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Friday October 22 2021 No. 1522 70p

● See R'n'R p3

● See page 23



RAF News

Operation Herrick, 20th anniversary

5-page special report

Marking 20th anniversary of start of Afghanistan mission: pages 15-19


The crest of a wave

Matt's call of duty

● See p28 Rugby Union

Cokayne hat-trick

HONOURING THE FALLEN: Forces perso nnel lay wreaths at the National Arboretum Memorial

Simon Mander

● See p31

RAF MUSICIAN Sgt Matt Peck has finally been able to salute his fallen comrades as the UK marked the 20th anniversary of the conflict which claimed the lives of 457 British service men and women. Speaking after his emotional performance of The Last Post at a wreath-laying ceremony he said: “It is a call with a very haunting quality. Due to my time in Afghanistan it will always be the most important of trumpet calls.” ● See p3

Royal Air Force News Friday, October 22, 2021 P2

Ex-Nav Emma in charity solo Atlantic row bid See page 7

I suppose I’ve always been an adrenaline junkie”

It’s hugely important to see full-scale sporting events returning”

TV dramas really need to tackle sensitive subject matters” Joanne Froggatt plays a wife subjected to domestic abuse in ITV thriller Angela Black See R’n’R p4

RAF Sports chief Rich Fogden See p29

Gulf combat air training first for Typhoon force Simon Mander

RAF News Room 68 Lancaster Building HQ Air Command High Wycombe Buckinghamshire HP14 4UE Editor: Simon Williams Email: Features Editor: Tracey Allen Email: News Editor: Simon Mander

TYPHOONS HAVE conducted expeditionary combat air operations from a temporary base in the Middle East for the first time. Jets from 903 Expeditionary Air Wing based at Akrotiri in Cyprus deployed forward to an unnamed location in the Middle East to conduct an Operation Shader mission against Daesh Islamist terrorists. 903 EAW CO Wg Cdr Dutch Holland said: “Agile Combat Employment is about utilising our assets from Akrotiri to their maximum extent. “In this example we flew a Typhoon to a Forward Operating Base. Next time we will go for longer and perhaps further.” Being able to operate from austere air bases supported by a minimal presence on the ground

GOING THE DISTANCE: Typhoon prepares to launch a training sortie from the Middle East

This Week In History

Sports Editor: Daniel Abrahams Email: Tel: 07966 429755


Famine mission

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to provide aircraft fuelling, arming, and engineering, expands the number of bases from which the RAF can launch combat sorties. Air Officer Commanding 83 Expeditionary Air Group, Air Cdre Mark Farrell said: “Operation Blue Dragon successfully demonstrated the UK’s ability to respond dynamically, flexibly and rapidly under the Agile Combat Employment concept whilst maintaining our commitment to our coalition partners. “This is the first such deployment for 903 EAW and has enabled them to test how successful the aircraft and supporting personnel were able to operate in a new location and environment.” 83 EAG’s mission is to continue to secure Daesh’s lasting defeat and help legitimate local authorities build a stable, prosperous, and united future for communities in both Iraq and Syria.

HERCULES TRANSPORTERS begin Operation Bushell delivering supplies of food to the starving in Ethiopia. The RAF aircraft drop more than 30,000 tons of supplies during 2,152 sorties in two months. 1942

Africa campaign WELLINGTON BOMBERS launch air strikes and jam enemy radar nets as the British 8th Army begins the first phase of the offensive at El Alamein.


Pakistan earthquake 27 SQUADRON Chinooks airlift humanitarian aid to remote mountain villages in Northern Pakistan following a devastating earthquake.

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

Royal Air Force News Friday, October 22, 2021 P3


Musician’s pride at poignant farewell to fallen comrades Arboretum Bastion Memorial tribute for those who made the ultimate sacrifice RAF BUGLER Sgt Matt Peck has told of his pride at finally being able to play the Last Post in remembrance of fallen comrades at an Afghan memorial wreathlaying ceremony. The musician, who deployed to Lashkar Gah as the Provincial Reconstruction Team Flight Coordinator, never got to pay his own musical tribute in theatre, despite volunteering to the Padre, as the Army always sent their own musicians. “The National Arboretum Bastion Memorial is a lasting, fitting reminder and a focal point for all those family members who lost loved ones in the 20-year long Afghanistan conflict, it made me very proud to have played a small part in this anniversary year,” he said. Sgt Peck – whose duties included organising helicopter flights for Foreign Office staff to liaise with local Afghan leaders and booking fixed-wing flights home

for personnel on their R’n’R in the UK, which ensured his continuing popularity – kept playing, nonetheless. He said: “I benefitted greatly from access to the FCO Confidential Meeting ‘bubble’ which was a glass ‘room within a room,’ as it enabled me to continue practising the cornet fairly regularly without disturbing anyone on the phone lines. “My most memorable task was being woken in the middle of the night and being able to find an emergency seat on a flight out at very short SGT PECK: Afghan duties notice for a UK Police officer who had a close family member Cranwell’s Band terminally ill back in the UK. of the RAF Regiment, “I received a very nice before finally being handwritten letter later from their asked to perform at the CO thanking me for my prompt National Arboretum. action enabling a last reunion for a Sgt Peck (right) right) few brief hours before their family said: “I accepted with member’s regretful passing.” trepidation but After his tour ended in June no hesitation. 2011, he resumed duties with Having been

BASTION MEMORIAL: Military personnel laid wreaths for those who died

present ‘in theatre’ for a number of sadly too frequent memorial parades, it gave me time to reflect on doing the absolute best job I could to support those who were exposed on the frontline.

“The Last Post is a call with a very haunting quality which prepares everyone for the reflection of a minute’s silence and to pause during their duties to reflect on those who have passed. “For me it has taken on a greater meaning because of my time in Afghanistan and will always be the most important of trumpet calls.”

Wg Cdr’s charity walk after daughter tragedy

LOVING DAD: Tim is on charity walk. Inset above, with a young Emily

AN RAF OFFICER is on a heartbreaking charity walk with two other dads who have lost a daughter to suicide. Wing Commander Tim Owen set off on a 300mile trek after 19-yearold Emily (pictured below) took her own life in March 2020. “I strongly believe that in a moment of darkness my daughter made a wrong decision. Two minutes earlier or later it would have been different,” he said. “Had she just taken time to think or to speak to someone, her decision and my family’s lives would be on another path. Instead she decided she could no longer go on, leaving behind a devastating ripple effect on her family and friends. “She just had no idea how many lives she touched and continues to impact.” Wg Cdr Owen, who is the RAF’s Regional Liaison Officer for Eastern England, teamed up with Andy Airey from Cumbria and Mike Palmer from Greater Manchester, and they have already raised £315,000, which was

boosted by a £10,000 personal donation from 007 actor Daniel Craig. From Cumbria they headed south, walking through South Lakeland and Lancashire to Mike’s home in Greater Manchester. Here they met former Man United star Lou Macari, who lost his own son Jonathan to suicide in 1999. Macari donated £10,000 to the cause from his charitable foundation. Then the Dads trekked south east through Cheshire, Staffordshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire to arrive at Tim’s place in King’s Lynn. Averaging 20 miles a day, 3 Dads Walking aim to complete their challenge on October 23. They are supporting the charity Papyrus, which says suicide is the biggest killer of young people under 35 in the UK. Papyrus chief executive Ged Flynn, said: “Andy, Mike and Tim would probably never have met had they not been brought together by the tragedy

and trauma of suicide, which has shattered their lives and the lives of those around them. “As 3 Dads Walking, they will be able to channel their energy and focus on what they can do to help save young lives.” Go to to follow their progress. For practical, confidential suicide prevention help and advice contact Papyrus on 0800 068 4141, email or text 07860 039967.

Help for veterans in prison system MILITARY CHARITY Care After Combat is looking for Forces mentors to work with veterans in the Criminal Justice System. If you’d like to volunteer or support the group contact organiser Peter Norman at or call 01636 557543.



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Royal Air Force News Friday, October 22, 2021 P5



Flights Pride of pioneer Pickering

ABU DHABI’S skyscrapers and coastline provide the perfect backdrop as the Red Arrows fly in to mark the 50th anniversary of the UAE. The team also displayed at Expo 2020 in Dubai to promote the UK.

OFFICIAL IMAGES of the RAF’s first black woman Honorary Air Commodore have been released. The pictures of Veronica Pickering of 504 (County of Nottingham) Sqn have made her a celebrity in her African homeland. She said: “I was amazed by the reaction in Kenya. My cousins were calling and texting me, telling me I had featured on local radio. I had never done anything that people back home have tweeted about.” The former social worker, UN International Child Protection Consultant and now business coach was recruited by former Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford – who she

Netflix ’n’ drill Tracey Allen

APART FROM appearing in Hollywood films with Brad Pitt and Gail Gadot and Netflix hit Bridgerton, Kirk Bowett has another impressive claim to fame – he’s the first-ever limbless veteran military survival instructor. The former soldier is now with the Robson Academy of Resilience at the Aircrew SERE Training Centre at RAF Cranwell, where he teaches aircrew students survival skills and talks about his own experience of having survived a devastating attack and coping with the physical and psychological trauma that followed.

Iraq vet Kirk turned his IED injury into a career as a movie extra. Now he’s training RAF crew to survive in the wild

Having left the Mercian Regiment as a Sergeant after a 17year career, he worked in close

Rank and Fyl WO KEV HANNAFORD bowed out of the RAF this month at Fylingdales after clocking up 40 years’ service. He joined up in 1981 as a communications engineer and arrived at the North Yorkshire radar base two years ago after a career that has enabled him to travel the world. Kev donned the traditional bowler hat as he prepared for life on Civvy Street, as he was seen off the station with a waterhose guard of honour. WO Hannaford is set to take up a job as an engineering lecturer at Teeside University. He said: “I’m really looking forward to passing on my experience to young people starting out in the engineering world.”

protection for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. In July 2013 he suffered lifechanging injuries following an IED attack in Iraq leading an armoured convoy. He broke his neck, lost his left arm below the elbow and had multiple rib injuries. His driver was killed instantly. Kirk said: “I wear a prosthetic arm but don’t tell the students, they find out as the course goes on and I tell them how I lost my hand. Every now and then I might accidentally burn it in the fire or chop a finger off.” He added: “One of the great things about my job is you are out in the field a lot and you have to be physically robust. I teach a lot of the lessons with one arm – gutting rabbits, building a shelter, tying knots. A lot of the students struggle with two hands and I figure out a way to do things,

met when she was Deputy Lord Lieutenant for Nottinghamshire. 504 Sqn, a former Battle of Britain unit, now recruits, trains and employs chefs, drivers, suppliers, and technicians deployed across the UK and world. Honorary Air Cdre Pickering said: LOCAL HERO: “I am super proud to be the first black woman to be appointed to this position, to represent the RAF and be part of the 504 team. I am constantly fascinated and surprised by the RAF and its amazing people.”

In Kenya

SURVIVOR: Kirk tucks into a foraged meal in the forest during survival training course. Inset, taking a break on set of WWI blockbuster 1917, where he plays an injured infantry man

usually involving my teeth.” He joined the Robson Academy last summer, after working as a location manager for Netflix. As an actor, he’s appeared in the films 1917, War Machine (with Pitt) and Wonder Woman (with Gadot). In 2018 he studied creative media at the BFBS Forces Academy. He said: “I brought some of my media skills to this job – when we’re doing some training in the field I’ll do some videos. I also video wounded veterans who come in to give the students resilience talks. “With survival everyone thinks ‘bushcraft’ but it starts out with an incident where you or your colleagues are severely injured or a potential first aid situation. “In the psychology survival section of the course I talk about my experiences bouncing back

from severe injury, the physical and mental health issues that come with it, including if you’ve lost a colleague, and going back to work but not being able to do the job you did previously, which can be devastating, especially for aviators. If they get physically injured they might not fly again.” Not surprisingly, on his road to recovery Kirk suffered from depression and PTSD. He said: “I went from a very challenging military career to an even more challenging civilian one to then being on the scrapheap potentially. “When I was a fully abledbodied infantry soldier I’d be quite bigoted and think having a disability would prevent someone from doing something. Now I say treat me like I’ve got two arms, give me the challenges.”


