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g n i t n u o C the cost of Covid CALLS FOR help from vets in crisis have soared during the pandemic while the funds of military charities who support them have plummeted. As the annual Poppy Appeal is in full swing and the UK prepares to mark Remembrance Day, Forces charity chiefs are calling on the public and serving personnel to dig deep to help those hardest hit by Covid-19. See special report p2-3

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Charities more vital than for the sector and we are working with the Office for Veterans Affairs on the latest £5m commitment of support for veterans and their families made by the Prime Minister in September.”

Tracey Allen THIS YEAR’S commemoration of Remembrance is especially important for the Royal British Legion. Last year’s event was restricted due to the coronavirus pandemic and 2021 marks the centenary of the charity that supports the Armed Forces community. Military charities continue to count the cost of the Covid-19 crisis, coping with a drop in income but a rise in demand for their services, particularly from veterans experiencing loneliness and isolation, struggling with mental health issues and debt. As the nation prepares to mark the sacrifices made by Forces personnel, their families and veterans, culminating in the Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph, charity chiefs have spoken about the importance of remembering those who have served. Jeff Harrison, interim CEO at Combat Stress, said: “It’s extremely important that as a nation we

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PRIME MINISTER Boris Johnson met Royal British Legion Poppy Appeal collectors outside 10 Downing Street after the launch of the charity’s annual fundraising drive. The RBL celebrates its centenary this year and Mr Johnson received his poppy from five collectors: 84-year-old Army veteran Tom Dempsey; Naseem Dar, 71; Beth Young, 26; and Toby and Jemima support the military and veteran community in commemorating Armistice. “Whether participating in the march past the Cenotaph, attending services in your local community or reflecting at home, this is an opportunity for everyone to remember the service and sacrifice of all who have defended our freedom. We think not only of those who gave their lives in service to our nation, but also those who returned home bearing the physical or psychological scars of war.” Describing how the pandemic has affected Forces veterans, he said: “In our treatment sessions, through calls to our helpline, and through our research, we have seen how the pandemic caused a deterioration in the mental health of some veterans who were already struggling prior to the arrival of Covid-19. “A n x i e t y , social isolation, the disruption to their routine, the loss of loved ones to Covid and the persistent sense of threat in JEFF HARRISON the atmosphere made life even harder. For some, this caused them to overthink distressing events or losses, which triggered an increase in alcohol use and suicidal thoughts. “In addition, restrictions led to many losing a connection to their wider community and becoming socially isolated. The need for our specialist services, especially online 1-1 trauma-focused therapy, has been critical throughout the pandemic.” Mike Ellicock (right) is Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, that focuses on improving the transition to civilian life for exService personnel and their families.

Castle, aged 18 and 16. The siblings started collecting as young children to help their father, who is a Poppy Appeal organiser in East Sussex. Toby said: “In the RBL’s centenary year it feels extra special to have the support of the Prime Minister.” The appeal runs until Remembrance Sunday, November 14.

SUPPORT: WRAF veteran Morag MacFarlane and her RAFA befriender Iona Docherty, pre-Covid

He said: “Our day-to-day activity is therefore separate from Remembrance yet we see it as essential that we maintain our outstanding traditions of Remembrance across the country. “Whilst our work is to ensure that those who have served our country face no disadvantage because of their service, we must sometimes take a step back from our busy day-to-day activities and reflect on those who have lost their lives, and the families who have been affected. “I was fortunate to have served as a platoon commander in The Parachute Regiment on operations in Sierra Leone, Northern Ireland and Iraq and I will certainly be taking a few quiet moments to step back and remember those I served with who are no longer with us.” He added: “The evidence tells us that, like so many others in the UK, veterans have faced additional challenges over the last 18 months. Forces in Mind Trust has worked with the Directory of Social Change

and Cobseo to find out about how Armed Forces charities have been affected throughout the pandemic, with all data now available to explore in the Cobseo Covid-19 Impact Database. “In October 2020, over half of the military charities who responded to the survey saw an increase in calls for help. Many reported increases in demand for mental health support, loneliness, poverty and financial support. While the numbers had lowered slightly by May this year, they are still higher than before the pandemic. Meanwhile, more than half of the respondent charities reported a decrease in income. “Clearly, veterans and their families have faced additional challenges, and we must ensure that the charities which provide essential support are able to help them,” said Mr Ellicock. “The evidence from this project helped to secure £6 million in government funding

Nick Bunting, Secretary General of the RAF Association, said: “Covid has affected everyone, whatever their background. The issues faced by older Forces veterans closely mirror those faced by people without a military background, but some of these are exacerbated for those who have served. “Moving around while serving can mean many people end up living far away from family and old friends, which can all too easily lead to isolation and loneliness. Sadly, during lockdown this became much more acute for many in the RAF community. We made over 100,000 outreach calls to the more vulnerable people we have previously supported. “RAF veterans, in the main, were more concerned about their loved ones than themselves, stoically enduring the impact of the pandemic, sometimes to their own detriment.” He added: “It is as important as ever to celebrate Remembrance, to recognise those NICK BUNTING who have died serving their country. While some people may still be reticent about attending in-person events, I do hope everyone is able to mark the event in whatever way they are able to; whether that’s at the Cenotaph in London, at an event local to them or by quietly remembering friends and loved ones at home.” Lt-Gen Sir Andrew Gregory, Chief Executive of SSAFA, below, said: “One of the strengths of military service is camaraderie and teamwork, so lockdowns have affected veterans who are not used to being on their own. “The pandemic has seen approaches to SSAFA rise, with those asking for help suffering from isolation, loneliness as well as debt and challenges with their mental and physical health. SSAFA works closely with our colleagues across the Armed Forces, charities and statutory services to ensure we give the best support available. “Remembrance is not a period for celebration; it is an opportunity to commemorate the service and sacrifices of members of the Armed Forces through the years. “For example, on Remembrance Sunday and as Master Gunner St James’s Park, Head of the Royal Regiment of Artillery, I will be at Hyde Park Corner commemorating the 49,076 members of the Regiment lost between 1914-1919 who are recorded on our War Memorial there and the thousands lost since then.” ■ Go to:,, fim-trust. org, and uk for more information.

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ever because of Covid SAC affected by Afghan trauma and road smash saved by British Legion Tracey Allen A RAF veteran who was medically discharged from the Service then suffered horrific injuries in a devastating car accident has spoken of her gratitude to the Royal British Legion after the charity helped her on her road to recovery. Former SAC Naomi Hall was deeply affected by the death of a colleague killed in action in Kandahar shortly after she

A LIFE WORTH LIVING: Naomi Hall with her daughter Natasha, 13

My time with the Reds has been the most enjoyable of my life”

returned to the UK after serving in Afghanistan. She said: “Why I was spared and not him, why I wasn’t there to help, were questions that would haunt me. “I was medically discharged from the RAF in 2015 and lived in my parents’ house. No job. No friends. No future. “I couldn’t quiet the destructive thoughts of guilt at having returned home safely. I fell into a dark place. I started selfharming and was referred to the Royal British Legion.” She added: “I was given one of their Poppy Breaks in Wales. It was the first-ever holiday for my six-year-old daughter Natasha and me. She’s 13 now and still talks of it fondly.” Now 39, Naomi, who joined the RAF aged 17 and worked in logistic support, is a project manager for a car company and lives in Salford. She admitted that it took a long time to come to terms with how her traumatic experience in the military affected her. She said: “I remember I was in Tesco when the alarm went off. I immediately fell to the ground as if it was a mortar attack. No one pointed at me or laughed but nobody came to see if I was okay either.” She added: “I was sent to the RBL’s Battle Back centre, where I felt accepted and once again a part of a family.” On the way home from the centre she visited the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire; finding her friend’s name on the Armed Forces Memorial there gave her comfort. She added: “I put to bed the ghosts that had been building in me since Kandahar.” But just as things were looking up, in 2017 she was in a serious car crash. She broke her arm and leg,

Sqn Ldr Steve Morris as he ends his tour with RAF aerobatic team See page 7

HORRIFIC INJURIES: Naomi in hospital after road crash and, inset, on duty at Wimbledon

had a punctured lung, fractured two vertebrae and her bowel was outside her body after one of her broken ribs punctured a hole in her chest. Her left leg was so badly broken it was nearly amputated. She was airlifted to Liverpool’s Aintree Hospital and, after surgery, was put in an induced coma, waking up two weeks later unable to remember who she was. Naomi spent 10 weeks in hospital, going home in a wheelchair, but went on to recover so well she took part in the Great North Run in 2018, raising money for the North West Ambulance Service that helped save her life.

She’s doing community payback for being a menace to society” Eleanor Tomlinson plays socialite Gabby in Beeb’s The Outlaws See R’n’R p4-5

Last month she was asked to read a testimony, in which she described the help she received from the RBL, at a thanksgiving service at Westminster Abbey in the presence of The Queen to mark the charity’s centenary. Naomi told RAF News: “I have recovered from the injuries that began in Kandahar and ended on the motorway. I have a good job, a home, and a lovely daughter. The future looks brighter today. “The RBL is a part of my family now, a loving grandmother always watching out for me. I would love to work full-time for them. The air ambulance saved my life, but the RBL gave me a life worth saving.”

I’ve already told the squad we will win the Inter-Services”

Confident ladies football SRT manager Chf Tech James Bryden See p29

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Three’s company for Regt Reserves Female jockey, teacher & climbing ace pass Gunners combat test

WRITE STUFF: Seven-year-old Sarah Mirkin with her story

Sarah books her place at awards LAC BAILEY

LAC Bailey said: “As a school housemistress and mother of two the Regiment is very THREE PIONEERING female Gunners different from my day-to-day life. have become the first to join Honington’s “I have been incredibly well supported Reserves Force Protection Squadron since throughout my training by all my instructors, the exclusion of women serving in my squadron and my peers. It felt combat roles was lifted in 2016. fantastic to complete it and I feel The groundbreaking trio are jockey very proud to be joining such an trainer LAC Hannah Knowles, inclusive and welcoming Corps.” private school house mistress LAC LAC Knowles said: “I was Sarah Bailey and freelance rock expecting the final exercise to climbing and kayaking instructor be physically very challenging, LAC Levi Smith. although it was the mental Having completed their final challenges which I found the most two weeks fieldcraft training reward in overcoming. ng ini tra et on Bay under the beady eyes of LOOK SHARP: “The last two weeks taught instructors on the firing ranges me that pushing through your and on Exercise Omega they now join their comfort zone is when you learn the most about male colleagues on 2623 Squadron. yourself and achieve the greatest rewards.”

Simon Mander



BATTLE FIT: Trio passed the gruelling twoweek fieldcraft test ahead of graduating at RAF Honington

RAF Honington Station Commander Gp Capt Dutch Holland said: “I’m delighted to welcome three new female RAF Gunners into the Corps. “Our Regular personnel give enormous commitment to the RAF; however, our Reservists give this commitment on top of their civilian jobs, lives, hobbies and relationships. “Their commitment is remarkable, and they bring a richness and experience to the RAF which is unique.” 2623 Sqn Adjutant Flt Lt Josh Pirt said: “I’m thrilled to witness them being presented with their Mudguards. “The squadron’s staff have seen their commitment and determination backed by unselfishness and a sense of humour to achieve. These female Gunners have proven themselves equal in all respects.”

TALENTED YOUNGSTER Sarah Mirkin has scooped a writing award for her story celebrating the life of pioneering West African WWII navigator Flt Lt John Smythe. The seven-year-old entered the Museum of London writing contest after visiting the venue’s exhibition on Sierra Leone’s Krio culture and her story has been published in a collection of children’s bedtime stories.

WWII HERO: Flt Lt John Smythe was shot down in 1943 and captured by the Nazis

623 Sqn navigator Flt Lt Smythe flew 26 missions over Europe in a Stirling before he was shot down and captured in 1943. He survived the war and went on to qualify as a barrister, later becoming the Attorney General of Sierra Leone.

Vets keep Eastern promise VETERANS GATHERED to mark the 50th anniversary of the RAF’s withdrawal from the Far East in 1971. Around 170 former personnel and family members gathered at the National Memorial Arboretum for the event organised by vets who served at Changi, HQ FEAF, Seletar, Tengah, Butterworth and Penang. Retired Sqn Ldr Tony Parrini recalled: “A great deal of equipment had to be dismantled and returned to the UK from Malaysia, in contrast to the handover of assets in Singapore to the Singapore Armed Forces.

“It was hard work for everyone, but at the same time life was pleasant with many lasting relationships with the local people”. Established in 1948, and operational through the Malayan Emergency, the Far East Air Force began winding down when Malaysia and Singapore gained independence in 1967. The RAF trained both new nations’ Air Forces and UK personnel and their families were welcomed by both Malays and Chinese.

