeroplane to leave Afghan airspace as the C-17 and A400M had a left few days prior and we were still supporting the American task, which gives me a lot of pride.”

Reservist took care of traumatised families BASED IN the Middle East with an RAF Voyager crew, 52-year-old 622 Sqn Reservist Cpl Hayley Court witnessed the human cost of the crisis as she flew back to the UK with more than 140 terror-stricken men, women and children on board her flight. “There were a lot of children clearly traumatised by what they had been through. When the lights finally went down we had about eight medical issues to deal with. There were youngsters with temperatures and other health issues and a lot of them were very weak,” she said. “There was one mother with a very young baby who was very agitated. I thought she was asking for food but I checked on the translator app and she was actually asking for a bed for the child. “Another mother called us over because she thought her child had stopped breathing. He was just slumped over the table. I checked to see if I could detect a pulse and there was one. He was just so exhausted by the experience he had been through that he had fallen into a deep sleep. I shook him awake and breathed a sigh of relief and gave him a sugary drink. “During the flight one of the younger crew members came to me and admitted that she felt out of her

CPL COURT: Comforted crying baby on flight

depth. She was struggling with the emotional issues of dealing with people in such distress. “What will stay with me is the sight of the babies and the children. There was a little baby crying, whose mother was fast asleep. I picked her up and cradled her in my arms and she smiled. I thought ‘you’re going to be okay now. You’re going to have a better life’. The smile she gave me just melted me. “As a mother myself I can’t imagine what some of those families have been through. I felt like what we did has made a difference and I am proud of that. I think we all are.”



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Royal Air Force News Friday, September 10, 2021 P7

News CELEBRATION: Robinson, fifth from left, receives his gold medal and exhausted, draped in the Union flag after the final, right

By George, Stu’s won gold WITHIN MINUTES of winning Paralympic gold in the wheelchair rugby, Stuart Robinson was brought back down to earth by his 11-year-old son George.

In Brief

The former Gunner said: “It was very grounding. The family were over the moon when I called, but George wasted no time in telling me where I could be better next time. “It got me thinking how we have to focus and improve, though I will be allowing myself some time to enjoy this.” GB took gold with a 54-49 win over the USA with the RAF Regt veteran – who lost both legs in an IED blast in Afghanistan in 2013 – scoring 14 tries. Robinson told RAF News: “It has taken a little while to sink in that we have actually won gold. The medal is very heavy, but to feel that weight on my shoulders after the final game was so worthwhile after five years of hard graft and battling to get here.” Following the team’s 49-55 semi-final win over hosts Japan,

But son brings Paralympics rugby ace back down to earth Robinson said he called on his teammates to go for gold. “We had got further than any European team and, more importantly, any GB team ever. So, I turned to the guys on the coach and said we just have to push on for gold.” Robinson chipped in with serious try numbers throughout the tournament, scoring 12 in the semi-final at the Yoyogi National Stadium, a game which GB led from the start. GB had finished the group stages second behind USA, having lost 50-48 to the eventual group winners, a result Robinson believed

BRUTAL: Robinson in action against USA

maybe that has rubbed off on the team. It is part of our nature now, across the whole camp. It’s been nice to see the squad adapting and that we never give up, we push all the way.” Now the team, and Robinson, will focus on the 2024 Paris Paralympics. See page 29 for more.

Broken chain puts end to pair’s dream of glory

Dog tired? Not on your Nelly RAF VALLEY Medic SAC Olivia Worrall had a ‘helping’ hand, or rather paw, when her pet joined her at work for a shift. Westie/miniature poodle cross Nelly and her owner posed by the airfield ambulance to mark the recent International Dog Day. SAC Worrall works in The Rimon Than Healthcare Facility at the Anglesey station and her picture was taken by RAF Photog SAC Britney Leather.

helped fire them to gold. “The defeat came at the right time for us. We were able to reset. We knew the result would not affect us going into the knockout stages, so we got together, watched game videos and planned how to beat USA,” he said. And Robinson revealed how he fell back on his RAF training to help lift the side. “An essential part of military life is working well as part of a team, looking out for one another, and these values can be applied easily to a team sport,” he said. “I have always had the attitude that it’s not over until it’s over and

WE’LL BE BACK: SAC Luke Pollard (left) and partner Dave Ellis plan Euro champs return

TRIATHLETE SAC Luke Pollard and his partner Dave Ellis lost out on a medal at the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics due to a mechanical issue. Luke, who is the guide for visually-impaired athlete Dave, said they were devastated after they had to pull out of the event when Dave’s bike chain broke. Luke said: “We worked so hard for so many years, all built towards that one day. When the mechanical happened I couldn’t believe it, I still don’t. There was nothing I could do to fix it and we had to abandon the race.”

He added: “I’d like to thank the RAF and everyone involved in getting me to that start line. “I began triathlon after I’d finished trade training 10 years ago. I never in my wildest dreams believed it would get me this far. “Being part of the team and experiencing my first Games was incredible and I feel extremely lucky and privileged to be able to guide Dave. “It’s far from over for us though, we are hoping to bounce back and start the healing process at the European Championships soon.”

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Royal Air Force News Friday, September 10, 2021 P9


P-8 anti-sub hub raises standard PRESENTATION: Air Marshal Gerry Mayhew reviews the parade at Lossiemouth as CXX Sqn is presented with a new standard at the formal naming of the new Poseidon facility PHOTOS: SAC SIAN STEPHENS

A POSEIDON sub-hunter joined two Typhoons in a flypast to mark the naming of the P-8’s new £100 million home at RAF Lossiemouth as CXX Sqn was presented with a new standard. The squadron, which operates the aircraft, is one of only two RAF units, alongside the Dambusters, ever to be awarded the honour before accruing 25 years of service. With the newly-dubbed Atlantic Building as a backdrop, 60 of its personnel paraded for the first time since reforming in 2020. The occasion marked a new era for CXX Squadron with Wg Cdr James Hanson handing over command to Wg Cdr Benjamin Livesey. Wg Cdr Livesey said: “Maritime patrol is of vital importance to the United Kingdom, and the contribution provided by those at RAF Lossiemouth is paramount to

its success.” During World War II Britain needed supplies from a million tons of shipping per week to survive, with convoys sustaining devastating losses from Nazi U-boat wolf packs. CXX Squadron reformed as a Maritime Patrol Squadron and deployed to Iceland in 1941, fighting in the Battle of the Atlantic and sinking a record number of enemy submarines. Today its job is to guard undersea cables providing internet links to America that transmit trillions of pounds of financial transactions vital to the UK economy and protect Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent. Deputy Commander Operations Air Marshal Gerry Mayhew took the formal salute and inspected the parade after a pair of II(AC) Sqn Typhoons roared overhead. Five P-8s currently operate from

RAF Lossiemouth with the sixth due to arrive later this month. The remaining three will be delivered before the end of the year. Defence Procurement Minister Jeremy Quin said: “The state-of-

NEWLY-QUALIFIED RAF pilots landed their F-35B jets on board HMS Queen Elizabeth for the first time. Two 617 (Dambusters) Sqn debutantes made sorties from the Royal Navy flagship during between Britain and the US. RAF Lightnings joined US Marine Corps jets on training flights with aircraft from USS America. The UK Carrier Strike Group will work with Armed Forces from more than 40 countries during its sevenmonth tour and is the largest deployment of fifthgeneration fighter jets in history.

the-art ‘Atlantic Building’ enables our Poseidon fleet to perform their vital role for UK Defence. “The building’s name reflects the heritage of CXX Squadron and the importance of the aircraft’s mission

to protect our maritime interests.” The Atlantic Building is part of a £360 million Lossiemouth development announced in the Strategic Defence Security Review in 2015.

Thom joins UK space race Staff Reporter WG CDR Thom Colledge has taken command of Britain’s early warning station at Fylingdales as UK Defence steps up space operations. The remote North Yorkshire station now forms part of the recently launched UK Space Command, tracking satellites and the growing threat from Russia and China in low earth orbit. Wg Cdr Colledge said: “Our missions are expanding all the time as awareness of the importance of the space domain grows throughout Defence. This is a great unit and full of keen individuals with a real interest in forging a fascinating career in space security. “Space domain awareness is critical and an important contribution to the UK and US Space Surveillance Network. As space becomes more congested, our role within UK Space Command becomes more important.” Fylingdales protects more than 2,000 working satellites and astronauts in the International


Space Station by monitoring the 27,000 objects or space debris in the low earth orbit that could collide with them. Billionaire Elon Musk’s recent SpaceX Dragon mission to resupply the Space Station was monitored by RAF operators. Wg Cdr Colledge replaces outgoing Fylingdales chief Wg Cdr Al Walton.

Royal Air Force News Friday, September 10, 2021 P10


Guy hits

the road

Celebs’ art helps vets MORE THAN 150 artists and celebrities, including Joanna Lumley (above), Maureen Lipman and Sir Anish Kapoor, have designed postcard-sized artwork to be auctioned next month in aid of veterans’ mental health charity Combat Stress. The Secret Postcard Auction opens at 10am on October 10 – World Mental Health Day – and closes at 11.59pm on October 23. Money raised will help to deliver specialist mental health treatment to former Service personnel across the UK living with post-traumatic stress disorder said the charity. Robert Marsh from Combat Stress said: “Our highly specialised treatment includes art therapy to help veterans express their emotions and find a way to begin exploring their mental health issues,.” Go to: to find out more.

BIKE ENTHUSIAST Warrant Officer Guy Mossman made a fast exit from Henlow – on a classic Harley Davidson. The Air Force chef has clocked up 31 years’ service, but rather than hang up his ladle he’s opted to commission as a logistician at RAF High Wycombe. He said: “Becoming a Station Warrant Officer was a long-held ambition and it has more than lived up to my expectations. “Every single person I worked with over the last three years has made the tour even more special. I will truly miss Henlow.”

Hunter memorial bid

A NORTHAMPTONSHIRE man is appealing to RAF News readers to help him trace relatives of a hero fighter pilot who died in a crash near his home. Tony Sanders hopes to raise cash for a permanent memorial to the tragic Hunter jet aviator. Flt Lt G.B. Thornally died when his aircraft came down on May 30, 1960 – he did not eject. Mr Sanders said: “The crash site was only a few hundred yards from Islip village and Thrapston town, both of which had schools. He put the plane down on the only bit of spare land, which must have taken considerable skill and bravery.” Local press reports said an eyewitness saw the jet narrowly miss a mill. Mr Sanders said: “Had the pilot ejected he would probably have had a good chance of survival, but the plane

could have come down anywhere. By remaining with the aircraft he ensured it didn’t cause casualties. “If it had crash landed in the centre of town or even had hit the local school, it would have been devastating.” Mr Sanders said he discovered the crash site, now in a popular beauty spot near the River Nene, while walking his dog with his father-in-law, who recalled cycling to the crash site as a teenager to find it fenced off and guarded by military police. He said: “It’s sad Flt Lt Thornally’s brave actions have been forgotten. It would be fitting to have a memorial placed at the crash site. “But we need permission from the family, so I’m asking your readers if they know of anyone related to Flt Lt Thornally to contact me.” Contact Tony Sanders at:

Red Arrows going green

THE RED Arrows are seeking environmentally friendly versions of smoke dye and diesel solvent as part of the RAF’s drive to cut its carbon footprint.

Defence Equipment and Support has asked potential suppliers to come up with a ‘green,’ mix that can be injected into the hot exhaust of each jet to produce the display

team’s famous smoke trails. With trails comprising 75 per cent diesel and 25 per cent dye, the planes used 643,000 litres of diesel and 63,000 litres of dye in 2019.