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Royal Air Force News Friday, October 22, 2021 P7


Ice queen Emma warms up for solo Atlantic bid ● Ex-nav has sights set on world record OAR-SOME: Emma

hits the water

FORMER AIR Force winter sports ace Sqn Ldr Emma Wolstenholme is launching a daring solo world record bid to row across the Atlantic and raise funds for RAF Cadets who helped kick start her high-flying career in the military. The 39-year-old ex-navigator and training officer will brave the elements in her 20ft boat during the epic voyage from Tenerife in the Canary Islands to Barbados in the Caribbean. Self-confessed ‘adrenaline junkie’ Emma hopes to launch her Atlantic bid in January 2022, to reduce the threat of hurricanes which smash into the Caribbean islands every year, and take advantage of milder trade winds, rowing up to 18 hours a day. The superfit retired officer got a taste for high-octane sports and adventure in the RAF, taking up the skeleton bobsleigh, competing for the Service and Team GB, hitting speeds of 70mph on the ice, and learning kite surfing. Her pace on the high seas will be slower but she admits it is still a daunting challenge to beat the existing world record time of 56 days and 13 hours. “When I heard that people actually row across oceans, I knew immediately that I had to do it and bought an ocean rowing boat three days later,” she said. “I suppose I am a bit of an adrenaline junkie but if it’s not

hits the ice DAREDEVIL: Emma

slightly scary doing something then what’s the point in doing it?” She is following a gruelling training regime on the water near her home in Chichester and putting in the hours on her road bike. During the voyage she will burn up more than 5,000 calories a day – but coping with the isolation during her eight weeks at sea is one of the biggest challenges. She added: “The mental preparation is something I think I have been doing my whole life without realising it. “Dealing with a skeleton bobsleigh track at 70mph, repetition of visualisation has helped me normalise thoughts of capsizing, being alone at sea, the depth of the ocean, rowing in darkness and 40ft waves. “I joined the RAF as a navigator initially and it’s very similar navigating a small boat across an ocean, just a lot slower. “Being Officer Commanding of the Survival School also helps. I completed the drills, using the singleperson life raft, and did the marine survival course. That role in the RAF has given me an awareness of the psychology of survival and how to cope with solitary confinement.” Along with the elements, Emma will be sharing the water with marine life that could also pose a threat to small craft like hers. The biggest risk doesn’t come from sharks

with RAF

Emma’s Atlantic Challenge




Barbados FUNDRAISER: Emma hopes to net £80,000 to support RAF Cadets

or whales, but marlin, equipped with a deadly spike which can smash through the boat’s fibreglass hull. Emma said: “Marlin prey on smaller fish that like to swim in the shade beneath a boat and armed with a spike they can do a lot of damage. I’m prepared for that with plenty of epoxy to carry out emergency repairs.” Despite financing her Atlantic adventure herself, the daring vet is packing high-tech navigation kit, including two satellite phones, locator beacons and weather forecasting rig. She added: “Along with the usual VHF radio for line of sight comms, I have an automatic identification system to alert other boats to my position and the Iridium-Go! weather system. “I also have an Inmarsat Explorer 710 BGAN so I can send photos and short video to social media and even do a live video call from the middle of the Atlantic. My parents will also get

The target:

3,000 nautical miles Under 56 days worried if I don’t at least send them a text every day.” Driving her solo mission is a fundraising campaign she hopes will net at least £80,000 for the cadets, as the youth group celebrates its 80th anniversary. She added: “I went from being a quiet, shy little girl to a confident, capable Squadron Leader in the RAF and it was all down to the Air Cadets and my parents taking me there twice a week. “I want to inspire others and offer financial support to help other

youngsters with stuff like laptops, course fees and training costs. Coming from Burnley, I know that there are so many cadets with huge potential who just need a helping hand. “The boat is called Happy Socks but I don’t like that name, so if there are any companies or organisations that would like to have their name on the side and make a donation, I’d love them to get in touch.” ● To support Emma go to: soloatlanticrow and soloatlanticrow


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Royal Air Force News Friday, October 22, 2021 P9


Photo of the week

TYPHOONS SOARED over the Pyramids in the RAF’s first exercise with the Egyptian Air Force for 20 years. The training was first held in 1980 to broker peace between Egypt and Israel and was last scheduled to take place in 2020 but was cancelled by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The British jets teamed up with Egyptian and Greek F-16s and American F-15s, F-16s, C-130 Hercules and B-52s on Exercise Bright Star for the first time since 2001. Run from the Mohamed Naguib base in the northern Matrouh governorate, the manoeuvres included Army units from

European, Arab and African countries. 903 EAW CO Wing Commander ‘Dutch’ Holland said: “Exercises such as Ex Bright Star 21 are vital if the RAF is to be truly effective on operations throughout the Middle East.” The Typhoons flew from Akrotiri where

they carry out Op Shader missions against Daesh, backed by a Voyager tanker. 83 EAG OC Air Commodore Simon Strasdin said: “It is essential that we continue to play an active role in the stability of the region and demonstrate our commitment to the Middle East.”

Herculean ask VETERAN HERCULES crews passed on their extensive battlefield expertise to the newest addition to the RAF’s Air Mobility Force during training in remote parts of Scotland. The Brize Norton-based XXIV Squadron C-130 workhorses which have served worldwide, including in both Iraq and Afghanistan practised mountain flying in Dumfries and Galloway on Exercise Tartan Spirit, and teamed up with the A400M. For added realism, II Squadron RAF Regiment gunners got on board to take advantage of the opportunity to test their readiness for operational missions. The aircraft practised using tactical landing zones; flying from Prestwick Airport playing

the part of a deployed airhead, to the former West Freugh airbase in Wigtownshire, that served as a forward operating base. While the gunners honed their combat skills alongside various aircraft, A400M crews talked tactics with the Hercules fleet. An RAF spokesman said: “XXIV Sqn thrives on preparing crews for operational challenges. “Exercise Tartan Spirit is traditionally a C-130 operational conversion course week and has been massively upscaled to involve far wider participation. “We aim to give another boost to A400M tactical development and work with our 2 Group partners to practise our agility in establishing and operating from a temporary, functional airfield in an austere location.”

Radakin in as new CDS Staff Reporter


Simon Mander

TOP JOB: Admiral Sir Tony Radakin has been appointed Chief of the Defence Staff

TARTAN TASK: C130 J joins Atlas A400M over the North Sea during training exercise

FIRST SEA Lord, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, has been appointed Chief of the Defence Staff. He will become Britain’s most senior military official and the first naval officer to hold the position for 20 years. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “He has proven himself an outstanding military leader. “Under his command we have more Royal Navy sailors on the frontline, more warships at sea – including our two world-class aircraft carriers – and we are leading a shipbuilding renaissance which is creating jobs and protecting lives around the UK.” Sir Tony, who takes over from outgoing chief Gen Sir Nick Carter, said: “I am honoured to be chosen to lead the Armed Forces in this exciting time and in a period of enormous change. “The Prime Minister and Secretary of State have demanded reform and we must seize the opportunity the Government has given us and ensure we are a global force delivering for Global Britain.”

Royal Air Force News Friday, October 22, 2021 P10


Bombs away Staff Reporter Wittering

d e d n a b s i d n q S 1 3 51

THE ROYAL Air Force bomb disposal squadron has been formally disbanded after 77 years’ service as the role is transferred to the Army Current personnel and veterans from 5131 Sqn took a bow as a new memorial to those who lost their lives in the line of duty was unveiled at Wittering, Cambridgeshire. Formed in 1943 to diffuse unexploded bombs dropped on cities across the UK by the Luftwaffe during WWII, the unit has seen service in every conflict since then. Along with dealing with deadly weapons and IEDs, bomb disposal experts are also trained to eliminate the threat at aircraft crash sites by making ejector seats and ordnance safe. The squadron was deployed in the Suez conflict, the Indonesian conflict, the Cyprus invasion, the Falklands, Kosovo, Bosnia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland as well as supporting police operations in the UK. Former squadron commanding officer Sqn Ldr Mike Stocks led the parade, which featured a performance by the RAF UNVEILED: Squadron memorial alongside them.” Central Band. The ceremony He said: “For more than 75 also included the formal years the men and women of the dedication of a new squadron squadron gave their best in the memorial, featuring an armoured service of this country. personnel carrier used by the “I am humbled to have been given squadron during overseas operations. the privilege of commanding this 5131 Sqn veteran WO Dave parade. It is an honour to be counted Lowe said: “To have served on RAF among them and to have served Bomb Disposal is a huge privilege,

In Brief

TANKS A LOT: RAF drivers get a briefing ahead of hitting the roads to ease fuel crisis

Pump action RAF AND British Army MT drivers have been called in to ease the UK’s fuel delivery crisis. Forces teams took part in training before hitting the roads and the nation’s forecourts as the HGV drivers shortage saw stations run dry. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “While the situation is stabilising, our Armed Forces are there to fill in any critical vacancies and help keep the country on the move by supporting the industry to deliver fuel to forecourts.”

REFORM CALL: Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston

War on words

and there is a comradeship that only exists in the EOD [Explosive Ordnance Disposal] world because you have faced the same challenges, rewards and specialist training along the way.” A4 Force Elements Commander Gp Capt Nick Huntley said: “Thank you to everyone who has served on 5131 Bomb Disposal Squadron, for

all that they have given in the service of their country and for keeping the public safe for so many years. “The job came with great personal risk and required extraordinary levels of composure, courage, focus and technical skill. 5131 Sqn took those qualities, embodied them and became a positive example for generations of RAF personnel.”

DEFENCE CHIEFS have issued a Forces language guide in a bid to stamp out words and phrases that could cause offence. The publication follows a report by Chief of the Air Staff, ACM Sir Mike Wigston highlighting the need to stamp out offensive behaviour and promote diversity. The guide, produced by the MOD’s Diversity and Inclusion Directorate, suggests using words such as ‘colleague’ as alternatives to ‘girl’ or ‘boy’ and urges personnel to avoid terms such as ‘chav’ or ‘common’. The document also encourages non-binary or transgender personnel to include their preferred pronouns in email signatures and online profiles. The Chair of the Civilian LGBT+ Network shOUT said: “Those within the LGBT+ community are really not offended if you genuinely stumble, we all do from time to time, so it’s okay to correct yourself and not be embarrassed by it.”

Novichok Gunners bow out at Honington A GUNNERS unit that helped decontaminate a UK town after the Novichok nerve agent attack in 2018 has been disbanded at Honington. Counter-Chemical, Biological, Radioactive and Nuclear (C-CBRN) experts from 27 Squadron RAF Regiment were part of the joint task force sent into contaminated sites in Salisbury and Amesbury following the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal. Mum Dawn Sturgess, 44, died after inadvertently spraying herself with Novichok contained in a perfume bottle. The unit hands over its specialist role to the Army’s 28 Engineering Regiment, which moved into the Suffolk base in 2019 in preparation for the take-over. Honington Station Commander Gp Capt Dutch Holland said: “Today another chapter of our Regimental history ends – that of Defence C-CBRN – with the handover of this specialist capability to our Army colleagues. “Let us never forget the

PARADE: Personnel say farewell to squadron at disbandment ceremony. Left, 27 Sqn team tackle nerve agent threat in Salisbury

performance of this elite squadron in responding to the Salisbury Novichok poisonings and the strategic importance and public safety role that they successfully delivered.” Personnel will continue their career within RAF Force Protection as members of other units across the UK. 27 Sqn’s 70 years of RAF service began at Yatesbury in 1951 as a Light Anti-Aircraft unit equipped with the L40/60 Bofors gun – one

of 28 formed in response to the outbreak of the Cold War and the Korean War. In 2011 the RAF officially

became the sole provider of specialist C-CBRN capability with 27 Sqn taking up the task with its sister unit 26 Sqn.

Royal Air Force News Friday, October 22, 2021 P13

Lightning leads carrier salute

News FLYPAST: UK F-35 and US F-18s soar above Queen Elizabeth Carrier currently on exercises with Carrier Strike Group in the Pacific

LOCAL HERO: Wg Cdr Andrew Tidmarsh takes over at Spadeadam in Cumbria

Andy hits home run

Staff Reporter

WG CDR Andrew Tidmarsh is going back to his roots as he takes command of the UK’s electronic warfare training unit at Spadeadam. The Cumbrian-born airman grew up in nearby Kendal and takes up the post after a tour with the MoD’s counter terrorism team. He said: “I am deeply honoured to take command of RAF Spadeadam, which fulfils a unique and vital role for Defence. “This is a crucial time in the station’s history, as we all face the challenge of an increasingly uncertain world in an era of constant global competition. “Electronic warfare plays an ever more important part in warfighting across all the domains and I look forward to leading the delivery of our capability in the present, whilst developing for the future.”

Simon Mander BRITISH AND American fast jets flew in formation over a massive four aircraft carrier formation in the Pacific led by the UK Carrier Strike Group. Sailors on board Royal Navy flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth watched as RAF and Fleet Air Arm F35Bs and US F-18 fighters roared overhead. And during the exercise the Marham-based 617 Sqn Lightnings topped up their tanks from a US Navy jet for the first time. The manoeuvre, known as buddybuddy refuelling, involved an F/A-18 Super Hornet configured with external fuel tanks,

performing the role normally undertaken by Royal Air Force Voyagers During the exercise, 617 Sqn joined the flypast with US Navy and US Marine Corps jets over the combined fleet of carriers and their escorts. The multinational formation included the USS Carl Vinson and USS Ronald Reagan Strike groups and the Japanese JS Ise Hyugaclass helicopter destroyer, in a massive display of sea and airpower. A total of 17 ships were involved including vessels from the Netherlands, New Zealand and Canada. HMS Queen Elizabeth was also visited by

two Ospreys from US Navy Strike Fighter Squadron 147, nicknamed the ‘Argonauts,’ who arrived to see operations, mission planning, maintenance spaces, interact with their British counterparts and exchange ideas of carrier aviation warfighting. HMS Queen Elizabeth is the deployed flag ship for Carrier Strike Group 21 which will work with more than 40 countries from around the world during the seven-month deployment. The UK F35 Force is from the RAF’s 617 Sqn, 820 NAS, 815 NAS and 845 NAS and is part of the largest deployment of fifth generation fighter jets in history.

Band Aid MUSICIANS FROM the Band of the RAF Regiment paraded down the Mall to mark the start of The Queen’s Baton Relay for the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games. The event, similar to the Olympic Torch Relay, involves the first runner arriving at Buckingham Palace to be entrusted with a message officially opening the games which is then passed along before a final runner hands it back to a VIP who reads it aloud at the ceremony itself. The Gunner contingent joined the Band of HM Royal Marines Collingwood and the British Army Band Sandhurst to make up the UK Armed Forces Tri-Service Marching Band.

ROYAL APPOINTMENT: RAF Regt musicians join UK Armed Forces Marching Band for Games baton launch.

