RAF News 17 Dec 2021 Christmas edition 1526

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0ROYAL AIRFORCE Friday December 17 2021 No.152670p

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phoon and F-35 bid for global reach Simon Mander

• See page 'Z7

BRITISH COMBAT jets could deploy around the world as the RAF seeks to pro!cct UK int<mts �ly and N:uo's European

Triathlon

14-day trial

eSeepage28

2021Review

We're back

• See pages 30-31

STORM ARWEN brought a festive feel to theparadeground for the latest RAF Regiment graduates at Honington. • See pagc25 PHOTO: SAC JAM ES LEPGER

ln the UK, the Air Force is ei,eing regional airports and fom1er air bases to m�ximise loc ations it can operate from under its A�ile Combat Em gloyment (ACE) initiative. We might send a squadron completely around the world to the Pacific. then do Exercises in the US on rhe way back to Europe," said the new Air Officer Commanding No I Group Air Vice Marshal Ian OuJluid. I don't think theres any dlst,mce ,w could not go. We demonslraled that five years ago when we sent a Typhoon squadron to Korea and Japan, and we have initial planning over the next few years to have squadrons deploying to Australia. "We are looking at projeding ourselves much further around the world. We're not just committed lo the Middle East and counter-Dacsh missions but having a more persistent presence in the Indo-Paciflc region and shorinli, up Nato's key European nank.' • Co11tillued 011 p11ge 3


Royal Air Poree News Friday, December 17, 2021 P2

�'-----------­ � I haven't got my handson t he award y et, so it willbea nic e Christmas present when I do RAF Sportswoman of the Year SAC Shona Brownlee Seepage30

lforonewillberaisingaglass at Christmas to RAF personnel, forall you do to pres erveour freedom,

I'l l be drinking cocktails and blocking out Jon's negativity Festive fun with comics Lucy Beaumont and husband Jon Richardson SeeRnR pp4-5

Survival expert Ray Mears See pS-9

QE Carrier retu111s after seven-month global tour 0ROYAL AIRFORCE

RAFNews RAP News

Room 68 Lancaster Building HQ Air Commond HighWycom� Buckinghamshlrt HP14 4UE Editor: SimonWilliams

Smail: editor.,-afnews.co.uk Features Editor: Tracey Allen

£nt.a.i.l: tracey.allen@mfnews.c:o.uk

News Erutor: Simon Mander

Email: simon.mander116flmod. gov.uk Sports Editor: Daniel Abrahams Email:.sportst"&rafnews.co.uk

HMS QUEEN Elizabeth returned 10 Portsmouth ofter a global seven-month, 500,000-mile maiden deployment. The Navy flagship with five fixed and rotary wing squadrons on board led the nine-ship Carrier Strike Group through the Mediterranean. the Gulf and the South-Pacific. strengthening UK military ties with Allies across the globe ln !he biggest peacetime deployment for 25 Welcoming the 3,700 l'orre; personnel back to furtsmouth, Defonce Secretary &'ll Wallace roid: "We pay tribute to the personnel in the Carrier Strike Group who have been our global an1bassadors on this historic -aod gi-ound-brealdng deployment. "The personnel and their families have made considerable sacrifices to make this deployment the success it has been. We thank them for all their efforts in strengthening our

Kelvin Lane, Crawley RH109PE Tel: 01293 312191 Bmail: rafnewss\1bst, subscriptionhe:lpline.co.uk

deployment

lliU.ijllll 111-Ku.'

relationships with our allies and partners around the world." During the voyuge 617 Sqn F•35s carried op<!r.lliona1 combat sorties targeting 03eshin lrnq and Syria 617 Sqn pilot Sqn Ldr Stew CampbcU said: "This has been a

phenomenal milestone for the UK Lightning Force1 seeing our F-35& involved in exercises and operations across the globe. "The ability to project combat air power at such range is testament to the carrier aviation contribution

to the UK's inventory. "'l1ie interoperability we have demonstrated with f.35 partner nalions has been exceptional; aircraft ha1•e operated together seamlessly from land and al sea as one consolidated force�

1941

Lane Joins fi,ght

THE FlRST Avro Lancaster enters service with 44 Sqn at RAf Waddington in Lincolnshire.

Edwin Rodrigues Tel: 07482 571535 Email: edwin.rodrigue,8 rafu�.co.uk

c/o lnte.rmedia, Unit6The Enterprise Centre,

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This Week In History

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1939

Wellington loss

12 WELLlNGTON bombers of a total of 24 on a daylight armed recon.oais!l!a.nce missioo io tbe Wilhelshaven area are shot down by enemy fighters alerted by lhe experimental 'Freya' early warning radar installation.

1982

Vulcan bows out

E.ltroct.S from 77., ROJ<i/ilir

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0.1ybv Air THE LAST of the Vulcan 'Big Bombers' leave the RAF CdreGmbam with the disbandment of 44 Sqn. Only six air refu elling P�d,�rk (fhc 1-listory Pr,ss) tankers operated by SO Sqn remain in service.


Royal Air Force News Friday, December 17, 2021 P3

News

Dynamic deployment Fast jets will be able to go anywhere at short notice • Continued from front page AVM DUGUID said the dcploy111en1 of Akro1iri-based '!'),-phoons on Operation Shader lo Egypt in September showcased the 'dynamic deployment' concept that could see fast jets pushing up into northern Scandinavia for Arctic operation.�. A recenl exercise that Sa\.\1 t\\o'O UK swing-role fighters operate from remote Stornoway in austere conditions ,eould be expanded to deploying half a squadron or more to work from a bare airfield or a reactivated former base. ''ll doesn't necessarily mean overseas� it might be to move aircraft from a main operating base to an airfield that doesn't normally BALTIC SCRAMBLE, RAF hose fast jets, C- l 7s or A400s; he Typhoon. intercepts a added. Rus!lli11n SU-30 Fl11nker AVM Duguid (bclcw) said: "Over the past 30 years we have consolidated our main operating years in Gern1any fl)'ing the Harrier bases and reduced the number GRS with l V (AC) and 3 (F) Sqns, we have. ·Wbilc concentrating including sorties over lrnq and the our forces is more efficient it also Balkans. He led IV (AC) Sq11 through provides potential vulnerabilities because we have less resilience to four Op Herrick tours but didn't operate and go anywhere, ACE is expect to ever command both the looking to reverse that.'• RAF's combat jet and !STAR fleets. "When I reHect back on those Under ACE, airfields such as St Mawgnn - run by a commercial halcyon days of flying out of a contractor - or Leuchars, which is North Gcm1an forest in my Harrier retained as a diversionary airfield ( realise it was those for1r1ative years for Quick Reaction Akrt forces, of being deployed on operations, could host F-3Ss. understanding rhe strategic "We are also working with imperative of relationships and coalitions like Nato that some of the conunercial regional airports to see if has given me experiences that in times of crisis we could are really helpful to what I'm utilise their airfields or doing now '° use them for refuelling He said the 'outstanding work' of the Air Mobility and operational Force, 83 EAG and the turnarounds.• he said. AVM Duguid wider RAF in evacuating I S,000 people from takes over as AOC I Afghanistan during after more than three years in the AOC Operation Pitting was one of the I I Group hotseat in charge of operations. highlights of the last year. He joined the RAF in 1986 and served seven But it was the

Cpl raises £30k+ A RAF Reservist who launched a mentnl health campaign is dosing in on her fundraising target ahe-ad of Christmas. Briz<:-based Cpl Hayley Court (pict11red rigl,t) set up the Healing Military Minds charity to combat condition., Uke PTSD. linked to military service. The 52-year-old is set t.o smash her £30,000 target after organising a series of charity events, including a mountain trek with former veter.ms minister Johnny Mercer and UK boxing champ Glenn McCroq•.

