Last two members of Guinea Pig Club pass on l See tributes on page 19
Win a Fist-ful of fun l See R'n'R page 5
Friday, November 3, 2023 No. 1571 £1.20
The intrepid aviators who rule the waves
See p ages 16-17
Sgt's titles triple haul
l See page 28
RAF awards The winners
Protector UK debut
l See page 29
Lifting Inters glory for women
l See page 31
THE RAF'S Goldstars squadron began testing on the first of Britain's unmanned Protector surveillance aircraft at Waddington. Recently-reformed 31 Sqn will conduct global land and maritime intelligence and strike operations following trials at the Lincolnshire station. l See p3 for full story.
Royal Air Force News Friday, November 3, 2023 P2
It’s nerve-racking but also very exciting”
Playing for Scotland in the World Cup was amazing
Bobsleigh brings out the daredevil in us and helps us face our fears
Actress Jennifer Ellison on her return to musical theatre after a decade, in Greatest Days See R’n’R p4
Wheelchair rugby ace and RAF veteran Dave Anderson See page 15
RAF Sports Coach of the Year FS Mark Silva See page 29
Shapps Gulf mission Staff Reporter
RAF News Room 68 Lancaster Building HQ Air Command High Wycombe Buckinghamshire HP14 4UE Editor: Simon Williams Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Features Editor: Tracey Allen Email: email@example.com News Editor: Simon Mander
DEFENCE SECRETARY Grant Shapps travelled to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to drive forward work to maintain regional stability. He met with leaders in both countries as part of the UK’s diplomatic efforts to prevent a wider conflict in the Middle East and ease tensions across the region. The Defence Secretary also met his counterpart in Washington DC last week to coordinate the UK and US’s response to the crisis. Mr Shapps said: “I’m here in the Middle East to work with some of our most valued defence partners to prevent escalation and protect all civilians. “Only by working together can we stop more innocent families being plunged into suffering.” He held talks with Defence Minister HRH Khalid bin Salman and underscored the UK’s priority of protecting civilians and deterring an escalation that undermines regional stability. The recent deployment of UK military assets in the eastern Mediterranean supports this priority by deterring any malign
MIDDLE EAST TALKS: Defence Secretary Grant Shapps in UAE
interference in the conflict. De-escalation was also top of the agenda in Abu Dhabi, where the Defence Secretary met with President HRH Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Defence Minister Mohammed Al Bowardi.
aid for Palestinian civilians in Gaza, including wound care packs, water filters and solar lights. The aid is part of the £30 million increase in humanitarian support for the Occupied Palestinian Territories announced by the Prime Minister.
This Week In History
Sports Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
All advertising: Edwin Rodrigues Tel: 07482 571535 Email: edwin.rodrigues@ rafnews.co.uk
A 22 Sqn Whirlwind launches a rescue mission as a French trawler runs aground off Land’s End, claiming the lives of 12 crew.
Subscriptions and distribution: RAF News Subscriptions c/o Intermedia, Unit 6 The Enterprise Centre, Kelvin Lane, Crawley RH10 9PE Tel: 01293 312191 Email: rafnewssubs@ subscriptionhelpline.co.uk
Mr Shapps underlined that the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf partners have a key role to play as interlocutors, mediators and leaders. The visit came as the UK delivered 21 tonnes of life-saving
THE FIRST flight of the prototype Hawker Hurricane K5083 takes place. More than 14,000 of the fighters were built.
THE FAMOUS ‘golf balls’ at RAF Fylingdales are replaced with a new three-sided pyramid phased array radar, known locally as the ‘cheesegrater.’
Extracts from The Royal Air Force Day By Day by Air Cdre Graham Pitchfork (The History Press)
Royal Air Force News Friday, November 3, 2023 P3
News In Brief
PROP STARS: Actor performs during the recent Horrible History of Flight events at the RAF Museum
Protector lands at Waddington
THE RAF Museum Midlands has netted a top travel award for telling the RAF story to generations of visitors to its Cosford site. The attraction was presented with the Best Told Story award by VisitEngland judges who praised the venue’s displays showcasing more than a century of airpower. Museum spokesman Alan Edwards said: “Sharing the story of the RAF is at the heart of what the Museum is all about. The accolade is acknowledgment that we’re sharing the RAF story to give visitors an entertaining day out. “Alongside our staff, our amazing volunteers play an essential part in the visitor experience, and it is brilliant to be able to share this recognition with them.”
EYE IN THE SKY: 31 Sqn will begin trials of the new Protector UAV at RAF Waddington following its arrival in the UK this month
NATIONAL TREASURE: The Scampton mess used by Dambuster commander Guy Gibson has been granted listed status
What a Mess THE HISTORIC officers’ mess at RAF Scampton has been officially designated a Grade II-listed building by Historic England. The announcement comes after West Lindsey District Council applied for the building to be considered for listing, in a bid to safeguard its historical importance. The move acknowledges the importance of the building, recognising its distinct architectural and historic interest and protecting the mess for future generations. Cllr Trevor Young said: “This recognition of the base’s role in some of the most famous actions of World War II is a really positive outcome, particularly as there remains an element of uncertainty around its short-term future.”
Staff Reporter THE FIRST of 16 remotely piloted Protector aircraft arrived at Waddington to commence a series of rigorous trials and tests before entering the UK fleet. The aircraft will be operated by 31 Sqn from the Lincolnshire station and is equipped with upgraded surveillance sensors offering UK Forces critical global surveillance and strike capability, air chiefs say. Protector will take on land and maritime surveillance roles including tracking threats, counter terrorism and search and rescue missions. With a wingspan of 79ft, the uncrewed aircraft can operate at heights of up to 40,000ft for more than 30 hours and is expected to enter service later next year. Defence Procurement Minister James Cartlidge said: “The UK’s world-class Protector aircraft will emphasise our ultramodern surveillance, intelligence and precision strike capabilities, ensuring we are ready to monitor and protect against potential adversaries around the globe. “With the first aircraft at Waddington ready to begin trials, we will once again demonstrate how we are spearheading military defence technology.”
Waddington crews will carry out ground testing of the satellite links and taxi procedures, as well as take-off and landing trials. Protector will be also be certified to stringent Nato standards, allowing it to operate in the UK and European civilian airspace.
Protector programme chief Air Cdre Alex Hicks said: “The arrival of the UK’s first Protector to the Royal Air Force is the culmination of years of work by many personnel across the whole of the MOD. “The ISR Capability Team will be working with 56 Sqn, our test and evaluation experts, and will put the aircraft through its paces to ensure it is ready for operational service next year, whilst the newly-reformed 31 Sqn will focus on preparing to operate the aircraft in service. “This is an important milestone for the program, Royal Air Force and wider Defence and I am delighted to see Protector at RAF Waddington.” MOD procurement chief Simon Holford added: “The arrival of the first Protector is a major milestone and reflects the hard work that everyone involved has put in to reach this stage. However, we can’t rest on our laurels as there is much more to do. Now assembled, this aircraft will be used to perform initial UK flight trials ahead of progressively delivering the capability to the RAF next year.” Arrival of 15 further aircraft from General Atomics in the US into the UK will be a phased delivery over the net two years. Protector replaces the 15-year-old Reaper platform, currently deployed on operations in Iraq and Syria.
REA REACH ACH OUT FOR F TRUSTED TRUS T TED SUPPO ORT IN Y OU OUR TIME OF F NEED SUPPORT YOUR
Forrcesline is our Forcesline ou ur fr free ee and conﬁdential conﬁdential o helpline helpline and webchat service, providing w ebchat servic e, pr oviding support s ffor or rregulars, e egulars, rreserves eserv ves veterans and dv eterans from from o the Armed d Forces Forces and d their families. families. s Family, housing, addiction or F am mily y, debt, ho ousing, mental menta al wellbeing, wellbeing, a oth her pr oblems - don’t keep keep quiet, talk to to us. us. other problems
CALL C A ALL FORCESLINE FORCES SLINE
0800 0 800 2 260 60 6 6767 767
SCAN HER HERE RE TO CONTACT T OC ONT TACT US ONLINE ONLIN NE
FREE AND A CONFIDENTIAL. C ONFIDENTIAL. OPEN N WEEKD WEEKDAYS, AYS, 09:00 T TO O 17 17:30 7:30
sssafa.org.uk/forcesline safa.org.uk /forcesline e Registered as a charity in England and Wale es Number 210760 in Scotland d Number SC038056 and in Republlic of Ireland Number 2020200 01. Established 1885.
Royal Air Force News Friday, November 3, 2023 P5
From 99 Sqn to 99s Griff swapping nose cones for ice cream cones Tracey Allen 99 SQN loadie Sgt Griff Griffiths is hoping to chill out when he retires from the Service – by hitting the road in his ice cream van blaring out the Dambusters theme. He’s teamed up with his fatherin-law, RAF veteran Wynne, setting up the Two Grumpy Guys ice cream company. And as a cheeky salute to his Brize Norton pals he revealed
their bestseller is the classic 99 cone. Wynne said being an ice cream man is his ‘dream job’ and takes the van out when Griff ’s working at Brize. Griff, 42, whose home is on Anglesey, said: “I am coming up to the last two years of my current Service contract and, although I am about to train as a C-17 Loadmaster instructor and hope to sign up for another 10 years, I decided to buy
TASTY LITTLE SIDELINE: Griff in his van, above, and in his day job at Brize, left, with Hounds for Heroes’ Allen Parton and assistance dog ET
the van in case I’m not accepted. Instead of waiting until the last minute, I thought I would get ahead of the game.” He added: “The RAF found it had an attrition rate of Loadmasters leaving in their last two years of service so was giving out a financial incentive to stay for those two years. “I was in that bracket and rather than have the money just sitting in the bank I teamed up with Wynne,
as I didn’t have quite enough to buy the van on my own.” They hope to take it to RAF Valley’s Families Day next year and to air shows and other station Families Days and events.
I’d love to get the van playing the Dambusters music
“The 99s with a flake and various sauce toppings are definitely our most popular product and ours
are only £2.50 – it’s an absolute bargain,” he said. Griff ’s van plays the famous Just One Cornetto advert tune, O Sole Mio. He said: “I’d love to be able to change the tune on it, the Dambusters theme would be great. “When I first bought the van, it was a shock to my wife Nia. She’s helped out now and again but she tries not to have anything to do with it, she has her own job.” He added: “When I first went out in the van, it was trial and error but I found that if you gave a customer extra ice cream by accident, they didn’t complain.”
Veterans’ Minister Mercer Banged Up BEESON: Bomber Command ground crew
The Very Revd Trevor Beeson
THE DEATH has been announced of The Very Reverend Trevor Beeson, former Dean of Westminster, who served in WWII as ground crew and later as a RAF weather observer. He was 97. In a distinguished ecclesiastical career, he had also held the roles of Canon of Westminster and chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons. Called up to the RAF in 1944, he served at Bomber Command airfields in Lincolnshire. After the war he was posted to the RAF meteorological office and flew out of Gibraltar as a weather observer in converted Halifax Bombers. l See p23 for full obituary.
MINISTER FOR Veterans’ Affairs Johnny Mercer is one of seven well-known faces experiencing the harshness of prison life in Channel Four reality show Banged Up. The former Army officer joins ‘inmates’ including EastEnders actor Sid Owen, comedy actor Tom Rosenthal, Gogglebox star Marcus Luther, singer HRVY, Mail on Sunday columnist Peter Hitchens and former MP Neil Parish in the four-part documentary series where the famous ‘inmates’ are locked up for eight days, in decommissioned HMP Shrewsbury, to investigate what life is really like behind bars. They are incarcerated with a variety of real ex-criminals, including those who have served long sentences for serious crimes – although all are now reformed and have agreed to re-enter prison for the series, said a Channel 4 spokesperson. “The well-known inmates will have the opportunity to interrogate their cellmates on their prison experiences and former crimes – as well as examine the impact of the system on them – for better or worse,” the spokesperson added. Run by a former prison governor
OUT OF HIS COMFORT ZONE: Minister is searched before entering prison, and in his cell, right PHOTOS: SHINE TV
with 20 years’ experience in some of the UK’s toughest prisons, and former prison officers, the inmates live by current UK prison rules. Shine TV executive producer Tim Whitwell said: “For the first time, we have rigged a prison to
find out what really happens in the cells after bang up. This series aims to enthral and entertain, whilst kickstarting a national debate about crime and punishment.” l Banged Up continues on Channel 4 at 9.15pm on Tuesdays.
Royal Air Force News Friday, November 3, 2023 P7
Service sports aces crowned Staff Reporter Halton RAF RUGBY international Fg Off Carys Williams-Morris and water polo star Sqn Ldr Si Almond scooped the Service’s top accolades at this year’s Sports Awards at Halton. Elite athlete Carys clinched
WWII agent Pippa passes Tracey Allen FORMER WAAF Phyllis ‘Pippa’ Latour Doyle, the last surviving member of the French section of the Special Operations Executive, has died aged 102. Fearless Pippa was in the WAAF when she joined the SOE, the clandestine British wartime organisation known as Churchill’s secret army. She was trained by the SOE in parachuting, weapons, explosives, unarmed combat and wireless and telegraphy. Under the code name Genevieve she was parachuted in 1944 into the occupied Nazicontrolled Normandy area to act as a wireless telegraphy operator for an SOE/Marquis circuit. The RAF Benevolent Fund was among those paying tribute to her. l See full obituary on p23.
