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The Forcest'e favourir pape

Win win Cranwell centenary celebration

Win win, Nightfight Blitz ace book

● R'n'R p3

● R'n'R p5

Friday January 24 2020 No 1483 70p


First among equals The pioneering women who blazed a trail to the frontline

Winter Sports Champs kick season off

Historic first for Gunner Georgia

● Sport p34

Fencing Rocker Bruce on the loose

19-year-old graduates as first RAF female recruit to take on close combat role Simon Mander

● Sport p31

See p18-19

COMBAT READY: LAC Sandover rehearses a weapons drill on a SA80 A2 rifle ahead of her graduation at Honington. PHOTO: CPL DAVE BLACKBURN

A TRAILBLAZING teenager has made Forces history as the first female Regiment Gunner to graduate from Honington and is now set to join specialist frontline RAF Force Protection teams in a close combat role. Pioneering 19-year-old recruit LAC Georgia Sandover revealed she was inspired to achieve her historic ambition by a schoolteacher who was a

RAF Regt veteran. She said: “I am really proud and thrilled that all of us on the course graduated today. We have all supported one another from beginning to end. I am looking forward to my posting and can’t wait to get on with my new job. "To anyone that is thinking of joining the RAF Regiment, male or female, I say ‘Don’t be afraid to give it a go’. ” ● Continued on p3

Royal Air Force News Friday, January 24, 2020 P3

When I read the first Grantchester script I knew it would be a hit

Actor Robson Green, back on screen as detective Geordie Keating in series five of the ITV crime drama RnR p4-5

I’ve been impressed with the boys’ attitude and endeavour. Many were on debut and stood up well

RAF rugby league head coach FS Garry Dunn on his side’s exit from the Challenge Cup p36

I’m looking forward to my posting and can’t wait to get on with my new job

LAC Georgia Sandover on making history with the RAF Regt p1-3

Female Gunner graduates RAF News Room 68 Lancaster Building HQ Air Command High Wycombe Buckinghamshire HP14 4UE Editor: Simon Williams Email: editor@rafnews.co.uk Tel: 01494 497412 Sports Editor: Daniel Abrahams Email: sports@rafnews.co.uk Tel: 01494 497563 Features Editor: Tracey Allen Email: tracey.allen@rafnews.co.uk Tel: 01494 497622 News Editor: Simon Mander All advertising: Edwin Rodrigues Tel: 07482 571535 Email: edwin.rodrigues@rafnews. co.uk

● Continued from front LAC Georgia is one of 18 rookies to pass the tough 20-week Phase Two training, learning basic combat tactics, advanced fieldcraft skills and completing live-fire exercises. Passing the gruelling course earns her the right to wear the Regt’s famous shoulder-badge ‘mudguards’. The successful trainees will now be posted to a Field Squadron for Mission Specific Training. The RAF was the first Service to open up all branches and trades, including close combat roles, to women in September 2017. Commandant General for the RAF Regt Air Cdre Scott Miller said: “The RAF has led the way in the Armed Forces integrating women into the Service and into combat roles. “The graduation of the first female regular RAF Regt Gunner marks a further step forward in the drive to equality, diversity and inclusion and is a significant milestone for the Corps.” Honington Station Commander Gp Capt Matt Radnall added: “This is particularly special because we have

HISTORIC: LAC Georgia Sandover is the first woman to complete RAF Regt training, inset left, with other graduating Gunners PHOTOS: CPL DAVE BLACKBURN

celebrated the graduation of our very first female trainee into the Regiment – a significant event in our 78-year history.” Physiological research is being undertaken to explore the potential adverse health effects on women in combat roles and is due to conclude in 2021. Service chiefs say they will be implementing measures to minimise the risks associated with opening recruitment for the RAF Regiment to women in a bid to encourage more female recruits.

This Week In History 1942

Subscriptions and distribution: JPIMedia Print Holdings Ltd 26 Whitehall Road Leeds LS12 1BE Tel: 020 7855 7574 Email: rafnews@jpress.co.uk

Hurricane upgrade

The first of 48 Hurricane Mk IIs flown by 242, 258 and 605 Sqn took off from HMS Indomitable to reinforce the defences of Singapore. 1991

Bucc starts here

Operation Desert Storm: the first 12 Buccaneers from 12 and 208 Sqns and No.237 OCU departed for Muharraq, Bahrain to be fitted with Pave Spike laser-desig pod.


Canberra heads West

Six Canberra bombers of No.9 Sqn left RAF Binbrook for West Africa and the Gold Coast, Sierra Leone, Gambia and Nigeria. The Sqn’s presence coincided with a state visit by The Queen.

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

Royal Air Force News Friday, January 24, 2020 P5


Vegan the champions Sgt forms world’s first plant-based rugby club

A SPORTS-MAD airman with a beef against meat is setting up the world’s first vegan rugby team. RAF Sgt Brendon Bale said goodbye to burgers, shunned sausages and gave chops the chop after finding fruit and veg turbocharged his performance. Now he’s trying to turn the Green Gazelles team into an animal fat-free fab 15 with the backing of top elite athletes. Sgt Bale, 29, said: “I discovered the benefits of a plant-based diet in 2017 as my partner Amy was struggling LEAN, MEAN, GREEN MACHINE: RAF Sgt Brendon Bale has seen his fitness levels soar since he eschewed meat for a fruit and veg diet

with intense back pain. Seeking to prevent surgery we adopted a plant-based diet, which reduced inflammation and aided in her recovery. “Despite concern from friends and family that we would not get enough protein we kept true to ourselves, researched thoroughly online and experimented with new recipes. “In just my first week I felt like a new person, but it was six weeks in that surprised me most. I would routinely run 1.5 miles for a rough gauge of my fitness level, I was shocked to find I shaved 1 min 20 secs off my personal best – it was at that moment the fire started in my belly and I never looked back.”

KEEN RUGBY PLAYER: Sgt Bale (centre) has represented the UK Armed Forces U23s at Twickenham Stadium

The Chief Clerk at Ramstein Air Base started playing rugby aged six and has represented the UK Armed Forces U23s in an exhibition fixture at Twickenham. While working for the European Joint Support Unit he set up the multi-national SHAPE Barbarians RFC in Belgium, where his teammates witnessed his conversion

to a plant-based lifestyle. But after reading accounts by successful vegan elite athletes including Formula One’s Lewis Hamilton, boxer David Haye and tennis star Venus Williams, he decided to set up the Green Gazelles. He said: “It has been richly rewarding to receive so many

positive responses from wellknown professional rugby players and celebrities who love our vision and we now have a list of more than 60 players keen to represent us.” They include New Zealand All Black Adam Thomsen, Italian international Mirco Bergamasco, Australia’s Curtis Rona, vegan chef Gaz Oakley, who has 850,000+ YouTube subscribers, singer Bryan Adams, and former American profootballer and vegan activist David Carter. The new club has recruited coaches and nutritionists and is affiliated to Dorset & Wiltshire RFU. “We are currently preparing for our 7s Campaign, which kicks-off on May 16 in Guildford at Ultimate Rugby Sevens. It has been a truly humbling six months so far filled with challenge, education and positiveness,” said Sgt Bale. More information on the team can be found at: Instagram: @ G r e e n G a z e l l e s Ru g b y, Facebook: @GreenGazelles, Twitter: GreenGazelles7s and greengazellesrugbyclub.com

Chin-Chin Double joy for Sqn Ldr Bob

ODIHAM AIRMAN Bob Hylands is raising a glass to the iconic Chinook as the veteran combat helicopter celebrates 40 years service… as he marks four decades with the RAF. Sqn Ldr Hylands signed up in 1980, the year the Chinook was introduced. The pair both made their operational debut in the Falklands conflict in 1982, although Bob was then deployed with the Harrier force. He was first posted to RAF Odiham in 1991, working as a technician before completing a degree in mechanical engineering and being commissioned into the Air Force engineering branch in 2000. Sqn Ldr Hylands (pictured) has completed tours in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Cyprus and the Balkans on a range of aircraft and returned to the Hampshire station last year to be reunited with the Chinook just ahead of its 40th anniversary. He said: “I am delighted to be serving at Odiham again after an absence of some 20 years since commissioning from here.

“It is a privilege to be associated with the Chinook again as we celebrate our 40 years of service together.

This will be a very special year, which I look forward to immensely, and I feel proud to be part of such an exceptional Force.”

OPS: Chinook over Afghan mountains

PHOTO: Cpl Lee Goddard


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Royal Air Force News Friday, January 24, 2020 P7


Tempest team target 2035 for sixth gen fighter Simon Mander THE RAF’S first sixth generation fighter could enter service by 2035, according to aerospace chiefs. The Tempest prototype (right) is set to be the first warplane designed to fly with or without a pilot in the cockpit and feature a range of experimental systems. Defence chiefs, supported by industrial partners, are seeking government funding for the jet which they say will spearhead the UK’s future combat capability. BAE Tempest director Andrew Kennedy said: “This is a once-in-

a-lifetime opportunity to create the next iconic combat air programme, protect critical skills, contribute to UK prosperity, and project strategic influence across the globe.” “The Government’s combat air strategy is a clear statement of intent to remain a world leader in this sector. “We must show that we can deliver a flexible, affordable, capable, exportready next generation aircraft by the mid-2030s.” The aircraft will feature mixed reality technology, which works with the Striker II helmet mounted display and allows pilots to customise their

cockpits and use controls by voice, gesture or touch. BAE Chief Test Pilot Steve Formoso said: “These concepts offer the potential for pilots to do things much more quickly. “In a combat aircraft, if you can do things quickly and intuitively, it provides a vital edge over whoever you are flying against.” World-first electrical technology including a small Rolls-Royce starter generator will allow the future fighter aircraft to harness unprecedented levels of power and thermal load without compromising


its stealth profile. The Tempest team is also eyeing an experimental radar receiver built

TV chef Jamie under fire in curry cook off

by Leonardo which is four times as accurate as existing sensors but a tenth of the size.

PUKKA TUCKER: Oliver serves up poppadoms at Wittering, inset below, Jimmy Doherty

Simon Mander TV CHUMS Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty prepared poppadoms under fire during a film shoot at Wittering. The pukka chef and his presenter sidekick turned ration packs into tasty snacks while Gunners staged a mock attack at the Cambridgeshire base. The duo met up with 3 Mobile Catering Squadron to record an episode of their Channel 4 series Friday Night Feast. Working in a mock-up of a military checkpoint dubbed Patrol Base Centurion, Jamie curried favour with SAC Matthew Jose producing a chicken korma while SAC Karl Midgley prepared beef pasties with Jimmy. During preparation, the TV chefs found themselves in a simulated hostile attack from RAF Wittering’s Force Protection Team. SAC Midgley said: “It was a bit surreal. You get used to cooking on exercises and

operations, but it’s a different experience when the cameras are on and you’re cooking next to a TV chef. But it was good because Jimmy is a proper chef and he was open to what we do.” Having fed personnel, Jamie and Jimmy were presented with official squadron patches by Warrant Officer Darren Rose. Speaking to the squadron as he left Jamie Oliver said: “Thank you very much and more than anything, I think from me and Jim, thank you guys for what you do.” Officer Commanding 3MCS Sqn Ldr Daz Purchase said: “It was a great morale booster for all of us.

“Jamie and Jimmy were happy to work in a team, and they are real chefs with professional culinary skills. “Working in a military kitchen is not easy, but they gave their all and were both excellent.”

Royal Air Force News Friday, January 24, 2020 P10


DEFENCE SITES across the UK were lit up in rainbow colours to mark 20 years since the ban on being gay in the Armed Forces was lifted. Before the landmark ruling in 2000, gay

personnel faced a dishonourable discharge. MoD main building (above), Navy HQ in Portsmouth (inset), Edinburgh Castle and Wellington Barracks in London were also lit up in the symbolic colours.

Nato eyes UK Sentry to deliver 2020 vision Simon Mander

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UK SENTRY crews are spearheading the latest Nato operations to counter Russian military aggression. Personnel will also conduct maritime missions over the Mediterranean to deter and counter terrorism, uphold freedom of navigation, counter the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and protect security across the Alliance. Officer Commanding 8 Sqn, Wg Cdr Vicky Williams, said: “2020 is a busy but exciting year for the E-3D Force. As the only RAF asset permanently assigned to Nato our focus will be on Europe.” “8 Sqn will fly weekly missions to Europe’s eastern flank from Waddington, utilising Nato air-to-air refuelling aircraft to stretch the mission out to in excess of 10 hours.” The ambitious programme is a remarkable turnaround for a Force which last year had to overcome an urgent technical inspection which temporarily grounded the fleet. While engineers raced to manufacture new engine parts from scratch, personnel were sent across the world to maintain their skills. “There is no doubt that the Sqn had a difficult six months at the start of 2019,” said Wg Cdr Williams. “The engineering effort has been outstanding, and we now have the highest and most consistent serviceability rates we have seen in a long time and are focused on a sustainable flying programme.” Aircrew were deployed to the Falklands, Saudi Arabia, Cyprus and Qatar during the crisis while others

OVERWATCH:RAF E-3D Sentry prepares for a mission at Waddington

assisted neighbouring Scampton’s Battle Management Operations to stay current. Meanwhile, controllers deployed without an aircraft to the Advanced Tactical Leadership Exercise in the United Arab Emirates, to train crews operating RAF Typhoons, French RAFALEs and Mirage 2000s, the USAF F-18 and the host nation’s F-16, and Predator aircraft. Northrop Grumman Sentry Programme Director and former RAF Engineering Officer, Simon Haywood, said: “It was a privilege to embed our field service representatives in the frontline squadron and this paid real dividends in terms of mission accomplishment.” The E-3D squadron saw a 75 per cent availability rate over the latter part of 2019 and patrolled the skies during the Nato 70th Summit in London in December. The Sentry has been involved in every major UK military campaign since it was brought into service in 1992 including counter Daesh operations in Syria and Iraq. EASTERN PROMISE: 8 Sqn Commander Wg Cdr Vicky Williams PHOTOS: SAC JAMES SKERRETT


Royal Air Force News Friday, January 24, 2020 P11


Jet wash BLAST OFF: UK Defence Carbonite-2 satellite takes off from India on board PSLV C40 rocket, in 2018. The device is designed to beam video footage gathered from space into the RAF cockpits

UK Defence chiefs eye growing space threat Simon Mander

DEFENCE CHIEFS from the UK and US will join leading figures from the tech sector in London to outline strategies to counter the growing military threat in space. The MoD will outline the latest strategies designed to safeguard UK satellites, like the Carbonite 2 device, and other space-based kit at the conference expected to attract more than 400 delegates including experts from the National Space Council and the newly-formed US Space Command. Defence Minister James Heappey said: “From supporting military operations to predicting weather patterns, accessing information from our satellites is crucial to both our security and our prosperity. “Protecting our satellites demands the development of cutting-edge equipment so we’re inviting the brightest and best from industry, academia and across government to discuss the transformative technology out there.” The conference follows a string of recent announcements on the UK’s military space programme, including the appointment of a RAF pilot to trial Virgin Orbit’s groundbreaking small satellite launch programme. Flt Lt Mathew Stannard, currently a Typhoon pilot, will join

SPACE ACE: Virgin Orbit 747 launcher will be flown by RAF Typhoon pilot

the fleet of expert test pilots trialling the Boeing 747-400 aircraft which is designed to launch cutting-edge satellites from high altitudes. Defence chiefs outlined other details of the UK’s ambitious space programme last year, committing £30m to fast track the launch of a small satellite demonstrator. The small Programme Artemis satellite demonstrator is being delivered by a transatlantic team of UK and US defence personnel and industry partners. The UK was also recently confirmed as the first formal partner in the US-led Operation Olympic Defender – a multinational military effort formed to strengthen deterrence against hostile actors in space, enhance resilience and preserve the safety of spaceflight. The Defence Space 2020 conference takes place in May.

