RAF News 19 Nov 2021, Edition 1524

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The Forcesit' e favourer pap


Frankie Dettori story Win! ● See R'n'R p3


Mossad thriller Tehran ● See R'n'R page 5

Friday November 19 2021 No. 1524 70p


Back to nature with Ray Mears See page 21 for our interview with the survival expert Football

Benson in trophy win

Shoot out

● See p27


Ladies end IS drought

AIR FORCE photographers who captured all the action of the nation’s fight against Covid, Afghan evacuation and the ongoing war on terror, stepped out from behind the camera at this year’s photographic competition. ●See p3, 15-16

● See p28

Photo: Cpl Lee Matthews

Royal Air Force News Friday, November 19, 2021 P2

It’s an honour to put the RAF at the forefront of such a technologically advanced sport” Cpl Phil Hall on success in the Junior World Rally Champs See page 30

He loves her very much… maybe more than she does him” Christopher Eccleston stars in C4’s thriller Close To Me See R’n’R p4-5

We now have to face the looming reality that this is going to happen”

Wg Cdr Phil Holdcroft as his team prepares for gruelling transAtlantic row See p9

Service leavers hit the road to help ease UK driver crisis Staff Reporter

RAF News Room 68 Lancaster Building HQ Air Command High Wycombe Buckinghamshire HP14 4UE Editor: Simon Williams Email: editor@rafnews.co.uk Features Editor: Tracey Allen Email: tracey.allen@rafnews.co.uk News Editor: Simon Mander

AN EXTRA 240 veterans and Service leavers are being offered the chance to qualify as HGV drivers for free to help ease the UK’s shortage of truckers. Defence chiefs are more than tripling the current provision of 100 training slots over the next 12 months as part of a Government drive to boost job prospects in Civvy Street. The shortage of HGV drivers saw petrol stations across the country run dry and led to empty shelves in stores and supermarkets. Extra training courses are being offered for Category C (entry level), Category C&E (advanced), Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (DCPC) and ADR (dangerous goods) qualifications. Minister for Defence People

TANKER DUTY: Military drivers were called in to keep UK motoring

This Week In History

Sports Editor: Daniel Abrahams Email: sports@rafnews.co.uk Tel: 07966 429755


Aden withdrawal

BRITISH FORCES complete their withdrawal from Aden ending 128 years of British rule and for the RAF 48 years of occupation of Khormaksar and Steamer Point.

All advertising: Edwin Rodrigues Tel: 07482 571535 Email: edwin.rodrigues@ rafnews.co.uk Subscriptions and distribution: RAF News Subscriptions c/o Intermedia, Unit 6 The Enterprise Centre, Kelvin Lane, Crawley RH10 9PE Tel: 01293 312191 Email: rafnewssubs@ subscriptionhelpline.co.uk

and Veterans Leo Docherty said: “This initiative will provide Service leavers and veterans with valuable skills and opportunities to help them find employment as they leave the military, while aiding a crossgovernment effort to increase the number of HGV trained drivers. “Military service gives you skills for life. This crucial support to those who have served in our nation’s military is our priority and I am delighted with the opportunity this expansion provides.” Meanwhile, current veteran HGV licence holders who have not undertaken the training for commercial driving can receive this qualification through Department for Education boot camps – with 120 places available throughout the year. The new training places can be obtained by veterans through Enhanced Learning Credits.


Malta defence 148 SQN, equipped with Wellingtons, is established on Malta, becoming the first bomber unit to be based on the besieged island.


Chinooks enter service THE FIRST of an initial batch of 33 Boeing-built Chinook heavy-lift helicopters enter service at RAF Odiham.

Extracts from The Royal Air Force Day By Day by Air Cdre Graham Pitchfork (The History Press)

Royal Air Force News Friday, November 19, 2021 P3

The world remembers Fallen of war are honoured across globe Simon Mander RAF PERSONNEL across Britain and on operations and exercises around the world joined Royalty to remember the fallen. Prince William saluted Chindits filing past on The Mall on Remembrance Sunday with The Duchess of Cambridge looking on as more than 700 military personnel assembled at The Cenotaph in a service marking the centenary of the Royal British Legion and the Poppy Appeal. At the same time across the UK, 34 Squadron RAF Regiment paraded around Richmond, North Yorkshire; Lossiemouth personnel marched through the centre of Elgin; and Yorkshire’s Universities Air Squadron lined up in the city’s Memorial Gardens. Further afield, the Reverend Ralph Barber led a Remembrance Sunday service next to an F-35 Lightning jet on the flight deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth, while in Cyprus Akrotiri Forces families gathered at Saint Paul’s Church. Earlier in the week, airmen and women on operations in Mali took part in an Armistice Day Service in Gao, while others supporting a desert training exercise in Oman paraded at RAFO Musannah. A two-minute silence at 11am on November 11 was also observed at Mount Pleasant Complex in the Falkland Islands and at RAF Brize Norton, while The Queen’s Colour Squadron provided the honour guard at the foot of The Cenotaph in London. Over the last year, nearly 6,000 UK Armed Forces personnel have been deployed on 30 operations in 24 countries worldwide. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “On Remembrance Sunday we pause to remember all those who died in the service of their country and reflect on the sacrifices our personnel continue to make on operations around the globe. The commitment and sacrifice of our veterans continue to inspire today’s Service personnel as they strive to honour their legacy.” Outgoing Chief of the Defence Staff General Sir Nick Carter, at his last service in the post, said: “It is an honour to lay a wreath at The Cenotaph on behalf of all those who have lost their lives in the service of our country. They died to protect the free and open way of life that we enjoy today.” Musicians from all three Services played traditional tunes including Rule Britannia, Elgar’s Nimrod and The National Anthem. The annual Royal British Legion Veterans March Past followed the service at The Cenotaph.

HEIRS: HRH The Prince of Wales and HRH The Duke of Cambridge lead Royal party at Cenotaph

RAF AKROTIRI: Paying their respects

F-35: Rev on HMS Queen Elizabeth


FALKLANDS: Mount Pleasant Complex tribute

MALI: Service held at Gao

RAF BRIZE NORTON: Honouring Armistice Day



HAT-TRICK: Cpl Lee Matthews

●Continued from p1 JUDGES IN this year’s RAF Photographic competition faced a tough task producing nine winners from more than 15,000 entries covering every aspect of life in the Service. Brize Norton-based photog Cpl Lee Matthews scored a hat-trick of wins at this year’s shoot; taking top honours in the Equipment, Ops and Exercises and video sections – with stunning images from the frontline in the fight against Daesh – while SAC Amelia Turnbull scooped the coveted Mallet Student Trophy. Cpl Matthews said: “Being an RAF Photographer is unique, you get the chance to capture some truly iconic moments in time. What’s more, your images are witnessed the world over and help to promote the Royal Air Force; be it aircraft, personnel or the lifestyle. “It can be difficult; being away from my wife and kids is always hard, be it for a night or for an entire tour. “You will get put into some daunting situations and asked to capture finite moments and you need the self-confidence and understanding to do your job well. “Thankfully, the Defence School of Photography sets up every photographer for all moments, and it’s just a truly awesome experience to see what the RAF can do – both in the air and on the ground – and document it all.” SAC Turnbull, whose atmospheric shot The Deep of the aquarium in her home town of Hull earned her first prize in the student section, added: “As part of our training at Cosford we had to create a portfolio and I was attracted to The Deep. “At night the shapes, lines, tones and colours set the building alight. Using a slow shutter speed and a tripod allowed the clouds to move and bring the sky to life as well as the making the water appearing smoother. A long exposure allowed me to narrow the aperture so that I could make the lights starburst.” ● See p16-17 for more competition winners.

DEEP THINKER: SAC Amelia Turnbull

Royal Air Force News Friday, November 19, 2021 P5


Bomb voyage Simon Mander BRITISH JETS teamed up with American strategic bombers in a massive show of force over the North Sea to demonstrate their readiness to respond to any potential crisis or challenge across the globe. More than 26 RAF Typhoons and F-35 Lightnings joined US Air Force F-15Es, B-1 and B-52 bombers, in the quarterly joint mass air manoeuvres codenamed Exercise Point Blank. The recurring mission, organised by the USAF 48th Fighter Wing and the RAF, prepares war fighters for a highly contested battle against adversaries. It also ends the Bomber Task Force season of deployments to northern Europe by aircraft based at RAF Lakenheath and others flying from the US. RAF Brize Norton-based Voyagers supplied air to air refuelling with KC-135s from Mildenhall to ensure participants maximised their training potential. Air Officer Commanding 11

Affinity lands £65m Texan trainer deal

Pathfinder Keith Boles passes on Tracey Allen

WORLD WAR II hero Keith Marwood Boles, one of the last remaining members of Bomber Command from New Zealand, has died aged 100. The veteran airman passed away at the end of last month, three months short of his 101st birthday. He joined the RNZAF in 1941 and after training as a pilot was posted to Singapore. He spent his 21st birthday sheltering in a trench, awaiting evacuation as the Japanese invaded. Returning to New Zealand, he volunteered to be posted to England, where he initially served as a flying instructor before joining 109 Sqn, the RAF Pathfinder Force, that located and marked targets with flares to increase the accuracy of bombing missions. Keith completed more than 50 operations over Europe, flying De Havilland Mosquitos, and was awarded

Group AVM Ian Duguid said: “Bomber Task Force deployments are a great opportunity for us to further increase our interoperability with our US allies and demonstrate our continued combined commitment to the defence of the Euro-Atlantic Area.” In a separate display of Allied air power Dambuster Lightning F-35s joined US and French jets in a flypast over Djibouti, East Africa. Both 617 Sqn and US Marine Corps F-35Bs, currently embarked aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth, joined USAF B-1B Lancer bombers and French Mirage 2000s for the flight over the Red Sea coast. The event followed simulated close air support strikes at a range in Djibouti by B-1Bs from the 9th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron based at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas. US Africa Command Director of Operations Maj Gen Gregory Anderson said: “The mission served as a visual representation of the international participants’ collective commitment to stability and security in the Horn of Africa.” PHOTOS: USAF

Simon Mander

MOSQUITO HERO: Sqn Ldr Boles completed more than 50 missions

the Distinguished Flying Cross. His citation read: ‘Acting Squadron Leader Boles, as Pilot, has completed numerous operations against the enemy, in the course of which he has invariably shown the utmost fortitude, courage and devotion to duty.’ He was also awarded the Légion d’honneur, France’s highest honour. After the war, Sqn Ldr Boles helped to train Canadian pilots before he left the Air Force and became an engineer. He leaves three grown-up children, four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

FOUR MORE Texan trainers are to be added to the fleet at RAF Valley to train future pilots under a £65 million deal. Affinity Flying Training Services, which uses the Tucano replacement to deliver basic fast jet tuition to the Royal Air Force and Royal Navy at the Anglesey station, says the deal secures 12 years of operation for the extra aircraft received in 2020. An AFTS spokesman said: “The addition and operation of the new aircraft will provide increased training support and an uplift in training and flight hours for the UK Military Flying Training System programme, with full capability in place by 2024.” The additional Texans will operate from Affinity’s site at RAF Valley, joining the 10 others

already in service. The Texan II is the second stage of a training system that sees students perform their primary flight training

on the Grob 120TP Prefect piston-engined aircraft before progressing onto the Texan II and then the BAE Systems Hawk T2.

Royal Air Force News Friday, November 19, 2021 P7


Blueprint for BBMF success ORIGINAL BLUEPRINTS and technical information is to be digitised to allow future engineers to keep the iconic World War II aircraft of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight flying. Defence Equipment and Support has selected RWS to build a database following its decision in 2019 to computerise all maintenance manual and illustrated parts catalogues relating to the unit’s Spitfire, Hurricane, Lancaster, Dakota and Chipmunk trainer aircraft. Keeping the fleet airworthy has become increasingly difficult with older technicians retiring and younger personnel taught on digital platforms with the challenge of managing original paper documentation.

