RAF News 3 Dec 2021 Edition 1525

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Royal Air Force News Friday, December 3, 2021 P5


Star Jason’s cut out for birthday duty

Qatar Hawk training takes off at Leeming

TRAINING DEAL: CAS, ACM Sir Mike Wigston, joins Qatari defence chief Dr Khalid Al Attiyah at Leeming

Simon Mander RAF Leeming

A NEW joint British and Qatari Hawk squadron has been unveiled at Leeming to deliver advanced and high speed jet training to RAF and QEAF pilots. At an opening ceremony Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, said: “This day marks a significant moment in our relationship with our Qatari friends, 11 Squadron of the Qatar Emiri Air Force officially reforming here and establishing its new home on UK soil. “I am delighted that the squadron will be a joint Qatar Emiri Air Force and Royal Air Force Hawk training

squadron, building upon the success achieved by our joint Typhoon squadron at RAF Coningsby.” Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and the Qatari Minister of State for Defence and trained fast jet pilot His Excellency Dr Khalid bin Mohamed Al Attiyah were at the Yorkshire station to see the rollout of BAE Systems’ new Hawk Mk167 jet. The first four QEAF student pilots began Hawk training in October and the squadron aims to train eight a year, with 20 Qatari pilots graduating ahead of the delivery of Typhoons to the Middle Eastern state in 2023. Qatar has ordered nine BAE Systems Hawk Mk167 aircraft as part of a £6 billion package which includes 24 Typhoons and bespoke training.


HOLLYWOOD STAR Jason Statham has sent a special 100th birthday message to a superfan and RAF World War II veteran. Joyce Ensell posed with a life-sized cardboard cut-out of the action star as she celebrated reaching a century with friends at the Royal Star & Garter home in Solihull as staff played the personal video greeting. Film fan Joyce, who served with the WAAF, watches the action-thriller actor’s high-octane movies in her room at the veterans’ care facility.

In his greeting Jason said: “I’m flattered you’re a fan of mine, but more than that, I’m a big fan of yours. And I’d like to say that being in the Royal Air Force in the Second World War is the real and true definition of what a hero is. Thanks for your bravery. I send you lots of love on your big, special day.” Carers arranged for the cardboard cut-out of the actor to take pride of place during the party, alongside a cake, flowers and a card from Her Majesty The Queen.

Swiss roll in for exercise Simon Mander

CELEBRATION: Dambuster Johnny Johnson. PHOTO: Oliver Dixon/RAFBF

Dambuster Johnny marks his century

JOHNNY JOHNSON, the last surviving Dambuster, has celebrated his 100th birthday. Born in 1921, Sqn Ldr George ‘Johnny’ Johnson won the Distinguished Flying Medal and was made an MBE in 2017. He took part in the legendary attack on the Sorpe Dam with the Lancaster AJ-T (T-Tommy) of 617 Sqn. Flying 60 feet over the target, after 10 attempts, Johnny’s bomb breached the structure and released a wall of water that damaged 104 factories and 33 bridges. Fellow Dambuster Fred Sutherland died in January 2019, making Johnny the last survivor of the original flying members of 617 Squadron.

SWISS F-18 Hornet combat jets have arrived at Leeming for Exercise Yorknite. It’s the third time the event, which gives pilots the chance to practise day and night flying alongside the RAF and USAF, has been hosted by the North Yorkshire base. During the training around 20 aircrew will be honing their advanced skills, while flying night sorties over the sea. And this year, for the first time, the Swiss detachment will bring Cougar helicopters and train at Spadeadam’s Electronics Warfare Tactics facility. Detachment Commander Lt Col Aldo Wicki said: “When it comes to advanced training you need highly-qualified assets to train with and against. Our Air Force is too small to set up the assets so the opportunities in the UK are just fabulous.” “The second detachment will be completely different, because it includes the young pilots. Their challenge will be not only to stick precisely and correctly to rules, regulations and procedures, but also to do the basic exercises at

NIGHT DRILL: Swiss F-18 Hornet pilot prepares for training sortie from Leeming PHOTOS: SAC HARRY ROBERTS

night successfully in the training sectors over the dark, black sea. “The difference between how

my aircrew arrive – physically and mentally – stepping into Exercise Yorknite activities, and

then seeing them at the end of this detachment… it’s just fantastic how they progress.”

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New Support Force takes on Pirate drill Simon Mander

MEDICS, ENGINEERS, cooks and drivers tested their skills under combat conditions on the first major training exercise for the RAF’s new Support Force. The unit achieved full operating capability earlier this year and combines trades needed to sustain modern air operations. Exercise Agile Pirate transformed RAF Wittering into an austere foreign airfield, testing the new unit’s ability to operate in extreme environments. Force Commander Air Cdre Neil Grant said: “We’re a highreadiness organisation, so we have to be prepared to deploy within days or hours. “Our engineers, logistics personnel and medics need to be trained and experienced. “We enable the deployment of UK Air and Space Power. Exercises like this allow us to demonstrate that we’re ready.” The Cambridgeshire station’s

long runway and wide taxiways are ideal for No 1 Air Mobility Wing to fly in 16 Air Assault Brigade’s kit on board a Brize-based 99 Sqn C-17 wide-bodied transport aircraft. Tactical Medical Wing personnel set up a field hospital and 3 Mobile Catering Sqn dished up field rations. RAF Medical Support Officer Flt Lt James Boyd said: “We’re working with other units in the same way we would if the RAF was operating abroad.” The three days of training allowed Reservists to train alongside Regulars with Wittering’s own three part-time logistics squadrons – including No 605 Sqn, which has an RAF Police Flight – conducting pre-flight security searches and drills. RAF Police Reserve Flt Lt Chris Halliwell said: “On a real operation we would be doing force protection, making sure the camp is secure. As a Reservist, I need to be able to do this whenever I’m needed so this training is an absolute must for me.”

REAL WORLD: Medics test their ability to deal with battlefield injuries. Inset right, 16 Air Assault Brigade exit C-17 PHOTOS: SAC KIMBERLEY WATERSON

The next phase of Agile Pirate will be conducted on the remote Scottish island of Stornoway, where the RAF Support Force will sustain Typhoon fast jet operations.

In a separate exercise at Leeming, Expeditionary Air Wing personnel practised dealing with crashed aircraft, security breaches, and medical emergencies during a five-day Nato

evaluation, Exercise Agile Eagle. The training was run by the station’s Operational Training Centre and support staff from 3 Mobile Catering Squadron and 90 Signals Unit.

Trio hit the Red line with Arrows Simon Mander

QUEEN ELIZABETH Carrier scores a hat-trick as an Italian Air Force F-35B comes in to land during training drills in the Mediterranean, joining UK and US jets on board. The Navy flagship is in the region after months in the Indo-Pacific during the vessel’s first global deployment. PHOTO: LT UNAISI LUKE

THREE NEW pilots have joined the Red Arrows as the display aces begin to prepare their new routine for the 2022 air show season. The latest recruits are all fast jet frontline veterans and will perform across Britain and abroad in front of millions of aviation fans. They include German born 35-year-old Typhoon pilot Flt Lt Stuart Roberts, who has done tours on air policing duties in Britain, Estonia and the Falklands, and will fly as Red 2 next year. He said: “Aerobatic flying as part of the Red Arrows’ nine-aircraft formation is a very different physical skill set to conducting an operational sortie, however, the levels of concentration and precision required are directly comparable.” Red 3 for 2022 is Huddersfieldborn Flt Lt Patrick Kershaw, who flew the To r n a d o GR4 from Marham on o p e r at i o n s r Muscat RED 10: Sqn Ld over North

Africa and the Middle East before transferring to Coningsby-based Typhoons. The pair are two of nine display pilots selected after having amassed 1,500 flying hours, been classed as above average at flying, and having completed an operational tour. They are joined by 46-year-old team supervisor and Red 10 Sqn Ldr Graeme Muscat, who joined the RAF in 1995 as a Communications System Analyst and was selected as Non-Commissioned Aircrew as an Air Signaller before taking a Commission and undergoing pilot training in 2003. He flew the Tornado GR4 on the frontline and is an ex-Flight Commander on the Hawk T2 at Valley and will take charge of safety, taking spare aircraft between locations, flying the team’s photographers and commentating at events. The former Air Cadet said: “I can remember being one of the crowd at air shows, both as a child berts RED 2: Flt Lt Ro and as young

adult, watching not only the Red Arrows but any military aircraft in the air and just being awestruck. “As you can see from my career path, I didn’t join direct as a pilot and had to work up through the ranks because I never let go of my dream and aspirations.” They will then usually spend three years with the team before returning to the frontline, instructional or staff duties. Training for the 2022 season is now underway at the Red Arrows’ Scampton home base. Starting with small formations and building up to the team’s trademark nine-ship display, pilots fly up to three times a day using the Hawk T1. The world renowned display team is then assessed for Public Display Authority, which qualifies pilots and ground crew to swap their green coveralls for the coveted red and blue flying suits and get ready for rshaw RED 3: Flt Lt Ke take-off.

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UK tribute to Afghan evac crews PM Boris Johnson leads thanks to Armed Forces personnel who brought families fleeing Taliban brutality to safety in UK Simon Mander MILITARY PERSONNEL who rescued desperate Afghans and British nationals as the Taliban seized control of Kabul paraded outside Parliament to receive thanks from Prime Minister Boris Johnson. The mission, codenamed Operation Pitting, saw the RAF launch 165 sorties in the largest and fastest air evacuation since the Berlin Airlift in 1948. Led by Flight Sergeant Janette Scott and The Central Band of the Royal Air Force, members of 16 Air Assault Brigade who took part marched from Wellington Barracks to the Palace of Westminster. Prime Minister Johnson said: “Operation Pitting will go down as one of the great achievements of our UK Armed Services in the whole of the post-war era. “I believe that you stood for and

Simon Mander AIRMEN AND women joined soldiers and sailors in a joint project to restore 12 Commonwealth War Graves in the United Arab Emirates. Personnel from 906 Expeditionary Air Wing, which provides transport aircraft for UK military and their freight flying into and around the Middle East and supports RAF fast jets and helicopters, took part in the work. 906 EAW Warrant Officer Thomas said: “Everybody has worked hard to get this project off the ground and it’s been a nice opportunity to get involved with the wider local community.” The Air Force detachment were assisted by specialist Royal Engineers in planning, engineering, and completing the project within four weeks. It’s hoped that the restoration of St Martin’s Anglican Churchyard will provide a focus for future remembrance events in the UAE paying tribute to British Servicemen and women who have lost their lives in the Middle East.

RECOGNITION: PM Johnson addresses Forces personnel in Westminster

you revealed the very best of the values of this country. And on behalf of all of us here today I want to say thank you, thank you very much.” Armed Forces Minister James Heappey added: “Our work in Kabul this summer demonstrated the best qualities of our Armed Forces: bravery, compassion, fortitude and skill. “I’m proud that Parliament is coming together on behalf of the nation to thank our Armed Forces for

PROUD: More than 150 military personnel marched through Westminster. Inset right, Afghan families who fled Kabul land at RAF Brize Norton

their role in bringing 15,000 people to safety and a brighter future.” A total of 120 personnel from all three Services attended a reception hosted by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Armed Forces. The humanitarian mission in the

summer saw the relocation of more than 15,000 people to safety in the UK, in just over two weeks. The Ministry of Defence has since made hundreds of surplus Service quarters available to local authorities for short-term lease to house Afghan families.