Drone swarm unit to stand up Staff Reporter A NEW SQUADRON to test swarming drones is due to stand up later this year under a £160 million defence fund to boost frontline technology. A former WW1 Royal Naval Air Service unit, 216 Sqn flew Tristar during the Falklands War before being disbanded in 2014. The unit is being revived to operate drones designed to confuse and overwhelm enemy air defences, the MoD said. The project, run by the RAF’s Rapid

Capabilities Office which supports the Tempest programme, is funded through the defence transformation fund and will increase the combat capability of F-35s and Typhoons, a spokesman said.

DAREDEVIL DUSTERS working 100 feet above the ground gave Cosford’s collection of ceiling-suspended aircraft their annual spring clean. The Canberra, Meteor, Sabre, Hunter, Vulcan, Lightning, Dakota and Javelin got a dusting down by specialists who abseiled from the rafters of the building to carry out the five-day mopping up operation. The Museum remained open daily throughout the cleaning week and visitors could watch the high wire hoovering from behind safety barriers.

Royal Air Force News Friday, January 24, 2020 P12


Top swots take off at Wittering

ON CLOUD NINE: UAS member prepares for his first RAF flight, at Wittering


Service bids to recruit UK’s best HIGH-FLYERS FROM the latest Cambridge University Air Squadron intake took to the skies for the first time at Wittering. The students, from colleges across East Anglia and Essex, got a bird’s eye view of RAF life as the Service seeks to recruit the brightest and best. Among them was fast jet hopeful Isaac Barnett, 22, currently studying politics at Anglia Ruskin University. He said: “I’ve been pursuing this since I was 13 years old, and my family were really proud I got into Cambridge UAS. Mostly, I’m looking forward to the flying, I like to challenge myself and I like to be busy – it’s character building.” Undergraduates do not have to be at Cambridge University to join the UAS and don’t have to join the RAF after graduating to take advantage of its sports and adventurous training activities including rock climbing, skiing and sailing, in the UK and abroad. The new intake learned the basics of military life at Cranwell and returned to Wittering for physical training and briefings. Before taking off, they were given pre-flight training and kitted out with flying suits, helmets and parachutes. Cambridge Natural Sciences student Erin Gerrity, 18, said: “I’ve always been interested in the Forces. I saw the stall at the freshers’ fair and an inside experience of the Armed Forces seemed like a good idea.”

Officer Commanding Cambridge UAS Squadron Leader Rich Kellett said: “Our students will have lots of memorable experiences with us, but nothing comes close to the first flight. It makes a massive difference because it’s a tangible insight into how their own futures could look.” Former Bristol UAS member, now Wittering Station Commander, Group Captain Jo Lincoln said: “I had a great time in a UAS and, if you’re going to university this year, I’d recommend it in a heartbeat. The skills you gain in terms of teamwork, leadership, even how to approach your academic studies, will stay with you for a lifetime. “These days, it’s not just about graduating. Employers everywhere, including the Armed Forces, are looking for more than a degree. UAS experience proves that an undergraduate has made the most of their time at university and has more to offer.” STUDENT: Exploring an interest in Forces life

Royal Air Force News Friday, January 24, 2020 P13


Maiden rocker Bruce joins up

IRON MAIDEN frontman Bruce Dickinson has been appointed as an Honorary Group Captain with the RAF. The longstanding Royal Air Force supporter and qualified pilot joined 601

News Bulletin


Invictus heads for Germany THE GERMAN city of Dusseldorf has been confirmed as the venue for the sixth Invictus Games, in 2022. More than 500 serving and veteran military competitors from more than 20 nations are expected to take part in the event, organisers said. Invictus Games’ founder Prince Harry said: “Germany has been a key part of the Invictus Games family since the very start in 2014. “I know that they will be exemplary hosts in picking up the mantle and showcasing what sport continues to do for these inspirational men and women in their recovery.” South Korea has also confirmed that athletes from its armed forces will be taking part in the 2022 event for the first time.

(County of London) Sqn. The 61-year-old singer was once ranked one of the UK’s top fencers and will be competing with the RAF team once he finishes the band’s world tour.

See p31

All gong wrong for Olympic sled star Benson Staff Reporter BOBSLEIGH ACE Stu Benson has been asked to return the Olympic bronze medal he was finally awarded after a six-year battle with Russian drugs cheats – because blundering games bosses put the wrong inscription on it. Sgt Stu and his three Team GB teammates came home fifth at the Sochi winter games in 2014 – but won a podium place after two Russian teams were later disqualified for doping offences. He was finally awarded the medal last month but has been asked to return it after team bosses noticed the inscription wrongly states he was part of a ‘Four MEN’ team, not a Four Man team. But the Forces ice star is keeping his cool about the mistake – and keeping his original medal. He said: “The British Olympic rep spoke to the International

Olympic Committee and arranged for the error to be corrected. “But I won’t be sending mine back anytime soon. It took me long enough to get it. “I honestly couldn’t care less that there is a typo on it. It was obviously a translation error. “I might even go so far as to say that I like it. It’s like having a coin with a misprint and it’s got more value because it is unique. “With a few talks coming up I don’t want to risk not getting it back and having it to show off.” He added: “It was worse for the US team – their medal said ‘Four Man’s’ team – that is just plain wrong.”

MAN UP: Sgt Stu Benson with the Sochi bronze medal he was finally awarded after a six-year wait. Inset below, engravers’ blunder

Pension rules when a marriage breaks down It is a sad fact that many marriages and civil partnerships end in dissolution and, on top of the emotional stress and strains of the experience, worries about the impact on pensions just add to the mix. In this article Mary Petley of the Forces Pension Society looks at the pension aspects of splitting up in general and Pension Sharing Orders (PSOs) in particular.

THIS article makes no attempt to second guess what MOD might do as a result of the successful challenge by the Judges and Firefighters to the transition rules affecting transferees to the public sector pension schemes introduced in 2015. Once MOD’s plans are clear, we will, of course, explain them. When a relationship is legally dissolved, be it a marriage or a civil partnership, it is necessary for the couple to divide their ‘matrimonial property’, and pension rights form part of that property. In Scotland the pension component of matrimonial property is limited to that earned or purchased during the marriage or civil partnership. In the rest of the UK the whole of the pension is taken into account. In assessing matrimonial property, the property of both parties is included - the law is gender-blind when it comes to what constitutes an asset. If a couple can agree on how this split should occur the court will not normally intervene. It is not inevitable that the pension is affected. When they cannot agree, the courts decide.

Prior to 1 December 2000, courts could award an Attachment Order (AO) in England, Wales or Northern Ireland or an Earmarking Order (EO) in Scotland. Payments resulting from an AO are not paid until the pension benefits are payable to the member and they stop when the member dies. The tax liability for these payment remains with the member. The EO provides the ex-spouse with a share of the member’s pension lump sum when it becomes payable. Both Orders have the disadvantage that they can be revisited and varied, which leaves already aggrieved people feeling vulnerable to further ‘assault’. PSOs were introduced from 1 December 2000. Under Scottish law the value of the PSO is a specific monetary value whereas in the rest of the UK it is expressed as a percentage of the member’s pension rights. The expression of the PSO as a percentage causes confusion because a 50% share doesn’t usually result in the couple each receiving half of the original pension in the bank each month. This is because factors other than the straight percentage share of the pension pot need to be taken into account – for example, the age of the parties. PSOs cannot normally be revisited once implemented and the tax liability on the pension share becomes the liability of the Pension Credit Member or PCM (as the person awarded the PSO is called). Once the PSO is implemented, the ‘ex’ becomes an AFPS member in their own right, but in a limited way. The PCM cannot add to the value of their pension share, join it with another pension within the scheme or transfer it out. In the event of the PCM’s

death, the value of the pension share is NOT restored to the Pension Debit Member or PDM (as the person whose pension has been shared is called). PSOs made from 6 April 2006 are payable at age 65 and Orders before that date were payable at age 60. However, PSOs may be claimed as early as age 55 with actuarial reductions. These reductions take account of the fact that the pension will be in payment for a greater number of years than was envisaged when the Order was made. The PDM is not tied to the scheme by PCM and his or her rights under the pension scheme are not inhibited. The PDM can leave the scheme, transfer the benefits out or retire on a pension without any reference to the PCM. Further, the PDM no longer has tax liability for the value of the pension share which is now the property of PCM. In order for lawyers to work out a settlement to put before the court, or the court to impose one, a statement of the value of pension rights is required. This is called a Cash Equivalent Value (CEV). There is more than one type of CEV and it is necessary to specify that you require it for divorce purposes. If the wrong type of CEV is produced, the court may well refuse to accept it and that can build in delays. The current charge for a CEV for divorce purposes is £180. If you are a Member of the Forces Pension Society and have questions on this or any other pension issue, please contact us at pensionenquiries@forpen.co.uk If you are not a Member but would like to learn more about the Society, visit our website at www.forcespensionsociety.org


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babcockinternational.com/aviation Image: SAC Chris Thompson-Watts / © UK MOD Crown Copyright 2020

Marine | Nuclear | Land | Aviation

Royal Air Force News Friday, January 24, 2020 P15

News News bulletin

Andy on song with Cranwell concerto Air Force musician marks

college 100th with tribute Baz bids to to Churchill and Trenchard MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT: AM Sir Baz North launches programme.

beat blues

FORCES FAMILIES are to be offered free training to help them spot mental health problems in loved ones. The Finding it Tough programme was launched this month by Royal Air Forces Association chief Air Marshal Sir Baz North to coincide with so-called Blue Monday– dubbed the most depressing day of the year by health campaigners. The scheme is open to all Services personnel and their families, veterans and MoD staff. Sir Baz said: “The continuing stigma around mental health issues is something which must be addressed in all walks of life. ‘The free courses that we are offering are a vital step towards this. “These courses will help people to identify the characteristics and traits associated with mental ill health so that timely and supportive action can be taken.” ●Go Go to: www.rafa.org.uk/findingit-tough/

Brize declares war on plastic

Simon Mander SERVICE MUSICIANS are to premiere a tuneful tribute to the RAF’s founding fathers to mark Cranwell’s centenary next month. The title of the piece Altium Altrix, meaning ‘nurture the highest,’ appears above the main doors of the academy’s Officers’ Mess. The piece consists of five movements each representing a famous personality linked to the college which received its first cadet entry on February 5, 1920. Composer Fg Off Andy Stevenson said: “I decided to write a continuous piece which portrays the personalities of the various figures in five short sections with a fair amount of artistic license. “It culminates with Auld Lang Syne, a piece synonymous with the College, as it is the music that accompanies the graduating Officer Cadets’ first march into the Mess on graduation day.” The historical figures honoured include General Jan Smuts who recommended the formation of a new air service following the Royal Naval Air Service’s failure to

PIONEER: Gen Jan Smuts saw need for dedicated air service

repel attacks by German airships and bombers. Also honoured are Sir Winston Churchill and Brig Gen Hugh Trenchard, the RAF’s first commander. Aviation pioneer Lt Col Sir Sefton Brancker will also feature along with AVM Charles Longcroft the first College Commandant, who encouraged the local hunt to gather at Cranwell and formed a pack of Beagles. Bandmaster WO Andy Allott said: “Andy Stevenson wrote the piece when he was an Officer Cadet here which is a major achievement, he is now undergoing pilot training for multiengined aircraft.”

Injured Gunner rocks record books with rehab fightback Simon Mander

PLASTIC NOT FANTASTIC: Brize crusade to cut down waste

BRIZE NORTON has launched a drive to stamp out single use plastic across the station. The move comes following a campaign by the Defence Movement and Training School’s Sgt Ryan Duffy who banned coffee cups and water bottles from his unit. Now the crusade has been rolled out station-wide after it was adopted by Brize chiefs. Sgt Duffy said: “I know station personnel will support the campaign. I have met so many Brize people who are passionate about making a difference.”

TRIBUTE: Air Force musician Fg Off Stevenson composed the piece to honour Cranwell’s founding fathers, below, Cranwell College Band perfoms

A TRAINEE GUNNER injured in training turned his fight back to fitness into an indoor Nordic skiing world record. Honington-based AC Edward Iredale rolled his ankle twice while completing the Annual Combat Markmanship Test and a Field Craft exercise at the Suffolk airbase. Despite sustaining torn ligaments which meant he could barely walk, the 27-year-old went back to the gym determined to turn setback into success. Using SkiErg work-out kit, which simulates Nordic skiing to strengthen the legs, arms and core muscles, the Relentless Rock Ape set a new British

record on the machine of 10,000 metres in 35 minutes and 45.9 seconds. And just a few weeks later he smashed the world record by completing 8,546 metres in 30 minutes. AC Airedale joined the RAF earlier this year as he wanted a better life for himself and his girlfriend, and a career that would allow him to be outdoors and adventurous. He said: “I wanted to feel like I belong somewhere, to something important. “Everyone looks up to the RAF, and everyone knows it’s an important, professional organisation, and I wanted to be part of something that’s that good.”