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Operation th Herrick, 20 anniversary 5-page special report

Royal Air Force News Friday, October 22, 2021 P16

Op Herrick: 20th anniversary


TARGET: New York’s Twin Towers


HE ATTACK on New York’s Twin Towers on September 11, 2001 not only slaughtered 2,996 people – 67 of them British – but led to a 20-year campaign that transformed the RAF. And with 150,000 British military personnel serving in the subsequent invasion of Afghanistan since 2001, the war touched countless families across the UK – most of all the relatives of the 457 servicemen and women killed there. While the abiding TV image of the conflict for the public was probably the repatriation processions from Brize Norton through Wootton Bassett – a town later dubbed ‘Royal’ for honouring the fallen – over the battlefield itself the Air Force gathered a very different but vitally important picture. When allied air strikes on Taliban and Al-Qaeda targets began on October 7, 2001, first in action were the Cold War era Nimrod MR2, hunting Al Qaeda terrorists trying to flee across the Arabian Sea in small boats, and the AWACS E-3D. Operating from Oman, the Sentrys monitored patrol communications calling in US Navy fast jets to protect invading Coalition troops facing a fanatical well dug-in enemy. Officer Commanding 8 Sqn Wg Cdr Victoria Williams said: “Only the rapid coordination of US close air support jets by the mission crew saved individuals who would sometimes be calling as they literally fought for their lives.” Eventually, they would be joined by almost every aircraft type at the RAF’s disposal; from the Tri-Stars, C-17s and Voyagers that transported troops to theatre, to the Hercules transports and Chinook and Puma helicopters that ferried them to and from the frontline. Old technology was updated to cope with the unique challenges of the campaign and new capabilities were introduced, notably the Reaper Force. ISTAR Force Commander Air Cdre Nick Hay said: “Reaper was the major technological development that changed the way we were able to operate and

THE SHADOW R1 intelligence gathering modified Beechcraft King Air 350 spent more than 1,900 days continuously supporting UK and Coalition forces and delivered the last RAF ISTAR sortie in Afghanistan at the close of Operation Toral on April 27, 2020. Wg Cdr Adele Stratton said: “Over the past 11 years, 14 Sqn and the Shadow R1 have been deployed overseas in support of land forces for all but six months; the majority of that time away has been based in and operating over Afghanistan, providing a vital ISTAR contribution to UK and Coalition Land forces.” SIGNALS INTELLIGENCE specialists of Number 51 Sqn served 20 years of continuous operations in Afghanistan on the Nimrod R1 and Rivet Joint aircraft. As the situation deteriorated, its linguists realised that an understanding of Pashto was essential and negotiated a deal with a civilian company for language training in Birmingham. The final Nimrod R1 Herrick mission was flown on 21 Nov 2010 and lasted for seven-and-a-half hours, then for four years personnel continued flying under a co-manning agreement with the USAF 763rd Expeditionary Reconnaissance Sqn before 51 Sqn took delivery of its first Rivet Joint aircraft in the summer of 2014. THE TORNADO GR4’s RAPTOR pod quickly established itself as a critical capability producing the best electro-optical and infra-red imagery, capable of capturing an area the size of Wales in a single sortie. It could zoom in close enough to identify a single insurgent with an RPG launcher from 10 miles away and its product was described as ‘outstanding’ by one Task Force Helmand commander. During one single RAPTOR mission it supported for four separate operations: a convoy logistics patrol, an offensive counter-IED mission, an extended our persistence over tens of hours.” Its endurance vastly reduced the number of boots needed on the ground to understand the battlespace and its data links replaced outdated and insecure telephones and radios used to inform commanders on the ground. And it fired more weapons than both the Harrier and Tornado combined. Over two decades the RAF flew a total of 14,467 missions in Afghanistan, initially mostly by Harrier and, from 2010, equally split

OPERATION EAGLE’S SUMMIT in late August 2008 was one of the largest operations by British and Nato forces in Helmand province. A convoy of 100 vehicles took five days and covered 180km to move massive sections of an electric turbine for the Kajaki Dam. It involved 2,000 British soldiers, 1,000 Nato troops and 1,000 Afghans travelling through Taliban-infested Badlands. Hundreds of special forces troops went in first, sweeping the area killing an estimated 200 insurgents without any Nato casualties. Nimrod MR2, Harrier GR9 and UK Apaches along with Dutch, French and US aircraft, helicopters and UAVs provided aerial reconnaissance


OC 51 Sqn, Wg Cdr Simon Nevin said: “Afghanistan was a particularly difficult theatre for airborne SIGINT, given its mountainous terrain with tight valleys which made locating the enemy a particularly significant challenge. “This topographical challenge,


operation to construct new patrol bases and reconnaissance for the Light Dragoons Brigade Group. Its IED-clearance mission in Helmand led to a spectacular increase in the number of points of interest photographed from 5,369 in 2010 to 25,909 in 2011, which were passed on to Tactical Imagery Wing for analysis. between Tornado and Reaper, and 7,477 medical air evacuations over 12 years – the most serious cases on C-CAST C-17 ‘Flying Hospitals’. There were triumphs made possible by air power such as: l Op Glacier on January 15, 2007 when L/Cpl Mathew Ford was spotted by a Nimrod Wescam wounded beside a Taliban stronghold sparking a daring rescue bid by two Apache helicopters, each with Marines riding shotgun outside the aircraft, to save him. l Op Eagle’s Summit in late


and fire support. The Nimrod MR2 flew 10 consecutive days ‘eyes on’ in conjunction with UK Reaper. “It’s a good example of where it all came together to enable us to understand the potential battlespace.

It involved p ISR and com time,” said I Air Commod “The da potential lin roads and tra used, would recce pods, a understandin routes would to build a pi dangerous ro our objective “That’s th then have th from Reaper they can see the ground.”

coupled with the large amount of Force Protection jammers, made the Sqn’s conventional techniques virtually redundant. “A new approach was needed. Thanks to the ingenuity and perseverance of the industry partners and the Service personnel, a new system was developed which could provide high quality enemy force locations. This technology kept the Nimrod R1 in the fight.” Three Nimrod R1 aircraft flew 1,200 hours on Afghanistan facing missions. Averaging out at 20-person crews, that equates to more than 24,000 manhours purely on R1. Perhaps the Sqn’s most memorable mission was Operation Eagle’s Summit (see above).

INTELLIGENCE ANALYSTS from 1 ISTAR Wing, formerly the Tactical Imagery Wing, spent 20 years interpreting product from a broad range of platforms, sensors and capabilities for UK and Coalition forces. Crossbow Flt personnel helped them hit back at the enemy by studying real time footage from Reaper, Predator and US MC-12 to establish a pattern-of-life for both fixed and mobile targets. But their most vital work was the counter-IED effort, utilising data from British and American UAVs,

ANALYSTS RAPTOR pods, Harrier and Tornado Weapon Systems and Sentinel’s ASTOR equipment to produce threat warnings and vulnerable point studies. “This output enabled effective force protection including route planning and threat mitigation for combat operations, and routine ground patrols,” said FS Thomas Evans. “In this way 1 ISR Wg had a sustained and profound effect on mitigating one of the enemy’s most potent lethal effects using a broad range of platforms and capabilities.”

August 2008 – one of the largest operations by British and Nato forces in Helmand province to transport an electric turbine for the Kajaki Dam through Taliban-infested badlands with Nimrod MR2, Harrier GR9, and Reaper providing aerial reconnaissance and fire support. l Op Moshtarak in February 2010 which saw more than 15,000 Nato and Afghan troops in a joint offensive in Helmand, with US Marines focusing on the insurgent and drug smuggling stronghold of Marjah, while British soldiers

secured Nad Ali. Former Tornado weapons systems operator and IX (Bomber) Sqn chief Air Cdre Hay said: “When we went into Nad Ali region, one Lt Col described it as ‘going into the heart of darkness.’ “Tornados with RAPTOR pods were sent out to see if the helicopter landing zones were fit for purpose to go in at the time planned. If we’d delayed there was the risk of a leak. “We were looking at where the fortified positions were, and by cross-matching our data with other

Royal Air Force News Friday, October 22, 2021 P17

By Simon Mander


pretty much all the RAF mbat air assets there at the ISTAR Force Commander dore Nick Hay. ata we needed about nes of communication, the acks that would have to be d have come from fast jet at that stage Harrier, and ng the traffic using those d’ve come from Sentinel, icture of what is the least oute to enable us to achieve e. he preparation, and you he overwatch in real-time r and fast jets sending what to Army commanders on

THE NIMROD MR2, like the Sentry, was one of the first RAF aircraft on the front line in the immediate aftermath of 9/11. On October 4, 2001 it deployed on OP ORACLE supporting the US Navy Carrier Strike Group off the coast of Pakistan hunting small vessels carrying Al Qaeda terrorists attempting to flee Afghanistan by sea. Overland improved communications saw it tasked on overwatch or ‘pattern of life’ and strike or ‘take-down’ sorties.


Its ability to loiter overhead unseen for many hours, take and analyse imagery, and communicate its findings made it a mission-essential part of ground force operations. Its reach, speed and


REAPER WAS the weapon of choice in Afghanistan, firing more strikes than the Harrier and Tornado combined. Operations continued throughout the war with RAF personnel operating a ‘taxi-rank’ system with their USAF colleagues from Kandahar. Its synthetic aperture radar meant Reapers could scan ahead of routes and identify potential roadside bomb placements. After three years in action without a

intelligence, where the possible IED emplacement and ambush areas were, so we could launch an operation at a time of our choosing.” There was disaster too. On 2 September 2006, Nimrod XV230 exploded over Afghanistan during air-to-air refuelling (AAR) killing all 14 onboard. It was the biggest single loss of life suffered by the British military since the Falklands War. “The loss of XV230 hit everyone in the Nimrod community hard. Crews had to continue to fly

REAPER break XIII Sqn handed over to its US-based sister unit 39 Sqn to allow its crews some badly needed R&R. 39 Sqn initially saw action over Afghanistan flying the Canberra PR9 before being re-equipped with the MQ-9A. Reformed at Creech Air Force Base, it operated an initial six aircraft from Kandahar with five more procured in 2012 as XIII Sqn reformed for operations from Waddington.

and rotate through And there were detachments while the triumphs that came out cause was established,” of disaster. said Flt Lt Anthony On September Leese. 14, 2012, 15 Taliban “Support was given fighters wearing to the families and American uniforms friends involved while still killed two US Marines F C-17 maintaining Op Herrick and RA and used RPGs to destroy six Telic output. Harriers and damage two more “The decision in November 2007 after breaching the perimeter of to first suspend and then cease Camp Bastion. AAR meant overland sorties had In the four-and-a-half hour fire a greatly reduced time on task but fight that followed involving the remained vital to the ground effort.” RAF Regiment’s 51 Squadron quick

THE SENTINEL R1 of V (Army Co-operation) Sqn spent six years on battlefield surveillance and reconnaissance between 2008 and 2014 in Afghanistan, flying 1,454 missions over 819 hours. Its unique wide area, all-weather, day and night capability frequently saw it as the only ISTAR aircraft collecting crucial pattern-of-life data to detect IEDs planted to kill and maim ground troops. Sqn Ldr Graeme Orme said: “ISTAR capabilities were highly prized during Op Herrick in order to most effectively counter the insurgent threat. Sentinel’s contribution of radar-derived intelligence in near real-time was almost unparalleled across the Coalition.”

THE COLD WAR-ERA E-3D Sentry AWACs was among the first RAF aircraft in the frontline operating from Oman within a month of the 9/11 attacks, directing American jets against Taliban and Al Qaeda targets. Its ability to pick up, process and pass on classified information from patrols often fighting for their lives and use it to summon help from other aircraft gave it a central role in the initial US military response on Op Enduring Freedom. OC 8 Sqn Wg Cdr Victoria Williams said: “Sorties averaged more than 14 hrs in duration with crew duty days exceeding response force 14 insurgents were killed and one captured. Sergeant Roy Geddes was later awarded the MC for leading the fightback despite being wounded in the knee. According to MoD figures the financial cost of all British military operations in Afghanistan since 2001 is £22.7 billion. And the final chapter came on August 28 when the last RAF Op Pitting flight left Kabul airport completing the evacuation of nearly 15,000 people as the Taliban again

endurance meant it was often retasked airborne to support troops in contact and CASEVAC missions. Despite the loss of Nimrod XV230 over Kandahar on September 2, 2006 MR2 flights were deemed vital and continued until March 2009. The MR2’s Wescam camera and sensor became mission essential and a livestream downlink enhancement meant ground forces with ROVER terminals could see realtime target images.


20 hours; the longest was an epic of 17 hours and 50 minutes duration on October 19, 2001 which remains the longest sortie ever flown by a UK AWACS.”

seized control of the country. But the last RAF aircraft out of Afghan airspace was a 101 Squadron Voyager flown by Flt Lt Chris Cookson, who stayed on to support the American operation that continued for two more days. And for the former 47 Sqn Hercules pilot who deployed to Afghanistan 10 times over his career it was a bittersweet experience. “It was quite emotional; when you’ve spent so much of your life there it was poignant to realise that now you were leaving for good,” he said.

Royal Air Force News Friday, October 22, 2021 P18

Op Herrick: 20th anniversary

The heat, dust and THE ICONIC RAF Chinook returning to rescue them. was the workhorse of Operation The fire was so heavy he aborted Herrick, saving countless lives and the drop-off but because the radio delivering vital kit and personnel and intercom had been shot up, in one of the world’s most extreme he was unaware some troops had theatres of conflict. already got off. The RAF’s veteran twin-rotor During one approach shrapnel heavy lift helicopter flew more than left Master Aircrew Bob Sunderland 41,000 hours, extracted 13,000 wounded in the groin, but as casualties and its crews won 23 they returned to the landing DFCs for bravery in the air. site, he was able to lay Among those to down suppressing fire. earn one of the British He said: “It was military’s highest awards a remarkably easy was Flt Lt Alex ‘Frenchie’ decision to make Duncan,, awarded the because you know DFC for flying two daring you’ve got guys stuck in a DFC: Flt Lt Duncan field under fire. high stakes missions. Flying a group of high“The GPS, engine ranking Afghan VIPs to Musa Qala, instruments, flight instruments, his Chinook was blasted by a rocket- radios, the autopilot had all gone propelled grenade which damaged down. the hydraulics and smashed a large “Our troops were camouflaged hole in one rotor blade. Despite and they weren’t waving because the damage he was able to fly his they were still in a firefight but we passengers and crew to safety. found them.” Days later he led a twoFlt Lt Laura Nicholson ship air assault through became the second intense enemy fire to woman in history to insert reinforcements be awarded the DFC who took a vital Taliban for launching a double position. rescue mission to save a Flt Lt Chris Gordon US Marine and an Afghan received the award for DFC: Flt Lt Gordon mother gunned down in a landing his Chinook Taliban ambush. in the middle of an ambush in a She flew into a fierce firefight Taliban stronghold to rescue ISAF twice to evacuate the critically Forces pinned down by heavily injured American Serviceman and a armed fighters. civilian mum of four, facing down a With his aircraft under heavy fire hail of bullets and a rocket attack. the airman held his ground to Nicholson held her ground allow troops to get onboard as the aircraft came under before lifting off. fire from insurgents The 27 Sqn Chinook armed with machine was badly damaged guns and rocket during the rescue mission propelled grenades. but the crew managed She flew the injured to fly to safety with just man back to Bastion one engine. Flt Lt Gordon hospital for life-saving recalculated his aircraft’s DFC: Flt Lt Nicholson treatment and returned to performance and executed rescue an Afghan mother a highly advanced low-level escape. who was shot in the head in the RAF pilot Flt Lt Charlie crossfire. Lockyear, whose helicopter was As she lifted off for the second riddled with bullets as he inserted time bullets smashed through the troops, received the honour for side, hitting a crewman in the back.