Football legend Ron passes on Mick Britton ENGLAND FOOTBALL legend Ron Flowers who completed his National Service with the RAF has died at the age of 87. He made 515 appearances for Wolves and represented England 47 times, scoring twice in the 1962 World Cup from the penalty spot. Born in Edlington in South Yorkshire CAP THAT: Ron with trophies he began his football career with Doncaster Rovers while working as an apprentice at the LNER locomotive works. He joined Northern Intermediate League Wath Wanderers and signed for Wolves in 1951, as he began his National Service. He said: “Two weeks before my 18th birthday I was called up by the RAF and kitted out at Padgate. Overnight I became AC2 2569824 and was posted to Hednesford.” Flowers was part of the formidable back line trio that drove Wolves to the top of the league in 1954 and he made his England debut a year later. He helped Wolves win the FA Cup in 1960 and ended his international career on the subs bench with England’s all-conquering 1966 World Cup squad. He left Wolves for Northampton Town in 1967, and ended his playing career with non-league Wellington Town in the early 1970s. He was belatedly awarded the MBE for services to football in the last New Years Honours List. ● If you have information on Ron’s RAF service contact: mbritton2@ aol.com

Remembering the fallen in UAE

RESTORATION: Tri-Service team at work on the Commonwealth War Graves site in UAE

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Emma Wings it with Cadets

FORMER NAVIGATOR and training officer Sqn Ldr Emma Wolstenholme has been promoted to Wing Commander and appointed as a Cadets Ambassador ahead of her world record solo bid to row across the Atlantic and raise funds for the RAF youth group. The superfit 39-year-old broke off from training to join Cadets chief Air Cdre Tony Keeling at Cranwell to received the honour, joining celebrity Carol Vorderman in the high-profile role. Afghanistan veteran Emma is set to launch her 3,500-mile bid to row from Tenerife to Barbados in the New Year. She will brave 40ft waves, strong winds and deadly threats from whales, sharks and marlin during the crossing. The former Burnley Cadet is hoping to inspire youngsters to join up and raise £80,000 to mark the 80th anniversary of the group. She said: “My own mental strength and self-belief stems from when I was an Air Cadet, actively embracing all the opportunities open to me. “The team spirit often spurred me to literally push myself to the edge, once abseiling head-first over a cliff under the expert guidance of the instructors. “I was the shyest girl in the school and wasn’t very popular. The

only reason you would talk to me was for the answers to your maths homework. “Joining the Air Cadets gave me a sense of adventure, self-confidence and a real robustness that set me on track for a successful career in the RAF.” She will row for up to 18 hours a day in her specially-designed 20ft boat in a bid to complete the distance in less than 56 days and claim a new solo world record. She will burn 4,500 calories a day and expects to shed more than 13kg in weight by the time she hits land in the Caribbean. Emma is financing the voyage herself and will be donating all funds she raises to give other youngsters a flying start. Air Cdre Keeling said: “I know Emma well and have always been inspired by her amazing spirit of adventure, but it is only recently that I became aware that this spirit was fostered during her time with 352 (Burnley) Squadron Air Training Corps. “Emma’s world record attempt is inspiring and the fact that she is using it as a platform to raise funds for the Air Cadet Development Trust is humbling. “It is heartening to know that so many Air Cadets and young volunteers will benefit directly from Emma’s amazing endeavour. She is the epitome of the Air Cadet motto ‘Venture Adventure’ and she

OAR-LL OR NOTHING: Newly-promoted Wg Cdr Emma Wolstenholme with Air Cadets Commandant, Air Cdre Tony Keeling at Cranwell and training for her Atlantic row, inset

will be a fantastic addition to our Ambassador team. “From everyone in the Air Cadet family, welcome aboard Emma and we wish you every success.” The voyage is the latest highstakes endeavour for the self-

confessed adrenaline junkie. She represented Great Britain in the Europa Cup at Skeleton Bobsleigh and won the British Amateur Kitesurf Championship. Emma has been buoyed by a wave of support from the military

Voyager Qatar call Staff Reporter Middle East

QATARI JETS have topped up from an RAF tanker for the first time ever. Rafale fighters linked up with a Voyager deployed on Operation Shader . 903 Expeditionary Air Wing aircraft carried out the drill with a regional ally to hone the RAF’s ability to operate across the broader

Middle East. Detachment Commander, Sqn Ldr Graham Prager said: “We have had some fantastic moments this week, with the Rafale pilots integrating and debriefing with our crews understanding how well they’ve done in the air and developing their capability as air-toair refuelling receivers.”

community and has already raised £54,000. ● To support her go to: justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ soloatlanticrow and facebook.com/ soloatlanticrow

In Brief

Fully loaded

PUMP ACTION: Qatari Rafale fighter joins RAF Voyager; inset above, on board with Brize crew

THE RAF Air Loadmaster Association is digging deep to help a Forces charity The group of veterans and serving personnel, which marked its 20th anniversary this year, donated £250 to welfare group SSAFA as its chosen charity of the year during a recent ceremony at the National Memorial Arboretum.

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AUKUS joins forces on Rivet Joint drill Simon Mander A RIVET JOINT aircraft has carried out the first ever eyes-inthe-sky mission with a joint British, American and Australian crew. They flew a United States Air Force RC-135W of the 55th Wing from Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska. Crews carried out combat drills during Exercise Resolute Hunter over the Fallon Range desert training area near Reno in Nevada. The sortie was designed to promote joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance interoperability between the three Air Forces and develop common insights and operational tactics. All three nations are members of the multinational signals intelligence sharing ‘Five Eyes,’ alliance and the AUKUS-enhanced trilateral security partnership announced in September to defend the Indo-Pacific region. But only the RAF’s Waddingtonbased 51 Squadron and the USAF fly the RC-135W. The mission paves the way for future cooperation and mission integration and develops ties between the RAF and RAAF, who are working closely on the E-7 Wedgetail due to replace the recently retired E-3D Sentry and

JOINT-UP THINKING: Right, RAF Airseeker crews alongside USAF and RAAF counterparts in Nevada

to be flown by 8 Squadron from Lossiemouth. Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston said: “This was a groundbreaking Rivet Joint mission, co-crewed by RAF, USAF and RAAF personnel, paving the way for even greater AUKUS interoperability and cooperation in the future.” The exercise comes after the UK government signed a £970 million deal with US Defence chiefs to maintain Britain’s fleet of three Rivet Joint aircraft, operated as Airseeker by the RAF. The move means the Waddington-based 51 Sqn aircraft will also receive the latest surveillance capability updates until 2035.

Morgan’s on course Staff Reporter

CADET MORGAN McCafferty’s dream of flying fast jets with the RAF came a step closer after he scooped a place on the prestigious Qualified Aerospace Instructors Course. The 16-year-old, who is studying for his A-levels, is the first youngster from his squadron to win one of 40 places, beating thousands of entrants nationwide. To qualify for a place he spent eight months visiting RAF stations, studying air traffic control and aerodynamics. Morgan, who is a member of 1947 (Birstall) Sqn, said: “I know that the course will be challenging and culminates with a presentation of all I have learnt to the RAF’s top brass. I can’t wait to get stuck into it. “My uncle is in the RAF and he really inspired me to get involved.”

Karl gets ‘Knighted’ for Euro rugby clash FYLINGDALES-BASED SPACE ace Fg Off Karl Cassar has been selected to captain Malta’s national Rugby League team. He takes up the post with the Malta Knights after putting in strong performances on the international stage in the recent European Championships and says he’s proud to represent the country as one of just four foreign nationals who can qualify to play for the island. Fg Off Cassar, whose grandfather was born and grew up on the Mediterranean island during World War II, said: “I am very proud of my Maltese heritage thousands of objects in lowand it’s an honour to play rugby at international PROUD: Fg Off Cassar earth orbit from the UK’s ballistic missile early warning level. I have always been passionate about Rugby League and radar site on the North Yorkshire moors. love being part of this team.” In his RAF day job he tracks He added: “The success of our

PROP STAR: Airman makes a pass during recent Knights European Championship match

mission depends on the will and commitment of the entire team. The focus and dedication that is required as an operator doing what we do round the clock resonates on the rugby pitch.”

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ROUND TRIP: Carl (right) hands back his ID card at Hull careers office, where his RAF journey started

Carl goes from Hull and back after 36 years Simon Mander VETERAN WO ENGINEER Carl Proctor literally took a trip down memory lane on his last day in the RAF after 36 years’ service. The Coningsby-based SNCO first posed for a photograph next to the station’s 41 Sqn Phantom in which he had a back seat trip in Cyprus in 1989. But the memories didn’t stop there for Carl, who joined as an engine mechanic on September 17, 1985 with two O-Levels in Metalwork and Physics and left as an Incorporated Engineer with the Institute of Mechanical Engineers. “On my last day I did a reverse of joining the RAF,” he said. “In 1985 I reported to Hull Careers Office for Attestation in the early hours. I was given a rail warrant and I left Paragon Station for Newark Northgate. “Here all the new recruits met a Sergeant who ushered us all into a green bus for six weeks of basic training at RAF Swinderby. “On my last working day, I said goodbye to the Station Warrant Officer, was driven to Newark Northgate Station, boarded a train to Hull and went to the Armed Forces Careers Office where I handed my ID card over.” During his career Carl has served in 21 different countries, working on Phantoms before transferring to the Typhoon Force and rising through the ranks to engineering Warrant Officer. Among his career highlights was deploying to Madrid in 2016 on an exchange with Airbus to work with Spanish Air Force Typhoons. Although retired, it’s not the last the RAF has seen of Carl, who now takes up the post of Coningsby’s civilian Station FOD Prevention Officer.

FAREWELL: Carl signs off at Coningsby after 36 years with the RAF

From sky-high WWII heroics to Hollywood high society Medals won by Spitfire ace who married a movie star and socialised with screen greats go under hammer STAR QUALITY:Sqn Ldr Bartley ties the knot with film star Deborah Kerr. Below the BoB Ace’s medal haul, which comes up for auction this month. PHOTOS: Dix Noonan Webb

enemy preparing for another attack and knew it meant suicide to jump MEDALS AWARDED to the with him around. legendary Battle of Britain fighter ace “Escaping airmen over their own Sqn Ldr Anthony ‘Bolshie’ Bartley territory were fair game and a friend are expected to fetch up to £140,000 had been shot down in his parachute. when they come up for auction. I decided to bluff it out, climbed back The seven awards were presented to into my aircraft and turned on my the daring 92 Sqn airman who socialised attacker. with the giants of Hollywood’s Golden “My ruse worked; he didn’t know Age and later married Scottish-born how hard he’d hit me, but he did screen siren Deborah Kerr. know that a Spitfire could turn Bartley is credited with inside a Messerschmitt, and at least 12 victories during I fired a random burst to a career that began when remind him, whereupon he shot down two enemy he fled for home. By this aircraft over the beaches time, I was too low to of Dunkirk in his first jump, so I headed for a dogfight on May 23, 1940. field and prayed. His Spitfire was “I hit the ground, so badly shot up that MOVIE LEGEND: Clark Gable was catapulted out and another pilot, Bob Tuck, landed in a haystack, flew alongside and chortled into the unharmed.” intercom: ‘You look like a sieve, chum.’ Bartley was born in Dacca, Bengal, But it was after dispatching a India in March 1919, the son of a Do 17, in September 1940, that he had Calcutta High Court judge. his most remarkable escape. A strong athlete, he played for He later recalled: “I heard a cannon Blackheath Rugby Football Club shell explode behind my armour- where his skipper encouraged him plated seat back, a bullet whizzed to learn to fly at West Malling Flying through my helmet, grazing the top of Club, Kent in 1938. my head and shattering my gun sight, With war looming Bartley applied while others punctured my oil and for an RAF commission in May 1939 glycol tanks. A 109 flashed by. and was posted as an Acting Pilot “Fumes started to fill my cockpit, Officer. and I knew that I had had it. As I During his time as a test pilot he braced myself to bale out, I saw my struck up a friendship with Laurence

Simon Mander

PHOTO: Alamy

Olivier, then serving with the Fleet Air Arm, Ralph Richardson and Roger Livesey, providing an entrée to the film industry. He also met Leslie Howard and went on to perform aerobatics for his film The First of The Few (1942), about Spitfire designer, R J Mitchell. While stationed in America, Bartley spent time in Beverly Hills socialising with Clark Gable, Toni Lanier, Betty Hutton, Kay Williams, Elizabeth Taylor and Mickey Rooney. He met actress Deborah Kerr in Brussels in March 1945 before she went on to star in the noir Oscar winner Black Narcissus and the timeless musical classic The King and I alongside Yul Brynner. Back in London, David Niven helped him write his telegram of

proposal to Kerr. The couple were married in 1947. He moved to Hollywood where he studied film production with MGM, formed European-American Productions, and wrote and produced TV movies for MCA and Douglas Fairbanks Presents. The medals, which are being sold by Bartley’s family next month. are accompanied by a gold wristwatch, engraved ‘Tony From Deborah 1128-53’, a No. 1 Sqn Leader’s Service Dress, logbooks and photographs. Mark Quayle, of auctioneers Dix Noonan Webb, said: “Bartley’s was a life of extraordinary adventure, reflected in his logbooks and autobiography – a veritable who’s who of stars of the stage, screen and sky.”Star quality: .