Super-vet reporting for duty AT 102 World War II veteran Frank Sykes is still volunteering for duty with Forces charity SSAFA. The super-vet, who celebrated his birthday this week, joined the RAF the day after war broke out in 1939 and fought in the North Africa campaign. He served for nearly 30 years before signing up with the military welfare group he is still supporting. SSAFA director Lisa Shattock said: “We are extremely proud that a man who has championed so many people in the Armed Forces and has given so much to our country is still dedicating his time to SSAFA.”

OLD-SCHOOL RULES: Merlin-powered Hurricane prepares for maintenance work

Flight Deputy Chief Engineer Wg Cdr Andy March said: “Our role is to ensure that we maintain the integrity of these priceless artefacts to commemorate our fallen heroes.”

Typhoon magic Mental health services failing women Vets Staff Reporter WOMEN VETERANS are more likely to develop mental health problems than their male counterparts but are less likely to seek help, according to researchers. More than 25 per cent of ex Servicewomen are expected to develop problems, however just six per cent seek support and treatment from the NHS. Angela Ruskin University has launched an 18-month research programme in a bid to improve access to mental health support. Researcher Dr Lauren GodierMcBard said: “The proportion of women accessing NHS Veteran Mental Health Services is currently about half of what we might expect given the demographic of women in the Armed Forces. “This demographic is growing, and it is vitally important that we understand their needs. By not accessing specialist services, women may not receive the NHS priority treatment available to veterans with mental health conditions that occurred as a result of their service. “Waiting longer for treatment and not accessing tailored services could exacerbate these mental health issues.”

Coningsby Sqns launch desert combat drill Simon Mander

TWO SQUADRONS of Typhoons supported by a Voyager tanker have arrived in Oman for Exercise Magic Carpet. Jets from RAF Lossiemouthbased II(AC) Sqn and Coningsby’s joint 12 Sqn touched down in the Middle East for the annual bilateral manoeuvres. More than 300 Air Force support personnel are assisting with joint UK and Omani flying missions, including air-toground operations and air-to-air refuelling, as part of the two-week training programme. 12 Sqn’s Wg Cdr Chris Wright said: “The exercise is all about integrating with our Omani colleagues, practising different scenarios in the skies over Oman.”



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Oar-some Combat aircrew riding wave of support for Atlantic rowing bid

OFF TO A FLYER: Above, Wg Cdr Holdcroft and daughter Isla, who has recovered from leukaemia. Left, the four-strong team of airmen training on the high seas off the UK coast ahead of Talisker Atlantic Challenge event

Simon Mander WITH JUST weeks to go before their epic trans-Atlantic race a group of combat pilots have been boosted in their bid to row 3,000 miles to raise cash for a charity which helped an airman’s daughter recover from leukaemia. The team bidding to complete the Talisker Whiskey Challenge from the Canary Islands to Antigua have been buoyed by backing from the RAF – and the prospect of competing against two rival British Army teams. The event is billed as the world’s toughest rowing event and boasts an international field of competitors. Voyage organiser, combat helicopter pilot Wg Cdr Phil Holdcroft, launched the challenge to raise funds for the Starlight charity which helped his eight-year-old daughter Isla beat leukaemia He said: “The RAF is supporting the challenge and we anticipate racing as the

first official Air Force team. We are being supported by the Central Fund and there will be a nationwide ‘station row along challenge’ during the voyage. “After nearly three years of planning and training, the Atlantic Flyers are on the verge of realising our nearly impossible dream. “Having watched my own flesh and blood walk the tightrope of life and death, this challenge is so much more than 3,000 miles of rowing, it’s about changing the lives of desperately ill children. “As a team we want to use this campaign to raise awareness for Starlight, an incredible charity which supported my daughter, Isla, through childhood cancer.” The team will row 24 hours a day for up to 40 days and face 40ft waves and sleep deprivation. Boat skipper and fellow battlefield helicopter pilot Flt Lt Chris CarringtonSmith said: “It’s been a journey getting to the start line. “The team has come together to support each other, complete our training

requirements and prepare, pack and ship the boat. “We’ve now got to face the looming reality that this is actually going to happen.” Team performance leader and Typhoon veteran Wg Cdr Sonny Roe added: “We’ve done all that’s within our power to put ourselves in the best possible position for when we arrive at the start line.” He said the group had been working to maximise their performance over the month-long voyage, with shift patterns and high energy freeze-dried supplies. “Best of all, we’ve even managed to sneak out a bit of Christmas cake each for December 25th,” he said. Shore party leader Sqn Ldr Dave Bennett added: “We’ve been separated throughout almost all of the training; at one point each was in a different country. “We’ve worked hard to be ready for the start line on December 12.” His role is to keep the rowers’ families and supporters up to date on the team’s progress

Windsurfers riding high in Hebrides

● See p28

via social and mainstream media. Performance coach PTI Sgt Luke Horrocks said: “Isla’s story of resilience is hugely inspiring and for the team to get across the Atlantic they will need to rely on every ounce of her inspiration. “Personal resilience has been a massive part of the journey, from dealing with operational tours, family commitments, demanding aircrew day jobs, through to rowing challenges and cold water exposure. “Their commitment and hard work towards being prepared for this epic event has been outstanding.” ● Go to www. atlanticflyers2021.com to support the team. CANCER CRUSADE: Wg Cdr Holdcroft

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News In Brief

Perfect pitch on Sky : Watching Dad TV WINNER

PLENTY IN RESERVE: Cpl Hayley Court collects her award

Reserves hail Hayley’s win

BRIZE NORTON-BASED Cpl Hayley Court has been named Oxfordshire’s top RAF Reservist. The hardworking airwoman has clocked up more than 120 operational missions with 622 Squadron, alongside running her own events company and launching a mental health charity, Healing Military Minds.

QPR FAN and Air Force musician Sgt Warren Ringham helped kick off this year’s Poppy Appeal by performing a stirring rendition of The Last Post at his team’s Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium ahead of a 1-1 clash with Notts Forest, broadcast live on Sky TV.

Covid cash crisis leaves Vulcan out in the cold Simon Mander

V-BOMBER ENTHUSIASTS have until the end of the year to raise £2.2 million to build a new home for Avro Vulcan XH558. The Vulcan to the Sky Trust has until December 31 to secure the legacy of founder Dr Robert Pleming, who died in February, and the future of the jet, after spiralling building costs and the pandemic forced it to crisis point. Business development director Michael Trotter said: “The Trust must either secure the funds to build the Vulcan Experience facility or relinquish its option on the land.” He revealed that the cost of the project has risen to £4.6 million following the Covid pandemic – leaving the Trust with a £2.4 million shortfall. Doncaster Sheffield Airport bought the proposed site threeand-a-half years ago expecting funding for a purpose-built hangar to flood in. However the Covid pandemic has hit donations and pushed up the costs of imported raw materials. Mr Trotter added: “This could be the toughest battle Vulcan has faced yet. We now have just weeks to raise the money needed for this rescue mission.” The group’s Operation Safeguard campaign to date has delivered £250,000 through public donations

£2.4m scramble to save XH558

and the 558 Executive Alliance. Mr Trotter said: “While this demonstrates the continued support for XH558 five years after she was grounded it still leaves a huge funding gap and fundraising in the middle of a pandemic has

had a significant impact.” Vulcan fans are urged to support the campaign by adding their name under the delta-wing of XH558, on the bomb bay doors and undercarriage doors for £50, and on other designated areas for £30,

for a personalised certificate. Businesses sponsoring the appeal through the Vulcan 558 Executive Alliance get their name displayed on a dedicated members’ wall in the new hangar. ● Go to: vulcantothesky.org.uk


Jess the job SUPERFIT SAC Jessica Webster is bidding to run 60 miles in 24 hours to support elderly Forces veterans. The 27-year-old is launching her charity challenge to raise £1,000 for Royal Star & Garter which provides care for ex-Forces personnel with disabilities and dementia. Jessica, who is the fourth generation of her family to serve in the Armed Forces, will complete the distance from the gym at RAF High Wycombe. She said: “I really love what the Royal Star & Garter charity stands for and what they do. I like the fact that they’ll be there for me in the future if ever I need them. “I know it’s going to get harder during the challenge as I tire, and I imagine there will be a few tears “I know I’ll suffer and be in pain, but I’ll have a lot of support, and I’ll keep reminding myself of the end goal and why I’m doing it, so I’m confident I will complete it.” ■ Go to: gofund.me/ca555b7e to sponsor SAC Webster.

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News In Brief

£110m lift for Shadow fleet

APPOINTMENT: Air Cdre Dickens

College chief in AIR CDRE Andrew Dickens has been appointed as Commandant of RAF College Cranwell. He takes up the post overseeing the training of the next generation of airmen and women following the exit of outgoing college chief AVM Suraya Marshall, after her promotion to Officer Commanding of the RAF’s 2 Group earlier this month. Air Cdre Dickens said: “I am honoured to be selected to prepare the next generation for a period of enormous change.”

Sea change ADMIRAL SIR Ben Key has been appointed as Britain’s most senior sailor. He takes over the post from outgoing First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Tony Radakin who was named Chief of the Defence Staff earlier this month.

Simon Mander TWO MORE Shadow surveillance aircraft are to be added to the RAF’s fleet over the next four years following a £110 million investment. The move will increase the Waddingtonbased force flown by 14 Sqn from six to eight aircraft, all to be upgraded with the latest state-of-the-art defensive aids under a contract awarded to Raytheon UK. Defence Minister Jeremy Quin said: “Our

newly upgraded Shadow Mk2 aircraft will be equipped with world-leading technology developed right here in the UK.” Shadow forms a key part of the RAF’s Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) force by gathering data through its high-definition electro-optical and electronic sensors. The Shadow R1 modified Beechcraft King Air 350 spent more than 1,900 days continuously supporting UK and Coalition

forces in Afghanistan and delivered the last ISTAR sortie over the country on April 27, 2020. The first upgraded Mk2 aircraft is expected to be delivered to the RAF in June 2023, with the eighth aircraft arriving before the end of 2025. Gp Capt Shaun Gee said: “This investment will enable the Shadow fleet to be increased in size and equipped with the latest technology providing a key capability as part of the next generation Air Force.”

Islands return Lossie Standard Simon Mander POSEIDON AIRCREW are to parade their Standard at Lossiemouth after reclaiming it from the Channel Islands where it has been held for 10 years. Bailiff of Guernsey Richard McMahon handed the flag over to 201 Sqn commander Wg Cdr Adam Smolak at Government House, where it has been kept since the unit disbanded in 2011. Wg Cdr Smolak said: “It is an exceptional honour for me to be retrieving the 201 Sqn Standard from Guernsey. “The squadron is now very much ‘up and running’ with a priority task to train new aircrew for the Poseidon P8.” The unit recently acknowledged its historic links with the island with the arrival of Lossiemouth’s sixth Maritime Patrol Aircraft named ‘Guernsey’s Reply’ in honour of war hero Flt Lt Herbert Machon. On the squadron’s 80th anniversary in 1994 it was the first

to be granted ‘The Privilege of Guernsey’ – the right to march with colours flying, drums beating and bayonets fixed. Mr McMahon said: “It is a great pleasure to see this enduring partnership reinvigorated as the Squadron reclaims its Standard, with which Guernsey has been proud to be entrusted for the past 10 years.” The Standard is the only one permitted to display the ‘Croix de Guerre’, awarded in 1917 in recognition of the squadron’s heroics during the Battle of Ypres in World War I. Other items reclaimed at the ceremony included the Commanding Officer’s sword, the silver Longmore Bowl dating from 1913 and the Squadron Centenary Trophy.

