RAF News 6 May 2022 Edition 1535

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The Forcesit' e favourer pap



Must-see Korean Win! War epic

Herrick Win! Top Gun account

Friday May 6 2022 No. 1535 70p

See p17

See R'n'R p3


Cockpit Confidential – Secrets of a Harrier vet Angling

Bank on this pair

See page 30


IS drought has ended

See pages 16-17

Cranwell Super grads

See page 31


President's Cup victory

See page 32

MORE THAN 500 Royal Air Force recruits hit the parade ground at Cranwell alongside HRH Prince Charles for one of the biggest graduation ceremonies in decades. The Prince of Wales chatted with graduates as he reviewed the superparade after a flypast by a pair of Typhoons and a Voyager tanker. The event gave the latest Air Force recruits, who all graduated during the Covid pandemic, the chance to celebrate on the famous Cranwell College parade ground. Continued on p3

Royal Air Force News Friday, May 6, 2022 P2

My WO taught me so much and gave me so much confidence” Former RAF Mover Siobhan Cole, who is now a Ground Operations Manager for an aviation charity in Papua New Guinea See p19

The RAF team has great camaraderie and there’s strong competition between us too”

I don’t mind being cast as Mr Nasty, it’s just part of the job” Strictly judge Craig Revel Horwood as he continues his autobiographical tour of the UK See R’n’R p5

Weightlifter Sgt Maddie Elliott on competition in Yorkshire See page 29

PM praises Ukraine’s ‘Finest Hour’ as UK pledges more aid

RAF News Room 68 Lancaster Building HQ Air Command High Wycombe Buckinghamshire HP14 4UE Editor: Simon Williams Email: editor@rafnews.co.uk Features Editor: Tracey Allen Email: tracey.allen@rafnews.co.uk News Editor: Simon Mander

BRITAIN IS to send a new £300 million package of military aid to Ukraine including Brimstone missiles and Stormer air defence vehicles. Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed the extra help as he prepared to address the country’s parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, by video link. Ministers updated Parliament last week on Britain’s support for the eastern European state’s ongoing defence against Russia’s illegal invasion, which will include electronic warfare kit, a counter battery radar system, GPS jamming equipment and thousands of night vision devices. The UK will also send heavylift systems to support isolated forces, and more than a dozen new Toyota Landcruisers to help evacuate civilians from frontline

SUPPORT: PM Boris Johnson with President Zelensky during a recent trip to Ukrainian capital Kyiv

This Week In History

Sports Reporter: Daniel Abrahams Email: sports@rafnews.co.uk Tel: 07966 429755


Tanker debut

THE FIRST sortie by a Victor B(K)1 tanker is flown from RAF Honington by 55 Sqn. Three Victor Squadrons are converted to air-to-air refuelling after the Valiant Force is grounded.

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areas, following a request from Volodymyr Zelensky’s government. As the British embassy reopens in Kyiv, Mr Johnson said: “When my country faced the threat of invasion during the Second World War, our parliament – like yours – continued to meet throughout the conflict, and the British people showed such unity and resolve that we remember our time of greatest peril as our finest hour. “This is Ukraine’s finest hour, an epic chapter in your national story that will be remembered and recounted for generations to come. “Your children and grandchildren will say that Ukrainians taught the world that the brute force of an aggressor counts for nothing against the moral force of a people determined to be free.”



THE UNCONDITIONAL surrender of Germany signals the end of World War II.

FLT LTS Sally Cox and Julie Gibson become the first women to fly solo in the RAF after completing training sorties in Jet Provosts at Linton-on-Ouse.

German surrender

First RAF women pilots

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

Royal Air Force News Friday, May 6, 2022 P3


The next generation ‘Supergrads’ will be first to benefit from old trades ‘shake-up’

PROUD DAY: Recruits graduate at super-sized RAFC Cranwell parade; and sharing a happy moment with Prince Charles, inset right

Simon Mander THE LATEST RAF graduates got the royal seal of approval during a combined ‘super parade’ at Cranwell. HRH The Prince of Wales was Reviewing Officer at the first event of its kind to be held in the presence of families, friends and loved ones since the start of the Covid pandemic. Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston, said: “This day is all the more special as we are now able to formally celebrate and recognise the commitment of our personnel who are just beginning their RAF careers.” More than 500 new entrants

celebrating completing their initial training were saluted by a flypast of two Typhoons and a Voyager tanker. And they will be the first to benefit from the RAF’s recent shake-up of the system of trades and branches set up more than 50 years ago. Instead of being tied to specific roles in 68 trades throughout their careers, both officers and other ranks will enter one of 11 professions in an overhaul to be fully introduced by April 2025. Prince Charles was escorted by the Commandant of the Royal Air Force College, Air Commodore Andrew Dickens, taking the Royal Salute, and afterwards spoke to some

of the graduates in College Hall Officers’ Mess. Parade Commander, Gp Capt Paul McClurg said: “The Combined parade recognises the hard work and commitment made during the Covid pandemic.” Musical accompaniment was provided by the Band of the Royal Air Force College, under the direction of Squadron Leader Chris I’Anson. Cranwell dates back to its foundations as a Royal Navy Training Establishment in 1916 and was the world’s first Air Academy. Today, it continues to select the next generation of officers and aircrew and is home to No 3 Flying Training School that

trains student pilots from the RAF, Royal Navy and Army Air Corps and No 6 Flying Training School which oversees all University Air Squadrons in the UK.

Scampton in Lincoln City farewell

Portuguese pairing TYPHOONS teamed up with Portuguese Falcons for fighter integration training with a key Nato partner. Two RAF Lossiemouthbased IX (B) Sqn jets (pictured inset) supported by a Voyager air-to-air refuelling tanker from Brize Norton transited

to Monte Real Air Base in Portugal, home to the 201 and 301 Sqns which both operate the F-16 (main photograph). This year the Portuguese Air Force celebrates its 70th anniversary and in 2021 its aircraft flew more than 100,000 flying hours.

SCAMPTON PERSONNEL paraded through Lincoln for the last time ahead of the station’s closure at the end of the year. They were joined by comrades from RAF Waddington exercising the Air Force’s freedom of the city for the first time since Covid restrictions were imposed in 2019. Scampton Station Commander Wg Cdr Neill Atkins said: “With the station’s history dating back to 1916, we celebrate those who have served before and who inspire our next generation of personnel. “In our final year, RAF Scampton continues to enjoy its longstanding relationships within our communities. As we look to the future, we are assured that Scampton’s story will be preserved whilst the RAF continues to enjoy the closest of bonds with the City of Lincoln.” More than 100 personnel from both bases exercised the ancient honour granted to enter Lincoln ‘with drums beating, colours flying,

and bayonets fixed’, awarded to Waddington in 1959 and Scampton in 1993. The parade featured a flypast by the iconic E-3D Sentry and a display of the Freedom Scrolls originally presented to each station. Waddington CO Gp Capt Mark

Lorriman-Hughes said: “After three long years, where we have been unable to honour this tradition due to Covid, today has been an absolute pleasure and a genuine privilege; it is fantastic to see such a great turnout to help mark the occasion.”

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Back in Black Vulcan hero recalls epic Port Stanley raid



LONG SHOT: Vulcan XM607 piloted by Martin Withers (pictured left) lands at Ascension Island after mission; right, Argentinian bomb explodes on HMS Antelope highlighting vulnerability of Navy vessels to air strikes; inset below, Vulcan refuels from a Victor tanker

Tony Durrant AS THE UK marks the anniversary of the liberation of the Falklands the pilot who launched one of the most audacious long-distance bombing raids in history has recalled the Black Buck mission to safeguard the Task Force. Denying Argentinian pilots the use of the runway at Port Stanley Airfield was a priority to protect the UK fleet. The only suitable RAF aircraft to carry out such a long-range mission to the Falkland Islands was the Avro Vulcan, an outdated Cold War nuclear bomber which had never been used in anger. Vulcan pilot Flt Lt Martin Withers and his crew underwent lastminute training in air-to-air refuelling and conventional bombing techniques then flew to Ascension Island. He was the thirteenth aircraft to take off, behind the controls of the ‘spare’ bomber – Vulcan XM607. He was expecting a fourhour flight as the reserve aircraft before returning to Ascension, but within a few minutes there was a fault with the primary Vulcan’s pressurised window seal and it had to turn back. He said: “We realised we were expected to bomb Stanley airfield. It came as a shock but we had done all the briefings, the training and we had a refuelling instructor, Dick Russell, sitting in the co-pilot’s seat.” It took 11 tankers and 15 fuel transfers to get Vulcan XM607 within striking distance. Martin added: “We were 45 minutes

from the target. I was flying at 300 knots at about 500 feet. It was a moonlit night with very little cloud around. It was all quite unreal.” He dropped the aircraft to 300 feet as he approached the islands. However, he was so low the navigation radar the crew used to drop the bombs was not picking out the landmass ahead. “I feared we would miss the island so I climbed slightly and when I did we could hear the Argentinian radar as it swept over us. “As we got closer I started to climb to the bombing height of 10,000ft. The airfield had its lights on, so it was obvious that we weren’t expected. “The biggest threat were the Oerlikon 35mm radio-controlled anti-aircraft guns and we recorded a lock-on from their radar. That could’ve been curtains for us. “We switched on our jamming pod and the radar lock was broken. We were also transmitting an Argentinian identification code which, I think, caused the operator to hesitate. “The bomb aimer gave me final instructions. I concentrated on maintaining the correct speed and height and as we got closer we opened the bomb doors and the bombs fell away automatically. I held it steady until all the bombs had gone, then we were able to get the hell out of there.” Five of the 21 bombs, each weighing 1,000lbs, failed to explode but of the remaining 16, one of them hit the centre

HISTORY BOYS: Pete Taylor (co-pilot) Bob Wright (Radar Navigator - “Nav Rad”) Martin Withers (Captain) Hugh Prior (Air Electronics Officer “AEO”) Gordon Graham (“Nav Plotter”) Gordon was tragically killed in a mid-air collision of two Tornados in 1991

of the 150ft wide runway. “We planned to escape at low level in case any fighters came after us but because we were so short of fuel we immediately climbed and turned 180 degrees and headed back up North. “Our feeling was ‘happy to be alive’ but we did not know if we had hit the runway. We would not have put money on it.” The plan to have two Victor tankers to get them home was reduced to one tanker and as the Vulcan ran late the rendezvous point stretched further south. He said: “When I did see the tanker we did not have enough to divert to the nearest safe runway at Rio de Janeiro. Even the Nimrod which was there to help us with air-sea rescue had to leg it back to Ascension because he was low on fuel. “Seeing the tanker turning in front of

me with the hose trailing out the back was the most beautiful sight in the world.” That last refuelling was not without mishap as a poor connection meant that the highly flammable liquid spilled out of the probe and washed across the Vulcan’s windscreen. “We put the wipers on but were still taking some fuel on so I maintained my position. I would not withdraw and try again until I had enough to get us a third full. Then I relaxed, pulled out and went in again.” Martin and the crew were back on Ascension when they saw the aerial photographs the following day showing a crater in the middle of the airfield runway. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the crew were Mentioned in Dispatches. Sqn Ldr Bob Tuxford, the pilot of the last Victor tanker in the chain, was awarded the Air Force Cross.

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PM pledge on Anglo-Indian fighter project Simon Mander

THE RAF Falcons gave fans a preview of their new display for this summer’s air show season, including their trademark carousel formation over Brize Norton. Britain’s only professional military parachute display outfit showcased their latest moves in front of fans at the Oxfordshire station. They are preparing to take their freefall display, which includes falling at speeds up to 120mph, and their unique canopy stack manoeuvre, to venues all over Britain and Europe. PHOTOS: SHARRON FLOYD

BRITAIN IS to back India’s bid to design and build its own fighter jets to shore up links between the two nations in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. And London is to grant New Delhi the first ever Open General Export Licence issued in the IndoPacific region to cut bureaucracy and shorten delivery times for Defence procurement. The news came ahead of talks between Prime Ministers Boris Johnson and Narendra Modi on next-generation Defence and security collaboration in the face of complex new threats. Mr Johnson said: “The world faces growing threats from autocratic states which seek to undermine democracy, choke off free and fair trade and trample on sovereignty. “The UK’s partnership with India is a beacon in these stormy seas. Our collaboration on the issues that matter to both our countries, from climate change to energy, security and Defence, is of vital importance as we look to the future.” The latest agreement follows

TECH PACT: Indian pilots after a training sortie in an Su30 at RAF Coningsby in 2016. PM Johnson says UK aerospace will support Indian programme to build its own fighter aircraft

earlier moves to forge stronger links between the RAF and the Indian Air Force over the last decade.

Atlas gets low down and dirty Stateside Simon Mander THE FIRST frontline Atlas crews have completed unpaved runway operations in America. The training is part of Exercise Tenax Puma, that also saw A400M crews operating alongside 99 Squadron’s C-17 personnel. Among the first to qualify was Flt Lt Steve Reilly who said: “Having taken part in the 2017 Caribbean disaster relief mission, Operation RUMAN, I can see how important it is to be able to operate from degraded or unprepared surfaces. “I am looking forward to putting these new skills into practice as our operational and exercise comments expand later this year.” Under the watchful eyes of Brize

Norton-based XXIV Squadron operational conversion unit staff, 30 and 70 Squadron pilots were put through their paces at the Fort Polk Joint Readiness Training Centre – part of the Geronimo Temporary Landing Zone in Louisiana, USA. Officer Commanding No 30 Squadron, Wg Cdr Stu Patton, said: “I am hugely grateful to XXIV Sqn, who have worked at pace to prepare our crews for this Exercise, and to train our team. “The ability to operate from unpaved surfaces is a vital component of tactical air mobility, allowing us far greater freedom to operate at the time and place of our choosing.”