Eurofighter concept


FROOLQVDHURVSDFHFRP-6$6 © 2021 Collins Aerospace


Royal Air Force News Friday, September 10 , 2021 P13

News In Brief

Wokk star takes helm Saddle score on Mali op

BIKE BID: RAF Veteran David Tester

VETERAN DAVID Tester has netted more than £1,000 for a humanitarian airline delivering aid worldwide after hitting the road and clocking up 75 miles. The retired intelligence officer launched his bike bid for the Mission Aviation Fellowship as lockdown restrictions eased, taking in Halton, MoD Bicester and RAF High Wycombe, close to his Naphill home. He said: “When things started opening up, I knew it was time to get off my backside and do something to make a difference. If I can do it, anyone can.” MAF provides flights for over 1,500 aid, development and mission organisations operating in some of the world’s most remote areas.

COMMAND: Wg Cdr David Sommers takes command of RAF Chinook detachment currently supporting French forces in West Africa

Simon Mander

Point Of Order IN THE story ‘Abb’s fab’ in RAF News No. 1517 about Fg Off Abby Nascimento’s fundraising marathon in memory of her late father Pat, Abby’s father’s name appeared incorrectly as Paddy. We are happy to correct the error.

CHINOOK CREWS battling Islamist extremists in Mali have a new chief. Wg Cdr David Sommers now leads UK support to French counterinsurgency operations at Gao Airbase, after taking over from the Navy’s Commander Colin Kiernan. He will direct Odiham-based heavy lift helicopters, dubbed ‘Wokkas’ by crews, currently flown and engineered by 18 (B) Sqn on Operation Newcombe. Wg Cdr Sommers said: “On arrival, I was immediately struck by the quality and dedication of

RAF and Army personnel here. Despite being faced with the daily challenges of conducting air operations in extremely demanding environmental conditions, they deliver what I ask of them and more.” He takes over a detachment that in the past year has conducted more than 1,000 hours of operational tasking, delivering more than 700 tonnes of freight and 6,000 personnel across the Sahel region. The unit includes small teams from the Tactical Supply Wing who refuel both UK and French aircraft and Joint Helicopter Support Squadron personnel moving French

BBMF icons star at Dux

Dogs gong it


HERO HOUNDS Alfie and AJ have been honoured with the animal ‘OBE’. The dogged duo were awarded the PDSA medal for saving lives on the frontline by sniffing out deadly IEDs and weapons with the RAF Police and Security Squadron. English Spaniel Alfie recently retired after completing more than 600 hours on the frontline while AJ clocked up 1,000 hours. The pair unearthed more than 12 finds of deadly IEDs and weapons stores.

armoured vehicles and freight that would otherwise have to go by roads routinely booby-trapped with IEDs. Outgoing National Component Commander Cdr Kiernan said: “In the face of extreme weather and heat our personnel continue to safely deliver operations in the Sahel. “Serving with some of the most committed and diligent Service personnel has been a huge honour that I will remember for some time to come.”

Staff Reporter


THE BATTLE of Britain Memorial Flight is set to headline at Duxford Air Show after a washout season which has seen events at Fairford and Cosford cancelled over continuing Covid fears. The two-day spectacular pays homage to the air icons of the Battle of Britain and features a host of 40s-style entertainments. This year’s event will also include a Great War Display Team staging a dogfight with authentic World War I aircraft. The highlight of the show is likely to be the BBMF Lancaster, now one of just two airworthy

Lancs in the world, and a formation of 14 Spitfires performing together for the first time. Event manager Phil Hood said: “The Battle of Britain Air Show is always a very special event. We get to pay homage to the iconic Spitfire, an aircraft with a very close association to Duxford as the first station to receive it in 1939.” The show is on September 1819. Go to: for details.


DID YOU KNOW WE PROVIDE RELATIONSHIP SUPPORT? For serving or former RAF personnel and their families, we can provide: Relationship counselling Family counselling Access to free online course and resources Subsidised mediation.

Talking changes lives.

CALL 0300 102 1919 SCAN ME WITH YOUR CAMERA The RAF Benevolent Fund is a registered charity in England and Wales (1081009) and Scotland (SC038109)

Royal Air Force News Friday, September 10, 2021 P15

News In Brief

Landmark post for WSO Suraya SPACE KIT: Titania platform will develop laser data transfer PHOTO: DTSL

HIGH-FLYING Weapons System Operator and Iraq veteran Air Cdre Suraya Marshall has become the first woman to command an operational group after being promoted to Air Vice-Marshal. Suraya, who directed Coalition combat operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan in 2019, has been appointed the new Air Officer Commanding Number 2 Group. She will command the Air Mobility, Force Protection and Support Force, overseeing squadrons flying Voyager, C-17, C-130 and A400M aircraft, plus the RAF Regiment and Police. She said: “It will be a privilege to lead the men and women of 2 Group, delivering air and space capabilities for UK military operations around the world. “I am particularly proud to be the first woman in such a role, which shows that the RAF is a place of opportunity where people from all backgrounds can

Laser satellite set for lift-off DEFENCE CHIEFS have awarded a £9.5 million contract to In-Space Missions to build the Titania satellite to develop military technology in space. The washing machine-sized craft is expected to be launched into low earth orbit in 2023 and will be used to test high bandwith, laser-driven data transfer needed by the latest combat kit. The device is designed to transfer data at high speeds via narrow laser beams to the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory’s new Optical Ground Station, dubbed ‘Puck’ in honour of the Shakespeare character. Commander of UK Space Command Vice-Marshal FREY Air AVM GOD Paul Godfrey said: “It’s a brilliant example of the partnerships to develop capabilities to enable military operations and underpins countless activities essential to our way of life and the safety of our nation.”

Village which defied Nazis honours lost WWII bomber crew Simon Mander

ONLINE HELP: Demand for welfare web chat services surging

Crisis callers log on to chat

CRISIS-HIT MEMBERS of the Forces community are switching to online support offered by welfare groups rather than using traditional telephone counselling services. Charity SSAFA says requests for its Forceline web chat service offering help to those struggling with debt and other personal problems has tripled in the last 18 months, while demand for phone helplines has dropped by more than 30 per cent.

AIRMEN AND women on Nato air policing duties in the Black Sea region have again joined Romanians in honouring a Wellington Bomber crew shot down during World War II. The annual event marks the loss of five 150 Sqn personnel killed over Comana and the bravery of local villagers who defied the Nazis to recover their bodies and give them a decent burial. UK Ambassador to Romania Andrew Noble said: “This event demonstrates in an emotional way that, although we were then on opposite sides of the conflict, we were still united by something much stronger.” The ceremony (inset,right) was organised by local businessman Gelu Palamaru, whose mother witnessed the crash in May 1944 during a

bombing mission from Amendola in Italy targeting Romanian oilfields near Ploiesti. Mr Palamaru said: “I’m glad that such a small community like Comana has become a symbol of friendship between our two nations.” In 1946, the bodies of the five airmen – Warrant Officer Stanley Clarke and Sergeants Leonard Cox, Robert Scott, George Vaughn and Clifford Walker – were disinterred and moved to the British Military Cemetery at Tâncăbești, near Bucharest. The story was largely unknown outside the region until early 1990. After the fall of the communist regime the aircraft wreckage was rediscovered. REMEMBRANCE: Operation Biloxi personnel paid tribute to Commonweath Service members killed in WWII. Op Biloxi is the UK’s contribution to Nato’s Southern Air Policing

progress based on merit.” She follows in the footsteps of Air Marshal Sue Gray – the first woman to command an RAF Group – but as she has an aircrew background AVM Marshall will also lead operational flying squadrons. The current Cranwell College Commandant said: “When I joined, the RAF had only just started to allow women to fly in operational roles, so I never imagined I would progress to such a senior position.” Air Cdre Marshall joined in 1994 and flew for three tours as a Tornado F3 navigator including postings to Iraq and Quick Reaction Alert duties in the UK and Falkland Islands. She was the first woman to pass the RAF Qualified Weapons Instructor Course for the Tornado F3, in 2000, and is a former commander of 92(R) Squadron and 55(R) Squadron.

Royal Air Force News Friday, September 10, 2021 P16


The data wars

ISTAR G il: In a t e g d E-7 We

r: In o t c e t o Pr


RITAIN’S ABILITY to outwit its enemies in intelligencegathering data wars will be key to winning future conflicts, says the man in charge of the RAF’s eyes-in-the-sky fleet. And the arrival of new aircraft including the E-7 Wedgetail and Protector will enable crews battlehardened by operations in Iraq and Afghanistan to face new threats. “The future is undoubtedly very bright for ISTAR,” said the RAF’s Commander of the Intelligence, Surveillance, Targeting and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) Force, Air Cdre Nicholas Hay. “By the introduction of nextgeneration platforms and the development of a digital backbone that

will enhance our analysts’ ability to fuse data from multiple sources, we will ensure a decision advantage for UK and Allied commanders.” As a former C4ISR head of capability, Air Cdre Hay controlled a £28 billion, 10-year budget set aside to modernise the fleet. When he took over as Waddingtonbased ISTAR Force Commander in October 2018 he inherited eight aircraft types. With the recent departure of the 5 Sqn Sentinel and the retirement of the iconic E-3D Sentry, RAF eyes are now on a new generation of surveillance platforms. But he’s proud of the record of the outgoing types.

“The E-3D may have been Cold War technology, but we transformed its data gathering and communications capability,” said Air Cdre Hay. “The longest sortie over Afghanistan was of 17 hours and 50 minutes’ duration – by a Sentry on October 18, 2001 – and it remains the longest sortie ever flown by a UK AWACS.”

a t f R a

A F w b B


rom 2023, the RAF will get three E-7 Wedgetails to replace the E-3D which recently completed its last mission – an Op Shader sortie against Daesh – and provided overwatch for Britain’s Carrier Strike Group from the Straits of Gibraltar to the Suez Canal. But its successor will be based at Lossiemouth, not Waddington, to take



e I w C a n las Hay A dre Nicho

Royal Air Force News Friday, September 10, 2021 P17

By Simon Mander

GAZING Next generation of RAF eye-in-the sky aircraft gearing up for service

advantage of opportunities to train with the new Poseidon P8 maritime patrol fleet and Typhoons conducting Quick Reaction Alert patrols defending UK airspace. And they will remain close to Nato’s Airborne Early Warning and Control Force HQ at Geilenkirchen in Germany, which will task them to police the borders of Allied nations in the Baltics, Balkans and Black Sea regions. Air Cdre Hay, whose operational experience includes tours of both Iraq and Afghanistan as a Tornado weapons instructor, and as a former CO of IX (Bomber) Squadron, will also oversee the introduction of a new generation of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems.

Poseid on P-8: In

What they replace Sentine l


y mid-2024, the Lincolnshire air station will be home to a fleet of 16 Protector aircraft capable of strike missions anywhere in the world. Secured in a recent £195 million deal, it will double the capability of the current Reaper force operated by Waddington’s 13 Sqn and its sister unit 39 Sqn, based at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada. “The Reaper force had contributed more than 71,000 operational hours in support of troops on the ground in Afghanistan by the time Operation Herrick ceased in 2014,” said Air Cdre Hay. “And it employed more weapons

than the Harrier GR7, GR9 and Tornado combined.” But, he said, future Protector crews would benefit from regular pauses on shifts, properly structured leave, and extra welfare support to ease the combat stress suffered by Reaper personnel until recently on round-the-clock operations in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq. And, unlike its predecessor which went straight into combat, Predator will get to demonstrate its capability to the public when a Sky Guardian aircraft takes to the skies in Lincolnshire before taking part in Exercise Joint Warrior from Lossiemouth.



We are excellent. We are QE. The Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) has found Queen Ethelburga’s Collegiate to be ‘Excellent’ across all schools, praising our pupils’ outstanding academic achievements and personal development.