FEARLESS: SOE agent Phyllis Latour Doyle in Paris during WWII, above, and with her Légion d’honneur, below © Peter Hore, author’s collection
the women’s title after a storming season with the RAF Ladies and selection for the Wales national team, while Si lifted the men’s crown for his prowess in the pool. Carys, who is currently on tour with Wales in New Zealand, said: “Thank you for everyone at RAF Sport for helping me transfer to becoming an elite athlete.
“I cannot wait to get back to the Royal Air Force after the tournament here.” Sqn Ldr Almond added: “It’s a massive honour for me and I am slightly lost for words. I really hope this win boosts the profile of my sport.”
Full report p29
C-17 launches Gaza aid flight
MERCY MISSION: Life-saving supplies are loaded onto a C-17 at Brize Norton ahead of a flight to Egypt
AN RAF C-17 flew into Egypt to deliver more than 20 tonnes of vital UK Government humanitarian aid to Palestinian civilians as international diplomatic efforts intensified to avoid an escalation in violence in the Middle East. Essential supplies including 76,800 wound care packs, 1,350 water filters and 2,560 solar lights were dispatched to address the unfolding humanitarian crisis. The UK Government also delivered a rapid-assembly warehouse and mechanicalhandling equipment to help aid workers at the Rafah border crossing, the main route used by civilians fleeing Israeli attacks on
the Hamas terror group. The move is part of a £30 million increase in humanitarian support for the Occupied Palestinian Territories announced by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. Supplies will be distributed by Egyptian Red Crescent volunteers to meet the most urgent humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza. The aid flights follow intensive diplomatic moves by ministers to prevent an escalation in the conflict. Last week the Prime Minister visited Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, where he pushed for greater humanitarian access to Gaza and
led efforts to help prevent regional escalation. Foreign Secretary James Cleverly visited Egypt, Turkey and Qatar, where he pushed for agreement on humanitarian access to Gaza, the release of British hostages and foreign nationals, and securing safe passage for British nationals to leave Gaza. Defence Secretary Grant Shapps flew to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to discuss measures to prevent a wider conflict, as well as humanitarian issues. He said: “The airlift is a clear demonstration of the UK’s commitment to helping those most in need by rapidly deploying the RAF
to get life-saving aid into the region. “Together with our regional partners it’s critical that we prioritise protecting all civilians from harm.” Cleverly added: “The urgent humanitarian need in Gaza is clear. This delivery of vital UK aid into Egypt will save lives but more is needed. “Humanitarian aid must continue to be allowed into Gaza to reach the people who need it most. The UK is working with Israel, Egypt and other partners in the region to enable life-saving aid to reach civilians including food, water, medical supplies and fuel as a priority.”
By Appointment to Her Majesty The Queen Medallists W orcestershire Medal Service Ltd Worcestershire Bromsgrove
Specialists Sp ecialists in Orders Orders,s, Decorations and Medals
Suppliers of replacement and minia miniature ature medals. Medal mounting mouunting in Court and Ord Ordinary dinary Style M Medals framed for displ display. lay. For all your medal relat related ted needs including the su supply upply of ribbons, ribbons storage ca cases ases and other related item items. ms. B Bespoke Medal Manufactu Manufacture ure
Worcestershire W or o cestershire Medal Service Servvice Ltd 56 Broad Street, Street, Sidemoo Sidemoor, r, Bromsgr Bromsgrove, rove, B61 8LL www.worcmedals.com w .worcmedals.com www m Tel: Tel: 01527 835 835375 5375 email email:: sales@wo email@example.com orcmedals.com
Royal Air Force News Friday, November 3, 2023 P9
RBL poppy goes green
Rumble in the jungle s p o o r t K U s in jo n o o h Typ s e m a g r a w ia s y la a for M
THE ROYAL British Legion has launched a new plastic-free poppy, made entirely from paper. It is the first time in 28 years that a new poppy has been developed, the charity said. Since emerging as a symbol of Remembrance after WWI , poppies worn during the Appeal have come in a range of shapes and sizes. The first used silk for the petals, wire for the stem, and bitumen – a semi-hard petroleum – for the centre. Four different poppies were designed to suit different budgets, from a large poppy made from silk, a smaller one, one made from cotton and a cardboard poppy for children. During World War II shortages in materials meant the number of designs dropped from four to two. Silk poppies were made in much smaller numbers, and a second poppy made entirely from card was introduced. A new-look design was introduced in 1967 with the bitumen centre and wire stem replaced by plastic, along with the introduction of a one-piece petal.
HEAT IS ON: RAF crews battling extreme temperatures and humidity. Inset above, Malaysian soldier working with British troops in Kuantan jungle; left, UK and NZ troops check out local kit. PHOTOS: AS1 JAKE HOBBS
Simon Mander TYPHOONS FLEW into Malaysia to support UK ground troops during a major jungle warfare training drill. The RAF’s swing-role fighters made the 7,000-mile trip to take part in multi-national Tri-Service exercise Bersama Lima alongside Australian Air Force F/A-18 Super Hornets, under the Five Powers Defence Agreement. It is the first time XI Sqn has operated in the region since
Spitfires patrolled the Malay before joining forces with Peninsula at the end of Malaysian, Singaporean, World War II. Australian and New Flying sorties Zealander units to from the Royal conduct simulated Malaysian Air Force missions in dense Base at Butterworth jungle conditions. and supported by a Royal Marines and Voyager in Singapore, Royal Navy personnel the exercise also tested from 148 (Meiktila) pilots’ and ground crews’ Commando Forward 18 F/Aability to operate in extreme RAAF Observation Battery launched heat and humidity. boat insertion techniques and direct A platoon from the Coldstream naval gunfire support alongside Guards conducted a week of training Australian and Malaysian forces.
Ceremony marks Runnymede 70th Staff Reporter VETERANS, SERVING personnel and Air Cadets commemorated the 70th anniversary of the Air Forces Memorial at Runnymede which marks the sacrifice of more than 20,000 men and women from across the Commonwealth with no known grave. The Surrey site was formally opened by HM Queen Elizabeth
II as one of her first official duties following her Coronation in October 1953 and is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which organised the event. Deputy Chief of the Air Staff, Air Marshal Paul Lloyd, said: “The Air Forces Memorial, so wonderfully maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, is both epic in its scale, with over 20,000
personnel recorded, and deeply moving at an individual level. “Each man or woman who is named, I’ve noted 16 people for example with the same surname as mine, is a debt that we owe and a story that deserves to be remembered with respect and honour. “I’m proud to say that we do remember and reflect on these stories, and that they act as an inspiration to us who serve in the RAF today.”
XI Sqn detachment commander Wg Cdr Robertson said: “The UK support to this exercise demonstrates our commitment to the Five Powers Defence Arrangements, which is an important defensive military arrangement aimed at maintaining security in Southeast Asia. “All UK elements have successfully integrated with our Malaysian, Singaporean, Australian and New Zealander colleagues to ensure the exercise has been a great success.”
Royal R oya al Air F Force orce N News ews Fr Friday, iday, N November ovember 3, 2023 P10 0
News Ne ws
Brize & shine WINNER: Fg Off WINNER: Off Ryan Ryan Connor Co nnor rreceives eceives tthe he D David avid Lord L ord M Memorial emorial T Trophy rophy ffor or his work w ork w with ith tthe he R RAF’s AF’s C C-17 -17 ffleet leet aatt the the B Brize rize annual annual aawards wards
Alex A lex G Gill ill STAR S TA AR PERFORMERS PERFORM MERS ttook ook a b bow ow aatt B Brize rize Nortton as the station Norton staation held held its itts aannual nnual ‘‘Bravos’ Bravos’ aawards wards d cceremony. eremony. C Chief hief of of the the Air Airr Staff, Staff, A ACM CM SSir ir R Richard ichard Knighton, K nighton, jjoined oined 2 Gp Gp commander commander AVM AVM V SSuraya uraya M Marshall arshall for for the the event, event, which which honours h onours mi military litary personnel, personnel, ci civil vil servants servants aand nd co contractors ntractors keeping keeping the the RAF’s RAF’s transport transport ffleet lleet flying. flying. L Leading eading tthe he w winners in nners wa wass 99 SSqn’s qn’s jjunior unior Off who wass p presented Fg Of ff Ryan Ryyan Connor, Conn n or, w ho wa resented with David Lord Award w ith tthe he D avid L ord Memorial Memorial A w ward on ffor or his his work work o n tthe he C-17 and and showing showing managerial hiss ra rank m anagerial aability bility aabove bove hi nk to to allow allow tthe he heavyweight heavyweight ttransporter ransporter to to meet meet its its demanding operational dem anding o perational commitments. commitments. Also honoured wass vveteran RAF A lso h onoured wa eteran R AF Charlie ffirefighter iireffig i hter C harlie Dye Dye who who fought fougght hiss wa wayy b back hi ack to to fitness fitness after after an an injury medal in njury tto o take take a Bronze Bronze m e da l before aatt tthe he Invictus Invictus Games Games b effore leading le ading tthe he UK’s UK’s Warrior Warrior Games Games ssquad quad to to glory glory in the the US, bringing bringing home Gold medals. h ome ffive ive G old m edals. He He was was presented with p resented w ith the the station’s station’s SSporting porting Achievement Achievement Award. Aw ard. Commander SStation tation C ommander Gp Capt Claire G p C apt C laire O’Grady O ’Grady ssaid: aid: “I “I am am incredibly proud in credibly p roud off eeverything our o verything o ur personnel have p ersonnel have achieved ac hieved over over the the last last on yyear, ear, delivering delivering o n gglobal lobal operations operations time time aand nd ttime ime again, again, ggoing oing above ab ove and and beyond beyo y nd in ttheir heir primary primary
roles roles l aand nd p providing roviding ssupport upport tto o tthe he w wider ider community. co mmunity. ““This This en enterprise terprise o only nly w works orks w when hen o our ur civil ci vil servants, servants, contracted contracted p partners, artners, rregular egular aand nd reserve reserve personnel personnel co come me ttogether, ogettherr, aaided id d ide byy o b our ur w wider ider lo local cal community, community, aallowing llo l wing the the sstation tation tto o de deliver liver w world-class orld-class o operational perational ssupport. up pport.” O Other ther winners winners in included cluded Chf Chff Tech Tech Ian Ian Conn, C onn, aawarded w warded tthe he V Valiant aliant V Volunteer olunteer award, award, Sgtt Charlie Sg Charlie Gager, Gager, w who ho p picked ickeed up up the the Astra Astra aaward, w rd, aand wa nd the the station’s station’s ssafety afeety eequipment quipment Top Team ssection ection took took home home tthe he T op T eam ttrophy. rophy.
VALIANT: V ALIANT: 2 Gp A Commander C ommander A AVM V VM S Suraya urraya Marshall M arrshall p presents res e ents Sporting S porting Achievement Achievement trophy tr rophy to to RAF RAF vveteran eterraan ffirefighter irrefighter C Charlie harlie D Dye, ye, who w ho overcame overcame in injury njur j y tto o llead ead th thee UK ssquad quad tto o gglory lory in th thee U US-based S-based Warrior W aarrior Games Games event event
Royal Air Force News Friday, November 3, 2023 P13
Forces welfare groups failing women vets Tracey Allen FORCES WELFARE groups are failing to meet the needs of the UK’s growing female veterans population as many struggle to cope with life on Civvy Street, according to a government report. The survey of more than 80 former Forces female fighters claims many are still suffering from the physical and mental effects of working in a ‘hyper-masculine’ military environment. Researchers say ex-Forces women reported a range of issues including chronic pain, musculoskeletal problems, hearing loss and problems caused by illfitting uniforms and equipment designed for men. The report
also highlights a lack of support for those who experienced discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual assault, increasing their need for support from statutory and charitable services. Many were unaware of veteran services while maledominated branding, imagery and organisational structures acted as a barrier to those seeking help, in some cases triggering negative feelings and memories, the probe reveals. The Office for Veterans’ Affairs and Anglia Ruskin University have issued more than 30 recommendations to improve services for Britain’s women veterans, who
now make up 30 per cent of the nation’s veteran community. Report leader Dr Claire Hooks said: “Our findings emphasise the importance of addressing physical and mental health issues resulting from experiences in Service. “We found gendered barriers to accessing veteran support services, challenges in navigating transition and civilian life, and the need for recognition and awareness of female veterans in broader society and support services.” Veterans Minister Johnny Mercer (inset) added: “It’s important that we better understand their health and welfare needs in order to make the UK the best place in the world to be a veteran. “The upcoming Women Veterans’ Strategy will make sure that women veterans have access to support which addresses their unique needs and experiences.”
TRAINEE PILOTS and crew honed their frontline skills at Shawbury, practising hovering techniques while a slung load was attached to a Juno HT1 helicopter. The glass-cockpit rotary aircraft is operated by 60 Sqn at the Shropshire station and 202 Sqn at RAF Valley. PHOTOS: IAN FORSHAW
Baltic war games test for Top Guns Simon Mander
GOING THE DISTANCE: Double stroke survivor Sqn Ldr Stuart Masters at the event
Stu does a runner
STROKE SURVIVOR Sqn Ldr Stuart Masters has fought off the debilitating effects of the condition to complete a fundraising half marathon. The battling 56-year-old, who suffered a major stroke at 30 and another minor stroke two years ago, went the 13.1-mile distance at the annual Oxford event to raise more than £1,000 for the Different Strokes health charity. He said: “It’s the furthest I have run and at the tender age of 56 it was an honour to complete the distance in support of this charity, which is close to my heart – or should I say head?”
