The Forcesit' e favourer pap
Path Finder book See p16-17
Jilly Cooper latest
See R'n'R p4
Great new DVDs See R'n'R p3
Friday August 13 2021 No. 1518 70p
New look for the
Royal HAir Force Regulations relaxed to better reflect modern Britain
Olympic run over
World title race still on
We have lift-off STAR WARS: CAS Sir Mike Wigston
AD ASTRA: New badge worn by Space Operators; right, UK Defence satellite blasts off on a rocket in India in 2019 Photo: Cpl Lee Matthews
CHIEF OF the Air Staff, ACM Sir Mike Wigston, officially stood up UK Space Command to combat the growing ‘Star Wars’ threat from Russia and China. He presented Britain’s latest Space Operators with the new specially designed badge at a ceremony at High Wycombe. The RAF’s first Space Commander, AVM Paul Godfrey, said: “We are now on the path to lead space operations to protect UK and allied interests in space.” See p5 and p19.
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±ŸĜčĹĜĀÏ±ĹƋ reduction in fees. In 2019/20 this meant that our Forces families paid just 10% of fees. In 2020/21 8ŅųÏåŸü±ĵĜĬĜåŸƵĜĬĬŞ±ƼģƚŸƋƊĿĂĂŞåųƋåųĵØŞåųÏĘĜĬÚŠƵĜƋĘƋĘåÆåĹåĀƋŸŅüĘĜĬÚÏ±ųåŅƚÏĘåųŸƋĘĜŸ ĀčƚųåÏ±ĹÆå±ŸĬŅƵ±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 | www.qe.org
Royal Air Force News Friday, August 13, 2021 P3
It’s like working in orange talcum powder”
I’m proud to be presenting Countdown on this special day”
Cpl Kieron Lace on keeping Chinook flying in Mali dust bowl See p15
Sir Trevor McDonald as he hosts C4 show for diversity initiative See R’n’R p4
Typhoon lands £135m deal to boost firepower Simon Mander
RAF News Room 68 Lancaster Building HQ Air Command High Wycombe Buckinghamshire HP14 4UE Editor: Simon Williams Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Features Editor: Tracey Allen Email: email@example.com News Editor: Simon Mander
THE TYPHOON’S weapons and defensive systems are to get a major upgrade under a multimillion-pound deal. BAE Systems has been awarded a £135m contract to improve the jet, which is already one of the world’s most advanced combat aircraft. The investment will increase the variety of precision-guided munitions it can fire and will improve the fighter’s defensive aids sub-system, data link and radio, a spokesman said. The contract was awarded by Eurofighter GmbH as part of a €300m investment by the aircraft’s core nations – the UK, Germany, Spain and Italy – and is scheduled to be delivered by the end of 2024. BAE claims the move will increase interoperability with coalition forces, and pioneer technologies for future combat air systems. Current development work includes the design of new large
GB Team bobsleigh pilot Cpl John Stanbridge See p29
SCRAMBLE: 9 Sqn Typhoon deployed to Mihail Kogălniceanu Air Base in Romania
Black Sea alert
touchscreen cockpit displays enabling pilots to assess and respond to increasing volumes of data from the aircraft’s sensors and datalinks. The Typhoon programme employs more than 5,000 at BAE Systems, supporting a further
10,000 jobs across the UK economy. Operated by seven air forces in Europe and the Gulf, Eurofighter is the most advanced multi-role combat aircraft in operation and is expected to remain in service well into the middle of the century.
TYPHOONS ON Quick Reaction Alert in Romania have scrambled for the eighth time in response to Russian aircraft flying into Nato airspace over the Black Sea. Jets launched from Mihail Kogălniceanu Air Base near Constanta after Alliance radars detected the potential intruders heading towards the Baltic country’s airspace. A IX (Fighter) Sqn pilot who responded to the alert said: “As we approached our Combat Air Patrol area, the Russian aircraft turned, headed away from us and left the Flight Information Region. “We resumed our air patrolling mission and practised some air combat manoeuvres before returning to base.”
This Week In History
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HRH PRINCE Charles graduates from RAF College Cranwell and is awarded his pilot’s wings by Chief of the Air Staff ACM Sir Denis Spotswood.
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It’s a long road to the 2026 Winter Olympics but we can get there”
Charles wings it
Blenheim bows out RAF BOMBER Command’s Blenheim aircraft fly their last operational sorties as 18 Sqn carry out night intruder attacks against airfields in Holland and Germany.
Nazi Hess dies
THE BODY of the last surviving Nazi war criminal Rudolf Hess is flown out of Berlin onboard a RAF Hercules and presented to his family, following his death in Spandau Prison.
Extracts from The Royal Air Force Day By Day by Air Cdre Graham Pitchfork (The History Press)
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Royal Air Force News Friday, August 13, 2021 P5
UK Space Command launches to combat Russia and China threat Staff Reporter Air Command BRITAIN STOOD up its new Space Command to defend against threats to its vital military and civilian infrastructure. The first Space Operator badges were presented to personnel who will work from the purposebuilt centre at RAF High Wycombe and the Space Operations Centre at Fylingdales, in North Yorkshire.
LAUNCH: Chief of the Air Staff, ACM Sir Mike Wigston
“It is vital we invest in space to maintain a battle-winning advantage
The Command, to protect UK satellites Command is an exciting and important step in controlling commercial, economic and our commitment to operate in space effectively.” Defence activity from disruption, is The joint HQ will oversee space operations, backed by a government commitment workforce training and growth, and develop to spend an extra £1.4 billion on space and deliver new equipment programmes. security over the next 10 years. At full operating capability it will command Minister for Defence Procurement and control all Defence space capabilities, Jeremy Quin said: “As our including the UK’s Space Operations adversaries advance their space Centre, RAF Fylingdales, and new Skynet capabilities, it is vital we invest platform. in space to ensure we maintain Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal a battle-winning advantage. Sir Mike Wigston, presented nine “The stand-up of Space personnel, including six RAF, one Army R: AVM Godfrey SPACE COMMANDE
AD ASTRA: Above, new Space Operator badge; left, UK Defence satellite blasts off from India in 2019; below, Defence Minister Jeremy Quin tests new VR headset PHOTOS: SAC RYAN MURRAY
officer and a US exchange officer, with Space Operator badges. Based on the Airborne Specialist flash, the new insignia features a single silver angled wing and a blue laurel surrounding a delta, an orbit ellipse and a constellation of stars representative of Aries marking the formation of UK Space Command in April this year. Commander of UK Space Command, Air ViceMarshal Paul Godfrey, said: “The space domain is vital, not just in enabling military operations across the world, but in the day to day lives of everyone across the nation. “With our new headquarters officially open, Space Command is now on the path to lead space operations to protect UK and allied interests in space.” UK Space Command will work across Defence and on the seven-nation Combined Space Operations initiative with Australia, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand and the US to ensure a safe, secure and stable space domain. More on p19.
Cyber hackers test UK Defence networks Simon Mander
Get nifty for 50 ORGANISERS OF the Royal International Air Show are challenging aviation fans to clock up 50 miles – to mark the event’s 50th anniversary. Participants can run, walk, swim, cycle or row the distance over 50 days and raise funds for the RAF Charitable Trust to qualify for a specially-minted 50th anniversary medal. The event kicks off on September 1. Go to nice-work.org.uk/virtual/ AT50 for more details.
EXPERT COMPUTER hackers are being offered cash rewards to test military security systems and combat cyber attacks from adversaries. UK Defence chiefs have brought in a team of 26 ‘ethical’ hackers to identify weak spots in their networks and fend off the growing threat to Britain’s military and commercial systems from state agencies, extremists and criminals, as part of the US-based Bug Bounty programme. Minister for the Armed Forces James Heappey said: “Bug bounty is an exciting new capability. “Our cyber teams are collaborating with the ethical hacking community to identify and fix vulnerabilities, ensuring we’re better protected. “This work will contribute to better cyber and information security for the UK.” Chief Executive of US group HackerOne, Marten Mickos, said: “Governments worldwide are waking up to the fact that they can’t secure their immense digital
environments with traditional security tools anymore. “Having a formalised process to accept vulnerabilities from third parties is widely considered
best practice globally, with the US government making it mandatory for their federal civilian agencies this year. “The Ministry of Defence is leading the way in the UK
government with forward-thinking and collaborative solutions to securing its digital assets and we will see more government agencies follow its example.”
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Royal Air Force News Friday, August 13, 2021 P7
News In Brief
Sentry stands down UK return marks end of E3-D era
FORMER CAS: Sir Stephen takes up honorary post at Birmingham University
University challenge FORMER CAS Sir Stephen Hillier has been appointed honorary professor at Birmingham University’s School of Government. Sir Stephen’s role will include sharing Defence expertise with students and researchers. He said: “I look forward to developing the connections that I’ve built with the university and to offering insights into policy and strategy development at the highest levels within Defence and the public sector.”
tem SAFETY: Lighting sys
TAR VERY MUCH: Resurfacing work used more than 8,000 tonnes of asphalt
Odi upgrade A £5 MILLION project to upgrade the runway at Odiham has been completed. The deal with Defence Infrastructure Organisation and Amey Highways has taken nine months and involved the use of more than 8,000 tonnes of tarmac. The improvements also include a new airfield lighting system and they are expected to safeguard the Chinook Force facility for the next 15 years.
THE UK’S last Sentry surveillance aircraft has returned to Waddington after a mission ending 30 years of service. 8 Sqn crews were met by families and friends as they touched down at the Lincolnshire station, bringing the RAF’s E3-D era to an end. Operating from Akrotiri, the Sentry flew its final operational sortie over Iraq tracking Daesh fighters and supporting Royal Navy flagship the Queen Elizabeth Carrier in the Gulf. The aircraft, with its distinctive radar domes, has formed part of Nato’s Airborne Early Warning and Control (AWACS) Force since 1991 and supported UK combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. The existing fleet will be replaced by three Boeing E-7 Wedgetail aircraft based at Lossiemouth, from 2023. ISTAR Force Commander Air Cdre Nicholas Hay said: “Sentry’s return from a hugely successful overseas deployment heralds a fitting end to over 30 years of continuous service in support of Nato, other coalition and national operations. “Whether operating from their home base at Waddington or airfields from across Europe
HOME COMING: Emotional reunions for 8 Sqn crews as they land at RAF Waddington PHOTOS: SAC AMELIA TURNBULL
AWACS REPLACEMENT: Boeing Wedgetail due to enter service in 2023
and the broader Middle East, Sentry has contributed by providing an air and maritime picture that has enabled others to operate with significant freedom of action against the most hostile of threats.” 8 Sqn Commander Wg Cdr Victoria Williams said: “This was the first operational detachment of the E3-D fleet since 2016 and delivered 30 missions in nine weeks. “The Sentry was able to provide the recognised air and surface picture to the Carrier Strike Group
Students get Cranwell lift POTENTIAL RAF officers of the future paraded for Cranwell’s Commandant at Wittering. University of London Air Squadron students joined flying instructors from 115 Sqn and Air Cdre Suraya Marshall, the RAF’s most senior serving female aviator. ULAS Commanding Officer Sqn Ldr Chris Pearson said: “It gave the students the opportunity to showcase the squadron’s achievements in what has been a very challenging 18 months.” There are 15 University Air Squadrons within 6 Flying Training School, part of the Royal Air Force College. Students are taught to fly in Grob
Tutor aircraft and Wittering’s 115 Sqn teaches already qualified pilots to become instructors on the aircraft. Twenty-one-year-old Acting Pilot Officer Kevin Mason, from Grantham, said: “It was fantastic to meet such a high-ranking officer in person and discuss what the squadron has been up to in the past year. As an ex-member of the UAS system herself, the Commandant embodies what is achievable for us.” Wittering is home to Cambridge and London University Air Squadrons, 115 Sqn, 5 Air Experience Flight – which offers Air Cadets their first taste of flying, and 16 Sqn – which trains aspiring Royal Air Force pilots.
to facilitate its safe transit from the Straits of Gibraltar to the Suez.” ISTAR Force Deputy Head Capability Group Capt Rob O’Dell said: “Sentry has defined my career and it is inevitably with mixed feelings I now find myself involved with its retirement. “All E-3D aircrew, groundcrew and supporting civilians should feel proud of the enormous contribution it has made to Nato and UK Air Policing, combat and humanitarian operations in the Balkans, Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya, as well as countering drug-smuggling in the Caribbean.”
Two 8 Sqn Sentries completed the last mission with one returning home to be greeted by a traditional water arch while the final aircraft was met by AOC 1 Gp Air Vice Marshal Al Marshall and Nato AWACS Force Commander Maj Gen Thomas Kunkel USAF.