Service's ability 10 continuously deliver during 20 months of Covid restrictions. resource constraints and workforce reductions of wh.ich he was particularly proud. ''We saw son,e very young recruits having just graduated from Halton out on the streets helping folks in Cardiff aod Soulh

Looking ahead, AVM Ouguid said the F-35 Force, back from its Carrier Strike Group mission, would expand. "My focus on the F-35 is to ensure we have the right balance of overseas commitment and continuous growth by getting the OCU firing on all cylinders to get the pilots trained and engineers able to go across into the front-Line squadron and take receipt of more F-35: Combat jet's rok- set toexp.a,nd aircmft." p:_,,.---..., He said while Tranche I Typhoons would be replace1nents were impressive. "The E-7 Wedgetail we are really withdrawn by 2025, there would be significant upgrades lo Tranche excited about� it's an eye.. wateringly WaJes with the vaccine IJ and lll jets including a new radar highly classified capability that is roll-out and lesting," he capability. going lo be a quantum leap forward said. He added ISTAR aircraft would in. how we execute airborne "The mitigation that our remain totally committed on command and control in the commanders put in place to operations with the 'stalwart' Rivet future:· said AVM Duguid. guarantee QRA from Coningsby. Joint contimung to produce valuable "And while it looks similar to Lossiemouth, Briie Norton and intelligence, the PS supporting sub­ Reaper, Protector is fundamentally Scampton was fantastic and down hunting and securing UK waters, different, it Oies for much longer and can operate in UK airspace lo the strength of leadership at and the Shadow being upgraded. all levels of the Air Force and the And while the F.-3O Sentry flew without any problem al all. quality or the individuals who we its last operation at the end of July Protector is a significant number have in it enabkd us 10 continue to and the Reaper is to be phased oul of nu1gs up the ladder for our over the next rhrec years, their Unmanned Air Systems� deliver our output:•

OBE for Gp Capt

who blazed a trail

PION EERING MlLITARY aviator Gp Capt Anne-Marie Houghton (pictured rigl,t) bas bceo presented with the OBE as sbe celebrates 35 years service with the Royal Air Force. She became the RAF's first woman navigator in 1991 and went on to lead the RAF's 100th annh'ersary parade, an event watched by millions.



Royal Air Force News Friday. December 17, 202l PS

Hebrides Typhoon test for combat refuelling crews in an increasingly complex and world, TYPHOONS AND a tanker flew -congested into the Outer Hebrides to test the and we want to RAF's ability to fight from remote be more agile and adaptable, we may want �ustere locations. A pair of Lossiemouth-based 6 to send smaller elements of �n jet$ \\1ere rearmed and serviced capabi�ties to austere operating for a combat sortie by grollnd cm• locations:then refuelled by a Brlze-ba.sed More than 6() personnel were A400M in Stornoway as part of the deployed to te,t the minimum amount ofp eople and kit required week-long £.xercise Agile Pirate. It is the latest trial of the RAFs lo successfully send aircraft to a '.Agile Combat Employment' concept temporary location at short notice. IO enable lhe Air Force 10 opernle The northern Scottish island of l.ewis in the Outer Hebrides was from a greater number of localions. Visiting the Exercise, Air Officer chosen to challenge crews more Commanding 2 Group, AVM used to operating from established Sllraya Mar.�hall, said: •we are locations. Wittcrin�� I EXj?editionMy looking ahead al the ways we may Logistics Squadron refuelled the want to operate. "Jt's a recognition that over the figf1ters under combat conditions last Lwo decades we have deployed alongside 34 Sqn RAF Regiment overseas and operated from very and other Force Protection wcll-fow1ded bases. We operate specialists.

Simon Mander

FUBUtNG THE FIGHT, AVM Suuy.:i M:rrtfoll duts to c.rew c:t..'J)lo-,,�d to tho!' t'1e of l.m..,ia durlni.; Opt't'.t100. A�Oe- Pir,1le PHOTOS:SGTLEEGODDARD

Med niissile drill

UAS rookies Grob a piece 1 of the action A

MEDICL STUDENT Em Lloyd is on a high after taking to the skies for the 6rst time with the London University Air Squadron. The 22-year-old was among a group of young people who received their 6rst flight in the RAFs basic Grob lrainer at Wittering. Em, who hopes to join the Air Force as a medical officer when she finishes her studies, said: "It was absolutely amazing. l'w never flown before, but my instructor was ab$0lutely great and I djdn't even feel

too nervous�

BRfflSH AND French jets simulated dogfights over the Eastern Mediterranean. 'Iyphoons from 903 Expeditionary Air Wing illCyprus and Rafale mu.lti-role aircraft simulated firing lo11g-ra11ge missiles based on the r.1dar tracks of enemy forces before closing in

for visual range combat training A Voyager tanker provided air­ to-air refuelling to c,.tend the time on task for the fighters. 903 EAW Conunanding Officer Wg Cdr Dutch lioUand said: "It was a gre'Jt opportunity to further de,•elop the interoperability bch,iecn the h\'0 air force. flying

different aircraft types. "In addition, the operation sends a strong strategic message that we remain in the Eastern MedHerranean as a ,.,.luable member of the counter-Daesh mission, ready and able to work seamlessly with our many parbters in the region."



Royal Air Force News Friday, December 17, 2021P7

Ba day's nightffij§@rtmmffl ,,,_.

SPECIAL DELIVERY: FotU:$ ch�rity duets warn vcten.UIJ att> fadJlA financW ba.rdfflip and food povffl)' over ch.? f.at:iw period

Vets in festive crisis Simon Mander

Simon Mander

BRIZE·BASED TRANSPORTERS braved Arctic temperatures lo deploy military , personnel for cold weather training at Nato s most northern base al Bardufoss in northern Norway. It'• IJ1e first iime the R,\F's giant C-17 Globemasler has taken part in Exercise Clockwork and is moving Apache helicopters IQ Bardufoss on Nahis high north frontier for the manoeuvres. Crews are operating in darkness as the Arctic sun barely ris.:s there th rough December and early Janmu·y. Other Air Mobility force aircraft, the A400M. C-130 and Voyager, are also Aying 10 the region lo enable all three Services to prnclise war fighting skills in some of the most- exlreme conditions in a country where temperatures can fall to -30°C. Offlcer Comm.anding 99 Sqn. Wg Cdr Will

Essex said: "The C-17 gives the RAF the strategic capability I<) transport large equipment, such as an Apache. over lung distances, that in turn can be rapidly deployed. h is all about adding nexibility 10 succeed on operations."