ISLAND IDOL: Flt Lt Machon

HISTORIC LINKS: Personnel from Lossiemouth collect the 201 Sqn Standard during a handover ceremony in Guernsey PHOTOS: SAC AERIS FINNEY

Royal Air Force News Friday, November 19, 2021 P15


Drive to cut road deaths

BIKERS ARE to get free safety training to reduce the number of RAF personnel killed or injured on the road. Air Command is subsidising workshops at venues from next April for the following four years. BikeSafe is a police-run motorcycle initiative aimed at working with riders to encourage them to take on post-test training. The RAF workshops involve an observed ride with an advanced Police motorcyclist or approved

BikeSafe operative covering rider attitude, collision causes, cornering, positioning, overtaking, braking, hazard perception and use of gears. Free sessions are available to RAF personnel and civil servants employed within Air Command. Regional workshops are also delivered via 36 Police Forces at 75 venues across the UK and Northern Ireland. A total of 130 workshops have been funded until April 2022. ● Go to bikesafe.co.uk/raf

In Brief

F-35 firepower lifts Oman combat drill

1 Army Air Corps Wildcat Pilot Captain Kate Breeze DAMBUSTERS JETS based said: “Ex Khanjar Oman has on the UK’s Queen Elizabeth really given us an unparalleled Carrier provided close air opportunity in terms of air, land, support to British and Omani sea integration. We’ve got our troops on major military partners in the Navy who are with manoeuvres. the Carrier Strike Group and The 617 Squadron we’ve got the opportunity Lightnings to work with F-35s and streaked across the Marines.” the desert as Meanwhile, on part of Exercise board the Royal Khanjar Oman Navy’s flagship to back up 650 aircraft carrier 4th Infantry docked at Duqm Brigade soldiers, port in Oman, top known as the ‘Black HOT DOG: Coping with desert heat brass from across Rats,’ being put the Middle East through their paces watched in awe as an F-35 for two months in sweltering landed on deck. heat. The annual gathering, known They included Royal Irish as The Dragon Group, after Regiment troops and Royal Scots its first meeting aboard HMS Dragoon Guards supported by Dragon in 2018, comprises Army Air Corps Apache and defence chiefs from the United Wildcat helicopters. Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar,

Simon Mander

WELL-BEING: Medical personnel could benefit from online yoga classes

Medics go with the yo

FORCES MEDICS supporting the fight against Covid are being offered free online yoga classes to help deal with the stress of combating the virus. The RAF Central Fund is financing the health programme for Air Force doctors and nurses who volunteered for duty at overstretched hospitals. The scheme, run by the FitSwarm site, could be rolled out across the Service following trials at RAF High Wycombe and Coningsby. Trust chief Ross Perriman said: “We hope our medical personnel will benefit from these classes and if popular we will look to offer something similar to all serving personnel.” ● For details go to www.fitswarm.com

Capt Tom tribute COMBAT TRAINING: Defence Secretary Ben Wallace with His Highness Sayyid Shihab bin Tarik bin Taimur Al-Said, Deputy Prime Minister for Defence Affairs. Above left, F-35 launches from QEC during exercise PHOTO: SGT BENJAMIN MAHER

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Kuwait joined by their counterparts from the UK and Jordan. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “This visit presents an opportunity to see UK Forces working hand in hand with our Omani partners across land, air and sea exercises, promoting stability

and security in the region and confronting our shared threats.” During the visit, Royal Air Force Typhoons arrived in Oman in advance of Exercise Magic Carpet – joint training between the UK and Omani air forces which will take place in the coming weeks.

NHS FUNDRAISER Capt Tom Moore has had a road named after him at the National Memorial Arboretum, following a campaign by an Army Iraq veteran who works at the UK’s home of Remembrance. Capt Tom’s daughter Hannah Ingram-Moore joined Arboretum volunteer and tribute organiser Tony Matthews and Memorial chiefs to formally open the Captain Sir Tom Moore Way at the Staffordshire site. She said: “It’s an honour to visit this beautiful place and I’m grateful to everyone who made this happen.”

Royal Air Force News Friday, November 19, 2021 P16

RAF Photographic Com ent Current RAF Equipm


Simon Mander DRAMATIC PICTURES of airmen and women battling Covid at home, fighting Islamist insurgents in Mali and comforting Afghan evacuees were just some of the top shots in this year’s RAF photographic competition. And with the best nine images chosen by the judges going head-tohead in the People’s Choice category the public will get the final say on

who wins the accolade on the Service’s official Facebook page before the result is announced at an Awards Ceremony on November 25. Nearly 1,500 images and more than 50 videos were entered in the contest – which has seven categories, up from last year’s four. Imperial War Museum Senior Curator of Photography Hilary Roberts, one of the judges, said: “This year’s entries reflect the RAF’s huge contribution to British life, as well




1st – Griffin – Cpl Lee Matthews, JADTEU, RAF Brize Norton 2nd – 0 Mach 1.6 – SAC Ben Mayfield, RAF Marham 3rd – Flying Home – SAC Dafydd Lewis, RAF Coningsby

Section Portfolio

HC – Noctem Warrior – Cpl Tim Laurence, RAF Odiham HC – Every Little Helps – SAC Hannah Smoker, RAF Benson HC – Fred – Cpl Adam Fletcher, RAFAT, RAF Scampton

HC – Blinding Lights – Sgt Nick Howe, RAF Waddington HC – Rocket Man – LAC Jake Hobbs, RAF Cosford HC – Port in a Storm – SAC Megan Woodhouse, RAF Leeming



3rd 2nd

People’s Choice

1st – JADTEU, RAF Brize Norton 2nd – RAF Odiham 3rd - RAF Akrotiri HC – Photo ACSSU, RAF Halton

1. Griffin – Cpl Lee Matthews, JADTEU, RAF Brize Norton 2. Warm Welcome – Cpl Will Drummee, Photo ACSSU, RAF Halton 3. Noctem Warrior – Cpl Tim Laurence, RAF Odiham 4. Flying Home – SAC Dafydd Lewis, RAF Coningsby 5. Blinding Lights – Sgt Nick Howe, RAF Waddington 6. Mind over Matter – Cpl Lee Matthews, JADTEU, RAF Brize Norton 7. Goodnight – Cpl Babbs Robinson, RAF Marham 8. Pandemic – SAC Craig Williams, RAF Marham 9. Rocket Man – LAC Jake Hobbs, RAF Cosford



Royal Air Force News Friday, November 19, 2021 P17

mpetition winners 2021 as its core role of keeping our skies safe. Congratulations to all winners and entrants on an excellent standard of photography in an exceptionally challenging year.” Winner of the RAF Associationsponsored Personnel category was SAC Craig Williams with ‘Pandemic’; the Mallett Student Trophy went to SAC Amelia Turnbull, while the Joint Air Delivery Test and Evaluation Unit Photo Section took the Section Portfolio.

The Current RAF Equipment title went to Cpl Lee Matthews with ‘Griffin’. He also took top place in the Video and RAF Operations and Exercise categories. Other judges were Army photographer WO2 Jamie Peters, Royal Navy cameraman LPhot Dan Shepherd, Mrs Pam Mallett, Warzone editor Thomas Newdick, Telegraph picture editor Matthew Fearn and RAF Photographic Trade head WO Andy Malthouse.

Ops & Exercises





1st – Mind over Matter – Cpl Lee Matthews, JADTEU, RAF Brize Norton 2nd – Warm Welcome – Cpl Will Drummee, Photo ACSSU, RAF Halton

phy Mallett Student Tro

3rd – Recovery – SAC Jason Russell, RAF Odiham HC – Goodnight – Cpl Babbs Robinson, RAF Marham HC – Christmas Crewman – Cpl Nick Egan, Photo ACSSU, RAF Halton



1st – Pandemic – SAC Craig Williams, RAF Marham 2nd – Follow Me – Cpl Ben Tritta, ADW, RAF Brize Norton 3rd – Motley – Cpl Beth Roberts, RAF Valley HC – Q for Take-off – SAC Eoin Kirwan-Taylor, RAF Coningsby

View & vote for People’s Choice entries on the RAF Facebook page



Video 1st – To infinity and beyond – Cpl Lee Matthews, JADTEU, RAF Brize Norton 2nd – Fuel your Fire – Cpl Will Drummee & Cpl Amy Lupton, Photo ACSSU, RAF Halton 3rd – Go Ahead and Make My Day – Cpl Lee Matthew, JADTEU, RAF Brize Norton HC – Our Wall – SAC Jack Welson, RAF Wittering

1st – SAC Amelia Turnbull – RAF Waddington 2nd – SAC Tom Barnard – RAF Cosford

3rd – SAC Craig Williams – RAF Marham HC – SAC Aeris Finney – RAF Lossiemouth

Royal Air Force News Friday, November 19, 2021 P19


By Simon Mander

Pitting in pictures U airpor CHAOS: Desperate Afghan civilians try to get to the


HELPING HAND: Troops come to the aid of one of the refugees

TWINS: Girls in their best dresses

C-17: RAF aircraft is guarded beyond fence

WELCOME: Mover fist bumps young lad

RESCUE: Huge mercy mission for Afghan families

PACKED IN: 436 people onboard RAF C-17

evacuation flight

NFORGETTABLE scenes of thousands of desperate Afghans fleeing Taliban reprisals during the fall of Kabul to find safety in Britain have been captured by two military photographers. RAF News has been given access to exclusive images taken by combat camera team members Flt Lt James Langan and Royal Navy Petty Officer Ben Shread during the final days of Operation Pitting – the biggest air evacuation mission since the Berlin Airlift in 1948. The pair were embedded with Air Force movers and Parachute Regiment troops battling to protect and process thousands of men, women and children who braved lethal suicide bomb attacks to besiege Hamid Karzai International Airport. Halton-based Flt Lt Langan said: “This is the proudest moment of my career. We were privileged enough to tell the stories of some Afghans and British Service personnel but the work we did as an organisation ensured more than 14,000 people got to safety and the opportunity to start new lives.” The team followed youngsters dressed in their ‘Sunday best,’ by parents anxious to make the experience an adventure as they passed through the heavily armed RAF Police and Regiment cordon and on to the awaiting C-17 transporters. They captured touching scenes of loadmasters trying to keep desperate passengers calm by welcoming them with a Covid-safe fist bump and a smile as they packed a record 436 passengers onto the last 99 Sqn Globemaster to fly out. Petty Officer Shread said: “The work has been mentally as well as physically demanding with some of the harrowing scenes unfolding in front of us. “There are moments that stick in your mind that are good and bad, a good one for me was a set of sixyear-old twin girls and their family that we managed to capture getting out of the crowd and followed them all the way to wheels up. “Seeing the tears of joy on their faces when buckling up the seatbelts on the aircraft will stay with me forever.” The pair deployed from the Joint Information Activities Group (JIAG), that trains Tri-Service mobile news teams. Their work received unprecedented media coverage including 20 front page splashes in 18 days in British national newspapers and hours of video footage broadcast across the world by the BBC, Sky News, and on the internet. Flt Lt Langan said: “I was awestruck at the reach of our work, people whose stories we were telling one day were catapulted to the media stratosphere and broadcast globally the next. “I’m still overwhelmed by what we managed to achieve, our initial target was the evacuation of 5,000 personnel and in the end, we evacuated more than 14,000 people. “For a short time in August 2021, militaries from across the world worked together to achieve one of the biggest operations in history, not to conduct an act of war, but to conduct an act of humanity.”