AVM Chris lands charity top job SERVICE PERSONNEL chief AVM Chris Elliot has been appointed as head of the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund. One of the most senior women in the British military, AVM Eilliot will be retiring from the Service after 35 years to take up the post, replacing outgoing chief AVM David Murray, in April She said: “The RAFBF has been a part of my career as long as the RAF has and a constant friend should I ever need it. “I am looking forward to building on the work that is already in place to mark the Fund’s centenary and reach out and help even more members of the Royal Air Force in need.” Fund spokesman Lawrie Haynes said: “We are delighted that AVM Elliot is joining us. “Her previous roles give her a vast amount of experience and invaluable knowledge about the RAF Family and their welfare needs.






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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 2,102 Business meetings made 2018 key figures

Royal Air Force News Friday, January 24, 2020 P17


Cranwell calendar of events to mark centenary RAF COLLEGE CRANWELL is to launch nine months of celebrations to mark its centenary as the world’s first and oldest air academy next month. Among the events planned to mark the milestone are commemorative parades, themed sporting events, acts of remembrance, heritage-based activities and charity fundraising. Acting Commandant Gp Capt Gordon Bettington said: “In our 100th year we want to showcase the

vital role the RAF College plays in shaping the next generation. The celebrations are a fitting recognition and thank you to everyone at Cranwell, whose dedication, hard work and commitment are unrivalled. The inspirational spirit of the College is as strong today as it was a century ago. “The College mission has always remained the same – to produce junior officers that enable the RAF to be the most innovative, professional and progressive force in the world.”

Cranwell was inaugurated on February 5, 1920, when founder Lord Trenchard said: “This College will have the making or marring of a future service which was build up during the war by gallant pilots, observers, and other ranks who fought through it, and won a name in the air second to none in the world.” The first course was attended by 52 cadets, including two sub lieutenants and 17 midshipmen transferred from the Navy, with the

rest from public schools. Among the ex-Cadets being remembered are jet engine inventor Sir Frank Whittle, flying ace Douglas Bader, and Hugh Gordon Malcolm the first alumni to win the VC. Centenary events include a Founders Day celebration, the unveiling of a statue of Lord Trenchard and a Cranwellians reunion weekend. Also being planned are a Centenary Games sports competition, a College Voices oral history project and a Founding 52 heritage exhibition.

News bulletin

Valley Texan treat WELSH ASSEMBLY Minister Hannah Blythyn took the controls of a Texan T1 at Valley during a visit to the Welsh pilot training station. She said: “It was an hour to meet the pilots who fly these incredible aircraft.”

Tattoos go on tour GOING GLOBAL: Queen Elizabeth Carrier conducting sea trials with F-35

Japanese look to F-35 as UK showcases fire power Staff Reporter BRITISH DEFENCE showcased its latest firepower as the Chief of the Japanese Defence Force toured the new Queen Elizabeth aircraft carrier ahead of a visit to the home of the UK’s F-35 Lightning Force at Marham. General Yoshinari Marumo was given a briefing on the latest F-35 sea trials by Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston before touring the new integrated training centre used to prepare the next generation of Lightning pilots at the Norfolk station. Marham Station Commander Gp Capt Jim Beck said: “This was a fantastic opportunity to showcase the Lightning Force and

FIFTH GENERATION FIGHTERS: ACM Wigston with Japanese Defence Force Chief Gen Marumo at Marham

the facilities that have been built to support the fifth generation aircraft and its personnel. It was also an opportunity to develop our mutual interests around F-35.”

RAF downed

Challenge Cup charge ends with Bentley bust-up See6 p3

Forces fighters who bared all for Legion’s Tribute Ink show set for UK-wide run Tracey Allen

A STRIKING photographic exhibition showcasing the tattoos of military personnel and revealing the stories behind them opens this month at the National Army Museum in London. Tribute Ink,, which features seven RAF personnel, transfers from the UK’s home of remembrance, the National Memorial Arboretum, to the capital before touring to venues including Birmingham, Newcastle and Cardiff as well as some military bases, until November. The Royal British Legion’s display explores how the Armed Forces community use tattoos to express their military codes of honour and loyalty to their comrades and country. The images were taken by renowned photographer Charlie Clift who was given unprecedented access to military-inspired locations to capture Service personnel and veterans for Tribute Ink. Among those photographed for the free exhibition were Sgt Abby Winchester from RAF Cosford and Marham-based SAC Bethan Dunning (pictured opposite). SAC Dunning said: “It’s not often you get the chance to show off your tattoos in the military and to do it for the Royal British Legion is a massive honour.” Former SAC Craig Daniell (inset above),, who was medically discharged after sustaining serious injury on duty in Afghanistan with the RAF Regt, said: “My tattoo is a visual memory of my time in service, allows me to commemorate those I lost along the way and reminds me of how lucky I am to be here today.” ● Go to: rbl.org.uk/tributeink for a full list of tour dates.

Royal Air Force News Friday, January 24, 2020 P18

Royal Air Force News Friday, January 24, 2020 P19

Feature Changing face of the RAF

by Tracey Allen

Equality reaches the front line As the first female Gunner prepares for frontline combat duty ex-Group Capt Kathleen Sherit looks at the fight for equality in the British military


N HER forthcoming book Women on the Front Line, former RAF Group Captain Kathleen Sherit explains how women in the UK Armed Forces went from taking part, unacknowledged, in combat in World War II to being eligible for all combat roles by 2018. Subtitled British Servicewomen’s Path To Combat, the book presents a fascinating, detailed history of women’s roles in the military. Sherit said that equality for women in the UK Armed Forces has progressed ‘an astonishing distance.’ “It has changed beyond all recognition when you think that the RAF has a female Air Marshal now [AM Sue Gray]. When I was promoted to Group Captain in 1995 there was one woman senior to me, an Air Commodore. I was the only Gp Capt in the RAF. When I left the Service in 2002 there were just six female Gp Capts.” Among the RAF groundbreakers featured in the book are Flt Lt Julie Gibson, the first woman to complete all phases of RAF pilot training in regular service, and Flt Lt Jo Slater, the first woman to qualify as a fast jet pilot – both in the early 1990s. Sherit cited Air Cdre Joy Tamblin, director of the WRAF from 1976-1980, as another pioneer of women in the military. She said: “Joy Tamblin stirred the pot on getting women trained in the use of small arms. When I went through officer training at Cranwell in 1980 women were not trained to use weapons. It came in while I was on my first tour of duty.” The non-combatant principle governed the number of women that could be recruited, roles they could be trained for, postings, promotion chances, their pay and pensions. Sherit said that being noncombatant also affected women’s status in the eyes of Servicemen, as they could not fulfil GONG: Helicopter pilot Flt Lt Michelle Goodman was the first woman to be awarded the DFC for action in Iraq

the whole range of duties men undertook. “For example, women in the RAF couldn’t be in command of an Admin Wing because that role meant you were in charge of the ground offence of the station during exercises, so they weren’t appointed to those roles because they could not be armed,” she explained. “You get all these sorts of exclusions going on – more so in the Army. One of the issues of my book is to show the interactions in the decisions made between the three Services.” The change of policy on allowing women to serve in the RAF Regiment was subject to the Army changing its policy first, she said. “I spoke to senior RAF Regiment officers who were quite keen to have the change come in sooner that it did. They had to wait for Army policy to change because the Army had the lead on things like close combat. So, until the Army made its move, the RAF Regiment and the Royal Marines remained closed.”

CHIEF: Air Cdre Joy Tamblin, director of the WRAF 1976-80

ABOVE: Flt Lt Jo Salter, first woman RAF fast jet pilot

FOUNDER: Air Commandant Dame Felicity Peake was the first WRAF director, in 1946


nother pioneer for promoting female equality in the Services was Archie Hamilton, Minister (Armed Forces) from 1988 to 1993. The author described him as an ‘unlikely hero’, stressing that he would not claim to be an equality champion. She said: “He was very stubborn, so when the First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Julian Oswald, kept saying ‘I need more money for the recruitment budget’, Archie Hamilton used to say ‘why don’t you have women?’. “Hamilton was interested in quality and it was the quality, not the equality, that was the agenda for him. In his words, the Navy was recruiting sub-standard men and turning away good quality women.” Can women enjoy the same esprit de corps as men in the military? Sherit thinks they can. She said: “That’s well established. Esprit de corps is generated through leadership and training, it’s not a gender issue at all.

AUTHOR: Gp Capt Sherit, 1995

PICTURE POWER: Tornado GR4 over RAF Lossiemouth, taken by ‘photog’ SAC Kay-Marie Bingham

“Leadership is crucial, I don’t just mean officers, but senior NCOs as well. If the senior NCO doesn’t want a policy to work you’re not going to have huge success with it. You’ve got to have the top leadership and the middle management on board.”


herit joined the RAF in 1980 on a three-year short Service commission and stayed for 22 years. She became a training specialist and her posts included OC Admin

Wing at RAF Halton then, on promotion, commanding the Training and Development Support Unit at Halton in the mid to late 1990s. Her final post before retirement was Gp Capt Plans at HQ Strike Command (now Air Command) at High Wycombe. She was the first non-aircrew Service person and the first woman MSHL: appointed to AIR Sue Gray the role.

As a trailblazer herself – but too modest to admit it – would she encourage women to apply for close-combat roles in the military? She said: “If they think they are up to it, then yes. I don’t think you should exclude people just simply by what they are. If they can get through selection

training, then good on them, and let’s see what they make of it. “The thing about a country that relies on volunteer forces is that you really shouldn’t be excluding people if they are willing to volunteer and they can do the job. If they can’t do it, you’ll soon find out in the training. If you exclude women you are missing out on half the population.” ■ Women on the Front Line by Kathleen Sherit (Amberley-books. com) is published on February 15, priced £20 (hardback).

NAVIGATOR: Flt Lt Wendy Nichols with 30 Squadron

HERCULES HEROINE: Flt Lt Julie Gibson with 24 Squadron at RAF Lyneham

Regulars Announcements l p6-7


Back To The Futurist – Tullio Crali l p4

Royal Air Force News Friday, January 24, 2020 R'n'R 3


A nice Little Ern-er

UK Box Office Top 10 1 1917

Pair tour as comedy legends


CONIC ENGLISH double act Morecambe and Wise have been hailed as the most successful British comedy duo of all time. Highly acclaimed for their uncanny portrayal of the legendary comedians, actors Ian Ashpitel and Jonty Stephens will be back on the road with their stage show as Eric and Ernie on tour around the UK from February 11 to May 26. Jonty plays Eric and Ian stars as his diminutive partner Ernie in the show– called simply Eric & Ern – that’s garnered praise from comedy big hitters including Ben Elton and Barry Cryer. Jonty revealed that he’s been a massive Morecambe fan for most of his life. He said: “I have been fascinated with Eric Morecambe for as long as I can remember. I took on his persona at school and it never really left me. He was the funniest and loveliest of men. We both feel it’s a privilege to play

Eric and Ernie and some people have said it’s like we’re channelling them – some nights it does feel like that.” Ian and Jonty met at drama school more than 30 years ago. Having initially performed in their Morecambe and Wise guises for a charity show, they went on to earn rave reviews for their portrayals of the top comics at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. This was followed by an acclaimed run in London’s West End and an Olivier Award nomination for their play Eric and Little Ern. Ian said: “It was Jonty’s brilliant impression of Eric and his knowledge of Morecambe and Wise that laid the foundation to everything that followed really.” The pair describe themselves as ‘jobbing actors.’ Ian explained: “We have both had good, solid, varied acting careers in theatre, films and TV, from Chris Hart in


Little Women (below)


Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

4 The Gentlemen 5

Jumanji: The Next Level

6 Jojo Rabbit 7 Frozen 2 8 Spies In Disguise RESEMBLANCE: The pair as Morecambe and Wise, also inset left

[Channel 5 soap] Family Affairs to Roy Piper in [comedy series] Thin Ice on BBC2. The last TV thing I did was playing Mr Hardcastle in Mr Selfridge.” Jonty was a regular in comedydrama Minder, three series of the sitcom All About Me starring Jasper Carrott, has worked with Lenny Henry and, most recently, appeared on TV in the smash hit Peaky Blinders. Both have also worked with top writer, director and comedy genius Armando Iannucci – whose latest film The Personal History of David Copperfield is in cinemas now. What can audiences expect from Eric & Ern that plays two dates at


9 Cats

London’s Duke of York’s Theatre, on February 2 and 9, before kicking off the tour at The Playhouse, Nottingham, followed by visits to venues including Harrogate, Bristol, Bury St Edmunds, Milton Keynes, Peterborough and Lincoln? Jonty said: “It’s a real celebration of the comedy of Morecambe and Wise. You’ll see some of their mostloved sketches along with some you may not be so familiar with. “It’s real family entertainment, with good old-fashioned belly laughs at the silliness and brilliance of Eric and Ern.” ■ Go to: ericandlittleern.co.uk for full tour details.

10 Knives Out

Source: BFI



On tour



Dream days for musicals T

HIS YEAR'S looking like it's going to be a great one for fans of musicals. Dreamgirls will go on its first UK tour, and the multi award-winning Broadway and West End smash Once is also taking to the road. The Once tour goes to 23 venues from this month, continuing until July. They include Liverpool, York, Milton Keynes, Bath, Aberdeen, Cardiff and Birmingham. The musical was adapted from the criticallyacclaimed film which tells the story of a Dublin street busker and a Czech musician who unexpectedly fall in love. The show follows their relationship over five days. The 2007 film was celebrated for its original score, including the Academy Award-winning song Falling Slowly. Leading the cast is Daniel Healy as 'Guy' and Emma Lucia as 'Girl' (pictured right). Daniel is a singersongwriter, musician and actor who has co-written songs for multi-platinum artist Ronan Keating, including the single Breathe. Emma made her professional debut as Marilyn and understudying Carole King in the UK tour of Beautiful, the musical inspired by King's early life and career. Based on the cult Irish indie feature, originally shot on a micro-budget of $160,000, Once

We Seek The Highest


RAF College always aims high W THE DREAMS: Three friends in the music world


premiered at the New York Theatre Workshop in 2011 before transferring to Broadway in 2012. It won eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical. Productions have since opened all over the world, including the West End version in 2013, which received the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Music. ■ Dreamgirls opens in Bristol in September 2020 before dates in Milton Keynes, Blackpool, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Birmingham, with further venues throughout 2021 to be announced. The show, adapted into an Oscar-winning film in 2006 starring Beyoncé Knowles, Jennifer Hudson, Eddie Murphy and Jamie Foxx, features the songs And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going, Listen and One Night Only. Effie, Lorrell and Deena – The Dreams – are three talented young singers in the turbulent 1960s, a revolutionary time in American music history. The three friends go on a musical rollercoaster ride through a world of fame, fortune and the ruthless realities of show business, testing their friendships to the very limit. ■ Go to: Dreamgirlsthemusical.co.uk for more information and see: list.co.uk for Once ticket details.