Burma vet marks 100th WWII BURMA veteran Neil Bulloch celebrated his 100th birthday on board the world’s last Britannia transporter. The former 110 Sqn supplier was joined by three generations of his family at the Cotswold Airport, home to airframe XM496, the last known example of the aircraft type.

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Allied salute for Halifax heroes

A NAVIGATOR sent to Buchenwald Concentration Camp after being shot down over France in the run-up to D-Day has sent a heartfelt message of thanks to organisers of an event honouring the memory of his crew mates who died. Now 99 years old, sole survivor Sqn Ldr Stanley Booker was unable to travel to Illiers-L’Évêque where his Halifax bomber came down in flames killing the pilot and wireless operator, but instead recorded a video message for the local community and families. He said: “I am amazed and humbled that the courage of this Halifax crew is being recognised. This honour reflects the sacrifices of all Allied military forces during World War II.” Recalling the crash in June 1944, he said: “Without warning, there was a sudden burst of cannon fire that straddled the cockpit and our pilot had to put the aircraft into a steep evasive corkscrew manoeuvre. “He suffered a fatal wound to his head and slumped forward, completely obstructing the control column. The attack caused an immediate explosion in the petrol tanks which quickly engulfed the whole aircraft with flames. “It was a miracle that I got out of the plane. I got out through the floor and managed to bale out safely.” Pilot, Flying Officer Alexander ‘Sandy’ Murray (23) and wireless operator Warrant Officer John ‘Taffy’ Williams (23), were buried by the Luftwaffe with full military honours at the local cemetery in St


SURVIVOR: Sqn Ld r Booker in


CEREMONY: Left, Gp Capt Anthony McCord joined representatives from the USA and French Military at the Illiers L’Eveque memorial PHOTOS: SGT LEE GODDARD

Andre de L’Eure on June 7, 1944. Bomb aimer Sergeant Ernest Frederick ‘Snooky’ Stokes was seriously wounded in the leg, captured by the Germans, and moved to a military hospital for treatment before being held as a prisoner of war. Air gunner Sergeant Clifford Hallett evaded capture and was rescued by the SAS on August 14, 1944 and returned to the UK. Three of the remaining crew, the

then Flying Officer Booker, Flight Engineer Sergeant John Neville Osselton and Rear Gunner Sergeant Terrance Gould survived the crash and were hidden by the local Resistance. Discovered by the Germans in July 1944, they were interrogated before being moved to Buchenwald and were eventually released and returned to the UK in May 1945. Fg Off Booker, then 22, continued his RAF career, retiring as Squadron Leader. He was awarded an MBE for his post-war

work with British intelligence and, last year, the Légion D’Honneur by the French government. A commemorative plaque was mounted on the War Memorial in Illiers-L’Évêque in an event organised by the crew’s and French Resistance families 77 years on. Organiser Jean-Pierre Curato said: “My wife’s grandparents hid one of the gunners after the Halifax bomber crashed near our town in 1944; this inspired me to research and write a book, which led me to hear the incredible first-hand

account from Sqn Ldr Booker. “It was only fitting that 75 years after the end of WWII we held an event to commemorate the lives of those Allied Servicemen who sacrificed so much. Covid has only slowed us down a little and I am honoured that so many can join together to mark these important moments in our town’s history.” Read Stanley’s incredible story here: ve-day-stories/stanley-booker

Arrows aces take a bow after Covid-busting displays PROUD: Sqn Ldr Steve Morris flew the Harrier and Tornado before joining the RAF’s aerobatic display team

Staff Reporter ARROWS DUO Steve Morris and Jon Bond have left the team after the unit’s final 2021 display above the HMS Prince of Wales aircraft carrier in Portsmouth. Sqn Ldr Morris, who has completed seven seasons, said: “My years with the Red Arrows have been the most enjoyable ones of my life.” Usually Red Arrows pilots serve a threeyear tour but with so many air shows and events cancelled in 2020 because of the pandemic, the pilots’ positions were frozen for a further season, to ensure a level of continuity and experience, a spokesman said. Originally from Sheffield, South Yorkshire, Sqn Ldr Morris flew the Harrier and Tornado before applying for the Red Arrows. In total, he has amassed 1,765 flying hours with the team, clocking up more than 400 public displays.

He lists displaying at the Burj Al Arab in Dubai, being Synchro Leader for the team’s China visit in 2016, and the flypast of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco during the 2019 North American tour as highlights. “Our flypast over London, as the country was gradually emerging from its first lockdown to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day, is an occasion I’ll never forget,” he said. Essex-born Sqn Ldr Bond, who occupied the Reds’ hot seat for four years, said: “The flypasts during the peak of the pandemic resonate most strongly with me.” Sqn Ldr Bond is a former operational Typhoon pilot – an aircraft he’s returning to after leaving the Red Arrows. During his four seasons he has been part of the Synchro Pair and flown some of the most dynamic and wellknown manoeuvres in the Red Arrows’ repertoire, such as the Mirror Roll, Heart and Spear and Boomerang.

TYPHOON RETURN: Sqn Ldr Jon Bond will return to frontline duties with the RAF’s swing-role fighter

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News Bulletin

TRIALS: Wittering-based Fuels Support Team get to work on Atlas at Brize

Atlas fuel bid Staff Reporter TRANSPORTERS LIKE the Atlas A400M could be used to top up frontline Typhoon fighters following trials of a new fuelling system at RAF Brize Norton. During the latest tests the Fuels Support Team have pumped supplies from the multi-engine Airbus aircraft and transferred it to a tactical refuelling facility designed to provide support to aircraft deployed to more austere locations. Flt Lt Craig De Jong of 1 Expeditionary Sqn said: “This is a new capability and the trials are the first step in bringing it to life. “Once fully matured air landed aircraft refuelling will provide a highly flexible and adaptable method of enabling a Forward Air Refuelling Point.” STORAGE: Supplies pumped into forward refuelling point

Forces answer 999 call Military drivers brought in as Welsh health chiefs braced for winter surge

winter rise in Covid calls FRONTLINE: Fears over

Simon Mander AIRMEN AND women are among the latest volunteers to be mobilised to back up the Covidhit Welsh Ambulance Service. More than 50 Air Force and Royal Navy personnel are being trained by paramedics and emergency medical technicians before joining 50 soldiers from 4 Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps already on the task. They will support emergency call-outs but will not be carrying out paramedic duties, a spokesman said. Military volunteers will work with ambulance clinicians responding to emergency calls as the region braces for a sharp rise in call-outs through the winter. It is the third time the military have supported the Welsh Ambulance Service through the pandemic as part of the Military Aid to the Civil Authorities arrangements. Cpl Steven West from MOD St Athan is among the RAF volunteers and will be stationed at Welshpool. He said: “I’m proud to be doing

SUPPORT: RAF volunteer drivers receive training with Welsh ambulance team

this. It’s also a good chance to get to know other people from the three Services – it’s a good group we’re with. “I’m looking forward to deploying to the ambulance station and know that people will appreciate what we

are doing.” Welsh Ambulance Service Trust director of operations Lee Brooks said: “We’re grateful to have the military working alongside us once again. “Having our Armed Forces colleagues back on board will help us

put more ambulances on duty and get to more patients, more quickly, while the extreme pressure continues. “Winter is our busiest time and having military support will bolster our capacity and put us in the best possible position to provide a safe service to the people of Wales.”

UK Defence signs £970m Airseeker deal BRITAIN HAS agreed a £970 million deal with the US Department of Defense to maintain the RAF’s fleet of three Airseeker electronic surveillance aircraft until 2035. The move means the Waddington-based force will get spare parts, engineering support, technical data and access to capability updates for the jets, also known as the RC-135W Rivet Joint. The agreement between the USAF and MOD was due to expire in 2025 but will now continue until the aircraft’s UK out of service date in 2035. ISTAR Force chief, Air Cdre Nick Hay, said: “This is an important

step in reinforcing both nations’ commitment to exploit cuttingedge technologies on intelligence operations from both the UK and overseas out to 2035.” Operationally proven in counterDaesh missions in the Middle East, Airseeker uses its sensors to detect, identify and geolocate signals across the electromagnetic spectrum, which are analysed and passed on from the aircraft’s communications suite. Defence Minister Jeremy Quin said: “The Rivet Joint Cooperative Programme is a fantastic example of the UK and US special relationship and the support for our Airseeker fleet has been extended for a further

decade. With a commitment to invest almost £1 billion, this agreement will ensure that we, and our allies, can benefit from the

aircraft’s impressive surveillance capability for years to come.” The existing Memorandum of Understanding between the two

nations was extended following negotiations in which the MOD committed to investing £970 million in the programme over the next 14 years.

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WWII Comet Line remembered Simon Mander RESISTANCE FIGHTERS who helped 800 Allied airmen evade capture in Nazi-occupied Europe have been honoured with a new memorial on the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Comet Line. The clandestine network was created in 1941 by Andrée de Jongh to smuggle escapees through France and across the Pyrenees into neutral Spain and out via Gibraltar. Funded by British military intelligence, it depended on the courage and help of people in the countryside and on Resistance families in the cities who risked arrest, torture and death by hiding and feeding the foreigners until

TRIBUTE: Flt Lt Genevieve RollestonSmith lays a wreath at the new memorial

they could be moved. Among them was Sgt Bob Frost, whose Wellington bomber was hit by anti-aircraft fire

after dropping a 1,800-kilo bomb on the Krupp arms factory in Essen in the autumn of 1942.

Over Belgium the aircraft struck by her eyes. started to drop and at 16,000 feet “They were absolutely burning Air Gunner Frost bailed out. and there was an air of supreme “I came through a cloud, it confidence about her,” he said. was cold and wet. I was actually And it was de Jongh herself and a livid. Only a week to go, two more Basque guide who escorted Frost and missions before my tour of 30 was four others to safety over the Pyrenees over. Then the ground came up and on an arduous eight-hour night-time hit me,” he said. trek which the airmen, known by Frost, then 19 years old, members of the line as ‘the landed in a field just children,’ often found hard. outside the village of Frost remembered Kapellen in Flemish the gruelling walk, Brabant alone in stumbling in the German-occupied dark and wondering Belgium, but how much longer within six weeks, they could go on. he was back home De Jongh’s stamina and on leave in was extraordinary. London. He got safely back Luckily, he called to England and reat the Vangilbergen RESISTANCE: de Jongh joined the RAF. family’s farmhouse and He visited Belgium managed to persuade them to some years ago, to see the Namur take him in. citadel, where many local people They contacted the Comet Line, were executed by firing squads. which had agents all over Belgium De Jongh was arrested six months looking for stranded Allied airmen. after Frost got home, after an RAF Frost was taken to Brussels airman under interrogation identified where he stayed first with a his helpers and the Line’s safe houses stockbroker then with a widower to the Gestapo. running his own Resistance group. She spent nearly three years in Issued with a suit, shoes and prisons and concentration camps false identity papers, he became until Germany surrendered in 1945. Robert Simonis, a Belgian seaman British Defence Attaché to who spoke a little German. Belgium Group Captain Justin ‘Simonis’ lived in Fowler unveiled a plaque to Bordeaux but had been in commemorate the Comet Line Brussels to visit his sick in the Air Force Chapel in the mother. That gave him National Basilica of the Sacred an excuse to be travelling Heart in Brussels, alongside south. relatives of members of the Frost met Comet Line resistance, Belgian Air founder Andrée de Force representatives Jongh in a Brussels and RAF Association SURVIVOR: Bob Frost flat and he was members.

Peace for Albanian hero

ROYAL NAVY Photographer of the Year LPhot Ben Shread took this winning image of 436 Afghan men, women and children flying to safety on board a 70 Sqn C-17 Globemaster.

The RAF evacuated more than 15,000 people from the Afghan capital Kabul as the Taliban seized control of the country following the final withdrawal of US troops.

AN RAF hero who died on a topsecret World War II mission has been buried in Albania on what would have been his 100th birthday. The remains of Sgt Peter Twiddy were identified by MOD war detectives from the Joint Casualty and Compassionate Centre using genetic fingerprinting techniques. He was finally laid to rest with military honours by members of The Queen’s Colour Squadron in a ceremony at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s (CWGC) Tirana Park Memorial Cemetery in the first service of its kind for 18 months due to Covid travel restrictions. Sgt Twiddy was one of seven 148 Sqn crewmen on a Halifax on an operation codenamed ‘Sapling 7’ in October 1943, parachuting in supplies. The aircraft took off from Tocra, Libya, heading for a drop zone high in the mountains above the village of Tragjas and did not return. Attempts to trace the Halifax failed and the search was called off when a signal was received that it had crashed with the loss of all crew.