Royal Air Force News Friday, November 19, 2021 P21


By Tracey Allen

Survival expert wants us all to get back to nature


OR SOMEONE who’s well-known for his love of the outdoors and his travels to the planet’s wildest places, Ray Mears adapted well to last year’s Covid-19-enforced lockdown. The bushcraft and survival expert, bestselling author and popular TV presenter, said: “I’d just been filming in China, run a survival course in the Arctic and done a photo assignment in Australia. I came back knowing I was going to write a book which was planned before lockdown. So I was quite happy not to be travelling and have no interruptions. “I squirrelled myself away and just got on with it, which I really enjoyed.” The result was his latest title We Are Nature, subtitled How to reconnect with the wild (Ebury Publishing) and next year Mears embarks on a 40-date nationwide theatre tour entitled We Are Nature – an invitation to reconnect with the natural world. It starts on February 22 in Shrewsbury and concludes in Portsmouth on April 9. Mears said: “It’s great fun, a live audience is special, there’s a completely different atmosphere to doing normal television. I get to meet viewers and I really value that, they tell me what they like and dislike – that’s really important to me.” His work appeals to all ages, from children to the elderly, and from novices to experienced survivalists – like those he’s taught in the Armed Forces. As a schoolboy his ambition was to join the Royal Marines, but it was unfulfilled because the Service was governed by Naval eyesight regulations and Mears was short-sighted. He said: “It’s ironic, but I went off to be a tracker. I live in the countryside and I go out every day tracking. I’ve spent a lifetime doing this and I’m at the top of my game now. While I’m still active it’s incumbent on me to make the best use of that ability and pass on my knowledge. It’s a wonderful privilege to be able to share that.”

Mears keeps flame alive..

of British bushcraft’, explain how to get the most out of our surroundings by developing and more fully using our natural senses of sight, sound, smell and taste, at the same time as raising awareness of the vast richness of the natural world. He said: “Connecting to nature is a panacea. Humans have evolved over two and a half million years.

t’s hard to believe the youthful Mears, who is based in Sussex, is now 57. He’s taught survival skills to Service personnel, including the RAF, for decades, and was a popular guest at Cranwell’s aircrew survival and resistance centre (SERE) where he signed the Wall of Gallantry. The tour will see Mears, dubbed ‘the father

We were hunters and gatherers. It’s only very recently that we’ve given up those skills and we have within us an evolutionary heritage of ability we make no use of today. When we go to the shops we know where everything is, but in nature everything is cryptic, animals are retiring, shy and difficult to find. Nature has given us these gifts that enable us to find things. “If a fast jet pilot ejects and finds himself in a survival situation he literally takes a journey from the technological age back to the hunter-gatherer age in the time that he descends to the ground. What he’s got working for him is this heritage, hardwired into the system. My job is to bring that out in people, so we can use our skills.”



RAY: Wild about nature

MEARS: Fire in his belly

e stressed that the most important thing for those in a life or death situation is the determination to stay alive. “I’ve looked at a lot of stories of survival, astonishing stories,” he explained. “Survivors always need to find a psychological bollard to lasso themselves to.” Mears said: “I love to be on my own in wild places, it’s a real wake-up call. It makes you a better decisionmaker because you have to make all your own decisions, and in the wilderness very often they are about life and death. You can’t blame anyone except yourself if you get it wrong.” Although a household name, he admitted he’d rather not be famous but “it’s a necessary price of communicating to

NEW BOOK: We Are Nature is out now

people about a subject I believe in.” Mears revealed he doesn’t take conventional holidays, but he’s enjoyed travelling around France with his wife Ruth and going on canoe trips in Canada with her. He

also has a great love for Australia. He added: “I’m very lucky, I’ve seen a lot of the world, but not gratuitously, it’s always been for work. “I‘ve worked a lot with Aboriginal people in the community. In Arnhem Land [a vast wilderness area in Australia’s Northern Territory] I’ve worked with every community – not many people can say that. I have huge respect for Aboriginal people and what they’ve taught me and shared with me. They are so giving and they deserve so much more. “I haven’t yet taken my wife on an outback journey in Australia so that’s on the list, and I want to take my son on safari.” A longstanding Armed Forces supporter, Mears said: “I have huge respect for our Service personnel, I’ve had the opportunity to work with the military more than most civilians. I think they are a great example for young people of what is possible – the positive nature of people in the Services is fantastic.” ■ Go to: raymears.com for tour details.

TEA UP: Time for a brew

Royal Air Force News Friday, November 19, 2021 P23

Flt Lt Dennis Bryden Obituary

A SURVIVOR OF STALAG LUFT III Halifax pilot was on Long March

POW: Flt Lt Dennis Bryden


LIGHT LIEUTENANT Dennis Bryden, who has died aged 97, was the pilot of a Halifax shot down over Hungary who went on to spend the rest of the conflict as a prisoner of war in Stalag Luft III. A keen sportsman, he was an active member of the Scouts, the St John’s Ambulance Cadets and, later, the Air Training Corps, becoming a sergeant. He began working at the Morris factory in Cowley. Aged 17, he volunteered for aircrew duties and was called up a year later in March 1942. He sailed for Canada in the Queen Mary before travelling to Texas, where he trained as a pilot at No 1 British Flying Training School. On return to Britain he converted on to heavy bombers and, in May 1944, he and his crew took a new Halifax to Morocco on a delivery flight before joining 624 Squadron at Blida in Algeria. He carried out supply drops to the French Resistance in the south of France before a bad crash hospitalised him for a few weeks. After recovering, he transferred in early August to 148 Squadron at Brindisi where he made drops to the Italian Resistance in the Alps. Bryden was just 20 years old when he and his crew took off from Brindisi on the night of September 10, 1944 to drop supplies to the Polish underground movement in Warsaw. En route over Hungary, a major fire broke out in the starboard wing, possibly following an attack by an enemy night fighter. The Halifax became uncontrollable and Bryden ordered the crew to bail out. The crew soon joined up on the ground and started heading south but near the village of Debrecen they were captured. They were taken to Budapest where they were put in solitary confinement. Eventually they were herded into cattle trucks and headed for Vienna. After a few days Bryden, who had been separated from his NCO colleagues, arrived at Stalag Luft III at Sagan, the scene of the Great Escape earlier in the year.


e occupied his time reading and playing ice hockey as the harsh winter set in. On the night of January 27, 1945, with the Russian Army advancing from the east, the prisoners were given a few hours to pack their belongings before they began marching west. The winter of 1945 was the harshest for 50

years and the prisoners suffered badly during the infamous Long March. Bryden and a colleague managed to make a rough sledge, which carried their belongings for 45 miles before being abandoned as a thaw set in. Sleeping in barns and churches, they finally reached Spremberg on February 3, where they spent the night in a barracks before boarding cattle trucks. More then 1,900 men were crammed onto the train, which

reached the PoW camp of Milag Marlag Nord near Bremen after two days. They remained there until early April. On April 9, the prisoners left the camp and headed east – away from the advancing Allies. Approaching Lubeck, the German guards left the column on the 25th. On May 2, a British scout car appeared and the long journey home for the prisoners began. A week later, Bryden arrived at an airfield near Aylesbury.

On his return from captivity, and a flying refresher course, he joined 511 Squadron at Lyneham where he flew the York transport aircraft on trooping flights to the Far East. In August 1946 he returned to civilian life and rejoined Morris Motors, becoming a buyer. He kept his hand in as a pilot by obtaining a Private Pilot’s Licence and flew a small Cessna to European business meetings.

Royal Air Force News Friday, November 19, 2021 P25

Jaguar XF P250 Motoring

XF’s shore to impress Big beast of exec market

SLEEK AND POWERFUL: Jaguar XF’s a head-turner

iddle) and rear (top)

or (above), grille (m SHIPSHAPE: Interi

TIM MORRIS Motoring Correspondent THE WORLD of executive saloons is pretty competitive and any contender will have to take on the likes of BMW’s 3 Series. That’s a tall ask for most manufacturers but, in my mind, if you want a really slick exec you just can’t beat a Jaaaagggg. The XF is a particularly agile big cat, arguably with the best dynamics in its class. It’s a real driver’s car, with power, stealth and charisma in abundance. It’s also taken many cues from Jag’s high-tech I-Pace so it feels like a new model. Exterior Jags are famous for having low sweeping lines and the XF certainly hits the mark. Its profile is sleek, with flowing curves and well-sculpted window lines. The traditional raised section in the centre of the long bonnet gives the impression that the power of a locomotive lurks beneath and the appearance of the signature Jag grille in your rear view mirror leaves no doubt that the XF means business.

Our car was the rear wheel drive R-Dynamic SE P250, finished in metallic British Racing Green. This is an option worth £700 but it’s a classic look that never gets old. The 19in ‘Style 7013’ alloy wheels (below), with Contrast Diamond Turned Finish (a further £800 option) completed the look. Jaguar was aiming for elegant and sporting, mission accomplished. Interior Jaguar is particularly good at blending elements of classic heritage with modern technology. The dashboard in the XF is a good example of this, embedding the ‘Established 1935’ plaque into the glossy touch-screen instruments. The 2021 XF features vastly improved material quality. The buttons now feel nicely damped and all the main surfaces are pleasing to the touch. There’s plenty of metal-effect trim too. The result is a classy cabin that rivals the interiors of German competitors. Once inside it’s incredibly easy to get comfortable behind the wheel because the driving position is near perfect. All the controls

align perfectly and Jag’s ‘Interactive Driver Display’ places a wealth of useful information in your line of sight. The rest of the dashboard is well laid out and easy to operate. There are physical buttons for the climate control and media volume for example, which makes it far easier to operate on the move than most rivals. Visibility is generally good and the interior feels airy so even rear seat passengers won’t feel claustrophobic. Like most saloons the rear pillars are quite thick but that shouldn’t trouble you too much as all XFs come with front/ rear parking sensors and a 360-degree camera. The Pivi Pro infotainment is particularly good. It’s the same system fitted in the Land Rover Defender and it’s fast. It’s also extremely easy to use. Jaguar tells us that 90 per cent of the most commonly used functions are located within two taps of the home screen, so you won’t have to take your eyes off the road to go looking for them. It looks good too, smaller than the Teslerati tablet that takes up half the cabin in a Model 3 but

chemically strengthened, with a dual coating that’s designed to reduce glare and make fingerprints easier to wipe away. On The Road The XF is not a small car but on twisting B Roads it’s well ahead of the pack. It handles with the agility and precision of a sports car. The steering provides the driver with a good amount of feedback. It’s well weighted, precise and quicker than key rivals too, including the BMW 5 Series. The chassis is well balanced to provide good handling and the torque vectoring system, a standard feature, adds to the stability by gently braking the inside wheels through tight corners. Drop the adaptive suspension into ‘Dynamic’ mode and the handling tightens even more. In my view this may be the best handling car in its class. 0-60 is achieved in 6.5, with a limited top end of 155mph from the 247 bhp engine. It’s not a car that makes you want to race from a standing start but it delivers smooth power and has endless grunt in the mid ranges for those long journeys. The eight ratio ZF auto box is generally fast and slick so you hardly notice the changes under normal circumstances. It’s almost silent at motorway speeds

Verdict Pros ● Brilliant handling ● Well equipped ● Undercuts most rivals Cons ● Not much engine tone ● Rivals are slightly quieter inside Overall This is a real Jag and what we expect from JLR. It’s great to drive, well equipped and unmistakably British. It has bags of character and is full of brilliant tech. Nevertheless, it manages to undercut key rivals with a competitive list price starting from £37,835 OTR. My only complaint is that there isn’t a V6 option on the list. This is a big Jaaaaggg, 4 cylinders just doesn’t cut it in terms of power or growl. in the cabin and you only detect engine vibrations through the steering wheel under the harshest acceleration.