Queen Ethelburga’s has a long-standing relationship with the British Forces, welcoming students from military families for over 100 years. We currently have over 300 such students living as part of the QE family. We welcome day students from 3 months to 19 years and boarders from 6 years to 19 years. We ±ųå)e±ÏÏųåÚĜƋåÚ±ĹÚĜĹųåÏŅčĹĜƋĜŅĹŅüŅƚųÏŅĵĵĜƋĵåĹƋƋŅ8ŅųÏåŸü±ĵĜĬĜåŸØƵåŅýåų±ŸĜčĹĜĀϱĹƋ reduction in fees. In 2019/20 this meant that our Forces families paid just 10% of fees. In 2020/21 8ŅųÏåŸü±ĵĜĬĜåŸƵĜĬĬޱƼģƚŸƋƊĿĂĂŞåųƋåųĵØŞåųÏĘĜĬÚŠƵĜƋĘƋĘåÆåĹåĀƋŸŅüĘĜĬÚϱųåšŅƚÏĘåųŸƋĘĜŸ ĀčƚųåϱĹÆ屟ĬŅƵ±ŸƊƅŎĉŞåųƋåųĵšţ

We pride ourselves on our wrap-around specialist pastoral care for our students, providing a secure and supportive home from home. We are focused on creating the right learning and living environment so that every one of them can thrive. For further information or to arrange a visit contact our admissions team on LjŎĉƖƐƐƐƐƐƐƐ)ĵ±ĜĬ×±ÚĵĜŸŸĜŅĹŸÄŧåţŅųč

Thorpe Underwood Hall, Ouseburn, York, YO26 9SS |

Royal Air Force News Friday, September 10, 2021 P19

Feature CYPRUS 1984: Are you pictured?

ALERT: C32 Buccaneer over Soviet Sovremennyclass destroyer



BUCCANEER: Best of British

OLLOWING THE success of Buccaneer Boys published in 2013, aviation historian Air Commodore Graham Pitchfork was persuaded by his Buccaneer colleagues, and by the publisher Grub Street, to produce a second volume. Buccaneer Boys 2 is the result and it offers the same gripping and exciting tales of those who flew and serviced the last all-British bomber. Some 26 pilots, navigators and ground crew have each contributed a chapter outlining their experiences. The chapters are arranged chronologically so the reader can follow the history and development of the aircraft from the earliest days – beginning with Fleet Air Arm service in the early 1960s to the final days of the last squadron, 208, which bade farewell to the iconic aircraft in March 1994. In his introduction, the author provides a background to the development of the aircraft and how this naval asset came to enter service with the RAF. Mike Clapp RN, who outlines the aircraft’s entry into squadron service with the Fleet Air Arm, follows him. Other chapters relate the flying activities and life on an aircraft 208 SQN: RAF carrier. C26 XV865 Peter Gooding recalls the formation of the RAF’s first squadron at RAF Honington and a pilot in the South African Air Andy Marrs graphically relates Force, who describes a mission to his experiences of two sorties support the Army in a fierce ground that went wrong and his need to battle during the South African eject at the Paris Air Show. RAF bush wars. His actions resulted in pilot Peter Sturt covers his time him receiving the country’s second on exchange to the Fleet Air Arm highest award for gallantry. and Ken Mackenzie RN looks at the life of a naval observer he ground crew have on an RAF squadron. contributed some Exciting, and at times chapters. A very young, hilarious, detachments to inexperienced Malcolm Stornoway, Decimomannu, Ward outlines the steep Cyprus and Gibraltar receive learning curve of being the full treatment and a first-tour Junior Dave Ray covers life Engineering Officer on a squadron in on 208 Squadron and Germany. Pete Browning and There is an Paul Smart provide amazing chapter accounts of life on AUTHOR: Air by Dries Marais, the line in Germany. Cdre Pitchfork



There is a chapter of ‘Hairy Moments’ with crews ejecting, another blinded at night by a lightning strike and a third tells of a diversion to an airfield in Malaya as the aircraft ran out of fuel. Martin Engwell, OC 12 Squadron at Lossiemouth, explains the life of a squadron commander and, at the other of the end of scale, Gordon Niven tells the reader about being a first tourist. Introduction of the laserguided bomb the Paveway into RAF service is described and ‘Fras’ Fraser explains some difficult moments learning the art of air-toair refuelling before heading out to take part in the Gulf War. The last squadron commander, Nigel Huckings, writes about ‘The

End of an Era’ before test pilot Keith Hartley recounts his flight to deliver one of the last Buccaneers to South Africa.

itchfork brings the stories to an end by explaining how the spirit of the Buccaneer lives on to this day with a vibrant association and regular reunions. He told RAF News: “All these activities and events continue to cement the unique nature of the Buccaneer brotherhood.” Finally, as Air Marshal Sir Peter Norriss – who flew the Buccaneer on three tours – says in his introduction to the book: “Sit back and soak up the tales of the Buccaneer Boys who flew a remarkable aircraft.”

The Cold War colossus Win! WE HAVE copies of Buccaneer Boys 2 (, rrp £25 to win. For your chance to own one, answer this question correctly: When did the RAF bid farewell to the Buccaneer? Email your answer, marked Buccaneer book competition, to: competitions@ or post it to: RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe, HP14 4UE, to arrive by September 24. Please include your postal address with your entry.

Join us in saying Thank you to our Armed Forces Over the last year we have seen how vital the Armed Forces are for our nation. With more than 5,000 deployed on the largest resilience operation in peacetime. From building the Nightingale hospitals across the UK to managing pilot Covid-testing systems nationwide and going into hospitals to help deal with the influx of COVID patients. Whenever they are called upon, the Forces are there to ensure we, as a country, are looked after and kept safe, despite the risk it poses to these individuals. SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity is here to help support those in the Armed Forces community when they turn to us for help. After everything they do for us, it is only right we are there for them in their hour of need.

L E A R N M O R E N OW about our support for serving personnel Registered as a charity in England and Wales Number 210760 in Scotland Number SC038056 and in Republic of Ireland Number 20202001. Established 1885.

Regulars | Reserves | Veterans | Families

Royal Air Force News Friday, September 10, 2021 P21


THE FIRST Qatari Hawk jets have landed at Leeming to join the new joint QEAF-RAF training squadron. The unit will train pilots from both air forces and be home to all Qatar’s Hawk T2 Mk167 aircraft, being produced by BAE Systems in the UK. The squadron will give the Qataris British flying training, provide RAF personnel with extra aircraft flying hours and see long-term investment in station infrastructure and training facilities.


Why Pension Awareness Week matters to the Armed Forces PENSION Awareness Week (13th-17th September) has a particular relevance to the Armed Forces this year.

The Forces Pension Society is an independent, notfor-profit organisation that acts as a pension watchdog for the entire military community.

There are significant changes on the way, which will affect those serving as well as many veterans. These changes are linked to the so-called McCloud Remedy and will begin to come into effect in 2022. Planning ahead, ensuring you make the best pension choices is more important than ever. Never was our theme “it pays to understand your pension” more relevant to you and your future well-being. AFP Schemes are complex and the changes coming down the line will add further layers of detail, essential to understand. That’s why we at the Forces Pension Society are treating Pension Awareness Week (and Pension Awareness Day on 15th September) as such an important opportunity to brief you on what’s ahead – and to explain how we can empower you to make better informed decisions. Our campaign this year includes Roadshow Presentations, Webinars

From Maj Gen Neil Marshall, CEO of the Forces Pension Society

Planning ahead is vitally important and Broadcasts on BFBS. We urge you to take this opportunity to attend or listen to at least one of these initiatives, the details of which you will find on our website at: At the Forces Pension Society, our Forces Pensions Consultants answer more than 15,000 enquiries from our Members each year. They provide guidance across wide-ranging issues from questions about divorce and pension sharing orders to medical discharge; from commutation to determining the best time to leave and from pension top-ups to taxation. We are an independent, not-for-profit membership organisation. If you would like to find out more about how we can support you, and the many money-saving benefits of membership, please visit GINFORMED DECISIONS: Maj Gen Neil Marshall

Royal Air Force News Friday, September 10, 2021 P23

Sir Peter Harding GCB, KCB, CB Obituary

Former CAS dies Gifted pilot and commander with a people first policy


ORMER CHIEF of the Air Staff, Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Peter Harding, has died aged 87. In 1992 he became Chief of the Defence Staff, the most senior British military post. Born in London, Sir Peter joined the RAF as a National Serviceman in 1952. He trained as a pilot before accepting a permanent commission. He was posted to fly the new Canberra bomber with 12 Squadron, when he spent six months on detachment to conduct bombing operations during the Malayan Emergency. After training as a flying instructor he went to the RAF College Cranwell to instruct on the Meteor, where his students were too tall, as was Sir Peter, to fly the Vampire. After a two-year exchange tour with the Royal Australian Air Force flying the Canberra, he returned to the UK to attend the RAF Staff College before going to MoD, responsible for the postings and career management of junior officers. In 1966 his career took a very different course and he trained on helicopters before taking command of 18 Squadron based at Gutersloh, in Germany. The squadron provided support for the Army’s 1st British Corps and it was in this appointment that Sir Peter began to appreciate the vital role of the RAF in the Central Region of Nato.

the visits and had private meetings with wives and partners, he was able to identify concerns and problems and offer reassurance.


n January 1, 1993, Harding was appointed Chief of the Defence Staff that carried with it his promotion to Marshal of the Royal Air Force. During his 16 months in post he identified Northern Ireland, the conflict in the Former Yugoslavia, and yet another major cuts exercise in the Defence budget as the main issues that faced him. Most of the Northern Ireland activities were the responsibility of the Army’s Chief of the General Staff, but Sir Peter found himself increasingly involved in the early period of discussions to find a peaceful solution. After a flying visit to Bosnia he recognised the complexities of the situation in the Former Yugoslavia. Contingency plans for action on the ground and in the air had to be made, which were both militarily and politically complex. He had to argue strongly for the right force levels and equipment.



n June 1970 he began a series of high-profile staff appointments in the policy divisions of the RAF and MoD. Working at this level in a tri-Service staff was, “a very, very big learning exercise”. Promoted to Group Captain at 38, his career was being accelerated and after a further two years he assumed command of RAF Bruggen in Germany, the home of three Phantom squadrons and a Bloodhound air defence missile squadron, making it one of the largest operational bases in the RAF. His appetite for flying never wavered and he flew regularly with each squadron. He enjoyed the strike/attack role and later claimed that the Phantom was his favourite aircraft. He returned to MoD as one of the Directors of Defence Policy dealing with strategy, which addressed the whole of UK’s Defence posture and budget. Promoted to Air ViceMarshal he was posted to Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) at Mons to the key post of Assistant Chief of Staff (Policy and Plans), where he worked for the charismatic US General Al Haig, the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR). Sir Peter’s division was

SIR PETER: Clever with an easy manner

responsible for nuclear policy and for budgets and plans. At SHAPE he established close relationships that were to prove valuable in his later appointments.


e became the Air Officer Commanding No. 11 (Fighter) Group, which gave him an opportunity to fly the RAF’s latest fighters, including the Tornado. He was also responsible for implementing the plans for a radical re-equipment programme of modern radars and ground control systems for the UK air defence region. He joined the Air Force Board as Vice-Chief of Air Staff in 1982. He strongly supported the idea of a European collaborative venture for an agile fighter and the Eurofighter led ultimately to today’s Typhoon. In August 1985 he became Commander-in-Chief at RAF Strike Command when he also held the

senior Nato post of Commanderin-Chief UK Air. With the majority of the RAF’s operational capability under his command, he pursued his ‘people first’ policy with a heavy programme of visits to meet and talk with those under his command. He also flew the wide variety of aircraft in order to keep abreast of tactics and capabilities, and to have a better understanding of the pressures on aircrew flying combat aircraft.