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New Op Shader book

TYPHOON RAF pilot’s inside account of the aerial war against Daesh and the fight for democracy


EW WAR memoirs achieve lasting popular acclaim. Often written years after the event or heavily censored if remotely contemporaneous they attempt vainly to engage a public largely just relieved the conflict’s over. The exceptions are the ones that tell timeless truths about, usually men, in battle and its human costs – Stephen E Ambrose’s Band of Brothers and Paul Brickhill’s Reach for the Sky spring to mind. Mike Sutton’s Typhoon: The Inside Story of an RAF Fighter Squadron at War, the first-ever inside account of the continuing war against Daesh in Syria and Iraq, may well become another. While star billing is taken by the eponymous fighter – still the best in the world – it’s by no means the whole story. Readers of all ages will thrill at the flying passages in which they sit almost next to Sutton as he intercepts a suspect airliner on Quick Reaction Alert, evades a lock-on by Russian SAM missiles over Jordan, or grapples with a Voyager’s refuelling basket in complete darkness with supplies running desperately low. But he never forgets that without the dedication of 1 (Fighter) Squadron’s groundcrew, who work tirelessly to keep the Typhoons flying, the rigour of aircrew training, and the skill of Joint Terminal Attack Controllers who vector him in on targets, they’re just a very expensive lump of carbon fibre.

ACTION STATIONS: Typhoon pilot prepares for another Op Shader sortie

AUTHOR: RAF pilot Wg Cdr Mike Sutton OBE

He reminds us how and why RAF combat air spearheaded the battle against Islamic State during Operation Shader in 2015.


n the wake of the murder of 12 people at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo’s offices in Paris, and coordinated attacks on the Bataclan and other

nightspots that killed 130 people, Hilary Benn MP memorably said in Parliament. “We are faced by fascists. They hold us in contempt. They hold our values in contempt. They hold our belief in tolerance and decency in contempt. They hold our democracy in contempt. What we know about fascists is that they need to be defeated.” But that doesn’t mean Sutton and his comrades aren’t acutely aware of the enormity of what they are asked to do. Some sorties, such as a 16-target strike by four Typhoons on a terrorist bomb factory described in the book, are remarkable – if perhaps uncontentious – feats of airmanship. Others, such as his account of picking off small groups of Daesh fighters ambushing Iraqi forces with RPGs, before carrying out the first-ever operational machine gun strafe by a Typhoon, obviously take their toll. At one point, after multiple missions requiring pinpoint accuracy to avoid ‘collateral damage,’ Sutton writes: “God, I’ve just killed someone again. How can this be allowed? How on earth did I end up doing this? They were killing us all over Europe. Now here we are killing them all over the Middle East. It all seemed terribly wrong, a huge failure of humankind. I felt no satisfaction; I was just numb.” It is this searing honesty that takes the book to another level making it clear

that RAF personnel, who to this day cannot be identified or speak for themselves for operational security reasons, are not robots.


nd it’s not all about Sutton, who admits to regularly feeling ‘impostor syndrome’ at being selected for fast jets in the first place and then rising to command a legendary fighter unit which won battle honours in World War I, the Battle of Britain and the Falklands conflict. It’s also about his marriage which, like many others, is sadly a victim of the strains of Service life, his comrades, the nature of leadership and, above all, his squadron. And along the way he answers some key questions about fighter pilots including: Why do they burn pianos? and How do you take a leak in the cockpit of a supersonic jet? Sutton, 1 (Fighter) Squadron, and all those on Op Shader today, are just as much ‘soldiers of democracy’ as Stephen E Ambrose’s Easy Company were during World War II. They have earned our gratitude and respect. n Typhoon By Wing Commander Mike Sutton OBE is published in hardback by Penguin priced £20.

DIRECT HIT: Air strike on insurgent target in Iraq


MIKE SUTT Squadron into An RAF fight the Jaguar s an instructor multi-role jet. instructor he in response hijacking and Afghanistan, RAF as a W and now flie operational re Armed Forces

or Mike Sutton

TON OBE led 1(Fighter) o action against ISIS in 2015. ter pilot for 18 years, he flew strike jet before becoming r on the first RAF Typhoon . During his time as a tactics e conducted a live scramble to a potential terrorist d served on operations in Iraq and Syria. He left the Wing Commander aged 39, es commercially providing eadiness training for the UK s.

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By Simon Mander

Still best fighter in world Congratulations on a great book. What made you decide to write it? It didn’t actually start off as a book. Watching the horrific advance of ISIS played out on the television screens, the shooting down of the Russian jet and the complexity of the whole thing meant that it felt pretty unique when we were ordered to deploy back in 2015. We had to prepare in complete secrecy and then launch at first light the morning after the Parliamentary vote. Within 24 hours of arrival we were conducting air strikes around the clock. I kept a diary for the five months I was away, and during lockdown, when we all had more time on our hands, finally got around to writing it up. With encouragement from friends and family it has grown into a book. What were your sources and how long did it take you?

MISSION OVER: Sutton climbs out of a Typhoon for the last time in November, 2016

Win a copy of the book RAF NEWS has copies of Typhoon to be won. To enter, simply tell us: What Squadron did Mike Sutton lead on Op Shader? Email your answer, marked Typhoon competition, to: competitions@rafnews.co.uk or post it to: RAF News, Room 68, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe, HP14 4UE, to arrive by December 17.

It’s written from personal experience and the experiences of the pilots, engineers and support team on the Squadron at the time. After I returned, people often asked “what was it like?” Sitting on the tarmac at night before takeoff, surrounded by thunderstorms, fully armed, with an eight-hour mission ahead and any manner of close air support tasks ahead across both Iraq and Syria was an unnerving experience. I’ve tried to bring this to life. Not just what happened. What we were thinking. How the preparation and planning occurred. What goes through your mind seconds before releasing a weapon, and how it felt afterwards. I’ve also tried to bring out some of the humanity of it all; the effects on families (to whom I’ve dedicated the book) and the complexity and competing emotions of such a kinetic deployment. It took about a year to write, and another six months or so for the proofreading and publishing. It is fantastic to finally see it on the streets. Is it the account you wanted to write, or were there things you had to leave out? It was hugely daunting writing a personal account, knowing that others might one day read it. It’s not a technical book about the jet. It’s a story that tries to bring to life the real-world experience of selection, fast jet training and life on the frontline. The squadron conducted hundreds of attacks during the deployment, each one unique and challenging. I’ve just focused on a few very distinct scenarios in order to bring out some of the different thoughts and feelings. Some precision attacks, being locked on by a Surface to Air Missile, a nearmiss with another aircraft in the dead of night over Iraq, and the only operational Typhoon strafe (so far...)

END OF THE OPERATION FOR 1 (FIGHTER) SQUADRON: More than 300 successful strikes with no civilian casualties

What reaction have you had from former RAF comrades and your family to its publication? Everyone who is mentioned in the book gave their permission, as did the MOD. So far the reaction has been hugely pleasing. You are very careful to put the fight against Daesh in its political context, now you’ve left the RAF do you still support the Op Shader campaign? We live in a liberal democracy, and it is the job of the politicians to make the difficult decisions about when to deploy forces. A country has to be able to act in its vested interest; and when fast jets are needed, the squadrons need to be 100 per cent prepared, trained, and ready to undertake any task that is demanded of them across the globe. What’s your response to people who say Britain shouldn’t get involved in foreign conflicts? See above, think I’ve just answered this one! You talk in the book about the psychological toll of combat on aircrew, especially UAV pilots, is enough being done to help? I think this remains a work in progress. The UK was underprepared for the mental health impacts on the troops involved in the Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns, and it was the charity sector, with organisations such as Help for Heroes and Combat Stress, that tried to fill the void. It is good that this important issue is receiving more attention, but I think more could be done by the MOD, particularly for the veteran community. Is the Typhoon still the best fighter in the world? Clearly. It’s an incredibly adept multi-role jet and I loved flying it. But the threats continue to evolve and we need to keep pace. The tactical proficiency of the combat forces should be the RAF’s number one priority.

Royal Air Force News Friday, December 3, 2021 P19


By Tracey Allen


HE WORLD’S largest exhibition of Spitfires under one roof opens at the end of this month at the Imperial War Museum Duxford. Often referred to as the home of the iconic World War II fighter, IWM Duxford’s historic airfield was the base from which the first RAF squadron received the aircraft in 1938. Spitfire: Evolution of an Icon runs from December 27 until February 20, 2022. Bringing together 12 Spitfires of varying marks in IWM Duxford’s Airspace Hall, the exhibition – free with entry to the museum – will demonstrate how the legendary warbird evolved throughout the conflict. It will be accompanied by a programme of tours, talks, events and family activities delving deeper into the Spitfire’s history. The exhibition’s curator, Adrian Kerrison, said: “The Spitfire became synonymous with hope and protection as the threat of German invasion loomed heavy over Britain. The aircraft captured the hearts of the home front to such an extent that members of the public from across Britain and the Commonwealth would dig deep into their own pockets to fund their production, and the love for this aircraft has not subsided since they were first produced. “It’s a great honour for us at IWM Duxford to know that we were not only the location from which the first operational Spitfire squadron flew, but now we can bring together so many of them in one place for the first time and enable visitors to get up close and learn more about this icon of victory.” He added: “We are lucky to have such a huge range of Spitfires already based here. Every Spitfire on display in this particular exhibition calls Duxford its home, though they do have international links in their history such as BM597 and the Polish air force.”

The Spitfire story

HOME SAFE: Flight Sergeant George 'Grumpy' Unwin of No. 19 Squadron climbs out of his Spitfire at Fowlmere after a sortie, September 1940

SURVIVOR: Supermarine Spitfire Mk I at IWM Duxford. This Spitfire crash-landed on a beach near Calais in 1940, where it was submerged beneath the sand and remained lost for nearly 50 years. It was restored to airworthy condition and can be seen at IWM Duxford today ALL PHOTOS © IWM

GENTLY DOES IT: IWM staff move a Spitfire into position

MT928: In storage in Australia for almost 50 years


haracterised by its graceful curves, elliptical wings and powerful Rolls-Royce engine, the Spitfire has remained a British icon since its heroic efforts in the Battle of Britain in 1940. Alongside IWM’s own famous Mk Ia Spitfire – one of few remaining airworthy Spitfires to have seen conflict in WWII – Mk V, Mk IX and Mk XIV will be on display. Visitors can find out information about each aircraft and how the Spitfire cemented its place in history as one of the greatest fighter aircraft of all time. The exhibition includes a number of aircraft loaned by private owners. Mr Kerrison said: “The Spitfire is the most-produced British aircraft of all time, which is largely down to the brilliance of Reginald Mitchell’s core design that allowed it to be continuously improved and adapted for a decade. This helped it

HEALTH CHECK: Engineer works on one of the collection

PL983: Blue recon Spit toured the country last year in tribute to NHS

maintain its place, not only as the RAF’s best fighter during the war, but also as its only fighter to be produced continuously from 1939 to 1945. Additionally, it is rightly associated with Britain’s survival in 1940 and victory in 1945.” How does he explain the aircraft’s continuing popularity? “Its popularity endures because it is synonymous with Britain and the Commonwealth’s resistance and ultimate victory in WWII. While

most people fairly associate the Spitfire with the Battle of Britain, fewer realise that it continued to be the RAF’s best dedicated fighter for the entirety of the war, both on the defensive and on the offensive,” he said. “Not only was it defending Britain from German bombers in 1940-1941 and V-1 rockets in 19441945, it took the fight to the enemy in every major theatre of war that British and Commonwealth

forces fought in. It was there at the beginning when defeat looked possible, and which it helped thwart, but also there at the end when victory was achieved. “By most accounts, it was also a joy to fly due to its speed, manoeuvrability and agility, all of which continued to be improved as the war progressed. And I think most will agree, it’s also a very nice aircraft to look at.” He added: “Duxford is where the

Spitfire first became operational in 1938, and also where it was initially trialled by fighter pilots which led to important developments that ensured it was ready for war. It is difficult to tell the Spitfire story without mentioning Duxford, which is why it is so fitting that we are able to have this exhibition here.” Go to: iwm.org.uk for more information or call: 020 7416 5000.