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Royal Air Force News Friday, November 19, 2021 P27


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5 pages of RAF Sport start here


● Cpl Phil Hall runner-up in Junior World Rally Championship: p30


'B' happy CAT A BOY: Benson keeper saves a shot from Wittering in cup final PHOTOS: STEVE LYMPANY

RAF Festival of Football Montgomery Waters Meadow BENSON AND Boulmer walked away with the silverware from this year’s hotly-contested RAF Festival of Football. A field of 30 five-a-side teams battled it out for the cup and plate trophy, with Benson pipping Wittering 2-1 in the cup event, and Boulmer winning 3-1 over Wyton B in the plate. This year’s event was hosted at League One side Shrewsbury Town’s Montgomery Waters Meadow ground. The teams were split into six groups while the compact pitch sizes meant the goals flew in from the very first game. Topping the scoring charts were Digby A, netting 25 times in their four group games, while Lossiemouth B let 26 goals in. Shawbury remained unbeaten along with Wyton A, TSW Stafford and Henlow, while in their highly competitive groups Benson and Wittering ended with three wins and a draw each. With the group stages completed it was Boulmer and Odiham in one side of the semi-final draw, and Wyton B and Brize Norton B on the other of the Plate competition. Wyton thumping Brize 5-1, while Boulmer crushed Odiham 9-3. With both keepers on form in the final, the goals were limited to just four, with Boulmer winning 3-1. In the cup competition 16 teams progressed from the group stages, but it was Wyton A, Benson,

Benson & Boulmer winners at annual Festival of Football

Covid halts Kentish Cup DUTCH GOVERNMENT Covid-19 travel restrictions have kicked this year’s Kentish Cup football competition into touch. The planned UKAFFC defence of the cup, due to start on November 28, was postponed after the Dutch Defence Forces side pulled out because of the high number of Covid cases in the UK. U K A F head coach FS Dyfan Pierce (right) said: “We are obviously gutted, but you can only control the controllable and this is totally out of our hands. “We have already opened talks with both the French and Dutch set-ups to see if we can host the tournament early next year, so we will see how the talks develop from there.” Not resting on his laurels, Pierce has contacted Luton Town FC’s Academy side for a potential match at the club’s Ely Way training ground. He said: “We had planned to meet up before the France fixture, so we will be looking to do so and hopefully sort the Luton fixture out for that.” ■ Follow UKAFFC on Twitter @ UKArmedForcesFA FISHING

Slim pickings off Thames

PLATE EVENT: Boulmer (yellow shorts) crowd out Wyton B player

Wittering and Northolt who made up the semi-final berths. Leading 3-0 Northolt could have been forgiven for thinking they were in the final, but Benson fought back to win 4-3.

In the other clash a tight onegoal win saw Wittering through, but only just as Wyton had seen a late equalising chance hit the bar and bounce along the goal line to leave the scoreline 1-0.

SAC Brodie Gray had a day to remember, winning the Player of the Tournament trophy, while his Benson side sealed a battling 2-1 victory over Wittering to take the cup competition.

IT WAS far from child’s play for the Drennan RAF Match Angling squad at a recent competition. The team travelled to Child Beale Lake – off the Thames near Reading – for the annual MoD versus UKAF clash. The fishing was tough with only a few anglers managing catches above 2lbs. Flt Lt Matt Snape produced the second best on his section, with a 4lb 7oz roach; with the biggest haul totalling 20lb of bream. The result was disappointing for the Service, who produced a total catch weight of 8lb and 14oz, while the Army A team won the event; defending their title with a total of 29lb 12oz. ■ Follow the Drennan RAF team on Facebook @drennanRAFmatch anglingteam

Royal Air Force News Friday, November 19, 2021 P28


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Tri and tri again as ladies break five-year Army run

RAF MEN'S STAR: Chf Tech Peter Ellis

THERE WAS calm then came the storm as the RAF ladies’ triathletes blew away the opposition at the recent InterServices championship at Lake 32, South Cerney Lakes, Gloucester. Following the break in competition due to Covid restrictions the Service teams were desperate to get back to the action, and the day created a fantastic atmosphere at Cotswold Water Park. The ladies’ team broke a five-year Army stranglehold on the event, which saw the RAF continually holding the runner-up crown for

that time. The men’s team did not fare as well, with both the senior and veterans teams coming third. The total dominance of the women saw them produce the fastest three swimmers on the day, including debutant athlete Cpl Rachel Parker, who said: “I wasn’t sure what to expect from the InterServices race, especially as it was my first sporting experience with the RAF. Upon arriving at the race, the energy and atmosphere was great.” The team’s coach had undertaken a focused training day before the championship, with swim and run

IT'S GOING SWIMMINGLY: Triathletes take to the water at Inter-Services competition

course familiarisation and detailed transition and race information. The payback was obvious with the overwhelming ladies display being backed up with a runner-up finish from the veteran ladies’ team. Head coach Sgt Sue Pugh said: “It was fantastic to see RAF athletes

Hebridean high

out there enjoying the sport, being supported by the coaching team throughout and back doing what we love.” ■ For details on RAF Triathlon, email: triathlon.enquiries@ rafsportsfederation.uk or follow the social media platforms.


SURF'S UP: RAF riders compete off Tiree PHOTOS: CPL BETH ROBERTS

THE ANNUAL pilgrimage to Tiree in Scotland saw Service windsurfers face 40kmh winds, 10-foot waves, battle for the title of wave champion and perform a massive beach clean. Association spokesman Flt Lt Fred Hunter said: “Every piece of kit was packed, and nobody was taking any chances of getting caught short over the eight days spent there. “All were craving what Tiree is renowned for, epic ‘down the line’ wave riding conditions, arguably the best in the UK. And the forecast was set for a good week.” A team of 20 athletes undertook training and competition on the remote Scottish island in the Inner Hebrides. The week kicked off with a seven-hour training session on Crossapol Beach – venue of the wave champion competition two days later. The single-elimination event was judged by organiser WO Craig Hamilton and WO (Ret’d) Andrew Maddison. The format gave competitors a 15-minute run with marks awarded on the number of waves captured and the performance on each. Following two knockout rounds, the final was set between Sqn Ldr Chris Rugg, Flt Lt John Rigg, Flt Lt Mark Thompson and former WO Stuart Tilbury. With four very competent and experienced riders on show, the battle did not disappoint. Thompson defended his title, with Rugg coming a close second and Rigg third. Hunter said: “With the conditions calming the following day, the team took part in a massive beach clean with a local environmental group, filling two large trailers with rubbish. “Thankfully the wind picked up on the closing days and the more experienced riders sampled the delights of Maze Beach, while the other riders visited Gott Bay, before a team outing to Balephuil Bay rounded things off.” ■ For information on the sport and association, visit: rafsailing.co.uk/ windsurfing or contact Flt Lt Ben Clarke.

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

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Royal Air Force News Friday, November 19, 2021 P29


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Divine for Devine SPLIT DECISION: Cpl James Thompson went close PHOTOS: SAC JAMES SKERRET DEFEAT: Cpl George Westpfel

THE LONG-AWAITED return of boxing at RAF Waddington saw a night of tough battles for Service athletes behind closed doors. There was a card of eight fights, including a female contest, across five different weight categories with only boxers, coaches, and officials in attendance. Despite the lack of audience, the quality of

fights generated a fantastic atmosphere. Taking centre stage on the evening were fights featuring the Service’s three elite boxers: Cpl James Thompson (Waddington), Cpl George Westpfel (Wittering) and SAC Arran Devine (Lossiemouth). All were using the evening as a platform for the UKAF box-offs and to push on

towards the English and Scottish Boxing National Amateur Championships. In the fourth bout Cpl Westpfel lost his elite heavyweight contest of three, threeminute rounds, on a unanimous decision; while in bout six, Thompson, in the elite-light welterweight class, lost on a split decision. Closing out the evening was SAC Devine,

who ended proceedings on a high with a unanimous decision Organiser Flt Lt Paul Fort said: “It was a brilliant event and perfect for us to showcase our skilled military athletes against tough civilian counterparts.” ■ Follow RAF Boxing on Twitter @RAF_ Boxing



er tries out bike : Then new rid

DEMO: RAF Digby Spitfire Karting PHOTOS: SAC Jack Welson, RAF Wittering

, right

RAFMSA Open Day RAF Wittering

Daniel Abrahams THE WORLD of Service motorsport was laid bare for the first time in three years, as Wittering hosted the RAFMSA open day. The home of military transport provided displays of each discipline under the association’s banner of four and two-wheeled. Supporting the hot-hatches, rally-cars, karts, motorbikes and off-road vehicles on show, the group ran taster events throughout the day for personnel to try some of the lower-powered vehicles. Gp Capt Brian Watson, RAFMSA chairman, said: “The day has allowed us to show visitors that motorsport is accessible and to increase awareness across the RAF. “It has been a fantastic day that has allowed members to reunite and show others what they could be involved in. “We are always looking at

Ready, steady, go how to maximise opportunities for personnel to get involved, through development programs and eMotorsport training.” First formed in 1961, RAFMSA runs its own competitions and

championships throughout the year, while its members compete and officiate in other motorsports events at regional, national, and international level; supported by the sport’s UK national governing

bodies. Sgt Brien Middlebrook, enduro and motocross secretary, said: “We’ve received massive interest in motocross today. We’ve ensured maximum participation and got people riding our circuit

who’ve never ridden a bike before, by utilising development bikes from RAF Cosford.” ■ Follow RAF motorsport on Instagram @raf_motorsports

Royal Air Force News Friday, November 19, 2021 P30


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MOTORSPORT THE SMALLEST of margins was all it took to prevent RAF rally ace Cpl Phil Hall from claiming a stunning FIA Junior World Rally Championship title in Spain. The co-driver – who saw his title charge with fellow British driver Jon Armstrong slip away after a rare mistake on the fog-hit opening stage – still described his season as ‘stellar’. He said: “Of course, I would have liked to be standing on that podium as a world champion, but sadly it just wasn’t to be this time around. “But I can really hold my head high and say that it’s been a stellar year for Jon and me. We have been fighting towards the front of the championship all season long. “Taking the fight for the title down to the wire on the final round is something to be proud of and I’m delighted to have come so far this season.” After five brutal rounds across Europe against a field of the best young drivers for the highlyprized title, the impressive duo had secured two victories and one podium. This meant they headed to the final round in Salou with a chance at taking Hall’s maiden world title, along with a 15-second lead. In the box seat for the daunting opening hillside stages, the difficult conditions saw the pair lose over five minutes following an off-road excursion. The setback was further exacerbated when they clipped a culvert, used to direct rainwater from the course, later on in the stage. The accident knocked the pair out of the rally for the day. Incredibly they bounced back to produce the two fastest stage times on the final stage of the event, but it wasn’t enough to secure the

It's a pain in Spain for Hall SPECTACLE: Fans watch the action as Brit pairing pass. Left, Hall PHOTOS: FIA JUNIOR WRC/MSPORT

required points and their title tilt was gone as they finished runnersup overall. Hall added: “Championship

title aside, everything else is a huge positive for me and my career development. “It’s also been an honour to put SHOWER TIME: Hall looks on as Armstrong is drenched by Finn Marko Salminen

FORD: Brits' motor


the RAF at the pinnacle of one of the most technologically relevant sports in the world. It’s now time to focus on the next challenge and see

what 2022 holds for me.” The championship was won by Finland’s Sami Pajari and Marko Salminen.

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Email: sports@rafnews.co.uk RUGBY UNION

RAF's Mr Fix It gets UKAF role Dan Abrahams SERVICE RUGBY’S Mister Fix It is at it again, after being appointed UKAFRU’s director of rugby. Sgt Tug Wilson, current Director of RAF rugby, has kept his remit simple:“To inject the buzz around UKAF rugby that has been achieved with RAF, RN and Army single Service rugby.” Wilson is famed for getting the RAF men’s team back into the Inter-Services winners arena in 2015 following a 21-year absence. Since being tasked with the Director of RAF Rugby role in 2016, the Service has won both Inter-Service titles, including an historic first for the women’s side in 2019, and seen the rise in profile of the game at station level. Wilson said: “The success has been achieved because key people in key roles are doing amazing jobs. The work of Air Cdre Paul Rose, director of Representative Rugby, Gp Capt Mark Jackson, chairman; AVM Paul Godfrey; and Air Cdre Mark Chapple, head of community rugby; has been huge. They have not allowed things to drop during Covid and that has left us in a great position coming out of it.” Of his new role Wilson said: “It’s been good so far, I took over after the women’s UKAF game against the French, which was a great evening. “Now we focus on the Rugby for Heroes Remembrance Game at Gloucester rugby’s Kingsholm Stadium. The line-up for the opposition which includes

TOP JOB: Sgt Tug Wilson is UKAFRU boss

internationals such as Mike Tindall, Tom Varndell, Delon Armitage and the like shows the esteem in which the match is held. “Covid paused everything, and we lost momentum. We want to get that going again.” He added: “The level of quality and enthusiasm surrounding the women’s team is what we are looking to garner for all UKAF matches. Dave Pascoe, Mal Roberts and Sgt Justin Coleman – coaches for the UKAF team – have got that buzz.” He added: “Military rugby is now at the forefront, we have InterServices (U-23s) matches coming and with the UKAF match kicking things off, hot on the heels of the women’s game, the timing is perfect. “Getting people back watching our players on those electric evenings is what I want to build back up again, to put things where they rightly belong.” The Remembrance rugby union fixture, UKAFRU v Rugby for Heroes, is on November 17, after RAF News goes to press. ■ Follow UKAF Rugby on Twitter @UKAFRugby.