E SEEK The Highest has been the motto of the thousands of Officer Cadets who, over 10 decades, have passed through the rigorous training regime at the RAF College, Cranwell. Those words embody the college ethos: to strive to reach the thorough standards demanded by the RAF, in the air and on the ground. Roger Annett’s latest book – We Seek The Highest, RAF College Cranwell, A Centenary Celebration (frontlinebooks.com) – tells the 100-year-old story from the point of view of the Officer Cadets themselves. The college was founded in 1919, 18 months after the birth of the Royal Air Force, with the aim of providing a cadre of disciplined, highly-trained officers, ready to lead the Service through the uncertain post-war and postEmpire times to come. Since then, it has responded continuously to the UK’s political, economic and military requirements.

In We Seek The Highest, RAF veteran Annett’s core narrative is based on the three years at Cranwell of 81 Entry of Flight Cadets who graduated in July 1962 with 37 jet pilots and eight navigators, having launched a curriculum-changing experiment in degree-level studies. The book features a foreword by former cadet Air Chief Marshal Sir Sandy Wilson and contains more than 100 illustrations. We have a copy of We Seek The Highest to win – for your chance to own it, simply send us the answer to the following question: When was the RAF College Cranwell founded? Email your answer, marked We Seek The Highest book competition, to: competitions@ rafnews.co.uk or post it to: RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe, HP14 4UE, to arrive by February 7. By entering RAF News competitions, you agree to us holding personal details for the purpose of sending out prizes.

Royal Air Force News Friday, January 24, 2020 R'n'R 4

Royal Air Force News Friday, January 24, 2020 R'n'R 5

R'n'R Exhibitions

Tullio Crali

A Futurist Life

The Estorick Collection, London

Future's aviation A

N EXHIBITION featuring the work of Futurist artist Tullio Crali, whose work is closely associated with the genre of ‘aeropainting’, has just opened at the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art in London. Reflecting the Futurist movement’s enthusiasm for the modern world, the artist’s powerful imagery embraced technology and the machine as key sources of creative inspiration. Crali’s work focused on ‘the immense visual and sensory drama of flight’ and is most closely associated with the genre which dominated Futurist research during the inter-war years. The new exhibition, A Futurist Life, runs at the Estorick Collection

TULLIO CRALI: Tricolour Wings, 1932 (Ali tricolori), oil on plywood

until April 11 and is the first show in the UK to be dedicated to Crali. It explores his entire career and features more than 60 rarely seen pieces from the artist's family collection, dating from the 1920s to the 1980s. Crali created his first Futurist

drawing in 1925 when he was just 15. By the mid-1930s he had become one of Futurism’s key players, experimenting with fashion, theatre, architecture and graphic design – but it was as an aeropainter that he truly excelled. A spokesperson for the Estorick Collection said: “Throughout the 1930s, countless attempts were made by Futurist artists to capture the visual novelties experienced in flight – such as vertiginous, topsyturvy landscapes – as well as its metaphysical dimensions. “Crali’s own thrilling, lyrical imagery challenged conventional notions of realism through its dynamic perspectives and effective combination of figurative and abstract elements.” During the 1940s Crali was one of a number of Futurists who took part in official war programmes, accompanying pilots on combat and reconnaissance missions. n For more details go to: estorickcollection.com.


An Inspector Calls/The Red Shoes UK tours

Back in the UK

The Inspector's still calling A

FTER A sell-out London season and American tour, Stephen Daldry’s multi award-winning production of the JB Priestley classic An Inspector Calls for the National Theatre is now on a UKwide tour. Starring Liam Brennan (Shetland, Taggart) and Christine Kavanagh (Vera), the play is set in 1912, at the home of the prosperous Birling family.

Theatrical elements come together to form a masterpiece

Arthur Birling (Jeff Harmer) and his wife Sybil (Kavanagh) are celebrating their daughter’s engagement with a dinner party. The Birlings’ peace is shattered by the arrival of a police inspector, Inspector Goole, (Brennan)

who is investigating the death of a young woman. His startling revelations shake the very foundations of their lives. Although set in a ‘golden era’ before World War I, Priestley wrote the play in 1945, at the end of World War II, when it looked as though a new social order was about to begin. Iain Gillie, the show’s producer, said: “There’s no better example of theatrical elements coming together to form a truly inspirational masterpiece – and there’s never been a better time to experience this play.” An Inspector Calls is at Milton Keynes Theatre until January 25 then tours to various venues including Bradford, Liverpool, Brighton, Cardiff, Cambridge, Glasgow, Sheffield and Leicester, until May 23. n Go to: aninspectorcalls.com for more information.

Victoria plans to reign L

EADING CHOREOGRAPHER Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures dance company’s production of the legendary 1948 Powell and Pressburger film The Red Shoes is also on tour nationwide. Victoria Page lives to dance but her ambitions become a battleground between the two men who inspire her passion. Cordelia Braithwaite revives her role as Victoria in this tale of obsession, possession and one girl’s dream to be the greatest dancer in the world. Bourne said: “I’m thrilled that for the

first revival of our 2016 hit most of the original leading cast will be returning, including Ashley Shaw [pictured] in her multi award-winning performance as Victoria Page.” The Red Shoes is at Milton Keynes Theatre from January 28 – February 1, then goes to venues including Southampton, Nottingham, Hull, Edinburgh, Sheffield and High Wycombe, until June 6. n Visit: new-adventures.net for further details.


The Big Interview

Robson Green

My beloved Grantchester is everGreen Star Robson knew the Fifties crime drama would be enduring hit


OBSON GREEN and Tom Brittney are back – Green as gruff police detective Geordie Keating and Brittney as motorbikeriding vicar Will Davenport – for series five of the popular 1950s-set crime drama Grantchester. Writer Daisy Coulam revealed that this series is much darker than its predecessors. She said: “Grantchester really is their [the characters’] Garden of Eden. But every Eden has its apples and snakes. And everyone – however perfectly they are living their lives – can be tempted to fall. “All our characters have to face up to secrets that have remained long buried and they’ll all have to acknowledge some hard truths.” She added: “We’ve attracted a stellar guest cast including Paula Wilcox, Ross Boatman, Siobhan Redmond, Stella Gonet, Sean Gilder and Tracy Ann Oberman." Former air cadet Green shot to fame in the ITV military drama Soldier Soldier in the early '90s. After reading the script for the very first series of Grantchester – based on the short stories The Grantchester Mysteries by James Runcie – shown in 2014, Green knew the TV show would be a success. He said: “If anyone would have told me that the premise of a detective and vicar solving crime in the 1950s in the village of Grantchester would run and run and be the success it is, I would have said ‘What?’. “But when I first read the script I knew instinctively it would be a hit. I loved the script, the charm of it and the relationships I really liked. We did the read-through and it was a joy to read and after the first week of filming I thought ‘this could run and run’ because it’s so likeable.”


rantchester often explores difficult storylines and themes. Green admitted: “I think this is the darkest series yet. However, the light and shade still remain because this is one of the funniest series as well. “The charm remains throughout, despite the terrible things that are happening because you care enough about the characters


Geordie sure



Lone Wolf

Greatest ace of the Blitz


LT LT RICHARD PLAYNE STEVENS was the RAF’s greatest nightfighter ace of the Blitz. He was nicknamed ‘Cats Eyes’ by his contemporaries because of his exceptional night vision and, at the height of his success in July 1941, as ‘Lone Wolf ’ – in that year he destroyed 15 and a half Luftwaffe aircraft. He achieved all this without the aid of radar or another crew member – using his amazing skill, instinct and innate marksmanship. Tragically, Stevens was killed on the night of December 15-16, 1941, after swooping on a Junkers 88 as it was about to land at GlizeRijen airfield, setting it on fire. As Stevens roared away, his Hurricane hit the ground 600 yards from the end of the runway. Now the remarkable story of Flt Lt Stevens, DSO, DFC & Bar, is told in a new book, Lone


Wolf, published by Grub Street (grubstreet.co.uk), written by aviation historian Andy Saunders with Terry Thompson. We have copies of the book up for grabs. For your chance to win one, simply send us the correct answer to the following question: What was Flt Lt Stevens flying when he was tragically killed in December 1941?

Email your answer, marked Lone Wolf book competition, to: competitions@ rafnews.co.uk or post it to: RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe, HP14 4UE, to arrive by February 7. Please remember to include your full postal address with all competition entries. n By entering RAF News competitions you agree to us holding personal details for the purpose of sending out prizes.

The Greatest Dancer BBC One

GUEST STAR: Look out for Paula Wilcox

Cheryl's in it to win it

to want to follow them.” He’s obviously immensely proud of the prime-time drama that continues to be a hit with viewers. He added: “The series has gone from strength to strength and I feel, and I think everyone agrees, that this is the best yet, most definitely. “The family aspect of Grantchester is real. We all look out for one another and we all take care of one another. And because we care so much about it, you end up loving it. “I’ve been in the business for 35 years and I’ve never been on a film set that is so joyous and life-affirming to be part of, I’m not exaggerating. “There is a serendipity amongst everybody, a lovely, happy connection with everyone, the whole team. We all respect each department and what each person plays in making this joyous and very entertaining show. I think that manifests itself in front of the lens.”



rittney, who joined the Grantchester cast for Series 4, taking over as Will Davenport from James Norton, revealed: “It was a joy to come back for another series. I was nervous going into the series after taking over from James. You hope that people want to see more of it so it was great they asked me to come back and come and play with my Grantchester family again. It’s just a dream.” n Grantchester continues on ITV at 9pm on Fridays.

You be the judge

UNCONVENTIONAL PARTNERSHIP: Geordie Keating (Green) and Davenport (Tom Brittney) are joined by Dr Judy (Stella Gonet, inset left)

U LT I - PL AT I N UM SELLING singer Cheryl, back as a one of the superstar captains in series two of TV talent show The Greatest Dancer, has revealed that making it to the final in the first series has made her more determined this time around. She said: “Coming really close to winning last year has made me even more determined to win this year, but ultimately that’s all to do with who I choose as my talent, because they’re the ones that have to get out there every weekend and perform to a live audience.” The ex-Girls Aloud singer, who has scored nine number one singles to date, added that some of the dancers from series one had inspired her own dancing. “Last year on the first series I had a group called Frobacks and they did a bit of house dance and I absolutely loved the way they did it. So I took a bit of house, just a few steps, and I added it to my latest music video,” she said. Did she do anything differently to prepare for series two? She said: “This year I came in thinking, I need to see somebody I can already visualise on the main stage at the live shows, because I didn’t have the experience before. Now I know what to expect so I was looking at them through a different eye.”

CHERYL: Determined to be number one

She added: “It’s really interesting watching the different genres of dance.” The show’s other dance captains are Glee star Matthew Morrison, Strictly Come Dancing professional Oti Mabuse and, new for series two, Todrick Hall – pop star, dancer and choreographer to stars such as Beyoncé and Taylor Swift. The second series sees the return of series one hosts the singer, rapper and former Strictly champion Alesha Dixon and Jordan Banjo, member of the award-winning dance troupe Diversity. Cheryl was, of course, famously a judge on The X Factor. She said: “The pressures of a dance captain are different to being a judge on any other show because the audience gets the first decision. The only pressure I then feel is putting them through to live TV. Can they handle it?” n The Greatest Dancer continues on BBC One on Saturday evenings.

Royal Air Force News Friday, January 24, 2020 R'n'R 6

R'n'R Your Announcements

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

Deaths BEECH Diane Flt Lt, March 27, 1967-November 20, 2019. It is with great sadness that the family of the late Flt Lt Diane Beech announce that she passed away on November 20, 2019. Diane passed away peacefully at home surrounded by her loved ones after a short but intense battle with cancer, aged 52. She was born in Canterbury and is the daughter of Len and Joan Coomber and sister to Beverley. Diane leaves behind her wife Sandra and her daughter Paige.

Flt Lt Beech’s funeral took place on December 6, 2019 at RAF High Wycombe Church on Site 3. Sandra would like to send a heartfelt thank you to all those who attended Diane’s funeral and for all the letters of condolences, cards, flowers and especially the donations made to Rennie Grove Hospice in Diane’s memory. HOBBS, Anthony Rudolph Barrington died December 7, 2019 aged 96. Tony was a Hurricane pilot with 6 Squadron in the Balkans 1944-46. A gentle man now reunited with Mary. HUNT John Lonsdale WO (Rtd ) passed away January 3, 2020, aged 71. John served for 38 years in the RAF with postings to many countries, finishing his career at RAF Brize Norton. He then joined the Civil Service and worked at HMS Collingwood in Gosport. He is sadly missed by his wife Kristeen, family and many friends.


MEYER Bernard George (Max) Sqn Ldr (Rtd) aged 102, died January 4, 2020 at the Care for Veterans

Care Home, Worthing. Max was one of the last wartime Hampden pilots and served most of his time on No 144 Squadron. He was awarded the DFC in 1941. Following a short period in civilian employment at the end of World War II, he returned to the Service in the Admin Branch. A significant part of his second career was spent on recruiting at CIOs Sheffield, Reading, Leicester and Southampton although he also served at Spittlegate, Chicksands, Fontainebleau, Chivenor and in Gan. Max will be sorely missed by his children: Penelope, Tina, Michael and Rachael as well as the remainder of his extended family.

In Memoriam DOLMAN Florence Grace Much-loved wife of Tom, ex FS BEM, RAF Fire & Crash Section 1956-1978. Dearest mother of John and Keith. Beloved motherin-law, grandmother and great-grandmother. Passed peacefully away January 12, 2015 after a very brave fight against dementia. Sadly

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. Help us to avoid errors by typing your announcement or using block capitals. We cannot, under any circumstances, take announcements over the telephone. They can be sent by post to: RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, RAF High Wycombe, Naphill, Buckinghamshire, HP14 4UE or by email to: tracey.allen@rafnews.co.uk

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.

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missed by all who knew her.

Seeking I am looking to contact Stuart Taylor aged 49 approx. He was based at RAF Brize Norton in the 00s, I think as a member of the ground crew. He lived in Blackpool in the 1980s and worked in Blackpool Tower for a short time in 1987. I believe Stuart may have played for Witney RFC late 90’s – early 00's during his time serving at Brize Norton. If anyone can please help with any information please get in touch with Marie via email: whiskymac73@gmail.com. I am looking for a contact telephone number for the 97 Squadron Association. I do not have email or www facilities. A late relation, Gerald HR Polson served on 97 Sqn in World War II and was awarded a DFM and DFC and Bar. Please contact: Brian Polson, Flat 30, Victoria Court, Railway Street, Braintree Essex, CM7 3JZ.