AT REST: Members of Sgt Twiddy’s family joined RAF Padre Sqn Ldr Lacey and QCS for the service

After receiving details of the crash site, a team from the British Embassy in Tirana recovered human remains from the wreckage and DNA was used to confirm they were those of Sgt Twiddy. The family of Sgt Twiddy said: “We are all grateful the mystery as to what happened all those years ago to our brave family member has been finally solved.” The service was conducted by RAF High Wycombe Chaplain the Reverend Sqn Ldr Chrissy Lacey. The grave will be marked by a headstone provided and cared for by the CWGC.

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WRAF tribute A MEMORIAL to the Women’s Royal Air Force has been dedicated at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. The WRAF was reformed after the war, letting women enlist as regulars. It was finally disbanded in 1994. The new tribute was funded by WRAF veterans and women currently serving in the RAF.

REV EVE PITTS, the UK’s first black woman vicar, was the guest of honour at the RAF’s annual BAME conference at the Royal Air Force Museum in Hendon. The pioneering cleric was joined by AVM Suraya Marshall, who was recently appointed as Air Officer Commanding 2 Group. The event, in Black History Month, was held against the backdrop of the museum’s exhibition celebrating Forces diversity. It featured speakers from across the ranks sharing their experiences. PIONEER: Rev Pitts

UK rescue for 102 who fled Taliban

In Brief

Long haul for wonder Wall an keeps MISSION: Airm EVACUATION during Voyager flight to Brize m youngsters cal

KABUL CHAOS: Thousands flee reprisals as Taliban seize capital

CRUSADING WO Justin Wall is taking a break from the saddle – after cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats. He took on the 970-mile challenge to promote mental health in the Forces. He said: “Life-changing events and a family bereavement shut me down emotionally. “Without realising it, I had stopped looking after myself mentally or physically. “Passing the Cornish coastline, the Cotswolds and the Bristol Channel was inspirational.”

Holt honour THE RAF airlifted more than 100 stranded UK nationals and Afghan families who fled Afghanistan for neighbouring countries in the first UK evacuation mission since the Taliban seized control of the country. A total of 102 men, women and children given eligible status were flown from a neighbouring country to Brize Norton and will now be relocated in the UK. Royal Air Force crews are set to launch more rescue missions as part of the Government’s pledge to provide sanctuary to those who supported British Forces during US-led operations in the country, under the Afghan

Relocations and Assistance Policy. More than 15,000 people were flown to safety by the RAF in the biggest operation since the Berlin airlift following the withdrawal of the last US military personnel from the capital Kabul. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “In August we worked tirelessly to airlift more than 15,000 vulnerable Afghans and British nationals from Kabul to the UK. “Our commitment to the Afghan people did not end there. We are determined to do right by those who supported our Armed Forces for so many years and others who are at risk.

“These flights mark the beginning of what will be an enduring effort to relocate and support those who need our help.” Mr Wallace said the UK is working with international partners to ensure routes remain open to support the movement of British nationals and relocation of eligible Afghans and their families. Eligible refugees who arrive in Britain will be supported by the Home Office and MOD to rebuild their lives in the UK. This includes indefinite leave to remain for those under the ARAP scheme, as well as funding for education and healthcare.

AWARD: Sir Michael, left,with FS Halliwell

FS ANDY Halliwell scooped an award for inspiring the next generation of airmen and women at RAF Cranwell. He was presented with the Jack Holt Memorial Trophy by former Chief of the Air Staff, Sir Michael Graydon.

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P-8 honour for VC hero Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft Technical Specifications

The P-8A Poseidon is based on a Boeing 737 commercial airline with high levels of reliability proved on more than 4,000 aircraft flying worldwide. SUB HUNTER: Th e RAF will operate a P-8A Poseidon marit fle ime surveillance air et of nine craft

Length 129.5 ft (39.47m)

Wingspan 123.6 ft (37.64m)

Height 42.9 ft (13.03m)

Maximum altitude 41,000 ft Two CFM56-7 engines providing 27,000 lbs thrust each Maximum speed


BRITAIN’S LATEST Poseidon profusely, his life was saved by an sub hunter has been named after RAF Kite Balloon Section, who a Canadian VC winner who was transported him to a field dressing wounded three times in a dogfight station where surgeons saved his with 15 enemy fighters over the left arm, rather than amputate. Western Front. Recovering consciousness Major William Barker several days later he was flying a Sopwith greeted the news that he Snipe in October had won the highest 1918 when he military decoration was bounced by a with a short note formation of Fokker to the commander D.VIIs of Jagdgruppe of 201 Squadron 12 above the lines of saying: “By Jove, I was the Canadian Corps. a foolish boy, but Despite having his P-8 anyhow I taught t es lat of e Sid E: left elbow blown away, NAME GAM them a lesson…” he managed to disable Today, 201 Sqn operates the three enemy aircraft before making Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft a forced landing. from RAF Lossiemouth and has Severely wounded and bleeding named the seventh of its nine

BBMF Mark 2 Staff Reporter THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN Memorial Flight has a new commander following the departure of OC Squadron Leader Mark Discombe after seven years with the iconic RAF Coningsby outfit. He has handed the reins to Sqn Ldr Mark Sugden, who joined as a volunteer in 2017 and hopes the unit will soon be back to entertaining the crowds after two display seasons devastated by the coronavirus pandemic. He said: “I hope the BBMF can look forward to resuming normal business, showing off our iconic aircraft to the millions who see us during the summer months. “I am incredibly excited about the contribution I can make during my time at the helm.”

aircraft after the World War I hero. Gp Capt Rob O’Dell from ISTAR Force Headquarters said: “The RAF has always enjoyed the closest of ties with the Royal Canadian Air Force and it is entirely fitting to name this aircraft after William Barker VC, whose exceptional gallantry continues to serve as an inspiration to military aviators.” Barker shot down 46 enemy aircraft in a career in which he also won the Military Cross with bar. By his own admission, he was careless – he died in an aviation accident in 1930. The first six Poseidon aircraft have been named Pride of Moray, City of Elgin, Terence Bulloch DSO DFC, Spirit of Reykjavik, Fulmar and Guernsey’s Reply.

189,200 lbs (85,820 kg)


5 x internal and 6x external stations 5 x Mk54 Torpedoes (internal) 4 x Harpoon Anti-shipping Missiles (external)




2 Pilots 2 Tactical Coordinators (Taccos) 2 Weapon System Operators (WSOp) (Acoustic) 2 Weapon System Operators (WSOp) (Electronic Warfare)


m t o 4 , ha r e n 0 n m au 0 0 i le t i s ca l


Surveillance will support the Royal Navy, Army AND allied operations

Forces hit the road to keep UK motoring Staff Reporter

HANDOVER: Sqn Ldr Mark Discombe, right, welcomes Sqn Ldr Mark Sugden to the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at RAF Coningsby

MORE THAN 200 Air Force drivers were brought in to keep the UK motoring through the fuel delivery crisis. Military teams received training of tanker operation before hitting the roads and forecourts in the worst hit areas of the country as panic buying emptied petrol stations struggling to get deliveries due to a driver shortage. Among the Forces teams were Wittering-based Support Force drivers and driver’s mates from No 1 Expeditionary Logistics Sqn, 2 MT Sqn, 90 Signals Unit and air crash specialists JARTS. They joined emergency Army and Navy teams as part of the MOD’s Operation Escalin. Military drivers worked 12hour shifts, collecting fuel from

PUMP ACTION: RAF tanker drivers keeping UK motorists fuelled up

refineries and delivering it direct to forecourts in regions that were still experiencing shortages.

Royal Air Force News Friday, November 5, 2021 P16


RAFBF Awards

‘This was for m A

S E V E N - Y E A R- O L D super-fundraiser has been honoured at the RAF Benevolent Fund’s annual awards ceremony. Jacob Newson, from Leeds, won the Above and Beyond category; to date, he has raised more than £43,000 for the Service charity. The aviation-mad youngster’s ambition is to join the RAF and become a pilot. He has met several RAF veterans including Sqn Ldr George ‘Johnny’ Johnson and Spitfire ace the late Sqn Ldr Allan Scott. He’s also met the Red Arrows and BBMF personnel. Jacob, who sadly lost his mother to cancer just after Christmas last year, said: “I’m so proud of myself for winning this award. This was for my mummy, I just wish she could have been here to see me win.” In 2019, Jacob and dad Andy climbed Pen-y-Ghent in Yorkshire; in 2020 they walked 30 miles in two days from RAF Manston in Ramsgate to the Battle of Britain Memorial in Folkestone; and in August 2021 the pair climbed Ben Nevis. They also took on the Yorkshire Three Peaks challenge in June, raising more than £50,000 for the hospice which cared for Jacob’s mum Andrea in her last weeks. Andy added: “After Jacob climbed the Yorkshire Three Peaks, we decided we wanted an even harder challenge, and Nevis was the obvious choice. He was so excited when we reached the summit. “We were delighted when we found out Jacob had been shortlisted for an award – it was the perfect opportunity for him to wear his RAF No.1s and it was lovely to see his hard work is being recognised. “We’re considering Mount Kilimanjaro next year, which would make Jacob the youngest boy in the UK to summit the mountain, if we can secure some corporate funding or sponsorship.” Sponsored by Lockheed Martin UK and now in its ninth year, the RAFBF awards ceremony was held at Plaisterers Hall in London.


AF College Cranwell was named Station of the Year. The Lincolnshire base organised the RAF College Cranwell Virtual Challenge to celebrate its 100th anniversary, raising more than £10,000 for the Fund. Station Commander Gp Capt Dr Joanne Campbell said: “We are all truly thrilled to have won this award. Despite the challenges of last year, personnel at Cranwell have gone above and beyond to raise funds to help the Benevolent Fund to continue their amazing work in supporting RAF families past and present in times of need.

Jacob, seve award for fu after family STATIONS CHALLENGE CUP: RAF Shawbury

TOP TEAM: RAF Leeming’s General Engineering Flight

STATI THE YE College YOUTH WORKER: Karen Forbes (right)

SUPPORT: Andy Evans of The Blades (right)

“This award recognises the hard work and dedication of the personnel at RAF Cranwell who, through adversity, have triumphed in their fundraising ambitions.” RAF Shawbury took home the RAF Stations Challenge Cup for netting the most money strictly through sporting events on a per head basis. Shawbury personnel raised £9,034 for the Benevolent Fund last year through various sporting events including a 10K Race on the airfield in which 500 runners took part and the station’s annual Motorcycle Rider Safety Day. Wg Cdr Alan Jones, the station’s charities committee chairman, said: “The Fund provides vital support to serving and former RAF personnel and their families, so it’s important for us as a station to give back. “Supporting the Fund was of

even greater importance last year as Covid-19 had a significant impact on fundraising activities. It was an honour for RAF Shawbury to be recognised in this way and we look forward to continuing to raise funding and awareness of the Benevolent Fund, so that they can provide much-needed support to the RAF family.”


embers of RAF Leeming’s General Engineering Flight won the Fundraising Team of the Year title. They organised a 160mile cycle challenge to raise money for the Fund in memory of SAC(T) George Ellis, who passed away after a motorcycle accident in July 2020. The 14-strong team, led by Chf Tech Graham Purnell, completed the two-day Coast 2 Coast challenge, riding from Southport to George’s parents’ home in Hull last

September, raising more than £3,000. Graham said: “The hills were definitely the toughest part of the challenge – but seeing George’s parents when we arrived made it all worthwhile. Speaking to them and giving them something to smile about during such a hard time was great for the whole team, which in turn helped us deal with the loss better too.” Red Arrows technician Cpl Ollie Kirk (right) was named Volunteer of the Year. One of 10 aircraft engineering technicians who form the ‘Circus’, the travelling support team who service the Reds’ Hawk jets, Ollie joined the Fund’s Check and Chat

programme last year, introduced in response to the pandemic, giving isolated and lonely veterans a weekly phone call from a friendly volunteer. He speaks to 89-yearold veteran Reg Lawrence. Ollie said: “It’s an enormous privilege to win this award. The friendship Reg and I have developed feels like the real prize. I’ve always been aware of the great work the Fund does and had always wanted to give something back myself. I’ve loved getting to know Reg over the last 18 months.”


he Blades Aerobatic Team, a team of former Red Arrows

Royal Air Force News Friday, November 5, 2021 P17

By Tracey Allen

my mummy’


en, wins top fundraising y’s tragedy

Meeting Reds

At Cranwell

Battle of Britain Memorial

Taste of a pilot’s life

ION OF EAR: RAF Cranwell

pilots based at Sywell Aerodrome, won the Outstanding Support from an Organisation title. Blade 1 Andy Evans said: “The Blades team values its partnership with the Fund extremely highly, so winning this award means an enormous amount. We pride ourselves on working with a charity that does such incredible work for the RAF family, both currently serving and veterans; we look forward to continuing our support and finding innovative ways to raise donations for the Fund.” The other award winners were: Airplay Youth Worker of the Year – Karen Forbes, RAF Lossiemouth, Special Recognition – Steve Darlow, and Welfare Caseworker of the Year – John Marsland. AVM Chris Elliot, the Fund’s Controller, said: “After making the difficult but necessary decision to

hold our a n n u a l a w a r d s ceremony virtually last year, it’s been an absolute pleasure to see so many friendly faces once again in person this year as we celebrate the efforts of our supporters and fundraisers. “Last year was a challenging time for the whole of the RAF Family, and the awards are a great opportunity to recognise all the fantastic work that allowed us to continue supporting RAF veterans, serving personnel and their families throughout the pandemic and beyond. “I’d like to pass on my congratulations to all of this year’s winners. The enthusiasm, creativity and generosity we saw over the course of 2020 was truly inspiring.”