Royal Air Force News Friday, December 3, 2021 P21

Crew View

Exercise Magic Carpet TYPHOON AND Voyager crews, supported by teams from Leeming, Wittering and Boulmer, have been braving the searing heat of Qatar to hone their combat skills alongside Gulf allies during Exercise Magic Carpet. RAF News caught up with personnel operating in the extreme conditions of the Omani desert.

SAC Luis Emery and Cpl Adam Hill, 90 SUT, RAF Leeming Cpl Alex Lapchuk, Steward 101 Sqn, RAF Brize Norton

It’s been an amazing experience working with the Omanis on this deployment

SAC Nick Cordiner – Chef, 3MCS, RAF Wittering

Cpl Hill: It’s my first time away as a JNCO in charge of a small team and this exercise is a fantastic development opportunity. SAC Emery: It’s been an eye-opening experience. It’s great to be able to support the exercise and not something I’ve done in my career before

We’ve fed more than 300 people four meals a day on the exercise. It’s been challenging, but fun

SAC Ryan Babcock – Aircraft Technician (Avionics), RAF Lossiemouth

Sqn Ldr Laing – Detachment Doctor, RAF Lossiemouth

It’s my first deployment with the squadron and I’m looking forward to future deployments

This is my first detachment and I’ve really enjoyed the experience. I’ve mostly been working nights so haven’t had to cope too much with the heat in the day

Thankfully my team has not been that busy, but it has been great to be part of this exercise

Sgt Taylor, Nurse, Tactical Medical Wing, RAF Brize Norton

SAC Cope, Medic, RAF Lossiemouth

Flt Lt John Salmon, Detachment Logistics Group Commander, RAF Boulmer

This is my first large-scale exercise. It’s always interesting to practise nursing on a remote detachment like this. Thankfully we haven’t had any serious cases to deal with so far

It’s my first deployment and it’s a completely different environment to working back in the UK. I really feel like I’m doing my job here

I’ve deployed with the Royal Marines band before but this is my first deployment with the RAF. I’ve really enjoyed the experience in this challenging environment

SAC Watkins – JTAC, RAF Coningsby

Royal Air Force News Friday, December 3, 2021 P23

Air Cdre John Clements Obituary

Electronic airborne Goldfish dies at 99 Apprentice with a huge hand in development of aircraft radar systems


IR COMMODORE John Clements, who has died aged 99, was an aircraft apprentice who played a key role in the development of airborne radars and who went on to hold a senior post in RAF signals. In 1937 he passed out third from almost 2,000 candidates in the competitive examination for aircraft apprentices. In September 1937 he began his training at Cranwell. After completing his training in January 1940, Clements joined a small team at RAF St Athan who were completing the development of the first airborne radar equipments, Air to Surface (ASV) and Air Interception (AI). Their role was to undertake the ground and flight testing of these new systems before they were delivered to the RAF for operational use. Initially, he was involved in testing ASV Mark 1 in Coastal Command aircraft. He took every opportunity to fly, which included acting as the radar operator in Sunderland aircraft flying on anti-submarine operations. After working on Catalinas and the longrange Liberator, he started testing airborne radars in the Beaufort and Beaufighter. On April 8, 1942 he was detailed to fly in a Botha aircraft, equipped as a flying classroom to train ASV Mark 2 operators. Minutes after take-off, the aircraft plunged into the sea killing the pilot. Clements managed to escape from the submerged aircraft before being picked up and transferred to hospital. His experience qualified him to membership of the exclusive ‘Goldfish Club’. After a series of accidents that killed some of his ex-apprentice colleagues, those acting as flight test observers were granted flying pay of one shilling and sixpence (7.5p) per day. They were not, however, awarded the recently introduced RO (Radar Operator) flying brevet.


y 1943, Clements had started flight testing the new bombing radar aid H2S being fitted to the Halifax and Lancaster bombers. By the second half of 1944 he was assessing the new

American radar being installed in the Fleet Air Arm’s Firefly fighter. When he left St Athan at the end of the war to be commissioned, he had carried out some 300 flight tests of 10 different radars installed in 19 different aircraft types. Following commissioning in 1945, he served in India, including the post of adjutant at RAF Dum Dum, now the international airport at Kolkata (Calcutta). On his return to England, he was posted to Lyneham, a major air transport base operating the York aircraft. He was detached to Wunsdorf in Germany and flew on several flights delivering supplies during the Berlin Airlift. In May 1950, whilst a staff officer at HQ 38 Group, he flew on the last York flight to Singapore and shared the signaller’s duties. In 1952 he began a one-year post-graduate electronics course at Southampton University, where he was able to join the University Air Squadron and fly. On successful completion of the course, he went to the Radar Research Establishment at Malvern as the project officer on three airborne radar equipments under development. These included a new bombing radar and Clements flew 100 hours testing the equipment in a Canberra bomber.


fter a series of staff appointments in Nato, at the Air Ministry and at HQ Fighter Command, he left for Singapore to be the Command Electrical Engineer at the RAF’s HQ Far East Air Force. He initiated the installation of an airborne radio relay system to improve communications with low-flying helicopters over the Malaysian jungle. On return to England, he took command of the Radio Engineering Unit (REU) at Henlow with an establishment of 1,200 personnel and the responsibility for the world-wide installation of communication systems and navigational aids. In 1972 and 1973 he was the Assistant Controller of the Defence Communications Network (DCN). In late 1973 Clements was

appointed Air Officer Signals at HQ Air S u p p o r t Command. His time in post was coloured by a series of take-over battles and attempts to break up the electronic warfare organisation by transferring his organisation to other MOD departments, including the Procurement Executive. Clements won all the battles to retain his establishment as the centre of RAF signals expertise. After retiring in December 1976, he joined Marconi Defence Systems. He was very proud of being an RAF apprentice and later became the president of the RAF Cranwell Apprentices Association from 1993 to 2003. His autobiography Electronic Airborne Goldfish was published in 2001. CLEMENTS: Survived Botha aircraft crash into sea

Royal Air Force News Friday, December 3, 2021 P25

Ford Transit Custom Nugget


Golden Nugget

Ford’s new campervan’s a finger-licking bit of kit TIM MORRIS Motoring Correspondent FORD MODELS of yesteryear like the Capri, the Cortina and the Granada conjured up images of exotic, faraway lands… of aspiration. But the Nugget? Just reminds me of fried chicken. That lack of attention to detail is a shame, because it’s otherwise a brilliant bit of kit. The Transit Nugget is Ford’s new campervan. It’s a direct rival to the Volkswagen California (see, VW hasn’t lost it’s touch) and it comes in either short or long wheelbase forms. The big difference is that the LWB gets an on-board toilet. Outside It’s not ugly and the tinted privacy glass gives it an upmarket look. The alloy wheels and angular trim add to the effect. With the Westfalia pop-up roof down its even relatively sleek. The result is a particularly agile camper with reduced wind noise and the ability

to slip down tighter country lanes with very little fuss. You can even squeeze it into most parking spaces, which comes in jolly handy in busy seaside towns. Running down the roofline on the offside there’s a lightweight awning. Inside There’s something fascinating about the way that camper builders manage to fit an entire apartment into a van and this one is very clever. The two front seats are nicely padded, with folding arm rests. These swivel 180 degrees when you’re parked up to create a comfy living area. There’s a good amount of head and leg room in either configuration and plenty of room between them to make walking into the back an easy experience. The three-seat bench in the middle of the van forms the real ‘transformer’ element of the interior. It slides on runners and hides a big storage compartment beneath. This contains the dining table, an electricity cable, a water hose and a number of other extras to unpack your apartment in the

On the up-side, the standard fit night heater works well. Interestingly, this is a van that can seat five but sleep four. That means that you’re either going to want to limit passengers to four adults and one small child or prepare your fifth camper for a holiday spent ‘bagging’ it on the deck.

KITCHEN: Small but quite functional

field. Behind the seat is another large alcove that contains the remaining camping kit and behind that is a well equipped L-shaped kitchen area. There’s a 40-litre fridge, a twohob gas stove, a 240V power input, a full kitchen sink and even a small outdoor shower. The pop-up roof is operated from the kitchen and provides ample room to stand up while cooking. With the beds made up there’s plenty of space but the lower bed isn’t particularly comfortable for long stays. You’ll want a mattress topper at the very least.

On The Road Our van was the 182bhp EcoBlue diesel with the optional six-speed automatic gearbox. It was impressively quick off the mark and cruised effortlessly on the motorway. The gearbox and transmission operate smoothly. On winding roads it handles well for a van of this size, with power being delivered to the front wheels. On a wet field this is better than the rear wheel drive that was fitted in Transits of old but not as effective as the 4MOTION four wheel drive system found in its VW California rival. Nevertheless, it will get you rapidly to most locations without any fuss. A manual box is also available, along with a cheaper 128bhp 2.0 diesel variant.

Verdict Pros ● Agile and nimble ● Lively engine ● Good living area ● Well priced Cons ● Upholstery not the best ● Autobox can hold on to gears too long ● Awning winder too close to side of the van ● Few options available Overall With prices starting from £56,273, you may think it’s a serious chunk of change but you get more kit for your money than you would with its nearest rivals, the VW California or the Mercedes V-Class Marco Polo. In a volatile travel market it also represents a dependable source of family holidays for years to come.

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Royal Air Force News Friday, December 3, 2021 P27


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5 pages of RAF Sport start here


● It's lift-off for RAF Weightlifting at the Inter-Services: p31


Scottie's breaming with pride

CATCH OF THE DAY: RAF Sea Angling team's Sgt Scott Rennie in action and, inset, collecting award at Halton

Angling team with 14 consecutive Inter-Service titles net top award Daniel Abrahams THE 2021 RAF Sports Awards at Halton House will live long in the memory, not just for marking the return to the annual event after a two-year hiatus. DCOM Caps Air Marshal Andrew Turner presented the awards, noting the amazing achievements of all the nominees and winners in the four categories, three lifetime accolades and four special tributes in his opening speech. The team of the year award went to the boat and sea angling team, who were celebrating their 14th year as unbeaten Inter-Service champions. WO Darren Rose, deputy chairman and boat team manager, said: “The award is just reward for the hard work and dedication of the association and all of its anglers, many of whom have retired or left the Service, yet still support us unwaveringly.” The male sportsman of the year award was won by jiu-jitsu star Flt Lt Jonathan Maflin. He said: “I am shocked to be honest, the other nominees had some amazing achievements, so yes, I thought one of the those would win it. I’ve had a great career in jiu-jitsu, so this award is the cherry on the cake really.” Para-Alpine skier SAC Shona Brownlee, who was absent from the ceremony, took the prized award for sportswoman of the year. Elizabeth Winfield, chief operating officer for Armed Forces Para Snowsports Team, collected the

BEST MALE: Jiujitsu star Flt Lt Jonathan Maflin

IS WINNERS: Sea anglers


trophy, saying: “She [Brownlee] is such a proud individual, both of her career in the RAF and of her work representing female Sit-skiers.” The coach/official of the year award went to Sgt Kevin Saunby for his work with RAF football referees, and fencing’s Fg Off Luke Hilton took the administrator of the year award. Three lifetime accolades went to WO Ian Giles (Cricket), Chf Tech David Duff (Canoeing) and Sqn Ldr Karl Whalley (Boxing), while special awards were made to

IT'S OFFICIAL: Award for Sgt Kev Saunby

PARA GONG: Elizabeth Winfield collects sportswoman of year award on behalf of SAC Shona Brownlee, inset left

FS Michael Taylor (Athletics), FS Chris Slator (Motorsports), Gp Capt Carl Peters (Gliding) and Sgt Georgia Welch (Fencing).