India currently operates a fleet of Sukoi Su30s and has just taken delivery of its first tranche of French-built Rafale combat jets following a deal signed in 2016.

In Brief

LIBERATION DAY: Margaret Thatcher celebrates with UK military in 1982

Falklands fail PERMISSION TO SAND: Atlas comes into land on dirt strip at Louisiana test facility; inset left, RAF transporter during earlier tests

MORE THAN a quarter of Britain’s Generation Z have never heard of the Falklands conflict, while nearly 10 per cent think that the islands are in the English Channel, according to a survey. Research by Forces charity Help for Heroes to coincide with the 40th anniversary of the war also revealed that half the 18 to 24year-olds questioned do not know in which decade the Argentinian invasion took place.

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V-bomber icon reborn at IWM REMEMBRANCE: RAF team tends to the memorial to Wellington navigator Sgt Donnelly in UAE

Gulf tribute to lost navigator THE ONLY RAF airman to die in the United Arab Emirates during World War II was remembered by UK Forces stationed in the Gulf state on the anniversary of the crash which claimed his life. Navigator Sgt William Donnelly was killed when his Wellington bomber suffered engine failure and crash-landed in Fujairah during a sortie from RAF Sharjah in India, in 1943. His three crewmates survived and buried him, marking his grave with stones – later washed away in a storm and replaced by a permanent memorial in 2010 by the coastal region’s ruler Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi. RAF, Navy and Army personnel currently deployed to the Middle East held a remembrance service at the site and tended the memorial.

COLD WAR WARRIOR: Main image, Victor arrives at IWM hangar ahead of restoration, above, first crew in 1959 at Cottesmore

Simon Mander THE WORLD’S last Victor bomber is to finally go on display at Duxford after a fiveyear restoration. The Handley Page jet XH648, billed the only one of its type, has been reassembled by specialist aviation teams at the Imperial War Museum. IWM Duxford’s Carl Warner said: “As the only surviving Victor B1A in the world, this is an iconic aircraft with a design that was seen as incredibly futuristic when it was first developed in the 1950s. “It was even intended to have a fully detachable cockpit for use as an escape pod. Today it stands as a symbol of innovation and tells an important part of the story of the Cold War conflict.” The historic strategic bomber has moved into Duxford’s Conservation Hall for its final weeks of refurbishment works so the public can see the reattachment of the wings to return the Victor to its full 110-foot wingspan. Afterwards it will remain on permanent display from May 27. Acquired in June 1976 on its retirement

V-IP: Engineers work on the huge bomb-bay designed to carry nuclear weapons

from service, the redisplay marks the end of one of the museum’s largest ever restorations – supported by more than £25,000 in donations from individuals. The process has seen the bomb bay doors treated for corrosion, paint stripped from the aft fuselage, and some parts removed altogether with replacements fabricated by specialist conservators, machinists, and volunteers. XH648’s first flight was with 15 Sqn based at RAF Cottesmore in November 1959 as part of the Far East Air Force during Britain’s

confrontation with Indonesia over the creation of the federation of Malaysia. On its return, it was converted by Handley Page in 1965 into a two-point tanker and spent 10 years with Marham’s 55 Sqn before being retired to Duxford 10 years later. Mr Warner said: “Close to 50 years after this one-of-a-kind Handley Page Victor arrived at Duxford, we’re thrilled that the hard work of our conservation team and generous donations from the public means we can display this historical and technological object and give people a greater understanding of its place in aviation history.” Former Sqn Ldr, Graham West, flew more than 1,800 hours on the iconic V-bomber – including many on XH648 – and was part of the Victor force involved in the Indonesian crisis. He said: “Most Servicemen believe that the vehicles they operated are extraordinarily special and deserve to be in a museum, but few of us are lucky enough to return to see them on display. “It’s an honour to see one of the Victor Mk 1s that I served in restored to its finest fettle. Its unique and unmistakable presence immediately brings back vivid memories of operations in bygone days, and I hope lots of people will visit and learn about its place in aviation history.”

Academy award Staff Reporter SURVIVAL SPECIALIST Gp Capt Colin Owen has taken over as Commandant at the Robson Academy of Resilience at RAF Cranwell. He replaces outgoing chief Gp Capt Mark Smith who has held the post since the centre’s inception in 2016. The Academy provides specialist training on survival, evasion, resilience and extraction, trauma management and adventure training across UK Defence. Gp Capt Owen said: “I feel privileged to take over command of a busy training organisation with a

wide and varied specialist training programme. I would like to thank Gp Capt Smith for all his work and achievements as Commandant.”

HANDOVER: Gp Capt Owen (centre right) takes over from Gp Capt Smith at Cranwellbased Robson Academy

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Royal Air Force News Friday, May 6, 2022 P13


Alex’s Royal appointment ASPERGER’S SYNDROME sufferer Alex Anderson received a top award from The Prince’s Trust after securing his dream job in the RAF. The 21-year-old from Newport scooped the Young Achiever Award, recognising inspiring people who have overcome barriers to transform their lives. Before being diagnosed with the condition at nine years old, the Air Force logistics supplier struggled with everyday situations, moved around four different schools due to his behaviour, and ran away to avoid situations he couldn’t deal with. He said: “This all changed when I went to high school. They had a department that supported young people on the autism spectrum, so I was

able to get the support I needed. “My self-esteem grew, I was able to pass my GCSEs with good grades, make friends and even help new students. I also started fundraising for local causes and completed the Duke of Edinburgh Awards. I was happy. “When Covid hit the things that I enjoyed, including all the activities I took part in, stopped. I started to feel lost, my confidence started to dip. My hope of gaining employment in the RAF seemed impossible. “I was referred to The Prince’s Trust employability programme, which was online. “It gave me the boost I needed – I was able to regain the confidence I’d lost and re-engage my drive to achieve my dreams. I took part in activities that boosted

my employability skills, and the staff were so inspirational and supportive. “The programme gave me the encouragement I needed to start applying for jobs again and after a few rejections, I finally got the job I was waiting for.” Alex is now a Neuro-Diversity Ambassador, Asperger’s Champion for the RAF and was recently awarded a British Empire Medal for his fundraising and volunteering activity. He said: “I’d recommend The Trust to any young person who is looking to secure work – no matter their background or the struggles they have had in the past. They can help.”

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LOGGING ON: SAC Alex Anderson at RAF Odiham, where he works as a Logistics Supplier

Injured vets facing 100th is a breeze for health care lottery, pervet Kate su II WW according to report Staff Reporter VETERANS WHO leave military service because of injury could face a lottery when it comes to medical treatment and welfare support, researchers say. A study into health and financial support across the UK found huge variations in the access and quality of services. Researchers from the Forces in Mind Trust found many veterans face delays receiving benefits and payments and highlighted variations in treatment for physical and mental health conditions. The charity is calling for more continuity and communication between military and civilian health providers. According to the survey, conducted by the FiMT with Salford and Lancashire universities, complicated benefits applications cause unnecessary delays and add to the stress experienced by military personnel adapting to life in Civvy Street, while many GPs do not have full medical records for veterans they are treating.

Many Service leavers described the process as stressful and required the support of other organisations to understand and access their compensation. In addition, while many experienced a seamless process as their medical care was transferred over to civilian healthcare, there were equal numbers who had experienced difficulties. Report co-author Prof Lisa Scullion said: “Although good practice was evident in the support provided to some Service leavers, it was evident that this varied significantly. “Our research raises particular concerns around communication and support during the discharge process, experiences of financial compensation processes, the transfer of medical support to civilian health care, and the intersection between physical and mental health. “Our research is the first to look at the experiences of those leaving service with physical injuries/conditions from a holistic perspective.”

DARING WORLD WAR II plotter Kate Orchard took the controls of a glider just a week before her 100th birthday. The RAF supervet took to the skies from Culdrose with the Seahawk Gliding Club to mark her century in style – and raise funds for Forces charity Help for Heroes. She said: “It was a lovely trip. The team at Culdrose were absolutely brilliant. I really enjoyed the flight – I even took the controls at one point. “I followed every instruction the pilot was giving me and I’m glad to say we didn’t end up in the sea somewhere.” Kate was born into a large Anglo-Indian family and joined the Women’s Auxiliary Corps (India), along with two of her sisters, in 1941 at the age of 20. She rose to the rank of Warrant Officer, training other plotters in India, and moved to Cornwall with her husband Bill after the war.

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Royal Air Force News Friday, May 6, 2022 P15


On the pull CEREMONY: The distinctive 47 Sqn colours are raised at Brize Norton

Squadron flags it up

A RAF squadron granted a unique flag in recognition of its role supporting the White Russian Army during the revolution in 1919 renewed its historic colours at Brize Norton this month. 47 Sqn operated as a volunteer unit during the Russian civil war to avoid direct political involvement in the conflict, displaying the distinct blue, yellow and red standard. The flag has flown outside the squadron headquarters ever since and the colours are emblazoned on flying suits worn by crews. It was raised outside the squadron building at RAF Brize Norton during a short ceremony.

BRIZE TEAMS took on a Herculean challenge – dragging the 47 tonne veteran C-130 transporter 100m down the runway for Forces charities. 47 Sqn overhauled rivals from the Ground Engineering Flight, Tactical Medical Wing, Air Mobility and the RAF Regiment to take the title in a storming time of under 47 seconds. PHOTOS: PAUL CROUCH

Medics launch Black Sea drill Simon Mander BRITISH AND American medics simulated a mass casualty emergency in Romania to sharpen their combat skills. A four-strong Royal Air Force team joined their counterparts from the US Army’s 2nd Cavalry Regiment triaging, treating and evacuating patients at the Mihail Kogălniceanu airbase. The Black Sea coast station is currently home to UK Typhoons from Coningsby’s 3 (Fighter) Sqn supported by 140 Expeditionary Air Wing personnel drawn from Wittering and across the UK. The RAF detachment is on Operation Biloxi delivering Nato enhanced Air Policing alongside the Romanians and conducting enhanced Vigilance Activities within the region in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Senior Medical

Officer Sqn Ldr Rebecca Suttie said: “Conducting joint training offers a unique opportunity to enhance the delivery of emergency medical care whilst deployed overseas. “We share best practices, review current procedures and develop a robust medical treatment plan to ensure we are ready to react in an emergency situation.” The RAF is supporting the longstanding Nato Air Policing mission in the Black Sea region, dubbed Operation Biloxi. The skies are monitored by operations centres which can scramble Nato combat jets on 24hour standby to intercept aircraft skirting restricted airspace. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston (pictured inset left), arrived at Mihail Kogălniceanu Airbase in Romania as UK Typhoons took over the role from the Italian Air Force after a four-month tour.

TRIBUTE: Family and RAFA members gather at Beer Head for ceremony

Polish crew remembered Staff Reporter

POLISH CREWMEN who died during a routine patrol off the Devon coast during World War II have been honoured by local villagers. Two airmen were killed when their Beaufighter crashed into the sea near Lyme Bay in 1942 during a night sortie. The body of the navigator, Mieczyslaw Swiertz, was recovered from the sea and buried in Exeter, but pilot Roman Smok was never found. A ceremony of commemoration on the coast path near Beer Head was attended by relatives of the crew, Polish veterans, members of the Royal British Legion and members of Bridport and Lyme Regis RAF Association.

Royal Air Force News Friday, May 6, 2022 P16

COCKPIT “ Feature

by Simon Mander

There’s nothing as unreliable as an eyewitness – other than a Typhoon”

CONTROVERSIAL: Harrier pilot ‘Tremors’ upside down over Uruzgan, Afghanistan (above)


BOOK review about a Fleet Air Arm pilot might be thought to guarantee a mass spluttering of cornflakes over breakfast tables across the land by our loyal readers. But this is about a real elite whose authentic voice is very rarely heard. They are a group so select that of the 700,000 people born in the UK each year only one or two of them will join it. This is about a unique cadre of modern day warriors – fighter pilots. And in revealing what it’s like to land a Sea Harrier on the pitching deck of an aircraft carrier at midnight or rescue troops under fire in a GR9 in Afghanistan, its insightful, unapologetic and at times, hilarious. In Harrier – How to Be a Fighter Pilot author Cdr Paul Tremelling puts the reader in the cockpit beside him. And Tremors’ views are trenchant – something he justifies on the strength of a 21-year career in which he was Mentioned in Despatches on Operation Herrick and becoming one of the few British pilots to have flown Tom Cruise’s Top Gun F/A-18E Super Hornet. “There is nothing quite as unreliable as an eyewitness – other than a Eurofighter Typhoon,” he says as an opening salvo. “There did seem to be a fair number of people in the flying training world who did a good job of not going to the front line. “The Fleet Air Arm seems to have a far better ‘all of one company’ ethos than the fast jet operators in our sister service, who seem to run an ‘us and them’ relationship between pilots and engineers.” And yet his hero is RAF Harrier veteran and DFC winner Air Cdr Fin Monahan – ‘who might just hold the title of best person ever created’ – who instructed him at Valley.