ABOVE & BEYOND: Jacob Newson

Meeting veteran George ‘Johnny’ Johnson

Royal Air Force News Friday, November 5, 2021 P19


By Simon Mander

RAF Mildenhall Air Fete revisited USMC F-18

FIREBALL MOMENT: 1986 Blackbird display


AVIATION ENTHUSIASTS can relive the thrills and spills of what was once the world’s largest military-hosted air show in a new book soon to be released. RAF News has been given a sneak preview of a history of the Mildenhall Air Fete – 20 years after it was last staged, attracting crowds of more than half a million people. In it, authors Mick Britton and John Wickenden, from the Fighter Control website, share their favourite photos from the event that ran for 25 years. The extravaganza, which was to become, according to the duo, “the eighth wonder of the world,” for aircraft spotters, began in 1976 when 60,000 spectators flocked to see US Harriers, Phantoms, and an F-11E in American bicentennial markings. The account is an unashamed trip down memory lane to a time when, they say, air shows represented real value for money. In 1998, for example, a car of four people could get into the Mildenhall show for £4.25 each compared to £19.50 for a single adult ticket to the Royal International Tattoo – with genuine American cuisine available at affordable prices. But it was the chance to snap a piece of aviation history that was the big attraction.

A SPOTTER’S DREAM DREAM: Static displays at Mildenhall and, left, new book

“The purity of Air Fete with its undiluted focus on the aircraft meant that it was possible to photograph the static subjects without the background clutter of funfair impedimenta (bouncy castles, big wheels and the like) which detract from so many of the photos taken at the RAF ‘At Home’ events where Sod’s law always seemed to ensure that the rarest aircraft was parked in front of the funfair.” One unforgettable incident caught on camera from 1986

became known to devotees as, “That SR-71 Blackbird display!” “One engine had a brief fuel flow fault resulting in a large fireball immediately reheat was selected. The effect was most spectacular and is one of the enduring images of Air Fete, almost immediately being marketed in poster form,” say the authors. An Air Fete speciality was the mixed formation, with the 1986 event featuring a never-tobe-repeated flight by a Hawk, Lightning, Phantom and Tornado. And by 1996, Soviet hardware

that would never have been seen 20 years previously, like the Mil-24 Hind and the MiG-29 Fulcrum, had made their debuts. But it wasn’t always an unqualified success – 1998’s show clashed with two other international events the same weekend and poor weather produced slim pickings for snappers with the only static star the USMC F/A-18 VMFA-321. Packed with pictures, anecdotes and memories RAF Mildenhall’s Air Fete 19762001, by Mick Britton and John Wickenden is out mid-November.

Photo of the week


AAR: A first for Atlas and Voyager

A RAF Atlas A400M has been refuelled in the air by a Voyager for the first time in trials conducted by RAF Brize Norton-based 206 Squadron. Officer Commanding 206 Sqn, Wg Cdr Woolven, said: “Our test pilots have conducted previous flight test campaigns, however this is the first with this platform in the UK. “The A400M is unique thanks to its fly-by-wire flight control system. This makes it much easier to maintain formation to make contact and take fuel. “This trial has given us the capability to hand over to frontline instructors by the end of the year, which will enable them to roll out to the remaining A400M squadrons.” Flt Lt Gareth Crow, Flight Test Engineer with 206 Sqn, added: “This is the very first air-to-air refuelling on this platform in the UK. We undertook simulation training to make sure we were familiar with how the aircraft would perform.”

Royal Air Force News Friday, November 5, 2021 P21

Crew View

Sqn Ldr Paul Williams, Imagery Intelligence Staff Officer

I arrived in Izmir with my wife and two young children in March 2020 and have made the most of the opportunities in this wonderful country. My primary role is providing specialist Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance advice to the Command Group Intelligence Division. I write new policies and advice used across Nato and join exercises such as Thessaloniki, in Greece, to develop the intel capabilities of the Georgian Defence Forces in Tbilisi. As the Senior RAF Officer here I provide single Service advice to the Army-heavy Chain of Command, so my fellow airmen get the development opportunities they deserve. This has been one of the most rewarding times of my 18year career and I am looking forward to what the rest of the tour will bring

Land Command Nato

RAF PERSONNEL working alongside Nato counterparts at Land Command in Izmir, Turkey, are playing a crucial role ensuring the Alliance is battle-ready to combat landbased threats across the world. Working within the triService British contingent at Land Component Command, the six-strong Air Force team deliver strategic and tactical oversight on air operations, develop interoperability and command, and control capabilities.

FS Martin O’Hara, G1

Staff Assistant

I started a three-year tou interesting time, especially r in September and it’s been an restrictions that has broughhaving to deal with Covid and the As lockdown comes to an t. experiencing what this beaend, I am really looking forward to Nato can be frustrating at utiful country really has to offer. am used to back in the UKtimes and is very different to what I The mix of different nationbut I am really enjoying it. language really brings us togalities and cultures sharing one environments I have worke ether and it is one of the friendliest My role is within the Co-O d in and the weather only helps. rdination Cell, allocating and completing tasks in time and ensuring people are where need to be, to ensure a sm they ooth running Division

Flt Lt Robert Pritchard Future Operations an , Plans Staff Officer d

nt to Chief of Staff

Sgt Patrick Dougan, Staff Assista

it has been an interesting, challenging I began my tour in January 2018, and and rewarding posting. g its frustrations but I enjoy it, with the mix Working in a Nato environment can brin ugh some struggle with my Glaswegian of differing cultures and nationalities, altho accent. ever been in, and Turkey and its citizens Izmir is one of the friendliest cities I havet kind-hearted you will ever come across. are especially helpful and among the mos nds and implements the Chief of Staff’s I am responsible for ensuring HQ understa and Commander’s directives. s and making sure everything is allocated That means tasking of the 13 Division Command Group are where they need to and completed on time and that the fullish and American three-star is complex but be. Working for a Turkish two-star, Brit I manage to pull it off

FS Mark Coates, Configuration Management

I enjoy the joint and multinational environment and the opportunity to learn about other cultures. With the recent Covid lockdowns life has been challenging in Turkey, the strict measures imposed denied any travel both overseas and in country during the last 18 months. My main role is to plan and implement the CIS requirements for exercises and evaluate other HQs’ capability to be interoperable when communicating with each other. Beside Nato commitments, there is also a need to support the UK contingent in various roles

I am coming to the end of my three-year tour and it’s been a very interesting experience; from an Air Force perspective coming into the Land environment has presented challenges like terminology and culture. As Communications Engineer it’s surprising just how much we have in common and I have successfully contribute to the planning of future d operations and exercises. My role is Graduated Response Planning, Exercise Planning and Military Trainin teams, which has given me theg opportunity to travel to many amazing countries. Exercise planning is the most satisfying element. I get to see all the hard work and planning come together in the exercis problem solving as we go. e, Response Planning feels like the most important work we do and a great opportunity to work with people from all over Nato. It has been a great experience

Royal Air Force News Friday, November 5, 2021 P23

Air Chief Marshal Sir John Rogers KCB, CBE Obituary

Air chief, fighter pilot & racer of classic cars A

IR CHIEF MARSHAL Sir John Rogers, who has died aged 93, began his RAF career as an aircraft apprentice and eventually rose to serve on the Air Force Board of the Defence Council. Born in Essex in 1928, Sir John joined the RAF in 1944 and spent three years as an apprentice, qualifying as a ground radio fitter. He finished near the top of the order of merit and was awarded a cadetship at the RAF College Cranwell, where he completed his training as a pilot. He was commissioned in April 1950 and began training as a night fighter pilot. His long association with fighter aircraft beganwhen he joined 141 Squadron, which was equipped with the Mosquito. After six months he headed for Egypt, where he joined 219 Squadron, based at Kabrit in the Canal Zone, and where he became the squadron’s tactics instructor. Before leaving Egypt, the Mosquitos were replaced by the night fighter version of the twin-engine Meteor jet fighter.

ACM: Sir John


n his return to Britain after three years in Egypt, he joined the All Weather Development Squadron of the Central Fighter Establishment. The Meteor was still operational but was being replaced by the delta-wing Gloster Javelin and Rogers and his fellow aircrew were responsible for devising and developing all-weather and night fighting tactics. By 1956 he was a highly experienced and accomplished fighter pilot and was sent to the USAF’s Tyndall Air Force base in Florida for three years, where he trained pilots and weapons system operators on all-weather and night fighters. His return to Britain in January 1960 saw him appointed to command 56 Squadron at Wattisham in Suffolk. The squadron was flying the Hunter, but by the end of the year it began to receive the new supersonic Lightning aircraft. Fully equipped by the following spring, the squadron carried out a number of long-range flights pioneering the use of air-toair refuelling.


fter serving as the personal staff officer to the Commander-inChief Fighter Command, Rogers took command of the Air Fighting Development Squadron at the Central Fighter Establishment. The latest version of the Lightning was entering service and Rogers flew many trial flights. After a series of cancellations by the then Labour Government,

PILOT: Sir John (far right) with his Navigator and their Mosquito

it was decided in 1964 to procure the US-built Phantom powered by Rolls-Royce engines. In April 1965 Sir John left for Washington to be the RAF Phantom Procurement Manager, a post he held for almost three years, overseeing an initial order for 200 aircraft; later substantially reduced. In February 1968, he became the Station Commander at RAF Coningsby, the base selected for the first Phantom units. He first oversaw the considerable work’s programme to prepare the former V-bomber base for Phantom operations. The first aircraft arrived direct from the US in August and flying training began almost immediately. By the time Sir John relinquished command, two

Regiment. After 18 months in post, and promotion to Air Chief Marshal, he remained on the Air Force Board to take up the appointment of Controller Aircraft (CA) in January 1983. As CA, he was responsible for the procurement of all military aircraft and associated weapon systems. Once the military operational requirement had been agreed, various options had to be considered. This was a complex issue involving, political, industrial and financial matters. All had to be considered before a final decision to procure a particular type of aircraft or system could be made. International projects also became increasingly important and he later commented: “You get a tremendous education in collaboration.” A new aircraft type could not be used by the Forces without a CA Release, which was issued once all the necessary system testing had been satisfactorily carried out. CA was also responsible for post-design services on in-service aircraft and the associated modifications and updates. Sir John, worked closely with industry and the MOD’s procurement executive. He met regularly with all his project directors and conducted individual reviews with them every quarter. He was regarded as strict but very knowledgeable and fair by all his staff. Among many other projects at that time, he had the overall responsibility for the procurement of the Tornado and Hawk aircraft, and the in-service support for the Phantom and Buccaneer aircraft. He retired from the RAF in March 1986 having been appointed CBE (1971) and KCB (1982). He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society in 1983.

D squadrons and a training unit were operational.


n August 1970 he moved to HQ 38 Group as Group Captain Operations, the parent group for the Phantom squadrons, in addition to other frontline squadrons. On promotion to Air Commodore, he served as a Director of Operational Requirements in MOD. He returned to the RAF College Cranwell in January 1974 to take up the post of Deputy Commandant. He was also responsible for the newly-established Department of Air Warfare, which provided numerous specialist courses in air weapons, navigation and electronic warfare. After attending the 1976 Royal

College of Defence Studies course, he was promoted to Air ViceMarshal to become the Director General of Organisation in MOD. In November 1979 he became the Air Officer Commanding Training Units, which gave him responsibility for supervising all aspects of air and ground training in the RAF. A proud moment came when he presented his son David with his pilot’s wings on his graduation from advanced flying training. Sir John was appointed to the Air Force Board in July 1981 as the Air Member for Supply and Organisation, where his wide responsibilities included engineering, equipment and RAF organisation and the RAF

uring his RAF career he maintained his long-standing interest in motorsport, and after his retirement from the RAF his hobby eventually turned into a second career. In addition to racing classic cars, he regularly competed in trials in a number of vehicles as his stable of cars came and went. He considered himself to be a ‘rebuilder’ rather than a ‘restorer.’ In 1989 he became the executive chairman of RAC Motor Sports Association, a position he held for 10 years before being made a Life Vice-President. In 1995 he became a member of the Federation International d’Automobile (FIA) World Motor Sport Council, a role which took him to many international Formula 1 motorsports events as governing official and UK representative. Sir John died on October 11.