SUPER-FIT SANTAS line up al Leeming to take part in a festh-e fundraising run for the Royal Air Force Assoeintion. The annual event was law><:hed by RAF personnel in d><Falklands in 2017 and this year J8statio,.is and 1.uilitary bases around the wodd are taking part A spokesman said: "It's a fun commw1ity e>·ent d1a1 brin&- station personnel and their famili� together. •. Ob,fously, d,ey are pretend Santas as the real one is very -'•-:;..• ! bu.,-y right no,✓.' L a

VETERANS FACE a Christmas crisis of financial hardship and food poverty according to a rnmtary charity. Since the pandemic began, $SAFA has given more than £377,000 to ex-military personnel struggling with rising living costs, heating and rent. In 2020, its Welfare Grants team paid out more than £230,000 to support more tl1an 600 priority cases. This year the charity has paid out more than £.39.300 lo 138 veterans in urgent need - with more expected as wint�r continues. CharitycbiefSir Andrew Gregory said: "\letcr3llS who have served th.is country, and their families, will slmggle this Christmas and further into the New Year with their fmances and other issues. "Among their challenges wiU be isolation, mental woUbeing a.od food poverty. ..Veterans arc proud and reluctant 10 reach out for help; I would urge them not 10 suffer in silence. Just as they served this nation, SSA FA is here to serve them." As the UK went into lockdown, the charity set up the Boeing

BOND legend and acting royalty Dame Judi Dench bas scot a special festive message lo all members of the extended RAF family. Famous for many roles, as well as playing Bond's boss M in the 007 franchise, she sent her best wish.es to personnel, veterans and their loved ones via us here at RAF News. She s.1id: "Thank you for all your untiring work. You deserve the happiest Christmas and New Year. With love from me and me , famil, )· AJ1d Dame Judi was joined by a host of other l'a.oious people wishing RAF News readers all the best for the festive season and beyond. They include Sir David Jason, Joanna Lumley, )illy Cooper,

Covid-19 Crisis Fw1d, supporting 387 individuals and families with more than E60,SOO in food vouchers and support with rent. Its Sodexo Stop Hunger Foundation provided £45,544 in food, dothing, rent and debt relief over the same period. The charity has a long Christmas tradition of delivering hampers and gifts 10 veterans and their families via its extensive branch network. And it is working with Northumbria University researchers conducting the first study of its kind into food poverty amongst veterans. The Map of Need research shows three main areas or veteran deprivation in Scotlands central belt where Glasgow's Helping Heroes partnership has seen fooil paverty more lhan double in 2020. University's Northumbria Professor Manhew Kiernan said: "Our Food Security study in February 2020 looked lo identify the reasons for this hardship and the extent of the poverty in the Armed Forces com,mmity. "This will be the first proper study into the scale c,f food poverty amongst the veteran population." • Go to ssnfa.org.uklget-/,elp/

forcesli11e or call 0800 260 6767.

Paul O'Grady, Gyles Brandretb and other top names. • See pages 8-9 for tlieir Cl,ris"tmas messages t:o you.




Royal Air Force News Friday, December 17, 2021 P10

News

Pick up a Penguin

RAF Museum chiefs was shot down over Berlin. are pulling A WWll The airman was reunited with bomber crewman's his mascot when he was released at lucl-ypenguin the end of the war. mascot and hisloric Playing cards wilh hidden maps fabric figure of like those used by RAF POWs arc pioneering avialor anilable, along with the Amy Amy Johnson up /ohnson fabric doll honouring the flrsl female pilot to Oy solo for adoption this Christmas. from England 10 , The historic items "1"' ,.;. -:- Auflralia in 1930. .., arcpart ofncoUection � •� • "1"' 11\e Spitfire Mk V b w;1s operated l>y which also includes a , Supcrmarine Mk a .; 140 WWII .r. .r. • Vb fighter being ..,. ..,.,, squadrons on offered lo raise '!!!!!!...;�;;:,,• .· � all ba1tlefronts funds 10 help preserve and is one of the RAF the venue's collection. Aviation fans can adop1 a Museums most prized selection of exhibits on display for exhibits and is also on 12 months for £25 and orga11isers offer. are hoping the offer will be a festive More modern hit with those looking for a unique artefacts include Cliristmas gift for a loved one. flashing red noses first Percy the Penguin was tucked sent lo RA_F personnel into the jacket of Halifax bomb serving in Iraq in 2004. aimer FIL l.t Stan Chapman and was • Go tlie mfmusewn.org confiscated by the Nazis when he for details.

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MASKED GUNNERS practised dealing with a suspected nerve agent near an A400M at Akrotiri. Counler. The Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear specialists are the front-line defence against similar weapons used by the Assad regime in Syria.

ht Brief

, ♦♦ ♦ Qf .1

Ace's medal haul

1111der the 11&1,111;1er

Simon Mander

CHEERS: 0.1rtmouth Gin thief L-;mce White-he.Wis bxking RAFchlri1i�t-

Who dares gins VETERAN RAF Regt officer Sqn Ldr Lance Whitehead is toasting Forces charities - by donating some of the pro6ts from the sales of his RAF themed 'Finest Hour' Gin to good causes. 111e former Rock Ape is port of an Air Force dynasty stretching back to World War I, and has pledged that £S from every bottle sold will be split between the RAF Association and the RAF Benevolent Fund. His father Oew Wellington and Lancaster bombers while his motlwr sen•ed with the WRAF in Egypt and Palestine. His brolhcr, Sqn Ldr Martin Whitehead, was a fast jet instructor at 01ivenor and VaUey while son Miles served with I Sqn RAF R,gt before embarking on a new career. Lance, who runs the Gin Dartmouth English company, said: "The RAF is in my DNA. While servu,g I always supported the Air Force charities and I always wanted to do sometJ1ing after I left the Service?'

A COLLECTTON of seven medals awarded to a Battle of Britain Spitfire Ace is expected lo fetch up to £70,000 when it goes u11der the hammer. Decora1ions woo by Sqn Ld.r Trevor Sydney 'Wimpi? Wade DFC, AFC of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve are being sold by a collector. Wade, who was shot down five times in dogfights, was killed on a test flight shortly after admitting lo losing his nerve. Auctioneer Dix Noonan Webb associate director Mark Quayle said: "Wade was a pilots pilot. and a member of one of the elite squadrons of the Battle of Britain. "A Spitfire ace who survived multiple dices with death during the war, he tragically succumbed to a peace-time test flight." Wade Joined the RAFYR in 1938 and was posted 10 92 Sqo flying Spitfires and covered the evacuation from Dunkirk. Mr Quayle said: "Wade's al)ility in the air was reOected by the number of his victories, damaged, shared or otherwise, but his aggression and willingness to get close in and take risks was also reflected by the number of times he had lo 111ake a forced-landing or was shot down during a dogfight "l.n total on five separate occasions, three of which occurred during the Battle:' "His na.rrowest escape came

when waiting upside down in a Spitfire which he expected 10 catch fire, on Lewes Racecourse, having been shot down by crossfi.re from a formation of Dornier l7s:· After the war Wade was employed as Chief Test Pilot to Hawker Aircraft a,nd travelled to the USA on an exchange scheme, meeting old squadron friend 1lmy Bartley whilst out there.

He was killed while testing a 1'1081 in April 1951 and his funeral took place at St John's Crematorium, Woking, Surrey. ln an unpublished lett.er, included in the lot, Mr Bartley revealed: "Just before Wimpy was kilied he came out to Hollywood 1vhere he st"ayed in my home and, one evening, confessed to me that he had lost his nerve test flying. 1

told him to, for God's sakes, quit while he was ahead. "Could happen to any of us, but he obviously disregarded my advice and warning. Hewa.one ofthe most skilful pilols I knew and flew with. «Maybe it was his naturaJ conceit forbade him to do this, but in any event. he wai.a very nice fellm\1 whom I was very fond of, and a very sad and 11onecessary loss i,1 111)' book."