Reunions THE Red Arrows Association is calling for new members. It organises various events, has a Facebook page and biannual newsletter and holds a popular annual reunion. Membership is £5 a year and is conditional on having served on the Red Arrows (including the Yellowjacks) as either aircrew, ground crew or civilian support staff at any time since its formation in 1964. Associate membership is also available to people closely connected to the team. Please email: secretary@ redarrowsassociation.co.uk or visit: redarrowsassociation. co.uk.

Name .......................................................................................................................................................... Address ...................................................................................................................................................... ..................................................................................................................................................................... ..................................................................................................................................................................... Please send to: RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, RAF High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, HP14 4UE.

158 Squadron Bomber Command. The 158 Association is very active and we want to contact any veteran or relative of a veteran. We are planning a Reunion and Memorial Service for autumn 2020. Please contact: KevB@ silenicus.com. 318TH Entry – 3 S of TT RAF Hereford. Admin/Craft Apprentices are organising a reunion to celebrate our 50th

Anniversary on May 1, 2020. Any ex Apprentices who are interested in attending should contact Paul Leggott at: pleggott53@gmail.com. CALLING all 308 Entry Admin Apprentices. A 53rd Anniversary Reunion is being held at the National Memorial Arboretum on June 3, 2020 at Alrewas in Staffordshire. For further information, please contact Nick Nicholson on: 01691 682174 or email: www. nich33@btinternet.com. RAF Bawdsey Reunion Association. The annual reunion lunch will be held on Saturday, June 6 at Bawdsey Manor. Anyone who has served at RAF Bawdsey is invited to join our Association and attend the reunion. For details please contact: doreen. bawdseyreunion@btinternet. com or call: 0751 3301 723. COASTAL Command Officers’ Reunion, October 10, 2020. Please contact Ray Curtis, call: 01264 735349 or email: hjn3@btinternet.com. THE RAF Locking 119/219/404 Apprentice Entries 50th Anniversary Reunion will be held on October 23 and 24, 2020.An informal evening on October 23, 2020 will allow exapprentices to gather before the formal dinner on October 24. The formal event will take place in the ballroom of the Weston-super-Mare Winter Gardens BS23 1AJ, for all RAF Locking 119/219/404 Entry Apprentices and wives/ partners. For further details please contact Barry Cox at: barrycox124@hotmail.com. A limited number of tickets are available for all serving and retired members of the Mechanical Transport/Logs Driver Trade for the weekend of Friday, March 20 to Sunday March 22, 2020. Two nights’ B&B and a gala five course dinner on Saturday with first class cabaret and entertainment both nights at one of Blackpool’s most popular seafront hotels, all for the bargain offer price of £98 per person. For a great weekend in Blackpool with like-minded people ‘pull up a sandbag’… For further details please email: admin at: 2020rafmt@gmail.com. Tickets are selling fast – first come, first served.

5131 Sqn event APRIL 1 will see the formal disbandment of 5131 (Bomb Disposal) Squadron, the last

remaining bomb disposal unit in the RAF. To mark the event, the squadron will be taking part in a final parade followed by an evening of celebration at RAF Wittering. Anyone who has served on the squadron or undertaken EOD duties is invited to express an interest in attending. Final date to be confirmed but will be held in April, 2020. For further details please email: 5131bd75@gmail. com including name, rank held, and phone number and whether still serving or not. Once numbers of attendees are known, formal invitations will be sent.

Concert for RAFA TO celebrate 70 years since the formation of the Sheringham & District Branch of the Royal Air Force Association, a Big Band Concert by the Royal Air Force College Band will be held on February 29 at St Peter’s Church, Sheringham, starting at 2.30pm. The College Band’s first concert at Sheringham, in 2018, was sold out within days of tickets being released. All profits from the February concert will be donated to the RAF Association 2020 Wings Appeal. Tickets, priced £15, are available from Sheringham Little Theatre, either in person, online or by phone: 01263 822347. For more information please contact your local RAFA Branch on: 01263 479507.

Mess dress for sale TWO WO/SNCOs Mess dress for sale: 1 – 38" chest, 30" waist, 29" leg; 2. – 36" chest, 26" waist, 28" leg. Contact: marheat@hotmail. com.

Night with the RAF THE London Palladium hosts a glittering Night With The Royal Air Force on April 1, two days after its inaugural performance at Birmingham’s Symphony Hall on March 30. Showcasing the Bands of the Royal Air Force and the Queen's Colour Squadron the concerts will feature a youth choir and guest rapper and are in support of the RAF Charitable Trust. For more details go to: thsh.co.uk/ boxoffice/ticket/882736 (for Birmingham); 1wtheatres. co.uk/whats-on/a-nightwith-the-royal-air-forceand-friends/ (for London Palladium).

Royal Air Force News Friday, January 24, 2020 R'n'R 7

R'n'R Your Announcements

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

Dresden talk TV'S Dan Snow is in conversation with author Sinclair McKay in a special event on February 4 at Coventry Cathedral to mark the 75th anniversary of the Dresden bombing. Historians Snow and McKay, author of bestseller The Secret Life of Bletchley Park, will discuss the impact of the devastating raids between February 13 and 15, 1945, carried out by Allied Forces. A special one-off occasion, the event for the Stratford Literary Festival, marks the publication of Dresden: The Fire and The Darkness by McKay, literary critic of The Daily Telegraph and The Spectator. It is staged in association with the History Hit podcast, hosted by Snow, who is known as the ‘History Guy.’ Their discussion will cover the history of the city and the attack itself and the period of reconstruction that followed, asking was Dresden a legitimate military target, or was the bombing a last act of atavistic mass murder in a war already won, to wreak revenge for the bombing of of Coventry? For more details and to book tickets, go to: stratlitfest. co.uk.

Paws for Remembrance THE NATIONAL Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire has announced a packed programme for 2020 – including the return of its popular Paws for Remembrance Day on February 9. Last year the NMA welcomed more than 500 dogs and their owners to the fundraising event especially for four-legged visitors. A Happy Hounds High Street, full of gifts for furry friends, will be available along with free health checks and advice from the PDSA. All funds raised will support the work of the Arboretum. The Paws for Remembrance registration desk will be open from 9am. In 2019 the Arboretum, at Alrewas, attracted a record number of visitors, welcoming more than 340,000 to its 150-acre woodland site. Other highlights in the 2020 calendar include a special service of Remembrance marking the 75th anniversary of VE Day on May 8, Summer Proms on August 1 featuring live musical performances and

ECO WARRIORS: Alison and Ross in her zero-waste shop.

Plastic not fantastic CANINE COMPANION: A visitor with pet pug to last year's Paws for Remembrance Day at the NMA.

a fireworks finale and, on October 3, the popular Ride to the Wall – the largest event in the Arboretum’s calendar that sees more than 100,000

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AN AIRMAN'S wife has taken a stand against plastic pollution by opening the first zero-waste shop near RAF Lossiemouth in Moray. Alison Ruickbie, whose husband Ross is stationed at Lossie, opened The Re: Store in the town in a bid to reduce the need for single-use plastics. She offers shoppers the chance to bring their own jars and containers to buy dried herbs, spices, pastas, grains, beans and nuts as well as locally produced fruit and vegetables and household products. Alison started the shop, in Queen Street, while Ross was on a six-month deployment to the Falklands. She said: “We keep in touch via WhatsApp; whenever I can I try to show Ross around the shop so he can see what’s new."

Royal Air Force News Friday, January 24, 2020 R'n'R 8

R'n'R Prize Crossword No. 265

Solve the crossword, then rearrange the six letters in yellow squares to find a famous WWII location.

Prize Su Doku

Solutions should be sent in a sealed envelope marked 'Prize Crossword' 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 February 7, 2020.

No. 275 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.

Across 1. Young prince with nothing but circle of light (4) 8. Hamlet’s hue affected by the bottle (10) 9. RAF plane since 1066? (8) 10. Medic returns bearing secret message (4) 12. Station in depression? (6) 14. Canter wildly in semi-conscious state (6) 15. Champion from Moscow in nervous state (6) 17. A tree’s chopped down for festival (6) 18. Indifferent doctor examined Aunt Felicity, initially (4) 19. Steve ran around ex-servicemen (8) 21. The Duke’s favourite plane? (10) 22. Welshman’s platform (4) Down 2. A question for a soldier about precious stone (10) 3. Leave out Henman coming back with nothing (4) 4. Police singer at the end of the day is tight (6) 5. Colour half of Russia established (6) 6. Charles unhappy initially about old station (8) 7. Trainer should be quiet outside Odense (4) 11. Heartless, insincere editor upset by court order (6,4) 13. Waste to be buried here (8) 16. Pass Indian even once (6) 17. Grounds in Europen country (6) 18. Unhappy with clues in this section (4) 20. Managed old Penny’s foreign currency (4)

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

Name ...................................................................... ................................................................................. Address .................................................................. .................................................................................

Solution to Crossword No. 263: Across – 6. Buddies 7. Bader 9. Abbey 10. Valiant 12. Bersama Lima 14. Butterworth 18. Airline 19. Seine 21. Fleet 22. Cosford Down – 1. Jumbo 2. Adhere 3. Jet 4. Daniel 5. Pet Name 8. Bad Mood 11. Tsarina 13. Cubicle 15. Teller 16. Tee Off 17. Angry 20. Joy

Address ...............................................................................................................

RAF word – Globemaster


l The winner of Crossword No. 263 is Mrs V Todd of Co. Durham, who wins a copy of The Normandy Air War 1944 by Anthony Tucker-Jones (pen-and-sword.co.uk).

.............................................................................................................................. WWII location: .............................................................. Crossword No. 265



MMXX: Jon Kennedy Federation



JKF's 2020 vision


ITH HIS latest LP MMXX, DJ and producer Jon Kennedy is right back in the groove, but this time it’s personal. Where his sixth and last offering HA! linked back to his first album, Take My Drum to England, MMXX is a much more intimate affair. Kicking things off with the cracking single Once Upon a Time you could be forgiven for thinking Kennedy is still running on from the last five-star LP. As soon as The Base drops for the second track you know things have changed. The first album solely-performed by Kennedy, MMXX is as if the Manchester-born musician has welcomed us back to his after a heavy club night and is showing us a more personal side to his work. Return to Vysocina skips up in third and has more of a travelog feel to it. The outreaching keyboards are evocative of the Tokyo J-Line. Coupled with the skipping drums, it makes for a beautiful dream-like state. Back from the Beyond is a hard-driving beat, with a stunning vocal hook. Kun is a short, sharp interlude piece, which segways ideally into the uplifting No Help. The retro digitised toy Simon Says vocal asking: “Are you OK?” is a

perfect counter to the dream world you have to eventually succumb to. Although Toy Soldiers storms in with a harder back beat, when it gets going it is all so ethereal. The second half of it is a thing of absolute beauty and will have your head bobbing along in languid acceptance. Light dub reggae drifts in with The Melt and boasts a ride cymbal so perfectly dropped it lifts the heart. With all memories of whatever the night earlier may have held, Kennedy is now in total control and Remember Him, although short, is perfectly sweet. Strung Along barely gets out of first gear, but that’s all it needs. Something Savvy is a light, skipping dreamlike piece that raises the tempo slightly as the album nears its final destination. Four Borders closes things with Kennedy asking “Are you still with me?”, on a distant vocal. It bursts like a new day’s sun breaking through the blinds and is an uplifting way to end a cracking LP. 4 out of 5 n MMXX is out now on iTunes/ Apple Music, Google Play and all major platforms and at: jonkennedy.com.

....................................................Su Doku No. 275 Solutions should be sent in a sealed Solution to Su Doku No: 274 envelope marked 'Su Doku' with the number in the top left-hand corner to RAF News, to arrive by February 7, 2020. Su Doku No. 274 winner Mrs D Swift of Stratford-uponAvon wins a copy of Early Jet Bombers 1944-1954 by Leo Marriott (pen-andsword.co.uk).

The Serpent

Hunt for a serial killer


BC ONE has released the first images of its forthcoming new crime thriller The Serpent, starring Jenna Coleman (Victoria, The Cry), Tahar Rahim (The Looming Tower), Billy Howle (On Chesil Beach) and Ellie Bamber (The Trial of Christine Keeler). Inspired by real events, the eight-part series tells the story of how murderer Charles Sobhraj was eventually captured by international authorities in the 1970s. Rahim plays the French serial killer and Coleman stars as his partner, Marie-Andrée Leclerc. As the chief suspect in unsolved murders of young Western travellers across India, Thailand and Nepal’s

EVIL: Sobhraj (Rahim) with partner Leclerc (Coleman). Below, Krippenbergs (Howle & Bamber)

‘Hippie Trail’ in 1975 and 1976, Sobhraj had repeatedly slipped from the grasp of authorities worldwide to become Interpol’s most wanted man, with arrest warrants on three different continents. When Herman Knippenberg (Howle), a junior diplomat at the Dutch Embassy in Bangkok, unwittingly walked into Sobhraj’s intricate web of crime, he set off an extraordinary chain of events that saw Knippenberg seek to bring Sobhraj to justice for his terrible crimes. Bamber plays the role of Knippenberg’s wife Angela. The drama was written by

Richard Warlow and Toby Finlay, who wrote the BBC One hit show Ripper Street, and is a joint production between BBC One and Netflix. The Serpent is due to be broadcast on BBC One later this year.

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Royal Air Force News Friday, January 24, 2020 P21 n 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: editor@rafnews.co.uk


Nuke test alert Beards: close shave with death?

SQN LDR Peters’ letter in Anyone with this background RAF News No 1481 describes Service posting would have, of the short-term costs of the British course, come under the industrial atomic bomb trials in 1954. He diseases regulations as far as also mentions that RAF personnel compensation is concerned. were ignorant of nuclear fallout One only has to look at risk. the ongoing investigation Not only Canberras but into hepatitis/transfusion later Valiants were flown complications which were directly through the atomic known to Department of r Sta cloud after the groundHealth civil servants to r lette realise that Air Ministry/ based nuclear explosions. Photographs at the time MoD staff would have been show ground crews in shorts made aware of the isotope risk joyfully washing down the factors by Cockcroft, Penny and underside of the Gaydon Valiants the other civilian nuclear scientists after these sorties and therefore who were working up the UK keeping cool in the water which atomic bomb project in the 1950s. contained all types of radioactive As per a previous letter I wrote isotopes. to RAF News about malignant We know the long-term effect melanoma, any men now in their of the Chernobyl explosion on the 80s who served on Operation local population and unfortunate Bagpipes and who have been fire crews who went into the diagnosed with malignant disease disaster area. I do not anticipate should ensure that their civilian that ground crews that had served specialists are made aware of at Bikini/Christmas Island had their previous exposure to highlyred flags put on their medical radioactive atomic material. notes as a ‘heads up’ in the event FD Skidmore of the development of skin or lung Consultant surgeon malignant disease or leukaemia and surgical oncologist problems. Via email

Win bottle of spirits

FURTHER TO the letter in RAF News No. 1481 about beards never being smart, I served some 43 years in the Royal Air Force and the Reserves, and I seem to remember that on numerous occasions during annual CCS it was stated that one of the reasons for the no-beard rule was that the facial hairs prevented the respirator from forming an effective seal and if subject to a chemical attack there was a real danger of death. Have the latest versions of the respirator overcome this ‘shortfall’ or does the prospect of death still exist? P. McCabe Via email

ON PARADE: Could some beards may make respirators less effective?

