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The Forcest'e favourir pape

5th-gen Rivet Joint sim takes off See p18

Inspiring Sgt battling MS G'd up by Hawk T2 See p15

Friday February 7 2020 No 1484 70p


Football SRT kicks it to Wulfs

Last Ace dies

WG CDR Paul Farnes, the last of the Battle of Britain Aces has died at the age of 101. The daring 501 Sqn Hurricane pilot was credited with five kills during the epic fight for Britain's skies and went on to destroy another enemy aircraft and cripple at least six others before the war was over. Speaking in later years he said: "I can't honestly say that I was ever frightened during the Battle of Britain."

See p24

O Sport p35

X-Country Stars shine at Sefton

O Sport p29 ű

Book your free place today. Call us on 0800 018 2361 or visit rafa.org.uk/FIT

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Fleeing Brits land at Brize MORE THAN 100 people affected by the global coronavirus emergency have landed back in the UK. As RAF News went to press, a flight carrying 83 Britons and 27 foreign nationals from China touched down at Brize Norton in Oxfordshire. The UK passengers were taken to Arrowe Park Hospital on the Wirral to be quarantined for two weeks. Earlier, England’s chief medical officer announced that two members of the same family had tested positive for the disease. So far, at least 213 people in China have died from the virus, with almost 10,000 cases nationally. There have been 98 cases in another 18 countries. "This is still primarily a Chinese emergency as 99 per cent of cases have been in China and all deaths have been in China," said Prof Devi Sridhar, from the University of Edinburgh. The World Health Organisation declared coronavirus a global emergency earlier this month.

Are you or someone you care about finding it tough? We are holding free mental wellbeing training courses for non-serving members of the RAF family across the UK.


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Royal Air Force News Friday, February 7, 2020 P3

We want the UK to be the best place in the world to be a Veterans Minister Johnny veteran Mercer on plans to

improve welfare services and job prospects for ex-Forces personnel p21

We know what the winning feeling is like, having won at Lord’s in 2018, and we will be looking to win again

Flt Lt Adam Fisher, speaking about the launch for the IST20 p30

It’s been fantastic. The cast is amazing. To have Phillipa Stefani headling is amazing

Gloria Estefan on the theatre show On Your Feet! RnR p4-5

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

THE RAF Waddington research and testing organisation has been renamed the Air and Space Warfare Centre. The move marks the Service’s increasing range of celestial capabilities and the unit will support initiatives like the Virgin Orbit small satellite launch programme which has an RAF Test Pilot. Since its inception in 1993, the centre has optimised capability development and employment and the organisation now consists of approximately 1,000 personnel split between five UK and six US sites. It will remain at the Lincolnshire base, it’s home since 1995. Centre Commandant Air Cdre Rich Davies said: “The

name change recognises the work already undertaken by my staff within the space domain

and formalises the next step as we look to further enhance the structure of the ASWC to ensure

we are configured to support and keep pace with this rapidly developing area of Defence.”

This Week In History 1944

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

Cats hunt ships

Seven Catalinas combed the Indian Ocean to locate the supply ship and oil tanker Charlotyte Schielman. They later sank the vessel. 1952

MiG 15s destroyed

A USAF and RAF group of four pilots led by Wg Cdr JR Baldwin engaged MiG 15s in F-86 Sabre. During one sortie Baldwin and four pilots failed to return. Sqn Ldr G Hulse was later credited with downing two MiGs.


Liberator captured

FS Stanley Woodbridge of No.159 Sqn was captured on Janury 31, 1945 by the Japanese after his Liberator crached in the jungle. He resisted interrogation. Posthumous GC awarded in 1948.