n November 1988 he took up his appointment as CAS. He travelled widely, both to RAF units and to foreign air forces where he took every opportunity to promote the RAF and the British aircraft industry. His charismatic presence, intellect and easy social manner made him universally admired. He was also able to demonstrate his capability as a pilot when he accepted numerous invitations to

fly host air forces’ aircraft. Two years into his time as CAS, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait and for the next few months the RAF involvement in the area, and the Gulf War that followed occupied much of his time.


ith the appointment of Air Chief Marshal Sir Patrick Hine, Commander-in-Chief Strike Command, as the Joint Commander of all British Forces deployed to the Gulf, Harding’s primary role in the MoD was to advise ministers and the other Service chiefs on air aspects of the campaign. He was particularly conscious of the role of the media and its influence on the morale of families. Within the RAF he created a special cell to keep families advised and he visited every station that had aircrews serving in the Gulf. With the invaluable help of his wife, who accompanied him on

he third issue that exercised him was the spectre of yet another cuts exercise. He was not averse to surrendering some support areas to civilian contractors, but he fought hard to maintain the fundamental command structures with appropriate service staffing. On March 13, 1994, Sir Peter, and the then Secretary of State for Defence, Malcolm Rifkind, were alerted that the News of the World newspaper was to publish details of an affair that Sir Peter had conducted with Lady (Bienvenida) Buck, the young wife of a former Conservative MP. Masterminded by the disgraced publicist the late Max Clifford, Lady Buck invited Harding to lunch at the Dorchester where an undercover reporter recorded their conversation. The newspaper’s photographer captured a parting kiss. When the news broke, Sir Peter immediately offered his resignation. In a letter to him, Rifkind paid tribute to his “many years of dedicated service”, and expressed regret that, “we would no longer have the benefit of your advice and judgement”. Other senior politicians saw no reason why he should have resigned. Sir Peter was appointed CB (1980), KCB (1983), GCB (1988), and Commander of the Legion of Merit (USA) (1992). He was elected a Companion and Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and a Liveryman of the Honourable Company of Air Pilots. Sir Peter Harding died on August 19.








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Royal Air Force News Friday, September 10, 2021 P25


LAC WAREHAM: Best graduate

LAC MADDOX: Knows the drill

LAC ROBINSON: Fit for service


CPL KILLA: Inspirational instructor

Gunning for glory Honington welcomes 40 latest recruits to the RAF Regiment FORTY MEMBERS of TG 6-20, the fundamentals of Air Force Meiktila Flight, have become Protection and advanced fieldcraft the newest members of the RAF skills. The progressive physical Regiment after graduating at training programme continues RAF Honington. to build up strength Accompanied by the and fitness from Phase Central Band of the Royal 1 training in order to Air Force, graduates prepare the recruits for marched proudly on the demanding final parade in front of family exercises. and friends. The latter part of the Graduate LAC Tatam, Honington course is both physically 21, from Cornwall, said: and mentally challenging “I am thrilled to be graduating to leave the successful student with today. Thanks to the instructors a justifiable sense of pride in their and the course as a whole; we have achievement. juh m `zThey have supported each other throughout. I earned the right to wear the RAF can’t wait to join my squadron and Regiment Corps ‘mudguards’ and to continue to excel and enjoy my join the ranks of a unique Corps. new job.” Reviewing Officer Group Following the parade graduates Captain Matt Peterson, Station were able to meet with Commander RAF Coningsby, representatives from their said: “To those graduating new squadrons and find out today, you have chosen to more about the job that lies become a member of the RAF ahead. and have therefore elected to Meiktila Flight is part serve this country. You have of a new generation of chosen to put others before Trainee Gunners who have yourself, be it your successfully completed colleagues, those you their Phase 1 training will one day command at RAF Halton or the vulnerable prior to arriving at around the world the RAF Regiment who need your help Training Wing at and protection. RAF Honington for “I urge you to a further 20 weeks of seize the vast array Phase 2 training. of opportunities The Trainee this unique career Gunners are taught will offer you and basic combat wish you the best of AWARD: tactics in the Air/ luck. In this endeavour LAC Davies I think Emerson said Ground Environment,

ON PARADE: Graduates with the reviewing officer. Below, proud loved ones were present

it best ‘Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail’. You have faced challenges to be on this parade square today, and you will undoubtedly face more in the future, but in enabling RAF operations in all their varied guises, be the vanguard into those unknowns and leave a path for the RAF to follow safe in the knowledge you have secured and assured it for others to follow. “May you continue to rise to the challenges of the future with the motto of the RAF Regiment at the forefront of your mind, a motto and attitude that has brought you here today – ‘Per Ardua’ – Through Adversity.” On graduating the Leading Aircraftmen and women are posted to 1 Squadron RAF Regiment (RAF

Honington), II Squadron RAF Regiment (RAF Brize Norton), 15 Squadron RAF Regiment (RAF Marham), 34 Squadron RAF Regiment (RAF Leeming), 51 Squadron RAF Regiment (RAF Lossiemouth) or 63 Squadron RAF Regiment (The Queen’s Colour Squadron, RAF Northolt) They are trained to such a level that they can immediately


commence Mission Specific Training for contingency operations. Further congratulations go to the prize winners: Frank Sylvester Trophy: LAC Wareham, best all-round Trainee Gunner. The RAF Regt Association Trophy for Drill and Deportment: LAC Maddox. WO Ramsey Physical Development Cup: LAC Robinson. LAC Beard Recruits’ Trophy: LAC Davies, awarded to the Gunner who has been voted by their peers as the most inspirational and supportive member of the Flight. SAC Luders Champion Shot Trophy: LAC Fletcher. Cpl Bradfield Trophy: Cpl Killa, top Corporal Instructor.

Royal Air Force News Friday, September 10, 2021 P26


SEAT Tarraco

SEAT-ed comfortably? All the family could be in new Terraco

PARADOX: SEAT’s latest offering is big and pretty sporty

SHARP: Wing mirrors

BACK IN the day drivers used to love people carriers but, thank heavens, one day the population of the world decided en masse that they were actually very boring and stopped buying them. Who knew, right? These days, if you want a sevenseater to lug the family around you’ll buy an SUV or a crossover. Having seen the writing on the wall and ditched its people carrier, the Alhambra, in 2020 Spanish car maker SEAT, has a new big beast on the market. It’s built to rival the likes of Peugeot’s 5008 and Skoda’s Kodiaq, which, of course, is also the Tarraco’s half-brother. As part of the Volkswagen Audi Group family they share many of the same underpinnings, so it’s really a sibling rivalry. Exterior The Tarraco is a bit of a paradox in terms of looks. SEAT has always had a reputation for making cars that are sporty and the manufacturer would have us believe that this is the sportiest

adjustment on the steering wheel too, so it’s easy to find a pleasant driving position. The infotainment system features an 8.3in touchscreen with DAB radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration. This is standard on all trims and it responds quickly to the touch. Like many tablet-style systems, it has menus and sub-menus that can be really distracting to operate on the move but it’s easier to master than systems you’ll find in the Citroën C5 Aircross or the Peugeot 5008.

TIM MORRIS Motoring Correspondent SUV on the market. It is indeed longer, lower and sleeker than most of its direct rivals, with a number of sporty details to make it stand out. The angular bonnet fins, an Audi style ‘lightbar’ that runs across the boot lid and angular exhaust trims all catch the eye. Unfortunately, they’re all just cosmetic and don’t actually do anything, but that’s not the point here. Our car was the Xcellence model in Reflex Silver. It’s one down from the top spec and comes with 19in alloy wheels, roof rails and lots of chrome effect trim. The mirrors look particularly sharp. Interior The Tarraco’s interior is the best you’ll find in the SEAT range. There’s plenty of high class, softtouch materials covering the visible

INTERIOR: The best you’ll find in SEAT range

surfaces and it compares well with its Skoda Kodiaq and Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace siblings. All cars get seven seats over three rows and there’s plenty of flexible space. You sit relatively high, but not too high. Yes, you can intimidate a few hatchbacks but you’ll still be looking humbly upwards at Land Rover drivers. Front visibility is excellent and all Tarracos have rear parking sensors to compensate for the bulky rear pillars. Our car also came equipped with a rear camera and ‘park assist’ that will park the car for you. The grey Baza cloth sports seats in our vehicle were very supportive and perfectly comfortable for a long run with plenty of adjustment available. There’s plenty of

On the road SEAT’s claim that the Tarraco is ‘sporty’ might be a little oversold but it’s certainly not a fat cat. Our car was the 148bhp 2.0 TDI 150 and although 0-62mph took a leisurely 10.2sec it had masses of grunt in the mid-range for motorway acceleration and, of course, for pulling heavy loads where needed. If you’re a caravan enthusiast this is the one for you but other engines are available and a plug-in hybrid electric version is in the works. The Tarraco has a firmer suspension set-up than most of its rivals, which gives it a sportier feel. There’s no adaptive damping options so what you see is what you get, but it does a good job. The steering is precise and weights up reassuringly as you pick up the pace. It’s relatively engaging through the corners without making it uncomfortable on the motorway. Let’s be honest, it’s still a relatively

Verdict Pros Handles well for an SUV Lots of mid-range grunt Smart interior with lots of kit Cons Limited off-road ability Not the cheapest in class Cramped third row seats Verdict The Tarraco has a lot of character, which is more than can be said for many models in this sector. It’s been named with pride, the old name for the Spanish city of Tarragona, just down the coast from Barcelona, and it feels like a flagship model. There is a lot to like. It’s one of the best cars in the class to drive and it’s really well-equipped. There are more versatile and cheaper SUVs out there but the Tarraco has managed to square the Sports verses Utility circle well, particularly if you lean towards Sports. high SUV so it’s never going to be razor sharp but it certainly won’t make you feel seasick like the Citroen C5 Aircross and is a lot more fun to drive than Peugeot’s rather bland 5008.