REWARDING: Flt Lt Matthew Smith served four tours on Herrick and Toral

CHINOOK PILOT Flt Lt Matthew ‘Schmitty’ Smith served four tours of Afghanistan with 27 Sqn, from 2010 to 2015, deploying on operations including Op Herrick and Op Toral. He described the Chinook’s contribution to ops in Afghanistan as ‘massively varied’. He said: “Working with MERT was probably the most rewarding job for any Chinook aircrew. Outside of that, we had huge involvement in counter terrorism, working with the US Air Forces and US Marines. “We also dropped troops off on assault and resupply and delivered water, food, ammunition and some home comforts – as much as you could in the middle of the desert. “We had seven-and-a-half crews on Herrick, of which

routinely you’d have three crews on at night and four on days. “You’d get one day off every three or four days but it wasn’t really a day off because you’d end up being the duty organiser or duty crew so that the crew doing the flying could concentrate on flying. “A normal detachment for us was about three-and-a-half months, flying for 180 hours which is more than you’d get in a year back in the UK.” He added: “The Chinook force has a long history of operating in the desert. The environment was pretty harsh, flying for four hours in 40 to 50 ˚C heat with full body armour on obviously takes its toll. “Operating as a crew in that environment reinforces that camaraderie and teamwork you have in the military.”

Military camaraderie in the face of life and death

RAF POLICEMAN Lee Close will never forget the day an injured Afghan girl died in his arms or the face of a comrade who lost a leg in an anti-personnel mine blast. But the Provost Marshal’s Warrant Officer, who protected the main gate, flight line and ran the ops team at Camp Bastion, insists his tour was just another posting. “I recall a local civilian arriving in a battered old vehicle with an injured child in the back and her father in the passenger seat,” he said. “Once we had searched the vehicle and occupants, we discovered that the driver had hit the child by accident. She died in my arms as the US Marine medic worked

on her. Nothing more could be done to save her. “I had to inform the father and he asked me to oversee a ‘Shura’ between the two men. The driver agreed to give the father his car as compensation

and that he would convey them back to their village when the body was released back to the family. “This all happened over the course of around three hours but sticks in my mind. It showed the value of life in Afghanistan and that it could all be settled over a bottle of water in a foreign military compound still haunts me today.” WO Close (pictured) was on duty as a watchkeeper when he received a medevac request for a close friend who was maimed by a mine. “I requested MERT to collect him from Lashkargah to return for treatment. His face when I went to see him was a picture, slightly blurred by morphine, he was intent

on getting out of bed and walking back to his place of work,” he said. “Op Herrick was hot, dusty and the threat was much greater than normal, but it really was just another job. My overarching memory is about the camaraderie that occurs when we employ people in extreme environments, the way that people come together for a greater good in order to get the job done and how our team ethics and fighting spirit is displayed by almost all of our people. “I often use the analogy that what we do is never about the location, it is always about the people and that wherever you go, you will succeed if the people around you are all in the same positive frame of mind.”

HEAVY LIFT: Chinook dust storm as crews take off in Helmand Province

Tornado guard for UK troops WITH THE withdrawal of the Harrier in 2009, Tornado GR4 was brought in to provide close air support in Afghanistan. The extreme conditions of Helmand were a proving ground for the final version of the fighter bomber, which was equipped with the RAPTOR surveillance pod and a new suite of laser-guided, low collateral weapons, Paveway IV and Brimstone.

Our guys were down there below us in the heat and heart of the battle

Gp Capt Matt Bressani deployed to Kandahar airfield in 2009 as a Squadron Leader and Executive Officer with 31 Sqn. As an experienced Tornado navigator he had already completed tours in Iraq. But with thousands of British troops on the ground in the heart of the fight below him, Afghanistan was a different experience. He said: “Until I was deployed on Operation Herrick in Afghanistan, we were based outside the fight, whether it was down in Kuwait or other parts of the Gulf. With Afghanistan we found ourselves flying from a base which was in the theatre. “We were used to operating in areas

Royal Air Force News Friday, October 22, 2021 P19

danger of Helmand Saving lives on the frontline

EVACUATION: MERT team treats injured Serviceman during flight to Camp Bastion Hospital

CLOSE AIR SUPPORT: Tornado navigator Gp Capt Matt Bressani

were there was very limited numbers of UK personnel that we knew about on the ground below us. In Afghanistan we were getting daily reports of fatalities and injuries. It took on a whole new meaning to being on operations for me. “You knew when you were scrambled that there were British soldiers at risk. That changed things. Our guys were out there, in the heat and heart of the battle, and that changed our mindsets. “In terms of capability Afghanistan brought in a whole new suite of weapons and that was a key game changer.

“Paveway IV was coming online and Brimstone was an urgent operational requirement. That was a significant milestone. “We found a rapid change of capabilities which endured right the way through to the end of the jet’s RAF service in 2019. “The fit that we flew with in Afghanistan was the fit I ended up with as a go-to on Operation Shader and Tornado’s last operational missions. “The Raptor surveillance pod wasn’t a new piece of kit but the number of recce sorties and ISR sorties we flew made a huge contribution.”

AIR FORCE medic Sqn Ldr Charlotte Phillips-Girling served in Afghanistan in 2008 at the height of the conflict as Air Evacuation Liaison Officer. For medical teams at Bastion Hospital, treating and evacuating mass casualties – many with critical and lifechanging injuries – meant working at the edge of their endurance. But she says the conflict produced massive advances in battlefield medicine and made her the medical practitioner she is today. She said: “2008 was at the height of the war and we saw a huge number of casualties. Some of the biggest advances in trauma management would not exist today without the work that medical teams did. “The advances made were enormous. Treatment of gunshot wounds and blast injuries and how we managed them meant you were more likely to survive in Afghanistan with a traumatic injury than if you were on the streets of the UK. “The teams were so well-honed because we had the practice. There were large numbers of people coming in on a daily basis. We learnt how to manage mass casualty operations and our tactical and strategic air evacuation procedures were at worldclass levels. It was phenomenal what we managed to do. “Afghanistan was the reason I joined the RAF. When I got there, standing in 45˚C heat, in body armour and helmet, there were lots of thoughts going through my head. There was the usual imposter syndrome and a real fear of what being in a warzone with multiple casualties was actually going to be like. “Within two hours we were in

CRITICAL CARE: RAF medic Sqn Ldr Phillips-Girling in Afghanistan

the midst of multiple casualties. It was full on. The days repeated themselves with CCAST moves and multiple strategic air evacuations daily. Sleep was a luxury. “The human cost of loss of life and limbs was evident every day. I remember looking forward to Fridays because it was ‘Jami Masjid’, or ‘Friday Mosque’, which often meant that the fighting took a pause, and that meant fewer causalities.

I found my RAF spirit. It made me the medic I am today

“I learnt so much about myself from that deployment, firstly that I could manage on minimal sleep and resilience, which carried me through some tough times. “I found my RAF spirit, striving to deliver an outstanding AE service, no matter what the challenge or

the environment was. This tour undoubtedly changed me in many ways, but it also influenced how I reacted to future challenges. “Many RAF medical people have been touched by what they have seen. “That has sadly manifested itself in things like PTSD but also in a more positive way by the incredible things many have gone on to do. They have become inspirational figures in many ways. “If I hadn’t been to Afghanistan and pushed my resilience to the level I did, operating on 45 minutes sleep a night and in 45˚C heat, I would not be the person I am today. “When I went to run a Covid unit last year as acute medical specialist I knew I could work 20 hours a day because of my experience in Afghanistan. It made me the person I am today. It made me a military nurse. “I knew that whatever faces me in future that I can do it – nothing will be as tough as Op Herrick in 2008.”


FPS launches three new travel insurance policies for all ages OCTOBER 2021 saw the relaunch of the hugely popular Forces Pension Society Travel Insurance schemes, with three age and familybased options for Society Members.

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The Society has joined with Trinity Insurance Services, the military and veterans insurer, to bring these products, exclusive to FPS, to market. Trinity is a broker regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority with more than 20 years’ experience in serving the Armed Forces Community. All three of these new policies are covid protected, and range from insurance cover for under 50-year-olds to 50-79-year-olds, to a policy with no age limit at all. All have been designed to be easy to understand, and represent good value. They are also backed by a dedicated Trinity help team. Medical checks and screening have been kept to a minimum and the 50+ annual policy requires no declaration of medical conditions at all. The range includes single-trip as well as multi-trip cover. Maj Gen Neil Marshall, CEO of the Forces Pension Society said: “We’re delighted to have partnered with Trinity to bring these exclusive new policies to our Members. In the past, we’ve enjoyed great success in the Travel Insurance sector and hope to build on that momentum with this highly competitive range, designed for travellers of all ages. “Our membership benefits package is constantly under review to ensure that we provide a range which is relevant to all our Members – all 62,000+ of them! “These benefits, which chiefly provide dis-

Link-up provides exclusive offer for society members counted products and services, are all from carefully selected providers who share our values. The range complements the service we’re best known for, dealing with Armed Forces Pension enquiries, managed by our expert team of Forces Pensions Consultants.” Brigadier Alan Richmond, Business Development Director of Trinity Insurance Services added: “Trinity Insurance Services is delighted to be partnered with the Forces Pension Society and to offer a market-leading travel insurance package to its members. As a specialist military insurance broker that is run by veterans, we are committed to give our own Armed Forces community access to the best and most competitive products. We understand the needs of Serving personnel, Veterans and their families and strive to provide them with the highest-quality service that they deserve.” FPS is an independent, not-for-profit membership organisation. If you would like to find out more about how we can support you, and about the many money-saving benefits of membership, please visit:


Royal Air Force News Friday, October 22, 2021 P21 Please note letters must be a maximum of 300 words and any accompanying pictures sent as attached, hi-res jpeg files

Post: RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe, Bucks, HP14 4UE Email:


Short hair kept us on the fringe

SIDEBOARDS: Alan in 1975, with wife Pauline

FROM 1974-76 when I was Sgt Alan Cooper serving at 444SU at Stanley Fort, Hong Kong, I contributed to the RAF News letters section over four editions. We exchanged views on all manner of subjects; some quite controversial. In the mid-70s civilian men had shoulder-length hair and airmen had very short hair, or should have had. By the 1970s an airman’s hair length depended on the station and the CO and SWO’s

attitude, or how fast an airman could run and hide. There was a great variation in attitude to hair length, leading to poor morale on some stations. The length of one’s hair seems so unimportant today, but for airmen going to a disco etcetera then, where they stood out, it was important and particularly affected young airmen. I was a bit of a rebel and the bane of many a SWO. I started a discussion in RAF News stating

Did you serve with RAF in Madagascar? MY FATHER Charles Henry [pictured] was an aircraftman engineer in the RAF during World War II. He often spoke about the time he served in Madagascar as part of the conflict with the Vichy French. I have a copy of his Service record which does not make any mention of him being in Madagascar. I have not managed to find any reference to the RAF in Madagascar in a number of books which claim to be complete histories of the RAF.

About a year or so ago I came across an item online published by the Market Harborough branch of the Royal British Legion. It featured the recollections of another ex-RAF aircraftman, Frank Bent, who must have been with my father. Reading the article about Frank I could just imagine Dad telling me his own memories. The details Frank included were identical to my father’s. Dad would often talk fondly

about his time in the RAF, especially his time in Madagascar and Kenya. I recall a photo he had of a drawing of a gremlin on the front engine cover of a Spitfire. After three planes with the gremlin painting crashed on landing, damaging the propellers, the gremlin was painted out and thereafter the planes landed okay. Jim Henry Do you have memories of serving in Madagascar? Please email RAF News at: editor@

the RAF should allow for longer hair and sideboards. Queen’s Regulations do not state what length hair should be and Air Pubs only stated hair should be neat and tidy. The old haircut poster on every station’s notice board showed a chap in his 40s from the 1940s with his hair almost shorn. QRs do say the head should NOT be short nor shaven. I gave valid reasons for the change based on changes in society and the isolating effect of short hair on young airmen. I mentioned the history of the British military and hair length, with references to where and when ultra-short hair originated. There were a lot of contributions, mainly from a wide range of airmen and almost exclusively supportive. There were one or two counter arguments from the old school, who talked of cleanliness and sloppy appearance. All the comments were polite and made with logical and valid points, but the argument was being won. Then came a tirade from a Gp Capt who said Sgt Cooper and his supporters should be thrown out of the RAF. That was the end of the published letters on the topic and RAF News did not print any more despite many more airmen

continuing to send them on the subject. Shortly after a new A3 haircut poster was issued [above] and remained in circulation well into the 2000s. As far as I know there is no current poster. Current Air Pubs still state ‘Hair should be neat and tidy’ and although the A3 poster is no longer seen on station notice boards, it remains the standard. I thought you might be interested in a photo of me at a 1975 Mess Ball with my wife Pauline [top left]. Alan Cooper Michigan, USA

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Royal Air Force News Friday, October 22, 2021 P23


Time to celebrate 100 years of RBL T

O COMMEMORATE the centenary of the Royal British Legion this year, AVI-8 has just launched two eye-catching new timepieces – the Flyboy Royal British Legion Founder’s Chronograph Limited Edition and the Flyboy Royal British Legion Chairman’s Meca-Quartz Limited Edition. One thousand of each of the new models has been produced and every one sold will help the RBL continue their vital work supporting those who serve and have served in the British Armed Forces and their families. The two new watches have been inspired by the charity’s first chairman, Sir Thomas Frederick Lister, and its first president, Field Marshal Earl Haig.

The RBL was formed by Lister and Haig in the aftermath of World War I. A spokesperson for AVI8 said: “Every timepiece is presented with an exclusive RBL 2021 dated poppy lapel pin. Since it was first worn as an act of remembrance just over 100 years ago, the poppy has become an enduring symbol of support for our Armed Forces, past and present.” The RBL’s Assistant Director of High Value Giving, Louise Ajdukiewicz, said: “We are incredibly proud to launch these new timepieces from our partnership collection with AVI-8 and are grateful for their support. “In the RBL’s centenary year, we remain dedicated to our mission of

creating better futures for all those who serve and have served with the British Armed Forces. The funds raised from these limited edition timepieces will ensure we can continue this work in the years to come.” The watch is a true bicompax chronograph fused with vintage elements, such as cathedral style hands and a telemeter on the chapter ring. Completing the dial is a striking red poppy on the chronograph seconds hand as a symbol of Remembrance. It is 40mm in diameter, with a perfectly sized and proportioned case. The watch features an ‘onion’ style crown drawn from trench watches in the early 20th century that became a quintessential feature later used in the first pilot watches. Topping the crown is a red two petal poppy encased in epoxy.