PARADE: Air Cdre Suraya Marshall chats to UAS members at Cranwell PHOTO: SAC KIMBERLY WATERSON
Royal Air Force News Friday, August 13, 2021 P9
Royal HAir Force
Defence chiefs relax style regulations Staff Reporter WOMEN IN the Royal Air Force and Army will be able to wear their hair in a variety of styles as Defence chiefs continue their drive to make the military more representative of British culture. Under new rules announced this month women on duty wearing working dress will be able to opt for ponytails, plaits or cornrows, as well as the traditional military ‘bun’. The move follows landmark changes to hardline rules on the wearing of jewellery, easing restrictions on body art, and scrapping the century-old policy banning beards to reflect changes in society and make the Forces more attractive to new recruits, a RAF spokesman said. The joint dress
code announcement follows a change in policy by the Royal Navy in May this year allowing women to opt for a variety of styles while in ‘working rig’. The RAF is updating the dress code under the Astra programme launched to develop a ‘Next Generation Air Force.’ Air Chiefs have also pledged more reforms to personnel policy. Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, said: “We are modernising our appearance policies through Astra to better reflect the society we serve, empowering people with choice, but maintaining the values and high standards we expect from anyone in Royal Air Force uniform. “There will be more announcements on uniform and appearance in due course but, with this change to appearance policies for women, we have made a symbolic and widely welcomed step towards the Next Generation
Standard issue for Reaper Squadron Staff Reporter TYPHOONS STAGED a flypast as Reaper crews received a new squadron standard at Waddington. It’s the third time 13 Sqn, nicknamed the ‘Stabbed Cats’ after their unit badge design, has been honoured in this way since it was formed in 1915. Since then, its crews have flown Meteors, Blenheims, Canberras, Tornados and the Reaper MQ-9A, fighting on the Western Front in 1915, North Africa in 1942 and 1943 and the Gulf in 1991. It stood up as the first UK-based Reaper squadron in 2012 to provide vital real-time surveillance and reconnaissance in support of frontline troops, living up to its motto, ‘We assist by watching’. The latest standard was presented by RAF Deputy Commander of Operations and former 13 Sqn CO Air Marshal Gerry Mayhew at a formal parade at the pictured). Lincolnshire base (pictured). Current Officer Commanding 13 Sqn, Wg Cdr Kathryn Ferris, said: “This event gives squadron personnel and
WATCHING: Reaper crew
their families a chance to acknowledge the vital operational contribution the squadron continues to provide, thank those
who support us and celebrate appropriately after months of operating under Covid-19 restrictions.”
Royal Air Force.” There will be restrictions on hair styles where there are safety concerns and the new policy applies only to women in the Royal Air Force. Male Army personnel will be permitted to sport ‘well groomed’ hair including twists, cornrows and locks, provided it does not cover the face or touch their collar or ears However RAF personnel will not be allowed to opt for more extreme high street styles which include shaved sections or ‘unnatural’ dyes. Existing exemptions on the grounds of religious belief and medical conditions will still apply. NEW LOOK: Under new dress code women will be allowed to wear their hair in plaits (left), left), ponytails and cornrows (pictured right)
p bun TRADITIONAL: To
Royal Air Force News Friday, August 13, 2021 P10
BAE deal raises Tempest tempo t f i l g n i d n u f m £250 r e t h g i f n e G h t 6 r fo
THE TEMPEST Future Combat Air System has been boosted by a £250 million UK Defence contract. The deal secures the development of a core aircraft, an uncrewed aircraft, and advanced data systems for a next-generation war fighter designed to enter service from the mid-2030s. The investment is part of more than £2 billion worth of Government spending on the project over the next four years announced in the recent Defence Command Paper. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace made the announcement at BAE Systems’ site in Warton, which boasts a ‘Factory of the Future’ with state-of-the-art technology that the company claims has a revolutionary approach to manufacturing military aircraft.
He said: “This marks a momentous step in the next phase of our Future Combat Air System, with a multi-millionpound investment that draws on the knowledge and skills of our UK industry experts. “Boosting our already world-leading air industry, the contract will sustain thousands of jobs across the UK and will ensure that the UK remains at the top table when it comes to combat air.” The contract, with BAE Systems and its partners Leonardo UK, Rolls-Royce and MBDA UK, secures 2,000 jobs – 800 of them in the North of England. MoD Director of Future Combat Air, Richard Berthon, said: “This project is hugely important in ensuring the UK and its partners
SECRET SOVIET MISSION: WO Carter joined Churchill’s task force in Murmansk
Farewell to WWII Hurricane hero
have the skills and technology we need to give us the battle-winning edge for the future.” The programme is an international endeavour with Italy and Sweden collaborating on the project. On a visit to Tokyo, Mr Wallace and Japanese Defence Minister Nobuo Kishi agreed further talks on both countries working together on the Tempest’s power and propulsion systems. According to research by PWC, on behalf of the consortium, UK combat air activities could support around 62,000 jobs per year and contribute in the region of £100bn to the UK economy between 2021 and 2050.
Gunners’ Nato Black Hawk rescue drill
GUNNERS COMPLETED downed Nato pilot rescue drills in Romania with US Army Black Hawk helicopters. Regular and Reserve Gunners supporting the RAF’s 121 Expeditionary Air Wing in Romania deployed on Exercise Titan Salvage to evacuate downed UK and American aircrew in a simulated hostile area. At the same time, top cover was provided by overflying Typhoons conducting Close Air Support and Air Recovery was carried out by two UH-60 Black Hawks from the US Army’s 3rd Battalion, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade. RAF Regiment reservist Cpl Stuart Crowe of 603 Sqn said: “I’ve flown in many RAF helicopters but this was the first time I have been in a Black Hawk and I really enjoyed the experience. It was great to work with the US Army crews and see how they operate.” An Air Force paramedic was flown in to treat casualties and a US Army Joint Terminal Attack Controller directed lowlevel Typhoon sorties from the ground.
SEARCH AND RESCUE: RAF Regiment team flies in on US Army Black Hawk to track downed pilots
The RAF Force Protection team was airlifted in two Black Hawks to a training area where signal smoke, initiated by the ‘evading’ pilots, indicated their location. Exercise Conducting Officer Sgt
Jason O’Rourke said: “It was great to see that the US aircrew have similar procedures to us; it builds great confidence that our two nations, alongside our other Nato allies, can work effectively together to complete
TRIBUTES HAVE been paid to World War II hero WO Eric Carter who has died aged 101. He was thought to be the last surviving Hurricane pilot who was a member of a top secret task force sent to the Arctic port of Murmansk in 1941 to protect supply routes after Russia was invaded by Germany. In 2014, Eric published a book, Force Benedict – about his part in the mission sanctioned by Winston Churchill – that became a bestseller. Eric was among two Hurricane squadrons which together comprised 151 Wing, shipped to northern Russia in complete secrecy on the first-ever Arctic Convoy and told to defend Murmansk against the Germans ‘at all costs.’ The task force’s work was kept secret for decades because Stalin didn’t want to admit he needed help from Britain. Eric said: “We were threatened with Court Martial if we said anything.” He also helped to train Soviet pilots to fly Hurricanes and, towards the end of the war, saw action in India and Burma, fighting against the Japanese. After the war Eric became an electrical engineer and flew as a private pilot. He received the Arctic Star from Prime Minister David Cameron in 2013, became a VIP in Russia and went back to the country several times, including to unveil a memorial in Murmansk. See full obituary on p23
PHOTO: SAC HAZEL READER
joint personnel recovery missions”. Air Force Gunners guard the four Typhoons that are deployed to Romania until September 2021 conducting the Nato enhanced Air Policing mission.
AFRICA CAMPAIGN: Young airman Eric Carter in Egypt
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Royal Air Force News Friday, August 13, 2021 P13
Gunner miss you
Watch and learn
TRIALS: Techs prepare UAV on Akrotiri runway PHOTO: CPL MATTY MATTHEWS
WATCHKEEPER CREWS have put the unmanned aerial system through its paces at the RAF’s Cyprus airbase. Troops from 47 Regiment Royal Artillery flew into Akrotiri to complete test flights of the Army reconnaissance and surveillance system after finishing their basic training in the UK. Ground technicians prepare the aircraft before it is dragged onto the runway and pilots throttle up and hit the skies completing sorties all year round. The British-built Watchkeeper was used to protect soldiers in Afghanistan after its first flight in 2010.
DRILL SUPREMO FS Geordie Rothwell took part in his final graduation at RAF College Cranwell as he bowed out after 36 years’ service. He joined the RAF Regiment in 1985, spending the last three years at the RAF Officer Training Academy. During his career he served in Germany, Turkey, Norway, the Balkans, Pakistan and Afghanistan. He said: “It is always a proud moment being on the Parade Square for graduation. There have been some difficult times during the last 18 months, however, we have continued to make it work. It will be with a heavy heart that I have to finally hang up my uniform.”
Grads latest p25
Mali Chinook mission for downed French fighter Simon Mander
SALVAGE: 1310 Flt Chinooks operate from Gao airfield in Mali. Inset below, French Air Force Mirage 2000
CHINOOK CREWS flew a crash probe team and bomb squad to recover a crashed French jet in Mali. Earlier, the Mirage 2000 aircrew were recovered after ejecting, one of them with minor injuries. The crash was not due to any insurgent activity, a UK Forces spokesman said.
AIR TRANSPORT: UK Chinooks flew French troops to crash site
Aircraft from the RAF’s 1310 Flight escorted by French Tiger attack helicopters operating from Gao airfield backed up recovery operations. Officer Commanding Sqn Ldr Charlie Brown said: “This was an outstanding performance from all and demonstrated the high levels of interoperability we have developed with our French counterparts.” British Chinooks, currently
manned by Odiham-based A Flight 18(Bomber) Sqn personnel, airlifted 60 French soldiers at short notice to secure the site before ferrying
investigators and explosive disposal experts to the scene, south of Hombori. The UK helicopter deployment supporting French counter terrorist
operations in West Africa has been ongoing since 2018. UK Senior Commander Colin Kiernan said: “This unfortunate
event highlights the strong working relationships and fraternity we have built with our French partners in support of Operation Barkhane.”
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.
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Royal Air Force News Friday, August 13, 2021 P15
Sand & deliver
HOOK UP: 1310 Flt Chinook lifts off after collecting cargo from helihandlers
Fighting terror in the searing heat of Sahara
ng in enemy-controlled terr
THREAT: Crews operati
Simon Mander BRAVING TEMPERATURES of 45˚C on the southern edge of the Sahara, a specialist UK Forces team is engulfed in a wall of sand as a RAF Chinook supporting French anti-terrorist operations in Mali comes in to land. While 1310 Flight aircrew move troops and kit across the country from Gao airfield, a joint Air Force and Army heli-handling unit keeps the twin-rotor workhorse helicopter supplied. Cpl Kieron Lace said: “It’s like working in orange talcum powder. You can see a wall of sand, then as the Chinooks are ready to come into our location that wall of sand creeps towards you until you are engulfed by it. “As the red dust envelops you everything
changes colour, chunks of gravel are picked up by the downwash and sent hurtling into the distance. “Even with hearing protection you feel the deep distinctive ‘wokka, wokka’ of the rotors in your chest.” Working in the searing desert heat, Cpl Lace and his comrades build and hook up underslung loads of supplies and equipment including armoured fighting vehicles. “The Chinook will come down to about six or seven feet, then we’ll hook up and move carefully out of the way,” he said. Static electricity building up on the airframe is a
constant danger and one member of the team has the vital task of earthing the airframe whilst the other hooks on the load. Cpl Lace added: “Often you can physically see the sparks coming off, sometimes a couple of inches long. “Along with the gravel comes the dust. Fine particles that seem to cover everything, turning all it touches a shade of orange. It’s hard to describe, but it’s so fine it gets into your eyes, your nose, you breathe it, eat it. “Sometimes it’s VIPs or French paratroopers being moved on their way to forward operating bases.
ron HEAT IS ON: Cpl Kie
“Passenger-wise it’s the most I’ve ever moved by Chinook, three days of five flights a day is unheard of in the UK.” While the Benson-based Joint Helicopter Support Squadron is in a non-combat role, the threats are severe. Crews regularly fly over and land in territory controlled by insurgents. Back at base Cpl Lace, who has served tours in Belize and Eastern Europe since joining the RAF in 2009, says team cohesion is a top priority. “It’s been a big one for me, we’re obviously of mixed ages and genders, the living conditions are pretty basic, so we’ve got to get on. “I’m proud of my small team, they’re operating to a larger team’s standard, able to complete any task that comes our way,” he said.
Royal Air Force News Friday, August 13, 2021 P16
Finding a way
PATH TO ● The men who helped Bomber Command pilots find their target
MACGOWN: Medical officer (Credit: The Macgown family)
ESPRIT DE CORPS: Ernie Holmes, fifth from left, with other airmen and WAAFs before a raid on Hamburg in 1943 (Credit: David Holmes)
HERO: Allan Ball and Brenda Bridger in 1943, a few weeks before he was shot down over Berlin (Credit: Juliet Stockford)
Win copy of the book WE HAVE two copies of The Path Finders to be won. To enter, answer this question correctly: Who led the Pathfinders Email your answer, marked The Path Finders competition, to: competitions@ rafnews.co.uk or post it to: RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe, HP14 4UE, to arrive by August 27, 2021.