Royal Air Force News Friday. December 17. 2021 P13

Dogged-duo hit the road DOGGED FUNDRAISERS are to James Conroy on what they call "Inc tour places with the oowdiest names Dumb & Dwnber Rude Trip: •we will travel the length of the in Britain in the New Year to help UK in a carpel-covered 'dog' car, veterans with combat stress. Retired Sqn Ldr Lawson Smith ticking off bawdy place names and and ex-RAF Regiment FS Jack are hoping to raise £10,000," said Harmer will don Fido-like fancy Lawson. dress before setting off in their Proceeds (rom the New Year customised canine-themed car in charity drive will help train rescue K aid of Service Dogs U. dogs for ex-Service personnel The pair, with 52 years' service struggling with PTSD. betwec11 them, will be joined by their • Go to: justgivi11g.com/ professional d<>g behaviourist chw11 fu1,draisi11g/d1arityrudetrip

News

Covid crisis calls peak A VETERANS'telephonefriendship service set up to combat loneliness has received more than 120,000 calls since it was launched al the start of the Co,1d pandemic, Forces charity chiefs say. The Royal Air Forces Association's Connections for Ufe project aims to pair up vo.lunteers with veterans and makes nearly 7,000 calls a month, according 10 the welfare group. Rory O'Connor, the association's director of welfare and policy, said:

"For many older members of the RAF community, our voice would be the onli• one they<! hear that day. Tragically, for some, wea be the only human co,uact they<! have that week. "With this in mind, we pulled out all the stops IO ensure that we provided regular phone calls lo as many people who wanted 10 talk with us. Our volunteers and those they call have been able to build rewarding. long-lasting friendships."

In Brief

WRITE STUFPJ Competition winner Darcy

Fairytale Christmas for Darcy

The longest-serving Puma entered service on January 29, l97 l and has flown combat TWO ICONIC RAF helicopters marJ<ed and humanitarian operations around the world, including Northern lrcland. 90 years of combined service with a flight over central London. Bosnia. Kosovo, Iraq, Afghunistan, The Chinook and Puma also Mo,.arnbique and the Caribbean. In the UK it pn>,•ided securiiy visited the south coast. taking in The Needles on the Isle of for the Olympic Games in London nnd supported the Wight and nearby Portsmouth. The aircmft tlew for the Scottish Ambulwce Service coronavirus first time together in formation the during displaying their bespoke pandemic. attniversary tail art with Benson� Tb� Chinook, arrived ill RAF b,1sed Puma XW224 celebr-1, .ting MERCY M1SS10N: 1 Tri,',. Tl service on November 22, 1980 and throughout its 40 years of SO years of service, while service has operated in every major conflict Chinook ZD984, from Odiham, has clocked up 40. since the Falklands War in 1982, including lite­ Both helicoplers have operated as pu-1 of the s..·wing medkaJ evacuations. 111e helicopters /<>int Helicopter Command for more than 20 years. are expected l'O relurn to their standard

CHRISTMAS HAS come early for young autbor Darcy Thorp, who has scooped a publishing deal for her Forces festive fairytale. The eight-year,old, whose dad serves 1vith the RAF Regiment, wrote her beartwar.ming story Evie's Christmas 10 help children cope with being separated from their parents over the festive season. Her story won the Little Troopers writing competition and is now being professionally iflustrated and published. Childreris author and competition judge Donna David said: "We had so many wonderful entries but Darcy's story captured the emotions that many Li1tle Troopers experience when a pa.rent is away from home. "She showed us ho1v important ii is to keep in touch and we could all relate to the significance of sending a11d receiving letters. I love a positive tale and D-.trcy's story, with the Christmas setting. is the perfect happy ending." �

.

HEAVYLIPT: 1 �, 11. k l , I 1 ,\' ,, ,1'1 ' ,•

opcmtional markings earl)' next year. Chinook Force Commander Gp Capt Donal McGurk said: •r-or a combined 90 years, the Chinook and Puma have played a vital role in the UK's defence capabilit)', supporting our people al home and overseas."




Royal Air Force News Friday, December 17, 2021 P16 ––

Review of the year 2021 4

1

January

February

1

March

1

April

1

May

1

June

01 02 03 04 05 06

1 A recruitment drive aimed at skilled ex-military personnel lures back record numbers as fears grow over the civilian job market and rising levels of unemployment. More than 150 Army, Navy and Air Force rejoiners sign up with the RAF following nationwide appeal. 2 F-35 B JETS are placed on stand-by for short notice missions after Britain’s Carrier Strike Group declared initial operating capability. The milestone means 617 (Dambusters) Sqn pilots and ground crews are fully trained to handle weapons and equipment. 3 British and German Typhoons fly joint sorties over Eastern Europe. 6 Sqn jets linked up with the Luftwaffe’s Jagdgeschwader 71 ‘Richthofen’ at Amari Air Base in Estonia on Nato’s Baltic Air Policing mission. 4 PM Boris Johnson calls in more than 5,000 military personnel to combat Covid-19 as a new variant of the virus sparks a spike in infections across the UK.

1 The UK appoints the first Space Commander to combat the rising threat from China and Russia amid warnings the next war will be won and lost off the planet. Air Cdre Paul Godfrey leads Space Command from RAF High Wycombe.

1 Brize crews complete the biggest UK air operation since the start of the war in Afghanistan in 2006. The air mobility team fly more than 24 times to set up a base for British troops fighting Islamist terrorism in Mali.

1 Buckingham Palace announces the death of HRH Prince Philip at Windsor Castle. The Duke, aged 99, was the longest-serving consort in British history and maintained strong links with the RAF throughout his life.

1 Chinook crewman MACr Ruffle clocks up 9,000 flying hours while supporting French anti-terrorism operations in Mali as an Instructor with 1310 Flight deployed on the UN mission in West Africa.

2 A unique collection of V-bomber cockpits from Vulcans and Victors which took part in the 8,000-mile Black Buck raids on Port Stanley and the Falklands War are being auctioned off. 3 A pair of RAF Typhoons wipe out Daesh fighters in caves in northern Iraq. The jets unleash four Paveway IV laser guided bombs on targets 10 miles north of the remote Bayji region.

2 A flypast by a lone WWII Dakota paid tribute to Captain Sir Tom Moore who is buried with full military honours. The private service is watched on TV by millions.

2 Trailblazing Air Force officers join Britain’s newest carrier as HMS Prince of Wales launches sea trials off the UK coast. Flt Lts Hayden Rose and Chris Smith begin a three-month tour on board to help integrate RAF teams with the hundreds of Navy crew.

4 Local business bosses step in to help repair a replica Spitfire at the UK’s shrine to The Few that was smashed as storms battered the British coast.

4 Royal Navy Lynx Pilot Cdr Colin Kiernan takes command of the RAF Chinook detachment in Mali supporting French anti-terror operations as the detachment steps up missions in response to a rising terror threat.

2 More than 730 military personnel take part in HRH The Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral ceremony at Windsor Castle. Personnel from units with whom Prince Philip had a special relationship assembled in the Quadrangle of the fortress as a Grenadier Guards bearer party moved the Duke’s coffin from the State Entrance. The representative detachments included 42 Royal Navy sailors, 96 Royal Marines, 507 soldiers and 89 members of the Royal Air Force.