LIFE-SAVER: Cdr Paul Tremelling and his GR9 came to the rescue of troops under fire in Afghanistan during Operation Herrick

remelling is just as harsh on the RN hierarchy’s decision to give away the Fleet Air Arm’s Sea Harriers despite them having won the Falklands War 23-to-nil in what he describes as ‘a proper kicking.’ “We were the Royal Navy’s bastard stepchildren, least appreciated weapon system in the admiral’s list, the bottom of the liquid leaching out of the very bottom of the pile.” And he’s just as scathing about Defence procurement: “F-16s, wonderful jets that pretty much the entire world had bought for tuppence while we poured pound after pound into the problem called the Tornado

Royal Air Force News Friday, May 6, 2022 P17

L A I T N E D I CONF HARRIER: Afghanistan missions

Afghanistan Harrier veteran ‘Tremors’ jumps right into the fast jet fray with all guns blazing

F3,” he adds. On the Super Hornet he declares: “My opinion at the end of a career that spanned Sea Harrier and Harrier was that there was simply no better 4th generation jet in the world in which to go to war.” But his most damning verdict is reserved for the campaign in Afghanistan that ended in one of the biggest airlifts in RAF history – the evacuation of 15,000 people from Kabul in Op Pitting as the Taliban seized control of the country. Cdr Tremelling said: “You can talk it up as an air mobility triumph as much as you want but we undoubtedly have left many behind who deserved far, far better and are now faced with unspeakable horrors. Our war in Afghanistan was a complete waste of life, blood, tears and time.”


n a lighter note are his ‘bubbling cauldron of dits’, as he describes the stories Service personnel relate and which bring this book to life. From him we learn that The Junglies – the RN Commando helicopter force – appeared to have wanted to join the Royal Marines but weren’t hard enough and now walked around wearing camouflage underpants.

ELITE PILOT: Flying the Harrier in Afghanistan (main picture), on deck with a Sea Harrier (inset right), last trip in the FA-18E Super Hornet (inset, below left) and returning from Hawaii (inset left, above)

“The Fleet Air Arm doesn’t consider lieutenant commanders to be senior, which is great, adds to bonhomie, allows use of first names and reduces the number of salutes you give and receive. The RAF considers squadron leaders to be senior, with the reverse effect,” he said. “In the RN your order to fly was an order to fly (made by the ship’s

commanding officer), in the RAF it was more of a suggestion.” This is a searingly honest, keenly observed, well written and extremely funny military memoir and a must read for anyone interested in the tight brother and sisterhood of fast jet jockeys (and perhaps it’s time one of our equally gallant female aviators similarly spoke out). It’s a rare insight into a world hidden from view by operational security and corporate PR and all too often only revealed years too late. For the uninitiated the use of the clearly authentic but often baffling intercom dialogue in the action sequences might cause a few problems.

Win the book RAF NEWS has TWO copies of the book to be won. To enter, just answer the following question: What decoration did Commander Paul Tremelling win in Afghanistan? Email your answer, marked Harrier book competition, to: competitions@rafnews. co.uk or post it to: RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe, HP14 4UE, to arrive by May 20. Please include your full postal address. It resembles one pre-flight briefing Tremors himself relates in the book: “Er, right, you and me for a BITS ride. Out, up, PAR, nicky-nacky-noo. Out. SRA, nicky-nacky-noo.”

Answers on a postcard please. Harrier – How To Be A Fighter Pilot by Commander Paul Tremelling is out now in Hardback, priced £20.

Royal Air Force News Friday, May 6, 2022 P19

Mission Aviation Fellowship

By Tracey Allen


BIG MOVE: Ex-RAF logistician Siobhan (above) is now the Grounds Operation Manager for charity Mission Aviation Fellowship in Papua New Guinea, whose work includes helping deliver mosquito nets by plane to remote communities (above)

Aviation aid worker using skills she learnt in the RAF Mum helped Mover W find dream career in HEN SIOBHAN Cole was in the RAF she never imagined the skills she learnt there would lead her to living and working in a remote part of the world. The former Flt Lt, who served for six years and was a logistics and air movements officer, is now based in Papua New Guinea and works for MAF, the Mission Aviation Fellowship charity that was co-founded by two former RAF officers, Flt Lt Stuart King and Sqn Ldr Jack Hemmings. The charity, which operates in areas including Africa and South and Central America, flies light aircraft over jungles, mountains, swamps and deserts and provides flights for 2,000 aid, development and mission organisations to enable them to transform the lives of vulnerable people in hard-toreach places. It currently has a fleet of 10 Cessna 208 Caravan aircraft in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Siobhan, who left the RAF in 2013 and joined MAF eight years ago, is a Ground Operations Manager and her Canadian husband Ryan, a pilot for MAF, live in Telefomin – a community accessible only by air. She said: “Flying in PNG is some of the most challenging in the world – and the weather created by the mountains is a huge contributing factor. “Pilots must find holes in the cloud which they can punch through to get to where they’re going – if the wind is too strong in deep valleys, they simply can’t land. This means that well-made plans must be made very

Papua New Guinea early in the morning before pilots take off, and they can change at any moment. Overseeing all of this is my job – it is complex but fulfilling.” In February MAF helped Rotarians Against Malaria (RAM) deliver more than 28,000 mosquito nets to 20 airstrips within a week – along with 18 members of staff to move the nets deeper into the bush. Siobhan explained: “I was overseeing all the plans and logistics, including sourcing an additional aircraft and pilot for this short-term mission – all of which were amended moment by moment depending on the constantly changing weather. “MAF has been partnering with RAM for more than 10 years because there are certain areas where no one else flies. Together we are providing a lifesaving commodity to some of the world’s most isolated people.”


iobhan (inset left) comes from an RAF family; both her parents and her grandfather were in the Service. She said: “When my six-year Air Force contract was ending I applied for an extension but didn’t get it because a lot of personnel were being made redundant then.

“One of the things I loved about being in the RAF was that the British military was a force for good in the world. I was struggling to find an organisation where I could use my specialist skills – to work for a charity as an aviation logistician was a bit specific. My Mum suggested MAF – I had never heard of them – so it’s all thanks to her.” Siobhan’s first job was as General Operations Manager as part of the leadership team, in charge of 40 Papua New Guinean staff based in nine locations around the country. She was 30 and a single woman in a male-dominated country. She explained: “That didn’t concern me as my first job in the Air Force was OC Fuels and my Warrant Officer taught me so much and gave me confidence so I didn’t need to worry about working with men who were older and more experienced than me. “When I came into the post it had been gapped for some time with people recruited temporarily. One of the senior staff members said ‘we know you are committed to staying, because you want to be here we are so happy to have you as our boss’. That was so encouraging.”


AF flies to more than 200 airstrips in Papua New Guinea

FAMILY AFFAIR: Siobhan works with husband Ryan, a pilot for MAF in Papua New Guinea

– some of the locals walk for days to get to them. The charity partners with medical organisations such as mission hospitals and some NGOs that provide medical services in extremely remote locations. It also drops food supplies. In Telefomin the Coles live in wooden housing with hot water, a television and a chest freezer. They order groceries every three months from Mount Hagen, the third largest city in PNG. Siobhan said: “We are very well looked after by MAF where we live in the west of the country, very close to the border with Indonesia. It is quite idyllic, it can get up to the high 20s in the middle of the day and drop down to about 10 degrees at night. “PNG is incredibly culturally diverse, with more than 800 distinct languages, because the terrain is so impossible with mountains in the highlands and swamps in the

lowlands. It’s a real privilege to see such variety and culture.” She said: “I may not be a doctor but I help to save lives, I may not be a teacher but I help to bring education to children. I am using the skills I acquired in the Air Force to help improve life for many people.” Siobhan and Ryan are also fundraisers for MAF and come home every two years to meet people who have given the charity financial gifts and to visit churches. She said: “MAF is a not-forprofit organisation and we have a target we need to raise each year. “I was so thrilled to be able to meet MAF co-founder Stuart King before I went to PNG, and feel I was a part of his legacy. We are continuing what he started and that’s incredible.” n Go to: maf-uk.org for more information.

Royal Air Force News Friday, May 6, 2022 P21

Operation Mincemeat

By Tracey Allen


How a dead tramp fooled Hitler and changed the course of WWII


T WAS a far-fetched plan stranger than fiction dreamt up to fool the enemy – from an idea by Ian Fleming – that saved tens of thousands of lives in World War II. Instrumental in the creation of Operation Mincemeat was RAF officer Charles Cholmondeley, a Flt Lt seconded to MI5, who hatched the plot with Naval Intelligence Officer Ewen Montagu. Historian and Times columnist Ben MacIntyre’s bestselling book telling the fascinating story of Operation Mincemeat (bloomsbury. com) has been adapted into a thrilling film, starring Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) as Montagu, Matthew Macfadyen (Succession) as Cholmondeley and Johnny Flynn (The Outfit) as James Bond creator Fleming, who was then assistant to the director of Naval Intelligence Admiral Sir John Godfrey (Jason Isaacs, the Harry Potter film series) – later immortalised as M in the 007 novels. The film also features Simon Russell Beale (The Death of Stalin) as Winston Churchill, Kelly McDonald (Line of Duty) and Paul Rutter (Friday Night Dinner) in his final role as Bentley Purchase, the ‘cheerful coroner’ of St Pancras, London.

AUTHOR: Ben Macintyre and his book

BRAINS BEHIND AUDACIOUS PLAN: The film features, from left, Macfadyen as Cholmondeley, Firth as Montagu and Flynn as Fleming

Cholmondeley was so discreet, he never really wanted to tell this story

Operation Mincemeat was probably the most successful military deception operation ever carried out

In 1943 the Allies were determined to break Hitler’s grip on occupied Europe; they planned to launch an all-out assault on Sicily, but faced an impossible challenge – how to protect the invasion force from potential annihilation. Montagu and Cholmondeley devised the most inspired and improbable disinformation strategy of the war – centred on the most unlikely of secret agents: a dead man. Macintyre said: “Operation Mincemeat was probably the most successful military deception operation ever carried out. It strategically altered the battlefield. What the deceivers had to do was to try to persuade the Germans that black was white and white was black. And they did this in the most extraordinary way. “The British decided that the plot would be to get a dead body and to give that body a completely false identity by disguising it as someone totally different. They would dress

fictionalised. The files really are the most extraordinary cornucopia of detail because they’re written by and for people who never expected them to be made public.” When Macintyre was researching his book some of the protagonists were still alive – he got to know former MI5 secretary Jean Leslie (played by McDonald) who volunteered to be Maj Martin’s fictional fiancée Pam, supplying a photograph of herself and writing him letters for all-important ‘wallet litter’.

MI5 SPY: Real Flt Lt Charles Cholmondeley

DEAD MAN’S ‘GIRL’: Jean Leslie (played by Kelly McDonald) with ‘Cholmondeley’ in film

the body up in a military uniform and pretend he was a special courier who had come down in a plane crash in the Mediterranean.”

“The meat of the story – the mincemeat of the story, if you like – was trying to find a body and then to go through the incredibly complicated system of inventing a completely different character, a new person who’d never existed.” The body used was that of Welsh tramp Glyndwr Michael, who died, aged 34, in St Pancras Hospital, after eating stale bread laced with rat poison. The plan worked. Giving the corpse a false identity as military courier Major William ‘Bill’ Martin, of the Royal Marines, they equipped it with false documents indicating a looming attack on Greece and floated the body at Huelva, off the coast of Spain, where the Germans could find it. Hitler and his Italian allies fell for it; they diverted defensive troops from Sicily and


incemeat was extremely hard to pull off. Working from a dingy basement in central London, the top secret Twenty Committee of Naval Intelligence led by the remarkable intelligence officers Montagu and Cholmondeley was presented with almost insurmountable challenges. Macintyre said: “It proved extraordinarily difficult because, believe it or not, in wartime it was actually very hard to get hold of a dead body. People were dying all the time. But you had to find a body that looked as if it had drowned at sea and had come from a plane crash.

redeployed them to Greece, ensuring a successful invasion with minimal loss of life.


he story had been told previously in Montagu’s book The Man Who Never Was, written after WWII, which inspired the 1956 film of the same name. Macintyre explained Montagu was able to write the book only because Churchill’s wartime minister of information, Duff Cooper, had already published the novel Operation Heartbreak (persephonebooks.co.uk), based on the case, giving away some of the key facts disguised behind fiction. Macintyre added: “It wasn’t until MI5 began declassifying its files that you could really begin to tell true stories about a subject that’s been so heavily mystified and

Macfadyen said: “It’s always weird when you play a real person because you always fall short – they are either dishier than you or they are fitter. Cholmondeley looked extraordinary by all accounts, he was very tall. You’re not doing an impersonation of the person, it’s an impression.” Macintyre said: “Cholmondeley was so discreet, he never really wanted to tell this story. The Cholmondeley family feel (with this film) finally he got the credit he deserved. Charles died when his son Tom was very young, so he didn’t really know his father. “Charles’ wife Alison said ‘Matthew Macfadyen has caught magically the essence of this very interesting and strange man’.” Cholmondeley stayed in MI5 after the war. After leaving he ran a machine shop in Somerset. Glyndwr Michael was buried with full military honours in the cemetery of Nuestra Señora in Huelva. The inscription on his gravestone states: Glyndwr Michael served as Major William Martin, RM. n Operation Mincemeat is in cinemas now.