ILL IREDALE’S account of The Elite RAF Force that Turned the Tide of World War II begins, not over the Ruhr, Berlin or Dresden, but appropriately much closer to home. His account of the attack dubbed Operation Moonlight Sonata, on Coventry on November 14, 1940, is a horrific harbinger of what was to come. And it is characteristic of this masterful account of a subject, to this day riven with controversy – area bombing – that Iredale balances perfectly his telling of the technical advances of air power and its horrendous human cost. For the attack, led by just 13 Heinkel bombers equipped with a pioneering X-Verfahren radio beam triangulation system that pinpointed targets for their
incendiaries, then used as markers for the main bombing force, taught the RAF a lesson it would never forget. Iredale writes: ‘Over the next 11 hours, 500 tons of high explosives and oil bombs rained in torrents from 400 German aircraft ripping apart Coventry’s cathedral and streets. The heat was so intense the lead from the cathedral melted down its drainpipes. ‘The anti-aircraft fire was intense but largely useless – RAF air cover also proved impotent. ‘Over 120 fighters were scrambled, but not one enemy aircraft was intercepted.’ The devastation was so great the Germans created a new word for it – Coventrieren, to Coventrate. Britain’s response was to form the Pathfinder Force in August 1942 because Bomber Command couldn’t find targets in the dark.
Created by direct order of Winston Churchill, led by ‘a single-minded cowboy from the Australian outback’ called Don Bennett, in the teeth of opposition from Sir Arthur ‘Bomber’ Harris, it transformed the RAF’s
RAIDS: 97 Sqn Lancaster bomber, 1945
strike capability from only 25 per cent of its aircraft bombing within three miles of a target in 1942, to 95
Royal Air Force News Friday, August 13, 2021 P17
By Simon Mander
VICTORY DECORATED: Mosquito navigator Ulric Cross collecting his DSO (Credit: IWM )
NUISANCE: 571 Sqn Mosquito, September 30, 1944 (Credit: RAF Museum)
Why write about the Pathfinders and Why Now? This book was initially inspired by an extraordinary audio recording I happened across online, of a nightingale singing in some woods in Southern England in May 1942. A minute or two into the recording, the nightingale is joined by the sound of hundreds of aircraft engines flying overhead. They were Bomber Command bombers flying to Mannheim. But the operation was a flop, like so many at that time. I wanted to know how Bomber Command was transformed into the sledgehammer it became, and discovered the Pathfinders. Now, almost 80 years on, it was time to tell their story. How did you become interested in RAF history, do you have any family connections? None whatsoever. For me, the interest is more about telling extraordinary stories of ordinary men and women, who just happen to be serving in the RAF. War and conflict creates the environment for astonishing true stories. I’m just the conduit telling those stories to a wider audience. How long did it take you to research the book? It took me around four years of research (in the evenings and weekends) and a year to write.
TARGET: Dresden during a night raid in February 1945, taken by a Pathfinder aircraft without flash showing the city saturated with incendiaries (Credit: RAF Museum)
per cent by 1945. To do this it recruited a diverse range of characters including: ● Geordie Ernie Holmes, son of an unemployed shipyard worker, rejected by the RAF Volunteer Reserves at 16, accepted at 19, he went on to command heavy bombers for the Pathfinders in raids on Dortmund, Hamburg and Berlin. ● DFC winner Allan Ball, who became a POW after being shot down. Repatriated because of his wounds, he became one of Sir Archibald McIndoe’s plastic surgery guinea pigs when part of his right hip was transplanted to his skull to fill a three-inch hole left by German surgeons digging out a large piece of flak from his brain. ● Mosquito pilot Trinidadian Philip ‘Ulric’ Cross, awarded the DSO and DFC – the most highlydecorated West Indian in the RAF
Meet the author: Q&A
during WWII, who later inspired a Ken Follett novel and a feature film. But, as Iredale points out, the secret of their success was the support they had. ● From boffins, like chemistry teacher and fireworks fanatic Wilfred Coxon, whose pyrotechnic target markers nicknamed ‘Christmas trees’ revolutionised bombing accuracy. ● From veterans, like former RFC fighter pilot and later Pathfinders’ Group Medical Officer John Macgown, who regularly flew missions to boost aircrew morale and worked to improve night vision and even the welfare of unmarried pregnant WAAFs. ● From the inventors of the Pathfinders’ H2S and Oboe navigation systems – the most advanced technology in the world at the time. ● And, lastly, the designers of
the iconic Lancaster and Mosquito bombers they flew. The name Mossie was hated by Harris, but it could deliver the same payload as a USAF Flying Fortress at twice the speed. Former Sunday Times journalist Iredale navigates all this with a precision worthy of his subject matter, with a newsman’s eye for a story and the ability to tell it, thankfully eschewing ranks and military jargon, with tremendous impact and clarity. But most of all, by balancing firsthand accounts of the few remaining Bomber Boys with a dispassionate historian’s analysis of primary sources, he brings home a superb account of a bitter campaign whose heroes shamefully received no formal recognition or campaign medal for their valour. ■ The Pathfinders by Will Iredale is published by W H Allen priced £20.
The Pathfinders is full of remarkable individual stories. Does any one of them stand out for you? I wanted to find stories that people (many of whom will be familiar with Bomber Command) hadn’t heard of. There are so many to choose from. One of my favourites is that of Ulric Cross — a Mosquito Navigator flying in the Night Light Striking Force, part of the Pathfinder force. In one diversionary operation over Berlin in August 1943, he helped keep enemy night fighters over Berlin, delaying them from attacking a separate RAF bombing raid 100 miles to the north and saving the lives of an estimated 1,400 Bomber Command airmen who would have otherwise been shot down in their heavy bombers. Handsome, educated and charming, Cross flourished in the RAF after arriving in the UK in 1942 and flew 80 missions over Nazi Germany. When the war finished, Cross had become the most decorated West Indian of the war. He went on to become a High Court Judge, and died aged 96 in 2013. As you rightly say, the ethics of area bombing are still controversial to this day – do you think Harris was right to pursue the policy he did? The idea today of sending hundreds of planes laden with bombs to target towns and cities is grotesque. But we have the benefit of hindsight, which Harris et al didn’t have 80 years ago and it is unwise, I think, to pass judgement on decisions made at the time. Nazi Germany had overrun Europe, Britain had been bombed, and with Bomber
AUTHOR: Will Iredale is also a journalist
Command, the Allies had one of the few tools available to them (early on at least) in taking the war to the heart of Germany. Some, such as Malcolm Gladwell, have suggested Harris was a psychopath. I don’t believe he was for one minute. He certainly pursued the strategy of area bombing with vigour, but did so in the firm belief it was the most effective way of bringing the war to an end. In May 1945 the war in Europe was over, more than 55,000 Bomber Command airmen – including 3,712 Pathfinders – had been killed. But for the supporters of the air war, their sacrifice prevented many more Allied casualties on the ground. And while the Pathfinders never completely conquered the elements to deliver fool-proof accuracy for Bomber Command, the transformation in its bombing capabilities was nevertheless remarkable. There was no one means of winning the war, but the Pathfinders’ contribution to the air offensive ensured that Bomber Command – alongside the American air force – played a significant role in the eventual Allied victory. What is your position on a separate honour for Bomber Command veterans? There are many who believe they should have received a medal which – to his credit – Harris pushed for and refused a peerage when it was declined. Don Bennett also failed in his attempts for Pathfinder airmen – whom he adored – to be awarded a star. It’s not too late for this to be rectified so the few remaining veterans still alive can be given the honour they deserve. But it won’t happen now, I doubt. And equally, others feel the Green Park memorial is a magnificent tribute, so should it perhaps be left at that? How do you think/hope the book will be received by a readership with no connection to WWII? I really want this book to appeal to those people who may not normally be interested in histories about war or conflict. It’s not a dry, operational account, but, I hope, a book bursting with stories of real people who were plunged into a remarkable state of affairs. What’s your next project? I have a few bubbling away – watch this space.
COVID-19 C OVID-19
Remember R eme ember e to to c check heck in in w hen y ou’’re e ating g out t. when you’re eating out. CovidCovid-19 v 19 is still with w us. Even Even if you’ve you’ve been bee en vaccinated, vaccinated d, y you ou c can an st still ill th he virus virus and you you can can still pass p So use use the NHS SC OVID-19 app a get the it on. So COVID-19 tto o manage ey our risk and an nd help protect protec ct friends and d ffamily. amily y. your L et’s k eep lif e mo ving v ving. Let’s keep life moving. Download Do wnload the NHS COVID-19 COVID D-19 app
Royal Air Force News Friday, August 13, 2021 P19
WO CHRIS WALLER
SAC TOM FRIEND
SQN LDR RICHARD DODD
FLT LT JOANNA PARKER
SQN LDR MARK BUCKLEY
SQN LDR JAMES SLEVIN
CPL GARY WHITNEY
CAPT ANDY THOMPSONBURT
Stars in their eyes The UK’s first Space Operators THE FIRST generation of RAF Space specialists are preparing to take on the challenge of safeguarding UK interests and combating the growing threat from adversaries in low-earth orbit. Chief of the Air Staff ACM Sir Mike Wigston presented the UK’s first Space Operators with their badges as he officially stood up Space Command at RAF High Wycombe. Backed by a £1.4 million budget boost, the new unit will provide command and control of all UK Defence space capabilities, including the UK’s Space Operations Centre (UK SpOC), RAF Fylingdales and Skynet. Six members of the RAF received the new badge (inset above), alongside a British Army officer and an exchange officer from the United States. The design is based on the Airborne Specialist brevet and features a single silver angled wing and a blue laurel surrounding a delta,
SPACE AGE: Virtual reality technology is playing an increasing role in Defence
similar to the logo used by the US Space Force set up in 2020. UK Space Command will work with UK Strategic Command and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory and become part of the seven-nation alliance of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand and the US bidding to safeguard commercial and Defence interests in space. Speaking at the recent Air and Space Power Conference, ACM Wigston added: “To protect and defend our interests in Space, we must continue to build our understanding of this increasingly contested, congested and competed domain. “At the same time, our diplomats are working closely with international allies through the United Nations to establish norms for responsible and safe behaviours in Space.”
STOOD UP: CAS with other military chiefs and Minister for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin
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Royal Air Force News Friday, August 13, 2021 P21
My debt to caring plastic surgery pioneer McIndoe T
HE FAMOUS Guinea Pig Club, whose members were Allied airman who suffered horrific burns in conflict, mainly in World War II, marks its 80th anniversary this year. The club was named after the work carried out by pioneering surgeon Sir Archibald McIndoe, who developed new plastic surgery techniques to treat the men’s injuries at the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead. It became known as ‘the town that didn’t stare’ because McIndoe told his patients to mix with the local population to help destigmatise their injuries, recognising the need for his patients’ mental recovery from their life-changing injuries. He advocated the removal of rank once wounded personnel were on the ward and promoted a relaxed atmosphere where patients could take time away from the ward in between treatment and even observe operations. McIndoe had a piano, and a barrel of beer, installed in the ward and encouraged socialising and singing among the men. When they went out, he encouraged them to wear their uniform to instil a sense of pride. Club member Jim Marshall, 98, has paid tribute to the brilliant medic. He said: “The Guinea Pig Club means to me what it means to many people – life. McIndoe was very approachable. He would come and talk to us all, he was very popular with all the patients. In fact, he asked us to his cottage, to get a change of air.” Jim, who lives at the Erskine veterans villages at Bishopston in Scotland, was treated by McIndoe after three years of painful rehabilitation. He joined the RAF aged 18 in 1941, training as a navigator in Wellingtons with 38 Squadron, and served all over the world. He flew more than 100 operations without incident until his aircraft crash landed during a search and rescue mission in Italy a month after VE Day. Jim was the only surviving c r e w member.
TRAILBLAZER: Sir Archibald McIndoe
e said: “We went out to see another plane which had gone down. We got a position, where the plane would possibly be. We couldn’t see it, so we started a square search and we came across a lifeboat and a dinghy, no one in them. Either they had been rescued or worse. “At that moment we had engine trouble and we lost an engine, so we had one engine instead of two. We were in trouble. We were just over the Italian coast and we arrived at Cervia, a small town, and that’s when the pilot more or less came into being. “To land under normal circumstances you need to land at a certain speed and you can’t achieve that speed with a one-engine plane, you’re in trouble because you are at a lower speed which makes the plane a bit out of control. We just had to hope for the best, choose the best place possible. “The plane crashed, I didn’t even feel the crash, I knew nothing, I was unconscious. I like to think my crew all died with the force of the crash, they could have died of their injuries caused by the force but I hope not.” He added: “The plane kept on travelling, which I didn’t know about, breaking up, on fire, through the forest and somewhere during that I was thrown out IN THE CLUB: Jim holds photo of himself as a young airman
GRATITUDE: Guinea Pig Club members with the statue of McIndoe at Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead, in 2014
SERVICE: Jim Marshall, 2nd from right, with colleagues
of it. I don’t know how long I was unconscious but eventually I woke and my clothes were on fire and I was on fire. So the first thing I did was get up on my feet and see what I could do. “Getting to my feet was a struggle, as was removing my clothes, which were still burning. My hands were of little help. My head felt like a block of lead. Standing naked in the trees, except for one shoe, there was nothing I could do but wait for help.” Jim’s rescuers took him to a local convent before he was transferred to an Italian hospital. He spent
SINGALONG: McIndoe, at the piano, entertains Guinea Pig Club patients
three years recovering from his injuries while retraining to become a civil engineer. He went on to work with the Air Ministry for 20 years, helping to develop some of the UK’s RAF sites, including Kinloss.