EARL HAIG: RBL’s first president SIR THOMAS LISTER: RBL’s first chairman


The Founder’s edition features a dependable Japanese meca-quartz chronograph that blends quartz accuracy and the crisp hand feel of a mechanical movement. Each watch comes with a vintage-inspired, supple handstitched genuine leather strap. The Flyboy Royal British Legion Founder’s Chronograph Limited Edition retails for £225. For your chance to win one of these top timepieces tell us: What was the name of the two

men who founded the Royal British Legion? Email your answer, marked RBL Limited Edition watch competition, to: or post it to: RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe, HP14 4UE, to arrive by November 5. ● Go to: for more details about the Founder’s Chronograph Limited Edition and Chairman’s Meca-Quartz Limited Edition watches. £15 from the sale of each timepiece will go to Royal British Legion Trading Limited.

SAC Lucy in A-Class of her own LIKE THE hit BBC drama Vigil, SAC Lucy Housego recently jumped in at the deep end as the first RAF airwoman deployed on a submarine. Here’s her account of a life below the ocean waves:

A-CLASS submarines are just shy of 100m long, comparable to the length of a football field. Whilst this doesn’t sound that small, it’s very easy most days to take only a couple of hundred steps although each submarine is usually kitted out with a good array of gym equipment to get a few more in. Submarines are designed by computer to maximise space. Whilst ranks can be mixed within the bunk-spaces, every attempt is made to replicate a Naval base with Officers, Seniors and Juniors all having their own messes and bathrooms or ‘heads.’ Just like any other deployment, you’re trained before you go, these days in a specially designed Submarine Escape, Rescue, Abandonment and Survival training building on shore. Life on board was different to anything I’d ever seen. Luckily, I quickly adapted to small spaces with few home comforts, although not being able to go outside is a tricky idea to accept. It’s incredibly easy to lose track of time but food helps you keep a structure and is the biggest morale booster onboard. There are four meals a day; fish and chips on Friday, steak on a Saturday,

DOWN TIME: Actors Paterson Joseph and Suranne Jones in hit sub drama Vigil PHOTOS: BBC

and Indian or Chinese on a Wednesday, which gives everyone a sense of routine. The Captain is the only person with their own cabin. Everyone else sleeps in a bunkspace. Bunks are narrow and there’s a technique to getting in and out but there’s more sleeping space if you’re in the ‘bomb shop’ between the torpedoes. There’s the chance to do laundry twice a week and to shower once a day but water is limited to two minutes, per person, per day so every second counts. Down-time is filled with an extensive range of films and TV shows available in all messes. I was taught and won my first game of ‘uckers’ – a Navy favourite similar to Ludo – and

have a wonderful memory of watching Crimson Tide with a bunch of seasoned submariners. Loved ones send messages via the family-gram email system which are decoded and printed for you after being checked for news that it may not be best for you to hear – but it feels strange to not be able to answer. Submariners are well trained to deal with emergencies – particularly fire and flooding. I’ll never forget the first emergency training exercise when the boat carried out its first dive. There was a very loud, very angry sounding alarm, followed by a fierce announcement that the boat was flooding. I shakily carried out the drill, checking my emergency

breathing mask was working. Fortunately, we were very quickly back on the surface, but I was extremely nervous the next time we dived. There are no days off on a submarine. Days are broken up into ‘watches’ and I found myself on six–hour shifts working in what looked like a broom cupboard although as I adapted it grew big enough to seat four people on a 12hour working day. Passing the Basic Submarine Qualification to gain the dolphin badge was the biggest challenge I have ever undertaken, learning more than 30 submarine systems then enduring two walk rounds when you can be asked anything, followed by a gruelling three-hour board. Valve-hunting in a pair of illfitting overalls armed only with a torch and a (vague) map is not an experience I’d wish on anyone – especially with how much you bang your head trying to find some. I’m so proud to be the first woman outside the Navy to earn the submariners’ dolphins and even quite enjoyed the traditional presentation ceremony in which the badge is placed in a large tot of rum and you catch the dolphins in your teeth as you drink. RAF dress regulations have been changed to allow the wearing of the submariners’ dolphins on uniform, an alteration which I’m honoured to have caused.

RAF FIRST : SAC Lucy Housego with her submariners badge


Remember R eme ember e to to c check heck in in w hen y ou’’re e ating g out t. when you’re eating out. CovidCovid-19 v 19 is still with w us. Even Even if you’ve you’ve been bee en vaccinated, vaccinated d, y you ou c can an st still ill th he virus virus and you you can can still pass p So use use the NHS SC OVID-19 app a get the it on. So COVID-19 tto o manage ey our risk and an nd help protect protec ct friends and d ffamily. amily y. your L et’s k eep lif e mo ving v ving. Let’s keep life moving. Download Do wnload the NHS COVID-19 COVID D-19 app

Royal Air Force News Friday, October 22, 2021 P25


By Tracey Allen

War artist Knight’s works take to the road again

Once moreDunto the breech AME LAURA KNIGHT, described as England’s trailblazing woman artist, was a pioneering painter of war, women and marginalised people with a long and successful career that saw her travel the world and break conventions. She created some of the most memorable images of World War II – from her famous 1943 painting Ruby Loftus Screwing a Breech-ring to The Nuremburg Trials, depicting 20 senior Nazis in the courtroom. One of the most popular English artists of the 20th century and the first woman to be elected to the Royal Academy, she is celebrated with a major exhibition at MK Gallery, Milton Keynes until February 2022 – the most significant presentation of her work in more than 50 years. Born in 1877, Knight died, aged 92, in 1970. The exhibition, Laura Knight, A Panoramic View, surveys her career spanning almost a century – from her fascination with the backstage world of ballet and theatre and exuberant portraits of people’s everyday lives, to depictions of marginalised communities and racial segregation in America. It also features powerful commissions she created as an official war artist during WWII. A spokeswoman for MK Gallery said: “She stormed the traditional male enclave of the Royal Academy, becoming the first woman elected to full membership in 1936, and was the first female artist to be appointed Dame of the British Empire.” In her 1965 autobiography The Magic of a Line Knight wrote: “Even today, a female artist is considered more or less a freak, and may be undervalued or overpraised... Now that womankind are no longer born to hold a needle in one hand and a scrubbing brush in the other, what great things may not happen?”


WOMAN’S WAR: Laura Knight’s famous Ruby Loftus Screwing a Breech-Ring, 1943

AIR DEFENCE: A Balloon Site, Coventry, 1943


he exhibition presents an in-depth look at Knight’s career, bringing together more than 160 exhibits from public and private collections, including rarely seen paintings and graphic works. The exhibition begins with early work from her time at Nottingham Art School in 1899 aged 13, and landscapes of her beloved Cornwall created whilst living in an artists’ commune in Newlyn. The spokeswoman added: “Thematic groupings explore key subjects in Knight’s work, such as the backstage life of ballet dancers and theatre performers and the magical world of the circus, as well as portraits of the travelling community in Iver, Buckinghamshire. Also included are paintings of the racially segregated maternity ward at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, where Knight travelled in 1926 and met campaigners of the Civil Rights movement.” © IWM The exhibition features some of Knight’s best-known works, created during WWII and commissioned by the War Artists’ Advisory Committee, depicting women’s work in the war effort and the Nuremberg Trials of Nazi war criminals, recorded over three months in Germany. Knight also painted portraits of female members of the Auxiliary Air Force including of Cpl JM Robins, one of the first women to be awarded the Military Medal for Bravery during the Battle of Britain and of Cpl Elspeth Henderson and Sgt Helen Turner, both awarded the medal when RAF Biggin Hill was attacked by enemy bombers, and the WAAFs, in charge of the switchboard and telephone lines, continued working. An exhibition catalogue (£25) by MK Gallery’s Head of Exhibitions, Fay Blanchard, provides an in-depth introduction to Knight. Go to: for booking ARTIST: Knight painting on a Short Stirling bomber, RAF Mildenhall, 1943 © IWM details.






from 63 countries 65,9% of international

65 startups at Eurosatory LAB


Total attendance (exhibitors, visitors, press, organisers)


Official delegations from 94 countries and 4 organisations (representing 760 delegates)



from 44 countries

75 Conferences 2,100 Business meetings made 2018 key figures

Royal Air Force News Friday, October 22, 2021 P27


By Tim Morris

W Series Top Guns From fast cars to fast jets for leading women racing drivers

READY FOR THE OFF: Racing driver Jamie Chadwick prepares for flight in Hawk T2, with her two colleagues, main picture PHOTOS: SAC BRITNEY LEATHER


RITAIN’S TOP female racing drivers took their epic battle from the track to the sky this week in a Top Gunstyle mission at RAF Valley in Anglesey, Wales. Jamie Chadwick and Alice Powell, who are both fighting for the top position in the W Series Championship, joined IV (AC) Squadron to share best practice tips for female recruitment and explore the attributes that racing drivers share with fast jet pilots. After the discussion they underwent an intense briefing session before taking to the skies in Hawk T2 jets. W Series CEO Catherine Bond Muir was flown in a third jet to complete the formation. The team took off together and within minutes drivers Alice and Jamie had the controls. Soon they were into tail chasing, each attempting to get a laser lock on the target. After that they moved on to loops and rolls, which didn’t end too well for Alice, or boss Catherine. Both were forced to deploy their sick bags while Jamie happily took things to the next level. All three however landed with big smiles.

Alice said “We’ve been up in these amazing jets. I’ve really enjoyed it, apart from being sick. The day’s been great apart from that. I think it was my own flying that made me feel sick. Everyone else’s flying was perfect, apart from my own.” Jamie added: “It almost felt unreal, like I was playing a video game the whole time. I constantly had to remind myself that it was the real thing. Then during some moves the G-force going through your body is immense so it was an unbelievable experience.”

merits. We’ll take you for who you are and develop you through the system to make the best of you and help you to fulfil your potential.”



he instructors at Valley are used to taking pilots up with a range of ability. IV (AC) squadron is the RAF’s last gate of training before personnel move on to the frontline in Typhoon or Lightning fast jets. It is regarded as one of the toughest schools in the world and teaches pilots the attack weapons elements that provide them with the building blocks for their combat flying careers. The man in charge, Wg Cdr Jamie Buckle, is pleased to have more women than ever

PIONEERS: (l-r) Alice, Catherine and Jamie before their flight. Left, Alice strides to Hawk T2

graduating from the school but is passionate about equality and keen to see more sign up. He said: “There are no stereotypes here. My squadron is diverse in experience, a mix of female pilots and male pilots going through training. The only limitations set here are those set by yourself, so just go for it.” Racing boss Bond Muir said: “W Series is the first and only all-female, single-seater racing series in the world. We have so much synergy with the Royal Air Force. The RAF has pilots, we have drivers, but we also have a lot of

engineers and mechanics. The aim is to try to get as many women into those positions as possible.”


AF Valley’s Station Commander, Gp Capt Andy Turk, believes that the Royal Air Force is good at removing barriers to opportunity. He said “We’re a meritocracy and this is one of the things that Catherine is trying to break down in racing. In other series drivers normally need sponsors in advance to be able to compete but with W Series and with the RAF you don’t need that backing, you get through on your

ne female pilot who’s already in training and about to move onto the Hawk T2 is Flt Lt Luci Conder. She said: “There are so many people involved in getting us airborne for just one hour and I love to see women in the engineering roles. The ‘lineys’, working in Operations on the desk, it always brings a smile to my face when I walk past other women who are helping me get airborne and I think it goes both ways as well. So we all just love to see more women in, the more the better.” Personnel at IV (AC) Sqn were excited to meet the drivers and many are now following the race series avidly. Flt Lt Conder said: “W Series first came to visit us in April and brought their cars. That was the first time I’d heard of them but since then we’ve been out to Silverstone to watch them race and that was amazing. I’m now really excited about watching the final, with Alice and Jamie up at the top of the leader board. Two Brits, which is awesome to see, so I’m really interested to see how they do in the USA.” The W Series finale takes place at Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas between October 22 and 24. TV coverage is on Channel 4.

Royal Air Force News Friday, October 22, 2021 P28


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4 pages of RAF Sport start here ● Hat-trick hero Fg Off Amy Cokayne smashes the French: p31


RAF sweep the BOARD Daniel Abrahams IT TOOK a battle royal to bring the Wakeboard and Ski Inter-Services home at Tattershall Holiday Park, Lincoln. Having last won the title in 2018, the Service’s teams produced the goods throughout the weeklong event, resulting in a clean sweep of the overall competition. Women’s wakeboard captain Cpl Sarah Partridge said: “The ladies all rode amazingly well. With the top one and two positions in the cable and one and three in the boat going our way, it secured vital points in our pursuit of the top spot.” Men’s ski team captain Flt Lt David Jenkins said: “It was a great effort by all members of the ski team. Solid performances throughout made all the training fully worthwhile.” The competition real started on the second day, with the group stages of the cable producing some tough battles. The men’s event saw an equal number of RAF and Army riders go through to

EN GARDE: Action INTERS CHAMPS: Action-packed event from RAF Cosford netted the RAF a hoard of trophies PHOTO: CPL KRISTIAN DAWSON

the next round. The women then secured three out of the four spots available. Day three saw the RAF women take the overall cable win with Cpl Partridge coming first, and women’s water ski team captain Flt Lt Olivia Henderson second. The men finished a point shy of the Army with RAF stalwart Sgt Ross Phillips best placed, coming home in third. Closing out the day in style were the wakeboard boat qualifiers and the first round of the ski event. The last day and finals of both wakeboard boat and ski disciplines produced some superb finishes for the Service in windy conditions. In the men’s boat Sgt Phillips came second, while men’s wakeboard team captain Flt Lt James Cook pulled third. In the women’s, Flt Lt Henderson topped the group, with Flt Lt Emma Phillips third. The water-skiing event saw the men outstrip their Army counterparts with Flt Lt Jenkins and WO Mathew Larkin coming first and second respectively, while Flt Lt Henderson took top spot in the women’s.