Tasty end to season


Pasty triumph for IS-winning team

CAPTAIN MARVEL: Sergeant Cameron Kinvig

Amy scores Ferntastic hat-trick against Kiwis FG OFF Amy Cokayne sank any New Zealand hopes of a test series leveller with a hat-trick of tries in a 56-15 Red Roses win. Having warned about a Black Ferns fightback following their opening 43-12 test defeat to England, Cokayne touched down the first of the three scores inside the first five minutes at Northampton Saints’ Franklin Gardens ground.

She said: “These internationals are an important milestone on our journey to the World Cup in less than a year. “We don’t get many opportunities to play New Zealand, so it’s important to see where we are in terms of our development against them. “I was pleased with my set piece and to manage to get on the scoresheet three times; but the credit goes to the pack for all their effort, I was just lucky enough to be the person riding the wave

COKAYNE: Key player for Red Roses

before I put the ball down.”

Cokayne then touched down after 39 minutes to make it 280, completing her hat-trick five minutes after the restart to make it 35-0 in the two test series.

IT WAS a fitting finale to a great season for the RAF’s Inter-Services winning men’s golfers as they brought home more silverware from the Piskey Tournament in Newquay. Captain marvel Sgt Cameron Kinvig was at it again as his team of Sgt Sam Tanner, L/Cpl John Blanks, Cpl Matt Thomas and SACs Aaron Hares and Connor Campbell took home the Pasty Trophy. Having kicked things off in glorious sunshine, the weather took a turn for the worse during the Service side’s opening match against the Hazards team, for the morning foursomes. Despite Kinvig and Tanner being up in the third match, the RAF had lost the opening two matches and were out of the Piskey, being moved into the Pasty Tournament as first-round losers. Facing the GAGS side in their next match, the RAF then stormed to three wins out of three. Their

Piskey Tournament Newquay Golf Club, Cornwall display earned them a semi-final berth against the Antiguan Sausage side, which boasted former West Indian cricketing legend Richie Richardson. Kinvig and Tanner won eight and six, while Blanks and Hares won on the 17th to secure a spot in the final against the Warwickshire Bears, the team who beat the RAF in the 2019 final. The final produced more magic for Kinvig and Tanner who won eight and seven, to take all four points over the weekend. The rest of the team didn’t disappoint as Blanks and Hares closed out on the 18th. ■ Follow RAF Golf on Instagram @raf_golf

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Royal Air Force News Friday, November 19, 2021 R'n'R 1

Announcements ● P6-7

Puzzles ● P8

R'n'R Win!

Win: Dettori documentary on DVD ● p3

Searching for the truth – Close to Me ● p 4-5

Royal Air Force News Friday, November 19, 2021 R'n'R 3

R'n'R Film review A Bird Flew In Out now


FFERING a reflection on lockdown, A Bird Flew In follows the cast and crew of a small film that is disbanded when coronavirus restrictions are imposed; looking at several people as they return to their respective homes and relationships, stuck apart or in some cases stuck together. There’s director (Sadie Frost, Bram Stoker’s Dracula) and editor (Morgana Robinson, The Windsors) who seem to be getting friendlier over work calls. There’s writer Peter (Jeff Fahey, Lost) and his letter-writing correspondence with French actress Anna from the production (Julie Dray, Cradle To Grave). Then there are those more established actors – the highrisk (Derek Jacobi, Gladiator) stranded, now isolating in the south of France, and Rebecca (Camilla Rutherford, Yesterday) who is keeping busy by livestreaming to fans; singing awfully with earnestness that puts you in mind of the Hollywood super-friends’ misjudged rendition of Imagine last year. All of these overlapping stories are captured lyrically, shot in black and white and with poetic meditations from the aforementioned writer playing in voiceover. What the film gains by being set in such a recent period is that the situations and reactions are implicitly understood. Small details, and even much more complex emotions, are so familiar that it is easy to recognise and therefore empathise. The trite expressions of ‘strange days’ or ‘not like I’m going anywhere soon’ appear almost humorously nostalgic. As the creatives make projects to keep themselves busy, or as Rebecca winds the hour

Film review Dettori (12)

In cinemas and on Blu-ray, DVD & digital download (Dazzler Media)


EGENDARY JOCKEY Frankie Dettori gets a full profile in this new documentary, covering his tough beginnings, the drug scandals and even the plane crash that could have ended it all. Interviewed under a spotlight and having a camera crew follow him around his home, just as the pandemic hit, the film is tremendously benefitted by the cheeky-chappy energy that Dettori is famous for. His cockiness, lack of selfseriousness and sense of humour were the qualities that drew so many people to horseracing in the era of his dominance in the late 90s, and led him to become a regular fixture on late night television and quiz

CHAMP: Dettori

Tale of our Covid times

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Derek Jacobi's character is isolating, Morgana Robinson plays the editor, Jeff Fahey is the writer and Camilla Rutherford is earnest Rebecca

hand of the clock forward several hours to excuse her mid-morning Martini, we recognise these attitudes and impulses. Things take a turn for the dramatic as the film plays out, hitting the inevitable serious

notes that will also likely resonate; from a relationship becoming suffocating in this pressure-cooker environment, to outright loneliness, or the tragic imposition of having to isolate from a dying relative. Holding a mirror

Dettori: Straight from the horse's mouth shows in the following decades. The son of Italian jockey Gianfranco Dettori, the best rider of his generation, the film explores the tough fathering that young Frankie received and, which to some extent, persists. Capturing footage of both father and son, with a crew also in Italy, the documentary is able to show the consistency of their dynamic, despite serious fall-outs and achieving all that can be achieved in competitive horseracing. The film also features interviews with Frankie’s own family, his wife and children, as well as his sister – who visits only on occasion but finds herself stuck during lockdown, confessing that at least it was never boring with her brother. There are talks with Dettori’s managers past and present, who

up to these struggles feels important, but it is hard to find catharsis when many of these problems, or their fallout, are still ongoing. 3 out of five roundels Review by Sam Cooney

FRANKIE: Racing cert

PEDIGREE: Father Gianfranco was top rider

INSIGHT: Frankie's wife, Catherine

help to contextualise the man with his achievements, building to the phenomenal historic moment when he achieved the unthinkable at Ascot in 1996 by winning all seven races on the card. Races are shown dynamically by intercutting different angles of them, sometimes framed up close, from first person or in slow motion,

bringing out the intimacy of the race by enhancing the sound of hooves on the ground. Reaching the home straight, it is evident that Frankie Dettori has had a full and eventful career that may never be bettered, but he shows no sign of slowing down just yet. 3 out of 5 roundels Review by Sam Cooney


ETTORI TELLS the remarkable story of inspirational jockey Frankie Dettori, who has been described as ‘the rock star of racing’. One of the most decorated sportsmen of all time, he has been named Longines World’s Best Jockey for the last three years. Winner of over 3,000 races, and fondly seen as the happiest man on the circuit, Dettori has led a seemingly charmed life. But his true story is one of titanic struggle, transformation and renewal. Dettori offers an intimate, behindclosed-doors look at Frankie and his inner sanctum and we have copies of the film on DVD to win. For your chance to own one, all you have to do is send us the correct answer to this question: How many races has jockey Frankie Dettori won? Email your answer, marked Dettori DVD 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 December 3. Please include your postal address on all entries.


Royal Air Force News Friday, November 19, 2021 R'n'R 4

R'n'R TV

A Very British Scandal

Sixtiesl scanda

BBC One/Amazon Studios

Crown star Foy's new royal role C

LAIRE FOY (The Crown,Wolf shame, judgement and controversy Hall) and Paul Bettany surrounds a woman’s sexuality.” (WandaVision, Uncle Frank, Bettany added: “I’m delighted Avengers: Infinity War) will lead the to be working with the remarkable cast of new BBC One and Amazon Claire Foy to tell the fascinating Studios’ A Very British Scandal. and scandalous story of the Duke Written by Sarah Phelps (The and Duchess of Argyll and their Pale Horse, Dublin Murders), the very complicated lives.” drama focuses on the divorce of n A Very British Scandal will the Duke (Bettany) and Duchess premiere on BBC One and BBC of Argyll (Foy), one of the most iPlayer in the UK and be available notorious, extraordinary and brutal on Amazon Prime Video in the legal cases of the 20th century. US, Canada, Australia and New Famed for her charisma, beauty Zealand. Filming will take place and style, Margaret, Duchess across the UK later this year. of Argyll, dominated the front pages with the divorce featuring ON ITV, All Star Musicals at accusations of forgery, theft, Christmas will see presenter Fern violence, drug-taking, secret Britton, actor Ben Miller, writer, recording, bribery and an explicit broadcaster and former MP Polaroid picture – all played out Gyles Brandreth, presenter Anita in the white-hot glare of the 1960s Rani, actress Catherine Tyldesley, media. and sports presenter Radzi Phelps said: “Writing the story Chinyanganya take centre-stage for of Margaret’s life and the events a night of festive entertainment. leading up to and including her They’ll embark on what divorce from the Duke has been a the channel calls “the ultimate passion project of mine since 1993 musical theatre masterclass,” each when I first heard her name and hoping to steal the show started learning about her. and be voted All Star “I felt very strongly that Musicals Champion. she’d been punished for With mentoring from being a woman, for being musicals star Elaine visible, for refusing to back Paige, Samantha Barks down; be a good girl and go (Frozen, Les Miserables) quietly. This drama is and Trevor Dion my tribute to her.” N i c h o l a s Foy said: “I’m (Hamilton, so excited to work Aladdin), the with Sarah and celebrities will Paul on this be supported extraordinar y by a full West project, and to End ensemble, explore through a live orchestra GLAMOUR: this story, how often and, in the Duchess (Foy)

lead-up to their big performance, receive training from top West End choreographers and vocal coaches. The numbers performed will be from well-known musicals including Cats, Moana and The Rocky Horror Show. Miller said: “I have new respect for musicals. After weeks of training I am nowhere near ready. In fact, I don’t know what I was thinking.” Brandeth added: “I can’t sing and I can’t dance, but I can dream. And this is a dream come true, being in a number in my favourite musical, My Fair Lady.” Rani said “What better time to come together to perform some show-stopping musical hits on stage. It’s a festive treat that’s guaranteed to bring some sparkle to everyone’s living rooms this Christmas.”