VM Chris Elliot, Controller of the RAF Benevolent Fund, said: “Jim’s story of overcoming adversity is inspiring and so typical of his generation. Rather than thinking of himself, and his injuries, for Jim the loss of his crewmates was the hardest thing to bear. “McIndoe encouraged in these men a positivity for the future, and
a determination to recover and lead fulfilled lives. “Today, the same spirit lives on in the CASEVAC club, a group of veterans who were wounded during tours of Afghanistan and Iraq. As long as the RAF exists, the RAF Benevolent Fund will stand by all who serve their country, ensuring they are never alone in their hour of need.” ■ To mark the Guinea Pig Club’s anniversary the charity is encouraging people to share their own stories as well as their thanks to club members. Go to: rafbf. dedicationpage.org/gpc80
Royal Air Force News Friday, August 13, 2021 P23
WO Eric Carter Obituary
Protector of the Arctic convoys Hurricane pilot helped Russians defend Murmansk
RIC CARTER, who has died aged 101, was the last surviving pilot who flew RAF Hurricane fighters that operated with the Russians to defend the Arctic port of Murmansk. He joined the RAF in 1939 and trained as a pilot. After converting to the Hurricane he joined 615 Squadron, which escorted convoys in the Irish Sea and provided air defence for Liverpool. After the German invasion of the Soviet Union, Prime Minister Winston Churchill promised assistance and on July 12, 1941 an Anglo-Soviet Agreement was signed in Moscow. At the time, Carter was on leave when he was recalled and sent to join 81 Squadron. Together with 134 Squadron, the squadron made up No 151 Wing and it was deployed to North Russia as the first example of British aid to the Russians. The Wing was deployed to the naval airfield at Vaenga, 10 miles from Murmansk, the Russian port close to the Germans’ advancing frontline. Some 550 men, plus 15 crated Hurricanes, made up the principal cargo of the very first Arctic Convoy, sailing on the former Union Castle liner Llanstephan Castle, bound for Archangel. Once they were reassembled, they were flown to Vaenga where they joined 24 more Hurricanes, which had been flown off the aircraft carrier Argus direct to the airfield.
he primary role of the Hurricane pilots was to provide defence for the crucial port, and also to escort Soviet bombers on raids over Finnmark and northern Norway. Carter flew patrols and engaged Messerschmitt Bf 109 aircraft on a number of occasions. Later he commented: “I took pot shots at several but couldn’t claim any kills.” With winter weather approaching, 151 Wing began training Soviet air and ground crew to use the Hurricanes, which were taken over by the Soviet Air Force when the RAF contingent departed in late November. Carter returned from Russia on a British destroyer and continued to fly Hurricanes. Later in the war, after converting to the Spitfire, he left for Burma where he flew missions escorting transport aircraft delivering crucial
supplies to the 14th Army as it advanced towards Rangoon.
arter left the RAF in 1946 as a Warrant Officer and, after studying for a degree in electrical engineering, he became an engineer for Associated Electrical Industries. He supported the 151 Wing Association and received numerous anniversary medals from the Russians. He went to Russia with fellow veterans in the 1990s, including a visit to Moscow when HM The Queen made a state visit. He returned a year later for the 50th anniversary of VE Day commemorations. In 2006, accompanied by his son, he returned to Vaenga where he laid a wreath at the cemetery in memory of his fallen comrades. He met the son of the fighter ace and ‘Hero of the Soviet Union’ Boris Safonov, who was one of the first Russian pilots to be checked out on the Hurricane and who later took command of the Russians’ first Hurricane squadron. His successes continued until he was killed in May 1942, by which time he had been awarded the British DFC. Safonov was living in the area and was delighted to meet, “one of the young airmen who had come to the Soviet Union’s aid.” This added a special extra dimension to the event far from London, in North Russia, when the sons of those who fought side by side were able to meet and reflect on the gallantry and sacrifice of the fathers of both nations. In 2013 Carter joined his surviving colleagues at 10 Downing Street when the then Prime Minister, David Cameron, presented them with the Arctic Star. A year later, he received the Russian Ushakov Medal at a ceremony in the Russian Embassy.
SOVIET DUTIES: Eric Carter and his Hurricane colleagues defended North Russia. Inset, Eric before a Spitfire flight in 2013
Royal Air Force News Friday, August 13, 2021 P25
Cranwell ON PARADE:AVM Byford reviews graduates at RAF College Cranwell. PHOTOS: GORDON ELIAS
A personnel triumph HR officer wins Sword of Honour... and it’s presented by his new chief THE RAF has 50 new officers after the latest intake graduated from the Officer Training Academy at Cranwell. Chief of Staff Personnel, Air Vice-Marshal Maria Byford, was the Reviewing Officer at the graduation of The Queen’s Squadron consisting of Officers from Modular Initial Officer Training Course No 5. She said: “It is a great honour to be back at RAF College Cranwell, some 30 years after my own graduation, and to be the Reviewing Officer. “Today marks the next step in the journey for graduating officers, their families and friends, and the College staff, and they should feel enormous pride in their achievements. Congratulations to all and good luck on your incredible journey.” The graduates are as follows: PILOT Fg Off M W L Chamberlain BEng (Hons) Fg Off D W G Henderson MEng Fg Off R L Honnor Fg Off T M Kelly BSc Fg Off A E McGill BSc Fg Off J R McGirr BEng AIR OPERATIONS (SYSTEMS) REMOTELY PILOTED AIR Plt Off A C Isaac SYSTEMS (Pilot) Plt Off M S C Neville BA(Hons), MRes Fg Off H J Brierley MSc, BA(Hons) Plt Off C Wagstaff BSc (Hons) Fg Off C S Scott INTELLIGENCE WEAPONS SYSTEMS OFFICER Fg Off B G Gill Fg Off S C Cassidy MBA Fg Off G A Jones BSc Fg Off J S Dixon Plt Off C P Davies BA Fg Off D P Mosedale BEng (Hons) Plt Off J A M Myers AIR OPERATIONS (CONTROL) Fg Off J D Davison Fg Off B Goodwin Fg Off B J Griffin Fg Off R Nichols Plt Off O J Fielding Plt Off L G Knight Plt Off E J Mortley Plt Off C D Partington BSc MSc Plt Off L G Webdale Plt Off A Young BEng (Hons) ARAeS Plt Off D L Jackson
REGIMENT Plt Off N J Dacey BSc PROVOST Fg Off G A Sheldon BA (Hons) Plt Off A Q J Duffy BA Plt Off A E George BSc ENGINEER (AEROSYSTEMS) Fg Off J K Howard BEng Fg Off A F Ledger BEng, EngTech Fg Off S A MacRae BEng (Hons)
JUST THE JOB: Sword winner Fg Off P A Short with personnel chief AVM Byford
Fg Off K A D Martin BEng iMechE IET Fg Off J G Turner MEng
MEDICAL Fg Off J S Girling
ENGINEER (COMMUNICATIONS – ELECTRONICS) Fg Off C C Cavaghan FdEng Fg Off W J Gaunt MEng Fg Off E J B Ketcher Fg Off C L Love
PRIZEWINNERS OF MODULAR INITIAL OFFICER TRAINING COURSE No 5
LOGISTICS Fg Off B D J Fairbrother Plt Off T D Askey Plt Off E G A Wilkinson PERSONNEL SUPPORT Fg Off N F Gardner BSc MSc Fg Off P A Short Plt Off V L Logan LLB PERSONNEL TRAINING Plt Off J Blackbourn BSc
THE SWORD OF HONOUR Awarded to the best overall RAF cadet – Off Cdt P A Short THE HENNESSY TROPHY AND PHILIP SASSOON MEMORIAL PRIZE Awarded to the second-best RAF cadet – Off Cdt S C Cassidy MBA THE MacROBERT PRIZE Awarded to the top cadet in the eyes of their peers – Off Cdt C C Cavaghan FdEng
THE BAE SYSTEMS TROPHY Awarded to the best cadet in professional studies – Off Cdt S C Cassidy MBA THE WARRANT OFFICER BILL TORRANCE TROPHY Awarded to the top cadet in Physical Education – Off Cdt J Blackbourn BSc THE RAF CLUB PRIZE Awarded to the most determined RAF cadet – Off Cdt J S Dixon THE SARAH MOLAND MEMORIAL PRIZE Awarded to the cadet who has demonstrated the most courage and fortitude to complete Officer Training – Off Cdt N F Gardner BSc, Msc
Royal Air Force News Friday, August 13, 2021 P26
Motoring Mini Countryman SPACE: Boot
e CAL TWINS: Th NON-IDENTI Mini Countryman e th d Maxi an
It’s no Mini…
Countryman sacrifices handling for extra space THE MAXI is back…but this time it’s been named ironically. This is a Mini that’s anything but a Mini, a car that’s been designed to capitalise on the increasingly
Verdict Pros Lots of interior space Good interior quality Flexible rear seats Cons It’s a box Unsettled ride Expensive to buy and upgrade Poor resale values Verdict Like the Maxi, which I always had a soft spot for by the way, the Mini Countryman has so much potential. It’s a sophisticated piece of engineering that offers plenty of versatile space, with a well-finished interior and an excellent infotainment system. There are several variants available too, including a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) that’s ideal if you need the car for work. Many rivals are far cheaper however and are much more fun to drive. If you have your heart set on a Mini but need a crossover then it will do just fine but, in most cases, you’ll want to give it a test drive then buy a Ford Puma.
popular crossover market. The Countryman is a vehicle that’s trying to be all things to all people, just like the Maxi did back in the day, but as I recall that didn’t work out too well for Austin (or British Leyland as it later became). The Maxi (codenamed ADO14) was a car that should have taken the world by storm but didn’t. In 1969 it was the first commercially available hatchback in the UK, designed by Alec Issigonis, the genius behind the eternally popular Mini. It took too long to design thanks to a number of bad corporate decisions and was left behind the curve from the moment it left the drawing board. Designers were told that they had to use the doors from the Austin 1800 to save costs for example and that meant that the opportunity to create something visually striking had gone. Against rivals such as the Ford Cortina it never stood a chance. The problem is that the Countryman faces a similar fight today. The real Mini, the three-door hatch, is a fine handling little car with bags of retro charisma. It’s brilliant fun to drive and zips through traffic like a go-kart, that’s its forte. If you want more space then the new Clubman fits the bill without losing that terrier-like bite but this is a Clubman that’s eaten all the pies and is looking for seconds. It’s huge. The second generation Countryman is even bigger, 20cm longer. From the rear it’s a flat box and despite its unique angular
NOT A LOOKER: Styling may disappoint many
TIM MORRIS Motoring Correspondent headlamps it’s not really a car that inspires you to step inside from any other angle.
The Countryman has been designed to feel like a small SUV, which it doesn’t. It’s not sporty like a real Mini but you don’t feel that high off the ground either. On the plus side the seats are comfortable and offer excellent support through the corners. The steering wheel has lots of reach and height adjustment which means that most drivers should be able to find a comfortable seating position. There’s bags of space front and back with a massive boot to complete the Maxi theme. Interior quality is high (inset right) on even the lower spec models and soft touch materials are used on most visible surfaces. The dashboard remains nicely
retro, but with a modern twist. Switches are well laid out and are super easy to use on the move. It looks really cool at night too, sporting a racing-style start switch that pulsates intriguingly (inset below left). The digital instruments are easy to read in most circumstances but there’s no cowling to shade the screen behind the steering wheel. As a result you’ll just have to use the force in bright sunlight and hope you don’t pass a speed camera. To save your licence there’s the option of a head-up display that will fix the problem, however. The sat-nav and infotainment system is particularly good. The 8.8 inch touchscreen is sharp and fast. It can also be operated using the iDrive knob between the front seats, which is far easier on the road. Visibility isn’t bad, front or back, and rear parking sensors are standard. Night vision is pretty good thanks to the brilliantly bright LED headlights which can be upgraded to adaptive Matrix units. These automatically transform the beam so that they can stay on mains without dazzling other road users.
On the Road BMW would like to think that the Countryman is a driver’s crossover but it’s not the best in class. The suspension is sophisticated and it’s based on a decent chassis but it’s no Clubman. Our 148bhp diesel Cooper D test car would hit 60mph in a leisurely 8.9 seconds and reach a top end of 129mph. It chugged along with ease on long runs and delivered plenty of low-rev grunt where needed. The Countryman’s steering is quick to respond and the suspension keeps the car pretty level through fast corners, yet it somehow feels unsettled. Expect a reasonable amount of understeer in the wet. Road noise is relatively hushed in the cabin but there’s a lot of wind noise generated by the boxy pillars and big door mirrors. Wind resistance and the suspension set-up mean that you’re always correcting to keep it in a straight line on a motorway too. As a result, if you’re hoping to find that the Mini’s driving characteristics have made it into the Maxi, you’ll be sadly disappointed.