Royal Air Force News Friday, May 6, 2022 P23

David Ashley Obituary

Top Gun vet dies after Italian Alps test flight tragedy D

AVID ASHLEY, who has died aged 49 as the result of a flying accident, flew Harrier aircraft on operations over Iraq and Afghanistan before becoming a flying instructor on contract with British Aerospace. On March 16 this year, Ashley and his Italian co-pilot were carrying out a post-production test flight on a Leonardo M-346 advanced jet trainer aircraft when they were forced to eject over Monte Legnone in the Italian Alps, near the town of Lecco. The Italian pilot suffered minor injuries but Ashley did not survive. It was his first flight in the Italian aircraft. Aged 17, he was awarded a flying scholarship before joining the RAF in August 1992. After gaining his commission, he trained as a navigator and joined 43 Squadron based at Leuchars in Scotland, where it operated the Tornado F3 in the air defence role. Ashley began training as a pilot in August 1997, finishing top of his class on the Hawk advanced jet trainer before converting to the Harrier. He joined No 4 Squadron equipped with the Harrier GR7 and based in Rutland. During his four years with the squadron, he saw operational service in Iraq on Operation Iraqi Freedom. In February 2003, he deployed with his squadron to Al Jaber in Kuwait. Before the conflict broke out, he was detached as the British Air Liaison Officer to a joint USAF/US Army tactical headquarters where he spent the next two months advising the commanders on the capabilities and tasking of the RAF’s Harrier force. Following the defeat of Saddam Hussein, Ashley was one of the first Britons to enter Baghdad. After returning from Iraq, he flew in numerous international exercises in Alaska, Poland and Norway. He also qualified in September 2004 to fly from the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible. He was a member of the squadron’s formation aerobatic team ‘Fours Four’.


fter training to be a weapons and air tactics instructor, Ashley was posted to No 3 Squadron, operating the upgraded Harrier GR9. In July 2005 he deployed to Kandahar in Afghanistan where he flew operations in support of British

ground forces in Helmand. He returned for a second deployment later in the year. He later recalled recognising his responsibility when he heard the urgency in the voice of the ground controller over his radio as he was being directed on to targets threatening the troops he was supporting. In 2008 he took up an exchange appointment with the Royal Canadian Air Force based at Cold Lake in Alberta. He joined No 410 Squadron to fly the CF-18 Hornet as an instructor in air-to-air and airto-ground weapons and in combat tactics. His operational experience was of great value and he was able to recommend new developments in tactical weapons training. In 2010 he elected to leave the RAF and moved to British Aerospace as a fighter pilot instructor. He joined the company’s training programme in Saudi Arabia, teaching pilots of the Royal Saudi Air Force. Based at King Faisal Air Base, he instructed on the British Aerospace Hawk advanced trainer. After five years in Saudi Arabia, Ashley decided to try his hand in the civilian aviation world in 2017, but a year as a second pilot with a UK airline was sufficient. He missed the action of military flying and he returned to the Middle East, this time to Qatar as a flying instructor with the Qatar Air Force.


n July 2019 he and his student were forced to eject from a Pilatus PC-21 advanced trainer aircraft following a mid-air collision with a second PC21. He suffered severe injuries to his back, legs and face and took many months to recover. His legendary fitness and determination overcame his immobility and he was able to resume his many outdoor pursuits, including daily sea swimming. He trained as a civilian flying instructor and was intending to compete in aerobatic competitions. In late 2021 he accepted a contract from the Italian defence giant Leonardo to be an instructor on the company’s jet trainer. Ashley was considered by his colleagues to be a bold, enthusiastic and highly motivated leader and flying instructor. One said of him: “He was someone who epitomised the mantra of live your life to the maximum.”

EXCHANGE APPOINTMENT: David Ashley was with No 410 Squadron Royal Canadian Air Force as a Hornet instructor in 2008

Royal Air Force News Friday, May 6, 2022 P24


Douglas Newham, DFC

Bomber Command hero & RAFA great


HE ROYAL Air Forces Association (RAFA) has paid tribute to World War II Bomber Command veteran Douglas Newham, DFC, who has died aged 100. Doug’s wartime career included two tours of duty and 60 operations serving as an air observer and navigator on Wellington and Halifax bombers in Europe and North Africa. His duties, for which he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross in September 1945, included targeting German industrial areas and U-boat ports, as well as taking part in the invasion of Algeria and raids on targets in Sardinia, Sicily, Libya and Tunisia. In 1944 he became Squadron Navigation Leader of 10 Squadron, at that time based at Melbourne near York. Before joining the RAF in 1941, Doug was one of ‘the many’ whose wartime ground-based roles supported the Battle of Britain victory. Working as a civilian for the Post Office Engineering Research Station – a government communication research and development facility – Doug contributed to installing and upgrading the early warning radar network. Part of his job was to travel to radar stations around the UK – vital in the control of Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain – to carry out repairs after bombing raids. During an interview with the RAF Association in 2020, Doug recalled seeing a Junkers Ju 87 ‘dive-bomber’ overhead one day as he worked at a Kent radar station. He said: “I was a very young man at the time and, while the experience of being dive-bombed at close quarters was certainly a unique experience for me, I had to carry on with my work. Most of the radar stations were bombed repeatedly, and many WAAF radar operators lost their lives.” Doug was also a member of the Air Raid Precaution organisation, helping to counter some of the effects of Blitz air raids on local communities.


fter the end of the war, he served on RAF Dakota transport aircraft in India and Burma ferrying POWs who had been released from Japanese camps and dropping food supplies to remote mountain villages before beginning a 35-year civilian career with BOAC, which became British Airways. As a senior operations manager for the airline, Doug oversaw many of the company’s flight planning and crew scheduling functions as well as its overseas bases and he served on several technical committees which created the standards and

PROUD TO SERVE: Doug represented the RAF Association at national events such as Remembrance. Inset, as a young Sergeant in Blida, Algeria in 1943

procedures that contributed to the development of commercial air traffic across the Atlantic. He witnessed the introduction of the Boeing 747 ‘Jumbo Jet’ and Concorde in the 1970s. His responsibilities included planning flights for the British Royal Family – work that was acknowledged by The Queen when she made Doug a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order in the 1969 New Year’s Honours List. In their retirement, Doug and his late wife, Julienne, retired to Cumbria. In recent years he was president of the RAF Association’s Cockermouth Branch. In September 2020, Doug joined celebrities, serving RAF

personnel and veterans to launch the Association’s Greatest Salute campaign, helping to mark the 80th anniversary of the end of the Battle of Britain. He went on to speak on behalf of the Association at local, regional and national events, and he was interviewed on national television as part of the BBC’s 2020 Remembrance coverage. Doug was also an RAF Association Connections for Life volunteer, making regular telephone friendship calls to lonely veterans. Cate Driscoll, the RAF Association’s Head of Partnerships and Events, said: “Doug was an inspirational individual who gave

so much of his time helping others. He was exceptionally proud of being a member of Bomber Command and listening to him talk about his incredible experiences at the 85th anniversary dinner held at the International Bomber Command Centre was an amazing privilege.” George Page, Chairman of the RAF Association’s Cockermouth branch, said Doug had been a very active member of the branch’s committee who, among many

other things, had encouraged a generation of Cumbrian Air Cadets through his regular talks to them. George said: “All of us at the branch considered Doug to be one of the most remarkable people we had ever had the privilege of knowing. Nothing was ever too much trouble for him. We shall not see the likes of him again.” A service to celebrate Doug’s life was held on April 11 at St Kentigern’s Church, Caldbeck.

Royal Air Force News Friday, May 6, 2022 P26


n Please note letters must be a MAXIMUM of 300 words and any accompanying pictures sent as attached, hi-res JPEG files

Post: RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe, Bucks, HP14 4UE Email: editor@rafnews.co.uk

Guinea Pig Club musical should not forget skin specialist Mason Royal Air Force News Friday, April 22, 2022 P17

Royal Air Force News Friday, April 22, 2022 P16


I ENDORSE the idea of a musical as a tribute to Sir Archibald McIndoe and the Allied airmen he treated (RAF News No. 1534, April 22 – see right). I knew Sir Archibald when I was a teenager living in East Grinstead from 1947 to 1954. Elizabeth McDougal was his secretary at East Grinstead Cottage Hospital and lived with our family for several years. My mother, Kathleen, worked in the hospital medical library for Bertie Mason, a specialist who worked continually with McIndoe. I used to attend The Guinea Pig

by Tracey Allen

WWII trailblazer

All eyes on the town that never stares The Guinea Pig Club musical about the work of pioneering WWII aircrew plastic surgeon Archibald McIndoe may be coming to a theatre near you very soon

UNVEILING: Guinea Pig Club members with McIndoe statue at Queen Victoria


IONEERING PLASTIC surgeon Sir Archibald McIndoe and the World War II Allied airmen burns victims he treated – known as the Guinea Pig Club – may not seem like obvious subjects for a musical but author, broadcaster, comedian and columnist Andrew Doyle disagrees. Doyle, who presents a weekly show on GB News, has written the book and lyrics for a musical provisionally titled The Guinea Pig Club, with music and by orchestration composer Craig Adams. Doyle said: “When the discussed I project with friends many reacted with incredulity that such a topic should be the for fit deemed musical treatment. “There is a preconception that musicals are with associated frivolity and they can’t deal with serious themes, but Rent was about the HIV crisis. “The story of Pig Guinea the Club lends itself readily to musical interpretation because it offers a powerful example human of resilience against impossible odds.”

DOYLE: Writer and GB News presenter

GOOD HEALTH: McIndoe shares a toast with some of his Guinea Pig Club patients

He added: “It’s not demeaning to McIndoe and his Guinea Pig Club’s legacy to see their stories brought to life in musical form – it’s a tribute to the extraordinary nature of their achievements. Musical theatre is the best way to achieve that because you’re dealing with a story that involves heightened emotion and it is a testament to the human spirit and human endurance that people can get through that and so many positives came out of it.”

population to help destigmatise their injuries, recognising the need for the patients’ mental recovery from their life-changing injuries. relaxed a promoted He atmosphere where they could take time away from the ward in between treatments. He had a piano and a barrel of beer installed in the ward and encouraged socialising and singing among the men. When they went out he encouraged them to wear their uniform to instil a sense of pride. Doyle explained: “Craig heard an interview with a surviving Guinea Pig Club member talking about when McIndoe played the piano on Ward 3, which inspired him. “At the time I was living in East Grinstead but hadn’t made the connection. Craig and I have written

Ball at The FelbridgeN Hotel. On many occasions I met several of the airmen. They loved the Guinea Pig TOP SURGEON: Archibald McIndoe

ew Zealand-born McIndoe developed innovative plastic surgery techniques to treat the airmen’s horrific injuries at the Queen Victoria Hospital in East Grinstead. It became known as ‘the town that didn’t stare’ because the surgeon told his patients to mix with the local

Not sure about theatre tribute FURTHER TO your article in RAF News No 1534 (April 22) regarding the potential musical about the work of Sir Archibald McIndoe and the Guinea Pig Club, I welcome any publicity regarding our boys. Many people are unaware of The Guinea Pig Club and this should be addressed. I do question, however the suitability of the use of a musical to this end. My experience is that musicals tend to be frivolous affairs.

I would think that a dramatised film or a documentary would be more fitting. Don’t get me wrong – it would not need to be deadpan serious. Singing and light-hearted banter was one of the cornerstones of Dr McIndoe’s treatments – treating the mind as well as the body was highly innovative. Just my opinion but I would be interested to know the consensus of response you receive. Mike McLeod, Via email

a film version also starring Sam Neill, now in pre-production. Doyle said: “I don’t have a particular actor in mind to play McIndoe, I think Richard E Grant would be very good in the role.” He added: “It would be great to put the show on in East Grinstead. n 2014 TV star Amanda Redman The ideal would be if it has a run attended the unveiling of a statue in somewhere and then tours.” Currently in development with front of the Queen Victoria Hospital of McIndoe, created by sculptor production company Perfect Pitch, Martin Jennings whose father was the musical is now seeking a venue, partner and investors to producing a Redman, one of the surgeon’s patients. show who was treated at the hospital for support a world premiere of the third-degree burns at 15 months old with a 10-strong cast. when accidentally scalded with a pan oyle has performed standof boiling soup, is a patron of the up comedy at the Edinburgh Blond McIndoe Research Foundation that campaigned to raise money for Fringe, is the author of several books including Free Speech and Why It the statue. Richard E Grant plays McIndoe in Matters, presents Free Speech Nation

It’s not demeaning to McIndoe and his Guinea Pig Club’s legacy to see their stories brought to life in musical form” together in the past. He told me about the interview and the more I read about McIndoe’s story the more it lent itself to musical interpretation – so we wrote it. “A version was staged by the Laine Theatre Arts School in Epsom, Surrey, where Craig teaches, as their end of term production. We’ve done a few rewrites since then as musicals can take years to perfect. We started the project about eight or nine years ago.”



REDMAN: Burns research charity patron

GRANT: Plays surgeon in film version

on GB News, writes columns for The Critic and Spiked and is the man behind the spoof uber woke Twitter activist Titania McGrath. But he’s no stranger to writing musicals and has worked on adaptations of Pinocchio, Gulliver’s Travels and Terry Pratchett’s novel Soul Music, among others. Craig is a composer, lyricist and arranger and has recorded with West End star Kerry Ellis on her self-titled album. Doyle said: “What I’ve mostly done in the past is adaptations of texts for musicals whereas this is a new departure because it’s not a work of fiction I’m adapting. The stories and the characters and the relationships I’m depicting in The Guinea Pig Club musical aren’t explicitly based on real people but they are set in the context of the hospital,

McIndoe and the Club.” He stressed that his creation Titania, described as a ‘radical intersectionalist poet’, who has provoked major online abuse, is not part of an anti-woke campaign. He said: “It’s not a campaign – as a comedian my job is to mock what I consider to be the ridiculous elements of society. I would be in dereliction if I didn’t mock that and Titania is simply a way of doing that through a satirical persona. “You are dealing with a very sectarian and infantile section of people, almost like a cult really, a very powerful cult, who have their tentacles in major institutions. People in power hate being mocked and they will sue everyone they can to stop it, so that is to be expected.” n Go to: globalmusicals.com for more information.