The Darkness/Plant & Krauss New albums and tours

It's Love, but not as you know it


ROBERT PLANT & Alison Krauss have released their new album Raise The Roof, their first collaboration for 14 years, following the success

THE DARKNESS: Other-worldly rockers

of their debut get-together Raising Sand (2007), which reached number 2 on the Official UK Chart and earned six Grammy Awards. The album features 12 new recordings of songs by legends and unsung heroes including Merle Haggard, Allen Toussaint, The Everly Brothers and Bert Jansch. Other highlights include a Plant-Burnett original, High and Lonesome. When selecting the songs for

Th m

TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT?: Rob Harding (Eccleston) and wife Jo (Nielsen)

ANITA RANI: Trying her hand at musicals


HE DARKNESS will be showcasing their new album Motorheart, just out, on their extensive 22-date UK headline tour throughout November and December. The band have released their new single It’s Love, Jim, the latest song to be taken from the album. Lead singer Justin Hawkins said: “This song is all about an extraterrestrial goddess of other worldly beauty. She’s fast, powerful, not of this earth. Her sensual symphony nestles in your ear and lays mind eggs that seep confidence liquid into your brains.” n Go to:thedarknesslive.com for more details.

The Big Event Close to Me

Raise The Roof Plant was keen to introduce the English folk traditions he has loved since adolescence, while Krauss cited hearing Quattro (World Drift In) by the American group Calexico, as “the moment I knew we’d make another album.” “We wanted it to move,” she said. “We brought other people in, other personalities within the band, and coming back together again in the studio brought a new intimacy to the harmonies.” Plant added: “You hear something and you go ‘Man, listen to that song, we got to sing that song!’ It’s a vacation, really – the perfect place to go that you least expected to find.” Plant and Krauss will tour together in 2022, with dates to be announced soon. n Go to: plantkrauss.com for more information.


H R I S T O P H E R ECCLESTON (The A Word, Doctor Who) stars in Channel 4’s new psychological suspense drama Close to Me as Rob Harding, who is married to Jo (Connie Nielsen), a woman who seems to have it all – a beautiful house in the country, a loving family and a devoted husband. Following a fall, an entire year suddenly vanishes from Jo’s memory. As she struggles to piece events together, she discovers that her life wasn’t quite as perfect as she imagined – and that someone will do all they can to keep a terrible secret from her. The TV series is based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Amanda Reynolds. Eccleston explained why he wanted to be a part of the drama. He said: “This show had a lovely reversal of the usual, far too familiar, sensitive, caring female taking a supportive role to a male as they wrestle with existential dilemmas. This was very refreshing. “Robert is an estate agent in late middle age who has been married to Jo for a considerable time. He realises that his role is to try to aid his life partner in a physical and emotional recovery,

but also support her going through menopause. Jo is having identity issues which are, according to my female friends, very common in late middle age, where you wake up thinking: who am I? The way they are treated in society shifts. “Rob’s business is also in trouble and there’s a sense of emasculation, because a lot of the money has come from her side of things. He’s certainly not in the throes of youth and idealism.”


ccleston revealed that he hasn’t read the novel the series is based on. “I worked purely from the script,” he admitted. “I’ve had experiences before of things being in the novel that you might want to use, but they’re not there in the script. It’s an entirely separate venture.” He added: “I think Rob’s very romantic about the marriage. He’s ready for the kids to go, or at least that’s what he’s telling himself: we all tell ourselves lies and versions of the way to proceed. I’ve seen it in a couple of my friends’ marriages where the kids have left and there’s been a real rapprochement, an infusion of energy and romance. “I’ve also seen the opposite. I think Rob is pushing for the former, for their

Royal Air Force News Friday, November 19, 2021 R'n'R 5


he perfect marriage? There really isn't such a thing time together. He’s written as being very in love with his partner, possibly more in love with her than she is with him." The actor also revealed that Rob and Jo’s house wasn’t to his taste. He said: “It was designed within an inch of its life. I live a far more rackety life.”

He's very much in love with her, maybe more than she is with him

Eccleston has recently worked with Lucy Montgomery and Rhys Thomas on “an origin story for the Artful Dodger from Oliver Twist – they’ve taken that character and they built an entire 10-part series around him for BBC and NBC.” He added: “All the characters are retained from the story apart from Oliver, and I play Fagin. It’s a joyous experience working with Rhys and Lucy, they’re very creatively free. I won’t be singing in it, but if

we get a second series, I’m going to suggest that.” anish actress Nielsen said the script for Close to Me was “an instant page-turner.” She explained: “From the beginning, Jo was this character where you thought you knew what type of person she was – married, kids, happy – then because of her brain injury, she becomes completely unpredictable. “As an actor that’s a godsend, when you realise you can go into all these different characterisations, full of humour and imagination. “There’s a lot of interest in identity these days: how do we know who we are? In that sense, Jo has temporary brain trauma and she’s mirrored by her father, who has dementia: two people hanging onto straws and the truth won’t let them be. It keeps on creeping into these recalcitrant brains.” But the truth doesn’t come in one piece for Jo. Nielsen added: “It comes in little traces. She’s tracking these leads, she is a detective in her own life, which is so interesting. “Where do you go next? What does this information mean about my life? Every time you think you know, you don’t.” Close to Me was filmed in London, Hertfordshire and East Sussex last year. n The series is on Channel 4 at 9pm on Sundays.


Tehran (15) and Off the Rails (15)


On Blu-ray and DVD (Dazzler Media)

Hit thriller and feelgood movie T

HE FIRST season of the critically acclaimed thriller Tehran from Apple TV is out now on Blu-ray and DVD, ahead of the eagerly awaited second season. A Mossad agent goes undercover on her first mission in Iran’s capital, which also happens to be the place of her birth; the mission has implications not just for the Middle East, but for the rest of the world. ALSO JUST out on Blu-ray and DVD is feel-good hit comedy Off The Rails, featuring the music of Blondie and starring Kelly Preston (The Cat in the Hat, Jerry Maguire), Jenny Seagrove (Judge John Deed, The Guardian), Sally Phillips (Veep, Bridget Jones franchise), with Ben

Miller (Bridgerton, Paddington 2) and Franco Nero (The Lost City of Z, Django Unchained). A dying wish from their best friend Anna compels Cassie, Kate, and Liz to put old feuds aside and take Anna’s 17-year-old daughter on an interrailing journey across Europe that they didn’t quite finish during their studies. Now in their 50s, they are older but not necessarily wiser. With some bad luck, train strikes and romantic entanglements thrown in their way, the trip promises as many laughs and tears and self-discovery as the first time around. But will they reach their

Comedy UK tours

Jason Byrne/Ben Elton

destination in time to honour their friend’s memory? We have copies of Tehran and Off the Rails to add to your DVD collection. For your chance to win one, simply tell us: Which band’s music features in Off The Rails? Email your answer, marked DVDs competition, to: c omp e t it i ons @ r af ne w s . c o. u k or post it to: RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe, HP14 4UE, to arrive by December 3. Please mark on your entry if you prefer to win a copy of Tehran or Off the Rails and remember to include your full postal address.

Funny men

Right as rain after heart scare


OMEDIAN JASON Byrne has announced the restart of his new stand-up show Audience Precipitation this month. Byrne (right), who had to postpone several shows to undergo a routine heart procedure, was very disappointed to have to put the tour on hold. He said: “I was devastated that I had to postpone some of my tour gigs due to me heart but I’m all fixed now and pumping to go. So I’ll see you all real soon now, as I’ve been a big brave boy, and dying, well living, to get back on stage to have the biggest laugh ever.” His TV credits include: Live at the Apollo, The Royal Variety Performance, The John Bishop Show, Father Figure, Ireland’s Got Talent and Wild Things. n Go to: jasonbyrne.ie for tour information and ticket details. THE MULTI-AWARD winning comedy writer and ‘godfather of modern stand-up’ Ben Elton

COMEDY LEGEND: Elton's done 40 years

is back. Fifteen years in the making and two years late (thanks to Covid), he finally brings his critically-acclaimed show to the West End. The long-awaited London season is the climax of a massive sold out UK and international tour and also marks Elton’s 40th year in showbusiness. He will play a residency at the Harold Pinter Theatre from December 20-30. Elton’s career includes groundbreaking television shows,

four hit West End plays, four hit West End musicals, 16 bestselling novels and three feature films. But it was his hugely influential work as a stand-up comic that made him into a national figure. He said: “London’s my home town and the West End is where my career as a stand-up began, so it’s a very big thrill to be bringing my show to the famous Harold Pinter Theatre. “It’s also quite ironic since (as every long-suffering theatregoer knows) Harold Pinter wouldn’t have recognised a joke if it awarded him the Nobel Prize for Literature. Of course, the theatre used to be called The Comedy and I can’t wait to bring the laughter back.” n Go to: benelton.live for more details.

Royal Air Force News Friday, November 19, 2021 R'n'R 6

R'n'R Your Announcements

You can email photos for announcements on this page to: tracey.allen@rafnews.co.uk

Deaths BURKE John FS (L4243839) passed away peacefully November 8 (Moenchengladbach) Supply&Movements, Aden/ F i n n i n g l e y / Pat r i n g t on / Singapore/Brize Norton/ UAA/RAF Germany. In rememberance of someone always proud of his service and the many friends and memories he never tired of. You will always be fondly remembered. Jim Micheal and Mark. CHICK Stephen (Steve) of Carterton, but originally from Burnham-on-Sea. Passed away on November 7, aged 75. Much loved husband of the late Dot. Devoted dad, grandad, great-grandad and uncle. A veteran ‘Rock Ape’ who will be greatly missed by his family and friends. Funeral service held at South Oxfordshire (Garford) Crematorium on November 19 at 4pm. All enquiries to E. Taylor & Son Funeral Directors, 21 Corbett Road, Carterton, Oxon, OX18 3LG, tel: 01993 842421.

Stephen Chick

LOVE Robbie, former Flight Sergeant chef (Ret’d). One of the founder members of the RAF Mobile Catering Support Unit (MCSU) at Watlington/RAF Benson in the early 1970s. Sad to report of his passing away on October 19, aged 83, after a short illness. He will be much missed by his RAF pals. Deepest sympathies to his wife, Anne, and his family in

Montrose, Scotland. Rest in peace Robbie.

Robbie Love

MARKER Terence John ‘Terry’. It is with love and heartbreak that we announce the death of Terence John Marker, AFC, BSc, MA, RAF (Ret’d). Surrounded by family, he died peacefully at home on October 28, aged 80. Beloved husband of Kathy, adored father of Claire, Astrid and Jane, best ever father-in-law to Iain, Andy and Callum, and very special Gramps to Errol, Ned and Baxter. He will be eternally loved and missed by us all. Terry was an RAF exchange pilot attached to RAAF 11 Sqn Edinburgh, and the crew captain of an RAAF surveillance mission off Western Australia when an incident took place which resulted in him being awarded the Air Force Cross. He also led his RAAF crew into winning the prestigious four nation Fincastle Anti-Submarine Warfare competition. The funeral service took place at Lea Fields Crematorium on November 17. Donations if desired to the RAF Benevolent Fund. All enquiries to Priestley and Cockett. Tel: 01522 520606.

MIDDLEWEEK Maureen. It is with great sadness that I wish to inform you of the passing of our mother Maureen Middleweek, wife of Sqn Ldr Colin Middleweek. Maureen and Colin were married for 67 years. They married in 1954 in Hornchurch and after 38 years of RAF service retired from RAF Coningsby, where Dad was SATCO. They lived in Tattershall where they enjoyed being retired members of the Officers’ Mess. They led a full retirement being avid members of the Swift Caravan Club, travelling all around the UK and Europe. Mum worked as secretary to several commanding officers and carried her RAFA membership with pride. She is survived by Colin and her two sons, Simon and Sean.

In Memoriam SGT Ronald Parkinson (Ret’d) March 2, 1929 November 6, 1991 Dad, So hard to believe you’ve been gone 30 years. I miss you terribly even now. Your loving daughter, Susan.

Ron Parkinson with his wife

Memorial service

Terry Marker

A thanksgiving service will be held for Sir Michael Oswald GCVO on Friday, March 25 at 11am at St Clement Danes, London WC2R 1DH. There will be an opportunity

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: tracey.allen@rafnews.co.uk. Please note that due to the coronavirus pandemic we are currently unable to accept notices submitted by post.