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Royal Air Force News Friday, September 10, 2021 P27



5 pages of RAF Sport start here


Hockey players are mixing it up at RAF Halton: p30


Hall avoids wipe-out at Ypres to take first Pairing could clinch world title in Spain FIA JUNIOR World Rally Championship co-driver Phil Hall guided fellow Briton Jon Armstrong to a dominant Ypres Rally Belgium victory, meaning he heads into the final round of the series within sight of clinching the iconic title. The Motorsport UK Team UK rally co-driver steered Armstrong to seven stage wins in their M-Sport Fiesta Rally4, winning the demanding closed-road event by over a minute from their nearest rival. Hall’s result in Belgium puts him just three points shy of the lead of the Junior WRC heading into the final round in Spain in October. “It’s been yet another fantastic victory for Jon and I,” said Hall. “Despite being a new pairing just this season, we have been able to deliver consistent top results all year which has put us in the thick of the battle for a World Championship title and that feels pretty good to say out loud.” The 33-year-old RAF Motorsport

FIA Junior World Rally Champs Ypres, Rally Belgium High Performing Athlete from Nottinghamshire is enjoying a buoyant return to the Junior WRC in 2021 having experienced the gruelling series in both 2018 and 2019. He also contested the series pre-cursor in 2016, which offers him up as arguably the most experienced co-driver on the tour. And that experience showed as the pairing finished the first day with a mammoth 50-second lead on some of the most unforgiving roads in Europe. With inch-perfect placement on the narrow stages a necessity, perfect note delivery from the co-driver’s seat would be an essential factor in success. The slightest hesitation or incorrect pacenote could result in a trip into one of the event’s deep ditches – almost certainly spelling the end of the rally for the driver and co-driver. However, there were no such issues for Hall, who was

WINNING COMBINATION: The Brits in action at Ypres and on the winners' podium, inset

able to help Armstrong manage the pace over the second day to head into Sunday’s short four-stage blast with a significant lead of over one minute, which they duly held on to to climb onto the podium in the legendary Spa Francorchamps race circuit as the only crew to win

two rounds of the Junior WRC this season. “It’s fantastic to scoop a second win of the season on such a tough event on both sides of the car,” said Hall. “The format is very demanding physically and mentally due to the

Crash does for speed king AFTER CRASHING during qualifying at Cadwell Park, RAF Regular & Reserve Kawasaki team rider Ryan Vickers could count himself lucky to be able to race at all that weekend. It had all started perfectly for the 21-year-old airman when he recorded the fastest ever lap around the 2.2-mile circuit (1min 25.816secs) in free practice. But then in qualifying at the Lincolnshire venue he ran wide at Charlie’s corner, skidded on the wet grass and had to lay the bike down before hitting the barriers. The battered and bruised airman managed to race his hastily rebuilt bike that afternoon, and he did well to finish eighth, for eight more valuable championship points. In Sunday’s first race, held over the longer distance of 18 laps, Ryan had to settle for an

British Superbike Champs Cadwell Park eventual ninth. And he was one further down the field, in 10th, in the final race of the meeting – consolidating his 10th place overall in the championship standings. Teammate Lewis Rollo had his own battles in the Pirelli National Superstock Championship, with plenty of work to do in Sunday’s 15-lap race after starting from the seventh row of the grid. An impressive start saw him gain nine places on the opening lap but two laps later the red flag came out due to rain. After the race restarted, now over 10 laps, Lewis finished eighth. The previous week at Donington Park SAC Rollo snatched his first podium place of

the season, with a fantastic third. Vickers had to make do with a sixth and seventh. Ryan said: “It’s been an up and down weekend for sure and although it could have been so much better, three top 10s in the circumstances is a good return. I’m obviously proud to have set the fastest ever two-wheel lap around Cadwell but one small mistake in qualifying determined our weekend and just being a fraction wide had a lot of consequences. “The team did a great job to get the bike rebuilt from top to bottom and everyone worked so hard to get me back on the grid, so that gave me extra motivation to do as well as I could for them. “Unfortunately, I was really battered and bruised from the crash and sore all over but my right knee was my main issue as I couldn’t put enough weight


early starts and late finishes but as a co-driver you really cannot afford to waiver at all on these roads.” RallyRACC Catalunya returns to the World Rally Championship calendar as a pure asphalt event in 2021 and provides a thrilling finale for the Junior WRC in October. CROWD PLEASER: Vickers flies through the 'Mountain' section at Cadwell Park

through the footpeg. That meant I was using my upper body more and, from a physical point of view, they were three hard races around the most physical track in the UK.”

PODIUM PLACE: Rollo, right, at Donington

Royal Air Force News Friday, September 10, 2021 P28


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LEARNING THE ROPES: (From top) RAF Waddington and Digby Saddle Club members, the winning RAF Leeming team, RAF Odiham’s novice equestrians and two riders from the Hampshire station’s club look after the horses

Leeming saddle up for victory

ROOKIE RIDERS have been battling it out in the Inter-Station League at air bases all over the country. And RAF Leeming came out on top as novice equestrians got their first taste of competition. The league sees different station Saddle Clubs compete against each other at grassroots level all season. Participants do not have their own horses – with many having only just learnt to ride. In each round they must complete a dressage test and show jumps on an unfamiliar horse. David Moncrieff, the ISL organiser for RAF Odiham, said: “Clear rounds and some great dressage scores were a great opportunity to practise for the RAF Equitation Championships this month.” League organiser Flt Lt Abi Booth said: “Well done everyone.

ISL results TEAM 1st RAF Leeming 2nd RAF Waddington & Digby 3rd RAF Odiham 4th RAF Marham 5th RAF Brize Norton 6th RAF Lossiemouth INDIVIDUAL 1st Katie Bell, Waddington & Digby 2nd Liam O’Hara, Odiham 3rd Angela Polgreen and Michela Vincent, Leeming 4th Stephen O’Leary, Odiham 5th Laura Birch, Leeming 6th Penelope Bond, Leeming Some of you had some very impressive scores and some of you made your competitive debuts, which is brilliant.”

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Royal Air Force News Friday, September 10, 2021 P29





GOLDEN BOY: Robinson, with ball, during final against USA (and below right)

Murderball gold for exGunner Stu Tokyo joy for former RAF Regiment man Robinson FORMER GUNNER Stuart Robinson has sensationally won a gold medal at his debut Paralympics, in the gruelling sport of wheelchair rugby. The double amputee and his teammates claimed a shock victory over USA in the final of the game dubbed murderball for its uncompromising crashes and brutal smashes. Stuart was injured by an IED on operations with the RAF Regiment in Afghanistan in 2013. He found a path into the sport while recovering at Headley Court and became a key member of the GB squad that won gold at the 2014 Invictus Games in London. He attended the 2016 Rio Paralympics as part of a development programme but this


54 49

was his full Games debut, and he played a massive role in all the matches – especially the final. The team had struggled to reach Tokyo after having their funding slashed by UK Sport after finishing fifth in Rio in 2016, and their training being badly hit by the pandemic. During lockdown Stuart, 39, even fixed archery targets to his garage doors to sharpen up his passing accuracy and used the road outside his home to drill for the sudden bursts needed for the gruelling sport. He said: “I went on eBay to get the targets and although the

neighbours weren’t that pleased by the sound of the rugby ball on the garage doors, they were very understanding and supportive.” Stuart, who is backed by Blesma, The Limbless Veterans charity, added: “We had been preparing for Tokyo for five years but during lockdowns we were not able to get together as a squad so had to devise ways to adapt training to keep it fresh. “We managed to get in some sessions together later on and had a tournament against Denmark and France and followed that with a final training camp at Lilleshall before flying out to Tokyo.” Members of the 12-strong squad were presented with special GB caps to mark their Paralympic selection at a ceremony before leaving for

Japan and their group games. “It is traditional in rugby to get a cap for playing internationally so it was great that it has been adopted for wheelchair rugby too,” added Stuart, from Morecambe, Lancashire, who served in the RAF for 14 years. “I was very proud to serve in the military and have the Union Jack on my sleeve so being able to wear that again is a huge achievement and honour. “I’m proud and privileged to be representing GB and to be part of something that will leave a legacy helping others to get into sport.

“Rugby has given me so much after leaving the military and the camaraderie and teamwork that goes with it, and I hope our efforts at the Paralympics will introduce the sport to other injured veterans.” GB turned the tables on favourites USA in the final to snatch a nail-biting 54-49 victory. The Americans had beaten Stuart and his teammates 50-48 in the pool stage of the competition but always trailed in the final. European champions GB had beaten hosts Japan to reach the decider for gold.

Royal Air Force News Friday, September 10, 2021 P30


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Mixing it up at Halton Mixed 7s Hockey RAF Halton

THE INAUGURAL RAF Hockey Association Mixed 7s Tournament took place at Halton. Babcock and Wycombe HC joined the Service in the competitive round robin event. There was some fine movement by players and the links and individual skills led to some impressive goals. The points were tied with all teams winning a game and losing one, so it went to three-way penalties. An outfield player starts with the ball on the 23m line and has eight seconds to score. After 18 ‘shuffles’, Wycombe HC just pipped it, winning on goal difference. Fg Off Gavin Bantges, RAFHA Mens Mixed Manager said: “It was great to have Mixed Hockey back at RAF Halton, after an 18-month break for Covid-19, and in a slightly different format. “The 7-a-side games kept things punchy, with teams stepping out

STICK SKILLS: Action from the hard-fought tournament PHOTOS: RAF HALTON PHOTOGRAPHIC © MOD

to play attacking hockey from the first whistle. When we return next year, we hope to see a massive uplift in teams supporting the event and look forward to challenging for glory again.”

The women, men and U25s have also been in action, training and preparing for the UKAF Centenary Tournament taking place at HMS Temeraire in Portsmouth this month. ■ If you wish to join the RAF

Hockey Association, please get in touch with your Stn OIC Hockey, check out the RAF Hockey SPOL page, or search on Twitter or Instagram.

Would you like to see your sport featured in RAF News? Send a short report (max 300 words) and a couple of photographs (attached jpegs) to:

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THE RAF Boat Sea Fishing team have retained the Inter-Service Trophy for the 14th year in a row, believed to be the longest retention of an IS sporting trophy in the Service’s history. A team of 10 RAF personnel were selected (nine anglers and one reserve) to defend the IS title, out of Lymington, in the New Forest. Team manager WO Darren Rose said: “That’s it, another Inter-Service Boat Champs done for another year, and a hardfought contest it was. “Because of poor weather the competition was reduced to two days with all teams going straight into the competition without any pr a c t i c e. This was particularly challenging for the visiting RAF and Navy teams.


IS titles on the trot for RAF Boat Sea Fishing Record trophy haul “The fishing itself was pretty good, drifting and anchoring the famous Christchurch ledge with a two-hour stint on inshore sand marks producing an excellent array of species including a random brill and two red mullet to the same angler, one each day. “There were undulate, smalleye and thornback rays, strap conger, gurnard, bream, smoothies, dogfish, pollock, poor cod, mackerel and more pout than I want to remember. “The only wrasse missing from the fancied six was a rockcook, and the mini species fishing was prolific with so many caught it’s difficult to capture each

variant; tompot, dragonet and common blenny for sure.” The final results saw the RAF take gold, Army silver and Navy bronze. RAF Boat winners included Wg Cdr Karl Bird (at his first IS competition), WO Daz Rose, FS Scott Rennie and CT Andy Ogilvie, with six RAF anglers placed in the top 10 overall. ■ The RAF Sea Angling Association (RAFSAA) hosts the RAF Sea Fishing festival and RAF Champs back to back in early October, at RAF Valley, Anglesey. Anyone with an interest in sea angling in both shore and boat disciplines can attend and receive personnel mentoring and tuition from anglers who compete up to national standard. Email: darren.rose389@mod. or: scott.rennie506@mod. for more information.