Re: Len Milledge’s letter in RAF News No 1481 about beards, I am surprised there wasn’t a spate of letters about the subject. I left the RAF in 1982 when the wearing of beards was a medical condition, not a fashion statement. As I understand it, anyone sporting a beard cannot use a respirator as it prohibits an air seal. If that is the case, anyone with a beard cannot operate efficiently and in these days of manpower shortage that person would be ‘dead wood’ as well as being a dead person. During the Gulf War I issued heavily-bearded Saudis with respirators with the instructions that they would not work on bearded personnel; to a man they all appeared beardless the following day. David Lloyd Via email

THE WRITER of our star letter or email of the month wins their choice of either a bottle of refined Spitfire Heritage Gin or smooth Supermarine Vodka ‘built to be the best’ from spitfireheritagegin.com. Spitfire Heritage Distillers support the Spitfire Heritage Trust.

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RAF News Subscriptions, JPIMedia, 26 Whitehall Road, Leeds LS12 1BE Tel: 0207 8557574 email:rafnews@jpimedia.co.uk

Royal Air Force News Friday, January 24, 2020 P23


RAF officers graduate AIR MARSHAL Richard Knighton, Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Military and Financial Capability), was the Reviewing Officer at the graduation of The Queen’s Squadron, consisting of officers of Initial Officer Training Course No 61, Specialist Officer Initial Training Course No 2 and Reserve Officer’s Initial Training Course No 64 from Royal Air Force College Cranwell recently.

l Pilot Officer B Armes BA l Pilot Officer J A J Gould BA MA l Pilot Officer C T Roberts BA l Pilot Officer C J E Smith

the discretion of the Physical Education Staff, has throughout the Course, performed to a consistently high level during every Physical Education session: Officer Cadet J M Guthrie BSc MRes

ENGINEER (COMMUNICATIONS ELECTRONICS) l Flying Officer A P Abraham BEng l Flying Officer M T Altaykan MMath Phys MSc l Flying Officer H J Luckett BSc l Flying Officer J D Torring BEng l Flying Officer M S K Watkins BEng

THE RAF CLUB PRIZE Awarded to the RAF cadet who, in the eyes of the Directing Staff has, throughout the Course, shown grit and unwavering perseverance, meeting every challenge with enthusiasm: Officer Cadet J D Torring BEng



PILOT l Flying Officer M Dutoy l Flying Officer J A Ijewsky l Flying Officer M P E A Isherwood BSc l Flying Officer J L Moran-Munn REMOTELY PILOTED AIR SYSTEMS (PILOT) l Flying Officer M W Hibbitt l Flying Officer A D Samphier l Flying Officer T D J A Shepherd l Flying Officer K S Stevens WEAPONS SYSTEMS OFFICER

l Flying Officer D M Edmonds


l Flying Officer M C Mileham BSc


l Flying Officer L Howarth l Flying Officer G M O Leng-



l Flying Officer G Carr-Briggs BSc

Eng Tech TMIET l Flying Officer C C Denholm BEng l Flying Officer S Gharti MEng BEng l Flying Officer G J S Green BEng l Flying Officer E L S Lewis MEng l Flying Officer J P Noone MEng l Flying Officer S A Ostler BEng AMRAeS l Flying Officer D G Phelan BEng IENG MIMECHE CMGR MCMI l Flying Officer O T Wilson MEng LOGISTICS

l Pilot Officer S F H Darwish LLB l Pilot Officer L P Luckett BSc l Pilot Officer Y H Suer BSc

PERSONNEL SUPPORT l Flying Officer K Aspin BA l Flying Officer A A Cambridge l Flying Officer R S Pell PERSONNEL TRAINING

l Flying Officer J C Price l Pilot Officer J G Brass l Pilot Officer H M Cameron l Pilot Officer J W J Dutton l Pilot Officer R R Elkes DipHE l Pilot Officer A H Laundy l Pilot Officer G J Leigh BSc l Pilot Officer H L Loraine l Pilot Officer D M Voller

l Flying Officer S T Chamberlain

AIR OPERATIONS (SYSTEMS) l Flying Officer D J Anderson l Flying Officer K P Cassar l Flying Officer R Hopkins BSc l Flying Officer L P J Keefe BA l Flying Officer D J O'Boyle JP BA FdSc l Pilot Officer T W Daniels l Pilot Officer J M Guthrie BSc MRes l Pilot Officer N M Hallchurch BA MA l Pilot Officer R I Wood BSc

MEDICAL BRANCH l Flight Lieutenant P J P Bird MBChB DFSRH l Flight Lieutenant K N Birse MA(Oxon) BMBCh l Flight Lieutenant J N CroftBaker MBBS MSc FRCP l Flight Lieutenant S B Drew MBBS BSc l Flight Lieutenant C P Dryer MBChB l Flight Lieutenant D L Greener BMedSci BMBS l Flight Lieutenant A M Haigh BSc MBChB l Flight Lieutenant S H Hillhouse MBChB DOccMed l Flight Lieutenant R J Hughes BA(Oxon) BMBCh l Flight Lieutenant A M Montanez Mancera MBBS MRCGP l Flight Lieutenant S L J Rawlinson BA(Oxon) BMBCh l Flight Lieutenant C T Spence BSc MBChB l Flight Lieutenant A J Stockford MBChB

INTELLIGENCE l Flying Officer M A Mitchell l Pilot Officer C A Ashken BSocSc l Pilot Officer K E Clark BA MSc l Pilot Officer W L D Mountfield BA l Pilot Officer J P Shaw BSc l Pilot Officer C L Stewart l Pilot Officer S G Walker BSc REGIMENT l Flying Officer A M Wood l Pilot Officer J L Abson BA


BSc PGCE l Pilot Officer A Dent BA PGCE l Pilot Officer E G Milne BSC PgDip


THE DAEDALUS TROPHY The Daedalus Trophy is awarded to the student who, during training on the Specialist Officer Initial Training Course, has proved to be the best all-round cadet: Officer Cadet K N Birse MA(Oxon) BMBCh

SWORD OF HONOUR: Air Marshal Richard Knighton presents to Officer Cadet J M Guthrie

PRINCESS MARY'S ROYAL AIR FORCE NURSING SERVICE l Flight Lieutenant M K Bailey BSc l Flight Lieutenant S E Divers DipHE l Flying Officer F S Sherborne BSc CHAPLAIN BRANCH l Reverend (Flight Lieutenant) H L Grant BA BTh l Reverend (Flight Lieutenant) M A McCormick BTh DipMin GRADUATING OFFICERS OF RESERVE OFFICER'S INITIAL TRAINING COURSE No 64 INTELLIGENCE

l Flying Officer A J Grant BSc


l Flying Officer G C Hymers


l Flying Officer N M Sykes BEd l Flying Officer Thornley BA


l Flying Officer C M U Woods



l Pilot Officer A L Casey l Pilot Officer A R Hartley BA



l Flight Lieutenant S R Littlejohns


PRIZEWINNERS OF INITIAL OFFICER TRAINING COURSE No 61 THE SWORD OF HONOUR Awarded to the RAF cadet who, during Initial Officer Training, has demonstrated outstanding

ability, leadership and other officer qualities and potential for further development: Officer Cadet J M Guthrie BSc MRes THE HENNESSY TROPHY AND PHILIP SASSOON MEMORIAL PRIZE Awarded to the RAF cadet who, during Initial Officer Training, has proved to be the best all-round cadet, other than the Sword of Honour winner: Officer Cadet D G Phelan BEng IENG MIMECHE CMGR MCMI THE MacROBERT PRIZE Awarded to the cadet who, in the opinion of his or her peers, has made the greatest contribution to the Course: Officer Cadet S F H Darwish LLB THE BAE SYSTEMS TROPHY Awarded to the RAF or International cadet who has attained the highest marks for professional studies on the Course: Officer Cadet W L D Mountfield BA THE GROUP CAPTAIN WILLIAMS’ MEMORIAL TROPHY Awarded to the RAF cadet who, during Initial Officer Training, has shown the greatest improvement: Officer Cadet N M Hallchurch BA MA THE SARAH MOLAND MEMORIAL PRIZE Awarded to the RAF cadet who demonstrates outstanding qualities of courage and fortitude to complete IOT: Officer Cadet J A J Gould BA MA THE WARRANT OFFICER BILL TORRANCE TROPHY Awarded to the cadet who, at

THE CHAPMAN TROPHY Awarded to the Specialist Officer Initial Training graduate who, in the opinion of their Deputy Flight Commander, has succeeded through personal adversity with strength of character to show a significant improvement: Officer Cadet M K Bailey BSc THE SPECIALIST INITIAL OFFICER TRAINING CADETS’ CADET Awarded to the cadet who, during the Specialist Officer Initial Training Course, in the opinion of his or her peers, has made the greatest contribution to the Course: Officer Cadet A M Haigh BSc MBChB THE SPECIALIST INITIAL OFFICER PHYSICAL TRAINING AWARD Awarded to the cadet who has displayed a deep-seated will to succeed in all genres of the Physical Education syllabus: Officer Cadet J N Croft-Baker MBBS MSc FRCP PRIZEWINNERS OF RESERVE OFFICERS’ INITIAL TRAINING COURSE No 64 THE MacROBERT SWORD of MERIT Awarded to the cadet who, during training on the Reserve Officers’ Initial Training Course, has proved to be the best all-round cadet: Officer Cadet S R Littlejohns MA(Cantab) PgDip THE RESERVE OFFICERS’ INITIAL TRAINING CADETS’ CADET Awarded to the cadet who, during training on the Reserve Officers’ Initial Training Course, in the opinion of his or her peers, has made the greatest contribution to the Course: Officer Cadet P A Thornley BA

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Royal Air Force News Friday, January 24, 2020 P25

ACM Sir Michael Stear Obituary

The burly rugby prop forward who became a fighter pilot and ACM A

IR CHIEF Marshal Sir Michael Stear, who has died aged 81, was a Cold War fighter pilot who served on squadrons in the United Kingdom, Middle East and Germany before assuming senior RAF and Nato command appointments. Born in Southampton, Sir Michael did his National Service in the RAF, serving in Hong Kong as a junior technician on language duties. After three years at Cambridge University, when he started flying with the University Air Squadron, he joined as a regular officer in September 1964 and completed his training as a fighter pilot. He joined 1 Squadron, based at West Raynham, to fly Hunters in the fighter ground attack role. After two years he left for the Middle East to be the weapons leader of 208 Squadron, based in Bahrain. He co-ordinated the development of various low-level tactics including skip bombing from 50 feet and dive attacks with a more advanced rocket. His work was recognised by the award of a Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air. From April 1969 he served with the USAF’s 434th Tactical Fighter Squadron at George Air Force Base in California, where he trained fighter pilots on the Phantom prior to their assignments to Vietnam. After a period in the RAF’s personnel directorate, responsible for the appointments of aircrew officers, he was promoted to Wing Commander and in November 1974 he assumed command of the Phantom-equipped 17 Squadron based on the Dutch/German border. In addition to operating in the fighter ground attack role, the aircraft was also tasked in SACEUR’s (Supreme Allied Commander Europe) nuclear strike plan with one aircraft and crew holding a 15-minute readiness state. When 17 Squadron replaced its Phantoms with the Jaguar, Stear returned to the UK to take command of 56 Squadron, flying the Phantom in the air defence role. In December 1976 he was appointed the personal staff officer to the Chief of the Air Staff. For most of the next two years he served Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Beetham, a demanding master. CAS appreciated Stear’s hard work and advice and offered him

command of a Phantom base or the opportunity to fly the Harrier. He was attracted by the challenge of flying the RAF’s ‘jump jet’ and, after a period of refresher flying, in March 1980 he assumed command of RAF Gutersloh in West Germany, the home of two Harrier and two helicopter squadrons. During his two-year appointment he remained current on the Harrier, and also flew as first pilot on the Wessex and Puma helicopters. As the Harrier Force Commander, he deployed to remote dispersed sites to provide close support for the Army’s operations in the forward area. At the end of his tour he was appointed CBE.

When the going got tough Mike Stear was the man to be at your shoulder


fter a period responsible for air plans at HQ Strike Command, he returned to the fighter world in August 1985 when he became the Air Officer Commanding No 11 (Fighter) Group. During his period of office the new air defence variant of the Tornado began to replace the ageing Phantoms. In October 1989 he was promoted to Air Marshal to be the Air Officer C ommanding ACM: Sir Michael Stear, who died this month

No 18 (Maritime) Group, with additional Nato responsibilities in the Eastern Atlantic and English Channel. His headquarters at Northwood were co-located with the Commander-in-Chief Fleet. This was a very different

operational environment for him within which the mainstay of his force was five squadrons of Nimrod maritime patrol and antisubmarine aircraft. He immediately set about discovering the intricacies of the role, including piloting the four-engine Nimrod, and he was an excellent AOC who had a good and easy rapport with all ranks in the Nimrod force With his considerable fast-jet background he paid particular attention to his Buccaneer strike/attack squadrons based at Lossiemouth in Scotland. He converted to the aircraft and continued to fly it on exercises when time permitted. After Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in August 1990, three of his Nimrods were deployed to Seeb in Oman to conduct patrols in the Persian Gulf and they continued to operate throughout the conflict. Stear believed his Buccaneers,

with their unique low-level laser target marking capability, should be deployed to the operational area. In preparation he instructed the squadrons to devise medium-level tactics as a contingency plan. In the event, soon after the conflict broke out, six aircraft were deployed to Bahrain where they provided critical support for the Tornado bomber force. When the force, by then up to 12 aircraft, returned on March 17, he flew to Lossiemouth to welcome them back.


n 1993, on promotion to Air Chief Marshal, he became the Deputy Commander-in-Chief, Allied Forces Central Europe, with his headquarters at Brunssum in the Netherlands. He retired from the RAF in October 1996 having been appointed KCB in 1990. He maintained his links with the RAF. He was a long-standing member of the Royal Air Force Association and served as the vice-president of the European Area (1992-1996). He was elected vice-president of the national Association in 1997 before becoming president a year later. He was also president of the 208 Squadron Association (1993-2004). In 1997 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society. In 1998 he became the RAF Commissioner on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. He was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant of Devon in 2000. Sir Michael had a life-long passion for rugby. He was a burly prop forward who represented Cambridge University, Hampshire, the RAF and the Combined Services and played against the 1963 All Blacks. After his playing career, he was involved in coaching the RAF Colts and later became chairman and then president of the RAF Rugby Union and president of the Combined Services. Between 1987 and 1998 he was the RAF representative on the Rugby Football Union Committee. A former Chief of the Air Staff commented: “When the going got tough Mike Stear was the man to be at your shoulder.” Throughout his life he received devoted support from his wife Lizzie and her death in 2015 deeply affected him. Sir Michael Stear died on January 5.