2

3 The Sentinel R1 surveillance aircraft carries out its last operational flight after 14 years’ service. Waddington-based V Sqn fleet has flown 32,300 hours on 4,870 sorties in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya during its service life.

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3 RAF Northolt Station Commander Gp Capt Nick Worrall joins the pall bearing party to escort HRH Prince Philip on his final journey to the west entrance of St George’s Chapel through the grounds of Windsor Castle. He is one of a select group of military personnel to walk alongside the modified Land Rover Defender 130 carrying the Duke’s coffin.

3 Brize-based 99 Sqn celebrates 20 years of combat and humanitarian missions with the Globemaster C-17 transporter as Defence chiefs announce a £274 million training contract for crews on the heavyweight aircraft. 4 The Covid pandemic sees a surge in calls for help from Forces personnel and veterans struggling with loneliness and isolation, according to Armed Forces welfare groups. 2

1 RAF Museum PR man Ajay Srivastav storms to the top of the iTunes Blues charts, beating Irish songwriting legend Van Morrison and US Indie stars The Black Keys to the top spot.

2 F-35 jets launch their first combat missions from the deck of UK carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth. British and American aircraft fly reconnaissance sorties against Daesh targets from the carrier backed by Voyager tankers. 3 Hercules transporters fly elite paratroopers on a major exercise in the Middle East as Britain’s Carrier Strike Group, led by HMS Queen Elizabeth, heads from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean. 4 Historic links between Britain and Iceland are strengthened by a VIP visit to Lossiemouth by Icelandic Ambassador Sturla Sigurjónssonas as the latest Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft, ZP804, is named ‘Spirit of Reykjavik’ in honour of the ties between the two nations. 2

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Royal Air Force News Friday, December 17, 2021 P17

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1 Fast jet rookie Lt Joe Catterall takes a step closer to his dream of flying the F-35 as he takes to the skies on a training sortie under the supervision of his dad, RAF combat veteran and flying instructor Dick. 2 Defence chiefs pay tribute to the 457 British military lives lost in Afghanistan as Operation Toral, the UK’s contribution to the Nato security mission, draws to a close. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “We owe a huge debt of gratitude to all those who have served in Afghanistan over the past 20 years, particularly those who lost their lives.” 3 Akrotiri-based 84 Sqn helicopters are scrambled to fight wildfires described as the worst in the history of Cyprus which left at least four people dead. Three Griffins lift 126 tonnes of seawater to douse flames which raged across the island. 4 Air Chief Marshal Sir Stuart Peach receives a Guard of Honour at Northolt as he returns to the UK after retiring from his post as Chairman of the Nato Military Committee, marking the end of a career spanning five decades.

1 RAF chiefs relax rules on hair styles allowing Service women to wear their hair in ponytails, plaits or cornrows, as well as the traditional Military ‘bun’ as the Armed Forces continue the drive to make the military more representative of British culture.

2 Chinook crews fly air crash specialists and a bomb squad to recover a crashed French jet in Mali after a Mirage 2000 aircrew safely eject after developing technical problems during a mission in West Africa. 3 Wittering-based RAF aerospace systems engineer Flt Lt Danielle Rowe is named Britain’s top boat skipper after beating 3,000 competitors to scoop the prestigious Yachtmaster of the Year trophy. 4 Chief of the Air Staff, ACM Sir Mike Wigston officially stands up UK Space Command to combat the growing threat from Russia and China, and presents the RAF’s first Space Operators with the new badge at High Wycombe. 2

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1 The RAF launches 165 sorties to evacuate more than 15,000 people from the Afghan capital Kabul as the Taliban seize control of the country following the withdrawal of the last US Forces after more than 20 years. Crews face scenes of mayhem as tens of thousands fleeing reprisals sweep into the Hamid Karzai International airport.

1 Weapons System Operator and Iraq veteran Suraya Marshall is promoted to Air Vice-Marshal and becomes the first woman to command an operational group. As Air Officer Commanding 2 Group she oversees Air Mobility, Support Force, Battlespace Management and Space operations, air transport plus the RAF Regt and Police.

2 The unmanned Sky Guardian takes to UK skies under a £94 million plan to replace the Reaper force. The new UAV, to be renamed Protector when it enters RAF service, conducts sorties from Waddington which will operate a fleet of 16 aircraft.

2 RAF musician and Operation Herrick veteran Sgt Matt Peck finally salutes his fallen comrades by performing The Last Post at the National Memorial Arboretum as the UK marks the 20th anniversary of the conflict in Afghanistan.

3 HRH Prince Charles joins PM Boris Johnson and Chief of the Air Staff, ACM Sir Mike Wigston at Westminster Abbey to mark the 81st anniversary of the Battle of Britain. A Spitfire and Hurricane stage a flypast as the nation remembers The Few.

3 007 actor Daniel Craig is made honorary Commander in the Royal Navy – matching the rank of the Bond character, as he makes his final screen outing as the world’s most famous fictional spy.

4 Britain, the US and Australia announce a new military alliance to protect and defend shared interests in the Indo-Pacific as the UK’s Carrier Strike Group sails into the region for joint exercises.

4 The E-3D Sentry retires from service at a ceremony at Waddington after 30 years on the frontline. The aircraft made its debut in 1991 in the Balkans, operating over Serbia.

1 Three pioneering female Gunners become the first to join Honington’s Reserves Force Protection Squadron since the ban on women serving in combat roles was lifted in 2016. The trio are LACs Hannah Knowles, Sarah Bailey and Levi Smith.

2 Seven-year-old RAF fundraiser Jacob Newson is honoured at the RAF Benevolent Fund’s annual awards ceremony after raising more than £43,000 for the Service charity. 3 Air Force personnel volunteer for duty as drivers to back up the Welsh Ambulance Service ahead of a winter surge in Covid cases. Forces teams begin training with paramedics and emergency medical technicians. 4 The RAF airlifts another 102 stranded UK nationals and Afghan families who fled Afghanistan for neighbouring countries in the first UK evacuation mission since the Taliban seized control of the country.

1 Chief of the Air Staff, ACM Sir Mike Wigston, issues a challenge for the RAF to become the world’s first Net-Zero fighting force by 2040 – 10 years ahead of the UK target. 2 Prime Minister Boris Johnson leads tributes to the military personnel who rescued thousands of desperate Afghan families and British nationals stranded in Kabul as the Taliban seized control of the country. 3 The RAF and Zero Petroleum win a Guinness World Record for the world’s first flight using only synthetic fuel. The short sortie by an Ikarus C42 microlight is flown by Gp Capt Peter Hackett at Cotswold Airport. 4 A new joint British and Qatari Hawk squadron is unveiled at Leeming to deliver advanced and high-speed jet training to RAF and QEAF pilots.