Royal Air Force News Friday, December 3, 2021 P28


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POINTS WIN: Greer (right) and Sheppard

RELENTLESS: Thubron (right) and Brennan

80-86KG CLASS: Pitt (right) and Bates

Well Fort, Sir

Flt Lt is Wakefield heavyweight champ A FIELD of 16 fighters stood The build-up to finals night toe to toe for three two-minute saw 46 Class A (fighters with rounds to decide the 102nd Lord less than five bouts of previous Wakefield boxing championship. experience) boxers compete across After a 20-month wait, the eight weight categories. evening, usually held at The qualifications had RAF College Cranwell, them boxing up to was hosted by Brize three times over the Norton. weekend, in front of Squadron Leader 250 spectators. Karl Whalley, RAF The first bout boxing chairman, of the evening saw said: “It’s great to a well fought 57finally get back to 60kg clash between competitive action. SAC Cameron Smith LE: Lennon Being able to bring a fresh BAghTT (Marham) and Cpl Sam (ri t) and Carrick group of novice boxers into Anderton (Coningsby), the Association and watch them which Anderton won. compete with such valour and The second bout, a 60-63.5kg determination is outstanding.” contest between SAC Harry Riley RUGBY

(Coningsby) and SAC Brandon McCormick (Brize) produced a challenging battle with Riley coming out on top. An electric third bout saw a 63.567kg fight between Coningsby’s Cpl Scott Sheppard and Odiham’s Flt Lt Keith Greer, which Greer won on a unanimous points decision. SAC Michael Lennon (Leeming) and SAC Jamie Carrick (Akrotiri) then fought out a tough 67-71kg fight, with Lennon coming out on top. Leeming’s SAC Joe Brennan’s clash against Honington’s SAC Dan Thubron saw a relentless barrage from both, with Thubron taking the title. SAC Sam Drake (Odiham) won

his 75-80kg contest after the fight against Coningsby’s SAC Dylan Tomkinson was stopped in the first round. The penultimate bout, an 8086kg contest between SAC Samuel Bates from RAF Northolt and SAC


Marc Pitt (Leeming), saw Pitt win. The evening’s final bout, a 92+kg contest, saw Flt Lt Paul Fort (Waddington) and SAC Sam Frizzell (Marham) go toe to toe for all three rounds, with Fort taking the title of champion.

It's one to remember for UKAF rugby stars UKAF Rugby For Heroes

TRY: Flt Lt Robert Bel (No. 20) is congratulated by his UKAF team-mates after scoring

CHAMPION: Fort (left) slugs it out with Frizzell

62 33

IT WAS A night of storming oval ball action to mark Remembrance Day with UKAF senior men beating a Rugby for Heroes select team 62-33 at Kingsholm Stadium. Looking to make it back-to-back wins, having won the fixture in 2019 against a Bristol Bears side 2926 in dramatic style, the military men went behind after just three minutes in Gloucester. Jamie Lang went over for an unconverted try, but UKAF responded to lead 7-5 after seven minutes. Lang then turned from saint to sinner for the select side as his 10th-minute pass was superbly intercepted by RAF man Cpl Sam Hutchinson on the 20-metre line. Hutchinson ran through to score under the posts, with L/Cpl James Dixon again taking the extras. A stunning chip and run to score then came from SAC Ryan Crowley

TRIBUTE: Mike Tindell (centre) with poppy wreath

who would sign off the night with a flying final try. Comfortably leading 19-5, the military men pushed on to lead 3112 at the break. In the second half the teams traded tries as former world cup winner Mike Tindall’s men attempted to claw back the score line, but UKAF always looked comfortable. Cpl Luke Riddell narrowly


missed the chance to halt a Heroes try scoring pass at one end, while his Service teammate Flt Lt Robert Be touched down from a line-out on 55 minutes. Tindall then saw a late pass intercepted by Crowley, who topped a magnificent night with UKAF’s 10th try of the evening, under the posts, to seal the crushing win. Follow UKAF rugby union on Instagram @ukafrugby.

Would you like to see your sport featured in RAF News? Send a short report (max 300 words) and a couple of photographs (attached jpegs) to: Sports@rafnews.co.uk

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Royal Air Force News Friday, December 3, 2021 P29


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The injury time Blues for UKAF


Chelsea break hearts with late winner

TOUGH GAME: Flt Lt Barry Laws (2nd from left) gets involved against Farnham Over 5Os

Young saves day for vets

THE SERVICE’S veteran footballers marked their penultimate fixtures of 2021 with two wins at St George’s Park against Curzon Ashton and West Brom Over-35s. The hugely impressive 3-2 and 4-3 wins respectively came off the back of two defeats against Farnham & District (4-0) and Manor Athletic (3-1), with Cpl Steve Norton the only scorer. Norton found his shooting boots again in the second game of the set-up’s latest matches against the Baggies side in a goal bonanza of a game. In the opening clash of the weekend Curzon took the lead in the 13th minute with a goal against the run of play. It took the military men just two minutes to equalise, when Chf Tech Rory O’Hagan headed home. Curzon regained the lead again after 19 minutes. In the 35th minute Sgt Ged Storey found Sgt Adam Hennessey, who scored, and five minutes later Storey found Sgt Craig Zenko, who made it 3-2. The second half remained goalless, despite several chances going begging for both teams. A strong RAF side took to

RAF Veterans


Curzon Ashton


RAF Veterans


West Brom Over-35s


the field against West Brom, who fielded many ex and semi-professional players. It was the hosts who took the lead after 12 minutes, with the RAF levelling after 21 minutes through a Sgt Steve Young header from a Sgt Johnny Watkin corner. Five minutes later a quick counterattack found Norton on the left. Beating his marker, he fired home for 2-1 for his seventh goal in seven matches. The goals kept coming and after 29 minutes Sgt Mike Duerden stroked home for 3-1. The score remained 3-1 until the 85th minute when all hell broke loose. West Brom beat the RAF offside trap to score and just 40 seconds later they levelled. The never say die RAF attitude then saw Young coolly beat the hosts’ offside trap, before smashing home an unstoppable shot to seal the win.

FARNHAM MATCH: Sgt Danny Bartley looks to intercept PHOTOS: CHARLI GRAHAM

RAF STAR: Sgt Cat Beaver (in red)

A CHASTENING finish to their Remembrance Day clash against Chelsea Academy left UKAF women ruing a host of missed chances after their 2-1 injury time defeat. Sgt Karl Milgate’s team performed superbly throughout the night, managing a game where they would see little of the ball. Having produced the better chances throughout the game, they went down to 84th and 94th-minute goals at the Kingsmeadow Ground. Milgate said: “It was tough to concede so late, but we were facing the best academy team in the country, so I felt we more than matched them. “Their coach told me we gave them a huge test and it was credit to us with the disciplined way we played.” Milgate, who only had 48 hours to work with his team before the big clash, added: “They fielded England international Lauren James for 65 minutes of the match and a handful of England Youth players, so they were not taking us lightly.” RAF stalwart Sgt Cat Beaver marshalled her troops superbly. They could have gone ahead after just three minutes through Army forward Cpl Libby Dixon, who fired wide. A further two chances fell Dixon’s way inside the first 10 minutes as the hosts

Chelsea Academy




struggled to deal with her. More chances fell UKAF’s way as the half went on, and they finally found the net in the 31st minute courtesy of home defender Cerys Brown. It took the hosts until the 38th minute to have a shot on goal. After the break UKAF went close after 45 minutes. A sublime

79th-minute pass found Dixon one on one with the Chelsea keeper, but with that chance gone the hosts rallied, levelling five minutes later through Reanna Blades. The military side looked to have played out the draw, but having cleared an injury time corner, debutant RAF player SAC Shaunna Jenkins limped off and without the team’s rock at the back, Chelsea pounced to score a heartbreaking winner.

TEAM TALK: UKAF women form a huddle at the Kingsmeadow Ground to discus tactics

Royal Air Force News Friday, December 3, 2021 P30


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SHAPE of things to come Cricket stalwart champions game at Allied Supreme HQ Daniel Abrahams THE MISSION to implement and develop cricket at the HQ of Allied Command, SHAPE, in Belgium has proved a success. Approaching RAF News Sport in late 2019 about his plans to install the summer game at Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, RAF cricketing stalwart Wg Cdr John Riddell knew the size of the task ahead. Now with five successful T20 and 35-over matches under his belt, he said: “It’s fair to say personnel

arriving at SHAPE didn’t anticipate playing cricket. “Training facilities are very limited and, of course, we lost the whole of 2020 for any fixtures due to Covid.” Utilising an old tennis court Riddell, along with Royal Navy excricketer Lt Richard Smith, began holding twice-weekly training sessions. After adapting an artificial pitch used for football at the station, and having set-up the SHAPE CC, Riddell began his search for cricketers to join the project.

CRICKET BIG SHOT: A Wg Cdr John Riddell master stroke and, below, a quick single for Lt Col Phil Morgan and Army WO Jason Archibald against RBCC

He said: “We encouraged players old and new to become actively involved in shaping the club and the sport. “I first played unit cricket in 1985 and as I approach 37 years in the RAF, I have to say that this is the most enthusiastic group of players I have had the pleasure to coach and mentor. “The challenge is to make cricket sustainable by encouraging our international colleagues to participate in this wonderful game.” Riddell has been ably supported by David Dart – a member of

SHAPE CC and Royal Brussels Cricket Club – who organised a series of fixtures at the club’s Lasne ground and one at SHAPE itself. SHAPE lost the first 35 over match by 33 runs to RBCC, winning their second match by nine runs against a British Embassy side. The first T20 fixture went the way of RBCC by 54 runs, before they faced an Officers and Civilians team at home, losing by six wickets. Following a 10-run defeat to RBCC for the final game of the season, Riddell said: “There’s a real opportunity for teams to visit

us in 2022. We will use the winter to upgrade our facilities, such as cricket nets, and find some way of holding year-round training.”

SAC's on top of World TRIATHLON

Pollard guides Ellis to gold in UAE

SWEET TASTE OF VICTORY: Pollard (right) with Ellis and on the podium (far right)

SAC LUKE POLLARD has laid to rest the ghost of Tokyo, winning gold as a guide at the 2021 World Triathlon Para Championships in Abu Dhabi. Pollard and blind GBR athletics partner Dave Ellis suffered a technical issue in Japan which saw their Paralympic dreams die, but they stormed to success in the United Arab Emirates, beating Spaniard Hector Catala in second and American Kyle Coon in third. Pollard said: “The win is a fantastic way to end the season after a stressful year. “Having to build up to a major Games like Tokyo and then the situation that happened there is tough, so this is a step on from it.” The pair saw their chance of summer gold vanish when their bike chain broke during the PTVI (visually impaired) triathlon on day four of the Tokyo Games. Pollard added: “I remember sitting in our hotel overlooking Odaiba Marina Park beach [Games venue] and it felt like a bad dream. At no point did we ever speak about giving up. We then vowed to not let that incident define us.”