TYPHOONS WENT head to head with Italian F-35s and Polish F-16 fighters in the skies over the Baltic as Nato allies hone their warfighting skills in Eastern Europe. UK pilots with Lossiemouth-based 2 (Army Cooperation) Sqn launched dog-fighting sorties alongside alliance crews as part of the twoweek Operation Carson detachment, designed to test tactics and build frontline skills with Nato partners. The latest combat training included ground strikes with US and UK Joint Terminal Air Controllers calling in simulated attacks to support troops on the ground. The Nato training is a test for the RAF’s Agile Combat Employment strategy, allowing small units of Typhoons and F-35s to operate independently from remote areas to avoid detection and attack from enemy missiles. One RAF pilot said: “RAF aircrew have been able to foster key relationships and build a greater understanding of how the other air forces employ their assets, whilst exploring the challenges and opportunities of agile combat employment. “Whilst most fighter pilots are cut from the same cloth, opportunities to
HIGH STAKES: Typhoon pilot in action alongside Italian F-35
learn from one another are invaluable.” In addition to training in Polish skies, RAF Typhoons met with Spanish Typhoons in Lithuanian air space operating with Nato surveillance teams. The Spanish Air Force is currently conducting Nato Baltic
Air Policing duties also carried out by the RAF. Col Piątek, Commander of the Polish 31st Tactical Airbase, added: “This partnershipbuilding endeavour enhances interoperability between Polish F-16s and British Typhoons and
the training enables both sides to engage in realistic practice in the demanding aerial domain. “The base is happy to host friends from the UK to enable this highly beneficial training with us and other Nato countries. Together we are stronger.”
Not all career moves are the same
How do you want to spend your weekends? We at BAE Systems could help shape your future career. Working in partnership with Military Veterans organisations, we can make the transition from life in the Forces into a civilian role a lot easier. You will work alongside our existing teams in Saudi Arabia to deliver against our customer requirements and become an integral part of our overseas organisation. We are looking for experienced personnel to help support our customers operations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In return we will provide a competitive benefits package, including free accommodation, utilities and travel allowance. Most specialities are required including: • Pilots including Fast Jet, Basic & Primary • Aircrew Training Advisor • Aircrew Course Development Advisor • WD Instructors • Inventory and Forecast Planning • Supply Chain Managers • NDI Technicians • Parafab Technicians • Egress Technicians
• Weapons Load Training Cell Supervisors • Avionic Technician Supervisor, Mechanical Technician Supervisor and Armament Technician Supervisor for Typhoon Q’ Annotated • Metrology Engineers & Technicians • Electrical/Mechanical Technicians • Technical Instructors • Safety Specialists
Please register your interest via the QR code to the right – we’ll than be in touch to discuss opportunities available.For information on specific opportunities please visit www.saudicareers.co.uk
BAE Systems Saudi Arabia baesystems.com
Royal Air Force News Friday, November 3, 2023 P15
CAS Gulf mission Chief flies in to Qatar as
Typhoon training steps up
RUGBY WHEELCHAIR ace Dave Anderson has stormed his way into the sport’s premier league. A touch tackle on the pitch during his RAF days left him with nerve damage and two fused vertebrae and ended his playing days. The 55-year-old switched to the wheelchair version and won the chance to play for Scotland in the Great Britain Wheelchair Rugby Championship. He’s also been snapped up as a model for Help for Heroes’
Staff Reporter BRITAIN’S MOST senior airman flew into Qatar to meet RAF teams supporting coalition operations across the Middle East. Chief of the Air Staff, ACM Sir Richard Knighton, landed in the allied Arab state where the RAF’s 83 Expeditionary Air Group is deployed on Operation Shader and Operation Kipion, the longstanding UK mission to promote peace across the Gulf region. The Chief ’s visit strengthens the RAF’s relationship with Qatar, which took delivery of its first tranche of Typhoons under a £6 billion contract last year. Under the deal Qatari pilots
train with Coningsby-based 12 Sqn in the UK – the first joint fighter squadron to be set up since WWII. The RAF also supported the formation of the Qatar Emiri Air Force’s 7 Sqn in Qatar as the country hosted the 2022 Football World Cup. ACM Knighton said: “At this time when the RAF continues to be extremely busy conducting operations and exercises around the world, it is easy to forget that we are still conducting operations here in the Middle East. “ T h e s e operations are
vital to protect the British people and our friends and Allies and that must continue to be a priority for all of us.” During the trip he visited the Al Zaeem Air Academy where the first four RAF students will arrive later this month under the training deal. ACM Knighton joined Army, Navy and RAF personnel during a ‘town hall’ meeting also attended by members of the Joint Force Communications and Information Systems (Middle East) unit. VISIT: CAS Sir Rich Knighton
latest collection of rugby shirts, available from the charity’s web store. He said: “The wheelchair rugby team is probably the nearest thing I’ve had to being back in the Forces and enjoying that team spirit. “Playing for Scotland in the World Cup was amazing. “It was one of the proudest moments of my life. The only time I have felt something similar was when I was accepted into the Service.”
Super Vet Colin cashes in Tracey Allen SUPERVET COLIN Bell has smashed his initial fundraising target, beating his goal by more than three times after completing a daredevil charity challenge. As RAF News went to press, the former Flt Lt, now 102, had raised an amazing £25,959.61, including gift aid, for three charities after abseiling 17 storeys down the Royal London Hospital from its helipad in September. His initial aim was to net £2,500 for the RAF Benevolent Fund, the London Air Ambulance Service and The Royal College of Nursing
Foundation. Fearless Colin joked that the feat was ‘money for old rope’. The former Mosquito pilot carried out 50 bombing raids over Germany in World War II and was awarded the DFC.
Royal Air Force News Friday, November 3, 2023 P16
RAF rules the wa Forget the Navy, it’s the Air Force that’s conquering the high seas
THREE FISHES: Cadet Ambassador Emma Wolstenholme with teenagers hoping to be youngest team to row Atlantic
N 2021 a team of four pilots cut a swathe across 3,000 miles of the Atlantic to complete the world’s toughest rowing race – the Talisker Whisky Challenge. In the wake of the pioneering Atlantic Flyers, the RAF’s battle for the high seas has taken off as aviators with a taste for adventure are sticking their oars in to test themselves against the fury of the oceans. Coningsby training officer Flt Lt Matt Siely is the latest to complete a world record- breaking 38-day row from California to Hawaii with two friends, battling storm force winds and 30ft waves. He hit land in Kauai Island in the Pacific just a month after Cadets Ambassador and RAF veteran Wg Cdr Emma Wolstenholme led a crew of female rowers to another world first, completing a 2,000-mile voyage around the storm-lashed British coast. Now a four-strong team of Gunners – Cpl Gary Binns, Sgt Phil ‘Gus’ Angus, Sgt Dan Martin and Cpl Justin Wallace – dubbed the Atlantic Rocks, are hoping to ride the wave of Air Force success and cross the Atlantic from the Canary Islands to Antigua. It’s the high-risk physical and mental challenge of taking on some of the world’s most tempestuous seas that is drawing the UK’s military aviators to swap their sky-high domain for the deep, says Wg Cdr Wolstenholme. “There are an increasing number of military personnel taking to the seas for ocean rowing adventures and it’s not just the Navy or Marines,” she told RAF News. “Ocean rowing appeals to military people because we are frequently subjected to experiences that push us outside our comfort zone. It becomes quite hard to find that next challenge that will push us to our limits. “I wanted a challenge that had a greater purpose than satisfying my own ego. I wanted to have to use my brain, as well as test my nerves, and I also wanted the physical challenge too. “But I knew that, when things were really hard, the greater purpose of raising money for the RAF Air Cadets would help me persevere through the toughest times. When I saw the Flyers were crossing the Atlantic, I decided ocean rowing was
the perfect challenge for me.” Her first venture, a 3,000-mile solo bid to cross the Atlantic, ended with a dramatic rescue by a cargo transporter when she lost her navigation systems. Beaten but unbowed, she went on to captain Team Ithaca to glory as the only crew to complete this year’s 2,000mile GB Row challenge. “Anyone who conducts an ocean row must hold the core values of the RAF; without the respect for your crewmates, yourself and the ocean, you will not make it to the startline,” she said. “Teamwork and trust is key, but
living in such a confined space for up to 80 days means that without respect and integrity, life onboard would be miserable.” Emma is now mentoring the Atlantic Rocks rowing debutantes as they prepare for their seafaring bid in 2024, and guiding a novice team of Cadets, the Three Flying Fish crew of 18-year-old Rowan Dally, Anna Dunk, 17 and Matthew Busby, 18, who will attempt the 3,000-mile crossing from the Canary Islands to the Caribbean in 2025, to hopefully become the youngest team ever to complete the challenge. For the novice team of Gunners,
crossing the Atlantic wil of decades of military ex Sgt Martin (inset, left) tours of Iraq and three i his 22-year career. He sai self-sufficient will test al know-how. I have been aw operations. Obviously not certainly away from my fa loved ones so I would sa am fairly used to that. It daunting not seeing land am staying positive about th Cpl Binns (right) h served for more than
Royal Air Force News Friday, November 3, 2023 P17
ll be a hardcore test xperience. ) has completed two in Afghanistan during id: “Being isolated and ll of our military way on many t at sea, but amily and ay that I will be but I hat.” has 20
INTREPID: Sea-faring Wg Cdr (Ret’d) Emma Wolstenholme
JUBILATION: Atlantic Flyers celeb rate in Antigua after gruelling ocean
crossing, main picture
WORLD RECORD: Flt Lt Matt Siely rowed from California to Hawaii in 38 days with two friends
years with 2 Sqn and 3 Sqn, including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan and with UK Special Forces. He said: “Taking part in an event of this magnitude has developed skill sets that will help with my career. Deploying several times, I have learnt how to deal with difficult situations you encounter. When things go wrong there is always a way to figure out how to achieve your objective.” For Sgt Angus there’s an added motivation of flying the flag for NCOs. “I believe pushing yourself to your absolute physical and mental limit allows you to grow and shows you how capable the human body really is. The
thought of being on a boat for weeks on end with only a horizon to look at is very daunting, however, extremely rewarding when you reach your destination,” he said. “Ocean rowing is also something that has only ever been completed by commissioned officers in the RAF. I want to show the opportunities that are out there for the noncommissioned ranks. “During my time in Afghanistan on mortars, we spent up to two weeks isolated on top of a mountain in small sections. “That is is probably the closest I have come to replicating the scenario we are about to put ourselves through.”
LATEST BID: Atlantic Rocks train with mentor Wolstenholme, left
Royal Air Force News Friday, November 3, 2023 P19
Final two Guinea Pig Club veterans die at age of 101 Tracey Allen THE LAST members of The Guinea Pig Club, Flt Sgt Sam Gallop and Lieutenant Jan Stangryciuk-Black, have died, both aged 101. They were the final two surviving members of the illustrious club, formed in July 1941 to support aircrew who were undergoing reconstructive plastic surgery after receiving serious burn injuries during World War II. Surgeon Sir Archibald McIndoe’s pioneering plastic surgery techniques restored function and gave hope to many young Servicemen with life-changing disfigurements. What began with 39 patients grew to 649 by the end of the war and included Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, Americans, French, Czechs and Poles. The RAF Benevolent Fund was among those paying tribute to Sam and Jan. A spokesperson for the charity said: “The Guinea Pig Club challenged the existing perception that disabilities were life-limiting and went on to mentor new generations of burns victims, including Service personnel injured in the Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.” Chairman of The Guinea Pig Club, Flt Sgt Gallop passed away last month. The spokesperson added: “Sam’s journey of resilience and indomitable spirit began in 1943 when he survived an air crash with severe injuries. On his admission to RAF Hospital Cosford, it was evident that Sam was no ordinary Serviceman; he was destined for greatness in the face of adversity. “His remarkable story of survival saw him transferred to the Queen Victoria Hospital, East Grinstead, where he spent 18 months under the expert care of McIndoe and his dedicated team. “Over the years, Sam devoted much of his time and energy campaigning for the needs of the disabled, for which he was awarded his CBE.” East Grinstead became known as ‘the town that didn’t stare’ because McIndoe told his patients to mix with the local population to help destigmatise their injuries, recognising the need for their mental recovery from their lifechanging injuries. He promoted a relaxed atmosphere where they could take time away from the ward in between treatments. He had a piano and a barrel of beer installed in the ward and encouraged socialising and singing among the men. When they went out he encouraged them to wear their uniform to instil a sense of pride.