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

Royal Air Force News Friday, February 7, 2020 P5


Nightmare on Civvie Street Calls for Vets to ‘rebrand’ to fight prejudice see on TV and films.” There is more bad news for vets MILITARY VETERANS need to competing in the job market with be rebranded to combat growing almost 90 per cent of those polled public prejudice and counter false saying they believed former Forces perceptions about how they have members struggle to adapt to been damaged by their civilian work practices and military service, Forces 30 per cent said they charity chiefs claim. thought vets were not According to suited to any kind of the latest research, civilian employment. nearly half of British Veterans Minister civilians questioned Johnny Mercer said: think military vets “The perception that have mental health veterans are mad, sad problems, that 40 per and bad is wrong and cent abuse alcohol and STIGMA: Homelessness outdated. that a third of them are “As a former Army homeless. officer I have met and worked Other misconceptions include the with hundreds of veterans throughout belief that vets account for almost a my career and their drive, skills and quarter of the prison population while confidence are second to none. the actual figure is just 0.72 per cent. “We must all do more to challenge The shock results of the poll the negative stereotypes surrounding carried out by the Veterans Work veterans and recognise the value they Consortium has led to calls for a add to society.” campaign to help rebrand those The latest research echoes who served their country. a previous study of UK employers which revealed Veterans Work Consortium chairman Chris almost a third said they Recchia said: “Whilst a great would discriminate deal of work is being done to against applicants with positively enhance the veteran a Forces background. brand we can see how much still needs to be done. “Sadly a lack of informed interaction with the veterans community is leading to a large section of the population having their view of ex-service personnel influenced by inaccurate data, myths and what they

Staff Reporter

MAKSIM-UM RESPECT: Young aviator

Charity chiefs target the lies that wound ex-Forces fighters: ● 48% mentally ill ● 40% abuse alcohol ● 33% are homeless

See p21


Climbers’ double Lakeland alert

RAF honour for rugby ace Rory

RAF MOUNTAINEERS launched a double rescue to evacuate a fallen hill walker and to assist another team struggling to help two climbers stranded on a treacherous Lakeland peak. Leeming’s Mountain Team broke off from training on Striding Edge in Cumbria when they were alerted by the stricken walker’s call for help. Team leader Sgt Ian Llewelyn said: “There were gale force winds and the casualty had fallen off Striding Edge and landed badly on a boulder.” The airmen treated the casualty and called in a helicopter. RAF climber Cpl Josh Hughes flew out with the injured man to free up the

RAF RUGBY legend Rory Underwood has been made an Honorary Group Captain with the Volunteer Reserves. The 56-year-old airman, who retired from the Service in 2001 as a Flight Lieutenant, will take up the position as part of the Volunteer Reserve. The move will allow the record try-scoring England international to carry out his other civic duties as a Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Leicestershire in RAF uniform of commensurate rank. He said: “It is a great honour to be able to wear the uniform when I am standing in for the Lord Lieutenant

paramedic to care for the patient of another incident on the same afternoon. Sgt Llewelyn said: “It was a complicated rescue with a lot of things were happening at the same time. It’s a good feeling to know that you have helped someone out on the hills.” In a second emergency the team, assisted bya fell runner, reponded to a police alert that a pair of illequipped climbers were stranded in the snow on Tarn Crag, near the summit of Blencathra. The Air Force team was able to locate the duo and escort them to safety.

RESCUE: RAF team escort stranded climbers from Tarn Crag

Cadet wins wings at 14 A 14-YEAR-OLD Air Cadet has become the youngest person in RAF history to receive his wings. Maksim Ferguson from Southport may be too young to drive a car but became the UK’s youngest ever pilot when he flew a four-seater aeroplane in Canada. The Air Cadet accolade is usually reserved for 16-year-olds – the UK’s legal solo flying age for powered aircraft. Maksim became eligible for the honour two years earlier than any other aviator in British history after flying solo in Canada last year. To qualify the young aviator flew a full circuit solo at a height of 1,000 feet and completed a further two-and-a-half hours of flight time, winning his Canadian Student Pilot Permit. Maksim said: “I was completely taken aback to be awarded my Wings. “I’m so grateful for all the support and opportunities that the Air Cadets have given me and getting my Wings feels like a giant step forward in achieving my goals in aviation.” The award has seen the Air Cadets review its rules for bestowing Civilian Wings on promising young pilots. He received the badge from Wg Cdr Eddie Challoner, who said: “This 14-year-old is dynamic, focused and has come into aviation knowing exactly what he wants to do.”

UNDERWOOD: New role as Hon Gp Capt

as the Queen’s representative in the county. “We wife Wendy is a bit upset though, she is a Squadron Leader in the Reserves and it means I now out rank her.”