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

to meet up afterwards, for which an admission card will be required. Please email: michaeloswald1934@gmail. com or contact a member of the family for an admission card and further details.

Annual church concert THE FRIENDS of St Clement Danes Church Annual Concert, with the Central Band of the Royal Air Force and the Choir of St Clement Danes, takes place on November 25. Tickets are available at the church door on the night or from RAF Charitable Trust Enterprises, Douglas Bader House, Horcott Hill, Fairford, GL7 4RB, call: 01285 713456 or email: enquiries@rafcte. com.

Association (RAF CWO&SA): All serving or retired TG19 WO or FS and all former Catering Branch Officers are invited to join the RAF CWO&SA. We meet twice yearly with a vibrant gathering of retired and serving members. Why not join us? Email: davescott10@hotmail.co.uk for more information or a membership application form.

Scampton window THERE are now just 14 panes left on the RAF Scampton memorial window at Scampton church available for sponsorship To sponsor a pane and have your dedication entered into the book for remembrance 2021, please contact: rafwindow@ scamptonchurch.org.

Reservist Gary gets on his bike for veterans

Reunions RAF Admin Apprentice Association Annual General Meeting and Reunion June 17-19, 2022, Northampton Marriott Hotel. For full details and options please contact the association’s social secretary on: 01403 581324 or email: socialsecretary@ rafadappassn.org. This will be our first reunion since lockdown and will be a great chance to catch up with old friends and indeed make new ones. 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 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. Any queries please email: doreen.bawdseyreunion@ btinternet.com or call: 07513 301723.

Catering Association RAF Catering Officers’ and

Warrant Seniors’

WELSH WONDER: Fundraiser Gary Perriton celebrates finishing his charity cycle in front of Chester Cathedral

TWO RESIDENT veterans from Launchpad’s Speke House in Liverpool joined fundraiser Gary Perriton on the final few miles of his gruelling 650-mile solo bike ride of the entire Welsh coastline, which raised more than £2,500 for charity. Gary, from Llangollen in Wales, started his journey from Chepstow and completed his challenge outside Chester Cathedral last month. The aim of the challenge was to raise awareness of homeless veterans and funds for his two chosen charities, Launchpad and the Royal British Legion. Both vets who joined Gary were previously homeless until they found Launchpad, which provides accommodation and support to veterans to help them stabilise their lives and make a successful transition from military to civilian life. The charity has two houses – in Liverpool and Newcastle upon Tyne Royal Navy Reservist Gary, who served 34 years in the Royal Navy, battled winds of up to 50mph, horizontal rain and hailstones on his charity challenge, cycling up to 60 miles a day. He said: “No veteran should be homeless. For most veterans, leaving the Armed Forces is smooth but those few who can’t resettle easily face challenges such as homelessness, poverty, mental and physical health issues, addictions, broken families and unemployment.” David Shaw, Launchpad’s CEO and co-founder, said: “We really appreciate Gary’s endeavour.” ■ You can still make a donation via his Just Giving page at: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/garyperritoncycle.

Charity launches lottery VETERANS’ CHARITY Royal Star & Garter has launched its new lottery – with a £20,000 top prize. The Star Lottery will be held weekly, with the first draw taking place on Friday, December 3. As well as the chance of winning the top £20,000 prize every Friday, there is a second prize of £1,000 and guaranteed runners-up prizes of 10 John Lewis vouchers worth £10 each week. Each Star Lottery entry is £1. Go to: starandgarter. weeklylottery.org.uk for more details.

Royal Air Force News Friday, November 19, 2021 R'n'R 7

R'n'R Your Announcements

You can email photos for announcements on this page to: tracey.allen@rafnews.co.uk

Wartime pilot's treasure chest reunited with family THE ARCHIVE of a distinguished World War II pilot has been reunited with his family following a successful search for his relatives by probate geneaology firm Finders International. RAF News featured a plea to find the descendants of Flt Lt Rex Goring-Morris in the September 10 edition (below) and now the rusty, midcentury chest containing personal, social and historical records belonging to the British diplomat has been handed to his son David. Nicola Turner and her husband, from Hertfordshire, found the metal and wooden chest belonging to Ft Lt Goring-Morris when clearing

out an annex of her late mother-in-law’s house. Nicola said: “The moment I opened it I just knew this was something very special and would be immensely valued by his relatives. I felt an overwhelming responsibility to ensure t h a t somehow we got it back to his f a m i l y. Howe ver, our research, despite our best efforts, could not trace them.” Finders International, the firm that features in the TV series Heir Hunters, took on the hunt and tracked down the family. A week before what would have been Rex’s 95th birthday and 33 years after his death, the chest was handed to Rex’s son, David, by Nicola, and Danny Curran, Finders International’s MD. Nicola said: “I am thrilled to know the chest is now with Rex’s family and was

delighted to meet David.” Danny said: “These happy endings are one of the best parts of our work. Tracing families, reunited relatives, finding lost heirs to estates and lending our research skills to cases like this is hugely fulfilling.” David, from London, said: “I am so pleased to have the chest. I can’t get over how much of my father’s life is in it. He had an adventurous and interesting life as an RAF pilot and travelled the world when he worked for the diplomatic service in Sweden and Thailand. “It is wonderful to be reunited with this treasure trove of his personal and

BOX OF DELIGHTS: From left, Nicola Turner, Danny Curran, Finders International's founder and managing director and David Goring-Morris with his father Rex 's chest and its contents. Inset: some of the Pilot's Notes found in the chest and, below, a framed photograph of Rex in a Meteor III taken in September 1947 PHOTOS: ©Fiona Hanson

social history. “Many thanks to Nicola for her kindness and perseverance and we are immensely grateful to Danny and the Finders International team who took on the search and located us.” Rex Goring-Morris died in April 1988, aged 62. He

was in the RAF from 1945 to 1968 then transferred to the Foreign Office and in 1974 was part of the team that successfully negotiated the release of the passengers of a hijacked British Airways VC-10. He married Heather Bartram in 1950 in Oxford

and the couple had five children. Heather died in 1979. Rex went on to marry again and settled in Buckinghamshire where he died. His chest included sketches, flight log books, passports and diaries about his time in the RAF and the diplomatic service.

Royal Air Force News Friday, November 19, 2021 R'n'R 8


R'n'R Prize Crossword No. 304

Solve the crossword, then rearrange the seven letters in yellow squares to find an RAF word

Across 6. During period of time, maybe tire of this country (7) 7. And 21 Across. Bolt nightclub from RAF aircraft (5,5) 9. Bearing drink for pigs (5) 10. It aids flight before the girl’s achievement (7) 12. Stop Haslett producing trumpet call (3,4,4) 14. Flings Daley around RAF station (11) 18. Rubbing 100, half left out gin-befuddled (7) 19. Southern marina for sailing, for example (5) 21. See 7 Across 22. Mister German almost sick of Afghanistan operation (7)

Down 1. Sounds like Tom has RAF personnel (5) 2. Half the school has ten making stink (6) 3. Annoy European leader between five and ten (3) 4. Where trapeze artists hit the heights (3,3) 5. During warfare, Lea’s envoys set free (7) 8. Coarse fabric used by Rudolf Duncan Smith (7) 11. Containers in French bays lose nothing (7) 13. Hot pony spooked by RAF aircraft (7) 15. Child in outer Florida meets heartless nitwit (6) 16. Once insolent, now knowledgeable (6) 17. Initially Wellington realised every commander kept remains (5) 20. Hard, black plane (3)

Name ................................................................................................................... Address ............................................................................................................... .............................................................................................................................. .............................................................................................................................. RAF word ....................................................................... Crossword No. 304

Prize Su Doku

Send entries to the address printed in the adjacent Su Doku panel to arrive by December 3.

No. 314 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 December 3, 2021.

Name ...................................................................... ................................................................................. Address .................................................................. ................................................................................. ....................................................Su Doku No. 314

Solution to Su Doku No: 313

■ The winner of Crossword No. 303 is Miss A Gilliland of Cheltenham. Solution to Crossword No 303: Across – 7. Accept 8. Strike 10. Morocco 11. Black 12. Cats 13. Amber 17. Jeans 18. Hawk 22. Crisp 23. Ejected 24. August 25. Bistro Down – 1. Hammock 2. Accrete 3. Space 4. Stabbed 5. Milan 6. Gecko 9. Commander 14. Tempest 15. Cantata 16. Skid Row 19. Scrap 20. Wings 21. Denim RAF word – Operation

■ The winner of Su Doku No. 313 is Mr Alex Sampford of Basingstoke.

Film Review Spencer (12A)

DIANA: Kristen Stewart

In cinemas now

Royally absurd

C GLAMOROUS JUDGES: Craig Revel Horwood, Shirley Ballas and returning Bruno Tonioli

Strictly for fun, darling T

HERE’S FAB-U-LOUS news for Strictly Come Dancing fans – Strictly legend Bruno Tonioli will return to the judges’ desk for the 2022 Strictly Come Dancing UK Arena Tour. Bruno will be reunited with fellow TV Judges Shirley Ballas and Craig Revel Horwood for 33 shows around the country next January and February. They will waltz to some of the biggest venues in the UK. From the Utilita Arena Birmingham on January 20, the tour will visit Leeds’ First Direct Arena, Newcastle’s Utilita Arena, the AO Arena Manchester, Sheffield’s Utilita Arena, the M&S Bank Arena Liverpool, The OVO Hydro in Glasgow and Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena, before ending with five shows at London’s O2

Arena from February 11-13. The show will be directed by Revel Horwood and feature many of the celebrities and professional dancers from the current series of the multi-award-winning BBC One show. Bruno said: “I am absolutely delighted to be back on the judging panel for the Strictly Arena Tour for the first time in two years. I’ve missed my fellow judges, I’ve missed the glitz and glamour of the tour and I’ve missed the amazing audiences that come to see us all over the country.” Arena audiences have the power to decide who wins the coveted Live Tour Glitterball Trophy at the end of each show. ■Go to: strictlycomedancinglive. com for tour information.

HRISTMAS 1991, Sandringham is the setting for Spencer, a fabled telling of black sheep Princess Diana in a marriage beyond repair, struggling to find her place and pushed to breaking point. The festive period is inverted here to be cold and uninviting. Family traditions appear more detached and ritualistic for the ruling class – each guest is weighed upon arrival, and once again as they leave, to prove their enjoyment in pounds. This the first of many alienating trials for Diana, who feels as though her eating disorder is being put on display. Not simply taking liberties with the truth, but basking in the fantasy with joyous aplomb, Chilean director Pablo Larraín (Jackie) sidesteps reverence and comes at an angle, skewering the subject with humour. Collaborating with writer Steven Knight (Peaky Blinders creator) the film takes its ‘ghost story’ theme quite literally, committing so fully that it becomes enjoyably absurd. The royal residency turns into an opulent Overlook Hotel, with its roaming apparitions, long displacing halls and walk-in freezers. Food, as it turns out, will

become the biggest antagonist of all, with scenes beginning below deck in the kitchen, run like a military operation with scrupulous attention to detail, and ending with the princess on her knees beside the loo. Fighting her own demons, Diana (Kristen Stewart, Charlie’s Angels) also has to contend with the rules of the manor, enforced by all but personified by Major Gregory (Timothy Spall, Mr Turner) as The Queen’s menacingly watchful equerry. Treading a line between very serious and silly, it is grounded by Stewart’s phenomenal performance as Diana: endearing with her dry

sense of humour, and tenderness with her children, but also amped up in terms of her unravelling. The theme of duality is tackled head on, with Jack Farthing’s (Poldark) punishingly contemptuous Prince Charles explaining that, as a senior royal, there is the real person and the one for the cameras. The film then adds a third to the mix, the one behind closed doors but just as contrived. Spencer is a delight if you’re able to take it as seriously as it takes itself – with a pinch of salt, and shavings of white truffle. 4 out of 5 roundels Review by Sam Cooney