LAST OF THE CLUB: Polish veteran Lieutenant Jan Stangryciuk-Black, above, was living in Argentina when he volunteered for the RAF. He died five days after Flt Sgt Sam Gallop, above right
BURN INJURIES: Servicemen undergoing treatment at East Grinstead Hospital where surgeon McIndoe (inset below and above, next to pianist) encouraged a relaxed atmosphere for all
A statue of the trailblazing surgeon, by world-renowned sculptor Martin Jennings whose father was treated by McIndoe, was unveiled by the Princess Royal at Queen Victoria Hospital in 2014. New Zealand-born McIndoe, who often warned his patients that they might not live long, died aged 59 in 1960, said to be worn out by overwork. Sam founded Employment Opportunities, a UK-wide charity recruitment agency to get disabled people into work. He also founded Aim Hi, a charity for hearingimpaired students. He established the All-Party Parliamentary Limb Loss Group to influence emerging disability legislation and was involved with numerous charity boards. Polish veteran Lt StangryciukBlack also passed away last month, the final Guinea Pig Club member to die, five days after Sam. Born in eastern Poland he was living in
Argentina when he answered an RAF advert looking for volunteers. He served as the rear gunner in the Polish bomber squadron No. 300 ‘Land of Masovia’ during WWII. The RAFBF spokesperson
said: “Jan and 300 Sqn’s activities, during a time of great peril, were essential in defending British airspace. “On November 3, 1942, the Wellington Bomber he was flying aboard malfunctioned and crash-landed a few miles from base. When he regained consciousness, Jan tried to free his fellow airmen but was unable to before needing to get out himself, where he was helped by the local people. “Suffering with burns to his face, scalp and hands, he was admitted firstly to Nuneaton General Hospital, then RAF Hospital Cosford, before being transferred to the Queen Victoria Hospital on January 4, 1943 where he underwent extensive surgery. “Jan become a proud
member of The Guinea Pig Club and was quoted later saying ‘the friendship I made with the Guinea Pigs will live with me for the rest of my days’.” The spokesperson added: “The legacy of The Guinea Pig Club is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the importance of camaraderie in difficult times. “The Fund is proud to have supported The Guinea Pig Club since its inception and has provided assistance to many of its members over the years.” Sam requested donations, in celebration of his life, to be made to McIndoe’s Guinea Pigs Memorial Trust – one of the charities he helped to set up – which sponsors research into burns treatment and rehabilitation. l Go to: rafbf.org/allstations to listen to The Guinea Pig Club mini-series, the Benevolent Fund’s third series of its All Stations podcast.
Royal Air Force News Friday, November 3, 2023 P21 Please note letters must be a MAXIMUM of 300 words and any accompanying pictures sent as attached, hi-res JPEG files
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Post: RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe, Bucks, HP14 4UE
Flame of love still burns for pair who met 50 years ago because of Glasgow fire strike I WAS an 18-year-old airman based at RAF Leeming and, along with others from all three Services of the Armed Forces, I received a day’s fire-fighting training at Redford Barracks in Edinburgh a couple of days before deploying in a convoy of fire engines to Glasgow when troops were brought in to cover the Glasgow City fire strike from October 26 to November 5, 1973. I was assigned to a crew but a soldier asked me to swap so he could stay with his FIREFIGHTERS STRIKE: Glasgow, autumn 1973 mate and I ended up on a Green Goddess with soldiers and sailors driving towards Standing outside were a group of firemen Springburn Fire Station and threatened with picketing, I was nervous at that moment but a 252 for not telling the RAF Sgt fireman in they made us all welcome and were friendly charge I’d swapped first. to us throughout the strike, even sending me a cap badge as a momento afterwards. It was 10 days buzzing around the Springburn area with a policeman navigating, mainly fighting small bin fires started by kids to get the troops out for their amusement! I’VE BEEN thoroughly enjoying the I do remember one major factory fire with Channel 4 series Top Guns: Inside lots of us in attendance and a soldier being the RAF. hospitalised after being hit by a hose whipping I've recognised a few former students around under pressure – he had lost control of in the programme from my time in it, confirming that danger is ever-present for the Tucano simulator after I retired. firefighters. Lossiemouth's SWO is quite brilliant! An agreement was reached and the Well done to all concerned in this firefighters returned to duty on Bonfire Night, programme, which I think reflects very much to our relief. well on the Royal Air Force. I don’t remember any fatalities in that time Gp Capt (Ret’d) Paul McDonald – how lucky were we, inexperienced stand-ins Via email in a city with a reputation for bad fires. Ever
Top Guns is top drawer
NEWLY-WEDS: Steve and Marion, 1974
since I have always had the greatest respect for all firefighters. In my off-shift time I met Marion, then 19, who worked in the chemists across the road from the Fire Station. We married in Martha Street Registry Office, Glasgow, in 1974. Returning 25 years later the old fire station was flats, the neighbouring buildings demolished and the road widened so much the area was hardly recognisable from the time when we first met a quarter of a century previously.
RETURN VISIT: Couple at old fire station site in 1999, and fire service badge sent to Steve by Glasgow strikers, left
Now 50 years, 13 postings, 18 homes, two children, eight grandchildren and a dozen dogs later, the rest is history. Thank you Glasgow Fire Service, you will always have a special place in our hearts (where the flame still burns) for bringing us together. Steve & Marion Bates (Ex RAF 24 years 1972 to 96) Rotherham Via email
24 ISSUES FOR £20.25 Go to: rafnews.co.uk (Offer Code: BLFR)
Royal Air Force News Friday, November 3, 2023 P23
The ‘schoolgirl’ spy with codes in her hair tie
YOUTHFUL: Pippa could pass for a school pupil
Phyllis Latour Doyle, MBE
STAR OF FRANCE: Pippa in Paris in 1939 and wearing her Légion d’honneur, inset © Peter Hore, author’s collection
PECIAL OPERATIONS Executive agent and former WAAF Phyllis ‘Pippa’ Latour Doyle – the last of the French section of the female spies who served in Winston Churchill’s ‘secret army’ – has died aged 102. The RAF Benevolent Fund paid tribute to the World War II heroine who was born in Durban, South Africa on April 8, 1921. She passed away in Auckland, New Zealand where she had made her home after living in Kenya, Fiji and Australia. Pippa’s wartime exploits began in September 1943. She was a member of the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force when she was seconded to the SOE. She then undertook training at the SOE’s special training school, which included parachuting, weapons, explosives, unarmed combat and wireless and telegraphy training. In 1944 she parachuted into the occupied Nazi-controlled Normandy area to act as a
wireless telegraphy operator for an SOE/Marquis circuit using the code name Genevieve. On D-Day she watched as Allied troops stormed Normandy. Posing as a schoolgirl, Pippa was a radio operator whose job it was to supply intelligence that would lead to the bombers being brought in. She hid her codes in a flat shoelace, used as a hair-tie, and when the Germans strip-searched her she threw the tie casually to one side shaking her hair to show she wasn’t concealing anything. It didn’t occur to anyone to examine the hairtie. Her work made a significant impact on the Allied victory, and she was awarded the Croix de Guerre for bravery, and the MBE.
The fearless WAAF veteran was recognised again by the French government in 2014 when she was presented with the Medal of the knight of the French National Order of the Légion d’honneur for her actions and bravery during WWII, and she went on to receive the French Resistance Medal of 1943, and the French Defence Force Brevet Militaire de Parachutiste operational French military parachute wings. In 2020 Auckland City Council approved the naming of a street, Genevieve Lane, in the old RNZAF Air Base at Hobsonville Point, in honour of her military service to the Commonwealth. “Pippa was supported by the Benevolent Fund for the last decade, enabling her to remain in her own home and be as independent as possible during her final years,” said a RAFBF spokesperson.
Bomber Command ground crew & RAF weather observer The Very Reverend Trevor Beeson, OBE
SERVICE: Beeson trained for priesthood straight after demob from the RAF
ORMER DEAN of Winchester, Canon of Westminster and chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Very Reverend Trevor Beeson, who served in the RAF in World War II, has died aged 97. The current Dean of Winchester, the Very Rev Catherine Ogle, paid tribute. She said: “Trevor was Dean of Winchester 1987–95 and outlived his successors, Michael Till and James Atwell. Trevor was a great speaker and writer, the author of many books and much loved. He has lived an active life into his 90s and it’s hard to believe that he is no longer with us.” Born in Nottinghamshire on March 2, 1926, at 14, after leaving school and going to work as a clerk at a local accountancy firm, he started to keep a diary recording aircraft losses on both sides during the Battle of Britain. As soon as he was old enough, he applied to join the RAF. Due to a wartime shortage of bank staff, aged 16 he became a counter clerk with the Westminster Bank. Called up to the RAF in 1944, he served as ground crew at Bomber
Command airfields in Lincolnshire. When World War II ended, he was posted to the RAF meteorological office, and flew out of Gibraltar as a weather observer in converted Halifax Bombers. Luckily, he survived when his aircraft ditched in the Mediterranean. He made his first visit to Westminster Abbey when he was still in the RAF and decided to take Holy Orders on demobilisation. As soon as he was demobbed he went to train for the priesthood at King’s College, London, and St Boniface, Warminster. He was ordained in 1951. He was a notable diarist and obituarist for the national newspapers and published highly-regarded books including A Dean’s Diary: Winchester 1987-1996. After retiring as Dean of Winchester, he was awarded the OBE in the 1997 New Year’s Honours List “for services to the Church of England, particularly as Dean of Winchester Cathedral”. Two years later he was awarded an honorary degree from Southampton University.
Royal Air Force News Friday, November 3, 2023 P24
Think that Orlando's just about Disney World? You're....
ET’S GET this out of the way, shall we? The ruddy mouse! If you were to ask 10 random people to tell you what springs to mind when you say the word ‘Orlando’, at least eight of them will say ‘Disney World’. It’s pretty predictable, but not without good reason. Walt Disney World has fuelled a mass tourism boom here since it opened in 1971, attracting visitors from around the globe, so I couldn’t let the 100th anniversary of Disney slip past without paying at least a short visit. The oldest of the Disney parks is ‘Magic Kingdom’. This is home to Cinderella’s castle, Mickey, Donald, Goofy and Pluto, plus an epic cast of others. Every Disney prince and princess can be found here. As soon as you’re through the turnstiles you find yourself on Main Street USA, which leads to Cindy’s famous castle. An 1800s-style steam train runs on a bridge overhead, filling the air with the sound of hissing and clanging bells. You start walking down the street, noticing that the film set shops either side hark back to 1940s smalltown America. As you continue to walk towards the castle, the scenery morphs into a different set, this time taken from the Middle Ages. Turn left and you’re in the Wild West, turn right and you’re in the future. It is fantasy movie magic at its best, I’ll give it that. I can see why Disney is a ‘bucket list’ item for so many. The problem is that booking a short visit to Disney is not as simple as you might think. Run an internet search from the UK and you’ll find that everything is geared towards a full-on Disney holiday, rather than working a visit into your own Florida schedule. The shortest pass, advertised on the official site, is for seven-day access and this will set you back a stonking £539 per person. A family could end up spending thousands just to get into the parks. Ouch! The cheapest one-day solution I found (at undercovertourist.com), was a $172.73 per person ticket for access to one park. Still ouch!
Taking Mickey the
Adventure Away from Disney World, if you’re after action in Orlando you are spoilt for choice. The other big attraction is, of course, SeaWorld (more on that next time), but the other huge draw is Gatorland. This well-designed park began life as a working farm in the 1950s but is now a zoo and sanctuary. Feeding time is pretty spectacular and gator-wrestling presentations are laid on to thrill guests. If that’s not enough adrenaline for you, try the zip line that takes you soaring over the gators. For younger visitors there’s even a ‘petting zoo’… Wait, what? You didn’t want the child back, did you?!?! Relax The centre of Orlando lies a few miles from the Disney parks and provides a vibrant mix of restaurants, craft breweries and unique districts. Ivanhoe Village, Lake Eola and Winter Park are wonderful examples of the sights waiting to be explored. Take a relaxing boat cruise through Winter Park’s lakes, or enjoy a drink at one of the many pretty street cafés that you’ll find nearby. The brick-lined streets, vintage boutiques and arthouse cinema feel a million miles away from the bustle of the city. There really is something in Orlando for everyone to enjoy. Stay If you’re looking for a hotel that places you at the heart of the action then Aloft Orlando, Lake Buena Vista, is a top spot. It’s recognised as a ‘Disney Good Neighbour Hotel’, which means that you’re within easy range of a free theme park shuttle bus, but far enough away to escape the packed park area when you’ve had enough. There’s also parking available ($24 per day) if you prefer to drive. Universal Orlando and SeaWorld are easily accessible, whichever way you prefer to travel.
CHIC: Aloft room
LIFE'S A STROLL: Princesses (and Princes) of all ages will love Disney World
VISIT GATORLAND: ...and make it snappy
Rooms The theme at Aloft is, well, staying in a loft. Each room has an airy 9-foot-ceiling, with an open-plan feel. Furnishings and decor are modern and colourful. The effect is a fun living space that leaves average hotel rooms looking dull. UHD TVs come equipped with streaming services like Netflix and Crackle. In the en suite bathrooms you’ll find walk-in showers with rainfall showerheads that are perfect for washing away the stress and stickiness of a hot day in a busy theme park. There’s also a safe, hot drinks machine and air-con. Facilities There’s an urban cool atmosphere in the lounge but at night the vibe changes, with the ‘WXYZ Bar’ becoming the chic centre of attention. Also on the ground floor, there’s a well-equipped fitness centre and a small, heated, outdoor swimming pool.
DOWNTOWN: Everyth ing's
waiting for you in Orland o
The staff couldn’t do enough to help and Cesar, at the front desk, went above and beyond to make our stay a good one. Aloft is part of the Marriott Bonvoy group, so you can expect standards to be high. Downsides It’s not a cheap hotel, by local standards, with a king room for two people costing $154 per night in November. The only other niggle I could find was that the fridge in our room was noisy. Verdict Orlando is well worth a visit and has so much to offer that you could easily enjoy a full holiday here, rather than a city break. To me, a Disney package and an Orlando holiday are two separate trips, mainly due to the issues I raised earlier. Take the time to experience Orlando’s other treasures and you can’t go wrong.