STANDING SIDE BY SIDE WITH THE RAF FAMILY FOR OVER 100 YEARS Find out how we help serving and former members of the RAF and their families.

FREE CALL 0800 169 2942 rafbf.org/help



Royal Air Force News Friday, February 7, 2020 P7


Nevada combat drill tests Lightning Force UK F-35 debut on world’s biggest air power exercise

F-35 Fact File

Powerplant Pratt & Whitney F135 Turbofan Maximum thrust: 40,000lb with re-heat TYPHOON: Previous Red Flag

F-35: Put through its paces

PREPARATIONS: Marham personnel ready F-35 for Red Flag 2020

Simon Mander

LIGHTNING FAST jets from 617 Dambusters Sqn will make their debut on the international stage alongside the world’s best fighters during Exercise Red Flag. Britain’s latest stealth aircraft will team up for the first time alongside UK Typhoons and Australian Air Force top guns as the only nonUS participants in the Stateside training mission. Speaking exclusively to RAF News from Nellis Air Force Base, Marham Station Commander Gp Capt Jim Beck said: “This will be a stern test for our F-35 personnel, both RAF and Royal Navy, whom I have no doubt will demonstrate the world-beating combat air capability that Lightning represents.” Red Flag is a tactical training

exercise hosted over the vast ranges of the Nevada desert until February 14 to develop the jet’s capability in a high-threat, contested, environment against near peer adversaries. Aircrews will focus on scenarios including large-scale air operations involving different jets from participating nations on both day and night missions. Gp Capt Beck (pictured) said: “Red Flag affords the opportunity for us to really put all areas of Lightning through its paces. “The scale and complexity of this exercise allows Lightning to stretch its legs and undertake a wide range of roles and missions simultaneously; including highly complex

air-to-air operations, dynamic air-to-surface scenarios and work with the intelligence community to get the most from the aircraft’s overwhelming sensor suite.” Red Flag, in which the RAF has participated for more than 40 years, offers the very best air combat training in the world. Its breadth, scale and complexity mean aircrews can develop, enhance and improve their tactics, techniques and procedures to stay at the leading edge of air combat. And it strengthens the

ability of British squadrons to fight alongside US and Australian allies. Five UK Lightnings will operated alongside their USAF counterparts, the F-35A. The latest milestone follows the Dambusters’ successful carrier flight trials in the US last year and the first operational sorties flown over Syria. Other participants include Brize Norton-based Voyager tankers, Typhoons from Coningsby’s 41 Test and Evaluation Squadron, USAF, US Navy, USMC and RAAF personnel with Wedgetail, Growler and Super Hornet. The F-35s flew from Norfolk to their former home at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort in South Carolina before continuing their journey to Nellis Air Force Base.

Length: 15.6m Height: 4.36m Wingspan: 10.7m Air-to-Air Refuelling: Probe & Drogue System Speed: Mach 1.6 Max altitude: 50,000ft Aircrew: 1 pilot Missiles: AMRAAM, ASRAAM Bombs: Paveway IV Guns: 25mm Gun Pod Planned Weapons: METEOR, SPEAR Radar: AN/APG81 AESA, IR Search & Track Electronic Warfare: • Full countermeasure suite, • AN/AAQ-37 Electro Optical Distributed Aperture System, • Electro Optical Targeting System, • Secure Datalink Link 16, • Multi-Function Advanced Data Link


We are excellent. We are QE.

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

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

Royal Air Force News Friday,February 7, 2020 P9


WITTERING BOMB disposal expert Phil Hunt’s left the station for the last time after 35 years service – strapped to a Russian FAB 500 Cold War era explosive device. Retiring WO Hunt joined up in 1984 as a weapons mechanic and went on to serve in both Gulf Wars and Afghanistan, combating deadly IEDs. He is the last Warrant Officer to serve with 5131 Bomb Disposal Sqn, which is to be

disbanded later this year. He said: “I’ve had an amazing career. Bomb disposal has been the most rewarding role. “We truly have some remarkable people and I leave head held high having been part of that history. “I now go on to head up a research and development department using the skills I’ve amassed over 35 years. Task complete, popping smoke.”