Royal Air Force News Friday, November 5, 2021 P25


Now we’re really flying Cranwell

THE LATEST graduates from Cranwell’s 45 Squadron were honoured by a flypast from an RAF Atlas A400M transporter. The class of pilots, mission aircrew and airborne specialists (right) received their flying badges to mark the completion of their Phase 2 training and will head to frontline Operation Conversion Units. Reviewing Officer ISTAR Force Commander, Air Commodore Nick Hay (left), said: “It was a real honour and a

privilege to present the flying badges and awards to those who will form the heart of our Royal Air Force for the next 20 to 30 years.” The graduating students are: Flt Lt Stevenson, Flt Lt Jones, Flt Lt Holding, Flt Lt Sayer, Flt Lt Sodeau, Flt Lt Thomas, Flt Lt Down, Flt Lt Turner, Flt Lt Watts, Sgt Butler, Sgt Spoors, Sgt Neill, Sgt Bonney, Sgt Jackson, Sgt Wright, Sgt Pugh, Sgt Dawson, Sgt Green, Flt Lt Grant, and Sgt Babb.

ALL EYES ON F-35 FORCES PHOTOGRAPHERS have captured these stunning images of UK and US F-35s on board the Queen Elizabeth Carrier as the Royal Navy flagship leads the Carrier Strike Group on its first deployment.

All three images were shortlisted for this year’s Royal Navy Photographic Competition, which attracted more than 500 entries. The Fifth Generation stealth jets are taking part in multi-national training exercises during the seven-month voyage covering 26,000 nautical miles and taking in more than 40 countries including India, Japan, the Republic of Korea and Singapore. Alongside 617 Sqn and US Marine Corps F-35s, on board airpower includes Wildcat helicopters from 815 Naval Air Sqn and Merlin helicopters from 820 and 845 Naval Air Sqns. LEFT: USMC F-35 takes off PHOTO: LPHOT MARK JOHNSON TOP RIGHT: All eyes on me PHOTO: LPHOT BELINDA ALKER RIGHT: Airpower line-up PHOTO: LPHOT BELINDA ALKER

Royal Air Force News Friday, November 5, 2021 P27

Kia e-Niro

TIM MORRIS Motoring Correspondent

It’s hip to be square

IT’S BEEN announced that from 2030 we won’t be allowed to buy ‘real’ cars any more. Instead manufacturers will either have to develop a full range of electric vehicles (EVs) or train their V8s to run on cheese and wine. This is a massive change for everyone who owns a car and one that we’re going to have to start thinking about now. We recently reviewed the little Renault ZoE, a cracking relatively low-cost city EV, and at the other end of the scale Porsche’s £130k Taycan Turbo EV supercar. Both are brilliant in their own way but won’t suit most families. Enter Robert De Niro… I know what you’re thinking, what the hell has he got to do with it? Well he’s actually appeared in an advert for Kia’s new e-Niro. With a respectable range of 282 miles on a charge, this is a truly practical mid-sized EV. Exterior The e-Niro is very, er, Korean. It’s a practical family car that does what it says on the tin. It doesn’t need an air intake for the engine so the upper grille is simply blanked off. The boot is flat and functional to give maximum space and there’s a decent amount of lightweight plastic on display to shave bulk, whilst keeping costs down. There is, however, some nice attention to styling here and there. The electric blue flashes on the bumpers give it away as being an EV and there’s a sprinkling of chrome effect, plus some natty styling lines on several panels. It’s not really going to turn heads but it’s easy to love as a family wagon. Interior There’s plenty of space in the e-Niro, front and back, with a good amount of adjustment on the driver’s seat. Soft materials cover all the areas that you touch regularly and it has a pleasantly upmarket feel. The neatly stitched leather effect seats, the gloss black details on the dash and the carbon fibre style panels give the impression of quality. Like most rivals lower panels are still covered with cheaper, harder plastics but you have to go looking for them. Everything’s solidly bolted together inside and the seats are comfortable for a long run. Visibility is good all around, with reversing sensors/camera as standard. Our car was the 64kWh, 201bhp model in ‘3’ trim. It came with a 10.25in infotainment system with in-built sat-nav and Kia’s Traffic Messaging Channel, which gives you speed camera



Verdict Pros Silent and relaxed Rapid off the mark Well equipped Seven-year warranty Plenty of space inside Cons Relatively expensive Not really a driver’s car Smaller boot than rivals Looks an acquired taste E-NIRO: Solid and dependable, with a 7-year warranty

e-Niro is more affable soap star than glamorous, sexy film idol and traffic warnings. There’s also a wireless phone charger and an eight-speaker JBL sound system. What I really like is there are physical buttons under the touchscreen that allow you to jump quickly between functions without having to take your eyes off the road. It’s like the set-up in a Peugeot e-2008, only better. On The Road The big attraction of EVs is the smooth power that they deliver off the mark and the e-Niro is no exception. This family wagon will hit 62mph in 7.5 seconds and cruise silently on the motorway. Through the bends it controls its body lean pretty well and the steering is accurate enough to place

it with precision. There’s very little feedback through the wheel so it’s not really what you’d call a joy to drive but family crossovers aren’t designed to be good on the track. No, it’s a practical EV that comes very close to the utility your petrol car has given you faithfully

for so many years… as long as you drive it gently, because that matters. Whether you travel at 55mph or 70mph on the motorway makes a big difference to the available range in EVs. It’s a different style of driving that won’t sit well with anyone who enjoys the thrill of driving but if you’re just trying to get from A to B, it’s fine. Lock it off on adaptive cruise with lane keeping assist engaged and it will get you there effortlessly, with charge to spare. The ride is always comfortable and it’s silent in most environments. You do notice some wind and road noise at higher speeds but there’s very little to complain about here. Practicality The chassis is basically the same as the one found in Hyundai’s Ioniq but with a different body style that

Overall The De-Niro’s impressive electric range is currently at the leading end of the field and a massive reason to buy, while the rest of the car is a balanced picture. It’s not exciting to drive but holds its own well against other family crossovers in terms of comfort. If you’re not ready to make the jump to electric just yet then you can get the Niro in ‘self-charging’ Hybrid or PHEV guises but the e-Niro is certainly the most refined out of the bunch and is worth a test drive. allows maximum use of the space. It’s boxy but even six footers will feel comfortable in the back on a long run. It comes with Kia’s sevenyear, 100,000-mile, warranty, which transfers to subsequent owners of the car when you sell. That does help resale values, so it’s worth considering. It’s spacious, responsive and cleverly engineered to be a genuine replacement for the main family car. At £37,100 on the road it’s also fairly priced so it has a lot going for it. At the moment it’s one of the most practical family EVs on the market and therefore little surprise that it’s won awards.

Royal Air Force News Friday, November 5, 2021 P28


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Beaten on penalties

'LIFETIME': Sqn Ldr Karl Whalley (ref)

COACH: Sgt Ben Brook

CO-DRIVER: Cpl Phil Hall


LET BATTLE COMMENCE Nominations in for 2021 RAF Sports Awards

from the Junior World in 2018 to be a GB nominations include Sqn Ldr Jon Rally Championship para-alpine skier. George’s 30-year involvement with THE 2021 RAF Sports Award title. Also in the mix is Service golf, RAF cricket captain nominations are in and look Flt Lt Jonathan GB triathlete and and team manager WO Ian Giles, set to make for an impressive Maflin, linchpin of current national former Microlight Association presentation day at RAF Halton Service martial arts champion Sqn chairman Sqn Ldr Andrew Duffus, on November 16. and former Brazilian Ldr Samantha along with Service, UKAF and GB The event, held since 2010, Jiu Jitsu world Rose. canoeist Chf Tech Dave Duff, is another step towards a full title holder, In the Sports and orienteering, coach, sporting calendar and this year and SAC Luke Team section, the athlete and administrator Sqn E': 'LIFETIM the nominations highlight Pollard, guide RAF sea angling WO (Ret’d) Chris Poole. Black ageLdr Ratn the outstanding level of to visually impaired team, unbeaten Boxing’s Sqn Ldr Karl achievements and personal World triathlon champion at Inter-Service level since Whalley, marking 30 years battles undertaken to achieve Dave Ellis at the Tokyo 2007, not only stand alone in the sport as boxer, the athletes’ goals. Paralympics, are also in in their sport, but in the coach and referee, and The selectors the mix. nominations. bobsleigh, luge and face an extremely In the In the coaching skeleton’s Sqn Ldr tough choice in the S p o r t s w o m a n award, Sgt Kev Heather RatnageSportsman of the category things go Saunby’s expert Black – who has Year category with from Super League management of risen from athlete to GB archery star Flt to the slopes, as RAF RAF football association chairman Lt Tom Barber, who and Bradford Bulls refereeing and RBL since 2001 – close has performed at rugby league star ambassador RAF out the names. Olympic and World Flt Lt Linda McLean triathlon’s Sgt Scott The awards Cup levels, pitted is up against SAC Hill, plus RAFRWU’s Sgt also feature an against rally coShona Brownlee, who Ben Brook, make for an Administrators RUGBY LEAGUE: driver Cpl Phil Hall, overcame a below impressive field. award and a Special er Barb Lt Flt ean Y: McL HER a ARC Flt Lt Lind who is one win away the knee amputation The seven lifetime Recognition section.

Daniel Abrahams

IT had action from the very first minute to the last, but despite a gutsy battling performance UKAF saw the Annual Perpetual Friendship Trophy slip from their grasp. UKAF hosted the match against the Irish Defence Forces at Havant & Waterlooville FC’s Draper Tools Community Stadium to defend the trophy last won in Dublin in 2019. Having led 2-1 from the 55th minute, the hosts finally succumbed to a 95th minute equaliser, before losing a hastily organised penalty shoot-out 3-2. FS Dyfan Pierce said: “I’m very proud of the lads, they gave everything, in a game that had everything, against a very competitive opponent. “On the balance of play I felt we edged it. We did well to pull things back and then lead, it would have been nice to see things out.” He added: “It was the test we needed, as the French will be at the same level of intensity for our opening Kentish match in a few weeks.” The game started badly for the hosts after a speculative firstminute long ball forward was not cleared and the Irish slotted home. Having ridden the early Irish barrage Cpl Jake Gosling went closest, with a lovely curling effort midway through the half. On the half-hour SAC Jack Debnam found the net after a poor clearance from the Irish keeper. The RAF man netted again on 55 minutes after a period of dominance from the hosts. A fabulous header off the line from RAF debutant Cpl Joseph Thomas was the closest the visitors came to levelling the scores, until Gaffney’s late header. The wind then played havoc in the penalty shoot-out and after a series of misses and saves, the Irish won after Sgt Mike Atkinson’s equalising effort was pushed clear. ■ Follow UKAF on Twitter @ UKArmedForcesFA.

Fixtures for Kentish Cup

UKAFFC v French Armed Forces at Havant and Waterlooville FC, Draper Tools Community Stadium, November 28, KO 5pm. Dutch Armed Forces v French Armed Forces at Havant and Waterlooville FC, November 30, KO TBC. UKAFFC V Dutch Defence Forces at Havant and Waterlooville FC, December 2, KO TBC.

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INTERS PLEDGE: Chf Tech James Bryden


New boss Bryden has high hopes for ladies THE FUTURE for the Ladies' Senior Representative football team is set to get a whole lot brighter if the new man in charge gets his way. Chf Tech James Bryden has overseen two matches in his new role as LRT manager, with a loss and a win against high-ranking opposition. Bryden took over in April 2021, and due to Covid communication with his players was, for a long period, confined to virtual means. But now his mantra of develop the player, develop the team is starting to reap rewards.