Royal Air Force News Friday, November 3, 2023 P26
DS 7 Opera E-Tense 225 (from £48,835 otr)
Crossback to the future
DS 7’s a stylish mile-muncher CITROËNS HAVE always been a bit off the wall and DS Automobiles, the premium wing of the marque, shares that love of doing things differently. It is therefore no surprise that the new DS 7 is beautifully avant-garde. Actually, when I say the new DS 7, I mean the old DS 7 Crossback, rebranded, with a facelift. I know, confusing, right? Either way, the DS 7 now looks good, especially in Sapphire Blue. Smart new alloy wheels draw your eye to the car’s profile. It appears to have a beefier stance and look more solid than the old car. At the front, the nose has been redesigned, incorporating slim LED headlamps and what DS calls
a light veil – five vertical light bars on the corners. These give it a good look on those dull rainy days when it needs to stand out. The rear lights have also been updated, featuring slimmer LEDs, and the boot lid has been revamped, with the Crossback badge quietly removed. Move along, nothing to see here. Inside Interiors have always been a DS/ Citroën strong suit. Diamond p a t t e r n s dominate; the switches, the clocks, the stitching in the seats, the graphics. It is French style that you can’t help being impressed by, something you won’t get in any of its rivals. You get a 12.3in widescreen centre touch display that looks impressively sharp. There are
Pros l Stylish, spacious interior l Well-equipped l A comfortable cruiser
CITROËN DS 7
piano key physical buttons below that make operating the controls nice and simple and the B.R.M. dashboard clock remains, swinging into place when you power up. As in days of old, the metal finish electric window switches are located in the centre console. The seats and dash sport materials including Alcantara and Nappa leather, while the door bins are carpet lined to stop objects from vibrating.
It’s a classy affair that offers plenty of space, front and back. The set-up is ideal for long-distance cruising.
It’s not as solidly built as an Audi Q5 but the interior is streets ahead in terms of Cons style and it feels plush. It’s a l Pricey by class standards l Soft handling with lots of roll well-equipped, comfortable wagon that’s well designed for cruising. The only issue is the Verdict price, which is a bit steep by The DS 7 has personality that its rivals just can’t match. class standards.
On the road Our test car was the DS 7 Opera E-TENSE 225, with a price tag of £48,835. It was powered by a 4 cylinder, 1598cc petrol engine, enhanced by a turbo charger and an electric motor to deliver 221bhp. Power was transmitted to the road
via an 8-speed auto box, frontwheel-drive. A quick look at the stats; 0-62mph in 8.9 sec, a top speed of 140mph, fuel economy of 177.9 to 250mpg and an electric-only range of 35-43 miles. It’s a good all-rounder that is no slouch off the mark but it’s not sporty. There’s a fair bit of pitch and roll through corners. The DS 7’s strength is cruising, and it does that very well. It’s immensely quiet, even when the petrol engine kicks in, and it glides serenely along with very little wind, or road noise. In typical French style, the ride is soft and supple, enhanced by Active Scan Suspension that analyses the approaching road surface and adapts to suit. It’s truly impressive how the on-board computer can anticipate when each wheel will hit a pothole and dampen in time. It’s a clever bit of kit. You can even order your DS with Night Vision, a system that uses an infrared camera to scan the road for hazards at distances up to 100m away.
Royal Air Force News Friday, November 3, 2023 P27
pages of the best of RAF Sports action
Veteran Fenton's a muddy marvel
BOSCOMBE DOWN(HILL): Flt Lt Barry Fenton
Inters class first for Flt Lt Daniel Abrahams THERE WERE rocks, mud, slips galore and some impressive topfive finishes for the Service’s downhill and enduro riders at the recent Inter-Services championships in Wales. Kicking off the two-day event, a steep, muddy and technical course greeted this year’s competitors at Caersws Bike Park, with two timed runs being undertaken – the fastest going towards each rider’s overall finish. The team event went the way of the Royal Navy, but the RAF produced a first place in the veterans class through Flt Lt Barry Fenton, with a time of 1:27.435 and seventh overall. The Boscombe Down airman was third in the Service finishes, as Sgt Andrew Lochhead (RAF Lossiemouth) came home third overall in 1:23.999, making him second in the masters class, followed by
AS1(T) Gareth Hernaman-Wood from Brize Norton, who came third overall and third in the masters class with a time of 1:24.787. The following day the team fought out the enduro discipline, which saw a total of three timed stages on a challenging muddy, slippery, rocky and steep course. The team event also went the way of the Navy, while Fenton again showed his prowess in the veteran class producing a time of 4:37.76. That saw him win the class and record fourth place overall, again being the third fastest RAF rider home, with Lochhead the quickest – second overall and in the masters discipline in a time of 4:30.45. Hernaman-Wood was again the second fastest airman and his time of 4:32.26 saw him third overall and in the masters class. l On Instagram, search @ rafgravitymtb to follow RAF enduro and downhill mountain bike team.
T) Gareth Hernam
RAF Championships win is elementary for Watson
THE SERVICE’s orienteers hit the streets and woodlands with the inaugural RAF Urban Championships, British Sprint Relay Championships London and ‘Classic’ Championships in the Forest of Dean. Despite the international field and legdraining course, the Service’s runners produced a 16th overall through Sqn Ldr Philip Johnston-Davis and 33rd with Flt Lt Charlie Elliss to top the RAF finishers at the London City race on a testing street and park course in East London’s Bermondsey and Canada Water. The nine-kilometre Elite men’s course saw Johnston-Davis do battle with a field of 102 runners to take the RAF race and finish 15 minutes behind the course winner in 66
CITY SLICKERS: RAF Urban winners Sqn Ldr Philip Johnston-Davis and Flt Lt Charlie Elliss
minutes and one second. Elliss completed the course for the Women’s Open in 53 minutes and 34 seconds,
16 minutes behind the course winner. The association then got a taste of its first British Sprint Relay on the London course, performing well and using the experience as preparation for next year’s event. The Mallards Pike, Forest of Dean course for the RAF (Classic) Orienteering Championships proved elemental for Sqn Ldr Paul Watson, who stormed to glory in a time of one hour, 23 minutes and 48 seconds. The testing trail was open to all runners, from debutants to veterans. Offering a variety of technical and physical challenges, from intricate terrain to steep slopes, Watson produced the goods on the course to beat AS1 Tom Jarvis (1.39.20) and Wg Cdr Ben Lonsdale (1.39.41).
His feats were more than equalled by Wg Cdr Rachel Sullivan in the women’s event, who stormed to the title in an incredible one hour, five minutes and 57 seconds. Her finishing time was a lifetime ahead of the remaining field, leaving Flt Lt Charlie Elliss (2:12:17) and Cpl Lizzie Morrall (2:12:59) to fight out a close battle for second and third. During the same weekend Johnston-Davis ran as part of the Irish team in the Veteran Home Internationals, the orienteering’s ‘Four Nations’ for the over-35s saw him win a fifth national cap and finish a close sixth in his age class at the Mallards Pike course. l Follow RAFO on Instagram: @ RAFOrienteering.
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
Royal Air Force News Friday, November 3, 2023 P28
Triple victory for newcomer IT WAS a triple crown of success for Sgt Michael Keightly at the Carp Championships at Linear Fisheries in Witney, taking the overall winner, best newcomer and lake winner titles. The 72-hour competition saw 40 anglers compete across Brasenose 1 and 2 lakes for the title, with the biggest five fish recorded going towards the overall total. With 144.04lb, Keightly took the event on lake one, but the first 12 hours proved slow for all the competitors until Sgt Stuart Jepson started the scoring. He obliterated his previous Personal Best with a fish of 38.05lb, before catching another of 31lb. FS Ian Coleman and WO Jason Verney began catching on Brasenose 2 during the last of the
AS1 JAMIE PAGE: Two big catches
daylight. As darkness fell and the rain came, WO Richard Cooke started to make a charge, slipping three fish over his net cord in quick succession. After the first day’s action ended, Jepson and AS1 Zack Hope led on Brasenose 1 with weights of 69.05lb and 37.12lb respectively and Cooke
with 80.02lb and WO Jason Verney with 90.11lb taking the top spots on Brasenose 2. Coleman and Verney moved into 1st and 2nd as the clocked ticked into day two. Mid-afternoon on day two saw FS Lee Wharlton net a PB of 38.04lb on lake two, putting him within touching distance of the overall lead. While Sgt Martin Emery hooked a colossal fish of 40lb on lake one. Jepson and Hope extended their lead at the top of the leader board with another two fish each, while dawn broke with a PB for Cpl Luke Doswell – a 30lb catch. Entering the final 24 hours only 11lb separated the top three anglers, all of whom were fishing Brasenose 2, having caught five fish or more. Verney continued his hot streak
landing no less than 23 fish during the match, despite this he could not extend his five fish total, and neither could Coleman. As the sun set again, the bites started coming from lake one. Cpl Luke Davenport beat his PB with a mirror carp of 32.08lb and Cpl Chris Trevor landed a new PB of 31.04lb. AS1 Jamie Page then made a late surge towards the title landing four fish, including two 30lb mirrors,
putting him in the lead by a few ounces. Having competed out of the glare of attention and catches, Keightly entered the fray with a brilliant late surge. Catching eight carp on the final night and into the morning, a 31lb and 32lb carp topped the scales, meaning just one pound separated the top three, with Keightly in top spot, followed by Page (143.15lb) and Coleman on 143.10lb.
We're sliding into winter
CLOSE CONTEST: Men's race PHOTO: CPL PAUL WATSON (Army)
It's a hard road to end of season A HARD-FOUGHT individual third place was the prize for Flt Lt Ed Calow and RAF Road Cycling at the Inter-Services in Wiltshire to close the season. Women’s team stalwart Cpl Sarah Toms said: “An entire year of training and racing for the team came down to one important race. It was a great effort and a great event hosted by the Army.” The race in Chitterne, Wiltshire, saw cyclists battle a difficult, open, undulating 12-mile course, with the women riders completing 3.5 laps, and the men 5.5 circuits. The women were up first against a strong Army team. The light blues had to dig deep and work as a team to reduce the number of Army attacks. Going into the last lap ultimately the strength and
LATE SURGE: Sgt Michael Keightly crept up on the outside to take the overall crown
depth of the Army took its toll and the elastic snapped, resulting in an individual and team win for the Army, with the RAF coming second overall. With an increase in wind speed in the afternoon the men set off for 5.5 laps of the 12-mile course. Some hard racing saw a short-lived break of five RAF riders, but by the middle laps an Army breakaway rider gained a 1 minute 50 second gap with a solo attack, forcing the RAF and Navy to work together. A strong turn by Calow to bridge the gap was successful, taking two Army riders with him. The result came down to an uphill, headwind sprint, which saw Calow dig deep to pull off a third place finish, as the Army took the individual and team win.
PACKED SLOPES provided a high-octane start to the season at the Indoor Winter Sports Festival at Milton Keynes Snowdome. More than 200 ski, snowboard and telemark athletes attended the event in Buckinghamshire. The day featured coaching sessions along with Inter-Station competitions for all levels, designed to give newcomers a taster for the sport and inspire them to sign up for Alpine Challenge 24 in Austria later in the season. Snowboarder Flt Lt Ross Healy said: “I had a great time and got to meet so many like-minded, friendly people. Thanks to the amazing coaching we received I have gained so much confidence in my snowboarding and learnt some new skills, including managing to perform my first board grab.” Event organiser Wg Cdr Alexa Smyth added: “There was a great turnout for both beginner lessons and all the competitions.
“It was fantastic to see everyone getting involved and enjoying themselves, with some very close competition results.” Fg Off Kirsty Guest kicked off her season in style winning the women’s slalom skiing event, while Flt Lt Ross Luci-Smith won the men’s, beating Flt Lts Tom Carrington and Jack McCausland into second and third respectively. The women’s and men’s telemark went the way of Sgt Clare Thomas, who beat Flt Lt Sarah Shave, and Wg Cdr Rob Print beat Cpl Cameron Howie and Flt Lt Ben Tawney. Cpl Nat Fields pipped Flt Lt Victoria Boyle in the snowboard slopestyle women’s event, with Cpl Bryony Lowe coming third. In the men’s AS1 Dom Brown took the crown with Cpl Adam Wooley runner-up. The Inter-Station ski crown sent to RAF Valley, who took bragging rights over Odiham and Marham, in second and third respectively.
Royal Air Force News Friday, November 3, 2023 P29
RAF Sports Awards 2023
Sqn Ldr Si is pool winner Water polo stalwart and rugby union star scoop the top titles Daniel Abrahams
A PERFECT 10 awards were doled out at the annual RAF Sports Awards at Halton House,
marking another stellar year for Service athletes. The glitz and glamour day of awards were hosted by Forces TV’s sports editor John Knighton, with
the event screened live across the globe on channel and online to thousands of Service personnel. The blue riband men’s and women’s awards went to water
INTERNATIONAL DUTY: RAF and Wales star Fg Off Carys Williams-Morris
ON THE BALL: Almond in action and receiving his award from AVM Ian Townsend (inset)
polo stalwart Sqn Ldr Si Almond and rugby union’s Fg Off Carys Williams-Morris. Almond said: “It's a massive honour, I am slightly lost for words. I really hope this win boosts the profile of my sport, which has not only helped me but my career throughout my time in it. So many people try swimming but if you like swimming and team sport, then water polo is another way to combine those interests in a great sport. “There is no getting away from the fact it’s a contact sport, but it looks graceful on the surface.” Fg Off Williams-Morris is currently with her Welsh international colleagues in New Zealand for the ongoing WXV tournament. Her award was collected on her behalf by WO Michelle Crolla. Speaking on a recorded message from New Zealand, WilliamsMorris said: “Thank you for everyone at RAF Sport for helping me transfer to becoming an elite athlete, I cannot wait to get back to the RAF after the tournament here. I must thank Sqn Ldr Ian Cokayne and the RAF girls who I love playing alongside.”