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5 pages of RAF Sport start here World title still there for the taking for Phil Hall: p28
Knockout blow HOCKEY
But we'll be back, pledges RAF Hockey ace Sanford
RAF HOCKEY Olympian SAC Liam Sanford has promised to come back fighting after missing out on a medal in Tokyo. The 25-year-old and his Team GB squad made a brilliant start to their campaign but were eventually knocked out in the quarter-finals by stick stalwarts India. Liam told RAF News: “It’s so hard to sum up what my first Olympics were like. I feel like I need time and perspective to fully appreciate how special it was. “However, the journey and support has been immense and I am truly thankful to the RAF for allowing me to fulfil my dreams.” GB had stunning victories in the opening matches of the Games tournament. A 3-1 win over South Africa was followed up two days later with another victory, by the same scoreline, this time over Canada. There was a setback when they were thrashed 5-1 by Germany, but they fought back from 2-0 down – through two quick Sam Ward goals – to earn a fine tie against the Netherlands. Defender Sanford was his usual tower of strength in another 2-2 draw, this time against Belgium. But in the knockout stages India proved too strong, roaring to a 2-0 lead by early in the second quarter through goals from Dilpreet Singh and Gurjant Singh. Sam Ward pulled one back for GB at the end of the third quarter
PROUD: Mark Sanford and his wife
That's my boy
CLOCKWISE: The must-have rings photo opportunity, with teammate Brendan Creed, a tense match moment and being consoled
but India put it beyond doubt with a third, from Hardik Singh, near the end. In the days after his tournament ended Sanford (right) had time to reflect. He told us: “We set ourselves targets heading out there and had a belief that we could do something special. “We naturally feel disappointed in the
GLIDER 26: Crossing the finish line to secure first place on the last day with SAC(T) Matt Meikle in the front seat and Dave Bromley as captain in the rear seat PHOTO: PAT ROWNEY
end result but this team is capable of special things and we shall regroup and go again. “I believe that the players we have alongside the culture and values we have built within the squad are something truly special and I believe this team is capable of achieving incredible things.” Sanford enjoyed his
time at the Olympic village and the comraderie within the team. He said: “It was a special experience because unlike at other tournaments we were in a flat together so it naturally brought people closer and was more sociable, Covid restrictions notwithstanding. “The village and all the volunteers made this an incredible experience and I look forward to what comes next.”
LIAM SANFORD is following in Dad Mark's footsteps... both in the RAF and on the hockey field. Mark was a technician in the Service for 40 years, leaving in 2019 as a WO. Both his own parents and also his brother were in the Royal Air Force. Mark served in Northern Ireland, Bosnia and Cyprus – where he captained the RAF team at an InterServices competition. On his return to the UK in 2003, he represented the RAF Veterans until the age of 50. A young Liam started knocking balls around at half-time in inter-station games in Cyprus. Back in the UK, at High Wycombe, Mark and his seven-year-old son began playing for local team Marlow. From there Liam moved to Wycombe and went on to play County, Regional and then National Junior hockey. A move to National League team Bath Buccaneers and a place in the GB junior squad saw his playing career really take off. Liam joined the RAF in 2015 and was soon a key member of the senior team. He played in the winning InterServices side of 2016 and won England and GB selection, before getting Elite Athlete Status from the RAF in 2017 – allowing him to train full-time. He is now a regular in the GB side and won a bronze medal for England, in Australia, at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Mark told RAF News: “I have immense pride in my son. Representing your Service is a huge honour. To then represent your country in that sport is almost beyond belief. Watching Liam on the TV in Japan at these Olympics, well, I had to keep pinching myself to make sure it wasn’t a dream.”
Soar-away victory in the Inter-Services THE RAF team soared away from the opposition to win the Inter-Services Gliding Competition at Keevil. A total of 36 aircraft took part in the eight-day event in Wiltshire, battling for the top spot through a series of gruelling cross-country aerial races. After a launch by a tow-plane, the glider pilots had to find thermals of rising hot air and race for upwards of three hours, covering distances of more than 200 miles before landing back at Keevil Airfield – although for some a field ‘land out’ and retrieval by trailer would sometimes be inevitable. A total of 423 hours and 23,200 kilometres were flown throughout the competition.
The RAF team included pilots from all trades and ranks with Wg Cdr Neill Atkins, Station Commander RAF Scampton, heading up as captain. He told RAF News: “The team was consistent throughout despite some challenging weather conditions during the week. Both the Army and Navy teams proved to be formidable opponents, but our teamwork and tactics worked well to secure us first place. “After a break due to Covid in 2020 this is the first Inter-Service win for the RAF team since 2017 – a well-deserved win.” The RAF team claimed victory with 283 points, followed by the Army in second with
255 and Royal Navy in third with 224. Throughout the week a future generation of competition pilots were learning the ropes. SAC(T) Matt Meikle, 11 Sqn, RAF Coningsby, is one of the junior pilots at RAF Cranwell Gliding Club. He has recently completed a ‘Go Solo’ scholarship which provides junior ranks with the financial backing to kickstart their gliding careers. The RAF Gliding and Soaring Association has seven clubs across the UK and is open to all Service personnel, Reservists and some civilian Defence workers. ■ For more information visit rafgsa. org and rafgsa.org/solo.
Royal Air Force News Friday, August 13, 2021 P28
Hall or nothing World title still on for co-driver BRITISH RALLY co-driver Phil Hall remains in contention for the FIA Junior World Rally Championship title after a scintillating performance in Estonia, taking second place at the gruelling event. The third round of the five-event series saw a blistering pace from the front-running crews as Hall guided fellow Brit Jon Armstrong to five stage victories before securing the impressive runner-up spot in what is considered a highly specialist, super-fast gravel event. The result ensures that Hall sits just 15 points away from the series lead with two rounds remaining and with more familiar events to come in the calendar, the fight is on for his first world title. The 32-year-old RAF Motorsport High Performing Athlete from Nottinghamshire is enjoying a highly successful 2021 season in the co-drivers seat, with a round one Junior WRC win in Croatia getting his season off to the perfect start. Engine failure caused a second round zero score hampering progress, but recovery in Estonia has rekindled the title fight. It’s been a positive year outside the Junior tour too, with Hall and Armstrong selected to debut VICKERS: Tough weekend
Rally Estonia Junior World Rally Champs the M-Sport Poland Ford Fiesta Rally3 in the FIA European Rally Championship and duly taking the class win at Rally Poland in June. But the Junior WRC is undoubtedly the focus for Hall this season and the Estonian roads are famed for their unforgiving jumps and super-fast sections which require the ultimate concentration and precision pace note calling from the co-driver’s seat. The Motorsport UK Team squad member has a wealth of experience in events across the world but had never competed in Estonia before. The recce and pre-event shakedown would be an all-important factor in learning the type of note delivery required. And it got off to a positive start with third fastest across the opening Super Special on Thursday night, before the rally proper got underway on Friday. Punching in confidence-boosting times throughout the day saw Hall end the opening day in second spot, with a stage win on the penultimate test an added bonus. With the series contenders
SECOND PLACE: Hall, inset left and below left with Jon Armstrong, at the gruelling Rally Estonia
feeling much more at home and experienced on the Estonian soil, making inroads on the lead would always be an uphill task but Hall would be eager to balance Armstrong’s pace between risk and reward to end day two in third place. The opening stage on the final day saw Hall climb back into second, to cross the finish ramp in Tartu with another impressive result. “This is such a fantastic rally but it's suited to some of the guys with experience of these style of roads so to come away with second and be fighting for stage wins is exciting,” said Hall. “It hasn’t been easy; it’s a
PHOTOS: FIA JUNIOR WRC/M-SPORT
gruelling event and it’s been a hard balance between the rough roads and the flat out sections but I feel I’ve really settled into the task in hand and the harmony in the car has been great between Jon and I. This result has set us up perfectly to fight for the title over the closing rounds and it’s going to be a great battle for sure.” Hall also enjoyed support from the British Embassy in Tallinn during his trip thanks to a unique collaboration that saw him and the Embassy host a live virtual DiRT2.0 Rally tournament final in the town centre to crown an Estonia champion. His attention now turns to the Ypres Rally as the Junior WRC turns back to asphalt for the Belgium closed-road event.
Vickers battens down Hatches BRANDS Hatch proved an unhappy hunting ground for the RAF Regular & Reserve Kawasaki team with Ryan Vickers having only three 15th places to show for his troubles in the British Superbike Championship. Teammate Lewis Rollo fared only slightly better in the Pirelli National Superstock Championship at the same venue, with a best finish of 11th. Vickers now slips back to 12th in the championship standings. Rollo had a tough start to his weekend with technical issues limiting his track time during Friday’s Superstock free practice sessions. He had to settle for 14th in the damp qualifying round, where tyre choice was difficult. Next a 15th in the 15-lap race became 14th as reigning champion Chrissy Rouse was penalised and moved down the order. Sunday’s race returned an 11th place and
Rollo (pictured below) now sits in 10th in the championship standings. Vickers said: “It's been a mixed weekend but I want to get back into the top ten as soon as I can, so we’ll get back to the workshop and look to see where we can improve.”
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: Sports@rafnews.co.uk
Royal Air Force News Friday, August 13, 2021 P29
Email: email@example.com WINTER SPORTS
Andy O'Hara AN RAF avionics expert has put together a crack military bobsleigh team, with the aim of qualifying for the 2026 Olympics. GB Team Development athlete Cpl John Stanbridge is also hoping that he and his fellow Armed Forces members will be able to use their extensive technical skills to help design a world-beating sled to replace the 12-year-old models they are currently having to use. But none of this comes cheap, with new sleighs costing £50,000£100,000 and large travel and subsistence expenses to foot too. Critically, with the loss of UK Sport funding three years ago the ice sliders have found themselves having to fork out from their own pockets in order to chase their dream. Stanbridge, based at RAF Waddington, told RAF News: “I have had to pay most of my own costs for the last few years, many thousands of pounds, and that isn’t sustainable. It’s the same for the other guys. We need company sponsors to help us raise at least £65,000 so we can give our best to represent the UK and the Armed Forces.” John (below), the team’s sled pilot, has been joined in his quest by Sochi 2014 Olympics brakeman Cpl John Baines, an ICT technician; SAC(T) Alex Cartagena, a RAF mechanic; SAC(T) Alex Cortes-Tankard, a RAF weapons technician; and Army Para Jason Joseph. When they’re not training on the ice or on the UK’s only dry track at the home of British Bobsleighing at Bath University, they’re putting their skills to good use by trying to come up with better sled designs and refinements and planning to go into FOOTBALL
We need a bob or two
DRY RUN: Bobsleigh training at the Bath Uni facility and, inset right below, preparing to race at Königssee, Germany
Olympics bid sledders in sponsorship appeal schools to talk to pupils about sport and engineering to inspire the next generation. The team take part in education initiatives as part of the International Air and Space Training Institute scheme (IASTI) and also in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) projects. And this is something they hope will appeal to wouldbe sponsors, as well as being represented on the ice in European and World qualifiers and, ultimately, hopefully the Olympics.
Stanbridge said: “This side of things is very important to us. We want to be able to give young people an insight into what they can achieve through sport and in education, particularly engineering. We can show them the practical side of how science can be used in sled and equipment design.” Before the Olympics, there’s the RAF Championships and InterServices glory to aim for – and in these, the team members have form. Stanbridge has been the No 1 RAF British pilot for the last two seasons and was second overall at the 2019 and 2020 RAF Championships. He was an Inter-Service champion in 2018 and was selected for the GB Team Development squad in 2020. He has also competed in the European and North American Cup.
Baines, a former sprinter based at RAF Leeming, is a four times British champion and as well as being an Olympian has had extensive European and World Cup success. C o r t e s - Ta n k a r d (also RAF Leeming) and Joseph are both GB brakemen and Cartagena is a RAF brakeman and Service powerlifting champ, based at Waddington. So there’s the perfect combination of military guile, brains and brawn. With qualification and titles won and lost by hundredths of a second, a new sled is top of the GB Team Development group’s wish list. With even a good second-hand,
world-class sleigh costing north of £30,000, sponsorship is essential. Stanbridge said: “What we’ve got now is OK for the RAF Championships but nowhere good enough for World Cup or Olympics sledding, it’s just not up to the job. “It’s a massive challenge but I feel that I am up to the task. It’s a long road ahead towards 2026 but with the right support and development we have a really strong chance.” Corporate sponsorship packages are available from £1,000 to £12,000-plus. For more details email: john_bobsleigh_ firstname.lastname@example.org
Look fab Endurance king Doyle sets sights on kayak records in black? HAS EURO 2020 got you all fired up to get more involved with football? The RAF FA holds courses to equip new referees with the skills and knowledge to take up the whistle and to officiate at grassroots level matches. Courses cost £120 and are open to serving personnel and civilian MOD employees. The next available dates are October 3 & 4 at RAF Brize Norton. See: royalairforcefa.com/ referees or email: education@ royalairforcefa.com for more details and to book your place.
FORMER RAF Reservist Paddy Doyle has taken to the water in his latest bid to smash more endurance records. The veteran previously served with 4624 Sqn, 504 Sqn and had a short spell with 605 Sqn. He is a fitness fanatic who holds hundreds of endurance and strength records. He started judo aged eight, then took up boxing and kickboxing, winning numerous titles along the way before getting into mountain biking and speed marching. In 1987 he set a press-ups world record for doing a chest and armwrecking 4,100 of them with a 50lb steel plate on his back – a mark that stands to this day. The river Leam in Warwickshire has been his latest training base while
he has been working hard on his kayaking skills, assessed by British Canoe Union (BCU) coaches. Future official challenges and world records will involve kayaking over various distances, combined with mountain biking and cross country yomping carrying heavy backpacks. Doyle told RAF News: “I am enjoying the training and I am now a BCU paddle sport leader, so it is great to get important skills training from the senior coaches. “I know the kayak timed challenges will be tough, especially as I then have to get out of the river and on my mountain bike for a 20km ride before finishing with a 10km or 20km cross country weighted backpack speed march.”