We are excellent. We are QE.

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

Queen Ethelburga’s has a long-standing relationship with the British Forces, welcoming students from military families for over 100 years. We currently have over 300 such students living as part of the QE family. We welcome day students from 3 months to 19 years and boarders from 6 years to 19 years. We are CEA accredited and in recognition of our commitment to Forces families, we offer a significant reduction in fees. In 2017/18 this meant that our Forces families paid just 10% of fees. In 2018/19 Forces families will pay just £955 per term, per child (with the benefits of Childcare Vouchers this figure can be as low as £614 per term). We pride ourselves on our wrap-around specialist pastoral care for our students, providing a secure and supportive home from home. We are focused on creating the right learning and living environment so that every one of them can thrive. For further information or to arrange a visit contact our admissions team on: Tel: 01423 33 33 30 Email: admissions@qe.org

Royal Air Force News Friday, January 24, 2020 P27


DFC pilot praised by the SAS


ROUP CAPTAIN John Jennings, who has died aged 95, was a fighter pilot throughout his RAF career whose considerable action during the Radfan campaign in 1964 earned him a DFC. He joined the RAF in 1943 and trained as a pilot in Canada. In April 1945 he joined 213 Sqn in Italy to fly the Mustang. This heralded the beginning of a succession of appointments that encompassed every facet of day fighter and ground attack operations. In August 1945 213 Sqn was sent to Palestine to counter the growing terrorist threat. The squadron patrolled the crucial oil pipeline to Haifa and patrolled the eastern Mediterranean tracking illegal immigrant ships. In March 1947 Jennings joined 247 Sqn based at Odiham in Hampshire. Flying the early version of the Vampire single-engine fighter, he was commended for recovering his aircraft after the engine failed at 35,000 feet. He descended through dense cloud and found himself over an airfield where he landed. A few months later he suffered another engine failure, landing at Stanstead. After a period at the Central Fighter Establishment at West Raynham in Norfolk he left for a two-year appointment with the USAF’s 337th Fighter Interceptor Sqn, based in Massachusetts flying the Sabre.

On his return to Britain at the end of 1956 he filled a series of appointments as a senior instructor and squadron commander at the Central Fighter Establishment. After three years he was awarded a Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service in the Air. After attending Staff College, and a period in the Air Ministry, he left for RAF Khormaksar in Aden in March

1963 where he took command of the Tactical Wing of two Hunter fighter ground attack squadrons, a flight of Hunter fighter reconnaissance aircraft and a small Sqn of Shackletons operating in the bombing role. Following the Yemen revolution of 1962, Egypt’s President Nasser took every opportunity to support the Yemen claim to South Arabia, stirring

up subversion against the Federation and against British rule in Aden State. The constantly feuding dissident tribesmen, not least the lawless Queteibi – known as the Wolves of Radfan – took advantage of the unrest. A state of emergency was declared in the Protectorate and Operation Nutcracker was launched on January 4, 1964 to counter the Radfan tribes. British forces were moved to Thumier airstrip 60 miles north of Aden and Jennings and his squadrons provided close support for the ground forces, protecting the vital road through the territory. He was soon in action leading formations strafing rebel positions with cannon and rocket fire. Following attacks against a village by Yemeni MiG 15 fighters, it was decided to take offensive action. Jennings led an attack by eight Hunters against a Yemeni fort at Harib on March 28. His rockets destroyed an ammunition store. Post-attack photographs revealed anti-aircraft weapons. On April 29 an SAS patrol came under attack. Jennings was already airborne and immediately flew to the area and located the rebels. His fire kept them at bay until other Hunters arrived. They put down a barrage of cannon and rocket fire; some just 25 yards ahead of the troopers. The SAS patrol was able to withdraw under darkness but two members were killed. Major de la Billiere (later General Sir Peter)

wrote to Jennings to praise him and his pilots whose skill had saved the lives of 20 troopers. Jennings continued to lead attacks throughout the campaign and when he left Khormaksar in April 1965 he was awarded the DFC. An appointment on the staff of the Joint Warfare Establishment at Old Sarum was followed by a return in July 1967 to the Middle East as the senior air staff officer at HQ RAF Persian Gulf in Bahrain. Withdrawal of British forces from Aden had commenced and coordination of air operations devolved increasingly on the headquarters. Jennings’ next appointment was to command the Lightning base at Coltishall in Norfolk. During his two years he managed to amass 200 hours flying the supersonic interceptor. His departure for a post in Nato signalled the end of his career as a fighter pilot. He later wrote: “I cannot speak too highly of the Hunter Mark 9. I had flown every RAF ground attack fighter from the Hurricane onwards, including the Mustang, Tempest and the Venom, but in my book the Hunter was Number One.” He spent the next six years with Nato, first at Brunssum in the Netherlands and then at Mons in Belgium. He retired in February 1979. Jennings was greatly admired as an aggressive fighter pilot. He was an outstanding shot and led his pilots from the front.

Maritime warfare pioneer AVM John Lawrence


IR VICE-MARSHAL John Lawrence, who has died aged 99, was one of the last surviving senior RAF officers to see service throughout World War II. He joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve in 1938 and was called up at the beginning of the war. After completing his training as a sergeant pilot in October 1940, Lawrence joined 235 Sqn flying the Blenheim on anti-shipping patrols. Towards the end of the month his flight was detached to Thorney Island near Portsmouth operating under the control of Fighter Command as the Battle of Britain was in its final stages. He flew a number of standing patrols off Portsmouth to counter any possible Luftwaffe attacks. In August 1941 he was commissioned and converted to flying boats. The following year he joined 202 Sqn based at Gibraltar where he flew Catalinas and the Sunderland on antisubmarine patrols. In November 1942 202 Sqn provided cover for the huge incoming convoys for Operation Torch, the Allied landings in French North-West Africa. During this operation Lawrence spent hours escorting convoys sailing from the USA to the beachheads, protecting them from the attention of German U-Boats. After completing 500 hours of flying time on the squadron, Lawrence was rested and became an instructor at a

Coastal Command training unit based in the Bahamas, flying the Liberator bomber. He was posted to 86 Sqn in 1945 to fly the Liberator from Tain in Ross-shire. Patrols were flown over the North Atlantic and the Kattegat and Skaggerak as German U-Boats tried to escape from the Baltic to the Atlantic. On April 23 Lawrence was operating 150 miles to the north-west of Cape Wrath when his crew picked up a radar contact. A sonobuoy pattern was laid

and homing torpedoes were dropped. There was no obvious result and the crew were credited with a ‘probable’. Post-war analysis determined that U-396 was sunk in the area at the time and it was credited to Lawrence’s crew. In June 1945 he was awarded the AFC. Shortly afterward the Belgian Government appointed him a Chevalier of the Order of Leopold and also awarded him the Croix de Guerre. In 1948 he joined the staff at the RAF Flying College at Manby as a flying

instructor, training crews on long-range navigation flights to the Arctic In 1951 he left for Germany to command 14 Sqn based at Fassberg near the East German border. His arrival in May coincided with the squadron replacing its Vampire jet fighters with the Venom. In addition to flying air defence patrols, the Venom was also used to support the land forces in the ground attack role using rockets. For almost three years he was responsible for all flying operations at the Radar Research Flying Unit at Pershore in Worcestershire supporting the work of the Royal Radar Establishment at Malvern. Using a variety of aircraft, airborne radars were tested. At the end of his tour he was appointed OBE. After promotion to Group Captain in 1961 he spent the next two years responsible for air operations at HQ Middle East Air Forces in Aden. Soon after his arrival, the RAF rushed two Hunter squadrons to Kuwait after the small state was threatened by Iraq. This operation presented many problems for Lawrence and his staff. The squadrons had to be supported by transport aircraft, an air defence and early warning system had to be created and reinforcement plans had to be developed. Lawrence and his staff also had to provide support to RAF units in East Africa as the former colonies gained independence resulting in the re-

organisation and redeployments of squadrons. As the Kuwait crisis came to an end in later 1962, an Egyptian-sponsored revolution in Yemen resulted in incursions into the Western Aden Protectorate. Aden-based Hunters and Shackleton aircraft flew operations and patrols. Shortly before Lawrence left Aden, operations in the Radfan began. On return to Britain, he commanded RAF Wittering, the home of two Victor squadrons. Equipped with the Blue Steel nuclear missile, two aircraft were on permanent 15-minute alert status. After two years he was advanced to CBE in 1967. He served in MoD reviewing RAF deployments to achieve economies. One of the results of the studies was the establishment of the Personnel Management Centre at Innsworth near Gloucester, and in 1971 he became its first Director General. Lawrence’s final appointment in the RAF in 1973 saw a return to the maritime role when he was appointed the Air Officer Commanding Scotland and Northern Ireland. His Nimrod squadrons, operating from Kinloss in Morayshire, tracked Soviet surface and submarine forces and provided security for the Royal Navy’s strategic deterrent force of Polaris submarines. On his retirement in 1975 he was appointed CB. He had amassed 6,000 hours flying time on 50 different types.


NEED TO TALK? SSAFA Personal Support and Social Work Service provides emotional and practical support to Regulars, Reserves and their families. Contact our conďŹ dential, independent service, call 03000 111 723 Available 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, email psswsRAF@ssafa.org.uk Our offices are also open Monday-Friday 08.30-17.00

Royal Air Force News Friday, January 24, 2020 P29


Jaguar I-Pace

Charge of the I-brigade Sparks set to fly as electrifying Big Cat takes fight to Tesla Charging

TIM MORRIS Motoring Correspondent PEOPLE LIKE Jags and they tend to like the people who drive them. The marque was THE car of the 60s and drivers had a reputation for being lovable rogues. The company has worked overtime to switch its focus from making comfortable, lazy cars to snappier sports saloons and now something new is centre stage – the electrifying i-Pace. It was first seen as a concept at the 2016 Los Angeles motor show and the motoring press widely expected it to have lost many of its sci-fi characteristics by the time it evolved into a production model. It hasn’t.

On The Road At 2.1 Tonnes, the I-Pace is a little on the heavy side for an EV. Trying to shift a large mass quickly takes a lot of power and the way you drive it has a dramatic effect on the battery range. The weight shifts noticeably when you corner at speed too. The I-Pace does however cling on to your chosen line with impressive tenacity thanks to its well designed suspension, precise steering and almost perfect weight distribution. When the car does eventually start to lose its battle with physics, it steps wide at the nose in a reassuringly predictable manner too. There are no unpleasant surprises here, although if we’re being really critical, the stability control can be a bit

Recharging the batteries to 80 per cent capacity from flat will take 10 hours on a home charger, while 50kW public chargers reduce that time to 85 minutes. Use one of the many charging apps to find a 100kW charger and that drops to just 40 minutes. The infrastructure isn’t really ready for regular EV use on long-range journeys but with a bit of planning it’s possible. Collecting the various apps and cards required to navigate the myriad public charging companies is also a pain in the, er..., asphalt but we’re getting there slowly.

In The Cabin overbearing when it kicks in.

Performance Twin electric motors develop a stonking 395bhp, which will slingshot you from 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds only slightly slower than the Tesla Model S sports saloon. It’s as fast off the mark as a Porsche Cayman or an early Lamborghini Gallardo but faster because maximum torque is available from the second your foot touches the throttle. Press the peddle into the carpet and you are suddenly a very long way away, with nothing more than a space age whistle all the way up to its respectable 124 mph limit.

Off-Road The I-Pace isn’t billed as an offroader but it does have Adaptive Surface Response (AdSR) which adjusts motor and brake settings to match surface

conditions. The four-wheel drive system consists of two electric motors and delivers a cracking amount of torque which is impressively capable. The traction electronics are borrowed from Land Rover’s classleading off-roaders so they’re tried and tested. The optional air suspension, is height-adjustable, giving the I-Pace plenty of ground clearance.

Range A 90kWh battery pack gives an official range of 298 miles on a single charge, towards the top of what EVs can currently manage. Depending on how you drive it this can be reduced dramatically. We got 212 miles – beating any other electric car we’ve tested. Getting anywhere near the factory figures will require delicate acceleration, crawling along at no more than 40 mph and avoiding using the heating, air-con or entertainment systems. For everyday driving the range will usually be just below 200 miles.

Modern Jaguar interiors aren’t as plush as they were. Electric Vehicles need to be light to maximise range so the I-Pace was never going to be a fat cat. Instead Jag has produced something that feels crisp, modern and classy inside and outshines Tesla’s Model S. It looks good, make no mistake. The seating position is bang on. You don’t sit particularly high by SUV standards but you do retain an elevated view. It feels sporting, like a Jag should, and the Recaro seats hold you in place particularly well. The slick digital displays allow the driver to choose exactly what information is presented. The controls aren’t quite as intuitive to operate as a Tesla but once you’re used to them it’s not much of a problem. Front visibility is good although thick pillars restrict the rear view. Fortunately 360 degree camera and rear cross-traffic alert system is standard. Jags were traditionally all bonnet to house the company’s range of powerful engines but remove that requirement

and you’re left with bags of room. The I-Pace has the interior space of a Porsche Cayenne with the footprint of a Macan.

More Than A Gimmick The I-Pace is a comfortable, luxury SUV that just happens to be electric. It’s silent, fast, agile and really flatters your driving. It has been carefully engineered from scratch and it shows. At £58,500 (after the £4,500 government grant), or £76,995 for the fully-loaded First Edition, it’s not cheap but it’s a car you’ll want to own.