On winning coach of the year award FS Mark Silva, RAF bobsleigh, said: “I am very lucky, but there is a team behind me that helps, and thank you to them. “Bobsleigh brings out the daredevil in us and that fear is intrinsic in our Service personnel and dealing with it and facing it, on duty or in sport.” The team award went to the RAF Ladies’ Hockey Senior Team. Flt Lt Laura Kemp said: “We feel we have a great set-up and welcome newcomers, as we would with any trade in the Service, so it’s great to win this award and congratulations to all nominated.” Closing the gala event, new head of RAF Sport, AVM Ian ‘Cab’ Townsend said: “The individuals here are the pinnacle of RAF sport, we have 54 associations that can only operate thanks to the calibre of personnel in this room and across our Service. “What our sporting personnel do and those in this room help us maintain is a fundamental part of us being an operational warfighting service.” l Follow RAF Sport on Instagram @rafsporthq.
Backroom support staff who make it all possible l Administrator: FS Chris Slator, RAF Motorsport l Civilian Volunteers: Eamon Geraghty, RAF Boxing; Ian Webb, RAF Gliding; Ian Acey, RAF Telemark l Lifetime Awards: Sqn Ldr Damian Clayton, RAF Rugby League; Sqn Ldr Paul Goodwin, RAF Sub-Aqua; WO Ann Thomas, RAF Powerlifting STATION AWARD: RAF Akrotiri, for an inclusive Park Run event (500+ participants from the Whole Force and family members). PHOTOS: LUKA WAYCOTT
LIFETIME AWARD: Powerlifter WO Ann Thomas
COACH: Bobsleigh's FS Mark Silva
CIVILIAN VOLUNTEER: Boxing's Eamon Geraghty CIVILIAN VOLUNTEER: Telemark's Ian Acey
LIFETIME AWARD: Rugby league's Sqn Ldr Damian Clayton
LIFETIME AWARD: Motorsport's Sqn Ldr Paul Goodwin
CIVILIAN VOLUNTEER: Gliding's Ian Webb
Royal Air Force News Friday, November 3, 2023 P30
Be a hit as coach at Ramstein gym
BAG TOP POST: RAF boxing club needs new blood
Daniel Abrahams AS SPORTING opportunities go, the offer to take charge of the boxing gym at Ramstein Air Force base in Germany is surely a knockout. Cpl Joe Hazelwood, Brit Boxing Club/gym creator and current host coach and organiser, is looking to hand over the reins as his time at the station comes to a close and believes the post is the sporting chance of a lifetime. He said: “I decided on opening the club earlier this year [May] to provide a welfare, sports facility, primarily for the British overseas here.” The club was a year in the planning, with Hazelwood submitting his original business plan in April 2022. “I wanted to provide a space for people to engage outside the usual bar/mess functions,” he said. “The club is affiliated to RAF Boxing and England Boxing. We provide boxing classes and conditioning classes to the local and wider community, we also have a big following from American personnel out here. “We run classes three times a week, evening and lunchtime. “This is a good project. We have all the facilities here, with room to grow. I have had discussions
with the Central Fund about things such a barbell and other weights, so there is plenty of scope to expand.” Hazelwood took up boxing when he was first posted to RAF Odiham in 2013 and has coached alongside RAF Boxing stalwart Sqn Ldr Andy Parker at the Lord Wakefield’s. He previously opened a club in BFSAI Falklands for personnel on tour, before starting with the Brit Boxing Club. Hazelwood, who has a temporary stand-in to hold the fort at the club if he cannot find a successor before he departs, said: “One of the most challenging parts of the creation of the club was the ordering of equipment and logistical delay of getting the kit out here and set up. “The club is in an old MT hangar which was full of old kit which we ended up converting. I will be gutted to leave it, but things happen. It really is in a great place and although we have not been around long enough to see any of our boxers win anything, the level of take-up and interest has been brilliant.” Anyone taking over the club would need a level one coaching badge and be willing to achieve level two quickly thereafter. l For details on the club’s Facebook page scan the QR code printed here.
VERTICAL TAKE-OFF: Flt Lt Thompson gets airborne, and winner WO Hamilton, inset top
PHOTOS: AS1 EMILY MUIR
WO's Wave win
THE ISLAND of Tiree provided a bracing home for the RAF Wave Championship, with a three-way battle going the way of WO Craig Hamilton. He told RAF News: “It was tough out there and it could have gone either way, it was a close competition.” The training days held in the runup to the two-day championship in the Scottish Hebrides saw some of the competitors battered and bruised, with big winds, monstrous swell and savage weather leaving third-placed Flt Lt Freddie Hunter with a snapped mast and an injured ankle. Practice sessions were split
between Crossapol and other beaches on Tiree and were not for the faint-hearted. Wg Cdr Tim Simmons got to showcase his first-ever wave ride, to the delight of the cheering crowd. Hunter said: “His run was not quite enough to win his round, but it was a great achievement especially as he had only recently taken up the sport.” With the event open to all levels, the potential for upsets was obvious, but the tricky conditions made it hard for the contenders to beat the more seasoned sailors, so it was familiar faces in the final, to be held the following day in expertonly conditions.
A pushing tide at Balephuil saw four-metre waves combined with gusty crosswinds test the competitors. To counter the weather smaller sails were dusted off, helmets were donned and gumshields inserted. The move of the day went to Hamilton for his huge roll off a barrelling wave. It was enough to edge out the competition, despite some solid riding from Flt Lt Mark Thompson and Hunter, who finished in second and third place respectively. l To find out more about windsurfing visit: rafsailing. co.uk/windsurf/ or contact Flt Lt Victoria Kellagher.
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
Royal Air Force News Friday, November 3, 2023 P31
pages of the best of RAF Sports action
A MASSIVE Inter-Services performance by the RAF’s women sealed this year’s powerlifting titles at Cosford. The culmination of the season saw the event become the first to be held under new competition rules after a recent move to national governing body British Powerlifting. RAFPA OIC Flt Lt Sam Burgess said: “This was the best military powerlifting event I have been involved with, from the commitment of our support staff to the camaraderie of the competitors, and the seamless running of the day. Powerlifting as a sport is on the rise and this was a fantastic advert for what military powerlifting can offer.” The RAF women were out to secure first place for a second year running, while the men were gunning for top spot. The morning sessions could not have kicked off in better style as the women recorded the overall win with 814.66 points compared to the Army’s 760.1 and the Royal Navy’s 660.81 in third. They also secured individual first and third places, through AS1 Lucy Robinson with 456.9 points and AS1 Ellie Swankie on 38.51.
Two in a row as women power through
TOP MAN: AS1 Alex Ayres took honours
BENCH PRESS: Sgt Charlie Elson
In the afternoon the men came home third on 897.21 points, narrowly missing out behind the Navy on 900.80 and the Army,
the Navy’s Sgt Liam Clarke (445.44). RAF powerlifting’s outgoing chairman, Sqn Ldr Chris Marshall, said: “What a brilliant day, this has
been, the best attended and greatest of all the Inter-Services events I have supported in my 15 years of military powerlifting.”
victors, on 902.82 points. There was consolation by way of an individual first place for AS1 Alex Ayres (463.2 points), ahead of
SQUAT: Flt Lt Rachael Robertson
Ian & Dave wing their way to Inter-Services triumph BOARD MEMBERS: (l-r) Cpl Ian Savage (also leading in main picture), Sqn Ldr Barney Polden and Gp Capt Dave Keighley at Chichester Harbour in West Sussex
CHICHESTER HARBOUR was the venue for the RAF’s first-ever wing foil Inter-Services one-two win for Cpl Ian Savage and Gp Capt Dave Keighley respectively. Cpl Savage, who celebrated his 58th birthday on the event’s final day and has been at the forefront of the Service’s team in this ‘young sport’ said: “Conditions were really challenging with winds gusting from 18 to 32 knots. This made equipment choice a critical factor and resulted in some close and exciting racing.”
The final event consisted of four downwind slalom races where wing foilers negotiated three buoys set out in the harbour, just off the coast of Thorney Island – now home to Army Sailing Association kite surfers based at the Inshore Sail Training Centre at Baker Barracks. Sqn Ldr Barney Polden, one of Savage’s first students, said: “I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous before the competition; not only was this my first time wing foil racing but the conditions were daunting too.
"But, after safely making it round the course in the first race with only a couple of wipe-outs, I quickly started to gain confidence. It was also great to see the other RAF team riders doing so well. I’m already looking forward to the next event.” Savage added: “It was a resounding success and there are plans to run a whole season of events next year.” l Follow the RAF Kite Surfers and Wing Foilers on Instagram: @rafkitesurfing_wingfoiling
Royal Air Force News Friday, November 3, 2023 R'n'R 1
Announcements l p6-7
Puzzles l p8
Win paranormal series on DVD l See page 5
All for love – Emeli Sandé p3
Royal Air Force News Friday, November 3, 2023 R'n'R 3
R'n'R Film Review
Killers of the Flower Moon (15) In cinemas now
ARTIN SCORSESE’S latest epic is a western about the exploitation and killing of Native Americans in early 20th century Oklahoma; a revisionist take on the Osage murders. Based on the bestselling nonfiction book by David Grann, it follows dim-witted World War I vet Ernest Burkhart (Leonardo DiCaprio) as he returns to his uncle’s cattle ranch looking for work or, more importantly, money. William ‘King’ Hale (Robert De Niro) has amassed his own wealth, but it is nothing in comparison to the First Nation locals who struck rich when they found that their land was sitting on an ocean of black gold. Becoming the richest peoples per capita on Earth, it is not long before others start sniffing around and finding ways to part them from their riches – whether through robbery, insurance scams
SUSPICIOUS: Mollie (Lily Gladstone)
or marriage. The latter is suggested to Ernest by conniving Uncle Bill, matching him with Mollie (Lily Gladstone) as way to secure the inheritance of the ‘headrights’ to the oil money. Of course, there is Mollie’s mother and sisters to consider, but they are a minor inconvenience that can be fixed with a bullet or enough dynamite. There is a great power in the storytelling, aided wondrously by the central performances, all presenting a deep contradiction or duplicitousness. Hale presents himself as a friend to the natives, speaking their language and established in the community, but underhandedly plotting their demise. Simpleton Ernest appears to genuinely love his wife and yet his loyalty to his uncle, or maybe his hunger for power, triumphs this bond repeatedly. Mollie, in a showstopping turn from Gladstone, is aware of Ernest’s bad intention but allows him in anyway, her intentions cloaked behind an expression of constant restraint. Killers of the Flower Moon presents a great American story of massacres and land snatching in the name of money and control – a saga that runs at just under threeand-a-half hours, but somehow flies by – a true masterpiece. 5 out of 5 roundels Review by Sam Cooney
Ruthless quest for oil rights of Native Americans
FAMILY TIES: William 'King' Hale (De Niro, left) manipulates his simple nephew Ernest (DiCaprio)
Film Review and Competition
How Were We To Know
On DVD & download now
Spooky Night: The Spirit of Halloween (12A)
Emeli knows heartbreak E MELI SANDÉ is back in the spotlight after announcing the November 17 release of her new album How Were We To Know. The multi-award-winning singer-songwriter said: “I wrote the track How Were We To Know at a time in my life where I was reconciling with myself after the end of a relationship that left me undone and re-evaluating my view on love and life. “I was highly emotionally charged the day I wrote, and recorded it with Chris Loco and Phil Leigh and the lyrics and melody seemed to flow out effortlessly as the chords began to play. “There will always be a period of anger, disappointment and blame at the end of a relationship but carrying those emotions can make life so much heavier than it needs to be.” She added: “To fall in love takes bravery, vulnerability and completely letting go of logic. To me, love is a return to innocence which can often leave you naive to the realities of life. “Although the end can be brutal
Keeping spirit of Halloween alive A
SANDÉ: Wrote title track whilst reeling from a break-up
and leave you devastated, it’s unfair to punish yourself for giving your all and trusting in love. I see this song as a plea for understanding and compassion, for yourself and former relationships. In both life and love there is no way of knowing the ultimate outcome of any situation.” Emeli headlines at the Royal Festival Hall on November 11 as part of this year’s EFG Jazz Festival London, and will play Magic Radio’s Magic of Christmas extravaganza at the London Palladium on November 25 alongside Rick Astley, Simply Red and Texas. Her many awards include four BRITs, three MOBOs and two Ivor Novellos. l Go to: emelisande.com for more information.