He brings expertise to the side from his years as pre-academy coach at Premier League Southampton FC and is currently Under-14s lead coach at the EFL League Two side Swindon Town, where he has spent the last five years. Bryden kicked things off in August with a trial event and game against English College National Team, losing 7-1. He said: “In truth the match was at a higher level than I would have wanted to start things off with. They fielded FA Women’s Super League and Championship level players,

we played all 19 squad members and trialists available to us. “We lost, but had more possession, so we’ve taken positives from it.” Bryden’s optimism was proven to be well-founded as his team went on to beat tier four Midlands League side FC Khalsa 2-1 in their next match, at Cosford. He said: “Khalsa fielded their strongest side, but we had more than enough for them. We are instilling a new style and regime – we want play in certain parts of the field – which we feel can then

impact our effectiveness.” Fourth tier Boldmere St Michael’s, from Sutton Coldfield, will be next up during a training week. Bryden said: “The camp is another step and I have already told the squad that we will win the Inter-Services in March. We are working towards that goal, and that goal only.” RAF News would not bet against him and his team. ■ Go to @rafladiesfootball on Instgram to follow the squad.


Rookie captain helps team retain Inters

Cameron Kinvig (main photo), came good ROUGH PATCH: But RAF, led by Sgt

Inter-Services Golf Saunton Golf Club, Devon THE 2021 Inter-Service golf proved worth the wait as the RAF men’s team retained the title with a blistering display at Saunton Golf Club in Devon. The links course hosted the threeday IS event, suspended last year, for the eighth time. The men’s team, led by debutant captain Sgt Cameron Kinvig, won the final 4.5 points of the five on offer, beating the Army on the third day of action to take the title. Facing the Royal Navy on the opening day Kinvig’s charges played five morning foursomes, tying on 2.5 points, before the afternoon singles – with the RAF winning six of the 10 played, to win 8.5-6.5 overall. Kinvig said: “It was a good day, let’s just say that. We knew it would be tight, so to win is brilliant. “At these events, you can only think about your own game, so I had Sgt Dafydd Digby as my non-playing captain and team manager, keeping an eye on things. “With the excitement rising towards the end it made for a memorable spectacle all round.” Facing the Army on the final day and with three of the afternoon matches heading towards the final three-holes on the West course, the RAF needed 2.5 points for a marginal win. Sqn Ldr Jamie Nicholas started the finale, winning his match on the 18th to secure a vital point. SAC(T) Aaron Hares then holed a 30-foot putt from off the green on the 16th to win his match and secure a half. Sgt Sam Tanner then won his match on the 15th and the Inters title was secured again. SAC Andres Gomez-Williams and Cpl Gareth Williams won their matches for a half point and point respectively for the overall team victory. The women’s team, led by Sgt Beth Shippin, came agonisingly close, losing the title by just two points to the Army on the final day. Shippin said: “It was fantastic to be back out playing and the standard of competition was impressive. All the RAF ladies should be rightly proud of their efforts.” ■ Go to @raf_golf on Instagram for more on the sport.

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Walmsley's got something to carp about MANOR FARM and St Johns lakes were the battlegrounds to decide this year’s Carp Angling champion at the Linear Fisheries complex, Oxford. A field of 42 RAF anglers, the best and brightest in the Service, did not disappoint with action all the way in the three-day clash. Cpl Danny Walmsley took the prized title and bragging rights into 2022, with three catches weighing a total of 70lb 2oz. Cpl Michael Keightley followed behind with 53lb 3oz for two fish and Sgt Gary Harrison came in third with 47lb for two catches, one a personal best.

Carp Angling Championship Linear Fisheries, Oxford The action kicked off with St Johns looking the more active of the two lakes, but heavy downpours throughout the opening and into the following day limited catches. Paul Sampson hooked a 33lb mirror carp, the biggest of the 12 in total on St Johns – with nothing reported from Manor Farm. As the rain finally abated catches slowly began to come in. On St Johns, Cpl Liam Rawcliffe landed a 29lb mirror before Sgt Gary Harrison landed a brace in quick

succession to leap up the leader board. Cpl Keightley took the lead with two fish, while Manor Farm remained silent until the second morning – when Fg Off Martyn Woodcock got off the mark landing a pristine 19lb common. Mark Chappell hooked a 35lb 10oz mirror carp to prove the lake would provide catches. With 24 hours left Sgt Martin Emery and Mark Jarvis were pushing for the top spot, while numerous other anglers were still in with a shout too. A nervous last night saw the action transfer to Manor Farm,

with Woodcock hooking his second 14lb catch, while Flt Lt James Cooper hooked a 21lb mirror. WO Richard Cooke then sprung a 28lb Common. Despite a cooler final morning the action was still red hot, Paul Sampson went over the 70lb total mark on St Johns, while Walmsley staked his claim with two fish, for a total of three, to be the lead RAF angler. Following some late action, Walmsley’s blast proved enough. Sampson took the Civil Service and Associate member’s title. ■ Follow RAF carp fishing on Twitter @CarpTeamRAF.

ON TARGET PB: Sgt Gary Harrison with his record catch


Daniel Abrahams

BULL'S EYE: Someone's got their eye in, main photo, and expert tuition, inset PHOTOS: PAUL SAXBY

THE SERVICE’S Archery Association had a point to prove at its inaugural Beginners Course and Novice Championships at Cranwell. The station is the association’s Home for Sport and hosted the two days of championship action, initially providing one-on-one training from GB qualified coaches, before pitting all present against each other in competition. The 18-strong field of personnel came from across the Service and all were given expert tutoring in basic safety aspects of the sport, the restringing of bows and the mounting and use of sights, before getting firsthand experience on the bows on offer: recurve, compound, and long bow. SAC(T) Rhys Morgan, who was the eventual winner of the novice championship event, said: “I thoroughly enjoyed this introduction to competitive archery. “The whole event was well organised and the experienced archers were always on hand to pass on information and teach new skills. It was also a great opportunity to meet with personnel and make new friendships.” The second day of the championship saw battle commence under professional stage conditions. During the competition all shots were timed and carried out from a distance of 20 metres. The scores were finally added up and ranked, with Morgan coming out on top. The SAC(T) added: “I was really proud to have won, and really look forward to coming back next year to try to take top prize again.” ■ To get involved in RAF Archery contact: archery.membership@ for more information.

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Season finishes on high

ROLLO: Superstock fourth on debut with RAF team

Difficult conditions but pair end in style

THE RAF Regular and Reserve Kawasaki team saw its season end on a high for both Ryan Vickers and Lewis Rollo at Brands Hatch. Rollo continued his hot run of form, finishing fourth in the Pirelli Superstock race to end the season in an impressive eighth place on 155 points in the National Championship standings. Teammate Vickers produced his best finish to a season coming in 12th in the Bennetts British Superbike Championship, after securing a 12th place in the final race of the year. Rollo said: “This was probably my best race of the season. I battled with the wet and dry conditions, but had good pace in the dry, and having made a good start to the race, I just kept plugging away.” The wet and dry conditions Rollo spoke about had seen all the teams struggle during practice and qualifying, with the Championship race starting on a damp track. The RAF rider dug in and finished 11th, fourth on the grid, on a drying surface. A great start to the race then saw

PERSONAL BEST: Vickers finished championship in his top ever placing PHOTOS: TIM KEETON/ IMPACT IMAGES

British Superbike Brands Hatch, Kent him find eighth place and slowly close the time gap between himself and race leader Billy McConnell. Coming into the final lap, the East Lothian rider was sat fifth, but as the finish line approached, he had secured fourth place and almost took third as the chequered flag went down. Vickers produced a seventh place in qualifying, still in conditions that were mixed at best. His team of mechanics, led by Les Pearson, worked on his bike’s lack of grip in the dry. The Thetford rider repaid their efforts with a personal best lap around the Grand Prix circuit. It cemented his excellent 12th place in the final standings, on 180 points. He told RAF News: “The bike was superb in the wet, but a lot more difficult in the dry, so we kept chipping away and Les [Pearson] and the team made some big changes, and the bike was transformed. It was nice to end the season on a positive note.”

Harry guides his brother to Adgespeed ninth A MORE than respectable ninth from a field of 36 was the return for some sterling work from SAC Harry Greenall at the Adgespeed Stages rally. The young airman acted co-driver to his brother James at the Wigan event and the pair stormed the Three Sisters Circuit in their Peugeot 205 after some early issues with directions. Greenall said: “The stages were short and resulted in

all the entrants merging, which became an issue for me, sending my brother the wrong way.” The duo had to complete an extra lap of the course, but the SAC was unperturbed, saying: “We didn’t worry about the early mishaps, as we smashed the next stages with some really good times.” A break halfway through the day saw the course reversed, much to the RAF man’s delight.

“The new layout made things a little more interesting and we couldn’t wait to get back to it, starting on Stage 8,”he said. “We might have been a little too confident at certain points, and this resulted in a spin on Stage 11, but we were solid throughout and to come home ninth was very pleasing.” ■ Follow RAF Rally on Twitter @raf_motorsports.


YELLOW PERIL: Greenall’s Pug

STARTER'S ORDERS: Getting ready for off

66p ISSN 0035-8614 44 >

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OOKING FOR a UK break with a difference? You’re in the right place. Sandy beaches make an obvious holiday destination in the height of summer but Britain has so much more to offer. Towns that are steeped in history, vibrant nightlife, thrilling attractions and picture postcard villages. It’s all right here and this edition we’re doing the culture thing. In beautiful Warwickshire, nestling on the banks of the River Avon, you’ll find the very genesis of theatre and. Stratford-Upon-Avon is a place like no other, a town with amazing history, buildings straight from a period drama, interesting walks, relaxing river cruises and, most importantly, some brilliant pubs. Oh yes, I almost forgot, it’s also where one of those playwriting types was born and died. The buzzing centre of the town and the main attraction is the Royal Shakespeare Theatre. It originally opened in 1879 and continues to attract visitors from far and wide. It has two sister theatres – The Swan and The Other Place, that are equally busy. We arrived during an important event in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s calendar, the RSC Costume day, and took in a fun outdoor show. Georgie The Knight was primarily aimed at younger viewers and children sat in awe watching the energetic actors playing for laughs in the warm sunshine. After that we saw some of the rare costumes from the theatre’s collection and even got to meet the talented costume designers who produce them. After seeing the theatres it was time to stretch our legs around the town and we discovered a number of fascinating local shops including Magic Alley and Zoo Sushi & Bubble Tea. If you think the last one sounds odd, it is. Yet somehow it’s strangely addictive, worth looking up. Back on the culture trail, we set off to see some of the town’s most historic buildings. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust oversees five properties associated with Bill, including a garden and a museum at New Place. Each is worth a visit and has its own story to tell so you can easily write off a day without seeing anything non-Bard related if you’re not careful. That would be a pity because there’s so much more to see.

Stay There are a number of fine hotels in the town but, for a perfect stay in theatreland, one venue gets you closer to the action than the rest. The Arden Hotel is situated immediately opposite the RSC Gardens and the Swan Theatre. The hotel even puts on an early dinner for guests who want to catch a show so, in terms of accessibility, it really is the gold standard. Some rooms overlook the River Avon and the town’s main attractions are within easy walking distance. Holy Trinity Church, the last resting place of the Bard, is a five-minute walk. His birthplace and the New Place Museum aren’t

R'n'R There's so much more to British breaks than coastal resorts

Where there's a Will, there's a stay

AVON CALLING: Take a boat trip to explore river


can enjoy the show



: Garden and The Sw an

much farther. while we lounged around the room The hotel is made up of several in our fluffy bathrobes and slippers. building styles. From the road it appears to be two large houses fused Eat into one, while at the back there are Breakfast, lunch and dinner are several modern extensions. all served in the two AA Rosette The Arden’s gardens really stand Waterside Brasserie. During our out, featuring traditional hedging, visit the staff were incredibly rose bushes and the immense scent hardworking and delivered of lavender. It’s a most relaxing everything with a smile. The food place to sit. was excellent, if not outstanding, Inside, the hotel has plenty delicious with plenty of choice on of character. For example the 45 the menu. It’s the level of service bedrooms aren’t numbered. Each that you’d expect from a venue that’s one is named after a tree or a shrub part of the Eden Hotel Collection. because the hotel itself draws its There’s even a special early menu name from a famous local forest. available that’s designed to let you We stayed in Azalea, a well eat before taking in a show. appointed ‘Superior’ room on Drinks can be enjoyed in a cosy the 1st floor. The beds were lounge on soft sofas if you want to stupendously comfortable and the chill out and there’s a Champagne room was spacious. The large Bar that’s exclusively for the use of bathroom had a bath and a guests. shower and it was stocked Rooms are available in a range of with complimentary ESPA sizes, with prices starting from £95 toiletries. per night. Every room comes Fresh milk was with king size beds, airprovided in a cool conditioning, a room safe neon blue mini and free WiFi. fridge while the hospitality tray Downsides was well-stocked There are very few with locally grumbles with The roasted coffee and Arden but not all of Twinings tea. the rooms have the We were even most inspiring view. left with a small There is no lift to reach bottle of locally upper floors so guests WRITE STUFF: Bard distilled gin to try with mobility issues may

struggle and the two electric car charging points in the free car park are domestic three pin house plugs, rather than any of the modern standards. As a result, if you don’t carry a home adapter with you, you’ll still need to charge at the fast charger round the corner.