Week and partied most of the time. D I have a recollection that one or two travelled from Australia to be in East Grinstead for the Week. One story bothered me that a Guinea Pig told me; on a bus in East Grinstead he received a mass of abuse Star from another passenger. etter The patients’ faces were very l severely scarred and it was, he said, not uncommon for people to be offended. I hope tribute is paid to Bertie SOCIABLE: McIndoe and patients enjoyed a singsong and a pint together in East Grinstead Mason in the show. He was a very important specialist at the hospital. and within a day or so the wart to open it anywhere and give him He also used hypnosis to cure would disappear. I know this to be a page and paragraph. He would mainly skin diseases. true because he got rid of a wart I repeat back the exact wording. If any of the staff ’s children got had on my left hand! Bertie moved to California, a wart, he would offer to ‘buy’ it. Bertie had a completely where he continued to develop He would say ‘I will send you a half photographic memory. One of his hypnosis for medical purposes. a crown postal order’. A few days party tricks was to bring a book Clifford Edgecombe later the postal order would arrive he had recently read, ask someone St Peter Port, Guernsey Tell us what you think about the musical WHAT DO you think about a Guinea Pig Club musical – a fine tribute to McIndoe and the Allied airmen he treated, or in poor taste? Let us know. Email: editor@rafnews. co.uk with ‘Guinea Pig Club’ in the subject matter or write to: Editor, RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe, Bucks, HP14 4UE.

Was 206 Sqn over in Moscow in the mid-1940s?

HOLIDAY: Leslie in Cornwall with wife Bettie in 1948

Win Finest Hour Gin

MY FATHER, Leslie William Thorpe, was a wireless/radio operator; an airman with 206 Squadron during World War II. He was based at St Eval and later, Benbecula and the Azores. He rarely talked about the war or his wartime experiences in front of me or my younger sisters when we were kids, but one evening when I was in my 20s and we had a few drinks together, he told me that he had been in Moscow at the end of the war with his squadron. I can’t CALL UP: Leslie William (back row, 7th from left) in Blackpool with comrades remember why he said he was there, but the story he told me has stayed with me out a Russian girl who was in fear of her life and all of my life. they got her to safety somehow. This apparently These days I am a writer, and I have decided to involved faking some passes and ‘borrowing’ a write a rather dark novel about a brilliant Russian Service vehicle and was a very risky thing to do. female scientist who escapes to the west at the end My father was a very laid-back sort of man and of the war, and, you guessed it, my father is the didn’t show his inner feelings often, but when he hero who gets her out. told me this, he became very emotional and I had, I like my facts to be correct – my research so and still have, no doubt that the story was true. He far has not turned up anything to substantiate wasn’t given to showing off, or making such things that 206 Sqn was in Moscow, would any of your up, but one thing is certain: he was very debonair readers know? and certainly a ladies man, so that part fits! My father said at this time he was friends with I would be very grateful for any information some Americans, who were very well supplied with about 206 Sqn and Moscow, dates, mission etc. cigarettes and alcohol and had Russian girlfriends. Please email me at: phototoursnax@gmail.com He and one or more friends managed to smuggle Stuart Thorpe, via email

QCS: Ceremonial duties in London

Regt anniversary I WAS slightly bemused at the lack of space given in RAF News to the 80th anniversary of the RAF Regiment and the mounting of Public Duties in London. I am not sure if there will be a further space given to this subject other than the small photo featured. As an ex member of The Queen’s Colour Squadron, I would have liked to have seen more prominence given to this memorable event. Several of my members have also commented on this. Roy Miskelly Chairman, Lincolnshire Branch, RAF Regiment Association Via email

THE WRITER of our star letter wins a bottle of award-winning Finest Hour Gin from the Dartmouth Distillery. Made using the finest botanicals from around the world and locally sourced herbs, flowers and fruit from the Calancombe Estate in Devon, Finest Hour was launched as a tribute to the heroes of the Battle of Britain. Winners must be aged 18 or over. Go to dartmouth-gin.com

Royal Air Force News Friday, May 6, 2022 P27

Seat Leon e-Hybrid FR


n o e L y l d n e i r f r e p p Fli

YEARS AGO you could drive into town in a nice V12, pull up outside a club and everyone in the queue would universally admire you. These days you’re vilified for taking anything that’s capable of out-accelerating a dumper truck anywhere near the city because, if you do, apparently, 12 dolphins somewhere will spontaneously combust. Instead, the powers that be have the notion that city travel should be done exclusively by public transport. We’re told that it saves the planet and you arrive feeling relaxed. Do you heck? What with cancelled trains, late buses, no empty seats and the all too frequent unsavoury fellow passenger, travelling with the hordes isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. Fortunately, there is a better way. It’s called eco-friendly motoring and Seat has a terrier in the fight. It’s the Leon e-Hybrid FR and it looks very like a ‘normal’ Leon. It takes a keen eye, in fact, to spot the external differences. There’s a charge flap on the front wing, just

Seat Leon e-Hybrid Pros Frugal for its size Handles well Plenty of kit Great rear seat space Cons Noise at high revs Some road noise Few options available

TIM MORRIS Motoring Correspondent ahead of the passenger door, and a few unique badges. That’s about it. The important stuff is all hidden well out of sight. The 1.4-litre petrol engine is supported by a 12.8kWh battery and 85kW electric motor, producing a combined output of 201bhp. This powers the front axle through a six-speed twin-clutch automatic gearbox and results in a 0-62mph time of 7.5 seconds. At the top end it will hit 137mph too, so it doesn’t hang about. It’s therefore a practical family car in the traditional sense but this model can also cover up to 40 miles on pure electric. It produces as little as 27g/km of CO2 in normal running and the fuel economy is, wait for it, between 217.3 – 235.4 mpg. No exploding dolphins, less tax, happy(ish) environmentalists… Bonus. On the road The FR is fitted with sports suspension that helps it to shine on winding B roads. It handles well, with very little body roll and sharp steering that delivers plenty of grip. It’s not quite in Ford Focus ST territory for engagement but it is certainly well

Verdict The 2022 Seat Leon is a well-balanced package. It handles well, has a spacious interior and is incredibly cheap to run. It has a classy cabin and comes with bags of kit. All in all it’s a cracking family car.

weighted. The battery makes it around 250kg heavier than the regular Leon however, so it’s not the best-handling car in the Seat range. You’ll hear a bit of road and wind noise during motorway cruising but it’s not intrusive enough to make a long run tiring. The petrol engine is relatively subdued at a cruise but around town it fires up with a coarse shudder when you put your foot down. It’s impressively silent however when running on electric power alone. If only the transition from EV to petrol could be smoother, Seat would have nailed it. Interior The Leon’s driving position is excellent, thanks to pedals that

line up neatly with the seat and a low, sporty driving position. Front passengers get plenty of space and, because the Leon is longer than a Golf, it has more rear leg room. It even beats its larger cousin, the Skoda Octavia, for rear seat space. In the FR you get wireless phone charging and a host of other kit.

The 10 inch infotainment screen is sharp and has good contrast, while the operating system is far more intuitive than the unit you’ll find in the Volkswagen Golf. My usual touchscreen gripe remains, that when you use it some of your attention is diverted away from the road. It doesn’t have proper switches for the volume and air-con controls either. On the upside, the natural voice control function works well. You wake it up by saying ‘Hola, Hola’. How Spanish is that? Our test car had a price tag of £34,145 and came fullyloaded with features including adaptive cruise control, lanekeeping assistance, LED headlights with main beam assist, dynamic indicators and rain-sensing wipers.

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YOUNG TALENT: LAC Ellie McManus is British U23 under-55kg champ

100KG SNATCH: Cpl Luke Thompson


It's win up North for Service

RAF in show of Strength CONTENDER: Sgt Maddie Elliott had 166kg lift total

THE SERVICE’S weightlifters came away with a win and a series of hugely impressive lifts from a recent event in Yorkshire. The RAF was represented by five-man and five-woman teams, with the ladies producing superb lifts in a fierce competition, while the men took the honours overall. Kicking off the event in the female newcomer division, LAC Ellie McManus – recently crowned the under-23 British Champ in the under 55kg category – proved her capability by producing a 130kg total. Cpls Steph Pye and Becca Nesbit followed and also produced strong numbers to keep the competition nip and tuck at the Yorkshire Strength event. Sgt Maddie Elliott rounded off the females, totalling an impressive 166kg overall. She said: “It was great to see so many inspirational athletes and coaches at the first event of the year – the RAF team always has great camaraderie and there’s definitely some strong competition between us all as we continue to improve.” Cpl Luke Thompson was the first to lift in the men’s event, hitting the coveted 100kg snatch milestone before producing a solid 127kg with his clean and jerk.

There is no better feeling than hitting a personal best and watching everyone else hit theirs

Cpls James Stuart and Tate Budge were next up, each hitting their openers and making two out of their three clean and jerks. Cpl Luke Mees, an award winner on the day, made an impressive five out of six lifts before the session was rounded off by team captain Cpl Mike Cutler, who totalled 257kg despite missing out on a huge final lift at 150kg. Cpl Mees said: “Being the first competition of the year it was amazing to see how much the team has progressed since the Inters. “It was good to finally test ourselves after the months of hard training. “There is no better feeling than hitting new personal bests and watching everyone else hit theirs. I look forward to the rest of the season and watching the team grow.” n Visit Instagram @raf_weight_lifting for more details on the association.

WINNER: Cpl Luke Mees

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

Royal Air Force News Friday, May 6, 2022 P30


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You can bank on these two ANGLING

Results 1st: WO Verney and Sgt Beardsall, 11 fish, 209lb 5oz 2nd: Flt Lt Woodcock and SAC Walker, 3 fish, 52lb 6oz 3rd: Sgt Hasbury and Sgt Mitchell, 3 fish, 52lb EXPERIENCE WON through in the first RAF carp team event of the season, at Willow Park Fishery near Aldershot. WO Reg Verney and Sgt Glenn Beardsall showed how it’s done with a haul an amazing four times bigger than that of their nearest opponents. The canny Servicemen hooked 11 fish weighing a total of almost 210lb to trounce their rivals. 2021 angler of the year FS Ian Coleman kicked things off by landing an 18lb 6oz mirror carp before Beardsall finally netted a 15lb 1oz specimen to move into second place. Overnight Beardsall got another large mirror and partner Verney scored a 22lb catch, opening up an early lead for the pair with 3 fish for 53lb. Later on the second day Chf Tech Matt Whittaker landed his first fish of the season from beneath his rod tips, a 22lb 2oz common gracing his net before Fg Off Carl Booth got in on the action with a 21lb

Verney and Beardsall in monster haul

PAIR OF BEAUTIES: Sgt Glenn Beardsall (left) and WO Reg Verney proudly display two of their catches from Willow Park Fishery, Hampshire

14oz mirror of his own. In peg 7 Flt Lt Martyn Woodcock landed commons of 13lb 3oz and 22lb 4oz to leap up the leaderboard into second place. Hoping to keep up with the early pace setters in peg 4, the evening score update soon showed though that the gap was now bigger than ever. Working hard throughout the day, 3 more fish had been landed by Verney and Beardsall, topped off by the biggest fish of the match for Glenn – a 23lb 5oz mirror – taking them to 6 fish for 113lb.

WINNERS: Beardsall & Verney (centre), Walker & Woodcock (right) and Hasbury and Mitchell

Going into the final night the leaders landed twice more, adding 40lb to their total. Behind them the race for the remaining podium spots was hotting up, a 16lb 15oz common for SAC Tom Walker took him and partner Woodcock a step closer to securing second place, however hot on their heels were Mr Paul Sampson and Fg Off Booth (pictured inset left). A 14lb 11oz Common for Paul put them just 16lb behind in third. With a 17lb mirror for SAC Dan Upton in peg 6, 17lb common for Cpl Lloyd Moore in peg 11 and 21lb 10oz mirror for Sgt James Mitchell in peg 12, all landed throughout the night, there were plenty of pairs now in the mix.

As the match entered the last couple of hours, in peg 11 a new PB mirror of 16lb 12oz for Cpl Ben Caizley took him and partner Cpl Moore within a whisker of 3rd place, before a 13lb 14oz common for Sgt Lee Hasbury and partner Mitchell nudged them into fourth by just 1lb. Nearing the end Mitchell struck again, slipping his net under a darkflanked mirror. With the standings so close there was a nervous wait as the fish was weighed. At 16lb 8oz it took the pair into a clear 3rd place – an agonising 6oz short of second. Moments later the hooter sounded, with Verney and Beardsall deservedly taking the honours with 11 fish landed for 209lb 5oz.