FRAID OF losing their annual tradition of trick-or-treating and growing up too fast, Jake (Donovan Colan) ups the ante and challenges his friends to break into a huge, run-down Halloween shop filled with animatronic decorations – not counting on the evil spirit that has taken residence. A prologue to the film shows a tale from Halloween many years before, in which the ghoulishlooking landowner Alex Windsor (Christopher Lloyd, Back to the Future trilogy) attempts to evict the woman in charge of the Sacred Hearts Home for Wayward Children, until she casts a spell that tears the sky and kills him where he stands. Crystallised as local legend, the kids are familiar with this story, but don’t yet know that the life-force of Windsor remains bound to the land where the Spirit Halloween store now stands. The three boys must endure the night and work through their issues of growing apart whilst fighting off the stock of the shop as it comes to life with the spirit (and crucially voice) of Windsor. There is a throwback quality
IN FOR A SHOCK: Jake and his pals don't have a clue what's in store for them
to this scary film for kids, with its familiar plot and preference of having the monsters played by people in costumes as opposed to CGI. The Halloween shop is conveniently in a dead zone of phone reception, so the youngsters
have to resort to reading books and finding clues the old-fashioned way. Jake’s pals Carson (Dylan Martin Frankel) and Bo (Jaiden J. Smith) are given enough personality of their own, one wanting to party instead of knocking on doors for sweets, and the other meekly going along with the majority. Carson’s sister Kate (Marissa Reyes) will come to help the gang, but will have to do her best to not get drawn into the dark power. There is an innocence to the horror in this family film; a sense of play, though for young children the jump scares may be too much. 3 out of 5 roundels Review by Sam Cooney
WE HAVE copies of the film on DVD up for grabs. To be in with a chance of winning one, tell us: Who plays Alex Windsor in Spooky Night: The Spirit of Halloween? Email your answer, marked: Spooky Night DVD competition, to: tracey.allen@rafnews. co.uk or post it to: RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe, HP14 4UE, to arrive by November 17.
Royal Air Force News Friday, November 3, 2023 R'n'R 4
The best in the Ca
Greatest Days Uk tour
Honeysuckle blossoms in musical adaptation
RETURN: Jennifer Ellison
ETURNING TO musical theatre for the first time in a decade, Jennifer Ellison admitted: “It’s nerve-wracking but also really exciting. I’m telling myself that it’s just like riding a bike and it’ll all come back to me when I get back up there.” She was formerly on stage in the panto Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in Norwich in 2016 but her last fully-fledged musical was when she played Lina Lamont in Singin’ in the Rain in the West End in 2013. Embarking on the UK tour of the official Take That musical Greatest Days, she said: “It’s a bit scary for sure because I haven’t done theatre for such a long time but nerves are necessary. They give you the adrenaline to get up there and do a good job.” When the chance to appear in Greatest Days came up, former Brookside star Ellison didn’t hesitate. She’d seen the show on the tour’s first leg. “I absolutely loved it,” she said “I was so captivated by the story, I laughed, I cried and I was on my feet at the end. It’s such a feel-good musical.” The mother of three children with her boxer husband Robbie Tickle added: “When it means
'RACHEL': In Greatest Days with Olivia Hallett
PHOTOS: ALASTAIR MUIR
Jen gets back in the saddle being away from your kids and your home, it has to be something you love. And when you’re doing something that you really love, it doesn’t feel like a job.” In the show, Jennifer, 40, plays fortysomething mum Rachel who, back in the 1990s, was obsessed with the boyband. Reunited with her four best friends two decades later, she’s hoping to see her idols one more time after she enters a competition to see them perform in Athens. “She’s had a pretty normal life,” Jennifer said of Rachel, “and she’s longing for that little bit of excitement again. Never in her wildest dreams does she think she’s going to win the competition, but she does, and she and her friends are suddenly setting off to Athens on an adventure.” As an actress, singer, dancer, businesswoman and reality TV star,
Ellison has led a far from normal life. But she can relate to Rachel, she said. “When you grow up and you have a family and stuff, I think you forget yourself sometimes and you lose touch with friends. A lot of women, and indeed a lot of men, are guilty of that. We lose touch with people too easily because of how busy we are. One thing that really hit home with me when I watched the show was how you should keep in touch with people you grew up with and the people you love.” Asked if she’s a Take That fan, she said: “Isn’t everybody? Their music is fantastic and I don’t think you can not be a Take That fan. And when you see them live, they’re incredible.” l Greatest Days is at Aylesbury’s Waterside Theatre from November 7-11. Go to: atgtickets. com for details and more tour dates.
Something to Smile about
RITISH/ITALIAN songbird Carly Paoli (pictured) is hoping to spread a little happiness with the release of her new single Smile on November 10. Taken from her new album Carly Paoli – The Movie Collection, currently making its debut on the charts, Smile will be released in time for Remembrance Day on November 11. With music by Charlie Chaplin, the melody was used in Chaplin’s 1936 film Modern Times. The poignant lyrics by Jimmy Phillips, using the pen name John Turner, and Geoffrey Parsons weren’t added until 1954. The melody had been going round and round in Phillips’ head,
but the inspiration came when he was driving his youngest son Robin to school on the Isle of Wight. Robin had a severe stutter and, unknown to Jimmy, the treatment he received included being given electric shocks. Robin was in tears as they boarded the ferry and seeing his son so upset gave Jimmy the idea for the lyric. If he had understood why, he wouldn’t have taken him to the school. The first vocal recording of Smile was by Nat King Cole in 1954 and since then the song has been recorded by countless artists over almost seven decades. l Go to: carlypaoli.com for more information.
EST KNOWN as posh bit of wholesomeness back into her life.” driver Samantha Stewart The actress is enjoying being on in the much-loved TV tour – the play is currently at the New drama series Foyle’s War, Wimbledon Theatre, London and goes on Honeysuckle Weeks has now to theatres in Leeds, Stoke-on-Trent and taken on a very different role – Darlington, among others, running until starring in a UK tour of Calendar next April. Girls the Musical. She said: “I love getting to know the It’s 20 years since the release of nooks and crannies of England, ‘Our the film adaptation of Calendar green and pleasant land.’ I like to go Girls (starring Helen Mirren, and round the cathedrals and museums in Julie Walters), based on the true every town and taste the local specialities. story of a group of extraordinary One need never go abroad, we have so women in a small Yorkshire much variety in our native isle.” Women’s Institute, prompted to She agreed that the play, which involves create a risqué calendar following a fair amount of nudity, empowers the death of the husband of one women. of the women, to raise funds for She said: “It empowers women charity. because we’re all in it together. There is an None of the women are prepared unspoken bond between us all that makes for the emotional and personal us all individually stronger. We are all ramifications they will face, as the rooting for one another. We are all each calendar brings each unexpectedly other’s daughter/sister. There’s a bravery into flower. to disrobing that brings about a peculiar The cast of this new production kind of humility. also features recent stars from “Every night I am petrified. You can Coronation Street and EastEnders (Amy Robbins and Tanya Franks), three recording stars whose hit records have approached nearly 70 million in sales (Lyn Paul with The New Seekers, Maureen Nolan with The Nolans and musical theatre star Marti Webb) and Paula Tappenden, star of Blood Brothers. Honeysuckle described her character Cora: “She is a vicar’s daughter who had a baby early whilst at the Royal Leeds Conservatoire. She struggles to bring her daughter up alone and finds solace in sacred music, single malt whisky and scaling mountains! She has a dry sense of humour and is particularly fond of ribbing those who ‘the hand of God have offended’ by having plastic surgery. She does it with a great deal of affection however and most adores those she teases. “She is a paradox. Chaste on one hand and a rabble rouser on the other. She worries about the influence her own choices have made on her teenage FLOWER GIRL: Honeysuckle daughter Weeks in Calendar and joins Girls The Musical the W.I. to inject a
Royal Air Force News Friday, November 3, 2023 R'n'R 5
t Weeks alendar
Edited by Tracey Allen Comedy
Jason Manford Uk tour
Right Manford the job
ASON MANFORD is back with a new live show for 2024-5, A Manford All Seasons. Kicking off on November 10, 2024 at Derby Arena, he will then play 17 shows at some of the UK’s biggest entertainment venues, culminating at Manchester’s hotly anticipated new multi-millionpound Co-Op Live – the first comic to go on sale there. Jason said: “People ask me what my favourite job is, acting, presenting, musicals etc. I love them all, but my favourite is still the privilege of doing stand-up comedy. It’s just me, you, a microphone and a cracking venue. No cameras, no director, no viewing figures and no
Ofcom! I can’t wait to see you again and have a good laugh at this mad world, it feels like it’s been ages.” Away from comedy, Salfordborn Jason has hosted many shows for the BBC and ITV including Unbeatable, Sunday Night at The Palladium and The Royal Variety Performance. Earlier this year, he returned to judge the second series of ITV1’s Saturday night show Starstruck and hosted BBC One’s Big Night of Musicals for the second time. He also hosts his awardwinning three-hour show every Sunday on Absolute Radio. His other TV credits include: First & Last, The Masked Singer, What Would Your Kid Do?
Fist of the Condor (15) and Surreal Estate Season One (15)
JASON: Still a stand-up comic at heart
Scarborough, 8 Out of 10 Cats, The Nightly Show, Live at the Apollo, Have I Got News For You and QI. He has starred in numerous musicals in the West End and across the UK, including Sweeney Todd, The Producers, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Guys and Dolls and Curtains. l Go to: JasonManford.com for more details.
Out now on Blu-ray, DVD and download-to-own (Dazzler Media) THROW AWAY THAT BRA: (l-r) Lyn Paul (Jessie), Tanya Franks (Annie), Maureen Nolan (Ruth), Honeysuckle Weeks (Cora) and Amy Robbins (Chris) PHOTOS: ALEX HARVEY-BROWN
see me quaking in my boots. It takes balls of steel as I am not especially proud of my physical appearance but then I tell myself 'be grateful, you have two eyes, two ears, a nose and a mouth etc',” she added. A child actor, Honeysuckle revealed it wasn’t her ambition to join the profession. She said: “It was my mother and father’s. I wanted to be a geologist. I love rocks and fossils. My favourite is the ammonite. My favourite stone is quartz because of the part it played in the early electronics industry.” She added: “I will be forever grateful to Anthony Horowitz for creating such a wonderful character [Samantha Stewart] for me to play. Being cast in Foyle’s War was like being awarded a veteran’s medal without having deserved it, an extraordinary show I am deeply proud to have been a part of it. The character of Sam is etched into my psyche.” Talented Honeysuckle is also a writer. She revealed: “I would like to have some of the historical biopics I have written see the light of day, particularly the one about Eleanor of Aquitaine who was known as the Eagle because she ruled over both England and France in the 12th century and brought
back the notion of courtly love, windows, chimneys, silk, forks and kohl from her pilgrimage/crusade to Jerusalem.” The true story of the Calendar Girls launched a global phenomenon: a million copycat calendars, the fastest-selling stage play in British theatre history, and a musical written by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth, which coined the term ‘craughing’ – the act of crying and laughing at the same time. Every performance continues to add to the nearly £6 million already raised for charity and the current tour supports Blood Cancer UK. Firth said: “Pre-pandemic I had been preparing the musical for a foreign production which was, of course, then postponed. When the skies cleared and a new production in the UK was proposed I looked back and thought, ‘This is the version we ought to stage’. “The story and songs, a little like the real world, had been thrown in the air and come back slightly different. What we had in our hands lay somewhere between the original play and the original musical and it seemed right for a time when sunlight, optimism and humour seemed more necessary than ever. Like the calendar itself, it seemed that something dark had created something unexpectedly bright.” Barlow added: “I am delighted to be working on this new production of Calendar Girls. It’s been around 10 years since I first saw Tim’s play with my mum Marjorie. We had a fantastic time in the rehearsal room workshopping the show and weaving in new music, reworked songs and reimagining the book.” l Go to: musicalsontour.co.uk/ calendar-girls-musical/ for tour details.
ATIN AMERICAN martial arts superstar Marko Zaror, the star of John Wick 4, Machete Kills and From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series is back for his greatest battle yet in Fist of the Condor – his latest action-packed film with long-time collaborator, writer-director Ernesto Díaz Espinoza (Redeemer, Kiltro, The ABCs of Death). With the empire’s fall to invading conquistadors, the 16th-century Incas quickly concealed a sacred manual containing the secrets behind their deadly fighting technique. But after centuries of careful safeguarding, the manual is again at risk of falling into the wrong hands, leaving its rightful guardian to battle the world’s greatest assassins to protect the ancient secrets within. THE first season of Surreal Estate is described as a smart twist on the paranormal – it stars Schitt’s Creek’s Tim Rozon as real estate agent Luke Roman, who specialises in clearing and closing haunted houses. With an eclectic team of associates, he investigates, discovers and corrects the unconventional problems that make certain properties ‘metaphysically engaged.’ What makes the team at The Roman Agency unique, and in demand, is their uncanny ability to investigate and explain the truly inexplicable… and
ROMAN EMPIRE: Estate-agent-with-a-difference Luke Roman (Rozen)
find a solution. And close the sale. Solving the mystery, closing the portal, expelling the demon, putting the tortured soul to rest – all just the means to a sale. We have copies of Fist of the Condor and Surreal Estate Season One on DVD to win. For your chance to own one, tell us: Who plays Luke Roman in Surreal Estate? Email your answer, marked DVDs competition, to: email@example.com or post it to: RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe, HP14 4UE, to arrive by November 17. Please mark on your entry which of the two DVDs you would prefer to win. MAKING A GOOD FIST OF IT: Tough guy actor Marko Zaror in Fist of the Condor
Royal Air Force News Friday, November 3, 2023 R'n'R 6
R'n'R Your Announcements
You can email photos for announcements on this page to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Associations THE next quarterly social lunch of the National Service Association (Royal Air Force) Southend Group will be on Wednesday, December 6 at the Castle Hadleigh Essex. All RAF Veterans and guests are invited. Details and bookings from Area Organiser Ron Spack: 01268 779697. 6 Squadron will celebrate its 110th anniversary on January 31, 2024. To commemorate the event, the Sqn Association, in concert with the squadron, will be holding a dinner at the Queen’s Hotel, Farnborough, on Friday, February 2, 2024. Given a numbers limitation of 130 diners, we currently anticipate the event being ‘stag’ but that might change to a guest night closer to the time if take-up is less than anticipated. Whilst still at the formative stage, likely details are as follows: three-course meal – approx. £60 including arrival drink, half bottle of wine with dinner and a glass of port; room rates – £99 including VAT and breakfast, based on a maximum of two people sharing. The Association Committee has kindly agreed that Association Members will get a subsidy of £10 per head. If you are not already an Association Member, you can join by contacting: email@example.com. Expressions of interest should be made to Clive Mitchell at: firstname.lastname@example.org. uk. Please let Clive know if you would like to attend and bring a guest, should that opportunity arise. THE Association of RAF Women Officers (ARAFWO) was formed in 1955 to provide a medium through which serving and former serving women officers could maintain contact with
the Royal Air Force and each other. Your Association is a lively, friendly, worldwide networking group. Membership is exclusive to all serving and former serving women officers of the RAF, RAuxAF, RAFVR(T), WRAF, PMRAFNS, WAAF, WRAuxAF and WRAFVR who hold a Queens’ or King’s Commission. Please visit our website: arafwo.co.uk and discover the benefits of membership, plus see what activities and events we offer all over the world. RAF Armourers past and present. RAF Association's Armourers Branch aims to provide welfare support and comradeship for all who have served or currently serve as an RAF Armourer. Please see: rafaarmourers.co.uk or you can contact the committee via: plumbersrest@outlook. com. IF you trained as an RAF Administrative Apprentice (or are related to one) we would be delighted to welcome you to the RAFAA Association. Please see: rafadappassn.org; or contact the Membership Secretary on: 07866 085834 or the Chairman on: 01933 443673. RAF Catering WOs’ and Seniors’ Association (RAF CWO & SA): all serving or retired TG19 Warrant Officers or Flight Sergeants and all former Catering Branch Officers are invited to join the RAF CWO & SA. We meet twice yearly. Please email: email@example.com.