Fight supremo Sqn Ldr Whalley gets up close and personal

REF: Whalley with RAF fighters


BOXING CHAIRMAN Sqn Ldr Karl Whalley got to watch some of his association’s brightest prospects up close as he refereed bouts during the season opener at RAF Boulmer. The Service association welcomed its return to the ring after 18 months away, with Air Force boxers coming from as far as Akrotiri to compete. The night, which featured nine bouts – two with female fighters – saw Service boxers compete against local Sunderland-based Lambton Street Boxing Club. Sqn Ldr Whalley was one of several England officials overseeing

the bouts, in front of an audience of more than 100 spectators. The biggest cheer of the night came after Boulmer’s Fg Off Ash Davis defeated SAC Glover, of RAF Leeming, in the final bout of the evening. Glover took home the Most Galant Award for his part in the closing contest. Flt Lt Scott Sutherland, Deputy Force Development Squadron at RAF Boulmer, said: “I am delighted we were able to put on a fantastic event and raise more than £500 for station charities.” Follow RAF Boxing on Twitter @ RAFBoxing.

GLOVES UP: Fighter blocks as opponent seeks a way through

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Royal Air Force News Friday, October 22, 2021 P29





Lewis is on a Roll(o) He claims first win for RAF bike team Daniel Abrahams TREACHEROUS W E A T H E R conditions were not enough to halt the first-ever RAF Regular and Reserve Kawasaki team win thanks to Lewis Rollo at Donington Park. The Pirelli National Superstock Championship first was bolstered by two top-eight finishes from British Superbike rider Ryan Vickers at the Leicestershire track. In treacherous conditions for the first qualifying run Rollo ended in ninth, and with a superb start under his belt moved up to third after the opening lap of the race. Conquering the downpours, he moved up into first place after the third lap, and his lead extended to three seconds

after chasing rider Billy McConnell crashed on lap three. Having sealed an eight-second win, Rollo (pictured) found himself in third on the grid for Sunday’s race. The RAF rider quickly moved up into second but having slipped back to seventh had a low-speed spill at Melbourne Hairpin to end his race. The win means Rollo now sits eighth on 142 points. He said: “Saturday was a mega day despite the conditions. I made a good start and it was tricky out there so I just concentrated on the corners and apexes. It felt amazing to get the win. I was so happy to get the team a trophy as it’s been a hard year at times.” Vickers had a stumbling start crashing out of free

LEADER OF THE PACK: Lewis Rollo, right. Inset below, Ryan Vickers struggled in the wet Photos: Tim Keeton, Impact Images

practice on the Friday. Despite the poor conditions he rallied, qualifying 13th, he then finished eighth in the opening race. The second race saw him finish 15th, taking just one point for his

championship charge. Further wet conditions didn’t dampen his efforts in the final outing where, having started 19th on the grid, he rode superbly to finish sixth at the chequered flag. The finish now sees him placed 12th on the championship scoreboard

with 176 points after 10 rounds. He said: “I felt a lot more comfortable especially in the wet after the bike was looked at following my crash. I was happy with my two results of sixth and eighth in the two wet races but the lack of track time in the dry hurt me in Sunday’s first race.”


Overseas events back as Covid crisis eases

GOOD NEWS: RAF Sports chief Rich Fogden says skiers will be back on the slopes soon (right)

“THE MAIN headline for us, is that we’re getting back to sport,” is how Director of RAF Sport Rich Fogden framed the return of overseas trips and other activities. The news comes as the Sports Directorate signed off on the first two tours abroad since their cessation in 2020. The Directorate just announced that the blue-riband RAF Alpine Winter Sports and Championships will take place at SaalbachHinterglemm, Austria, early next year; to be followed, ‘hopefully’ he added, by the Inter-Services in Meribel. The Dubai Rugby Sevens in December was also signed off. Fogden said: “Since Step Four of the Government’s pathway out of lockdown was opened, we have seen more than 480 fixtures completed or scheduled in the UK, from unit to Inter-Service level. “There have been some notable successes as well, in golf, waterskiing, wakeboarding and others, which is great. “This figure is somewhere near normal levels, and it’s been invigorating seeing the joy on people’s faces returning to their sport.” Since the return of most sports activities in July, overseas trips, which total 60-70 annually,

remained off the table, although associations were advised to ‘scope but not commit’ to trips. That all changed with a return to the issue in September and guidance for sporting associations. Fogden said: “We told associations to look at the worstcase scenarios. “Trips mean releasing personnel from primary duties, so they needed to think deeply about this, above and beyond the normal considerations.” Praising associations for their resilience in initially dealing with the directorate’s ‘draconian’ requirements, which have now been eased as the Covid landscape

alters, Fogden said: “This has to be actively monitored, but we are also pushing to get back to normal. “I think, for 2022, we will see a return to pretty much business as usual, but obviously stand fast for any other things that crop up. “For us it really is the purest form of sport that counts now, the taking part, competing at each and every level and enjoying it while being stretched and challenged. It’s hugely important to see sport returning to all our personnel and their lives, with all its benefits.” Follow the RAF Sports Federation on Instagram @ rafsporthq

Royal Air Force News Friday, October 22, 2021 P30


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Rowers on cloud nine at Inters

AFTER A two-year cessation it was back to the rowing action for this year’s Joint Services Regatta (JSR) at Peterborough City Rowing Club. What a return it was for the RAF, who, despite leaving it late, stormed to overall Inter-Service success in supreme style. The venue with its multi-lane 1,000 metre racing course was the site of the Service’s impressive 2019 haul of titles. Then they took three of the four IS crowns on offer, sharing the overall title with the Army on nine wins each. This time round, early wins in the morning’s events, including the novice and master’s men’s single and double sculls, followed by wins in the women’s double sculls, was the start they needed. Just before lunch, the Army struck back, taking the first two of the four InterService events. In the open categories the RAF then picked up the men’s coxed four and the women’s and men’s open coxed eights, to put them firmly in the driving seat.

RAF ROWING: Stroke of genius

The final women’s IS event, the coxed four, provided a fantastic race. With the Army looking set to secure the win, having taken an early lead, the RAF crew found some extra speed to win by a photo

finish. This set the precedent for the final event of the day, the men’s IS coxed eights. Again, the Army took an early lead, but the RAF slowly reeled them in, before moving two seats clear by the finish.

The wins left the RAF with nine victories from 16 events, with the Army picking up five and the Navy collecting two. Follow the rowing association on Instagram @rafrowing.

Sports bulletin

Over-35s in 4-1 victory A TOUGH trip to Merseyside saw mixed results for the Service’s veterans teams, with the Over-50s losing 2-0 to a strong St Annes side at Bebington Stadium, Wirral. The Service side, fielding some new players, competed well in a battling first half which saw the teams go in goalless at the break. Playing only their second game of the pre Inter-Services season, and despite a hotlycontested second half, the military team conceded two late goals. The following day against a Conference North veterans Vauxhall Motors FC team featuring several former professional players, the RAF Over-35s came away 4-1 winners. On a beautiful playing surface at the Riviera Park Syncreon Arena, the Service side took the lead through Sgt Mick Jeffries, but the score was levelled five minutes later by the hosts. The game was then put out of the reach of the Liverpudlians with three quick-fire goals in the first 20 minutes of the second half, as Sgt Craig Zenko, FS Johnny Watkins and Sgt Steve Norton all found the net. Follow RAF Veterans’ football on Facebook @RAFFA Veterans Football.


Brize movers take prize with brace of penalties BRIZE NORTON Lionesses roared to a 2-0 ‘home’ win over a strong Waddington team at the annual RAF ladies five-a-side tournament held at the station. A field of 10 teams from varying stations with a mix of experienced and complete beginner level players made for an exciting day of footballing action. The group stages were played in near perfect sunny conditions, with Army unit North Luffenham’s ‘A’ team and Coningsby both having good successes; however, it was the Lionesses and a combined High Wycombe and Halton team who looked strong favourites after going unbeaten through the first phase of the tournament.

Following the group stages, the event was split into plate and trophy competitions with the top three from each group entering the trophy and the bottom two the plate. A decider match was needed after Wyton and North Luffenham ‘B’ tied for third with the same points, goal difference and goals scored. Luffenham duly booked their place in the knockout stages. The Lionesses reserved their final berth with a hardfought 1-0 victory over the impressive Coningsby, while Waddington required a penalty shootout to overcome High Wycombe and Halton.

In the plate competition North Luffenham ‘A’ put on a strong performance to beat Cosford, who had only formed a few weeks before the tournament, 2-0, while Wyton beat Leeming 2-1 to ensure a RAF versus Army final. Wyton took an early lead through a spectacular solo goal but were pegged back almost immediately by the Army side, who then continued to pile on the pressure but could not find a way past the Wyton goalkeeper. A late chance went begging for Wyton before penalties, which the Army side won. In the trophy final, the Lionesses found themselves with an excellent opportunity to take an early lead after winning a spot kick, which they duly dispatched. They won a second penalty kick minutes later and it proved enough to win the tournament 2-0.

TAKE FIVE: Leeming (in yellow) battle it out against North Luffenham and Waddington player makes a break in final (inset left) PHOTOS: STEVE LYMPANY

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Royal Air Force News Friday, October 22, 2021 P31



RAF rugby players go down fighting

GOING NOWHERE: SAC Kevin Raqio (left) and Cpl Ben Mellor (right) halt an Army attack Photo: Jackie Clowes, Saddleworth Rangers ARLFC

IT WAS the battle they had predicted, with tries, brawls and red cards, but the second Inters clash against the Army was a forgettable night for the RAF. Having fought back from going behind early, the men in blue saw their home IS clash at Victoria Park Stadium, Warrington, slip away despite a valiant battle, losing 24-16. Team captain Cpl Ben Mellor said: “As usual for an IS fixture it was another tough and physical encounter, which I think either side could have won. We didn’t take our chances and those moments could have changed the result. “As a team we showed a lot of passion throughout and that’s what is needed in these tough fixtures. The Army knew we were never going to go away and we showed a lot of fight, literally. “The win was within reach right until the final whistle, but as a team we know we can improve, and I am looking forward to next year and being able to prove ourselves against both the Navy and Army.” The action started from the first whistle,

when an early Army try was quickly cancelled out with two well-worked tries from SAC Adam Middleton (converted) and Cpl Liam Bradley (unconverted). The Army then levelled the scores following an error which saw a bouncing ball fall to the visitors for 10-10. With the scores level, Army team captain SSgt Jordan Kerman committed a second half high tackle which sparked fighting between the two teams. Following the brawl SAC Steve Kilner and Army player L/Cpl Kieran Roche saw red, with Kerman sinbinned. Another handling error then cost the Airmen when well placed to score. The ball broke loose, sparking an Army break upfield for 10-18. SAC Kevin Raqio then produced a powerful run before crossing the line to set up a grandstand finish with the scores poised at 16-18, but another error saw the Army react quickest to run in for a converted try, 16-24 and the series win. Follow RAF rugby league on Twitter @ RAFRugbyLeague.


Tie goes hybrid THE SECOND women’s clash against the Army was a hardfought affair, despite the 32-6 scoreline. Despite there being no silverware on offer for the winners, due to the RAF/Royal Navy fielding a hybrid side, the hosts ran over an early try and defended stoutly when they could against a firm Army onslaught. Having lost the opening clash 60-10, RAF team captain Flt Lt Linda McLean felt the side showed more of themselves during the second game. She said: “We have not been able to play any fixtures in the lead up to these games due to Covid restrictions, whereas the Army have been able to compete in the Super League South. “Despite that we were able to put into practice what we have worked together on over the last few weeks and produce a strong performance over the entire 80 minutes.”


Vive la dominance UKAF French Forces

27 14

THE STARS aligned perfectly for the UKAF women’s rugby union team and the RAF players shone brightest in a dominant 27-14 win over the French Forces. A hat-trick of tries from Fg Off Amy Cokayne topped off a stellar personal performance. In truth the whole team display was almost complete, led superbly as they were by team captain Cpl Sian Williams at Burnaby Road, Portsmouth. Speaking after her fourth game as captain, the RAF’s Williams said: “I couldn’t be happier with the performance from the girls. Considering we only spent two days together prior to the game, it really didn’t show in the performance.” She added: “Some of the debutants were outstanding. The result, performance and team ethic that was shown tonight is a huge positive for Forces rugby.” The dominance began straight from the first whistle, in the match nicknamed Le Crunch. Fg Off Cokayne collected the French kick-off and broke up the pitch, forcing an early French penalty. A series of further penalties followed, all in the French 22, before Cokayne burst over for a fifth-minute unconverted try. The visitors hit back to level minutes later, and that looked to be the tempo of the game, with both sides willing to attack. Fg Off Sarah Graham, who left

HAT-TRICK: Fg Off Amy Cokayne, ball in hand, flanked by Fg Off Carys Williams PHOTOS: ALIGN UK

CAPTAIN: RAF's Cpl Sian Williams

the field midway through the half with a head injury, then missed a penalty. Minutes later Cokayne stepped in with a huge kick up field, which was superbly chased by Fg Off Carys Williams. The play was spread and the ball was finally

touched down after a jinking run from Army Capt Fionidi Parker. A series of late tackles from the French did not stop the hosts’ display. Having gone in 12-7 up at the break head coach WO John Wilding’s charges then camped

in the French 22 for the opening 10 minutes of the half. After 54 minutes Cokayne went over out wide to make it 17-7. Sending in another excellent line-out on the hour, Cokayne joined a drive for the line and

forced the ball over for her third try for 22-7. Lt Sally Stott then made it 27-7. A late converted French try, one of the only times they broke into the UKAF half, made the final score 27-14.