SEVENTH HEAVEN: Peg 7 proved a decent spot for runners-up SAC Walker & Flt Lt Woodcock


Going for 5 Cups in row

FS DYFAN PIERCE: A point to prove

“IT’S AN exciting time, things have changed personnel wise, but I am really happy with the players we have called in,” said FS Dyfan Pierce UKAFFC manager. Speaking to RAF News before his team begin a series of warmup matches in their bid for an historic fifth Kentish Cup win in a row, Pierce added: “We are in a time of change, and it’s important to bring new blood into the group. “It’s great to get things up and running again with the chance to instil the three teams with one ethic, which is so vital to our success with the new players. It’s something we are all looking forward to.” First up for the Service’s elite footballers is a match against Loughborough University along with a week’s training camp at RAF Cosford. Pierce saw his team dispose of Loughborough 4-0 last year at Aldershot on the way to another postponed Kentish Cup tournament. They will then face the Irish Defence Forces at Shamrock Rovers’ Tallaght Stadium in Dublin next month. Pierce said: “Everything is a bit tight this year, the InterService championship has just gone, along with each of the Service’s seasons.” The team have a further training camp in June to prepare for the first Kentish game against the Dutch Forces at Havant and Waterlooville’s Westleigh ground on June 20 – before they face the French Forces team on the Friday (24). Pierec added: “We have had players leave the Service and some injuries, plus players on deployment. “I’m happy with the players we have called in, it’s important for them to come in with the right attitude and behaviour, on the front foot, and to show how good they are. “With the level of quality we have I feel we will be really successful this year.” For now, UKAF will be looking to the Loughborough game, before aiming to win back the Friendship Trophy. UKAF lost the cup to the Irish Defence Forces on penalties after a late Irish goal saw the last match between the two sides initially drawn 2-2 last year.

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Royal Air Force News Friday, May 6, 2022 P31


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Men a glass act as they take IS crown GRIT: Sgt Caroline Maynard-Burrows tackles the Herne Bay 50-Mile Ultra


Ultra keen on sport getting recognition

CLEAR WINNER: SAC Travis Harrison keeps the RAF on track on the glass court at Birmingham New Street Station

Title goes to Service after 10-year drought THE RAF men’s squash team claimed the Inter-Services title for the first time in a decade at Edgbaston Priory, Birmingham. They overcame Navy and Army opposition in hardfought matches over two days to take the crown. There were runners-up berths for the ladies and the Under 23s, with the veterans finishing third. An added bonus this year was the offer from England Squash to use the impressive all-glass court set up at Birmingham New Street Station. The results were nailed down before match play started at the glass court, attracting large crowds. RAF Squash President AVM Rich Hill was on hand to make the final presentations.

THE RAF’s ultra-running team is hoping to go the distance – by being recognised by the UK Armed Forces Sports Board. Sgt Caroline Maynard-Burrows is one of the driving forces in the Service behind the staminatesting activity – which has seen a huge rise in popularity over the last decade. She said: “An ultra-run is anything longer than a marathon (26.2 miles or 42.1 km). However, most ultra-runs start at the 50km (31 miles) distance and can go up to hundreds of kilometres over multiple days and multiple terrains. The most common distances are 50km, 100km and 100 miles. “When you speak to people about the sport they think we are either mad or super-human, but we are not. There are events for all abilities. Depending on how long you have at rest stops, the average pace of an ultra event is often almost walking pace.” Sqn Ldr Alfred Hall, who took up the sport in 2022, said: “I’d seen ultra runners and events but just thought they were an absolute flogging and not for me with my dodgy knees! “A few years ago, I started parkrun and met people there who seemed like me and they explained more about it. “At parkrun I manage eightminute mile pace, but they do their ultras at 14 to 15-minute mile pace. I’ve tried that a few times and now really enjoy the pace, which I manage by jogging a section then walking. “Lockdown really helped and I noticed how much more I was enjoying being out at a slower pace.” Maynard-Burrows, who recently competed in the 100km Thames Path Challenge with more

SEVILLE MARATHON: Gp Capt Kristian Mears is part of the RAF Ultra team

than 500 other competitors, said: “Along with the obvious health and psychological benefits, the sport provides a guilt-free ability to eat chocolate, as athletes burn so many calories during a run that it can be eaten without worry.” To find out more about the team scan the QR code below or visit: @RAFAthletics on Facebook.

Women footballers lift the trophy WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS: Rear row - Cpl Robbie Coils (RAF Head Coach), SAC Craig Stephens, SAC Oscar Hill and SAC Dominic Bailey. Front row – Sqn Ldr Michael Hallett and SAC Ben Mearns

A PHOTOGRAPH in our April 8 edition showing the RAF Ladies Representative Football team celebrating their recent Inter-Services

title win featured captain Cpl Rachael Howes lifting the trophy, and not Sgt Cat Beaver, as captioned. We apologise for the error.

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Royal Air Force News Friday, May 6, 2022 P32


10-year Inters title drought ends with squash triumph


See p31

SARGE ON THE SURGE: Sgt Lou Pritchard makes the hard yards for UKAF Ladies at Saddleworth


Teachers given a rugby lesson Flying start to President's Cup campaign THE RAF’S rugby league stars shone in the recent UKAF opening championship 34-10 President’s Cup win over GB Teachers at Saddleworth. RAF star Cpl Alex Barnes (pictured inset)) helped light the second half fire when she converted her own try, to see the Service break away from the Teachers to win the game comfortably. The Services side, led by captain Cpl Alice Fisher, had seen its opening 25th-minute 10-point lead pulled back by the break, before putting 24


UKAF Ladies GB Teachers


34 10

points on to snaffle any Teacher fightback. Barnes was one of eight RAF stars to be selected, with Sgt Lou Pritchard, Cpl Katie Johnson, Cpl Alice Fisher, Cpl Anne Marie-Sayle, Cpl Chelsea Greasley, Flt Lt Linda McLean and SAC (T) Annie Allen all playing an important part in the vital opening win. Barnes said: “I have to give credit to the whole team, especially

our hooker, Sgt Lou Pritchard at the time, as she trusted my call on my outside, running the support line, drawing defence away from me, allowing a gap to form for me to run through. “The win against GB Teachers is testament to the girls and the coaches. “How everyone came together with only two days training as a squad, the energy levels from everyone, the clear direction from coaches. The result was fantastic. “Looking at the overall performance, of course we have work to do heading towards our next game against England Students but I’m confident that we’ll be winning the President’s Cup come June.”

RAF STAR: Cpl Alice Fisher holds off three opponents

The UKAF women play England Students at Leigh Miners Rangers ground in Leigh, Lancashire, on June 1 – KO 7pm.

more pages of RAF Sport inside

Royal Air Force News Friday, May 6, 2022 R'n'R 1

Announcements P6-7

Puzzles P8

R'n'R Win!

Win: murder mystery series on DVD p3

See pages 4-5

All balls and glitter – Craig Revel Horwood

Royal Air Force News Friday, May 6, 2022 R'n'R 3


Ram hitting home with 'Tollywood' blockbuster

Telugu language movies massive business in UK


ACTION HERO: Ram Charan in film RRR

OLLYWOOD HAS long been the destination for big screen entertainment, but filmgoers should take note of another film scoring big in UK cinemas. Indian action flick RRR (meaning 'Rise Roar Revolt’) opened to critical acclaim and, against all odds, debuted in second place at the UK and Irish box office, runner up only to The Batman with Robert Pattinson. RRR’s box office result demonstrates the enormous audience for Indian films in the UK, as well as an appetite for big screen action, beyond purely comic book franchises. In India, Bollywood


The Battle at Lake Changjin (15)

– the Hindi film industry – and RRR’s ‘Tollywood’, representing Telugu language films, are the most popular and enjoy wide releases all over the world. Set in British colonial India in the 1920s, RRR portrays two real-life historical revolutionaries, Alluri Sitarama Raju (Ram Charan, considered to be India’s Brad Pitt) and Komaram Bheem (N.T. Rama Rao Jr), who fight against oppressors in a fictional adventure story directed by acclaimed filmmaker, S.S. Rajamouli. The film deals with themes of friendship, unity and courage, and blends drama with impressive

FIRST-CLASS MALE: Ram Charan – the heart-throb is India's answer to Brad Pitt

action sequences and big budget stunts to rival any Hollywood studio film. Charan is one of Indian cinema’s most popular stars and has earned several prestigious awards since his acting debut in 2007. Although many of his films have gained UK releases, the success of RRR may signal even more anticipation for future titles. A new collaboration was recently announced with director Gowtam Tinnanuri for an untitled



Sister Boniface Mysteries (12)

Out on DVD, Blu-ray and download from May 16 (Trinity CineAsia)


Series 1. On DVD, Blu-ray and download from May 16 (Dazzler Media)

Korean War epic

Nun better than Sr Boniface



ROM THREE master filmmakers comes one of the most epic and ambitious war movies ever made – The Battle At Lake Changjin. During the winter of 1950, in the freezing cold Lake Changjin region, a bloody battle ensues between the United States and China. Faced with the harshest conditions of extreme cold, a lack of rations and vast differences in weaponry, the Chinese troops forge ahead in what was to become the most critical battle of the Korean War.

multi-million dollar feature film. He is also currently shooting RC15, a political drama with director S. Shankar. If the audience reaction to RRR is anything to go by, there should be plenty more box office hits on the horizon. n For more go to: Twitter @AlwaysRamCharan and @RRRMovie; Facebook @AlwaysRamCharan and @RRRMovie; Instagram @AlwaysRamCharan and @RRRMovie.

Co-directed by Tsui Hark (Once Upon a Time in China franchise), Dante Lam (Operation Red Sea), Chen Kaige (Farewell My Concubine) and starring international superstar Wu Jing (Wolf Warrior 1 & 2), The Battle At Lake Changjin cemented its place as the highest-grossing war film ever made. We have copies on DVD up for

grabs. To be in with a chance of adding one to your collection, tell us: Who are the three co-directors of The Battle At Lake Changjin? Email your answer, marked War Film 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 May 20. Please include your full postal address.

ROM THE makers of Father Brown and Shakespeare & Hathaway – Private Investigators comes a lighthearted murder mystery series starring a Vespadriving, crime-solving Catholic nun: Sister Boniface. It’s the 1960s and police forensics are rudimentary. Luckily, the residents of Great Slaughter, nestled deep in the British countryside, have a secret weapon – amateur detective Sister Boniface (Lorna Watson). If there’s evidence to be found, Boniface will find it, with a little help from dashing maverick DI Sam Gillespie and buttoned-up Bermudan DS Felix Livingstone, who’s horrified to be stuck in the

eccentric world of Great Slaughter. A corpse is found stuffed inside a dummy at the local fair; tragedy hits a visiting TV crew; and a gruesome discovery is made in Edie’s beloved allotment plot. It’s down to Sister Boniface to save the day. We have copies of the Sister Boniface Mysteries Series One on DVD to win. For your chance to own one, simply tell us: Who plays Sister Boniface in the series? Email your answer, marked Sister Boniface DVD competition, to: comp et it ions@raf ne ws.co.u k or post it to: RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe, HP14 4UE, to arrive by May 20.

Royal Air Force News Friday, May 6, 2022 R'n'R 4


Lorde's back

Meet the Jessops: just your average dysfunctional family


RAMMY AND BRIT Awardwinning multi-platinum artist Lorde (above) released her third studio album, Solar Power, to worldwide acclaim back in 2021, narrowly missing out on the No 1 spot in the UK. She said: “The album is a celebration of the natural world, an attempt at immortalising the deep, transcendent feelings I have when I’m outdoors. In times of heartache, grief, deep love or confusion, I look to the natural world for answers. I’ve learned to breathe out, and tune in. This is what came through.” Currently on tour in North America, she will be arriving in the UK for eight shows beginning on May 25 at the O2 Academy, Leeds, then going to Edinburgh, Manchester and Birmingham with four dates in London – at the Roundhouse from June 1-3 and at Alexandra Palace on June 28. She’s also due to appear at the Glastonbury Festival, which takes place from June 24-26. The 40+ shows tour began in her homeland of New Zealand in February and took in venues in Australia and the USA; shows across Europe follow her UK dates. In 2013, a 16-year-old Lorde asserted herself as the voice of a generation with her full-length debut, Pure Heroine. The album went triple-platinum, won two Grammy Awards, and spawned the seven-times platinum recordbreaking international juggernaut single Royals and quadrupleplatinum follow-up Team. The former reached No 1 on the UK Official Charts and cemented Lorde as the youngest solo artist and the only New Zealander to achieve No 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 since 1987. In 2017 she released her second full-length studio album, Melodrama, which debuted at No 1 on the Billboard 200 Chart, making her the first ever NZ artist to land a No 1 debut album in the United States. The album reached the top spot in more than 45 countries and earned Lorde a nomination for Album of the Year at the 2018 Grammy Awards. She won the BRIT Award for International Female Solo Artist in both 2014 and 2018. n Go to: lorde.co.nz/tour for more information.