DOYLE: Up for the challenge
Royal Air Force News Friday, August 13, 2021 P30
The RAF dream team FOOTBALL THE ANNUAL Inter-Services Football Championship has traditionally been dominated by the Army, which has always had a larger pool of players to select from than the RAF or the Navy. This was especially so during the days of National Service, when they had the likes of the Charlton brothers, who went on to glory as part of England’s 1966 World Cupwinning team. However, at the beginning of the Sixties, just before the end of National Service, the RAF was able to field an exceptionally strong team composed mostly of professional footballers who were able to win the title two years running (in 1960 and 1961). Now I don’t know anything about the 1960 title win but through the sports pages of RAF News – which first appeared on April 1, 1961 – I have learned all about their retention of the title that year. Indeed the inaugural issue of the Forces’ favourite newspaper, found as part of a hoard at the bottom of a wooden chest while clearing my late mother’s house in York, contains a report of their first match, against the Navy, which took place at Fratton Park, home of Portsmouth, March 15. According to the reporter who covered the game, although the RAF ‘had far more of the play (they) were struggling for most of the time to avoid defeat’, and indeed only managed to salvage a 3-3 draw, courtesy of a goal by Leeming’s talented inside right Cpl Ken Womshurst 10 minutes from the end. Caught out by two good early Navy goals, the RAF managed to pull one back just before half-time thanks to centre forward LAC Max Murray of RAF Turnhouse and Glasgow Rangers, and then equalised early in the second half through LAC Tommy Burlison of RAF Boulmer and Hartlepool Utd. However the Navy quickly restored their lead and looked the likely winners when the RAF were temporarily reduced to 10 men by an injury to AC Harrison of RAF Linton and Halifax Town. Still, the defence managed to weather this difficult period with centre half and skipper LAC George Curtis (RAF Gaydon and Coventry City) being ‘particularly sound.’ Once Harrison resumed, albeit on the wing, the RAF returned to the attack with Wimshurst scoring, from close range, what was to prove a crucial goal in the championship. With the Army subsequently beating the Navy the stage was set for a final against the Army played at Molyneux, the home of Wolverhampton Wanderers – the match report being printed in the April 15 edition of RAF News. The greater enthusiasm of the RAF was what won them the game as most of the Army players ‘seemed to lack urgency’. The more dangerous RAF attack scored
With the death recently of RAF Football leading light George Curtis, aged 82, military and aviation historian Mick Britton (left) looks back on the sportsman's Inter-Services winning team of 1961 – a team with more than its fair share of talent
CAPTAIN: George Curtis, who died in July
twice in two minutes just before half-time, the scorers being left winger AC Stokes (RAF Freckleton and Huddersfield Town) and right half Harrison, who had obviously recovered from the injury sustained during the previous match. Although Crowe, the Army inside left, reduced the arrears soon after the interval LAC Max Murray quickly restored the lead and then the win was sealed with a penalty converted by Stokes. Although Crowe scored a second for the Army it came too late to affect the outcome and so the RAF ran out 4-2 winners. The RAF players considered ‘outstanding’ were centre half and skipper Curtis, once again, left half AC Kinsey (RAF Northolt and Charlton Athletic) and inside right Cpl Wimshurst while Crowe, recently signed by Blackburn Rovers, was the only Army player to deserve mention. For the record the RAF team comprised: 1. F. Davies (Bridgnorth/Wolves) 2. B. Jackson (Dishforth/York City) 3. T. Burleson (Boulmer / Hartlepool) 4. E. Harrison (Linton/ Halifax) 5. G. Curtis (Gaydon/ Coventry)
The greater enthusiasm of the RAF was what beat the Army
WOLVES PLAYER: Ken Wimshurst
6. B. Kinsey (Northolt/Charlton) 7. J.Shannon (Ternhill/Sankeys) 8. K.Wimshurst (Leeming/Wolves) 9. M.Murray (Turnhouse/Rangers) 10. R. Atkinson (Abingdon/Oxford) 11. D.Stokes (Freckleton/Huddersfield) It should be noted that all of them were on the books of professional clubs except for Shannon, who played for Sankeys works team. In retrospect the reporter showed great prescience in the trio of players rated ‘outstanding’. George Curtis was the defensive lynch pin of a Coventry City team which scaled the football league from the fourth to the first divisions in the mid sixties. Brian Kinsey went on to make 377 appearances for Charlton Athletic, while Ken Wimshurst had a successful playing career with Southampton and Bristol City. Another team member, Ron Atkinson, was subsequently to become a successful Premiership manager of Manchester United and then a household name as a TV pundit. At Manchester United he teamed up again with Eric Harrison, who as coach survived Ron’s departure and worked closely with his successor Alex Ferguson, whom he advised to extend the scouting network in order to attract more youngsters to the club. The resultant youth policy soon produced the 'class of ‘92’ featuring such stellar players as David
The RAF won the InterServices SEVEN times in a row from 2007/8
ATKINSON: Later glory as a Premiership manager
Beckham, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes, who ensured Manchester United’s dominance of English football for more than a decade. Eric’s contribution as a coach was recognised with the award of an MBE in the 2018 New Year Honours list. He sadly passed away the following year, as did former teammate Ken Wimshurst. Were you in the team? Or do you have a photograph of the other players or the Inter Serviceswinning team? Email: editor@ rafne ws.co.u k and let us know.
MBE: Eric Harrison
Royal Air Force News Friday, August 13, 2021 P31
Email: email@example.com ANGLING
Coningsby double as Conboy shows the way ROOKIE: SAC Ben Townsend with a catch and winner Cpl Scott Conboy, inset left
It's all kicking off
CON WAS king at the RAF Coarse Angling Championships with Cpl Scott Conboy winning the individual title and Coningsby taking the Inter Unit event. Champ Scott proved he was the big fish at Mallory Park in Leicestershire with a net-busting haul of almost 43.5kg in five hours. SAC Kyle Woolhouse (RAF Brize Norton) was second with 35.775kg and Cpl Chris Clitheroe (RAF Leeming third, with 33.6kg.
RESULT 1 – Cpl Scott Conboy, 43.4255kg 2nd – SAC Kyle Woolhouse, 35.775kg 3rd – Cpl Chris Clitheroe, 33.6kg st
And Conway's efforts helped his team take the Inter Unit title too. Together with SAC Matt Cambray and Sgt Danny Hurst they netted a total of 114.775kg of fish ahead
of RAF Brize Norton, Voyager with 104.675kg and Benson A on 92.950kg. The event also featured a development day for newer anglers, with tips and tuition from the more experienced anglers. It was run by RAF Angler FS Mike Dalziel (ASMT, RAF Brize Norton). Rookie SAC Ben Townsend said: “I have learnt loads from the RAF team, thank you for all the tips. Caught more than ever before.”
KICKS AND spirits were high as the RAF Martial Arts team took to the mats for the first team training session since Covid-19. As the pandemic unfolded the association – which covers Karate, Taekwondo, Kendo and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu – had to find new ways to practise. The team kept connected with charity fitness challenges, online cardio sessions and even socially-distanced drilling with grappling dummies. Cpl Becky Winstanley of the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu team said: “With some sports, if you are within two metres of each other something has gone terribly wrong – it’s the opposite for us, so naturally we have had to wait a little bit longer for full-contact. But saying it’s worth the wait is an understatement – team spirit is at an all-time high.” And it isn’t just RAF fighting enjoying a long-awaited return – with training resuming in the
same month as the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, seeing Team GB fight on the world stage has further fuelled enthusiasm. Team blackbelt Sqn Ldr Dianne Carbutt-McGill said: “It’s incredible to think there were people watching Taekwondo in Tokyo who, having never tried a martial art before will, in turn, be inspired to be Olympians of the future. Watching the Olympics makes you so excited to get back to it. I’m really looking forward to blowing away the cobwebs at RAF Martial Arts training, though I expect it will be painful.” Held at RAF Digby across two days, the monthly martial arts training fixtures welcome beginners of all levels and backgrounds. ■ Get in touch via RAF Martial Arts on Facebook, or @raf. martial.arts on Instagram.
Army engineers T20 victory over battling RAF Marham RAF MARHAM were runnersup in the East of England Cricket League T20 final at Attenborough Cricket Club in Nottinghamshire. Opponents 170 Engineer Group won the toss and put Marham in to bat first. Despite losing an early wicket, the airmen made steady progress with SAC Gavin Maughan and Sgt Max Rundle scoring freely, making 22 and 31 runs respectively.
RAF Marham, 111 all out 170 Eng Gp, 112 off 17 overs Persistent bowling from Austin paid dividends taking 3 wickets in his early spell and ensuring Marham didn’t run away. This was backed up by some heroic fielding from Pamphill, worthy of a GB Gymnastics floor routine. Late runs from Marham skipper
Cpl Nick Payne and tail ender SAC(T) Schooley momentarily steadied the ship. 170 Eng Gp however had reserved their ringer ‘Marvellous’ maverick Pamphill for the closing stages of the innings and he took a quickfire brace of wickets to put a close to Marham’s innings at 111 all out. After a quick lunch break the players took to the field once more with Marham having their work cut
out to defend on an increasingly flat wicket and fast outfield. 170 Eng Gp set about their business with haste quickly reaching 50 with no loss of wickets from 8 overs. Both openers Whiston and Lewis survived close LBW appeals from spinner Cpl Dulan Patabendi. The introduction of the first change bowlers served to put a break on proceedings, Marham’s pick of the bowlers, Payne, finishing
with a fine spell conceding 21 runs from his 4 overs. Although able to slow down the scoring both openers never looked in doubt, easily rotating the strike and patiently waiting and capitalising on boundary opportunities when presented. Diligence paid off and 170 Eng Gp sailed comfortably to 112 from 17 overs without loss, earning the EECL T20 Winner’s Shield.
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: Sports@rafnews.co.uk
Royal Air Force News Friday, August 13, 2021 R'n'R 1
Win: Jilly Cooper book p4
Brad plays Pop – The Larkins p5
COVID-19 C OVID-19
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Royal Air Force News Friday, August 13, 2021 R'n'R 3
R'n'R Brabham (12) Battle of the Bulge: Winter War (12)
RACING ICON: Scene from Brabham
CHANGING TIDES: Stunning scenery as friends tackle an epic kayak trip
FROM KURILS WITH LOVE: Visit one of the last paradises on Earth, the Kuril Islands
Experience ocean without even getting your wet feet
HE OCEAN Film Festival will show mind-boggling marine life and incredible ocean a new collection of the world’s most cinematography, without getting your feet wet. inspirational ocean-themed “We’re so excited to share our latest movies, from below and above collection of films and to bring the surface, at theatres around together ocean-loving communities the country from September to around the UK,” she added. “So dive November. into a night of ocean adventure – The popular festival features up on the big screen.” a selection of short films starring The Ocean Film Festival wild seafaring voyages, extreme originated in Australia, with the watersports and marine conservation aim of inspiring people to explore, x from the least explored depths of the respect, enjoy and protect the oceans. zo red fo WILD: E planet. Each screening will see a free prize Tour director Nell Teasdale s a i d : giveaway to win ocean-related goodies. None “Witness intrepid human-powered challenges, of the films on the live tour were shown in
Film Review Deerskin (15) In cinemas now
the Ocean Film Festival’s virtual events over lockdown, Nell said. Film highlights include From Kurils With Love where a Russian marine biologist called Vladimir stows away on a boat filled with adventure junkies (and a world-renowned cybersecurity expert) to reach one of the last paradises on Earth – the volcanic Kuril Islands, between Russia and Japan. And in Changing Tides university friends Lucy and Mathilde tackle an ambitious kayaking trip along the Inside Passage, down the coast of Alaska and Canada. ■ Go to: oceanfilmfestival.co.uk for full details.
Dear, deer jacket
Georges is in love with his snazzy coat
LOOKING GOOD: Georges really likes what he sees
HIS IS the hilariously strange and simple story of one man so enchanted by a second-hand deerskin jacket that he sets out on an impossible task of making it the only jacket in the world – by any means necessary. It seems Georges (Jean Dujardin) is going through a break-up, perhaps because he spent the last of his money on this entrancing item of clothing, and can’t even afford to stay at the little hotel where he now resides. He spends his time filming himself with a handheld digital camera in the mirror, through the illustrious fringe of his sleeve, admiring his ‘killer style’. He talks to the jacket, he talks back as the jacket, taunting and tempting himself to destroy all other jackets and anyone who gets in the way. It is the detail of Deerskin that sets the tone, from the particular sound design to the deadpan
RABHAM REVEALS the making of an icon – the godfather of modern Formula One racing, Sir Jack Brabham. In this film, exposing the media’s role in creating sporting myths, Brabham tells a ‘David and Goliath’ tale of an Australian hero pitted against the giants of Ferrari, Lotus and Maserati. Jack Brabham remains the only person to have won the F1 Driver’s and Constructor’s Championships in his own car. Greatness, however, comes at a cost – the strain between Jack and his youngest son David portrays two generations of men determined to define themselves on their own terms. The challenges of family legacy and the determination to see the Brabham name reborn are key drivers to this dynastic drama, as the Brabham marque stands poised to challenge international motorsport once more. With unparalleled access to some of the greatest names in Formula One racing, the film showcases the final interviews with the late John Surtees and the late Sir Stirling Moss; as well as candid never-before-seen observations on Sir Jack by F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone, former F1 champion Mark Webber and many more.