Following the Games, the duo prepared in heat chambers in Miyazaki, Japan, before a quick return home and then on to Abu Dhabi. The SAC said: “The Worlds was our opportunity to bounce back, and we put aside any thoughts of technical issues as we started.” The win came after strong performances in all three aspects of the triathlon, with the duo quicker on the bike, on foot and in the water.

Pollard, who missed out on working with Ellis for the Seoul World event in 2020 due to Covid, said: “We now focus on final qualifications for the Commonwealth Games next summer. “The Games will be a once in a lifetime event, neither Dave nor I have ever competed in one and to have it in Birmingham, with the route running through the city, is just another fantastic incentive.” Follow SAC Pollard on Instagram @lukepollard91.

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Royal Air Force News Friday, December 3, 2021 P31


Email: sports@rafnews.co.uk


We have lift-off


Worth the weight for sport to be recognised

TOP MAN: Cpl Mike Cutler

RAF WEIGHTLIFTERS wasted no time making an impact on the InterServices stage, taking a haul of six medals to come second in the Cosford event. The team, who were the first to take the arena since weightlifting was recognised by the Sports Board in March, produced the goods in the four lifting sessions on a day of high drama and action, eventually bringing home half of the medals on offer. Team captain Cpl Mike Cutler said: “I had the pleasure of captaining this team of extremely talented and dedicated lifters. Their hard work paid off, only finishing second to an extremely strong Army set-up. “Personally, having won gold in the heavy men’s event, I then managed to win the best overall male gold against a strong contingent making it a very memorable day. “I couldn’t have been prouder to have led such a great team. Hopefully this will help build the sport in the RAF and wider military.” The two morning sessions kicked off with the lightweight women’s event, LAC Ellie McManus brought home bronze, while Cpl Steph Pye took silver. The lightweight men’s event which followed then saw Cpl Luke Mees grab silver, while in session three Sgt Maddie Elliot made it three silvers for the team in the

SILVER MEDAL: Lightweight Cpl Steph Pye

heavyweight women’s event with Cpl Lucy Spy taking bronze. Closing out the day's drama Cpl Cutler, who took the men’s best lifter award, stormed to gold in the heavyweight men’s class, to cap the day off superbly. Sgt Elliot said “It meant so much to be around a supportive team and to see everyone succeed on the platform. The newly formed association has provided a momentous opportunity and support this year and has had an awesome impact on my career so far. I’m thrilled to achieve third female overall in the Inters and I have my eyes firmly fixed on the plan for next year.”


Marathon man's long road to Commonwealth Games BIRMINGHAM IS the destination and a Commonwealth Games spot the dream for RAF marathon man Sgt James Bellward. The MOD Corsham PTI, who has competed at RAF and UKAF level, saw his sporting life change when he achieved elite athlete status in August 2020. Now with the dream of the Commonwealth Games next summer firmly in his sights, Bellward said: “When the RAF Sports Federation granted me elite status, I was ranked top of the UK 10-mile road rankings and had won the Royal Braemar Games Hill Race (the first military win in history) and finished 10th at the Copenhagen Marathon in two hours 26 minutes. “I feel very fortunate to have this opportunity, but of course focusing full time on training is not without challenges.” To be considered for Commonwealth qualification, all marathon times under two hours and 14 minutes are registered, with

the Manchester Marathon next April being a selected Games event. The first hurdle for the RAF runner to overcome was the halt in racing and training due to Covid and lockdown in 2019. Since his return, his life has become a constant calculation. On average he runs for two hours and spends two hours stretching and completing mobility drills, six days a week.

He said: “When I’m not running, I ensure I get the sleep, nutrition and rest I need. It’s hard to switch off and I feel like I should be doing more.” The RAF man is learning all the time, having seen himself hit the wall during the Wrexham Elite Marathon, where he had reached the 20-mile marker at sub-2:20 marathon pace. He said: “Once you reach a high level it is hard to get improvements. However, the RAF programme has allowed me to explore altitude training. In September 2021 I went to the altitude training centre in Font Romeu, in the French Pyrenees, for two weeks." Bellward, who recently won the England Masters 10km title at a Kew Gardens event, will compete on the Service Cross-Country circuits this winter, before the Brighton and Bath half marathons in February and March. ● Go to @royal_air_force_runner on Instagram to follow his progress.

WINNING BY A COUNTRY MILE: Bellward in the Stone Run Falklands half-marathon in 2017 (above) and completing the Copenhagen Marathon in 2 hrs 26 mins in 2019 (inset left)

66p ISSN 0035-8614 48 >

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Royal Air Force News Friday, December 3, 2021 R'n'R 3

The Big Interview


The Snow Spider (PG) On DVD and download now (Dazzler Media)



Family fantasy weaves its spell

Win! MISSING: Bethan


OBERT DUNCAN may be best known for his portrayal of unctuous, jargonspouting chief executive Gus Hedges in the legendary 90s TV comedy Drop The Dead Donkey, set in the offices of a fictional TV news company, but this month the actor is starring in a very different role. Cornishman Duncan heads the cast with Tom Chambers (Father Brown, Holby City) and Susan Penhaligon (A Fine Romance, Emmerdale) of Into The Night, Frazer Flintham’s stage adaptation of Michael Sagar-Fenton’s book Penlee: The Loss of a Lifeboat, marking the 40th anniversary of the tragedy. The drama focuses on the rescue attempt on a Saturday night on December 19, 1981 when the Penlee lifeboat Solomon Browne was launched in hurricane conditions to go to the aid of the coaster Union Star that had engine failure and was being swept towards Cornwall’s southern shore during a fierce storm. Despite the heroic efforts of the lifeboat crew – their attempted rescue ranks with the greatest in the history of the RNLI – a total of 16 lives were lost: all eight lifeboat crewmen and all four of the Union Star crew as well as its Captain Henry Morton, his wife and two teenage stepdaughters, who had been picked up on a stop so that they could be together for the holidays. Duncan plays the Solomon Browne’s coxswain Trevelyan Richards, who chose the eightstrong crew after a dozen men answered the call for crewmen, following an appeal to the Falmouth Coastguard from the Union Star – she was on her maiden voyage, from Holland to Ireland, with a cargo of fertiliser. Duncan, who hails from

The RNLI heroes who perished in bid to save lives ROBERT DUNCAN: Proud Cornishman

St Austell, said: “I was really honoured to be asked to play him. He was a well-known figure in the community in Mousehole. The crew did quite extraordinary things that night. I was in tears after reading the script. “It was the worst weather anyone had seen for many, many years. There were 50 to 60ft waves crashing down. I listened to some radio recordings from the Falmouth Coastguard to the Solomon Browne asking about something and there was just silence, no response. So you know in that moment that something really awful had happened.” He added: “I was living away from Cornwall when the disaster

took place, but my brother, who still lives there, could tell me everything about what went on that night because it was such an enormous event for the Cornish people. The heroism was extraordinary. “I’ve just finished doing the musical of Fishermen’s Friends, based on the film, which was an extraordinary parallel with this play because it's about a fishing community and there’s always been a strong community spirit in Cornwall, which I grew up with. Part of that community is the volunteers who formed the crew.” Flintham said: “It can be easy to forget that crew members on lifeboats in the UK are all volunteers. Electricians, teachers, builders – all willing to drop everything to go out into all weathers, and rescue people they’ve likely never met. I was drawn to this story for its humbling and very human reminder of what bravery can really mean.” Into The Night will be streamed online on December 18 at 5.30pm and will include a post-show Q&A. It will then be available on demand from January 6-31, 2022. The drama is presented by the Original Theatre Company. Its director Alastair Whatley said: “The story of the Penlee lifeboat

is one of the most humbling, aweinspiring stories of ordinary people being thrust into unimaginable conditions and risking everything to save others. It’s a story that touches all who hear it and our hope is to share this incredible story all over the world in what is without doubt one of our most ambitious live broadcasts yet attempted.” Duncan said one of the main reasons he was attracted to the role of Trevelyan Richards was because of his own Cornish roots. He explained: “There’s a huge sense of responsibility to tell that story and to get it right. It is incredibly important and a privilege to be able to portray such a person. The events and the extraordinary heroic acts of that night must be remembered.” By Tracey Allen To book for the live streamed production on December 18, visit: originaltheatreonline.com/ productions/32/into-the-nightlive-stre aming-saturday-18december-530pm-gmt To book to watch the production on demand between January 6-31 visit: originaltheatreonline.com/ productions/33/into-the-nighton-demand. Age guidance 12+.


he Snow Spider is a spellbinding family fantasy series weaving ancient Welsh folklore and magic into the contemporary adventures of a boy magician and his friends. Gwyn Griffiths’ birthday is never just about him. For his family, it’s also the anniversary of his sister Bethan’s mysterious disappearance. On his ninth birthday, Gwyn’s life takes another dramatic twist when his grandmother gives him five special gifts to help him fulfil his magical destiny As he embarks on a thrilling journey of discovery, one gift brings him a mystical snow spider, while another pits him against a dangerous supernatural foe. But can any of them help Gwyn find his missing sister? This adaptation of Jenny Nimmo’s classic story The Snow Spider features the voice of Iwan Rheon (Game of Thrones, Riviera). We have copies of the film on DVD to own. To be in with a chance of winning one, simply tell us: Who wrote the classic story The Snow Spider? Email your answer, marked Snow Spider DVD competition, to: competitions@rafnews.co.uk or post it to: RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe, HP14 4UE, to arrive by December 17.

BIRTHDAY: Gwyn Griffiths is aged nine

Royal Air Force News Friday, December 3, 2021 R'n'R 4

R'n'R One to watch You Don't Know Me



ou Don’t Know Me, BBC One’s major new miniseries, in association with Netflix, is adapted from barrister Imran Mahmood’s bestselling novel about a young man accused of murder. Just before the closing speeches, the defendant sacks his lawyer and decides to give his own defence speech. He says his barrister told him to leave things out. Sometimes, the truth can be too difficult to explain, or believe. But he thinks that if he’s going to go down for life, he might as well go down telling the truth. Mahmood said: “The defendant [known as Hero] is one of the thousands of young men, strangers to privilege and opportunity, who are caught in the net of the criminal

justice system each year. For those young men, the court is a system designed to deal with them but not to communicate with them. Not to understand them. “Hero believes if he can be understood better, he will be treated more fairly. And that maybe is at the heart of the story – to challenge ourselves to know our neighbours better, so we may better see where and how society fails some people. So, we can see our similarities and close our eyes to the things that divide us.”


creenwriter Tom Edge revealed that he ‘fell in love’ with the novel. He said: “The


Lubaina Himid Tate Modern

clever thing about it is that it’s framed as a speech given, delivered to the jury. It’s very seductive and you go on that journey. “The book paints quite a delicate love story and frames it with the question of who has killed Jamil (Roger Jean Nsengiyumva), and whether Hero is responsible. What grabs you after a while is how Hero wrestles with the question of trust himself. Even while he’s asking the jury to trust him and believe him, the heart of the book asks whether you can trust and believe the people you fall in love with and how deeply you know them.” Samuel Adewunmi, who stars as Hero, described LOVE: his 20-something car Kyra salesman character as

Winter colour

Himid's a treat for the senses


VER FOUR decades Lubaina Himid’s powerful and poetic work has made her an increasingly influential figure in contemporary art – from her pivotal role in the British Black Arts movement of the 1980s to winning the Turner Prize in 2017. Now Tate Modern is staging Himid’s largest solo exhibition to date, which runs until July 3, 2022, incorporating new paintings and significant highlights from across her remarkable career. “Taking inspiration from the artist’s interest in opera and her training in theatre design, the show will unfold across a sequence of scenes which put the visitor centre-stage”, said a Tate Modern spokesperson. “Through a series of questions placed throughout the exhibition, Himid asks us to consider how the built environment, history, personal relationships and conflict shape the lives we lead.” Presenting more than 50 works that bring together painting, everyday objects, poetic texts and sound, the exhibition will offer a rare chance to experience the breadth of Himid’s influential career.