A ROLE TO PLAY: Here We Go's writer Tom Basden features as Robin Jessop in the show


RITTEN BY Tom Basden, new BBC One comedy Here We Go follows the highs and lows of the Jessop family as they navigate a combination of life’s everyday challenges – changing careers, keeping the romance alive within a marriage, adopting a healthier lifestyle, kidnapping a dog, destroying a swimming pool and sabotaging a wedding. Having filmed his family’s disastrous attempt to carve out a holiday in the midst of the pandemic in the 2020 pilot episode, the series sees youngest son Sam (Jude Collie) continue to document the Jessop family across the year. Moving back and forward in time, each episode offers an intimate, observed and absurd exposé of a modern British family doing its best to support each other, if accidentally annoying everyone else in the

COMEDY ROYALTY: Matriarch Sue is played by actor Alison Steadman, of Gavin and Stacey

process”, said a BBC spokesperson. Basden (After Life), who plays Robin, said: “The show focuses on the kind of everyday catastrophes that beset the Jessops’ life, some of which are very familiar, like the family trying to eat more healthily or trying to go on a day out together, and some of them are quite weird and wonderful, like going undercover with an estate agent, so there’s a real mixture of ordinary family life and quite ridiculous adventures.” He added: “Like Robin, I collected Warhammer figures as a lad for a while, I think my parents have still got them somewhere. To be honest there’s bits of me in all the characters, I think when you’re writing stuff you do tend to carve up bits of your personality

and divide them among your characters a little bit, so I’d say I have some similarities with Robin, but luckily not that many.” The series also stars Alison Steadman (Gavin & Stacey) and Katherine Parkinson (The IT Crowd). Parkinson, pictured inset left, said: “I already knew what a great writer Tom Basden was, so that’s what drew me to the project initially. “I have lots of favourite scenes – the paddling pool day was lovely because production kept the water nice and warm and the sun was out. I also enjoyed the Italian restaurant day because I’m a big fan of being seated. I enjoyed all the episodes, but it was nice to get to show off my Italian, I think everyone was really impressed.” She added: “The scripts were some of the best I’ve ever read, so I knew that we just had to deliver them.” n Here We Go continues on BBC One on Fridays at 8.30pm and is available as a box set on BBC iPlayer.

Shed your preconceptions at Tate Britain T

DOMESTIC CHAOS: Parker's Dark Matter: An Exploded View 1991

HE FIRST major survey of work by Cornelia Parker, one of Britain’s leading contemporary artists, opens at Tate Britain on May 18, and runs until October 16. Parker is responsible for some of the most unique and unforgettable artworks of the past 30 years, said a Tate Britain spokeswoman. She added: “Driven by curiosity, Parker transforms seemingly everyday objects into extraordinary works of art. Through visual allusions and metaphors, Parker’s works explore contemporary issues such as violence, human rights and environmental disaster.” The exhibition brings together more than 90 artworks, spanning immersive installations sculptures, film, photography and drawing to celebrate the breadth of the artist’s highexperimental and wide-ranging career to date, including two new works shown for the first time. Cornelia Parker first came to prominence in the late 1980s creating large-scale suspended installations and sculptures. The exhibition will include several of her best-known early works including Thirty Pieces of Silver 1989-89, an installation of flattened silver objects including teapots, candlesticks and dinnerware collected from charity shops and car boot sales, and Cold Dark Matter: An Exploded View 1991, a garden shed frozen at the moment of explosion, its

BOLD STATEMENTS: Cornelia Parker © Anne-Katrin Purkiss All Rights Reserved, DACS/Artimage 2022.

fragments surrounding a single lightbulb. Examples of Parker’s more recent room-sized works are included, such as War Room 2015, created from the reams of perforated red paper negatives left over from the production of British Legion remembrance poppies. n Go to: tate.org.uk, call: 020 7887 8888 or follow @ Tate #CorneliaParker for more details.

Royal Air Force News Friday, May 6, 2022 R'n'R 5

Strictly's Craig Revels in the limelight ... S

TRICTLY COME DANCING star Craig Revel Horwood’s All Balls and Glitter oneman show continues its tour around the UK this month. The famously acerbic SCD judge, who is also a highly respected director and choreographer, explained that the show is based on his life. He said: “Act One is very much the stories of me growing up in Australia in my home town of Ballarat, my time in Melbourne and my career in musical theatre. I was in West Side Story, Cats, Miss Saigon, La Cage Aux Folles, all of those shows, and I’m singing songs from some of them. “Then in Act Two it’s very much about where my Strictly story began and what’s happened since then, so I tell anecdotes about Strictly and backstage stuff.

New show is an all-singing, all-dancing autobiography H

I don't ever go too far and I don't insult people. Well, I try not to anyway

I don't care about being cast as Mr Nasty – it's all just part of the job”

“It’s an autobiographical romp through my life through song and dance. It’s one thing reading an autobiography but it’s another thing when you see the person actually on stage talking about it themselves. And people don’t necessarily know me from singing so I think that will be interesting.” He added: “It’s a show I’ve always wanted to do and this seems like the perfect time to do it, to bring a bit of joy into people’s lives. I’m not just doing it for my own satisfaction but also to show people what I used to do before Strictly.”

SITTING PRETTY: Showman Revel Horwood

And it’s just Craig on stage, apart from his pianist and good friend Ben Goddard. Craig said: “We have a bit of banter as well plus the audience will get to ask a few questions and I’ll answer them truthfully, like I always do. It’s all-encompassing.” He admitted that, as this show was his first time ‘flying solo’, he was quite nervous about it. “Obviously I’ve played parts like Miss Hannigan in Annie but you’re part of a company and certainly in panto you’re constantly breaking the fourth wall, talking to the audience and going in and out of character. The one-man show is totally different. When you’re talking about yourself in real life it can be emotionally difficult as well,” he explained.

ow much is the man we see on Strictly the real Craig Revel Horwood? He said: “When I’m on Strictly I put my judge’s hat on and I treat it seriously. That’s who people see but it’s not the real me, no, of course not. That’s just a part of me. It’s my critical side. That’s my work character and I’m like that when I’m choreographing and directing too. “I think it’s important to be honest with people, especially since you want them to be really good and better. For me that honesty is absolutely essential and on the tour I want to be honest and tell everyone the truth about how I started. It might help other kids coming up who might be thinking about a life in the theatre or on stage.” He revealed that being labelled ‘mean’ or ‘nasty’ doesn’t get to him. “I don’t care. It’s part and parcel of the job and it’s the same as playing the villain in panto. I’m always cast as the villain and I’m pleased about that because the villains have the better parts. Who wants to be the love interest? No-one! He added: “I think it got to me originally but I’ve learned to live with it. People know that it’s tongue-in-cheek and that there’s a twinkle in my eye. I don’t ever go too far and I don’t insult people. Well, I try not to anyway. I’m just trying to make their dancing better and I think any way you can do that is a good thing,” he said. The tour had to be postponed twice because of the coronavirus pandemic, which he described as ‘a nightmare.’ He explained: “Now I just want to provide some joy and escapism. When we went on the road with the Strictly Come Dancing Live arena tour it was amazing seeing 10,000 people smiling, happy, applauding, booing, hissing, doing all of that stuff. It was just brilliant and it reminded me of what we’d been missing. You end up taking things like that for granted until they don’t exist anymore, then you think ‘Wow, this is amazing and I should never take it for granted ever again’." n Go to: atgtickets.com for more details.

Royal Air Force News Friday, May 6, 2022 R'n'R 6

R'n'R Your Announcements

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

Seeking LOOKING for any members of the 47th entry TG19 Hereford 62-64. Are there any still about? Please contact Jim Cummins on: Carol_cummins@aol.com or 01302 532865,07517 416702. DOES anyone know the whereabouts of Steve Welburn and Steve Butterworth? Steve Welburn was the OC RAF Swanton Morley detachment at BAe Woodford Nimrod AEW project. Steve Butterworth was on 16 Sqn Buccaneers RAF Laarbruch in the early 80s. Please contact Ron Peate, now Ron ThompsonPeate, via email: lindaro146@ yahoo.co.uk I am trying to contact the next of kin of Pilot Officer Denys Bellerby who, on January 4, 1941, was one of a crew of four on a training flight aboard a Wellington L7783 from 99 Squadron Bomber Command when the plane crashed and two of the crew died. I would also like to contact the next of kin of Wg Cdr Walter Hutton (26036, later Air Commodore) of 210 Squadron Coastal Command. I would like to reproduce their letters of condolence when a colleague died in 1940 and 1942 respectively. I would be extremely grateful if anyone with any information could contact me: ccecil@ carolinececil.co.uk. LOOKING for any of the class of IFN4/66, nav inst fitters course held at RAF Newton from April 1966 to March 1967. Please contact Malcolm Hodgson on: hodgson8448@gmail.com I am interested in contacting any ex-40th entry 1 Squadron, C Flight, Boy Entrants, at RAF Hereford 1960-61. Are there any still about? Please contact Ken

Tinker on: KenMckean100@ gmail.com or call: 01722 790344 or 07377 03054. LOOKING for anyone stationed at RAF Safi, in Malta, and RAF Idris, in Libya, between June 1963 and December 1965. Also, anyone on the RAF flight on Floriana parade ground for Independence Day in September 1964, in Malta. Please contact Geoff Stevens on: moomin33@hotmail. co.uk or (01795) 479803. THE RAF Mountain Rescue Association was formed in 1993 and since then has built up a large e-archive and website telling the story of RAF MR since it was officially recognised in 1943. The amount of information about the various teams varies widely and very little is known about RAF Harrowbeer which had a team for only a few months in 1944. In common with all the other RAF MRTs at that time the Team Leader was the Senior Medical Officer, in Harrowbeer’s case Sqn Ldr Frank Constable. The RAF Harrowbeer Operational Record Book Form 540 indicates that there were approximately 30 to 50 airmen serving on RAF Harrowbeer Mountain Rescue Team which had been in service for at least four months. There may have been an unofficial RAF Mountain Rescue on this station prior to 1944. RAF Harrowbeer Mountain Rescue Team may have been the first search and rescue unit to be formed on Dartmoor. RAF Harrowbeer Mountain Rescue veterans are entitled to join the Royal Air Force Mountain Rescue Association. If any readers can throw any light on this team or have information about Sqn Ldr Constable please contact Philip Rose at: philiprose3321@gmail. com. Philip is co-ordinating research into the team.

Reunions THE RAF & Defence Fire Services Association was formed in 1995 and would like to attract new members of all ranks, serving and retired. There is an annual subscription fee of £16 and for that you receive three Association magazines a year called the ‘Flashpoint’ which members are invited to contribute their stories to. We meet for a reunion and AGM once a year. For more information about us and how to join visit the website: rafanddfsa.co.uk – we would love to hear from you. The RAF & DFS Association has also close links with the Museum of RAF Firefighting, visit: firemuseum.uk AFTER 55 years, the RAFAA 308 Entry Reunion will be held at the National Memorial Arboretum on June 15. A guided tour is being arranged in the afternoon and there is also an option for dinner, bed & breakfast at the Cathedral Hotel in Lichfield. For more information, please contact Nick Nicholson on: 01691 682174 or email: nich33@ btinternet.com. RAF Admin Apprentice Association Annual General Meeting and Reunion June 17-19, Northampton Marriott Hotel. For full details and options please contact the Association’s Social Secretary on: 01403 581324 or you can email: socialsecretary@ rafadappassn.org. This will be our first reunion since lockdown and will be a great chance to catch up with old friends and indeed make new ones. 60TH Reunion, 45th entry, C. Flight 3 Squadron suppliers reunion July 8 and 9 at 3 Counties Hotel, Hereford. For further information please contact Dinger Bell on: 01482377625.

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

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


RAFA tribute to wartime pilot THE RAFA Beccles and Southwold Area sadly report the passing of Flt Lt James Betteridge RAF (Ret’d) at the age of 98. At the request of the family, the Branch Standard and that of three Suffolk Royal British Legion Branches were honoured and privileged to attend the funeral at Ipswich Crematorium on March 28, said Branch President Brian Vousden. Mr Vousden added: “Jim had a long and successful career in the RAF, volunteering at the age of 18 for aircrew training in Canada, completing his course and twice crossing the Atlantic Ocean in 1942 when the German U-Boat menace was at is peak. “Returning to the UK he joined 96 Squadron flying Douglas Dakotas and was seconded to the Airborne Operations in Europe. “Jim also served in the Middle East and the Far East, ferrying in troops and supplies and flying out prisoners of war, freed from the Japanese in Singapore. “In 1947 he came back to the UK, was stationed at RAF Waterbeach and completed over 200 operations with the Berlin Air Lift. “Following this, in 1953 he was posted to RAF Forres and then RAF Kinloss with Coastal Command and in 1956, he became a RAF Recruiting Officer. “He retired from the RAF

ON PARADE: At RAF Kinloss in 1955, Flt Lt Betteridge (left) with AOC Coastal Command

in 1962 and continued his link with aviation, becoming an executive director of an international commercial pilot school, then joining the CAA and finally managing Biggin Hill Airport, from where he retired in 1983. “He will be greatly missed by his family and the many

friends and colleagues at the Air Crew Association, Suffolk, where he was Secretary and we all enjoyed his wit and humour. He was a fine officer and a gentleman and a great friend to all. He will be sorely missed. Blue skies Sir and happy landings. “We will remember him.”