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Royal Air Force News Friday, December 17. 2021 P19

■ Please note letters must be a MAXlMUM of300 words and

any accompanying pictures sent as attached, bi-res JPEG 61es

RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQAir Command, Hi gh Wycombe, Bucks, HP14 4UE Email: edltor@rafnews.co.uk

Post:

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Letters

Fluid dress regs

� I WAS interested to read a.:! the article by SAC Housego on being awarded Royal Navy Submariners' Dolphins [above). I had a sense of deja vu though when I read the article. Back in the early nineties there was an article in RAF News about an officer in the Royal Auxiliary Air Force who was an ex.submariner who was pem1itted 10 wear his dolphins in RAF uniform. And there was a bit of a kerfuffic as at that time the only badge that could be w11rn if earned in another Service was the parachute badge. But I too was guilty of wearing a badge from another service, as L wore the 24 Air Mobile Brigade badge on my combat jacket after I left the brigade. And no one, not even various S\·VOs:, ever said anything, so maybe dress regulations have always been a bit fluid' Richard Elwell Preston � In RAF News 1515 (Juli• 2) I a.:! saw a feature about the Gulf Watin 1991. rl1e pho10 showing the three Tornadoes brought back some memories as I was on that HAS site. HAS 5, at labuk. Further 10 thal myself and three others painted the sharks' teeth on those aircraft, plus one other. l pain1ed lhe mission marker:-. on the detachmenti; aircraft. The other artwork was done by others (1101 remembered). The aircraft in the foreground became known a. 'Mig £atcr' - tlw aircraft It destroyed turned oul not to be a Mig though. 'Mig Eater' ZA44i is now a training aircraft here al RAF Cosford in the building in which I am based. Paul Griffiths RAF Cosford

Some confusion here HAVING R£AD your article on plO of RAF News No 1523 (November 5) I have been asked to email you to point out and attempt to rectify inaccuracies in both a phoiograph and written article. The two photos Jrig/1/J are of dHTerent aircrnft - the smaller photo is an A400M and the larger one,. C-17 Globemaster.

The article is inaccurate too as II states that 70 Sqn was the C-17 operator, when in fact it is 99 Sqn. Richard Barber Adotln assistant, 99 Sqn RAP Brize Norton EDITOR'S REPLY: Thanks to our eafe•eyed reader fo.r pointing th,s out, we are happy to set the record straight.

Watch winner

� I WAStheluc�-y winnerofyour a.:! recent compelilion to \\fo an AVl-8 watch that commemorates the centenary of the Royal British Legion rhis year. l have received r;be watch and it is briUianr, I feel so proud to wear it. Thank you to everyone concerned in mana�ng to obtain the watch as a prize for RAF

News. Derrick Fawcelt Genealogy Caseworker RAF Disclosures Trenchard Hall RAF CranweU

11 ' =="'

It's Miami nice

� A LITTLE while ago l a.:! e.ntcred a competition in your excellent newspaper and forgot all about it, so I was very happy to find out that I had won Miami Vice; The Complete Colleclio11 on DVD after opening the myslerious parcel that I had received in the post. Thank you verr much for the pleasant surprise I remember watching Miami Vice on TV while growiJJg up, and we didn't have a video player to record programmes in those days. so I managed 10 miss quite a few episodes. Now, I'll have the chance to catch up on and enjoy all of them at my leisure. Tha1\ks again. Greg Morris, \ria email

THE WRITER of our star letter wins a bottle of award-winning Finest Hour Gin from the Dartmouth

Win Finest Distillery. Made using the finest botanicals from around the world and locally sourced herbs, flowers Hour Gin and fruit from the Calancombe Estate in Devon, Finest Hour was launched to celebrate all the unsung heroes of the RAF. Winners must be aged 18 or over. Go to dartmouth-gin.com

I



Royal Air Force News Friday, December 17, 2021 P21

By Simon Mander

R

ACHIEVBMB.NT: Fl'ontlint ptlol Mwc.:u-

EFOELLfNG a Tomado in the dark without �ig�I vision goggles 1s JUSt one of man)' challenges overcome by a Red Arrows newbie who joined in the ranks. When Sqn Ldr Graeme Muscat,46,sigo<.<lon in 1995asa Communications System Analyst and was posted to Oigbys 399 Signals Unit he didn't beUe"e hell even becoim an officer, let alone a combat piloL "It was always an ambition since I was 10; he said. "But for whatever reason it didn't work out with exam resultS, so I joined as aa Airman in Trade Group 11, ComJnunications." But his big break came after becoming an Air Signaller on 5 I Sqn al Waddington, when the RAF decided to up the age limit to 31 for NCO Aircrew, boosting his chances of being commissioned.. •1 applied and wa.� successful. I always had ambitions to be a combat pilot but really didn't know if they would let me go down that stream with my age, as J was 29 at the time," he said. "Once wider training, it was mainly keeping up with my peers wbo were generally JO years younger than me, but my previous RAF experience allowed me to concentrate on the difficult aspects for me, which wa., the !lying. "I just continued doing my best during pilot training and eventually

managed lo get lo the Tornado GR4, which I loved:' Sqn Ldr Muscat was posted to XIU and l)((B) Squadrons and flew frontline missions in Afghanist.m and Libya. And it wi,s on Operation Ellamy 011 what was supposed to be a five• hour flight out of Italy's Gioia Del Colle Airbase that things got tricky.

kepi them airborne for nine-and • half hours - way beyond the eight­ hour maximum Tornados were oot s�pposed 10 t>xceed due to gearbox 011 usage. The former 1074 Ellesmere t>orl Sqn Air Cadet from Great Sutton, Cheshire. who went 10 Whitby High School, has surprised many withhis meteoric military career. "Being from the North West of England, there aren't many, if any, RAF stations so the RAF lends not Being huge Red to be the first choice of career," he said. Arrows fans my "When I was JO and told parents are thrilled, my Dad I wanted lo be a fighter pilot he kind as is my sister, who of dismissed ii, not is secretly my new because he didn't think I ,ms good number one stalker enough, but my parents jus1 •1 had already refuelled twice, didn't know and the light was started to fade. e n o u g h Unfortunately, I didn't haw any about tht Night Vision Googles because ii RAF. The wa., me.int to be a day sortie," he day I got said. my wings "Just 30 minutes later it was he ,ms the official night and I had to refuel first lo walk Sitting beside a large KC 10 tanker at ur and COIi• night, in formation, without NVGs gratulale me. real!)• concentrates the mind. "They've been foirly u.s,d "My navigator asked me what f to me being an officer and was using to formate on the tanker fast jet pilot now but b<,iug and I simply said, 'I'm keeping the huge Red Arrow fan$ they're gap between the win�tip light aod Ihrilled, as is my sis1er, who the tail-light the same, as I couldn't is secretly my new nwnber one stalker, and they all see anything else of the aircraft." Eventually his formation was can't wait to see the team in given a priority mission, whlch action in 2022."


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Royal Air Force News Friday, December 17. 2021 P23

Flt Lt Ernie Holmes DFC --

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LIGHT LIEUTENANT ERNIE HOLMES, who has died aged 100, was one of the few survivin g Lancaster Pathfinder pilots. After being shot down, he was imprisoned in Stalag Luft HI. He joined the RAF in 1941 and trained as a pilot. After completing his training, and a conversion course to fly bombers, Holmes was posted to 35 Squadron equipped with the four-engine Halifax, and one of the squadrons that formed part of 8001ber Command's Pathfinder l'orce. Their task was to drop flares and markers to illuminate the target for the following main force of bombers. He began operations in late October 1943, just before the opening of the niain phase of the so-called 'Battle of Berlin: Holmes and his crew had 0owo seven raids when they made their first visit to the 'Big City' on November 24. Over the following weeks, they made four further visits as well as bombing targets in the Ruhr. During this period the squadron converted to the Lancaster. On the night of May 22123, 1944, Holmes and his crew took off to attack Dortmund. For most of the crew it was their 30th operation. After leaving the target at 16,000 feet, their Lancasterwascr0$Sing the Dutch border when it was attacked by a Mcsserschmill Bf I 10 night­ fighter flown by Luftwaffe experten Oberleutnant H a n s-H e i n 1, Augenstein, who manoeuvred intQ position under • the Lancaster before opening with fire his upward cannon. An engine was set on fire and the bomber became u nC<lnl r o l l a b l e so Holmes gave the order to bale out just before the Lancaster exploded. Three of the crew. Including Holmes, were thrown out but his foot became jammed by the control column After a struggle, he was able to free himself and open his parachute. Five of his eight-man crew lost their lives.