EXHIBIT: Metal Handkerchief Saw Flag

BOLD COLOURS: Man in a Shirt Drawer

Early installations on show include the well-known A Fashionable Marriage 1984, and new paintings created during lockdown will go on public display for the first time. Himid said: “I have always thought of my work as starting when people get to see it. For me nothing starts until then.” “Patterns occur when I am talking to myself and trying to make visual the music, the sound, the noise and the poetry which underpins all of my work” said the artist. A major highlight of the exhibition will be the presence of sound installations, including Blue Grid Test 2020, created by Himid in collaboration with artist Magda Stawarska-Beavan. Displayed in the UK for the first time, this 25-metre-long painting features 64 patterns from all over the world, each painted a different shade of blue on top of a variety of objects pinned to the gallery walls. n Go to: tate.org.uk or follow @ Tate #LubainaHimid for more information. PHOTOS: Top left, courtesy the artist and Hollybush Gardens, bottom left, © Lubaina Himid

A BAD DEAL? Car salesman Hero (Adewunmi) with Jamil (Nsengiyumva), who is killed. Below, Hero

‘just this average guy going through his life. He’s doing alright for himself but nothing special. He’s content, but he’s not necessarily fulfilled. He’s not necessarily happy. He’s just sort of doing his thing, plodding along every day like we all do.’ He added: “As the story unravels his life is turned upside down. His whole world is shaken, I don’t think he’s ever the sort of person that we’d consider to be on trial for murder. He tries to give a compelling argument for his innocence and tries his best to explain why he ended up there.”


hat changes in Hero when he meets Kyra (Sophie Wilde)? Adewunmi said: “The story is a love story, essentially. With all these extraordinary circumstances, it is really just this guy who falls in love with a girl and she, essentially, is the catalyst for what happens next. They meet on a bus and he’s completely mesmerised by her. She’s beautiful but also really clever, funny, kind and caring. The fact that she gets on so well with his family means everything to him. She also helps him to dream for more, even though she doesn’t really have much herself.” Australian actor Wilde said: “To be able to work in the UK and on a piece that feels very British in its nature was something that appealed to me in a lot of ways. “Kyra has had a very hard life and grown up in quite a difficult setting. I think of her as a bit of a lone wolf at the start of the piece and very much


Tom Jones ITV


CREENWRITER GWYNETH Hughes, who adapted the classic novel Vanity Fair for the hit ITV series, has written the screenplay for a new version of the Henry Fielding classic The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling, featuring a host of big British names. The forthcoming ITV drama, starring Solly McLeod (The Rising) as Tom, with Sophie Wilde (You Don’t Know Me) as the heroine Sophia Western, also stars Pearl Mackie (Doctor Who) as Sophia’s trusted maid, Honour; James Fleet (Bridgerton) as Squire Allworthy, Tom’s warm-hearted adoptive father; Alun Armstrong (Breeders) as Squire Western, Sophia’s hard-drinking, but loving grandfather; and Shirley Henderson (Happy Valley) as Sophia’s Aunt Western. Tamzin Merchant (Carnival

self-reliant. Over the course o it’s kind of beautiful the wa her come out, and that is ve product of her relationship He brings out a lot of beautifu her that she had previously sh She added: “The show is and the lengths you will go to you love.” Wilde revealed that she ha to help her master a London She said: “I think it’s quit vowel sounds, but practical your Australian intonation a intonation is really difficult. It n You Don’t Know Me star 9pm on December 5.


FINDING LOVE: Tom (Solly McLeod) and Sophia (Sophie Wilde)

Row) is Sophia’s Aunt Harriet, with Julian Rhind-Tutt (Britannia) as her bellicose husband Fitzpatrick. Susannah Fielding (This Time With Alan Partridge) is Mrs Waters. Daniel

Royal Air Force News Friday, December 3, 2021 R'n'R 5


Russian State Ballet of Siberia HERO: Wants the court to know the real him

UK tour

Win tickets to Siberia Ballet


ELEBRATING TWO decades since their first UK tour in 2002, the Russian State Ballet of Siberia will be back in Britain to perform later this month and will tour nationwide from January to March. Its 20th anniversary season launches at St David’s Hall, Cardiff with performances from December 18 and next year the ballet company, accompanied by the Russian State Ballet Orchestra, visits venues including Basingstoke, Blackpool, Brighton, Buxton, Darlington, Edinburgh, High Wycombe, Hull, Ipswich, Leicester, Liverpool, Manchester, Oxford, Sheffield, and Wolverhampton. The Russian State Ballet of Siberia – led by Artistic Director Sergei Bobrov and Music Director Anatoly Tchepurnoi – has established itself as one of Russia’s leading ballet companies and has built an international reputation for delivering performances of outstanding quality and depth. Since its first Christmas season at St David’s Hall in Cardiff in 2002, the company has completed 18 UK tours and has had success in Italy, Spain, Slovakia, Japan, Turkey, Bulgaria, Taiwan, the United Arab Emirates and Singapore. Bobrov said: “I am delighted to return to the UK this year. The response of audiences wherever the company performs is overwhelming. We can’t wait to be back on stage in front of UK audiences once again.” The ballets to be performed this season are Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Snow Maiden, Romeo and Juliet and Cinderella. Principal dancer Marcello Pelizzoni told Marianka Swain: “It

in the dock

of the story ay you see ery much a with Hero. ul qualities in hut down. all about love o for the people

ad a dialect coach accent. te easy to nail the lly getting out of and into a London t’s a whole journey.” rts on BBC One at

r of all romcoms Rigby (Black Mirror) plays disgraced schoolteacher Partridge, who befriends Tom on his journey; James Wilbraham (In My Skin) is Tom’s bitter cousin Blifil; Felicity Montagu (The Durrells) plays Blifil’s mother Bridget Allworthy, a devoted aunt to Tom; and Janine Duvitski (Benidorm) is Mrs Wilkins, Allworthy’s testy housekeeper. Dean Lennox Kelly (Jamestown) is poacher-turned-gamekeeper Black George and Lucy Fallon (Coronation Street) is his daughter Molly, who charms young Tom. An ITV spokesperson said: “A rollercoaster story of the title character’s complicated journey to find real love, Tom Jones has delighted and scandalised readers since it was originally published in 1749.” The drama, which started filming in Belfast in September, is shot

entirely on location in and around the Northern Ireland capital. Hughes, also the show’s executive producer, said: “Tom Jones is the mother of all romcoms and isn’t that just what we all need after the last couple of years of misery? It’s a story where the sun barely stops shining, where love conquers all, and at its warm heart stand a pair of young sweethearts everyone can root for. “Henry Fielding’s 18th century novel is sexy and fun; it’s also a dramatic rollercoaster, addressing so many modern concerns around consent, sexual equality and the pursuit of happiness. Tom and Sophia overcome enormous obstacles before finding their way home and to each other. This is a classic adaptation with a wise soul and a great big smile on its face.”


CLASSIC: Romeo and Juliet

was fantastic news when they told us that we’d be touring this year, after missing out because of Covid in 2020. We always look forward to the UK tour. And it’s incredible to reach this 20th anniversary. Not many companies have that.” Company manager Vitaly Mikhailov said: “The five ballets we’ve chosen [for the tour] are all very popular: multiple generations have grown up with them.” Bobrov said: “Our Swan Lake is very close to the original 19th century production, as conceived by Tchaikovsky. We’re proud to keep that great Russian tradition alive.” Mikhailov added: “We also have a very Russian Nutcracker. We love that Nutcracker has become a part of people’s Christmas celebrations. And the Snow Maiden is based on a Russian folk tale. Then we have Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and everyone knows Cinderella. So they’re great introductions to ballet; you can understand them easily and see that familiar story

Heaven Scent


AF News has teamed up with 100 per cent natural aromatherapy brand Scentered to offer readers a special 20 per cent discount on its products sold through its eCommerce store. Scentered says it has “a mission to support wellbeing, helping individuals feel and be more resilient, when juggling daily life.” A Scentered spokesperson said: “We use essential oils to address most commonly cited issues that affect wellbeing, to reduce stress and anxiety, improve sleep, encourage positivity and promote a sense of calm control. Our unique compact, solid balms are created for use on the go whenever and wherever needed, providing easy to use, portable solutions to support everyday life. “Scentered’s products range from aromatherapy balms, home candles, body and bath and accessories, all of which enable a personalised

transformed into dance.” The company has around 80 people coming to the UK, including dancers and musicians. Bobrov said: “We have beautiful handmade costumes, scenery and video projections. We want every performance to be stylish and atmospheric.” We have a pair of tickets to see the Russian State Ballet of Siberia in Romeo and Juliet at the New Theatre, Oxford on Friday, Feburary 11, 2022 up for grabs. For your chance to win them, just answer this question correctly: What is the name of the Russian State Ballet’s Artistic Director? Email your answer, marked Ballet competition, to: competitions@ rafnews.co.uk or post it to: RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe, HP14 4UE to arrive by January 10, 2022. n Go to: raymondgubbay.co.uk for tour and ticket details.

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Visit: www.Scentered.com to find the ideal blend for you. Use code RAFCF20 at the checkout. Scentered Exclusive Offer: *20 per cent off all Scentered items for RAF News readers – ends at 23.55 on December 12, 2021 (code can be used as many times as required up to this date). *Code cannot be used in conjunction with any other offers and sale items. Scentered is a client of coconutsolutions.co.uk

Royal Air Force News Friday, December 3, 2021 R'n'R 6

R'n'R Your Announcements

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

Deaths DOVEY Alan, sadly, yet peacefully on October 31 aged 90. A much-loved man who will be sadly missed by all his family and friends. Funeral service to take place on Monday, December 6 at St Edward The Confessor Church, Sudbrooke, followed by committal at Lincoln Crematorium. Family flowers only please. Donations if desired to IBCC (International Bomber Command Centre). Enquiries to Priestley and Cockett: 01522 520606.

Wittering, Cranwell, Coningsby, Northolt, High Wycombe, Brampton, West Raynam and Marham along with overseas postings to Cyprus, Malta, Belgium, Germany and the Falkland Islands. When he retired from the RAF as a Warrant Officer at RAF Marham he ran a Bed and Breakfast in Hunstanton and later moved to Lincoln and worked for Lincolnshire Constabulary in administration for 10 years before finally retiring. His hobbies included ten pin bowling, painting and creating professionallooking videos of family events and get togethers. Andy leaves his wife Pauline, children Diane and Jonathan, grandchildren Jack, Jessica, Matthew and Tim and great-grandchildren Alice, Millie and Pippa. Funeral service to take place at Lincoln Crematorium on Tuesday, December 14 at 11.50am. Family flowers only, donations if desired to RAFA or Cancer Research UK. Enquires to Priestley and Cockett: 01522 520606.

Alan Dovey KING Martin (Scouse) exRAF Fireman on October 26 in Lincoln County Hospital following complications from heart disease and renal cancer. Deeply missed by wife Joan (ex-P&A Clk) and children Stephanie and Andrew and their partners Conor and Amy. Funeral was held on November 30. Donations may be made to Lincs & Notts Air Ambulance and L.I.V.E.S. RADFORD Andrew James. Sadly, at home on November 15th aged 77. Born June 15, 1944. Joined as a Boy Entrant in May 1960 (36th Entry) aged 15 at RAF Hereford in the School of Catering to train as a chef. He was stationed at various RAF camps throughout his career:

Andrew Radford

Seeking LOOKING for anyone stationed at RAF Safi, in Malta and RAF Idris, in Libya, between June, 1963 and December, 1965. Also, anyone on the RAF flight on Floriana parade ground for Independence Day in September 1964, in Malta.