Vultures challenging the IS pecking order See p31

Tournament preview and interviews

Royal Air Force News Friday, February 7, 2020 P10

News In Brief

Rail pledge to get cash-strapped vets back on track Staff Reporter

SMART AWARD: Fitness expert Cpl Impey has represented GB at the World University Games.

Ref Lauren plays it safe PHYSICAL TRAINING expert Cpl Lauren Impey has won a top station award for helping injured personnel at Wittering fight back to fitness. The 29-year-old, who represented GB Women’s football at the World University Games in Belgrade last year, was presented with the Smart Award by station commander Gp Capt Jo Lincoln. She said: “When there are people who believe in you, and you feel empowered in your work, it’s amazing what you can achieve.”

UK FORCES VETERANS stand to get a third off train fares following the launch of a new railcard. It goes on sale from Armistice Day and is expected to extend discounted tickets to more than 830,000 veterans, saving them and their families hundreds of pounds a year, the MoD said. The move announced in the New Year honours election pledges to boost job prospects for ex-Service personnel and bring them closer to family and friends. Defence Secretary Ben

Wallace said: “This railcard is an important step towards fulfilling our commitments to our veteran community and underlines the debt of gratitude we owe to those who have served.” Minister for Defence People and Veterans Johnny Mercer added: “The railcard is only the start. “We need to do more to look after the people who so selflessly put their lives on the line to look after us.” Other measures include a pledge to give veterans better legal protection against prosecution arising from their time in Service.

D-Day duo net French honour

Obesity threat for PTSD vets MOST FORCES veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder are struggling with obesity according to a medical survey. The report by King’s College reveals that almost 80 per cent of former Service personnel with the condition are overweight or obese while over 40 per cent of them live their lives in chronic pain. Almost 30 per cent of the veterans who took part in the study also reported hearing loss and more than one in ten reported taking illegal drugs to help them cope with their problems. The results mirror previous investigations carried out in the US and Australia and have led to calls for specially tailored health programmes to help UK veterans with mental health issues avoid developing physical problems. The reports states: “Understanding the physical and mental health burden experienced by veterans is important for all NHS and voluntary sector services who provide treatment. “The association with between obesity and PTSD is well documented. Individuals with with PTSD may be less likely to exercise because of fear of arousal symptoms like shortness of earth and increased heart rate. “There is also a lot of research which suggests that those with PTSD and other mental health issues may choose not to exercise due to heightened concerns for their safety.”

Simon Mander D-DAY VETS have received France’s highest military honour at Coningsby. Lancaster Gunner Bert Hammond took part in raids targeting enemy troops and railway transport in order to slow down the German response to the invasion, completing five missions over 8 days in support of D-Day. He went on to complete a full tour of more than 30 missions on the same Sqn with the same crew. Signalman Harry Archer’s lorry transferred onto a landing craft on D-Day+ 2 or 3, and he later drove into surf to set up a post on a ridge overlooking Gold Beach in a large bomb crater for cover. He established communications between British troops and the bridgehead and connected the underwater cable linking Allied troops to England by telephone. They were presented with the Légion d’Honneur at the Lincolnshire station following the French government’s decision

HONOURED: Vets Bert Hammond and Harry Archer are presented with their medals by Coningsby chief Gp Capt Flewin. Inset left, Troops prepare for D-Day

in 2014 to honour all surviving veterans. The ceremony took place in the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight hangar where two Spitfires used in

D-Day operations are maintained in an airworthy condition. Station Commander Group Captain Mark Flewin said:“Hearing the stories of these brave men

brings to life what they did in the defence of their country. “We are privileged to have them here today and to be able to witness this recognition of their service.“