BEAM: BREAM Rennie FS Scott

BOBBY DAZZLER: WO Daz Rose with a ray, above, and Sgt Darren Paul and FS Scott Rennie with the Inter-Services Trophy the RAF has won 14 times in a row, inset left

It's the late, late show as duo strike at double to snatch victory right at death RAF Pairs, Event 3 Thorney Weir, Middlesex IF YOU’RE looking for a carp lake that ticks all the boxes, then Thorney Weir in Middlesex – the venue for this RAF Pairs event – is certainly it. With open water, islands, quiet tree-lined bays and sunken barges to target, it’s got it all. After a day of torrential rain the fish started feeding in the evening and Sgt Stuart Thomson landed the first of the match from peg 2, slipping the net under a scale perfect 20lb 5oz common. Soon after, in the quiet bay of peg 10, Sgt Jim Thomas landed his first fish with a 15lb common gracing the net before a 23lb mirror for Thomson and WO Richard Cooke saw them take the lead going in to the first night. The early morning score update showed that it had been relatively quiet during the hours of darkness with a 17lb 5oz mirror for Mr Mark Jarvis in peg 13 and a 19lb 14oz common for Fg Off Martyn Woodcock in Peg 7 being landed. As the morning progressed and temperatures rose, the bites

CARP KINGS: Victors Sgt Jim Thomas & FS Lee Wharlton, above, and with other winners, right

started to come from around the lake. In the space of an hour seven fish were landed, all from different swims, with the pick of the bunch being a dark 34lb 9oz common for Mr Emrys Sampson in peg 6. Confidence was now high, however the morning feeding spell was over as quickly as it started and no more fish were landed throughout the day. This left the match finally balanced with every pair aware that they were still in contention as feeding spots were

primed for the last night. Throughout the hours of darkness bobbins sat motionless, however as dawn broke on the final morning the match was about to spring into life. In peg 5, two fish in 30 minutes, a 19lb 7oz common for Pte Ross Lindsey and 20lb 12oz mirror for Sgt Killian Hallett, propelled the pair into the lead on 61lb 14oz. This was short-lived though as just 30 minutes later a third fish of the match was landed by Jarvis and Flt

Lt Jay Vaughan in peg 13, a stunning 27lb 4oz common taking them into first place on 67lb. Having landed the biggest fish of the match on the first day, a second for Emrys and Paul Sampson in peg 6 pushed them into contention with a 26lb 7oz common taking them up to third on 61lb. Minutes later though it was all change again as two fish were landed in peg 9, a 19lb 2oz mirror for Sgt Tony Jones and 25lb 8oz common for FS Matt Hunt, sending them into second place on 63lb 14 oz. With under two hours remaining there was now less than 10lb between first and fifth and with carp over 40lb swimming in the depths before them, the pairs lower down in the standings were still only one fish away from being in contention. Tucked away in the quiet back bay of peg 10 the sound of a bite

alarm broke the silence and Sgt Jim Thomas and FS Lee Wharlton sprang into action, a 17lb 10oz mirror closing the gap on the leading pairs and putting them 21lb off the top spot. With the sun now beating down on the anglers the chances of one last bite looked to be slowly slipping away, but with just minutes remaining Sgt Jim Thomas struck again, netting a 22lb 4oz specimen to snatch the lead by just over 1lb right at the death. RESULT 1st FS Wharlton and Sgt Thomas – 4 fish – 68lb 8oz 2nd Flt Lt Vaughan and Mr Jarvis – 3 fish – 67lb 3rd FS Hunt and Sgt Jones – 3 fish – 63lb 14oz

66p ISSN 0035-8614 36 >

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With so much uncertainty over foreign holidays this year staycations have become king. That's why hundreds of thousands have booked breaks at home, packing popular resorts and causing prices to skyrocket. It's time to do something totally different, avoid the crowds and make lasting memories

Escape the crowds in hauntingly beautiful Northumberland

Tim Morris


ITH SWEEPING landscapes, sandy beaches and more castles than any other English county, Northumberland has it all. It’s also the leastpopulated place in England, so if you’re looking to avoid the crowds it’s the perfect hidden gem. It’s one of the UK’s most unspoilt holiday destinations, featuring a staggering 64-mile coastline, the Hadrian’s Wall UNESCO World Heritage Site and the Northumberland National Park. What’s more, we’ve found the perfect accommodation.

Stay We hit gold with the imposing Chillingham Castle, allegedly the most haunted house in England. You can holiday in one of the castle’s many well-appointed, selfcatering apartments at any time of the year. It’s elegant, it’s comfortable and somehow overwhelmingly intriguing, whether you have an interest in spectres or not. From the moment you arrive you know that your stay is going to be something special. We were shown to the ‘Lookout’ apartment, right at the top of the tallest tower. We passed through the great courtyard, then into a winding spiral staircase that led up and up. Fifty-five steps we climbed before we reached our door and walked into the Lookout's cleanly whitewashed hallway. Directly opposite stood a halfopen door through which we could see the bathroom and, to our left, another door that led to a quaint sitting room. Walking to the window, I realised that the apartment had the finest views of the gardens and surrounding mountains. In one corner of the room a small kitchen area has been added, equipped with a full-sized cooker, a fridge, a toaster and a sink. The cupboards were well stocked with all the cutlery and implements needed for a self-sufficient stay in this grand medieval fortress. The apartment sleeps up to five, with a five-night stay in October costing under £600. Of course rates vary throughout the year but for a family stay it’s surprisingly affordable, especially considering the opulent surroundings. Guests enjoy free access to the castle grounds so an early start was possible. Within only a few minutes

COAST AND CASTLE: Gardens, courtyard and suit of armour at Chillingham Castle, below left, a 20-minute drive from the sea

Chillingham's got ghosts and glamour

we encountered a mother deer and Grey family (think Earl Grey Tea her two fawns. They emerged from etc) and Sir Humphrey comes from the woodland and stopped to graze a long line of adventurers. right in front of us before vanishing Chillingham is full of stories. It’s back to the safety of the trees. High not just somewhere to stay, it’s an above a red squirrel jumped from immersive experience at any time branch to branch. of the year. Summer, Christmas and Next we walked down to the Halloween all have massive appeal. lakes where guests can fish (for a small fee) and took in the postcard Downsides view. By now the main part of the The classic furniture is, as you castle was being made ready to would imagine, well worn so open to the public and we headed don't expect pristine reproduction back. The castle is open to settees. The bed in the small the public from Easter single room isn’t the to the end of October. most comfortable and As guests we’d seen floors creak every a lot already but time you move. now we were going Because Chillingham to explore the is a totally original castle’s State Rooms, medieval castle the Dungeons and trunking for modern Torture Chamber. You wiring stands out oms could visit Chillingham here and there too. On HOMELY: Ro a dozen times and discover the spiral staircase there something new on each are too many narrow steps for visit. Every room has a different the very elderly or infirm and character, packed with antiquities children under the age of 10 are not and souvenirs brought back from permitted in the Lookout at all. far off lands. There are plenty of other The present owners, Sir apartments available however, Humphrey Wakefield and his wife, either in the main castle or in the the Hon. Lady Wakefield, began nearby Coaching Rooms. If you’re renovating the castle in 1982 and planning to bring your dog though, have only recently decided to open it’s not for you because pets are not their home to paying guests. allowed anywhere in the grounds. Much of Chillingham’s unique character comes from the family Relax who own it. Lady Wakefield is a Northumberland, England’s direct descendent of the original most northern county, is a place of

great natural beauty, particularly its spectacular coastline. You can watch the world go by on one of its many stunning beaches. They’re just 20 minutes away from the castle by car. We made several trips to nearby Bamburgh (pronounced Bamborough) where we found the perfect spot. If sunbathing’s not your thing, there are endless relaxing beach walks to enjoy or you could spend your day out exploring incredible nature reserves. Alternatively, consider taking a boat trip to the unspoilt Farne Islands, or perhaps teeing off on one of England’s oldest golf clubs at Alnmouth Bay. Adventure Many people come to Chillingham looking for adventure and are pleasantly surprised. Within the grounds there’s an astonishing attraction where you can see the only Wild Cattle left in the world, sole survivors of herds that once roamed the forests of Britain. This comes at an extra cost but it’s well worth an afternoon. Then there’s the headline attraction... ghosts. Chillingham is widely regarded as the most haunted house in England and there are parts of the castle where the hairs on the back of your neck do stand up and you can book ghost tours in the dead of night. There are many historically recorded ghost sightings to read about but I decided to ask the

people who currently live here if they’ve ever seen anything. Astonishingly they have. When the housekeeper first started working at Chillingham she saw a big man in a period blue suit watching her. Over the next few days he was always in the same place whenever she walked in, but after a week he’d gone. The gardener has had many more experiences, including hearing footsteps approach while working alone and seeing several inexplicable things including a huge dark shadow in the doorway of the prehistoric bone room, a little girl who actually said hello to him by the chapel and a large, framed display that was walked loudly across the room by an invisible entity in front of him. No spectres came to visit us in the Lookout however and the rooms all had a warm, friendly feel. When to Visit Northumberland offers something different with every season. Summer temperatures can reach around 24 degrees (and did during our stay), while winter temperatures drop just below zero. You can expect to see a fair snowfall in the depths of winter too, which can give it a truly magical feel. ■ See and for more.

Royal Air Force News Friday, September 10, 2021 R'n'R 4

R'n'R The Big Event Silent Witness


Priscilla Queen of the Desert


Antidote to Covid


ET READY to be transported on a trip Down Under as the much-loved hit musical Priscilla Queen of the Desert continues on tour. The show promises more glitter than ever before and features a dazzling array of stunning costumes and a non-stop parade of dancefloor classics including It’s Raining Men, I Will Survive, I Love The Nightlife, Finally and many more. Based on the Oscar-winning film, Priscilla is the hilarious adventure of three friends who hop aboard a battered old bus bound for Alice Springs to put on the show of a lifetime. Their TOUR: Jason and Priscilla Queen of the Desert stars epic journey has been described as a heartwarming story of self- My World and MacArthur Park and passionate about. Let’s just hope discovery, sassiness and acceptance. it’s just such a happy, upbeat show that we’re now turning a corner.” This new production marks about everyone getting on and This is his first time as a Jason Donovan’s first time as a living together. That’s very relevant producer, what does he most enjoy producer, having performed in at this time.” about that side of the business? the cast of the original West End How did it feel when the tour “I’m 52, I’ve had a lot of production and two subsequent had to be paused because of the experience I suppose, I enjoy UK tours. pandemic? people, I enjoy actors, and I’ve put He explained why he thinks Donovan said: “It was on a number of my own shows Priscilla is the perfect post- disappointing but we always have to where I’ve had to produce them lockdown show: “It’s escapism put people’s health and safety first. myself,” Donovan said. and it’s a story about overcoming Theatre is a very tribal experience “So I guess I bring experience adversity. Plus as a musical it’s sort and it requires crowds. You need to the table. For me, the most of a celebration of life. Musicals to laugh, cry and be embarrassed important thing was to be a proper, are the perfect antidote to what all together in the same room. You hands-on producer, not just a ‘stunt’ we’ve been through because we need to cheer and have hope amidst producer, so someone high profile need escapism. And even though lots of other people. who can bring another name to Priscilla can be harsh and tough at “I guess the difficult thing was the publicity aspect of it. I’ve raised times in the subjects it deals with – the uncertainty of when everything money for the show and am very it’s not Disney, put it that way – it was put on pause and for a lot of much involved in it.” taps into that thing of ‘I will survive’. people it’s about financial worries n Go to: for “You’ve got songs like Colour as well as something they’re so more information.


Being Mr Wickham UK tour

By George

Austen's lovable rogue returns A

DRIAN LUKIS (Vera, Poldark, Downton Abbey) sheets on exactly what happened 30 years on from stars in Being Mr Wickham, written by Lukis and where we left him. Discover his own version of some Catherine Curzon – a one-man play about one very famous literary events. What really happened of Jane Austen’s most charmingly roguish with Darcy? What did he feel about Lizzie? What characters. happened at Waterloo? Not to mention Byron… Lukis, who starred as Wickham in the Lukis said of the production: “I’m thrilled to be renowned BBC TV adaptation of Pride and reunited with my old friend, George Wickham. Prejudice, returns to the eponymous role Having spent years defending his dubious this autumn following the acclaimed online reputation, I look forward to finally setting the record production of Being Mr Wickham earlier this straight, with the assistance of the immensely year. talented Original Theatre Company.” The show is produced by Original Rarely off the small screen, Lukis’s Theatre Company, award-winning most recent TV credits include producer of hit online productions of Channel 4’s Feel Good, the 2019 Birdsong and Apollo 13: The Dark Side mini-series A Christmas of the Moon. Carol starring Guy Pearce, Lukis said: “Mr Wickham is Bulletproof, Collateral, blessed with such happy manners The Crown, Grantchester as may ensure his making friends – and Blair Toast in Toast whether he may be equally capable of London. He also stars of retaining them is less certain.” in the new Netflix series The play tours from September Anatomy of a Scandal, due 30 to November 6 and visits theatres to be streamed this year. at venues including Coventry, Films include Judy, Dolittle, Chipping Norton, Darlington, York, City Slacker and Bertie & Guildford and Eastbourne. Dickie. m a h As Wick Audiences will join Wickham, on n Go to: LUKIS: the eve of his 60th birthday, to lift the for tour details.