66p ISSN 0035-8614 42 >

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Royal Air Force News Friday, October 22, 2021 R'n'R 1



Win: Gordon Ramsay DVD ● p5

Announcements ● P6-7

Puzzles ● P8

Secrets and lies – Joanne Froggatt is Angela Black ● p4-5


Take T ake a test, test, e ven iiff y ou h ave even you have mi ild s y ptoms. ym mild symptoms. CovidCovid-19 v 19 is still with w us. Even Even if you’ve you’ve been bee en vaccinated, vaccinated d, y you ou c can an st still ill virus and an nd you you can can still still pass it on. So So don’t don’t guess, guess, e get a ttest estt gett the virus and stay stay at a home if you you think you you could could hav eC ovid-19. have Covid-19. Let’s k eep lif e mo v ving. Let’s keep life moving. Order O Or d y der your our PCR ttest estt n now ow att nhs. h uk k/GetG t-Te estted d or c call all 119

Royal Air Force News Friday, October 22, 2021 R'n'R 3


Book review

The Shape of Battle


Allan Mallinson (Bantam Press, £25)

Military campaigns under spotlight


ORMER SOLDIER and decisions and, as he makes clear distinguished military historian in his preface, war is ‘an intensely and author Allan Mallinson’s latest human activity’ and human nature book explores the factors of why doesn’t change. some battles were fought as they The first battle he addresses is the were and how these same factors Battle of Hastings of 1066, which he will also be a feature of future claims was an object lesson conflicts. in the complete art of To illustrate this, he war and illustrates how explores six significant much battle is shaped feats of arms, the by strategy. war and campaign Next, he looks at in which they each the Battle of Towton occurred, and the of 1461 – the pivotal factors that determined battle of the War of their precise form and Roses – the bloodiest course. By choosing events allinson to be fought on English M : R O H T U that span over 1,000 years, A soil with some 380,000 he suggests that trying to casualties. It was a civil war that seek the present, or the future, turned on the boldness of the in the past is perilous because Yorkist commander and the tactical each war has its own special brilliance of a senior officer. circumstances. He does, however, The Battle of Waterloo is next accept that battles do have much in to gain Mallinson’s attention. It common, not least in the minds of was the culmination of the longest those making the great and crucial war in ‘modern’ times and to

Film review

Picture Stories (PG) In cinemas and on digital download now (see

understand the conduct, and result, of the war, Mallinson first reviews the Duke of Wellington’s tactics during the Peninsular Wars that led to ‘one of the greatest defensive engagements of history’ on the field near Waterloo in 1815. The author uses the actions on Sword Beach, D-Day 1944 as his next example. He calls it the ‘longest-planned and most complex offensive battle in history’ – the Battle for the Bridgehead. He expounds that as a study in the relationships between grand strategy, military strategy, campaign planning and tactical execution, it is hard to beat. To illustrate how honour is a crucial feature in a military engagement, Mallinson chooses the 1951 Battle of Imjin River during the Korean War. Hopelessly outnumbered, and having taken huge casualties, the British Brigade made what was the British Army’s

last fighting withdrawal. Finally, he looks at an operation in Helmand in what he calls ‘a battle for the population.’ Politics became the overriding issue and thus military operations were often constrained in order to fulfil political aims, which were often changed and sometimes timid. Mallinson’s eloquent style, incisive assessments and professional views and comments make this book a compelling read, and one that all those interested in military history should read and absorb. Review by Graham Pitchfork, military author and Air Cdre Rtd Allan Mallinson appeared at the 2021 Cheltenham Literature Festival. You can view 140 events on demand with the #CheltLitFest Player. Go to: cheltenhamfestivals. com/literature for details. Events available to view until December 31, 2021.

Win Shape of Battle...

WE HAVE a copy of The Shape of Battle to win. For your chance to own it, tell us: During which war was the Battle of Imjin River? Email your answer, marked Mallinson book competition, to: competitions@rafnews. or post it to: RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe HP14 4UE, to arrive by November 5.


…unlike this dutiful daughter on the doorstep


SHOESHINE LINE: Eldest daughter of a big family doing her chores, 1945 PHOTO: Kurt Hutton/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty images

ICTURE STORIES is a documentary about the UK magazine Picture Post that ran from 1938 to 1957, documenting the lives of ordinary people and popularising, if not inventing, a radically intimate form of photo-journalism. It appears that what was so different about this magazine was its connection to the common man. In context, other magazines would have focused on fantasy or lifestyles that were not relatable to the larger public. It was spearheaded by Stefan Larant, a Hungarian refugee of Nazi Germany, who was able to commandeer a style that was being used in Hungary, Germany and Russia, employing photographers who had experience taking shots that were natural but also told a narrative. It was the perspective of these ‘outsiders’ that allowed their pictures to remain intimate but highlight division that may not have been noticed otherwise. With a stream of striking photography of people from all different walks of life, there is much enjoyment to be had in simply looking through the archives of the magazine. From the hustle and bustle of London after last orders, to the bleak situation for the jobless in Tyneside shown through one particular subject – or the following issue in which the piece was redone under direction from the Lord Mayor of Newcastle when the former piece was denounced as unfair. The style of the documentary is odd: there are, of course, a lot of

SUITED AND BOOTED: A trio of Jamaican immigrants walking the streets of Birmingham, January 22, 1955. Picture Post – 7482 PHOTO: Thurston Hopkins/Picture Post/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

archive images broken up by talking heads, there are also reenactments intended to give more dynamic presentation, but they often feel forced and irrelevant. The music underneath the narration jumps around throughout and confuses the tone, which for the most part is very dry. Picture Stories presents the context for the phenomenon Picture Post, and though a very sober affair, it’s a delight to be transported back in time through this stunning collection of photographs. Review by Sam Cooney 2 out of 5 roundels

Royal Air Force News Friday, October 22, 2021 R'n'R 4

R'n'R Galleries

Hogarth and Europe

Tate Britain

Tate Britain (Nov 3 – March 20)

A fresh view of Hogarth

1743: Marriage A-la-Mode © The National Gallery


EW ARTISTS have defined an era as much as William Hogarth (1697-1764), whose vivid, satirical depictions of 18th century England continue to capture the imagination today. Tate Britain’s major exhibition Hogarth and Europe, from November 3 to March 20, 2022, presents his work in a fresh light, seen for the first time alongside works by his continental contemporaries. It will explore the parallels and exchanges that crossed borders and the cosmopolitan character of Hogarth’s art. His best-known paintings and prints, such as Marriage A-laMode 1743, The Gate of Calais 1748 and Gin Lane 1751, will be shown alongside works by famed European artists, including JeanSiméon Chardin in Paris, Pietro

ARTIST: The Painter and his Pug, 1745

Longhi in Venice, and Cornelis Troost in Amsterdam. “Together they will reveal how changes in society took art in new directions, both in Britain and abroad,” said a Tate Britain spokesperson. Featuring over 60 of Hogarth’s works, brought together from private and public collections around Europe and North America, the exhibition will draw on decades of research to show Hogarth in all his complexity – whether as staunch patriot or sharp critic, bawdy

satirist or canny businessman. It will also examine the shifting status of artists in the 18th century, from workshop artisans and court painters to independent freelancers enjoying prominence alongside actors, musicians and writers. The rapid expansion of urban centres like London, Paris, Amsterdam and Venice also saw the city itself become a major subject in art for the first time. Tate Britain will juxtapose these metropolitan scenes from across Europe, showing the bustling London streets of Hogarth’s Southwark Fair 1733 and The March of the Guards to Finchley 1749-50 with vibrant depictions of Étienne Jeaurat’s Paris and Longhi’s Venice. n Go to: or follow @ Tate #HogarthandEurope for more information.


Hound of the Baskervilles Coming soon

Sherlock is back in barking version A

STAGE adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most celebrated adventure, The Hound of the Baskervilles, from the FERRETTI: Stars as Sherlock Holmes award-winning Original Theatre Company and Octagon Theatre, tour venues are to be announced. A hit in the West End, this Bolton is now on tour. le adaptation combines a collision The classic detective ta​ gets what’s been described as a of farce, theatrical invention and brilliantly farcical overhaul in comic performances to offer a Lotte Wakeham’s production. brand new twist on the greatest The whodunnit for detective story of all time. all ages will tour to Wo r l d - r e n o w n e d Devonshire Park detective Sherlock Theatre, Eastbourne Holmes and his (October 26-30), colleague Dr Richmond Theatre Watson are asked to (November 2-6), unravel the mystery The New Wolsey surrounding the Theatre, Ipswich untimely death of Sir (November 9-13), Charles Baskerville. om aldde With rumours of a ns onal Salisbury Playhouse Ra cDon ll McD rr M N teia Pe Pete D: D: N: VI VISO WAT DA DA (November 15-20), cursed giant hound Theatre Royal Bath loose on the moors, they must act (January 24-28, 2022), The Lowry, fast in order to save the Baskerville Salford (January 31-February 5) family’s last remaining heir. and Belgrade Theatre, Coventry Jake Ferretti (The Kitchen, (February 8-12). Further 2022 The Curious Incident of the

MANTEGHI: Plays Sir Henry Baskerville

Dog in the Night Time) stars as Sherlock Holmes, Serena Manteghi (Welcome To Iran Mrs Wilson) plays Sir Henry and Niall Ransome is Dr Watson (Mischief Movie Night, The Comedy About a Bank Robbery). Director Wakeham said: “I’ve been blown away by the wonderful response to this production; it’s been a real joy to have audiences back in the theatre, laughing uproariously every night. “It’s exactly the sort of joyful, energetic and entertaining show that audiences will be hungry for and I’m delighted to be sharing the Octagon’s work across the UK.” n Go to: our-productions/the-hound-ofthe-baskervilles/about-the-show for more details.

The Big Event Angela Black

Is it all Bl

Joanne Froggatt stars in dark ITV thriller


IAR AND Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt is Angela Black in ITV’s new thriller. Angela’s life appears idyllic: a lovely house in suburban London, working volunteer shifts at a dogs home, two beautiful sons and a charming, hard-working husband – Olivier. But, beneath this façade of charmed domesticity, Angela is a victim of domestic violence. Olivier (Michiel Huisman) is controlling and brutal but Angela loves him and he’s the father of her children. She can’t leave him, even though she has threatened to countless times. So she covers her bruises with make-up and fabricates lies to explain away her missing teeth. Until, one day, Angela is approached by Ed Harrison (Samuel Adewunmi), a private investigator, and he smashes her already strained domestic life to pieces. Ed reveals Olivier’s deepest secrets to Angela, and she is faced with horrifying truths about her husband and his betrayals. But can Angela trust Ed? And what truths will be revealed in the ferocious fight between Angela and her husband? The drama follows her as she risks everything she holds dear to fight back against the man who has suppressed and tormented her for most of her adult life.


arry and Jack Williams are the series’ writers and executive producers. Harry said: “We’d been watching a lot of Hitchcock films and initially we thought we’d like to do something that felt like one of those, those amazing thriller moments that find tension in domestic moments.” Jack said: “It is very important to do a lot of research when you’re writing a show like this, about domestic abuse. You need to speak to people who work in shelters, hire consultants and read as much as you can.” Harry added: “It was important that we do it justice and that we were accurate about the psychology

INJURIES: Angela hides wounds caused by husband Oliv

of the abused and the abuser, both sides of the story. It was important to try and be truthful with it.” Froggatt said: “I really wanted to play this character and be involved in this project because I’ve worked with Jack and Harry before, who are brilliant writers. I just absolutely loved their script, they have an amazing skill at not only writing incredibly gripping material that is incredibly entertaining, but also doing that based around subject matter that can be extremely sensitive." She added: “I think it’s incredibly

Royal Air Force News Friday, October 22, 2021 R'n'R 5



Gordon Ramsay Uncharted (E)

lack & white? Eel have you hooked On DVD and Download-to-own from Oct 25 (Dazzler Media)

ALL MOD CONS: Angela (Joanne Froggatt) seems to have the perfect life and the perfect kitchen, but it's a facade

WHERE'S MY PAN? Bung some posh chips with that and Gordon can serve it up for £32 a portion


NE OF the best-known faces on TV thanks to shows like Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares and The F Word, Gordon Ramsay is also one of the stars of the popular ITV road trip series with Gino D’Acampo, and Fred Serieix. Now Ramsay takes viewers on a worldwide culinary adventure in Gordon Ramsay Uncharted, and we have copies of Season One on DVD to win. In this series we see him travel to incredible and remote locations across the world, in search of culinary inspiration, epic adventures and unforgettable cultural experiences. The multi-Michelin starred chef has opened a string of successful restaurants across the globe, from the UK and France to Singapore and the United States. He initially aspired to be a professional footballer. When an

foremost a piece of entertainment. We’re not saving lives, it’s a television drama, but just to open up a subject matter to a wider audience is helpful when it’s done in the right way.”


vier (Michiel Huisman, right)

important for television drama to tackle sensitive subject matters, I’ve tackled a few in my career and I feel passionate about that because drama and entertainment can be a window into a subject matter for an audience that they may never have thought about or may never have been on their radar. “This is first and

uisman said: “I thought this character would be challenging but great to play. I was also dying to work with Joanne and Samuel. “I loved reading the scripts, I thought they were very suspenseful, I loved all the plot twists. "What I really like about the Williams brothers’ writing is that their characters are real people, they are layered characters. Even someone like Angela, who is the victim in this relationship, she also has her own flaws.” He added: “There were a lot of challenging moments, many emotional and violent scenes, but I think the biggest challenge for me as an actor was that nobody in this show is ever speaking the truth. There is always something else going on, and for me it was very important to always be on top of that.”


Rod Stewart The Tears of Hercules

injury prematurely put an end to any hopes of a promising career on the pitch, Ramsay went back to college to complete a course in hotel management. He went on to train with some of the world’s leading chefs, including Albert Roux and Marco Pierre White in London, and Guy Savoy and Joël Robuchon in France. For your chance to win a copy of Gordon Ramsay Uncharted Season One on DVD, just tell us: What did Gordon Ramsay initially aspire to be? Email your answer, marked Ramsay DVD competition, to: competitions@ or post it to: RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe, HP14 4UE, to arrive by November 5.

New album

Sir Rod's Herculean effort REVELATIONS: PI Ed Harrison (Adewunmi)

Adewunmi said: “My first reaction when I read the script was ‘this is bonkers’! It’s a world I haven’t actually known. “Ed is a very multi-faceted, interesting character… he’s a deeply troubled character who struggles with his sense of morality and his sense of right and wrong. “I hope the show teaches people to just question things a little bit more and try to be there for people. The drama of it is crazy intense! I think people are going to watch it thinking ‘woah’, and ‘what happened?’ and ‘wow’.” n Angela Black continues on ITV at 9pm on Sundays.