Princess Royal opens new facility THE PRINCESS Royal visited the Defence Animal Training Regiment (DATR) at Remount Barracks, Melton Mowbray recently to officially open a new training facility for military working dogs and their handlers. The state-of-the-art newbuild includes three new classrooms, indoor and outdoor training areas, a new Station Headquarters office space and training accommodation. Overall, the facilities will be carbonneutral and 96 per cent selfsustaining, said a spokesman. The Canine Training Squadron (CTS) benefiting from the new build is the largest squadron within the DATR. Home to around 200 working dogs at any one time, it employs 50 Army and 20 RAF Police

personnel, supported by a team of civilians. They train the highly skilled military dogs and their handlers for a variety of roles including police force protection, arms and explosives searches, Counter Improvised Explosive Device (C-IED), and drugs search operations in the UK and overseas. The new facility has replaced portable units which previously housed the Squadron Headquarters staff, and timber-framed buildings which had been used for training since the 1940s. The Princess Royal (pictured above) met Service personnel and civil servants, who showcased the training of military dogs and their handlers and the range of

capabilities they provide to the MOD. She was invited to plant a tree on site for The Queen’s Green Canopy, part of the national celebrations to commemorate The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Royal R oyal Air F Force orce N News ews Fr Friday, iday, M May ay 6, 202 2022 22 R'n'R 7

R'n'R R 'n' nR Your Y our u Ann Announcements ouncements

You Y ou o can em email ail photos photos ffor or ann announcements ouncements oon n tthis his pa page ge tto: o: tr tracey.allen@rafnews.co.uk acey..allen@rafnews.co.uk

SService ervice honours honours ffallen aalllen cr crewman ewman a ALMOST ALM OST 80 yyears ears after after his ffinal ina i l flight flig l ght a blessing blessing cceremony ereemony was held held llast ast mo month nth ffor or Fg Off Offf Arnold Arnold Hallas Hallas at at the Commonwealth Commonwealth t War War Graves Graves Commission’s Commisssion’s Padua Pad dua W War ar C Cemetery, emeter y, IItaly. t ly ta ly. SSeveral everal members members of of his his fa family mily attended attended the the service service o organised rganised b byy tthe he MOD’s MOD’s Joint Joint C Casualty asualty aand nd Compassionate Compassionate C Centre entre (JCCC). (JCCC). The The cer ceremony emony tto o bless bless tthe he addi additional tional remains rem mains of of Fg Of Off ff H Hallas allas – recovered recovered by by A Aerei erei Perduti Perduti Polesine, Poleesine, an an Italian Italian aircraft aircraft recovery reco overy group group in November November 2020 20020 – was was co conducted nducted b byy tthe he R Rev ev (Sqn (Sqn Ldr) Ldr) Rebekah Rebekah Cannon, Cann n on, Chaplain Chaplain aatt RAF RAF Brize Brize Norton. Norton. Th Thee A Air ir H Historical istorical Branch Bra r nch reviewed reviewed documents documents that that confirmed conffiirmed Fg Off Offf Hallas Hallas was was given given a burial burial by by the the padre padre who who attended attended the the crash crash si site te straight straight aafter fter H Hallas’s allas’s Spitfire Spitfir ie crashed in W orld W ar II crashed World War but o bserved o nly p artial but observed only partial remains were were recovered. recovered. The The remains aircraft p arts and and aartefacts rtefac e ts aircraft parts found b he rrecovery ecovery ggroup roup found byy tthe enabled en abled aan n iden identification tiffiiccation

BLESSING: BLESSING: Members M embers of of the the RAF RAF Delegation Delegation aatt th thee cceremony eremony ffor or Fg O Off ff H Hallas, allas, iinset nset

tto o b bee made made by by MOD MOD JCCC JCCC without w ithout the the need need for for DNA DNA ttesting. esting. T Tracey rracey B Bowers owers from from JJCCC CCC ssaid: aid: ““This This case case has has highlighted hig hlighted the the difficult difffic i ult conditions co nditions tthat hat w were ere fa faced aced 77 yyears ears ago ago aand nd tthe he ssad ad rreality eality off wa o warr in that that sometimes sometim i es iitt wass n wa not ot p possible ossible tto o rrecover ecover aall ll of of a casualty. casualty. ““We We aare re ggrateful ratefful to to the the rrecovery ecovery ggroup roup for for the the dig nity and and care care taken taken e during during dignity tthe he SSpitfire’s pitfir i e’s ex cavatio on and and excavation tthe he understanding understanding of of the the

family fa mily in this this sensitive sensitive case. case.” On A April pril 30, 1945, 601 SSqn qn Spitfires Spitfiires took took off off ffrom rom Bellaria, Bellaria, IItaly, taly, o on n a rreconnaissance econnaissance o operation. pera e tion. Fg Off Offf Hallas Hallas was was flying flyiing in SSpitfire pitfiire NH231. While Whi h le llooking lo okin i g for for enemy enem my transport, traansport, t thee formation th formation was was fired fiired on on by by light, ght, b but ut intense, intense, fire fiirre from from enemy nem my p positions. ositions. As As they they turned urned back, back, Fg Off Offf Hallas Hallas called alled u up p aand nd rreported eported tthat hat his is en engine gine h had ad b been een e hi hit. t. After A fter fflying lying through througgh bad bad weather, w eather, he he reported reported that that the the temperature tem perature was was rrising ising aand nd aatt 4,000 ffeet eet took took the the decision de d cision tto o bale bale out. out. His His aircraft aircraft dived dived sseveral everal times times and and was waas seen seen tto o roll, roll, finally fiinally diving diving straight straigght into in to the the ground. ground. He He was w s just wa just 24 when when his his Spitfire Spitfir i e crashed, c shed, cra jjust ust m months onths b before effore tthe he end end of of WWII aand nd ttwo wo d days ays y b before effore tthe he wa warr o officially ffiicially ended en nded in IItaly. taly. H Heather eather Ga Garden, rden, 93, hi hiss only o nly ssurviving urviving si sibling, bling, ssaid: aid: ““It It iiss ssuch uch a ggreat reat p leasure pleasure tto ow itness tthe he rreturn eturn o the witness off the rrest est o rnold’s b ody to to his his off A Arnold’s body ggrave. rave. Arnold’s Arnold’s ssacrifice acriffiice ccan an n ow b ully recognised recognised in now bee ffully perpetuity. p erpetuity.”

RARE: The blue reconnaissance aircraft, inset, the Spitfire's tour map

IIconic conic o c Spitfire Spitffiirre g goes oes on ttour our A SSPITFIRE PITFIRE from from the the Royal Royal Air Air Force Force Museum Museum M Midlands idlands w will ill go go on on tour tour this this summer, summer, vvisiting isiting rregional eggional ttowns owns and and cities cities as as p part art of of the the museum’s museum’s 50th 50th anniversary anniversary celebrations. celeebrations. Thee ico Th iconic nic aaircraft ircra c ft – a ra rare re b blue lue reconnaissance reconnaissance SSpitfire pitfiire P PR. R. XIX – w will ill vvisit isit four four locations locations across across the the Midlands Midlands in May, May, June June aand nd JJuly: uly : aatt SSouthwater, outhwater, T Telford elfford o on nM May ay 14-15; M Millennium illennium P Point oint C Coventry oventry (C (Coventry oventry Food Food Festival) Festival) on on June Jun u e 18–19; Quarry Quarry Park, Park, Shrewsbury (Shrewsbury (Shrewssbury Food Food Festival) Festival) on on Shrewsbury June 25–26 aand nd JJubilee ubilee Square, Square, Leicester Leicester on on June July 16–17. July F amilies can can get get up up close close to to the the aircraft aircraft Families and h ands-on w ith in teractive ac tivities o n and hands-on with interactive activities on tthe he gground round including includin ng do donning nning b battledress attledress

uniform unifform aand nd taking takiing a seat seat inside insidee a replica replica ccockpit. ockp pit. Barry B arry SSmith mith from from the the museum museum e said: said: “This “Th his yyear ear tthe he R RAF AF Museum Museum Midlands Midlands is is celebrating celeebrating 50 years years of of sharing sharing R RAF A stories, AF stories, and and what what better better way way to to celebrate celebrate this thi h s than than to to take take one one of of our our most most ico iconic nic aaircraft ircrraft o out ut o on n ttour. ourr.” You Y ou ccan an visit visit the the Spitfire Spitfiire on on tour tour and and get get a ffree ree Spitfire Spitfiire virtual virtual reality reality experience e erience exp voucher vouc u her co code, de, rredeemable edeemable on on your your next next visit to to the the RAF RAF Museum Museum Midlands Midlands (terms (terms visit and conditions conditions aapply). pply). T ag #R A useum AFM and Tag #RAFMuseum your #SpitfireSelfie #Spitfir i eSelffiie for for the the chance chance to to win win in your one of of five five prize prize bundles bundles worth worth £50 £ (terms (terms one and co nditions aapply). pply). M useum en ntry iiss ffree, ree, and conditions Museum entry book at: at: rafmuseum.org/midlands. rafmuseum.org/midlands. book

Royal Air Force News Friday, May 6, 2022 R'n'R 8

R'n'R Crossword

Su Doku

No. 315

No. 325

Solve the crossword, then rearrange the 12 letters in yellow squares to find an RAF legend

Fill in all the squares in the grid so that each row, each column and each 3x3 square contains all the digits from 1 to 9.

Across 7. Almost the public school for 100 Squadron (3,3) 8. See 5 Down 10. Old king joins Royal Navy east of old station (7) 11. Before end of month, Peg shows fangs (5) 12. State of Isle of Wight before end of era (4) 13. A profit once more (5) 17. Criticise Syrian leader, now deceased (5) 18. Heartless reverence becomes compassion (4) 22. Maps required by transporter? (5) 23. I’m out of date and at a dead end (7) 24. See 6 Down 25. Ape distraught when everyone comes back for food (6)

Down 1. Keep working on film about jerk (5,2) 2. Telephone operator shows pain and shouts out (7) 3. Truffle-hunter died in committee (5) 4. Pointless canister being damaged, that’s for sure (7) 5. And 8 Across. Minimise gel spread on old aircraft (5,6) 6. And 24 Across. Plane that’s no good for day-shift pilots (5,6) 9. Golf club to follow aircraft (9) 14. Great hero, great poem, great novel (7) 15. Projectile hits young girl inside toilets (7) 16. Sounds like queue for meat at old station (7) 19. Two graduates and I at Disney movie (5) 20. An old one should no longer set your heart alight (5) 21. Without the French parsley, flowers appear (5)

Film Review Ascension (15) Out now

SEX SELLS: Making life-size dolls to order for solo 'fun'

Solution to Su Doku No: 324

Solution to Crossword No 314: Across – 1. Basic 4. Bologna 8. Amnesia 9. Optic 10. Once 11. Akrotiri 13. Boom 14. Wend 16. Eye Level 17. Mill 20. Blind 21. Epitaph 22. Reef Net 23. Green Down – 1. Bravo November 2. Sonic 3. Cast 4. Blanks 5. Look Over 6. Get Wind 7. Arctic Dolphin 12. Poseidon 13. Beeline 15. Deceit 18. Irate 19. Wing Air Force base – Edwards


Secrets of Below Deck's Captain Sandy


ROADCASTER Riyadh Khalaf (right) will host the world premiere of Captain Sandy Live on May 16 at the Lyric Theatre in London’s West End. He will join Captain Sandy – star of the hit reality series Below Deck Mediterranean – to delve deep into her incredible career: how she beat cancer, survived a lifethreatening bike crash and built a reputation as an elite class of superyacht captain. Khalaf said: “The night is going to be packed with laughs,

juicy gossip and a look into Sandy’s life as we haven’t seen it before. I’m a self-confessed Captain Sandy superfan so the audience can be guaranteed that no stone will be left unturned.” Captain Sandy (right) said: “I’m looking forward to connecting with the people of the UK. It’s an absolute pleasure to be able to share with all of you how I made it from the streets to the top of my industry and I assure you there will

be lots of laughs involved.” Sandy’s partner, acclaimed Gospel singer Leah Rae, will perform on the night. Captain Sandra Yawn has taken part in five seasons of Below Deck Mediterranean and has a huge fan base worldwide with more than half a million followers on Instagram. n Go to: nimaxtheatres.com/ shows/captain-sandylive/ or call: 0330 333 4812 for ticket details.

SCENSION IS a At times the documentary documentary on a gigantic appears as science fiction, watching scale that targets the the absurd mundanity of people industrial machine of China, assembling sex dolls from parts, watching the flow of consumer their cartoonishly proportioned goods and loss of individualism bodies laid out, mangled and all through simple yet stunning decapitated, as they are put observation. together and painted to order. It It opens to a sea of people in the is eye-opening, shocking but also street, jobseekers all being herded bizarrely funny. towards potential employers, the We also witness citizens being conditions announced through prepared for the service industry: megaphones: 18-38, no tattoos, no young men learn how to become hair dye. One advertises a seated human shields for the security job, another offers standing, but business, whilst others learn both pay just over £1.50 an hour. complete obedience in order to be Jessica Kingdon’s film sets out a butler of Downton Abbey merit. to show the industry of China Full conference rooms are lectured by looking at the products being on how to succeed in the ‘fan created, the people creating economy era’ and amass a following them, and the consumers who by monetising their knowledge; purchase them. There is no need whilst others are taught the correct for narration, the images speak way to hug and how many teeth volumes. they should show when smiling Inside the factories we witness (it’s the top eight in case you were the mass production of everyday wondering.) items such as water bottles, aerosol The sheer size and scale of this nozzles and ‘Make America Great film creates a dwarfing spectacle that Again’ baseball caps. Like television is both staggering and entrancing – show How It’s Made, there is a it certainly makes for strange and great satisfaction in watching wondrous entertainment. the rhythm of the machinery 4 out of 5 roundels producing a never-ending stream Review by Sam Cooney of objects: the hypnotic flow and tessellation, but the remarkable thing is how the people working in these factories become extensions of the devices they operate, with their own endlessly repeating movements; the last sign of humanness almost lost in their shared vacant SOLE DESTROYING: Chinese factory work expressions.