MILIA FOX as Dr Nikki Alexander and David Caves as Jack Hodgson return to the Lyell Centre to investigate five distinctive cases told across 10 episodes in the new series – the 24th – of BBC One’s long-running drama Silent Witness. When Jack and Nikki enter a high security prison to investigate the suspicious death of an inmate, the case brings up disturbing memories for Nikki. The victim’s cellmate is Scott Weston (Elliot Tittensor) – the student responsible for a mass shooting she witnessed 10 years earlier. Nikki becomes increasingly convinced that Scott is their prime suspect, but Jack worries she is not following the evidence. Fox said: “We were a week away from filming Series 24 when lockdown happened, so there was a massive amount of disappointment and sadness not to be starting filming. When we were allowed to start up again, we felt very grateful. Silent Witness has always had a great loyalty from crew and production, so it was a lovely feeling to be able to work and be back together again. “The storylines had to adapt as we were filming under Covid restrictions, the writers tackled this by containing us in certain locations, as we couldn’t do as much filming around London. This series feels more about the conversation, characters, and cases.”


ew regular Jason Wong has joined the cast as forensic psychologist Adam Yuen. Fox explained: “Adam comes in with a new energy which puts Jack’s nose out of joint, I think mostly because Jack is missing Clarissa [Liz Carr] so the idea of someone being a replacement to Clarissa is too much for him to accept. Adam also has a confidence which disrupts the dynamic between them all. “Jack comes to a place in the series where he’s dependent on Adam, which unites them – they both get to be vulnerable, which is what this series delves into a lot more.” She added: “We also see her relationship with Jack change a little bit. They don’t have significant others in their personal lives, Jack and Nikki rely on each other. They are two single people, and their brother/sister relationship changes, and they look at each other with slightly different eyes. “Her commitment to work has had a damaging effect on her personal relationships – she decides not to go to Washington to be with Matt and if you go way back, she has a very complicated relationship with her dad which impacts her personal relationships.”


aves described getting back into character after a slightly longer break because of Covid as ‘an absolute godsend.’ He said: “It was a joy to get back and see everyone and start filming. Everyone went above and beyond and pulled together in a way I haven’t really seen before.

NEW DYNAMIC: Adam, Nikki and Jack

New m

Cocky psycho

Royal Air Force News Friday, September 10, 2021 R'n'R 5

Competition Books

Spitfire Ace of Aces

Spitting images A

man on the scene

IR VICE-MARSHAL James Edgar ‘Johnnie’ Johnson became the RAF’s top-scoring fighter pilot of World War II. A one-time household name synonymous with the superlative Spitfire, Johnnie’s aerial combat successes inspired schoolboys for generations. As a ‘lowly Pilot Officer’, he learned his fighter pilot’s craft as a protégé of the legless Tangmere Wing Leader Douglas Bader. After Bader was brought down over France and captured on August 9, 1941, Johnnie remained a member of 616 (South Yorkshire) Squadron, became a flight commander and was awarded the DFC a month after Bader’s devastating loss. In time, Johnnie came to command a Canadian wing in 1943, when the Spitfire Mk.IX at last outclassed the Fw 190, and participated in some of the most important battles of the defeat of Nazi Germany, including Operation Overlord and the D-Day



Covid protocols, which is so rare. It was nice to go on set and have a rehearsal with the director and cast and I was able to watch and listen and ask lots of questions.” He said: “I would describe Adam as a typical millennial – he wants things now, he wants it fast and jumps in with both feet. He’s very direct and forthright and treads on

everyone’s toes in the beginning because he wants to impress and do a great job. “But his need to impress his colleagues sets him on the wrong path. There are some nice moments of comedy as he’s trying to find himself in the team dynamic.” n Silent Witness continues on BBC One at 9pm on Mondays.

In which year was Johnnie Johnson awarded the DFC? Email your answer, marked Johnnie Johnson book competition, to: or post it to: RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe HP14 4UE, to arrive by September 24.

Fabulous Films Ltd/Fremantle Media Enterprises

What's Eating Gilbert Grape? (12) Blame it on Rio (15)


DECKCHAIR SNUBBERS: Jack and Nikki (David Caves and Emilia Fox) on the beach

landings in 1944, Operation Market Garden and the airborne assault at Arnhem.| In Spitfire Ace of Aces The Album, The Photographs of Johnnie Johnson by Dilip Sarkar (pen- Johnnie’s remarkable career is revealed through this unparalleled collection of archive photographs, the majority drawn from his own personal album or from other members of the Johnson family. Many have not been published before. We have copies of the book to win – to be in with a chance tell us:


ologist rocks boat for Nikki and Jack To be able to get the show up and running and all the parts of it – all the cogs that must turn together – is no mean feat. I take my hat off to production and the crew, who worked relentlessly and tirelessly to get the show done.” Adam’s arrival slightly upsets the balance of the team, Caves explained: “Adam is quite a cocky guy, very bright, very clever and Jack is a bit suspicious of him, so there’s definite friction between the two of them. Nikki is slightly more welcoming and trusting, she doesn’t see that tension initially and they get along fine. Jack’s a bit more like ‘I’m not sure about you yet Mr’. Wong admitted that joining Silent Witness felt ‘exciting and daunting in the beginning because you’re joining such an established BBC show’. He added: “But I was made to feel really at ease by Emilia and David and the crew. “I was lucky, because we had a pre-screen day which was like a rehearsal to help work out


VAILABLE FOR the first time on Blu-ray, the tender drama What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? stars Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio and Juliette Lewis. In a backwater Iowa town, Gilbert (Depp) struggles to take care of his mentally disabled brother, Arnie (DiCaprio), and provide for the rest of the family. But after falling for the stranded Becky (Lewis), Gilbert discovers exciting new possibilities for his life. Director Lasse Hallström started out by directing ABBA’s music videos and went on to direct My Life as a Dog, The Cider House Rules and Chocolat. We have copies of Gilbert Grape up for grabs on Blu-ray and DVD. For your chance to own one, answer this question correctly: Who directed What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? Email your answer, marked Gilbert Grape competition, to: or post it to: RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High

Depp & Caine classics

Wycombe, HP14 4UE, to arrive by September 24. Please state on your entry if you prefer to win the film on Blu-ray or DVD. WE ALSO have copies of Blame it on Rio on DVD to win. On arriving in exotic Rio de Janeiro, long-time friends Matthew (Michael Caine) and Victor (Joseph Bologna) and their teenage daughters (Demi Moore and Michelle Johnson) barely unpack before this infamous pleasure spot begins to cast its torrid spell. Matthew quickly succumbs to Cupid’s arrow, but when guilt gets the better of this married man, he vows to end the affair and keep it a secret... even from Victor. To be in with a chance of winning a copy, send us the correct answer – marked Rio competition – to the following question, either by email or post, to the addresses above, to arrive by September 24: Which British movie stars leads the cast of Blame it on Rio?

Royal Air Force News Friday, September 10, 2021 R'n'R 6

R'n'R Your Announcements

You can email photos for announcements on this page to:

Deaths LEDGER Bryan, March 21, 1937 – August 5, 2021. It is with heavy hearts that we have to announce that our father, Bryan Ledger, peacefully and unexpectedly passed away on August 5. Bryan had served for 27 years in the Royal Air Force, attaining the rank of Flight Sergeant as a Personnel Administrator upon his discharge in Germany on December 11, 1981, where he had been working as the Chief Clerk at RAFH Wegburg. Other units he had served at included: AFCENT RAF Debden, RAF Bawdsey Manor, RAF Sealand, RAF Ely, and RAF Leuchars Bryan was cremated in Germany and his remains will be brought back to the UK to be interred into the grave where his father and late wife are also buried. He will be sadly missed by all his family and friends. Rest in Peace

Linda, Dean, Christopher.

Sgt Tony Roe TREEN Michael. Ex Corporal armourer and Flt Lt. It is with great sadness that I have to report his passing. He was a great friend of mine for 58 years. He served in Cyprus and eventually Scampton, where he was a nav on the Vulcan. One of life’s good guys. Will be sadly missed by the children of his late wife Evelyn, Catherine and Andrew, and Jane his present wife. Rest in peace my friend. Michael Clayton, ex Corporal RAF

FS Bryan Ledger ROE Anthony. Former RAF Supplier Sgt Anthony Roe (Tony) passed away on August 5 at Withybush Hospital, Haverfordwest after a long battle with heart failure. He joined the RAF in 1959 serving at many units, none more so than RAF Brawdy with three tours before retiring in 1994. He will be sadly missed by his family that cared for him over the last five years:

Cpl Michael Treen

Seeking A member of the RAF Association, Beccles and Southwold Area Branch, is appealing to the families and anyone who knew 1579140 LAC Wilfred Holbrook from Long Eaton, Derby and 1777072 LAC Norman Parker, RAF Regiment, of the

Blakelaw area of Newcastle upon Tyne to make contact. Both were killed in action on June 11, 1946 at Medan Airfield, Sumatra by Sukarno terrorists. The purpose of the appeal is to convey to any surviving family members the knowledge that, following the death of their relatives, a full military funeral was arranged for these brave airmen, attended by our member and all conducted with full military honours and great respect. In full accord with the Data Protection Act 2018, any information can be forwarded in confidence to President Brian Vousden, RAFA Beccles and Southwold Area, email: lancaster457@

Reunions DID you serve at RAF Changi or at HQFEAF Singapore? The RAF Changi Association (inc. HQFEAF) founded May 1996 welcomes new members from all ranks, ex RAF/WRAF/WAAF and civilian personnel who served at RAF Changi (inc. HQFEAF ) during 1946-72. For more information please contact our Membership Secretary: Malcolm Flack on: 01494 728562 or email: MemSecChangi@outlook. com or visit: www.rafchangi. com for more details. RAF Bawdsey Reunion Association. Having cancelled our 2020 reunion, we were planning the next reunion for June 5, 2021, but the continuing Covid-19 restrictions made it impossible to hold a successful reunion for our members, so the June 5 event was cancelled. A consensus showed that members were not in favour of a reunion in September 2021, therefore we have provisionally planned the next reunion for Saturday,

How to use our service There is no charge for conventionally-worded birth, engagement, marriage, anniversary, death, in memoriam seeking and reunion notices. For commercial small ads contact Edwin Rodrigues on: 07482 571535. We cannot, under any circumstances, take announcements over the telephone. They can be sent by email to: Please note that due to the coronavirus pandemic we are currently unable to accept notices submitted by post.

Important Notice The publishers of RAF News cannot accept responsibility for the quality, safe delivery or operation of any products advertised or mentioned in this publication. Reasonable precautions are taken before advertisements are accepted but such acceptance does not imply any form of approval or recommendation. Advertisements (or other inserted material) are accepted subject to the approval of the publishers and their current terms and conditions. The publishers will accept an advertisement or other inserted material only on the condition that the advertiser warrants that such advertisement does not in any way contravene the provisions of the Trade Descriptions Act. All copy is subject to the approval of the publishers, who reserve the right to refuse, amend, withdraw or otherwise deal with advertisements submitted to them at their absolute discretion and without explanation. All advertisements must comply with the British Code of Advertising Practice. Mail order advertisers are required to state in advertisements their true surname or full company name, together with an address from which the business is managed.

May 21, 2022, before The Queen’s Jubilee celebrations and the extended public holidays in early June, and we look forward to seeing our friends again then. In the meantime we wish you all a safe and healthy time as the roadmap out of lockdown progresses. If you have any queries please email: doreen. bawdseyreunion@btinternet. com or call: 07513 301723.