Cenotaph parade ANY 6 Sqn Association member who would like to join the Cenotaph parade on November 8 should contact Robert Miller asap if you have not already done so. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; phone: 07842 244915.
WO marks special date RETIRED WARRANT OFFICER John Mackenzie and his wife Jean celebrate their Diamond Wedding Anniversary this month. Former Cpl Tech John and the former Miss Jean Harrison were married at Windsor Road Congregational Church, Barry, Glamorgan, on November 9, 1963. Love and congratulations from Joanne, Sarah and your much-loved grandchildren. John and Jean are now happily retired in Devon at EX39 1XF. John said: “On our first wedding anniversary I was on my way to Malaysia, leaving Jean behind and seven months pregnant so she couldn’t travel with me. “She joined me four months later in Singapore with our two-month-old daughter.” He added: “I did overseas tours in Germany, Italy, Oman and the Falkland Islands. “In the UK I served at Locking, Halton, St Athan, Tengah, Scampton, Chivenor,
FIFTY YEARS ON: John and Jean with their grandsons and, inset, on their wedding day in November, 1963
Digby, Upwood, Abingdon, Henlow and finally Wyton, where I left the Royal Air Force as a Warrant Officer.
Along the way I was awarded the BEM, the MSM and was commended twice for meritorious service.
“I doubt that I would have achieved as much without Jean’s love and support.”
launches Group scoops gardening award Trust major appeal A FLT LT who led a project that set up a wellness hub at RAF Benson this summer has won a prestigious Royal Horticultural Society award with a community gardening club he runs in his home village. Flt Lt Pete Welsh (inset) said: “Despite being only four years old the group has scooped Gold at the RHS awards and also been crowned ‘Best Community Initiative’. “This is a massive achievement for the group, which also has serving
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: email@example.com. 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.
members, veterans and dependants involved in it.” The gardening club is based in Tadpole Garden Village, North Swindon. Flt Lt Welsh added: “The award looks at how each ‘Bloom’ group encourages people of all ages and abilities to take pride in where t h e y live. The assessment looks at the RHS three pillars of Horticulture, Environment and Community. “It is a volunteer-led community gardening group that maintains village planters and hanging baskets, runs horticultural workshops to promote positive mental wellbeing, created a village memorial, maintains a community greenhouse and allotment which is used to grow on fruit, plants and vegetables for homeless soup kitchens and educates people on how to grow their own food.
“It has received several successful bids from the National Lottery community fund, local donations and fundraising. “We were also awarded a trophy for the best community initiative – a hanging basket and planter workshop that saw residents and school children become involved in horticultural projects that enhanced the appearance of the village.” Pete is aiming to hold workshops at the Benson wellness hub, The BenZen Space, to encourage serving personnel, dependants, children and veterans to get involved in horticultural activities. He said: “Bulb planting, tree planting, rose pruning and wildlife corridors are just a handful of ideas for workshops I will be running.” Please email: BENEngagement@mod.gov.uk for more information or drop into the BenZen Space on the ground floor of the station’s learning centre.
THE BATTLE of Britain Memorial Trust has launched a major appeal to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the unveiling of the National Memorial to the Few by Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. The £1 million appeal will fund an extension to Hunting Lodge, the Trust’s library and resource centre, at Capel-Le-Ferne in Kent, that will house a new aerial dog fight simulator and provide more space for Battle of Britain artefacts. Two high tech simulators will allow visitors to experience an aerial duel against a determined enemy, highlighting the challenges facing RAF aircrew in 1940. You can send a cheque, made payable to: The Battle of Britain Memorial Trust CIO, to: the Hon Secretary, BBMT CIO, PO Box 337, West Malling ME6 9AA or go to: battleofbritain memorial.org
Royal Air Force News Friday, November 3, 2023 R'n'R 7
R'n'R Your Announcements
You can email photos for announcements on this page to: firstname.lastname@example.org
CAS joins vets for unique day CHIEF OF the Air Staff, ACM Sir Richard Knighton, joined four Normandy veterans at RAF Coningsby last month during a unique day out reviving wartime memories. Former sailors Henry Rice and Stan Ford, ex-Royal Marine Jack Quinn and Ken Hay, who served with 4th Dorset Regiment, spent a day in Lincolnshire learning about the RAF’s contribution to victory in World War II. For 40 minutes, ACM Knighton joined the veterans on a tour of RAF Coningsby,
MEMORIES: ACM Knighton with the veterans
which included a look at a Typhoon fighter and Battle of Britain vintage Spitfires and Hurricanes. The veterans, aged between 97 and 99, all Légion d’Honneur recipients, were accompanied by WO1 Baz Firth, who volunteers to help Normandy heroes remember and honour wartime comrades. The trip focused on the efforts of Bomber Command in particular, with private tours of a new memorial and museum near Lincoln, then at Coningsby, home
to the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight and one of just two airworthy Lancaster bombers still left. The four veterans learned about the terrible toll of bomber crews between 1939 and 1945 – 58,000 dead, honoured at the International Bomber Command Centre. Towards the end of the war the RAF delivered 7,000 tonnes of food to the Netherlands, where one million Dutch people were suffering from food shortages and starvation. The food drop – Operation Manna – was the first such humanitarian mission. Lancasters formed the backbone of the force dropping supplies on the Netherlands. The sight of the BBMF’s four-engined bomber brought former soldier Ken to tears for the memories it evoked. Captured in the fighting liberating northwest Europe, Ken and fellow prisoners of war were marched around Germany
UP CLOSE WITH ICONIC AIRCRAFT: Former soldier Ken Hay at the BBMF Lancaster
to prevent them falling into Allied hands. The speed of the Allied advance eventually caught up with Ken’s column of PoWs, liberating the men. An airlift, Operation Exodus, was arranged, bringing more than 15,000 former prisoners, including Ken, back to the UK. On May 4 1945, he boarded a Lancaster
for the flight home. At Coningsby Ken climbed up to look inside the BBMF bomber – the first time he’d been close to one since that day. “He told us all of the sheer sight and sound of all those aircraft that took part and broke down, apologising saying he was just
overwhelmed remembering it all,” said Baz. “We learned so much from the visit and it was really humbling to see how everyone we met paid their respects to the veterans and could not do enough for them,” he added. “It was really special and a very memorable day indeed.”
Royal Air Force News Friday, November 3, 2023 R'n'R 8
R'n'R Crossword No. 350
Solve the crossword, then rearrange the 11 letters in yellow squares to find an RAF word
Across 6. Little Rachel met Steve in RAF headgear (7) 7. You French almost steal gymslip (5) 9. And 10 Across. Hooded, it’s ready to strike fighter in RAF exercise (5,7) 10. See 9 Across 12. And 14 Across. Maybe unverifiable moths tour a show involving RAF (11,3,8) 14. See 12 Across 18. Tree dame chops down: how does she feel later? (7) 19. Taxi for the French guy (5) 21. Coerce first foreigner on richest cruise ever (5) 22. Developed New York photo of RAF plane (7)
Address ............................................................................................................... .............................................................................................................................. ............................................................................................................................. RAF word: ...................................................................... Crossword No. 350
No. 360 Fill in all the squares in the grid so that each row, each column and each 3x3 square contains all the digits from 1 to 9. Solutions should be sent in a sealed envelope marked 'Su Doku' with the number in the top left-hand corner to RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe, Bucks, HP14 4UE, to arrive by November 17.
Down 1. A bit fruity when Leonard embraces Maureen (5) 2. Rudimentary version of my robe, maybe (6) 3. Oddly, sit by pen (3) 4. Two pints is nothing on paper (6) 5. Teacher returns German dish (7) 8. In athletics, it’s pointed in the right direction (7) 11. 100 sprinted but lost badly (7) 13. Young girl and I on RAF enterprise (7) 15. He’s engaged lacking northern money (6) 16. Indifference over a lane at end of walkway (6) 17. The Spanish knot joint (5) 20. Welsh flower questionable, we hear (3) Name ...................................................................................................................
Prize Su Doku
The winners of our Prize Crossword and Prize Su Doku puzzles will receive a recent top aviation title – please send your entries to the address printed in the adjacent Su Doku panel, to arrive by November 17. Prize Crossword No. 348 winner is: J Harris, Glos.
Solution to Crossword No 349:
Across – 1. Epic 8. Aerialists 9. Chipmunk 10. Cuba 12. Gilded 14. Trance 15. Edicts 17. Hitman 18. Crew 19. Hercules 21. Latecomers 22. Rash Down – 2. Pathfinder 3. Camp 4. Ground 5. Jacket 6. Aircraft 7. Asia 11. Buccaneers 13. Duckweed 16. School 17. Hornet 18.Calm 20. USSR RAF station – Waddington
Solution to Su Doku No: 359
The winner of Su Doku No: 358 is: K McCarthy, London.
Klokkenluider (15) In cinemas now
EIL MASKELL makes his writing/directorial debut with a comedic crime thriller that sees two whistleblowers flee the country to a remote estate with two bickering security personnel assigned to protect them. What is apparent from the off is the boiled down nature of the film: a simple story stripped of its details, trusting that the audience will put together the pieces once they’ve spent some time in the confines of this house. Though the circumstances are extreme, everyone appears ordinary so it feels realistic, and the characters relatable. Evidently, Ewan (Amit Shah) has witnessed something serious, an offence by a government official that he has taken to a newspaper. Following their advice, he and his tenacious wife Silke (Sura Dohnke) rent a property in Belgium under the guise of hosting a 40th birthday party. This is where they meet Ewan (Tom Burke) and Glynn (Roger Evans), two plain-clothed security men assigned by the newspaper. This double act have a history, with Ewan taking a professional lead, where Glynn casually and consistently drops protocol. We can’t be sure how effective this pair will be if needed, nor if they are prepared for the severity of Ewan’s revelation. In this rather large
LAYING LOW: Ewan (Amit Shah) and Silke (Sura Dohnke)
space, the four people will have to wait until a journalist can meet them to take the story in full. Maskell has certainly learned a flourish or two from director Ben Wheatley, with whom he has worked a few times, and who shares a production credit here along with production partner Andrew Stake,
reminding particularly of Kill List. There is a creeping darkness under the surface that threatens to break out at any point; a suppressed horror that is offset mainly by black humour, but gleamed in flashes, suggesting that things are bound to take a turn. Whilst not particularly
cinematic, the score helps to keep you off balance whilst Burke and Evans bring a conflict that fuels the fire. Klokkenluider ('whistleblower') is a tight 84 minutes that is both tense and intriguing. 4 out of 5 roundels Review by Sam Cooney
Top Bananas B A N A N A R A M A CELEBRATE over 40 years at the top with the release of Glorious – The Ultimate Collection on March 8, 2024. And they’ve announced details of a special London Palladium show on April 3 next year. The album charts the lives of founder members Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward via their personally curated career highlights. It takes them from the early days of breaking through with Really Saying Something with Fun Boy Three through to their phenomenal '80s successes Cruel Summer, Venus, Love In The First Degree and Robert De Niro’s Waiting to '90s hits Only Your Love and Last Thing On My Mind and into 2005 when they were riding high in the singles chart with Move In My Direction and the US dance chart smash Look on The Floor (Hypnotic Tango). Bananarama are in the Guinness World Records book for the most internationallycharted hits by an all-female group and they wrote or cowrote almost every song in the new 40-track collection. Sara said: “We wanted this to be a unique collection, a celebration of all the twists and turns in our career.” l Go to: bananarama.co.uk for details.