Jaguar I-Pace Prices from £58,000 Pros

● Sharp handling ● Impressive range ● Fast and comfortable ● Futuristic looks ● Acceleration


● Expensive ● Needs a bigger boot ● Poor rear visibility


The I-Pace is a seriously impressive vehicle. With this car Jaguar has succeeded in its mission to reboot for the electric age. Forget the old school bounder or 60s style Cockney-hood-madegood image of Big Cats of the past – this is a suave, sharp cyber-criminal of a motor. It’s the most quintessentially British EV the world has yet seen.

Royal Air Force News Friday, January 24, 2020 P31

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5 pages of RAF Sport starts here l Service stars brave Challenge Cup exit P36


Iron man signs up

Rocker Dickinson lines up fencing role for RAF Daniel Abrahams HQ Air Command IRON MAIDEN frontman Bruce Dickinson is to get at the sharp end of RAF fencing after being made an honorary Group Captain for 601 Sqn. Dickinson, was enrolled as a member of the unit after approaching the Service in a bid to help raise the profile of the sport. RAF Fencing spokesman SAC Dominic Farrer said: “Bruce contacted us in December asking if he could fence for the RAF and assist us in popularising the sport in the Forces. “Honestly, I thought it was a really good prank at first, because who on earth receives an email completely out of the blue from a legendary rock star? “Of course, we are delighted to

have him on board and are really looking forward to working with him in the near future particularly with our grass roots events.” Dickinson, 61, has been a fencer for most of his life. In his younger days he was ranked eighth in the UK at foil. He now competes at Epee, recently competing in Guildford at the British Veteran Fencing International competition. He was undefeated in the initial rounds, finishing 17th overall. Dickinson, trained as a pilot after taking a break from Iron Maiden in the 1990s. He formed a close alliance with the RAF in 2008, taking the controls of an MoD chartered 747 to bring its pilots home from Afghanistan to RAF Wittering in Cambridgeshire. Five years ago he made an emergency landing at RAF Halton. Continued on page 35:

THE ACE IS HIGH: Clockwise from top left, Dickinson in action for the Service and on stage for rock gods Iron Maiden PHOTOS: SGT PETER GEORGE/UWE GEISLER/GEISLER-FOTOPRESS.

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Royal Air Force News Friday, January 24, 2020 P33



RAF hunt top catch CRICKET

New recruitment drive to find stars

CRICKET STARS of the future can swing into action at the upcoming open trials in March in Birmingham for the second year. RAF Development Squad Head Coach A/WO Curtis Dixon said: “We held the first ever RAF Cricket

Men’s trial last year to try and promote the sport and encourage more Service personnel to get involved, not just at an elite level but across the Service. “The trials were very well attended with a lot of new faces,

many of which went to play in their local Station teams, Development Team and also the full RAF side. All players that attended on the day were assessed, given some one-to-one coaching and left with a training programme of areas

to improve. With a lot of hard work and some fresh faces the RAF Cricket Development Squad successfully triumphed in the T20 Development Inter-Services competition. Overall the trials were a resounding success and we will continue to promote Service cricket whenever possible and with luck, be crowned Inter Services champions again this year.” The trials, which will be held at Forward Drive Cricket Academy, are designed to help the association kickstart each season with an influx

of talent from which to select squads. An association spokesman added: “The main purpose of this is to capture new players who have joined the Service or any experienced players who would like to get involved at RAF level. “Evidence of this being successful showed last year after the Development Squad won the T20 IS tournament.” For more details of the trials contact SAC Dan Walker on email: Daniel.walker122@mod.gov.uk.


Duo shine at Dubai rugby Sevens tournament Close season no time for rest A HANDFUL OF RAF Spitfires Sevens rugby union stars took time out from their close-season to travel to the Dubai Sevens for the 50th International Sevens competition. Sqn Ldr Tim Barlow and Flt Lt Lloyd Owen, Owen pictured far right, represented Apache Sevens and Speranza 22 respectively at the tournament to close out the year. Barlow said: “Other stars to play for other sides include: Cpl Toby Mann (Akuma Sevens), Flt Lt Rory Wood and SAC Ryan Crowley representing Bath Rugby in the Premiership Sevens. While the RAF Spitfires Sevens team enters various tournaments in the UK, while an overseas tour to Dubai is planned for the RAF Spitfires later this year. Players and coaches have the opportunity to develop their skills with other teams and feed this back into the Spitfires’ set up, therefore we can all benefit from the experience of top level sevens.”

In the Dubai Sevens, Lloyd played for Speranza in the International Open competition (level 3), while Barlow coached Apache in the International Invitational Competition (level 2), one down from the HSBC World Sevens (level 1) at the Dubai Sevens.

Having won the tournament with Sperenza in 2018, Spitfires’ captain Owen’s side lost narrowly in the Open competition final 22-17, with the RAF star scoring a great try in the last two mins to set-up a nail-biting finish to the game. Spitfires’ coach Barlow guided his team to a last group

game win over Germany to setup a Quarter-Final clash against the South Africa Sevens Academy Blitzboks team. Facing six capped Sevens internationals and World Rugby Sevens players of the year, Werner Kock and Cecil Afrika, Barlow’s men trailed just 14-5.

After the break Boks turned on the magic and scored several converted tries to finish 40-5 victors. They went on to win the invitation competition with the full SA team winning the overall Dubai 7s title. Follow the team on Twitter @RAFRugby7s.

Royal Air Force News Friday, January 24, 2020 P34

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Inters fightback in sights as Alpine sports stars head to France TEAMWORK: Main, Cpl Taylor touches down during a tough is encounter PHOTOS: LUKA WAYCOTT – HALTON SERCO

ALOFT: Main, SAC(T) Barnaby Rudge in action, below, action from last year’s events

THE SERVICE’S Alpine sports stars are gunning for a variety of aims from this year’s RAF Championships in Austria, following last year’s action-packed event and battling Inter-Services. The squads claimed 2019 was a year of development but produced podium spots in Snowboard in Meribel following an excellent Champs event in Saalbach. There were also personal bests in Telemark and a battling finish and second place for the men’s and women’s ski teams respectively. Having dug up some potential sporting gems, men’s and women’s ski team captains SAC(T) Barnaby Rudge and Flt Lt Claire Nixon are looking to this year’s event as another springboard for

further successes. They said: “Both the men and women’s teams have recruited exciting new talent this year. After a series of excellent training events in UK snowdomes and in Tignes, France, all our athletes are race-ready. This year’s Champs will showcase a mixture of returning racers and new skiers, so competition for places on the InterServices team will be fierce. “We are looking forward to the Inter-Services, a renewed ladies’ team are in an excellent place to challenge the current champions, the Army. On the men’s side it’s looking like a fresh-faced team but hopefully the competition between the Army and Navy will be very close and very exciting.” Continued on page 35:


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Royal Air Force News Friday, January 24, 2020 P35


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Hammer blow for UKAF

Late strike sees battling Service side sunk in Portsmouth during season opener UKAFFCW Portsmouth WFC

1 2

LAST-MINUTE HEARTACHE was the opening result for the UKAF women’s side as they lost 2-1 in agonising fashion to Portsmouth Womens at HMS Temeraire. The team, led by RAF coach Sgt Karl Milgate, had ended 2019 with a crunching 8-0 win over the Irish Defence Force.

That result seemed a long way away as they went behind after 45 seconds in their opening fixture of the year against such high-ranking opposition. Milgate said: “We went against a Tier Three National League team who work superbly without the ball and with it. To go behind so early threw our game plan out of the window, but the girls came back and scored, which was a brilliant response and showed what we are about. “We worked well without the

ball and really competed, we now head to Holland to defend the President’s Cup, which is another

The response from the girls was amazing

major milestone for the girls. They can take real credit from tonight,

and they deserve it. We need to now go abroad like the men and make our own history.” The opening goal was a scrappy affair as keeper Bmdr Daisy Burnfield missed a misdirected cross in the box. The military team took just two minutes to reply when RAF star Cpl Lois Jacobs crossed for L/Cpl Libby Dixon to slot in at the far post. The rest of the half failed to produce much spark or chances of note, but after the break things were different. A heavy downpour, early into the FENCING


Maiden voyage

Speed thrills for Alpine stars

Continued from page 31:

RAMP IT UP: Action from last year’s events

when his World War I Fokker triplane replica was running short on fuel. Dickinson follows six-times Olympic champion cyclist Sir Chris Hoy, 43, as a sporting honorary Group Captain. Dickinson will be on a World Tour during some of the Service’s upcoming fencing events, which include the Junior Championships March 21-22 at RAF Cosford and the RAF Championships May 1617 also at Cosford. Farrer added: “The RAF Fencing Open 20 is our only public event of the year which is a national fencing competition which draws in 250 fencers from all over the country



Continued from page 34: Building new training platforms, adapting to varying skill levels and continuing to produce grass roots talents have been the aims of the snowboard association’s organisers – according to Wg Cdr Nicola Duncan, snowboard chairman. She said: “Our squad is still very much in the development phase with approximately a 30 per cent turnover of riders in the last 12 months. While it’s exciting, as it enables opportunities for grass roots and development riders to break into the squad, it does mean greater emphasis on training at the right level, with the right balance of coaches, but more importantly still maintaining the ‘fun factor’.  Prior to Saalbach we held three training camps, summer, winter and performance.  “Summer and performance camps were aimed at grass roots and development riders and these training camps enabled the

second period, didn’t dampen the action as UKAF produced several chances, with the best falling to Dixon who struck the foot of a post from 18-yards late on. A good collect and finish from Pompey striker Bath slotted home from 12-yards, was rough on the Service side who had battled throughout, but they will have to pick themselves up now and start plans for their Holland trip in April to defend the cup for a fourth time in a row. Follow the team on Twitter @UKAFWomen.

management and coaches to lay the strong foundations for the riders to progress to the Champs, with the hope that they will put in a solid performance in the three events: slopestyle; boardercross; slalom. The winter camp is predominantly aimed at the higher end riders, not necessarily squad, but individuals who are at a certain level and it’s there we get a sense of who will do well at the Champs and who might go forward to represent the Service at the UK Armed Forces Championships in Meribel. “The ability to put on so many different levels of training camps, is quite simply down to our external sponsors. “While the team going forward to Meribel this year might be inexperienced in racing at a higher level, we go to Meribel knowing that the riders have had the best training in the right environment.  “So, at Meribel it will simply come down to whether the riders are good enough when

they compete in a larger field of competitors on race day.” It will be more of the same for the Telemarkers at the Champs and then on to Meribel according to team captain, Sqn Ldr Jonny Young. He said: “Despite some difficult weather we had a successful training camp in Tignes. New members got to grips with the discipline, while our more experienced skiers prepared for the season ahead. We now head to Saalbach to choose and train the team for the Inters. “Alongside the team training we will be running our successful taster sessions. At the Inters we will look for good individual results to better a fourth and third in recent years. We will also be looking for a strong team performance and getting the most enjoyment and development out of the competition and experience.” The Alpine Sports Inter-Services runs from February 1-8. Follow the association on Twitter @rafwintersport.

as well as a few international fencers from as far as Canada and Australia. We then have our InterService Championships July 1316 in Portsmouth, with selections announced in June.” The association will be holding ‘grass roots’ events on February 20 at RAF Brize Norton and another on October 20, location TBC. Follow RAF Fencing on Twitter @RAF_fencing and Facebook @ RAFFencing.

Corporal is aiming to be right on cue CPL JOEL Pickersgill is gunning for second round doubles glory at this year’s IPA World Pool Championships next month. The world record holder, for the longest snooker match, lost out with partner Cpl Ryan Heaton (Brize) at the prestigious event in 2018 at the tournament in Bradford, having secured a 6-4 win in the opening round of their debut bow. Pickersgill and Heaton played for 87 hours and 33 minutes at RAFA Branch Newark last summer to secure their World Record bid. Picksergill, who will, along with Heaton, be playing in the singles, said: “We lost two years ago in our doubles match against

the number one Moroccan pair. We put in a battling loss after a shootout, following drawing 6-6. It gave us a lot of confidence for this year and we are a lot stronger with some good practice leading up to it.” Immediate qualification for next year’s IPA event goes to the top two finishers, so the Service pair have set their sights high. The pair will undergo threedays intense training before the Championships at the Bradford Hotel. Pickersgill, along with Cpl Heaton and Sgt Chris Bullen, will push to obtain Recognised Status for cue sports with the RAF Sports Directorate. Follow Cpl Pickersgill on Twitter @brisbanewarrior.

Royal Air Force News Friday, January 24, 2020 P36

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Bentley prove too strong for battling Service side at Cranwell

DOWN AND OUT: Main, SAC Sam Roberts drives through a pile of Bentley players, inset, SAC Wayne Cooper is hauled down by former RAF prop Jake Starbuck

RAFRL Bentley

10 18

Staff Reporter Cranwell THERE WAS no Coral Challenge Cup glory for the Service’s rugby league stars as they fell 18-10 at the hands of Doncaster side Bentley after a spirited display. Head coach FS Garry Dunn said: “I was really impressed with the attitude and endeavour of our boys today, we only had 13 fit bodies for the whole of the second half and we came through. We had a really

inexperienced group but in general they showed up well. I thought SAC James Crabb was really good in defence with SACs James Roberts and Wayne Cooper showing some good signs; these lads are all on debut for the first team today.” An inexperienced military side competed well in the early exchanges at Cranwell, but it was the visitors who struck first following a breaking tackle, which led to them scoring under the posts. The score came after Bentley withstood early sustained RAF pressure. A series of errors then followed from each side, with the RAF trying to establish field position and control. SAC(T) Josh Fitzgerald

was probing and controlling the middle of the park, with Cpl Sam Breeze looking ever threatening on the left edge. After conceding a break away try through some poor defence, the team in light blue got just reward for their efforts, with the ever threatening full-back SAC(T) Danny Bournes finishing off a slick play. The experienced Sgt Simon Wray pushed the conversation just wide into the teeth of a strong wind. The second half followed a similar pattern to the first, with the hosts controlling large periods of the game. They ultimately failed to make enough of the pressure that they had built. A flat part of the game

saw Bentley go over for two quick scores, before the RAF hit back through SAC Adam Middleton with just over 10 minutes


remaining. Setting up an exciting finish, the ever-impressive SAC(T) Liam Bradley orchestrated the play to pile the pressure on the Yorkshire League champions, but their defence held out and the game ended in defeat. 66p ISSN 0035-8614 04 >

9 770035 861037

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RAF News 24 January 2020  

RAF News 24 January 2020  

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