RAFAA Association IF you trained as an RAF Administrative Apprentice (or perhaps you are related to an ex-RAF Administrative Apprentice) we would be delighted to welcome you to the RAFAAA. Our aim is to promote friendship and general wellbeing among our veterans, via social gatherings and assorted activities, as devised by an elected committee, and a regular newsletter. Check our website for details: or, alternatively, contact the Membership Secretary on: 07866 085834 or Chairman on: 01933 443673. We know you are out there and we want to hear from you.

Plea to help locate a Trenchard sculpture READER MIKE Jenvey is asking for help to find a sculpture of ‘Father of the Royal Air Force’ Lord Trenchard. Mike said: “The sculpture was last seen in an anteroom alcove at the Officers’ Mess, RAF Newton – since closed of course – over 20 years ago. “It was on display in an RAF art exhibition – ‘Highly Commended’ – about 197273. The portrait head was lifesize, hatless, looking straight forwards with a slight smile, modelled in fibreglass resin with a bronze finish and mounted on a drum-shaped wooden base engraved with details including the name of the artist, Wg Cdr Alan Robertson.


“Any information to try to reunite the sculpture with the artist is appreciated.” Please email Mike at: if you can help.

Honour for RAFA standard bearer

Britannia appeal AN APPEAL has gone out for volunteers to help preserve a historic aircraft – the first Bristol Britannia. XM496 ‘Regulus’ (below) is the last full ex-Royal Air Force Britannia left in the world and since 1997 has been kept as a static display, housed at Cotswold Airport, formerly RAF Kemble, and looked after by the Britannia XM496 Preservation Society. Known as ‘the Whispering Giant’ because of its quiet exterior noise and smooth flying, the aircraft joined RAF service in 1960 at Lyneham with 99 and 511 Squadrons. It moved to Brize Norton in 1970 and was eventually withdrawn in 1975, moving to RAF Kemble for storage. Retired Wg Cdr Brian Weatherley, from the Society, is appealing for more volunteers to help maintain the Britannia. He said volunteers don’t need expertise, just enthusiasm, ■ Go to the Society’s website: for further information.


WHEN THE Aylesford and Malling Branch of the RAF Association held a lunch recently to celebrate its 25 years in existence, special mention was made of Branch Standard Bearer Malcolm Bennett, writes Ted Bates, the branch’s life vice-president. “For nearly all of those 25 years Mr Bennett had paraded the standard annually at RAFA conferences, St Clement Danes and Battle of Britain services at Westminster Abbey and Capel-le-Ferne BoB Memorial,” Ted explained. “He paraded the standard at the unveiling of the RAFA Memorial at the National Arboretum, and on other special occasions at the RAF Memorial Runnymede, St Paul’s Cathedral, Canterbury Cathedral and York Minster.” For his outstanding dedication Mr Bennett was awarded a Presidential Certificate, RAFA’s highest honour. In its 25 years the Aylesford and Malling Branch has contributed £168,700 to the RAFA Wings Appeal, which provides help for serving and retired RAF personnel and their families in times of need.

Royal Air Force News Friday, September 10, 2021 R'n'R 7

R'n'R Your Announcements

You can email photos for announcements on this page to:

Quest to trace chest's owner

READER RONALD Templeman is on a quest to trace the relatives of an RAF pilot who served in the 1950s and 60s – and possibly longer. Ron said: “A close friend of mine has found a largish rusty chest in his late mother’s garage that belonged to Flt Lt Rex Goring-Morris, with lots of his stuff. “My friend would love to find either Flt Lt GoringMorris or his relations and return it to them. “We think he became a Wing Commander in 1968 and a member of the Joint

Services Staff College. “He was born on October 17, 1926 in Worthing, Sussex, his wife’s maiden name was Heather Bartram. “On the chest is Morris 281, also another number came up – 213 and No 11 Group flight command May 19, 1955.” The chest and items are currently in Radlett, Hertfordshire.

O If you can help Ron in his search please email him on: ron.templeman@btinternet. com or call: 01923 858170 or mobile: 07484 606020.

MYSTERY MAN: Clockwise, from left, in this Central Flying School group photograph from 1950 Rex is in second row, far right; Rex's flying log books; a sketch of him; and a photo found in the rusty chest

Fallen remembered AT A moving service at Chester Cathedral last month a bronze plaque was dedicated in memory of the 79 pilots and ground crew of 610 (County of Chester) Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force, who gave their lives during World War II. The service was led by Dr Tim Stratford, Dean of the cathedral. The plaque was the inspiration of Dr Michael R Oliver and his son Mark, who own Oliver Valves in Knutsford where a small museum to 610 Sqn is based. The plaque (inset) was completed some time ago, but the dedication could not take place in the presence of members of the 610 Squadron Association, the RAuxAF and the RAuxAF Foundation until recent Covid restrictions were relaxed. Dr Oliver said: “We have all been remiss in waiting

over 75 years to remember these brave young men who lost their lives and gave us our freedom. It is with the utmost gratitude that our plaque has been dedicated and now hangs on these hallowed walls”. Gp Capt Bob Kemp, a former Inspector of the RAuxAF, gave an overview of the history of the Au x i l i a r i e s and Michael L e w i s , chairman of 610 Sqn Association, spoke in detail of the squadron’s losses and successes during WWII. The lesson was read by the Lord Lieutenant of Cheshire, David Briggs, and prayers, including the RAuxAF prayer, were led by the Dean. The Commandant General, AVM Ranald Monro, was in attendance. The service was followed by a lunch held in the cathedral hosted by Dr Oliver and his wife, Jennifer.

Royal Air Force News Friday, September 10, 2021 R'n'R 8

R'n'R Prize Crossword

Send entries to the address printed in the adjacent Su Doku panel.

No. 299

Solve the crossword, then rearrange the 10 letters in yellow squares to find an RAF station

Across 7. In scoop, a question was less than clear (6) 8. Bolster prisoner-of-war who is indisposed inside (6) 10. Horseman has a Rolls-Royce consumed by wildfire (7) 11. Peels back for some shuteye (5) 12. Lear’s madness is genuine (4) 13. Second hammer, say, used on chair (5) 17. Hunt down the leading competition (5) 18. Electronic heavyweight found where Dave and Boris went (4) 22. Doctor found on eastern type of aircraft (5) 23. Missing 100, 100, aim corgi at Japanese art (7) 24. And 4 Down. Commits Bosnia to arrange RAF operation (6,7) 25. Frequency glare affects aviation (6)

Name ................................................................................................................... Address ............................................................................................................... .............................................................................................................................. .............................................................................................................................. RAF station:.................................................................... Crossword No. 299

The Djinn In cinemas Sept 17

No. 309 Fill in all the squares in the grid so that each row, each column and each 3x3 square contains all the digits from 1 to 9.

Down 1. Lettuce ex-President has at station (7) 2. Best path for golfers to take? (7) 3. Trophy I would give to boy archer (5) 4. See 24 Across 5. Nimble group of planes? (5) 6. Replaces south-west health club going backwards (5) 9. Top rector confused by RAF aircraft (9) 14. Football club with many big guns? (7) 15. Smashing garnets: most peculiar (7) 16. A cross that is totally outside butterflies (7) 19. Newsman I caught by law (5) 20. Company has one Frenchman after another before a pause is indicated (5) 21. Insect has consumed the Italian horse (5)


Prize Su Doku

Solutions should be sent in a sealed envelope marked 'Su Doku' with the number in the top left-hand corner to RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe, Bucks, HP14 4UE, to arrive by September 24, 2021.

Across – 1. Fava 8. Bonsai Tree 9. Northolt 10. Tuba 12. Valley 14. Adonis 15. Rip-off 17. Pushed 18. Inca 19. Yardbird 21. Waddington 22. Damp Down – 2. Allocation 3. Abet 4. Snoopy 5. Mantra 6. Stations 7. Feta 11. Bridegroom 13. Leonardo 16. Flying 17. Pirate 18. Iowa 20. Band RAF role – Chief of the Air Staff

Djinn sling

................................................................................. Address .................................................................. ................................................................................. ....................................................Su Doku No. 309

Solution to Su Doku No: 308

■ The winner of Crossword No. 298 is Mrs V Todd of County Durham. Solution to Crossword No. 298:

Name ......................................................................

■ The winner of Su Doku No. 308 is Geoff Hem of Chatham.

Music Lissie

Catching A Tiger

Lissie back to her roots


Demonic genie in the flat A

MUTE boy finds a dusty leather-bound book with a pentagram on the cover that says it can fill his heart’s greatest desire – surely nothing could go wrong. Set in the 1980s (maybe just to include some 80s style synth in the score), Dylan (Ezra Dewey) has just moved into a small apartment with his radio DJ father now that his mother is no longer around – even though the dialogue is signed, it is still exposition heavy. They unpack and try to settle down before dad Michael (Rob Brownstein) has to head out for his night shift broadcasting. This gives Dylan enough time to continue exploring his new digs, returning to the cupboard where he spied the foreboding Book of Shadows. Gathering the bits needed to fulfil this dark ritual, he lights a candle and signs the text from the book into the mirror – unleashing the djinn. And so, all the young boy needs to do now for his wish to be granted

is survive an hour in this cramped three-room flat with the satanic demon he just invoked. The djinn is a shapeshifter and so takes on different forms while pursuing the boy from room to room, though the scariest would have to be its natural ghoulish appearance which, used sparingly, is pretty unsettling. Setting the film in this small space is clever in as much as we learn the layout quickly, knowing that if the monster is in the kitchen, there is only one way past it. However, it does stifle variety and the cat and mouse chase can’t help but become repetitive, kept alive with the constant jolt of jump scares. Simple to the point of feeling like one protracted scene, this house invasion horror gets a little stuck for ideas and leaves itself with nowhere to go. 2 roundels out of 5 Review by Sam Cooney

AKING THE most of lockdown by using it as an opportunity for reflection, singersongwriter Lissie has returned to her roots with a two-part retrospective campaign taking her back to the formative years of her career. She has gone back to the very beginning by sharing the previously unreleased single Watch Over Me, written by the 21-year-old Lissie a good six years before she broke through with her landmark debut album Catching A Tiger. “Watch Over Me is a song that I wrote when I moved to LA in 2004,” she said. “I had dropped out of college and moved to this wild, busy city where I barely knew a soul. I was moved, in a spiritual moment, to say a little prayer for protection as I navigated my early 20s, big city life and the music industry. “I’d been studying in France just prior to my move and was also partying a lot back then, so I found this song to be very grounding to write and perform.” The single is the opening track on Watch Over Me (Early Works 2002-2009), released on September 10. The nine-track collection traces Lissie’s early development as a songwriter and artist, taking her from the end of her teens to the edge of a global breakthrough. That moment came in 2010, with Catching A Tiger, which would eventually sell 300,000 copies

LISSIE: The talented songwriter went from college dropout to a global music star

worldwide, achieving gold status in the UK in recognition of 100,000 sales. A rush of transatlantic critical acclaim included a Q Award nomination for Best Breakthrough Act. An Anniversary Edition of Catching A Tiger is the first instalment in Lissie’s rootsy retrospection, released last month. It adds five songs to the original track listing, all recorded during the original album sessions with producers Jacquire King (Tom Waits, Modest Mouse) and Bill Reynolds. Lissie added: “Catching A Tiger was the album that gave me a

career. In high school, I dreamed of being a professional musician, and I definitely encountered more doubters than believers. During my early 20s, I was living in Hollywood trying to figure out how to support myself. I really admire the younger version of me who faced a lot of setbacks and personal hardships, but never doubted for one second I was going to make this happen in some way, shape or form. I think about the resilience I had to make that album in the first place. It means a lot to me.” ■ Go to: for more details.

Profile for RAF News

RAF News 10 Sept 2021  

RAF News 10 Sept 2021  

Profile for rafnews

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