D.FC: Em1e Holmes 1n the cockpit of hu Lancaster and. btluw, as he was1n2018

He landed In a field near the Dutch/German border and, after hiding his parachute, he started walking. Early in the morning he met a young fam1er's daughter, Net;c der Heijden, who was cycling to do the milking. She alcrted her father Foos, who took Holmes to his farm and llid him in the roof of a pigsty - where he remained for two weeks.

'"'°

ventually, he was taken by E Dutch patriots to the JMgian border, where he met up with

his bomb aimer. Together with two other escap=. they were �scorted to ihe Belgian border they where were collected by a Belgian woman who took them to Antwerp. they As were sitting in a cafe, a joined man them and pulled out a ripped piece of paper wbidi jigsawed into a complementary piece held by the woman. The four were taken out of the cafe and bundled into the back of a waiting car which drove off. A few seconds later, the car swung into a courtyard, the Gestapo Headquarters - the line had been compromised and they

were trapped. As he was io civiliao clothes and carrying raise rapers, Holmes was in danger o being shot as a spy. He was ordered to strip and the interrogator quickly saw that he was circumcised and sald: "We shoot spies; but we have s ecial treatment for Jews•: Later, i r asked how he was captured, Holmes would sharply reply; •1 was not captured; 1 was betrayed." He was eventually incara,rated in Stalag Luft Ill. In January 1945, with thousands of other POWs, Holmes set off on the Long March through appalling weather conditions with inadequate food and dothing. Many POWs died before tlJe group arrived on rhe outskirts of Lubeck weeks later and where they were Hberated in early May. n his retum to the UK, Holmes discovered that he bad been O awarded the DFC for his skill and

determination as a Pathfinder. He also discovered thai on September 20. 1944 Fons van der Leijden had been 11rrested by the Gemrnns and shot for harbouring escaping airmen. Within days his viUage was liberated. Following repatriation, Holmes served in Transport Command and, in I 948, 0ew on the Berlin Airlif1 deHvering humanitarian aid to the besieged city - tl,e irony was not lost on him. Later. as a flying instructor on Glasgow and St Andrew's Universities'

Air Squadrons, lie took to the parachute for the second thne when he and his student had to abandon a Chipmunk which would not pull out of a. dive. After leaving lhe RAF in February 1962, he worked as a civilian 11yiog Instructor for Airwork Services Training at Scone, Perthshire training pilots From many countries. He received a commendation for saving two Iraqi students after his Cessna 310 craslied in flames on take-of[ He was badly burned and spent weeks in hospital Holmes kepi in touch with Lhe Dutch family to whom he <>Wed his life, and that link has been sustained by his children and fons' children and grandchildren, '"ho still live i.n the farmhouse. To remember those lost when Holmes' Lancaster crashed, the local ltistorical society erected a monument close to the crash site. On September 29, 2018 Holmes was taken to the Netherlands by his son and daughter where he unveiled the memorial. "I'm so humbled, thank you; he said e m o t i o n a II y.

One of Fons van der Heijden's granddaughters was moved by the gratitude that emerged during the ceremony. She said of the bond between the two families: "Ernest stayed with my grandmother and grandfather for two and s half weeks. That wa� 74 years ago and once again we are standing here together.'' On his I 00th birthday earlier this year, students of the East of Scotland Universities Air Squadron (ESUAS) gave a virtual celebration of his life attended by many hundreds including his children, grandchildren and members of the van der Heijden family. In September the 2021, Leuchars-based h e a d q u a rters of ESUAS wa� named in his honour and the N e t h e r l a11ds Defence and Naval Attache attended to him resent th the Dutch Liberators medal. He died two weeks later.










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Royal Air Force News Friday, December 17, 2021 R'n'R 4

R'n'R Galleries

Tate Britain

Life Between Islands Tate Britain

70 years of Caribbean-Brit art

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ECENTLY OPENED at Tate Britain this month, Life Between Islands is a landmark exhibition exploring the extraordinary breadth of Caribbean-British art over four generations. It is the first time a major national museum has told this story in such depth, showcasing 70 years of culture, experiences and ideas expressed through art, from visionary paintings to documentary photography. The exhibition features more than 40 artists, including those of Caribbean heritage as well as those inspired by the Caribbean, including Ronald Moody, Frank Bowling, Sonia Boyce, Claudette Johnson, Peter Doig, Hew Locke, Steve McQueen, Grace Wales Bonner and Alberta Whittle, working across film, photography, painting, sculpture and fashion. It begins with artists of the Windrush generation who came to Britain in the 1950s, including Denis Williams, Donald Locke and Aubrey Williams. A Tate Britain spokesperson said: “The exhibition explores the Caribbean Artists Movement, an informal group of creatives like Paul Dash and Althea McNish, whose tropical modernist textile designs were inspired by the Caribbean landscape. “The rise of Black Power in Britain is shown in works such as Horace Ové’s photographs of Stokely Carmichael and Neil Kenlock’s Black Panther school bags 1970. “Life Between Islands ends with artists who have emerged more recently, many of whom revisit themes encountered earlier in the show. It includes new works created especially for this exhibition, including designs by Grace Wales Bonner evoking the brass bands

Xmas sele All the family TV favourites

T BLACK POWER: Horace Ové's photograph of Stokely Carmichael at the Dialectics of Liberation Congress, Round House, London, 1967 © Horace Ové Archives

JAH SHAKA 1983: Denzil Forrester, Collection Shane Akeroyd, London © Denzil Forrester

and parades of the Commonwealth Caribbean, Marcia Michael’s multimedia collaboration with her Jamaican mother connecting her voice and body to generations of history and memory, and a

photographic installation by Liz Johnson Artur charting the early development of south London’s Grime music scene.” n Go to: tate.org.uk, follow: @ Tate or call: 020 7887 8888.

Santa's rinking the changes A

YLESBURY’S NEW Chiltern View Ice Rink was officially opened with performances from Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist and the town’s panto star La Voix, along with Liberty X Singer Michelle Heaton, who were joined on stage by Santa visiting with his elves and reindeer. Audiences were treated to a performance from two-time Dancing on Ice winner Alex Murphy and had the chance to meet Narnia’s Ice Queen, Mr Tumnus and Santa’s juggling elves. The rink is open every day, apart from Christmas Day, until January 10, and skaters of all ages can look forward to special live performances and guest appearances from Gareth Gates, Glen Tortolano, The Abba Sisters, Kelly O’Brien in The Dolly Show and Alvin – The Ultimate Elvis tribute, along with party