TOM BERENGER (Inception, Platoon) and Billy Zane (Curfew, Titanic) star with writer and director Steven Luke (The Great War, Wunderland) in the stirring World War II adventure Battle of the Bulge: Winter War. Luke plays Lt Cappa, who, with his men from the 2nd Infantry Division, must find a way to stop the German invasion by any means possible. Friends are not who they seem, and enemies are everywhere. We have copies of Brabham and Battle of the Bulge up for grabs. For your chance to own one, answer this question correctly: Which country was Jack Brabham from?
performances, managing to be both tense and absurdly funny. Dujardin plays Georges with a perfect blend of egotism and naive stupidity, pretending to be a filmmaker despite having zero knowledge of the craft. Adèle Haenel plays the barmaid Denise at the small hotel, who moonlights as an editor and so is sucked in to be a collaborator
on what will ultimately become Georges’ masterwork. Already wonky, the film takes another turn for the weird and our Georges becomes a crazed voyeur, a peeping Tom with an obsession for outerwear, stalking strangers with the propensity to wrap up of a snowy night and demanding they strip down on camera or face the blade of his ceiling fan, his
homemade weapon of choice. French writer-director Quentin Dupieux is no stranger to absurdity, having made Rubber, a film about a serial killer car tyre, but in Deerskin everything is played straight, which makes it that much funnier as it dives into slasher exploitation. Review by Sam Cooney 4 out of 5 roundels
Email your answer, marked DVDs competition, to: firstname.lastname@example.org or post it to: RAF News, Room 58, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe, HP14 4UE, to arrive by August 27. Please remember to state whether you prefer to win Brabham or Battle of the Bulge and include your full postal address.
Royal Air Force News Friday, August 13, 2021 R'n'R 4
The Stars Beneath My Feet (2004-2021)
The best of Blunt
ORMER SOLDIER James Blunt will release a special greatest hits album, The Stars Beneath My Feet (2004-2021) on November 19 and he’s announced a UK arena tour for 2022, which will celebrate songs spanning a 17year career that has spawned over 23 million album sales, a global smash hit with You’re Beautiful, two Brit Awards and two Ivor Novello Awards, as well as five
Grammy Award nominations. Along with the hit singles, the album will include four new songs and four exclusive live performances from around the world, including the Glastonbury Festival. Blunt said: “If you’d ever wished that James Blunt had only ever released one album – this is that album. It’s 30 awesome songs, including live performances from
Glastonbury and elsewhere, and four new songs. “To celebrate its release, I’ll be heading out to tour the world all next year. I can’t wait to see you then.” Blunt and his band are playing some rescheduled dates this month and in September. ■ Go to: jamesblunt.com for details.
You can Count on Sir Trevor
HANNEL 4 has announced that Sir Trevor McDonald and AJ Odudu will present shows as part of Black to Front, a diversity project airing this September. Across the day the station will broadcast programming fronted by black talent and featuring black contributors, to champion black voices, stories and talent. Sir Trevor will host C4’s longestrunning show, Countdown, while Odudu will join Mo Gilligan as cohost of The Big Breakfast and Phil Gayle will return to read the news as the programme comes lives from its original East London location, the Lock Keepers’ Cottages. The Big Breakfast was a staple of the channel’s morning schedule from 1992 to 2002, and presenters will be joined by a mix of famous guests. AJ said: “I absolutely can’t wait to get stuck into The Big Breakfast. It is such an iconic show to be part of and I am buzzing it is finally coming back.”
Between the Covers
Between the Covers with Jilly Cooper J
ILLY COOPER’S observations from her days as a much-loved newspaper columnist cover all aspects of everyday life – from marriage, friendship and the minutiae of family life, to the tedium of going to visit people for the weekend, the stress of hosting dinner parties and the descent of middle age. Between the Covers, The World according to Jilly Cooper – sex, socialising and survival (Corgi, rrp £8.99) is published in paperback on September 2 and we have copies of this classic collection of journalism from the legendary author to win. Entertaining and full of heart, this highly enjoyable book explores life’s highs and lows with the author’s trademark wit, wisdom, warmth and sharp observations. Jilly said: “One truth I have learnt, as middle-age enmeshes me like Virginia creeper, is that I shall never change – because my capacity for self-improvement is absolutely nil.” The author of many number one bestselling novels, she lives in Gloucestershire. Her books have sold more than 12 million copies in the UK. Jilly was appointed CBE in 2018 for services to literature and charity. For your chance to win a copy of the book, send us the correct answer to the following question: In which county does Jilly Cooper live? Email your answer, marked Jilly Cooper book competition, to: email@example.com or post it to; RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe, HP14 4UE to arrive by August 27. Please remember to include your full postal address with your entry.
PROUD: Sir Trevor is part of Black to Front day at C4
Sir Trevor added: “I am proud and delighted to be presenting Countdown on this special day; I have always enjoyed watching Countdown, a show that has been around for almost as long as I have.”
OR BBC One, David Morrissey leads an all-star ensemble in a six-part series currently filming, also starring Joanne Froggatt, Robert Glenister, Alun Armstrong, Lesley Manville, Phillip Jackson and Stephen Tompkinson. Partly inspired by real events, Sherwood, set in the Nottinghamshire mining village where writer James Graham grew up, is about two shocking and unexpected killings that shatter an already fractured community and spark a massive manhunt. As suspicion and antipathy build – both between lifelong neighbours
Waterside, Aylesbury Reopening
YLESBURY’S WATERSIDE Theatre is reopening on September 5 with a packed programme of shows featuring big names ranging from Rob Brydon to Grayson Perry. Feel-good musical Hairspray kicks off the season from September CARR-ICATURE: Comic Alan Carr is appearing
SHERWOOD: Morrissey, Manville and Glenister star
and towards the police forces who descend on the area – the tragic killings threaten to inflame historic divisions sparked during the miners’ strike three decades before. Morrissey plays DCS Ian St
Clair with Glenister as DI Kevin Salisbury, Armstrong as Gary Jacobson, one of the few members from the village who was on the picket line in the 1980s, and Manville as his wife Julie.
Curtain raises at the Waterside 6-11, followed by Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 The come courtesy of comedy stars Rob Brydon impressions from Waterside favourite La Musical (September 28-October 2) starring (October 16), Omid Djalili (October 19), Voix on October 21. Louise Redknapp. Alan Carr (October 24) and Al Murray Live music fans are in for a treat Young theatre fans can enjoy (October 25). with Nick Cave and Warren Ellis in Horrible Histories – Barmy Britain Grayson Perry: A Show concert on September 5, OMD (at (November 3-6), before the for Normal People starring Friars Aylesbury) on September 17, Fisherman’s Friends on timeless tale The Lion, The Witch the artist, writer and September 24 and Scouting for & The Wardrobe (November 16broadcaster, takes to the Girls on October 14. 20). And there’s Santa’s Elves and stage on November 9; on And there’s the welcome return of The Shoemaker (December 17-23) October 12 Sunday Times No 1 N BRYDO to look forward to. bestselling author Adam Kay appears LA VOIX the Waterside panto with Cinderella from December 2 to January 2, 2021. Back due to demand is multi awardwith his This Is Going To Hurt tour, winning hit comedy, The Play That Goes sharing entries from his diaries as a junior ■ Go to: atgtickets.com/aylesbury for full Wrong (November 22-27), and more laughs doctor. And there’s comedy, cabaret and details.
Royal Air Force News Friday, August 13, 2021 R'n'R 5
The Big Event ITV's autumn viewing
STEPHEN: Quarshie, Coogan and Whyte star
RETURN: Endeavour is back with new series
TEVE COOGAN, Joanne plays sisters Theresa and Helen in the Froggatt and Anna Maxwell four-part thriller Hollington Drive. Martin are among the top The siblings are close, but when names starring in new dramas Theresa’s young son Ben asks to play in ITV’s autumn schedule. in the nearby park with his cousin Eva, And returning to the channel are Theresa grows increasingly anxious. new series of favourites Endeavour When the children don’t return on with Shaun Evans, Grantchester with time, she goes looking for them and, Robson Green, Vera with Brenda when she finds them on the edge of a Blethyn and Martin Clunes as former woodland area appearing to be fighting, police detective Colin Sutton in a her instincts tell her something terrible sequel to the critically-acclaimed has happened. Then her distraught Manhunt, about the real-life story of neighbour says her 10-year-old son has how serial killer Levi Bellfield was gone missing… brought to justice. Coogan (This Time With Alan emma Whelan stars as Detective Partridge) heads the cast with Hugh Sergeant Sarah Collins in brand Quarshie (Holby City) and Sharlene new series The Tower. It’s based on Post Whyte (Small Axe) in Stephen, the Mortem, the first of former Met police three-part sequel to The Murder officer Kate London’s Metropolitan of Stephen Lawrence. series of novels. The drama portrays In The Tower’s opening sequence, a veteran beat events from 2006, 13 years cop and a teenage girl fall after Stephen’s death to their deaths from a in April 1993 from a tower block in south-east racially motivated attack London. Left alive on the in south-east London. roof are a five-year-old boy Coogan plays DCI Clive and rookie police officer Driscoll with Quarshie Lizzie Adama (Tahirah and Whyte as Stephen’s s e n lu :C Sharif). Within hours, Lizzie parents, Neville and Doreen MANHUNT has disappeared, and DS Collins is Lawrence. charged with leading the investigation. oanne Froggatt (Liar) takes the She not only has to track down Lizzie eponymous lead role in Angela before she comes to serious harm, but Black who, on the surface, appears also to uncover the truth behind the to have an idyllic life with her two grisly deaths. sons and charming husband Olivier (Michiel Huisman). But she is a victim n Manhunt: The Night Stalker of domestic violence and is afraid to Clunes reprises his role as ex leave her tormentor, the father of her Met Chf Insp Sutton for the children. drama based on the true story Then private investigator Ed of a police investigation into a approaches her, revealing Olivier’s series of rapes, sexual assaults deepest secrets to Angela and she is and burglaries that took faced with horrifying truths about her place in south-east London husband and his betrayals. But can she between 1992 and 2009. A trust Ed? dedicated unit, Operation Minstead, was set up to hunt axwell Martin (Motherland) down the man who became and Rachael Stirling (Wild Bill) known as The Night Stalker.
ABUSE VICTIM: Joanne Froggatt in Angela Black
Dark days ahead
Crime-laden autumn ITV schedule
here’s a welcome return for Evans and Roger Allam as DS Endeavour Morse and DCI Fred Thursday for three new cases written by Russell Lewis in the eighth series of the Morse prequel. It opens in 1971 when a death threat to Oxford Wanderers’ star striker Jack Swift places Endeavour and his team at the heart of t h e
Harris & Baker's Backstage Pass UK tour 2021/22 TALES: Harris, left, and Baker
glitz and glamour of 1970s football, exposing the true cost of success and celebrity, and with it, a deep-rooted division that is soon reflected much closer to home.
ollowing the huge success of series 10, Brenda Blethyn returns to the role of DCI Vera Stanhope for two feature length episodes set in the North East. The 11th series of Vera opens as well-respected local builder Jim Tullman is found beaten to death on the steps of the Collingwood Monument. DCI Stanhope questions how such a seemingly beloved and imposing figure could be attacked so viciously. The mystery deepens when she discovers that Tullman was due to testify in court as the key witness in a violent assault. Could these two crimes be connected?
LIGHT RELIEF: Walsh & Scanlan as Pop and Ma Larkin in The Darling Buds of May
THRILLER: Disturbing Hollington Drive
s some light relief to all that crime, a highlight of the autumn schedule sees Bradley Walsh (The Chase) in a much-anticipated new television adaptation of HE Bates’ novel The Darling Buds of May. Walsh plays head of the family Pop Larkin in the six-part series set in the 1950s, telling the story of a working-class family living in the beautiful Kent countryside. Joanna Scanlan (McDonald & Dodds) stars as Ma Larkin.
Whispering Bob and Baker T
WO OF broadcasting’s most popular names, ‘Whispering’ Bob Harris and Danny Baker, have rescheduled their UK tour, Harris & Baker’s Backstage Pass, for 2021/2022. The tour will kick off in Salford on October 10 and travel around the country before culminating in Sheffield on May 15, 2022. Harris and Baker, two of the nation’s best broadcasters, have unparalleled experience of witnessing the great names of modern music up
close. They have been backstage, front stage, at home and on the road with virtually every legend in the business. Fortunately, they both have great memories – and these two storytellers are ready to spill the beans. Harris said: “I’m so much looking forward to sharing a stage with Danny. The gigs we’ve done together are so much fun. We have so many stories to tell you and we can’t wait to see you. My only worry is Danny won’t be able to get a word in edgeways.” Baker shared a taste of what to
expect from the tour. He said: “After decades of freewheeling access to all of the major names and noises of popular culture, Bob and I will be cutting loose about our extraordinary time in and around the music industry. “Backstage tales, wild happenings and proper explosive laughs as it turns out it wasn’t only rock and roll but so much more. Do join us to celebrate this glorious cacophony.” ■ Go to: harrisandbaker.com Twitter: @prodnose/@whisperingbob
Royal Air Force News Friday, August 13, 2021 R'n'R 6
R'n'R Your Announcements
You can email photos for announcements on this page to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Deaths FORMER SACW Gillian (Jill) Powell passed away aged 75 on July 18 following a short illness. Jill joined the WRAF in 1962, serving for four years in the Air Traffic Control branch at RAF Leuchars as an Ops Clerk/Assistant Air Traffic Controller. Outside of work she played table tennis, becoming a WRAF Fighter Command champion and runner up in badminton and, at the same time playing for Scottish Eastern Counties. Following marriage and a posting to RAF Guetersloh in Germany, she continued playing in the station ladies team.