Please contact Geoff Stevens, on: moomin33@hotmail. co.uk or (01795) 479803.

Reunions RAF Admin Apprentice Association Annual General Meeting and Reunion June 17-19, 2022, Northampton Marriott Hotel. For full details and options please contact the association’s social secretary on: 01403 581324 or email: socialsecretary@ rafadappassn.org. This will be our first reunion since lockdown and will be a great chance to catch up with old friends and indeed make new ones. THE RAF Changi Association (inc. HQFEAF) founded May 1996 welcomes new members from all ranks, ex RAF/WRAF/WAAF and civilian personnel who served at RAF Changi (inc. HQFEAF ) during 1946-72. For more information please contact our Membership Secretary: Malcolm Flack on: 01494 728562 or email: MemSecChangi@outlook. com or visit: www.rafchangi. com for more details. RAF Bawdsey Reunion Association. Having cancelled our 2020 reunion, we have provisionally planned the next reunion for Saturday, May 21, 2022, before The Queen’s Jubilee celebrations and the extended public holidays in early June, and we look forward to seeing our friends again then. Any queries please email: doreen.bawdseyreunion@ btinternet.com or call: 07513 301723.

RAFAA Association IF you trained as an RAF Administrative Apprentice (or perhaps you are related to an ex-RAF Administrative Apprentice) we would be

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

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

delighted to welcome you to the RAFAAA. Our aim is to promote friendship and general wellbeing among our veterans, via social gatherings and assorted activities, as devised by an elected committee, and a regular newsletter. Check our website for details: rafadappassn.org or contact the Membership Secretary on: 07866 085834 or Chairman on: 01933 443673. We we want to hear from you.

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

Applications now open for pilot scholarship APPLICATIONS ARE invited from young women from all backgrounds, aged between 17 and 24, for the Attagirls Molly Rose Pilot Scholarship, the UK’s only aviation scholarship that entirely funds all elements of attaining a Private Pilot’s Licence. The winning applicant will receive full pilot training for a PPL next year, with all costs covered, said the organisers. The scholarship was inspired by aviatrix heroine Molly Rose, a pilot in the Air Transport Auxiliary during World War II. The scholarship winner

will be mentored by two current female pilots – Zoe Cameron, an airline pilot for Virgin Atlantic and Laura Mayer, light aircraft flying instructor and pilot. The successful scholarship winner will obtain her flying training with the Marshallowned Cambridge Aero Club, founded by Molly’s brother Sir Arthur Marshall. The British Women Pilots’ Association will sponsor an accommodation, subsistence and travel package for the winning scholarship applicant. Go to: aetheris.co.uk/ mrps for full details and how to apply.

Tickets for heroes

Can you help RAFBF? THE RAF Benevolent Fund is looking for volunteers to support its Telephone Friendship group service. The charity said the service became a lifeline during the pandemic, when vulnerable older people were asked to shield to protect themselves from Covid-19. The calls are managed by a volunteer facilitator there to support the group throughout the call. All facilitators are given training before being introduced to their group. If you can spare one hour a week to support the service the RAFBF wants to hear from you. If you are unable to commit to one hour a week, the Fund also need facilitators to provide ad-hoc cover for holidays. Please contact Welfare Services Executive Sally Austin at: sally.austin@rafbf. org.uk for more details.

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

IF YOU’RE a serving member of the Armed Forces, a reservist or a veteran, or work for the Ministry of Defence, you can claim a 25 per cent discount* on tickets to shows at Milton Keynes Theatre. The theatre has launched its Local Heroes initiative, offering the sizeable discount to a range of professionals including emergency service workers, teachers and social workers. Emma Sullivan, director of Milton Keynes Theatre, said: “There couldn’t be a better time to thank and give back to our Local Heroes for their hard work and tireless dedication to the local community.” The discount is available for various shows across the theatre’s autumn season and beyond, including musicals, dramas, ballet and the pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk, starring Ashley Banjo and Diversity.

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

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

Royal Air Force News Friday, December 3, 2021 R'n'R 7

R'n'R Your Announcements

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

Bentley Priory hosts special anniversary event

FOUR VETERAN pilots attended a special event at Bentley Priory Museum in Stanmore recently to commemorate the 80th anniversary of No. 4 British Flying Training School (4 BFTS). Descendants and families met at the Falcon Field 80th anniversary event, opened by Wg Cdr Erica Ferguson, Head of RAF Heritage, which included a top table panel of the ‘fab four’ pilots

– Len Worsdell (Course 27) Keith Leedham (Course 26), Vernon Duker (Course 19) and Wally Martin (Course 19) – for an ‘In conversation with our pilots’ session. RAF pilot and flying instructor Flt Lt George Blundell-Pound joined the veterans to talk about his experiences in today’s Royal Air Force. After lunch the attendees had a guided tour of Bentley Priory Museum – the

CLOSE SHAVE: Wally Martin's wartime cigarette packet with bullet hole

headquarters of RAF Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain. Contributors to the day brought material to share including log books, photograph albums, maps, books and other memorabilia. Wally Martin’s cigarette packet promoted a collective gasp from the audience – Wally told them how it was in the cockpit near him on a canister during a sortie and he was aware a bullet had passed nearby. Later he realised that the bullet had gone straight through the cigarette packet. 4 BFTS, based at Falcon Field, Mesa, Arizona from June 16, 1941 to September 10, 1945 – a World War II hangar and US Air Force Base where British pilots were trained on the AT-6 ‘Texan Trainer’ – was opened 80 years ago. During that time more than 2,300 pilots attended a total of 27 courses. A spokesperson for the Mesa-based Wings of Flight Foundation – that located 18 living 4 BFTS pilots, 33 widows and more than

FAB FOUR: The veteran 4 BFTS pilots at the top table for the Falcon Field 80th anniversary gathering at Bentley Priory Museum

60 families in England – said: “This international cooperative venture between the United States and the United Kingdom created a bond in this community that still exists today.” The foundation has created an archive for their

stories and pictures at the Imperial War Museum in Duxford, and a place for descendants to connect on Facebook pages: facebook. com/groups/103080014547 and facebook.com/ FalconField. Today, Falcon Field is a

busy civil and commercial aviation airport and is home to Airbase Arizona Flying Museum. Q Visit: wingsofflight.org for more information on the history of No. 4 British Flying School.

Royal Air Force News Friday, December 3, 2021 R'n'R 8


R'n'R Prize Crossword

Send entries to the address printed in the adjacent Su Doku panel to arrive by December 17.

No. 305

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

Across 1. One member’s demons (4) 8. After flight, he makes an RAF officer (10) 9. Damn dude ruined tailpiece (8) 10. Five leave sauce unattractive colour (4) 12. We hear where needle should go is pointless (2,4) 14. A few pennies make a difference (6) 15. Governor found in South African bunker (6) 17. Accountants in and around gambling den (6) 18. The only word Greta Thunberg hears blares loud and horrible, at first (4) 19. Oops, Blyton damages aircraft (8) 21. How to deliver account of boxing match? (4-2-4) 22. Voice a lieutenant may duck (4) Down 2. Mill handle destroyed at famous Air Fete venue (10) 3. Fruit is sluggish, by the sound of it (4) 4. RAF Museum shows bird with Vito Corleone (6) 5. We hear you leave car with Frenchman in charge – how singular (6) 6. Rustle up Ulster result, for example (8) 7. Lodge south of Scottish river (4) 11. Odd aunt opting to be held in threatening way (2,8) 13. Even caviar appears at high-flying events (3,5) 16. Pontiff meets the old sailor known for his strength (6) 17. Players reach the French stronghold (6) 18. Airline to be showing porcine classic (4) 20. Little Giorgio wandering in a right state (4) Name ................................................................................................................... Address ............................................................................................................... .............................................................................................................................. .............................................................................................................................. RAF aircraft: ................................................................... Crossword No. 305


A Christmas Carol (PG) Blu-ray, DVD & download to own (Dazzler Media)

Prize Su Doku No. 315 Fill in all the squares in the grid so that each row, each column and each 3x3 square contains all the digits from 1 to 9. Solutions should be sent in a sealed envelope marked 'Su Doku' with the number in the top left-hand corner to RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe, Bucks, HP14 4UE, to arrive by December 17, 2021.

Name ...................................................................... ................................................................................. Address .................................................................. ................................................................................. ....................................................Su Doku No. 315

Solution to Su Doku No: 314

The winner of Crossword No. 304 is J Acott of Ipswich. Solution to Crossword No 304: Across – 6. Eritrea 7. Rivet 9. Swine 10. Feather 12. The Last Post 14. Fylingdales 18. Chafing 19. Sport 21. Joint 22. Herrick Down – 1. Crews 2. Stench 3. Vex 4. Big Top 5. Release 8. Hessian 11. Flagons 13. Typhoon 15. Infant 16. Expert 17. Wreck 20. Jet RAF word – Airlift

The winner of Su Doku No. 314 is Martyn Abbott of Sleaford.

Film Review


Natural Light (15) In selected cinemas and Curzon Home Cinema

It wouldn't be Christmas without this certain carol


AREY MULLIGAN (Never Let Me Go) heads an all-star cast of voice artists in this imaginative version of Charles Dickens’s seasonal classic A Christmas Carol. She is joined by Martin Freeman (The Hobbit franchise), Andy Serkis (Lord of the Rings franchise), Daniel Kaluuya (Black Panther) and Simon Russell Beale (Mary Queen of Scots). A Victorian family prepares a toy theatre for their annual performance of A Christmas Carol. The audience enters the imagination of one of the children, and quickly the cardboard stage transforms to reveal a magical world containing real dancers and stylised sets. The tale unfolds on screen in a rich tapestry of drama with characters portrayed

by dancers and voiced by a cast of top actors. It’s a visually striking adaptation of the much-loved Dickens story. We have copies of the film on DVD to add to your collection – the perfect title to settle down to watch with the family over the Christmas holidays. For your chance to own one, simply answer this question correctly: Who wrote the classic A Christmas Carol? Email your answer, marked Christmas Carol DVD competition, to: competitions@ rafnews.co.uk or post it to: RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe, HP14 4UE, to arrive by December 17. CLASSIC TALE: But a new take

THE EYES HAVE IT: Cpl Semetka is a tortured soul

Light and shade of war


N THE icy woodland of Sovietoccupied Ukraine, Hungarian soldiers allied with the Axis try to secure territory and root out the pro-Soviet partisans in the forests, in a slow and trudging test of morality. Istvan Semetka (Ferenc Szabó) is a Hungarian farmer turned Corporal who appears hollowed out by his eight months of military service. Quieter than most, more of an observer, it is fitting that he carries a camera alongside his rifle. Much of the film is communicated through silent exchanges, forcing us to interrogate people’s expressions and find the meaning or emotion. Peasants in the village become hostage to these soldiers, forced

to look down at the ground in deference for fear of arousing hostility. But when Semetka catches one of the villager’s eyes, you get the impression that he sees them, that he is allowing himself to be empathic. Through a stony, blank expression and pained silence we understand that he is a tortured man. This is hardly the heroism of Oskar Schindler, immortalised by Hollywood in the multi-Academy Award-winning Schindler’s List. Semetka isn’t even a hero, he is simply a man reckoning with the deeds that he has committed, opening his eyes to the horror. The stillness of the remote village plays against the occasional

bursts of violence, of attacks from the camped-out partisans – a reminder of the barbarism that is being resisted. Whilst Semetka’s impassive gaze may give an emotionless feel to the film itself, especially when shielded from the ghastlier actions off screen, it draws you in to find the humanity. Dénes Nagy makes his feature debut with Natural Light, but his documentary experience bolsters the film in its use of observation. If you have the patience, and find its stillness intriguing, it is an involving watch and shows how complex human emotions can be communicated without dialogue. 4/5 roundels Review by Sam Cooney