IR ROD STEWART’S rekindled love of songwriting grows stronger on his 31st studio album, The Tears of Hercules. It’s his fourth new album of original songs since 2013 and for this latest release he wrote nine of the album’s 12 tracks, including the first single One More Time. The new album is a project close to the 76-year-old’s heart, especially the song Touchline, which he dedicated to his father, who taught him and his brothers to love football, a tradition Sir Rod has passed down to his sons. “I’ve never said this before about any previous efforts, but I believe

this is by far my best album in many a year,” Stewart revealed. He once again worked with Kevin Savigar, the keyboardistsongwriter-composer who has co-produced his last three studio albums: Time (2013), Another Country (2015), and Blood Red Roses (2018). Their longrunning collaboration began in 1978 when Stewart invited Savigar to join his studio and touring band. As well as One More Time, they also co-wrote the tracks Hold On and All My Days. The Tears of Hercules will be available on CD and LP from November 12. Go to: Rhino. to pre-order.

Royal Air Force News Friday, October 22, 2021 R'n'R 6

R'n'R Your Announcements

You can email photos for announcements on this page to:


around the world including representing the RAF, which led to a brief time as manager of Trevose Golf Club in Cornwall. Lionel leaves behind his four sons and second wife Shirley. The funeral will be held on October 25, donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Society or Cancer Research UK. Further information is available from: adam.


Gp Capt George Grindley GRINDLEY George Lionel Gp Capt OBE. December 20, 1933-October 8, 2021. Lionel joined the RAF for his National Service and trained as a navigator in Winnipeg in 1952. A long, varied and distinguished career took him around the world with involvement in several memorable events. His early career was centred around tours on the venerable Shackleton operating out of RAF Ballykelly, with numerous postings in between taking him for a short foray onto helicopters and a posting to Hong Kong. In the early 70s he had a staff officer posting in Cyprus during which the Turkish decided to invade the island. A tour as OC Ops at St Mawgan earned him his OBE and cemented future roots in Cornwall. Lionel continued his international travels with Staff College and an exchange tour, both in the USA with the US Navy. After a brief return to the UK he capped his career as the Naval and Air Attaché to South Africa, returning in 1987 and retiring the following year. In retirement he continued his passion for golf which he excelled at, having played

LOOKING to reach former graduates of OCTU 253 OMC who marched off the square at RAF Henlow for the last time on January 13, 1972. Nigel Tuffs is working on a plan for a reunion (possibly lunchtime in RAF Club) on January 13, 2022 to mark the 50th anniversary of this memorable occasion. Those interested should contact him on: thetuffys@

Reunions DID you serve at RAF Changi or at HQFEAF Singapore? The RAF Changi Association (inc. HQFEAF) founded May 1996 welcomes new members from all ranks, ex RAF/WRAF/WAAF and civilian personnel who served at RAF Changi (inc. HQFEAF ) during 1946-72. For more information please contact our Membership Secretary: Malcolm Flack on: 01494 728562 or email: MemSecChangi@outlook. com or visit: www.rafchangi. com for more details. RAF Bawdsey Reunion Association. Having cancelled our 2020 reunion, we were planning the next reunion for June 5 this year but the continuing Covid-19 restrictions made it impossible to hold a successful reunion for our members, so the June

5 event was cancelled. A consensus showed that members were not in favour of a reunion in September 2021, therefore we have provisionally planned the next reunion for Saturday, May 21, 2022, before The Queen’s Jubilee celebrations and the extended public holidays in early June, and we look forward to seeing our friends again then. In the meantime we wish you all a safe and healthy time as the roadmap out of lockdown progresses. If you have any queries please email: doreen. bawdseyreunion@btinternet. com or call: 07513 301723.

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

Annual church concert

CAMBRIDGE: The RAF Church, St Clement Danes in The Strand in central London

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:

Scampton window

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

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

AFTER A two-year absence due to Covid-19, the Beccles Branch of the RAF Association held its annual Battle of Britain remembrance service and parade last month at St Benet’s Minster. Branch President Brian Vousden said: “This conclusion of Battle of Britain week 2021 marked a turning point and a resolve to get back to our normal pattern of operations with a church service commemorating the sacrifice made by RAF personnel and others in 1940. “Following the service hosted by Fr Martin Gowman and including Canon Ron Tuck, Norfolk and Suffolk Wing Air Cadets Padre, we were also honoured to have with us and representing the RAF, Wg Cdr Kim Balshaw who delivered the address and also the exhortation ‘They Shall Grow Not Old’. “Many civic guests including our Beccles Mayor, the Chairman of Waveney District Council and representatives of veterans’ associations including the Royal British Legion, Beccles Branch, also attended.” After the service, there was a parade of Beccles RAF Air Cadets and the Standards of veteran organisations were paraded outside the church.

Can you answer the RAFBF's call for help?

Catering Association RAF Catering Warrant Officers’ and Seniors’ 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? For more information or a membership application form email: davescott10@

Parade marks turning point for RAFA branch

STUNNING: The RAF Scampton commemorative window

AN online version of the commemorative book for the RAF Scampton commemorative window at Scampton Church has been uploaded after supporters from distant parts of the UK, and around the world, were unable to visit and view it. You can also sponsor one of the commemorative window’s panes for a suggested donation of £100 per pane. Please contact: rafwindow@ for full details.

THE RAF Benevolent Fund is looking for volunteers to support its Telephone Friendship group service. A spokeswoman for the charity said: “The service provides a weekly phone call for RAF veterans and partners or spouses of former personnel to ease loneliness and social isolation. The service became a lifeline during the pandemic, when vulnerable older people were asked to shield to protect themselves from Covid-19. “As a result, in the last six months the number of veterans being supported by Telephone Friendship groups has gone up by 29 per cent. “ RAF veteran Reg Lawrence (inset) described the difference the group makes to him. “Without the Fund I’d spend all day on my own. I really look forward to the calls. Whatever we talk about we always have a lot of laughter. It makes a real difference,” he said.

The calls are managed by a volunteer facilitator there to support the group throughout the call. All facilitators are given training before being introduced to their group. Volunteer Jo Terrey wanted to give something back to the Fund after she and her family received support when she left the RAF. She said: “I love listening to the guys. They are fantastic. I get out of it as much as they do, if not more. It is so important to have these kinds of communications, especially in these difficult times.” If you can spare one hour a week to support the service the RAFBF wants to hear from you. If you are unable to commit to one hour a week, the Fund also need facilitators to provide ad-hoc cover for holidays. Contact Welfare Services Executive Sally Austin at: for more details.

Royal Air Force News Friday, October 8, 2021 R'n'R 7

R'n'R Your Announcements

You can email photos for announcements on this page to:

Campaigner Ena celebrates 103rd A ROYAL Star & Garter resident has celebrated her 103rd birthday at the charity’s home in High Wycombe. Ena Mitchell was treated to a day of pampering by staff, who styled her hair and gave her a manicure. She also enjoyed a socially distanced party with other residents from the floor she lives on at the home. The Indian food fan also indulged in a curry lunch, specially cooked by the home’s chef. Royal Star & Garter

provides care to veterans and their partners living with disability or dementia. The youngest of five children, Ena was born in Kingsley, Hampshire, on September 30, 1918, during World War I. Royal Star & Garter was established two years earlier to care for the severely injured young men returning from the battlegrounds of WWI. Ena married Bill, a soldier who served in the East Yorkshire Regiment, in 1939. He was one of the 330,000 troops successfully evacuated from Dunkirk in 1940, and four years later took part in the D-Day landings on June 6 – his 33rd birthday. Bill survived the offensive, but, on September 13 that year, was killed in Belgium when the Bren gun carrier he was travelling in to fetch supplies for his unit was bombed. Ena’s and Bill’s daughter was just two at the time. Later, Ena started fighting for the rights of the women who had lost husbands during the war, and joined

Tickets for heroes BIRTHDAY GIRL: Ena enjoyed a curry on her special day; below left, pictured with husband Bill

the War Widows’ Association (WWA). She began raising money for Royal Star & Garter after visiting its former Richmond Hill home in the 1970s through her work with the WWA. Over the next five decades, she raised thousands for the charity, often asking for donations to Royal Star & Garter each birthday, instead of presents. The great-grandmother said: “I’ve had a lovely day.

Thank you to all the staff at Royal Star & Garter who organised it and made it so special. I am a lucky lady.” The High Wycombe home is welcoming new residents, go to: for more information. Q As part of its Remembrance campaign, Conflict Never Stops, Royal Star & Garter will be reflecting on the service and sacrifice of veterans and others.

IF YOU’RE a serving member of the Armed Forces, a reservist or a veteran, or work for the Ministry of Defence, you can now claim a 25 per cent discount* on tickets to shows at Milton Keynes Theatre. The theatre has launched its Local Heroes initiative, offering the sizeable discount to a range of professionals including emergency service workers, teachers and social workers. Emma Sullivan, director of Milton Keynes Theatre, said: “There couldn’t be a better time to thank and give back to our Local Heroes for their hard work and tireless dedication to the local community.” The discount is available for various shows across the theatre’s autumn season and beyond, including musicals, dramas, ballet and the pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk, starring Ashley Banjo and Diversity. Eligible bookers can also enjoy a discounted night at the opera when Glyndebourne bring their trio of productions to Milton Keynes from November 10-12: Donizetti’s Don Pasquale, Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress and Handel’s Messiah.

*Available on selected performances. Discount does not apply to purchase of Price Promise tickets. Limited to four tickets per booking. Only one discount available at any one time. Must bring valid professional ID when presenting tickets. Transaction fees apply. Not all guests are required to be a Local Hero, just the lead booker.

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Royal Air Force News Friday, October 22, 2021 R'n'R 8


R'n'R Prize Crossword No. 302

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

Solve the crossword, then rearrange the 15 letters in yellow squares to find a major RAF event.

Across 6. Not quite royal prince that is right beside plane (7) 7. Second RAF attack takes twist (5) 9. Train company and its line (5) 10. ACM embraced by earwigs tonight (7) 12. Deprivation that is opening station (11) 14. It will become Protector when its enters RAF service (11) 18. Heartless colonel prompt without doubt (7) 19. Shoot at wading bird (5) 21. Or treat partner to piece of magic (5) 22. After reaching tip of Africa, learns about weapons (7) Down 1. Brownie quite honest at the end of the day (5) 2. Immediately troop around North (6) 3. And 4 Down. Espy other building: it’s as easy as that! (3,6) 4. See 3 Down 5. Teacher returns German dish (7) 8. At two points POTUS smashes wine for sale (3-4) 11. Attack a sailor, by the sound of it (7) 13. Heavens, good time bird (7) 15. Type of cherry has northern look (6) 16. WWII battle on mostly Italian river edge (6) 17. Box around egghead’s RAF weapons system (5) 20. Go wrong with main deterrent (3)

Name ................................................................................................................... Address ............................................................................................................... .............................................................................................................................. .............................................................................................................................. RAF event ....................................................................... Crossword No. 302

Prize Su Doku No. 312 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 November 5, 2021.

Theatre Pantos

Milton Keynes Theatres/Sunderland Empire

Address .................................................................. ................................................................................. ....................................................Su Doku No. 312

The winner of Su Doku No. 311 is Paul D'Arcy of York.


Family fun



Solution to Su Doku No: 311

The winner of Crossword No. 301 is Robert Manley of Exeter. Solution to Crossword No 301: Across – 7. Yellow 8. Runway 10. High Tea 11. Flier 12. Oath 13. Board 17. Kabul 18. Sari 22. Salad 23. Rascals 24. Absent 25. Casino Down – 1. Typhoon 2. Flights 3. Booth 4. Duxford 5. Twain 6. Myrrh 9. Manoeuvre 14. Landing 15. Malaria 16. Air Show 19. Aswan 20. Clash 21. ISTAR RAF aircraft – Buccaneer

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

9 to 5 The Musical Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury

Take heart, take Hart

DIVERSITY: Bean there, done that

LEADING LADIES: Vivian Panka (Judy), Louise Redknapp (Violet) and Steph Chandos (Doralee)



RITAIN’S GOT TALENT winners, street dance sensations Ashley Banjo and Diversity, star in this year’s panto at Milton Keynes Theatres, Jack and the Beanstalk, from December 11 to January 8, 2022. A giant adventure for all the family is promised where Ashley plays Jack and his brother Jordan Banjo plays…Jack’s brother. Doomed to sell his trusty cow,

audiences can join Jack as he fights to save the beautiful princess, outwit the evil giant and win riches beyond his wildest dreams – and the hand of the girl he loves. SUNDERLAND EMPIRE has announced that Su Pollard (left) will star as the Wicked Queen in Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs from December 10 to January 2. Best known as Peggy in the BAFTA award-winning sitcom Hi-De-Hi,

she’s played countless roles on stage, television and film. Su will join the North East queen of comedy, Miss Rory (aka Dan Cunningham), who will star as the hilarious Nurse Rorina. Theatregoers can embark on a pantomime adventure deep into the enchanted forest featuring another beautiful princess, plus a jealous Wicked Queen, seven bumbling dwarfs, a naughty nurse, and a hilarious jester. Go to: for more details about both pantos.

FTER LEAVING 9 to 5 The Musical you’re sure to be humming the hugely catchy title song – probably for the next few days. Dolly Parton’s hit show, now on a UK tour, stars former Eternal member Louise Redknapp as Violet Newstead. She’s already proved herself a strong musicals performer with a leading role in Chicago and she showcases her talent as a singer, actress and dancer in her portrayal of office worker Violet pushed to boiling point – with colleagues ditsy Doralee (Stephanie Chandos) and newcomer Judy (Vivian Panka) – by their sexist and egotistical boss Franklin Hart Jr (Sean Needham). As anyone who’s seen the 1980

film starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly herself will know, the trio devise a plot to kidnap horrible Hart Jr and turn the tables on their despicable supervisor. Will the women reform their office – or will events unravel when the CEO pays an unexpected visit? I saw this excellent touring production at Aylesbury’s Waterside Theatre – it’s a feelgood gem and great way of escaping the encroaching autumn blues. The cast are outstanding, especially the three female leads, Needham and Julia J Nagle as boss-besotted Roz. Review by Tracey Allen Go to: for tour details. Tour runs to Jan 2022.