Akasha in Lensahn, Germany and former husband Alan (they remained friends) in Norfolk. Not forgetting Alan’s wife Lesley, who as SACW Lesley Munro served with Jill in the Tower at Leuchars. Point of contact: email@example.com or 01760 337514. GLASS Kenneth (Ken) Frederick passed away peacefully at his home in Southport on August 3 at the age 88. Ken served as a Corporal in the RAF Police from 1951 to 1973. Much loved husband to June, devoted father to Lynette, Kevin and Darryl, cherished grandfather to Jon, Sarah, Guy and Emily, great-grandfather to Tyler, Emma and Daniel. So loved and dearly missed by all the family.
Jill Powell Born and bred in Bradford, she was a lifelong supporter of Bradford City and while living in Germany, she supported FC Hamburg as well. Following her WRAF service she went to the USA for a year as an au pair and on returning married former Flt Lt Alan Mudge. They were married for 30 years but sadly the marriage ended in divorce. Later in life she was commissioned into the WRAFVR, serving for 10 years, retiring as a Sqn Ldr with an AOC-in-C’s Commendation. She will be sadly missed by daughter Rebecca and grandson Tyler in Cornwall, oldest son Tim and Sukie in Bielefeld, Germany, youngest son Jeremy and granddaughters Felicity and
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@ btinternet.com.
READER Alan Boniface is hoping to regain contact with his former RAF colleague Cpl Mac McCulloch. Alan, who now lives in New Zealand, served in Cyprus from 195657. Alan’s RAF number was 2777576. He and Cpl McCulloch were both posted to the Middle East HQ at Episkopi of the Army, Navy and RAF. Mac was the cook at the base, and Alan’s job was dealing with inward and outward mail. Please email Alan at: firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help.
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, 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
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: email@example.com. Please note that due to the coronavirus pandemic we are currently unable to accept notices submitted by post.
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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.
Can you help preserve 'Whispering Giant'?
RAFA branch chair THE Beccles and Southwold Branch of the RAF Association have said goodbye to our retiring chairman for the past five years, Wg Cdr Steve Wilson MB FRCA RAF (Ret’d). In addition to his RAF duties and for the NHS, Steve gave willingly of his time when possible to provide our members with that vital link to the modern RAF. He remains a much valued member of our branch and our membership sends him thanks and is deeply grateful for Steve’s time as chair. His place has now been taken by Brian Sillick RAF (Ret’d), as chairman and we wish him every success in his new post. Brian Vousden, Branch President.
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: rafadappassn.org 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.
Museum conference TICKETS are now available for the RAF Museum’s New Thinking in Air Power conference on September 16-17 bringing together academics and scholars to present Air Power research which challenges the accepted historical consensus. The fee is £85 (concession* rate: £60 for students, retired delegates, and those that clearly work from limited budgets, as part of the RAF Museum’s commitment to make the conference as inclusive as possible.) Go to: rafmuseum.org for details.
REGULUS: Bristol Britannia XM496 is now displayed at Cotswold Airport
AN APPEAL has gone out for volunteers to help preserve a historic aircraft – the first Bristol Britannia. XM496 ‘Regulus’ 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: “This is an important aircraft, it took part in many parts of history.” Volunteers don’t need expertise, just enthusiasm, he added. The Bristol Britannia is open to the public every Saturday during August. ■ Go to the Society’s website: xm496.com for further information.
Read all about it
THE ROYAL British Legion has published a book about its history to celebrate its centenary this year. We Are The Legion: The Royal British Legion at 100 by Julie Summers (Profile Books Ltd, rrp £18.99) tells the story of how the charity has supported the Armed Forces community worldwide. Robert Lee, the RBL’s Assistant Director of Remembrance, said: “We are proud of our heritage and our 100 years of experience supporting the Armed Forces community, which has helped make sure we are fit for the next 100.” We Are the Legion (below) covers every aspect of the RBL’s work: the history of the poppy, the Legion’s international links, its role in fostering peace between countries and its modern day welfare work in recovery and rehabilitation. Illustrated with more than 350 images, including a collection of early poppy designs, Legion posters and unseen archive shots, the book includes original photography specially commissioned for the project. We Are The Legion also has a foreword from The Queen, the charity’s patron. ■ Go to the Centenary Hub on the RBL’s website: rbl.org. uk to find out more about RBL 100 and go to: poppyshop. org.uk to buy the book or call: 0300 123 9110.
Royal Air Force News Friday, August 13, 2021 R'n'R 7
R'n'R Your Announcements
You can email photos for announcements on this page to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sterling trip for pilot Bert Help to build vets' futures A 97-YEAR-OLD veteran has been reunited with the aircraft type he flew in World War II. The Tri Service & Veterans Support Centre and the Staffordshire branch of Forces charity SSAFA arranged for Bert Turner to visit the Alconbury Stirling Project, where he was able to get up close again to the Short Stirling bomber. Bert volunteered for the RAF in 1942 and by December 1943 was assigned
to a squadron to start flying. His missions were based in Europe, in Stirlings, as part of a crew of seven. He said: “I did about four bombing runs, but mainly I supplied the SOE, towed gliders and dropped paratroops. “You started action when you got in the aeroplane in England. We were briefed for whatever we were going to do. You got in the aeroplane, took off and then you were in action. It didn’t stop until
you landed again. A lot of it was very boring. Some of it was very hectic. I know that sounds ridiculous, but it’s the best way of explaining it, honestly.” Sent on risky missions, Bert was shot down twice, but survived, earning his place in the Caterpillar Club – for bailing out of his aircraft using a parachute. John Painter, Trustee and Treasurer at the Tri Service & Veterans Support Centre, said: “We took Bert because he flew in the Short Stirling in the Second World War as a flight engineer. “He was shot down twice over Arnhem and managed to get back to the UK safely both times. “Bert is visually impaired, but he knew what he was looking at and it was worth £1million to see him sitting in the dicky seat and looking at the controls that he had to check for real in the war. He was at home with his memories on that day and it was a pleasure to be with him.” BACK IN THE HOT SEAT: Bert at the Alconbury Stirling Project
THE ROYAL Air Forces Association has launched an appeal to help raise around £500,000 so the charity can expand its community housing. The money is needed for 26 additional apartments so that more RAF veterans can relive the camaraderie they knew while serving their country, said a RAFA spokeswoman. A planning application has been submitted for alterations to the charity’s former Rothbury House Hotel, Northumberland – which closed last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic – to create the apartments. Rory O’Connor, RAFA’s director of welfare and policy, said: “We estimate that almost 40 per cent of RAF veterans are living alone, and we know that, tragically, isolation and loneliness is a huge problem among this group. “Using the Association’s many years’ experience of running retirement complexes, we believe we can offer more accommodation where people with a shared
experience can find a sense of belonging.” Rothbury House shares a site with existing RAF Association retirement accommodation – at Lord Tedder and Malcolm Courts. Widow Ruth Birch, 90, (pictured) one of the site’s existing residents, said her life has been transformed by being close to other members of the retired RAF community. Ruth and her late husband, Bill, who helped to drop vital supplies into the Netherlands during Operation Manna, waited six years for a flat to become available at Lord Tedder Court.
When they moved in, in 2012, the couple were able to make friends with other residents – something that turned out to be a lifeline for Ruth when Bill died seven years later. She said: “The atmosphere here in the complex is very friendly, so nobody needs to feel alone. It will be lovely if Rothbury House can be developed into more independent living accommodation to grow our community.” Q Visit: buildingfutures. rafa.org.uk or call: 0800 018 2361 to donate to the RAF Association’s Building Futures appeal.
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Royal Air Force News Friday, August 13, 2021 R'n'R 8
R'n'R Prize Crossword
Prize Su Doku
Solve the crossword, then rearrange the 18 letters in yellow squares to find an RAF role.
Across 1. In Jaffa, Valencia full of beans (4) 8. Note rabies affects slow-grower (6,4) 9. Direction Des leaves oldest station (8) 10. Bath with a music-maker (4) 12. Outside Valencia, return call to station (6) 14. A Spanish gentleman is a good-looker (6) 15. Grave marking missing cheap imitation (3-3) 17. Activated plutonium the woman discovered first (6) 18. Cain crushed old Andean (4) 19. After three feet swallow detainee (8) 21. Doting Dawn round ISTAR hub (10) 22. Humid when attorney meets Starmer, say (4) Down 2. Army originally left place on assignment (10) 3. To support sailor is alien (4) 4. He liked to dog the Red Baron (6) 5. Mission statement of chap in middle of Australia (6) 6. Bases facts and figures around internal espionage (8) 7. After odd flex, volunteers says cheese (4) 11. He enters union (10) 13. No ordeal disturbed Renaissance Man (8) 16. RAF activity following unwelcome invention (6) 17. Poach vermin in pastry (6) 18. State Isle of Wight article (4) 20. The Beatles outlawed, we hear (4)
Name ................................................................................................................... Address ............................................................................................................... .............................................................................................................................. .............................................................................................................................. RAF role: ......................................................................... Crossword No. 298
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. 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 August 27, 2021.
Across – 1. Herb 8. Ecotourist 9. St Mawgan 10. Pope 12. Bunker 14. Buster 15. Specks 17. Vulcan 18. Stab 19. Hercules 21. Concertina 22. Heed Down – 2. Ear-trumpet 3. Beta 4. Codger 5. Hobnob 6. Proposal 7. Stye 11. Pied-a-terre 13. Kick Back 16. Sphere 17. Vermin 18. Sect 20. Utah Aircraft – Harrier
Mandy New series, BBC Two
................................................................................. Address .................................................................. ................................................................................. ....................................................Su Doku No. 308
Solution to Su Doku No: 307
■ The winner of Crossword No. 297 is Mr A Hackney of Havant, Hants Solution to Crossword No. 297:
■ The winner of Su Doku No. 307 is Mr Edward Dillon of Wirral
Exhibitions Paula Rego Tate Britain
Paula Rego: voice for the oppressed
Big dreams F
ILMING IS underway for the second series of Diane Morgan’s hit comedy Mandy, the BBC has announced. Morgan (Motherland, Cunk On Britain, After Life) plays the title role in the BBC Two show, and is also its writer and director. Mandy once again has big dreams with small success, as she attempts to find fulfilment in a series of short-lived jobs in the modern gig economy. Along the way she becomes a tour guide, goes on a reality show and gets thrown in at the deep end, both actually and metaphorically, when she attempts to learn to swim. All fun stuff, but none of which brings her
any closer to her ultimate ambition of breeding Doberman pinschers. Series two features an all-star comedy cast, which sees Michelle Greenidge (Code 404) as Lola, Mandy’s friend and confidante in the local nail bar, and Tom Basden (Plebs) as Mandy’s exasperated benefits officer, along with Alistair Green (Flowers), Mark Silcox (Man Like Mobeen) and Michael Spicer (The Room Next Door) all returning. Other famous faces in the cast include Sir Tom Courtenay; Anna Maxwell Martin (Line Of Duty); Richard Hope (Poldark); Nick Mohammed (Intelligence); Alexei Sayle and Nigel Planer (The Young Ones).
TV presenter Konnie Huq, Dragons’ Den’s Deborah Meaden and space boffin Professor Brian Cox all play themselves. Lord Dowding fan Morgan (above, as Mandy) said: “At this time of debate about the BBC’s future, a second series of Mandy could not be more timely. “If anything proves the worth of the corporation it’s a show about a woman who wants to breed Doberman Pinschers. It’s not something you’d get on Amazon Prime or BFI Player.” BBC commissioning editor Gregor Sharp said: “We can’t wait to see what trouble follows Mandy in this new series.”
ATE BRITAIN in London is now showing the UK’s largest and most comprehensive retrospective of the work of artist Paula Rego. Described as an uncompromising artist of extraordinary imaginative power, Rego, born in 1935 in Portugal, is hailed as having redefined figurative art and revolutionised the way in which women are represented. The exhibition, which runs until October 24, tells the story of her remarkable life, highlighting the personal nature of much of her work and the socio-political context in which it is rooted. It reveals her broad range of references, from comic strips to history paintings. Featuring more than 100 works including collage, paintings, large-scale pastels, drawings and etchings, the show spans Rego’s early work from the 1950s to her richly layered, staged scenes from the 2000s. A Tate Britain spokesperson said: “The exhibition begins with a selection of Rego’s rarely seen early works in which the artist first explored personal as well as social struggle. In Interrogation 1950, painted at 15, Rego asserted
Interrogation 1950. Private Collection, London © Paula Rego her commitment to denouncing injustices and standing up for victims. “In her paintings, collages and drawings from the 1960s to the 1970s, Rego passionately and fiercely opposed the Portuguese dictatorship, using a range of sources for inspiration including advertisements, caricatures and news stories. “The exhibition also brings together striking works addressing the issues of women’s trafficking and female genital mutilation. These powerful images confront difficult stories of pain and abuse that Rego feels need to be told.” ■ Go to: tate.org.uk for more information.