Bard, or you believe all his plays were written by Edward DeVere, 17th Earl of Oxford, then there is a tour just for you called Walking Without Will. It avoids any mention of… well, he who will not be quoted, and is a stress-free way to see the town. There are also ARDEN: many great shops and pubs Spacious to explore. rooms

Relax Stratford is very popular and attracts tourists from around the world so it can get pretty busy at times. If you want to stay away from the Shakespearehungry crowds and are looking for a relaxing way to see the town that’s ‘Bardo’ free then taking to the river is the best option. You can punt, row or book a powered boat. Avon Boating now hires electric motor launches too, so you can take the family for a cruise in relative silence.

Adventure The many buildings run by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust are certainly worth a visit. You can Join Shakespeare at school at the Guildhall or climb the 104-foot RSC Theatre Tower for the best views of the town. The obvious attraction is the Royal Shakespeare Company of course and its many outstanding plays but if you can’t stand the commercialisation of the

When to visit Stratford is a great place to visit all year round and the seasons change the character of the town greatly. The theatre circuit has an appeal. Take in the contemporary Stratford Literary Festival in April/May or see the new season of plays in September and October. The town itself has immense appeal at different times. During the height of summer it’s very busy with tourists but the picturesque river views are worth the pain. Autumn brings golden banks to the Avon and log fires in cosy pubs, while Christmas is a truly magical time. By Tim Morris


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R'n'R Win!


Gyles Brandreth Odd Boy Out

How Gyles went from odd boy to funny man T

BRANDRETH: Windmills of his mind revealed in book


HE ALWAYS entertaining Gyles Brandreth’s latest book, his autobiography Odd Boy Out (Penguin Books Ltd, rrp £25), is an excellent read. It’s a revealing story of growing up and coming of age in an apparently well-to-do but always strapped-for-cash middle-class English family. The former MP for the City of Chester, now a One Show star, and bestselling author of a biography of the Duke of Edinburgh, is close to becoming a national treasure. As well as being a respected royal biographer, he is also a novelist, anthologist and compiler of joke books. Now he has written a funny, moving and candid account of his life growing up after World War II. Odd Boy Out is also a kaleidoscopic portrait of Britain from the 1950s onwards, featuring a cast drawn from politics, the media, swinging London, stage and screen, from Laurence Olivier to Twiggy.

Just a Gigolo (12)


DVD/Blu-ray, Nov 8 (Fabulous Films/Fremantle Media)

We have copies of this brilliant book, which has received plaudits from no less than national treasure herself Joanna Lumley, and has become a Sunday Times bestseller, to win. To be in with a chance of owning it, just send us the correct answer to this question: Which constituency did Gyles Brandreth represent as an MP? Email your answer, marked Odd Boy Out competition, to: or post it to: RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe, HP14 4UE to arrive by November 19. Please remember to include your full postal address with all entries. n Go to: the #CheltLit Fest Player to see Gyles Brandreth’s appearance at the 2021 Cheltenham Literature Festival last month. Recordings of more than 140 Festival events are available on demand until December 31.

Parks and Recreation (15)

Blu-ray, Nov 15 (Fabulous Films/Fremantle Media)

Bowie stars as post-WWI gigolo


AVID BOWIE, Marlene Dietrich and Kim Novak are the stars of 1978 black comedy Just a Gigolo, with David Hemmings (best known for starring in 60s classic Blow Up) who directed the film. Paul von Przygodski (Bowie), a young Prussian gentleman, arrives in the trenches in time to be caught in the final explosion of the Great War. After recuperating in a military hospital, where he is mistaken for a French hero, he returns to Berlin. His family home has been turned into a boarding house, his father (Rudolf Schündler) is paralysed, and his mother (Maria Schell) is working in the Turkish baths. Attempting to find a new purpose, his childhood friend, Cilly (Sydne Rome), abandons him for fame and fortune; his former commanding officer, Captain Kraft (Hemmings), tries to persuade him to join his right-wing movement and a widow, Helga von Kaiserling (Kim Novak), briefly seduces him with the finer things in life.

In a society where the individual comes first and anyone can be bought, he is recruited by Baroness von Semering (Dietrich) as one of her regiment of gigolos. The cynical and decadent world of entertaining rich widows leads an increasingly disillusioned Paul to a poignant, chilling end. Marlene Dietrich was 77 when Just a Gigolo was released. It was her final film role. We have copies of the film on Blu-ray and DVD to win. For your chance to own one, tell us: Who directed Just A Gigolo? Email your answer, marked Just A Gigolo film competition to: or post it to: RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe, HP14 4UE, to arrive by November 19. Please mark on your entry if you prefer to win the film on Blu-ray or DVD.

GOLDEN GLOBE winner Amy Poehler plays small town civil servant Leslie Knope in the hit comedy Parks and Recreation. By her side at City Hall in Pawnee, Indiana, are her beloved, if quirky, colleagues: deadpan Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman), apathetic April (Aubrey Plaza), rockstar-in-his-ownmind Andy (Chris Pratt), trendsetter Tom (Aziz Ansari), best friend Ann (Rashida Jones), smart-mouthed Donna (Retta), loyal Ben (Adam Scott) and always energetic Chris (Rob Lowe). The Complete Series is out on Bluray on November 15 (rrp £99.99) and we have a copy up for grabs – just answer this question for your chance to win: Where is Parks and Recreation set? Send your answer, marked Parks and Recreation competition, to our usual email or postal addresses (see left), to arrive by November 19.

The Big Event The Outlaws

Walken on wild side with The Outlaws T

HE OFFICE and Extras star Stephen Merchant’s new series for BBC One, The Outlaws, features none other than Hollywood heavyweight Christopher Walken. The Bristol-set drama about a disparate group of lawbreakers thrown together to complete a community service sentence, focuses on seven strangers from different walks of life forced to work together to renovate a derelict community centre. They resent the menial physical labour and each other. But when one of their number gets dragged into a dangerous world of organised crime, they unite in ways none of them thought possible.


Round up Autumn/winter

Academic high-flyer Rani (Rhianne Barreto, below) has been hot-housed from a young age and never really known a world outside her overprotective family. When her serial shoplifting finally catches up with her, she is given community service. Removing graffiti at a dilapidated community centre under the watchful eye of jobsworth supervisor Diane (Jess Gunning), Rani finds herself interacting with very different people for the first time, including Greg (Merchant), an inept lawyer caught soliciting in a local car park, and Gabby, (Eleanor Tomlinson, Poldark) the socialite with 1.5 million followers who seems to have it all, but is prey to drink and drug problems.

Who's Who

The Split splits: Final se A

WARD-WINNING writer Abi Morgan will make her directorial debut for the third and final series of popular BBC One drama The Split. The channel has just released firstlook images ahead of the show’s launch next year. Having created and written all three series of The Split, Morgan has now stepped behind the camera. She said: “So much of a writer’s life is solitary that it has been a complete joy to direct and to finally get to work with the brilliant cast and crew and be part of the magic that happens between first read-through and final edit that I normally don’t get to see. Having tried it, I hope it won’t be my last time.” Set in the fast-paced world of London’s high-end divorce circuit, The Split examines modern marriage and the legacy of divorce. Following the messy lives of the three Defoe

sisters, Hannah (Nicola Walker), Nina (Annabel Scholey) and Rose (Fiona Button) and their formidable mother Ruth (Deborah Findlay), Morgan is set to conclude the trilogy with what the Beeb hailed as ‘the most dramatic and heartbreaking series to date, as we watch a divorce lawyer confronted by her very own divorce’. Series one and two are currently available on BBC iPlayer. COMEDIAN – AND Doctor Who star – John Bishop is to present a brand new Saturday night ITV series, The John Bishop Show, the station has announced. Bishop (right) said: “We’ve been discussing making a Saturday night

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

n DISPARATE BUNCH: Socialite Gabby (Eleanor Tomlinson) objects to her tabard. She is watched by fallen lawyer Greg (Stephen Merchant, far right) HOLLYWOOD ROYALTY: Christopher Walken, left, as conman Frank

Then there’s Christian (Gamba Cole) – sole carer of his kid sister Esme – he’s trying and failing to keep her away from a local gang. To protect her, he ends up doing the bidding of the gang’s charismatic leader. This leads to him stealing a big bag of cash and hiding it in the community centre where he and the other outlaws are working. But Christian doesn’t hide it well enough, and soon some of the other outlaws, including right-wing blowhard businessman John (Darren Boyd), Myrna (Clare Perkins), a radical activist stuck in the 1980s, and Frank (Walken, The Deer Hunter, Pulp Fiction), an unreformed con-artist and womaniser, suddenly and accidentally take possession of a life-changing amount of money.

Without realising it, Christian and the outlaws have placed themselves in the centre of a highly dangerous criminal turf war. As the net closes around them, the outlaws come to realise they have more in common than that which sets them apart.


erchant revealed that his parents’ experience working for Bristol Community Service inspired him to create The Outlaws. He said: “What was interesting to me was that it was a way of bringing completely disparate groups of people together. You could have a random cross-section of society and it was totally legit, they were all there doing community service. “Also, I liked the idea of doing something which had a crime

thriller aspect but didn’t just involve the police or private detectives.” He added: “My father was involved in managing the tools and equipment the offenders used for their work. They found increasingly elaborate ways to steal them – leaving windows open, or pretending to lock a chest of tools then coming back later and pinching them. “An MP came to do a photocall and half the offenders had gone to the pub. My parents were hurriedly trying to get them back so they would stand in line and look deferential when this dignitary came by. “Often the offenders are there instead of prison, so you are dealing with people who otherwise would be inside.”


espite having grown up in Bristol, Merchant had never worked there. He said: “It’s a very visual city, covered in graffiti and has a real mix of people. It still hasn’t played itself on screen very often; it’s used mainly for period pieces or doubling as somewhere else. It’s fun to try to make the city a character in the show.” Walken revealed: “I’m a fan of Stephen Merchant. We met at my house and I was very taken with him. It’s very good writing: you can tell that, if you’ve been doing this for as long as I have. I stand in my kitchen, I read the lines out loud and these were very good words. “It was great to come to England. I’ve been in England many times in my career, not to Bristol, but I’ve

always enjoyed myself here.” Tomlinson described her character Gabby as ‘wild’. She said: “She’s doing her community payback for just being a menace to society, really. But throughout that, we see her finding her place in the group eventually, and her true calling. It’s how she’s able to help the group with their mission – a mission we probably shouldn’t be rooting for. But we are.” She added: “Christopher Walken is just a total legend of this business. When I first met him I was shaking. I was so nervous. I just couldn’t string a sentence together. But he’s also been fascinating to watch and learn from.” n The Outlaws continues on BBC One at 9pm on Mondays.


Mortimer & Whitehouse Gone Fishing (E)


On Blu-ray, DVD and Download now (Dazzler Media)

More tales from the riverbank

series for hit show for ITV for a while and I am so glad we are finally going to be doing it. We want it to be up to date and topical, whilst also fitting the energy and fun that Saturday nights on ITV is known for.” CHANNEL 4 has commissioned an eightpart crime thriller Suspect, an adaptation of the original Danish series Forhøret, featuring a prestigious cast of the UK’s best acting talent including James Nesbitt, Joely Richardson, AnneMarie Duff, Richard E. Grant and Ben Miller. The station has also released the first look at drama Screw, by BAFTA nominated writer Rob Williams (The Victim, Killing Eve). A spokesperson for the channel said: “We’re introduced to the staff (both male and female)

C THE SPLIT: Mangan and Walker star

of C Wing in a busy men’s prison, a place that’s bursting at the seams with humour, emotional high stakes and danger for prisoners and officers alike. This is life in prison as never before seen on British television.” Due to be shown in early 2022, Screw stars Nina Sosanya (His Dark Materials), Jamie-Lee O’Donnell (Derry Girls) and Faraz Ayub (Line of Duty, Bodyguard).