Festive TV The ones to watch

HE BBC is treating viewers to a wealth of festive sparkle and yuletide entertainment over the holiday season with Christmas specials from favourites including Call The Midwife, Top Gear, Two Doors Down and Shaun the Sheep. The line-up is available live or on-demand on BBC iPlayer. The nation’s favourite sheep returns in Shaun the Sheep: The Flight Before Christmas, which sees Shaun’s seasonal excitement turn to dismay as everyone learns the true value of Christmas. Psychological thriller The Girl Before, adapted from JP Delaney’s novel of the same name, tells the story of Jane (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) who moves into a strange house designed by an enigmatic architect (David Oyelowo). And the nuns of Nonnatus House are preparing for a winter wedding between Lucille and Cyril (Leonie Elliott and Zephryn Taitte) as well as having an influx of expectant mums in Call the Midwife. Natural history lovers are treated to two new films from Sir David Attenborough – Attenborough’s Wonder of Song, in which he chooses some of his favourite recordings from the natural world, and Attenborough and the Mammoth Graveyard. It’s Secret Santa time for the presenters of Top Gear – Driving Home For Christmas, as Paddy, Freddie and Chris buy surprise cars for each other, before setting off on a Christmas-themed road trip from Bethlehem (in Wales). In Scotland it’s all merry and bright at Michelle and Alan’s

A CHILD IS BORN: Call the Midwife returns

CHILD-FRIENDLY: Shaun the Sheep: The Fligh

(Joy McAvoy and Graeme ‘Grado’ Staveley) in sitcom Two Doors Down as they welcome the neighbours for a wee preChristmas get together, but the festive atmosphere soon turns a little fraught. And Andi Oliver’s Taste of Home Christmas Special sees the chef in the city of Glasgow, where she helps three households shop and prepare their

f f

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The Dogfather leads the

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FESTIVE FUN: Santa, La Voix, Michelle Heaton and elves

nights accompanied by DJs Matt Evers and Dan Blaze. Santa will also be visiting with The Grinch.

PHOTO: REBECCA FENNELL

n Go to: chilternviewicerink. co.uk to book tickets and for more information.

HE DOGFATHER Graeme Hall, star of Channel 5’s Dogs Behaving (Very) Badly, has announced his first UK tour, from April next year. Dog and puppy owners up and down the country will have the chance to seek advice from Hall – dubbed ‘Britain’s best dog trainer’ – for all their canine concerns. The 43-date tour features a 90-minute show of tricks, memories, surprises and a Q&A. Hall said: “For years I’ve been training dogs in village halls and in people’s living rooms and, more recently, on TV. I’ve had the chance to write books and record podcasts, now finally I get to do something I’ve

always wanted to do. I’ll be sharing the lessons I’ve learnt from training thousands of dogs, and telling more than a few funny stories along the way in my first UK tour.” With more than 10 years’ experience, a list of celebrity clients, and regular appearances on BBC Breakfast and ITV’s This Morning, Hall has built a reputation for providing quick but long-lasting fixes to any dog behavioural problem. The tour starts at Leeds City Varieties on April 13, 2022 and finishes on June 19 at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London. n Go to: graemehalllive.com for more information.


Royal Air Force News Friday, December 17, 2021 R'n'R 5

Books

Win!

ection box Book's a Beaufighter beaut Beaufighter Boys grubstreet.co.uk

R

GOOD NEIGHBOURS? Two Doors Down

FEASTS: FESTIVEOliver i d n A

ht Before Christmas

ESEARCHED MANY years ago by the author for a project which didn't come to fruition, Beaufighter air and ground crew gave freely of their stories which ranged from complete memoirs to brief anecdotes. And there were a plethora of original photographs for him to choose from. Graham Pitchfork has built on these reminiscences to trace the roles of Beaufighter squadrons spread across all the theatres of World War II operations. From home bases, through north-west Europe, North Africa, Malta and the Mediterranean to the far Far East and south-west Pacific, the Beaufighter served far and wide, as did the crews of the RAF, RAAF, SAAF and New Zealand and

Canadian squadrons. All are covered in Beaufighter Boys, True Tales from those who Flew Bristol’s Mighty Twin (grubstreet.co.uk, paperback, rrp £14.99), a unique book to be savoured by all those interested in the war in the air from 1939–1945. Air Cdre Graham Pitchfork (inset, below) spent 36 years in the RAF, as a navigator, and commanded 208 Squadron. He was director of Air Warfare and before retiring was director of Military Intelligence at the MOD. He is the author of several successful aviation books, including Buccaneer Boys. In 2012 he received both the Guild of Air Pilots and Air

Books

My Life in Dire Straits

Navigators awards and the Air Power Association Award of the CP Robertson Memorial Trophy for services to aviation writing. We have copies of Beaufighter Boys to add to your aviation titles library. For your chance to win one, simply tell us: Who publishes Beaufighter Boys by Air Cdre Graham Pitchfork? Email your answer, marked Beaufighter Boys book 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 January 14. Please include your postal address with all competition entries.

Win!

penguin.co.uk

MOTOR MAYHEM: The Top Gear lads are back causing chaos

family recipes for some celebratory feasts. On Channel 4, husband and wife Jon Richardson and Lucy Beaumont (pictured left) host a Christmas getaway for close friends in Jon & Lucy’s Christmas Sleepover. They are joined by comedy pals to eat, drink and get very merry during a night away from the post-Christmas, pre-New Year lull as they look back at the year gone by. Joining them are Roisin Conaty, Romesh Ranganathan and Rob Beckett with some surprise guests as the gang reflect on 2021’s highs and lows.

Richardson said: “The producers are guaranteeing this show will end up in chaos, obviously I will be there to make sure they are proved wrong. This festive spectacular will start and end on time and contain an appropriate amount of fun given the year we’ve had and the certainty that next year will be worse.” Beaumont added: “I am so looking forward to being paid to hang out with old friends... and Jon. I shall be mostly sipping generous size cocktails and blocking out the resentment and negativity that Jon pretends he puts ‘on ice’ for the festive period.”

e way with first UK tour DOG'S LIFE: Graeme Hall

Story of rock legends: Strait from the horse's mouth

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O LESS than legendary Queen drummer Roger Taylor has praised bass guitarist John Illsley’s thoroughly entertaining autobiography My Life in Dire Straits, just out. In this very readable book, published by Bantam Press, the highly-likeable Illsley – whose great uncle Peter Hamilton was one of The Few – tells the inside story of the band that became a global music phenomenon. Starting with his own unlikely beginnings and his early fascination with music, he recounts the band’s rise from humble origins in London’s spitand-sawdust pubs and working men’s clubs, through to the peak of their success playing Madison Square Garden and the Live Aid stage at Wembley. Until,

ACE OF BASS JOHN ILLSLEY

ultimately, the demands of touring and living in the spotlight took their inevitable toll. Dire Straits’ Brothers In Arms was voted the Forces favourite song and John’s story is also a tribute to his close friend Mark Knopfler, the band’s lead singer, songwriter and guitarist – John and Mark were the only two band members to stay the full 15-year distance with Dire Straits. Told with honesty, soulful reflection and wry humour, this is the first and only account of one of the most successful music acts of all time, and one of the greatest bands in rock history. As a founding member of the band, Illsley played a major role in the development of the Dire Straits sound. He has received multiple

BRIT and Grammy Awards, and a Heritage Award. Since the band’s last tour in 1993, he has earned a reputation as a painter, with solo exhibitions in London, New York, Sydney and across Europe. As a musician, he has released eight solo albums. He owns a pub in the New Forest. We have copies of his autobiography (rrp £20, hardback, penguin.co.uk) up for grabs. For your chance to own this brilliant title, simply send us the correct answer to the following question: For how long was John Illsley a member of Dire Straits? Email your answer, marked John Illsley book 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 January 14. Please include your postal address.