OMEDY LEGENDS and lifelong friends Bob Mortimer and Paul Whitehouse are back for more hilarious, heartwarming adventures and poignant discussions around life and death, while taking in some stunning locations. Mortimer & Whitehouse: Gone Fishing returns for an eagerly awaited fourth series with Bob and Paul travelling the British Isles in search of the most beautiful places to fish together – not forgetting Ted the dog, who belongs to executive producer Lisa Clark. The show has proved

FISHERMEN FRIENDS: Paul (right) and Bob

enormously popular with both critics and audiences, and we have copies of The Complete Fourth Series on DVD – that includes the 2020 Christmas special featuring music legend Chris Rea – to win. For a chance to add this great title to your collection, answer this

question correctly: Who stars with Mortimer & Whitehouse in their 2020 Christmas Gone Fishing special? Email your answer, marked Gone Fishing DVDs competition, to: or post it to our usual address to arrive by November 19. Please include your full postal address.

Royal Air Force News Friday, November 5, 2021 R'n'R 6

R'n'R Your Announcements

You can email photos for announcements on this page to:



ORAM Flight Sergeant (Retd), Alan Ernest, passed away at his home in Wantage, Oxfordshire on September 29, aged 74. Alan joined the RAF on June 29, 1965 and served at a number of units during his career, starting at RAF Hemswell and including the Ministry of Defence in London, the British Embassy in Dakar, Senegal and RAF Marham. He was awarded the LS & GCM in 1980 and received the C-in-C Commendation in 1987. Alan retired from the RAF in 1994. Following his retirement he worked at Rutherford Complex in Harwell and, as a good Welshman, the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff. He was also involved in the running of Wantage Concords Football Club. Alan was dearly loved and will be missed by his wife Sonia and his two sons, Alexis and Fabian.

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

Flight Sergeant Alan Oram

Reunions DID you serve at RAF Changi or at HQFEAF Singapore? The RAF Changi Association (inc. HQFEAF) founded May 1996 welcomes new members from all ranks, ex RAF/WRAF/WAAF and civilian personnel who served at RAF Changi (inc. HQFEAF ) during 1946-72. For more information please contact our Membership Secretary: Malcolm Flack on: 01494 728562 or email: MemSecChangi@outlook. com or visit: www.rafchangi. com for more details. RAF Bawdsey Reunion Association. Having cancelled our 2020 reunion, we were planning the next reunion for June 5 this year but the continuing Covid-19 restrictions made it impossible to hold a successful reunion for our members, so the June 5 event was cancelled. A consensus showed that members were not in favour of a reunion in September 2021, therefore we have provisionally planned the next reunion for Saturday, May 21, 2022, before The Queen’s Jubilee celebrations and the extended public holidays in early June, and we look forward to seeing our friends again then. In the meantime we wish you all a safe and healthy

time as the roadmap out of lockdown progresses. If you have any queries please email: doreen.bawdseyreunion@ or call: 07513 301723.

Enterprises, Douglas Bader House, Horcott Hill, Fairford, GL7 4RB, call: 01285 713456 or email: enquiries@rafcte. com.

Tickets for heroes

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

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

Annual church concert THE FRIENDS of St Clement Danes Church Annual Concert, with the Central Band of the Royal Air Force and the Choir of St Clement Danes, takes place on November 25. Tickets are available at the church door on the night or from RAF Charitable Trust

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

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

Can you help RAFBF? THE RAF Benevolent Fund is looking for volunteers to support its Telephone Friendship group service. A spokeswoman for the charity said: “The service provides a weekly phone call for RAF veterans and partners or spouses of former personnel to ease loneliness and social isolation. The service became a lifeline during the pandemic, when vulnerable older people were asked to shield to protect themselves from Covid-19. “As a result, in the last six months the number of veterans being supported by Telephone Friendship groups has gone up by 29 per cent.” The calls are managed by a volunteer facilitator there to support the group throughout the call. All facilitators are given training before being introduced to their group. If you can spare one hour a week to support the service the RAFBF wants to hear from you. If you are unable to commit to one hour a week, the Fund also need facilitators to provide ad-hoc cover for holidays. Contact Welfare Services Executive Sally Austin at: for more details.

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

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

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

Service of Remembrance THE RAF MUSEUM Cosford will hold a Service of Remembrance on Sunday, November 14. Visitors are invited to join the service, led by RAF Cosford’s station chaplain. It will be supported by RAF Cosford personnel and include readings, with a bugler sounding The Last Post, followed by two minutes of silence. The Cosford Military Wives Choir will sing hymns on arrival and throughout the service. Wreaths will be laid at the end of the service. It will take place in the museum’s Hangar 1 against a backdrop of aircraft, and free tickets for up to 300 guests are available to book in advance at: Visitors are requested to assemble no later than 10.30am ready for the service to start at 10.45am. A museum spokesperson said: “In the build-up to Remembrance Sunday the public are invited to contribute a personal act of remembrance by writing a poem or short story that will feature in a display at the museum over the remembrance period.” ■ Go to the museum’s website: for further information on how to get involved. A free remembrance template is available on the website. The museum is open daily from 10am. Entry is free. Visitors are asked to pre-book their arrival time online at:

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

Royal Air Force News Friday, November 5, 2021 R'n'R 7

R'n'R Your Announcements

You can email photos for announcements on this page to:

Pilot scholarship announced Airmen join in Royal run APPLICATIONS ARE now open for the Attagirls Molly Rose Pilot Scholarship, – the UK’s only aviation scholarship that entirely funds all elements of attaining a Private Pilot’s Licence. Applications are invited from young women from all backgrounds, aged between 17 and 24. The winning applicant will receive full pilot training for a PPL next year, with all costs covered, said the organisers.

She and her comrades remain an absolute inspiration to all young women

The scholarship is the brainchild of Paul OlavesenStabb, author of the novel Attagirls and director of Aetheris Publishing. Its aim is to offer the chance to a young female candidate with little or no flying experience, and who might otherwise not have the necessary resources,

to complete their PPL. The scholarship was inspired by aviatrix heroine Molly Rose, featured in Attagirls, which is based on the true story of her life as a pilot in the Air Transport Auxiliary during World War II. A spokesperson for Aetheris said: “She and her comrades remain today an absolute inspiration to all young women, with the story of their unimaginable bravery, determination and sacrifices, when they were so young themselves, still empowering women everywhere. “The book will also be made into a feature film. “With aviation being a hugely maledominated industry and career, where only six per cent of pilots are female, Aetheris wants to empower y o u n g

women from all walks of life to be able to pursue a career in a male-dominated industry.” The winning applicant will be mentored by two current female pilots, Zoe Cameron, scholarship ambassador and airline pilot for Virgin Atlantic and Laura Mayer, light aircraft flying instructor and pilot who herself moved into the world of aviation by winning an aviation scholarship. The successful winner of the scholarship will obtain her flying training with the Marshall-owned Cambridge Aero Club, founded in 1930 by Molly’s brother Sir Arthur Marshall. The British Women Pilots’ Association has agreed to sponsor an accommodation, subsistence and travel package for the winning scholarship applicant. Q Go to: a e t h e r i s . c o. u k / mrps for full details and how to apply. HEROINE: Molly Rose

SERVING FORCES personnel raised £3,000 for charity when they joined an Army veteran to complete the Royal Parks Half Marathon recently. Sqn Ldr Richard Cheseldene-Culley (inset, right) and SAC Sudeep Maden (below, right), based at RAF High Wycombe, took part with Lt Shane Landymore and WO Class 2 Matthew Baker, from the Royal Corps of Signals, in the run through central London joined by Ross MewettMckinlay, who served in the Royal Engineers. They raised the funds for Royal Star & Garter, which provides care to veterans and their partners living with disability or dementia, at homes in Solihull, Surbiton and High Wycombe. Sqn Ldr CheseldeneCulley’s father James, an Army veteran, was cared for at the charity’s old Richmond Home before his death in 2009. The Sqn Ldr said: “The staff were always fantastic and it was a super place. “When I came to RAF

PARK LIFE: Runners pick up pace in the half marathon

High Wycombe I was told Royal Star & Garter was one of the charities we support and there was a Home nearby, so I jumped at the chance of helping.” Lauren Baker, Royal Star & Garter’s senior community fundraiser, said: “It’s very special when the military family comes together like this to support the work we do with veterans.” Anyone who is interested in raising money for the charity through sponsored events can email Lauren at: lauren.baker@starandgarter. org

Q Royal Star & Garter is welcoming new residents. Go to: for more information.

Royal Air Force News Friday, November 5, 2021 R'n'R 8


R'n'R Prize Crossword No. 303

Solve the crossword, then rearrange the 9 letters in yellow squares to find an RAF aircraft

Across 7. Agree to pact involving Church of England (6) 8. RAF attack southern tricycle (6) 10. Bound to say a country (7) 11. And 18 Across. Second shortage of bird chopper (5,4) 12. See 4 Down 13. Morning in central Alberta is a beautiful colour (5) 17. The girl’s clothing (5) 18. See 11 Across 22. Snack and make it snappy (5) 23. How pilot left plane almost cast aside (7) 24. Impressive time in summer (6) 25. Pen passed around street cafe (6)

Down 1. Is this bed a bit ropy? (7) 2. We hear a Greek island will grow by accumulation (7) 3. And 9 Down. Paul Godfrey is the RAF’s first to upset Macedon campers (5,9) 4. And 12 Across. 13 Sqn appears to have committed feline atrocity! (7,4) 5. Chap embraces the Italian city (5) 6. Healthy 100, for example, all returning lizard (5) 9. See 3 Down 14. RAF’s Shakespeare aircraft (7) 15. Music for May volunteers’ volunteers (7) 16. Run-down part of town frequented by bad drivers? (4,3) 19. Piece of paper to fight over (5) 20. Pilots take flight when they receive them (5) 21. English involved in dull, sturdy fabric (5) Name ................................................................................................................... Address ............................................................................................................... .............................................................................................................................. .............................................................................................................................. RAF aircraft .................................................................... Crossword No. 303

Prize Su Doku

Send entries to the address printed in the adjacent Su Doku panel to arrive by November 19.

No. 313 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 19, 2021.

................................................................................. Address .................................................................. ................................................................................. ....................................................Su Doku No. 313

Solution to Su Doku No: 312

■ The winner of Crossword No. 302 is Mr A Stephenson of Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. Solution to Crossword No 302: Across – 6. Harrier 7. Braid 9. Brand 10. Wigston 12. Lossiemouth 14. SkyGuardian 18. Clearly 19. Snipe 21. Trick 22. Arsenal Down – 1. Fairy 2. Pronto 3. Hey 4. Presto 5. Risotto 8. Bin-ends 11. Assault 13. Skylark 15. Glance 16. Arnhem 17. SPEAR 20. Err RAF event – Battle of Britain

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

■ The winner of Su Doku No. 312 is Jack Irwin of Eastbourne, Sussex.

DVD Review

Frida. Viva La Vida (12) On DVD & download now (Dazzler Media)

The surreal life of Frida


ITH MUCH already said about legendary painter Frida Kahlo, this new documentary intends to reveal a side unseen: the human behind the icon. Predicated apparently on the discovery of a large number of unopened trunks that contained Kahlo’s personal possessions, now on display in an exhibition at her home, the filmmaker explores some of these belongings and their significance in understanding the person who became the legend. Frida’s life is split into chapters, introduced through a fun and frenzied montage of graphics and stock archive footage. Herein her life is explored through interviews, primarily of those running the exhibitions, though we also hear passages of Kahlo’s own words from her diary whilst watching actors interpret the artist, dancing about the mountains or looking longingly out of windows. This varied and unconventional approach is stitched together with narration from Italian actress Asia Argento who appears between segments, talking intensely to camera in vague rhetoric as though introducing an episode of The

Twilight Zone. This confusion of ideas is messy: the tone is often mismatched and information is given at inopportune times, if not omitted completely. There are some elements of Mexican culture that are caught in joyous observational footage, but sadly it lacks consistency with the subject. However frustrating, it is always a treat to revel in the powerful and challenging work of Kahlo, and appreciate the pain and hardship that she endured throughout her life. A more rigorous, straightforward film (Frida Kahlo The Icon, The Artist) was made by director Ali Ray just last year that looked at Kahlo’s life through her paintings. Frida. Viva la Vida is an admirably artistic take on a documentary that gets a bit lost in its ideas. At its most informative it feels like a recorded walking tour through an exhibition, and an uncomfortably invasive one at that. Review by Sam Cooney 2 out of five roundels ■ We have a copy of Frida. Viva La Viva on DVD to win. For your chance to own it, simply answer the

POWERFUL: The Broken Column. 1944

STATEMENT: The Two Fridas. 1939


DISTINCTIVE STYLE: Artist Frida Kahlo, left, and a collection of some of her clothes, above

following question correctly: Who provides the narration for Frida. Viva La Viva? Email your answer, marked

Frida DVD competition, to: c omp e t it i ons @ r af ne w s . c o. u k or post it to: RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe HP14 4UE to arrive by November 19.