Royal Air Force News Friday, February 7, 2020 P11


Rocket man Andy’s Bloodhound bid goes green A ZERO-EMISSIONS rocket powered by steam will be used in the next Bloodhound land speed record bid, it has been revealed. Powered by concentrated hydrogen peroxide it will be used alongside a Typhoon jet-fighter engine to reach 1000mph in South Africa late next year. It follows the vehicle’s successful high-speed testing programme in the Kalahari Desert, when driver and RAF fighter pilot Wg Cdr Andy Green reached 628mph. The vehicle is now at Bloodhound’s HQ in Gloucestershire, to be prepared for the next phase of the project. The rocket to provide extra thrust for another attempt will be provided by Norwegian specialist Nammo, which builds them for

the European Space Agency to put small satellites into orbit. Its size and power makes it ideal for use in Bloodhound and it uses only steam and oxygen to generate thrust. The team is also considering running the Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet engine on bio-fuel instead of Jet A fuel, further reducing its environmental impact. Bloodhound chief Ian Warhurst said: “This is an extraordinary story of technology and human endeavour that will stand the test of time and the record we set may never be beaten. “I’m also pleased to bring many new, more environmentallyrelevant technologies into the

FIRED UP: RAF fighter pilot Wg Cdr Andy Green will be aiming to hit 1050mph across the Hakskeen Pan in South Africa with a zero emissions rocket

design of the project. “To inspire future generations of engineers, we need to be doing this

with relevant technologies.” Data analysis of the last trials shows a 50-60kN monopropellant rocket is

required to propel the car through the sound barrier (approximately 760mph, 340m/s) and into the record books.

News bulletin GLOBAL PLAYER: The RAF currently operates a fleet of 21 Atlas A400M transporters from Brize Norton

Hit the road to mark BoB 80th AIR FORCE Museum chiefs have issued RAF fans a challenge to clock up 80km in 80 days to mark the 80th anniversary of the epic fight for Britain’s skies. Volunteers who run, cycle or swim the distance will be presented with a commemorative challenge medal. A spokesman said: “The event is a great opportunity for people aross the globe to challenge themselves and pay tribute to The Few.” The event starts on April 21 and entry is £20. All proceeds from the event will go to the RAF Museum. ●Go to rafmuseum.org.uk

Charities net covenant cash Two veterans charities have netted more than £200,000 from the Armed Forces Covenant Fund. Care for Veterans received £70,000 to fund a sports programme for disabled residents while the Launchpad housing charity received £140,000 to help maintain 32 one-bedroom flats for homeless veterans in Newcastle. The Covenant Fund paid out a total of £2.5 million in grants to Forces groups in the latest round of financial awards.

Brize Atlas team puts Belgian fleet on map Simon Mander BELGIAN AIRCREW have been training with their British counterparts at Brize Norton to prepare for the delivery of a new fleet of seven A400M airlifters. The first is expected to arrive at a new purpose-built complex at Melsbroek air base north of Brussels from May, to replace nine aged C-130H Hercules in service since 1972, under a contract signed in 2001. Ahead of the move a Belgian Air Force pilot and loadmaster

have been training at 24 Sqn at the Oxfordshire RAF station for the past 15 months. Senior Captain Jonas Van Hellemont said: “Having the opportunity to operate within 24 Sqn has helped me gain experience on the A400M a lot faster. “On top of theoretical training, crew members need real-life experience, being deployed and handling situations which cannot be trained on the ground. “That is what the RAF provides us. We share this experience with our Belgian colleagues who come

here once every three weeks to be trained on the simulators ahead of the arrival of the first Belgian airframes mid-2020.” 24 Sqn is the RAF’s Air Mobility Operational Conversion Unit training aircrew and engineers for the A400M Atlas and C-130J Hercules, and C-17 Globemaster III. Wg Cdr Andy McIntyre said: “Senior Captain Van Hellemont and Flight Sergeant Flipkens are fully integrated members of 24 Sqn, and it’s fantastic to have them working within the Atlas Flight team. “Having the perspective of

an A400M partner nation is invaluable and we really hope that the links being forged right now will endure well into the future.” The A400M Atlas is the RAF’s newest transport aircraft and gained full aeromedical capability for high dependency and highly infectious patients in 2018. It recently assisted the search and rescue for a missing Chilean aircraft and can carry a 37-tonne payload over 2,000nm to established and remote airfields and short unprepared or semiprepared landing strips.






from 63 countries 65,9% of international

65 startups at Eurosatory LAB


Total attendance (exhibitors, visitors, press, organisers)


Official delegations from 94 countries and 4 organisations (representing 760 delegates)



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75 Conferences 2,102 Business meetings made 2018 key figures

Royal Air Force News Friday, February 7, 2020 P13


City chiefs wing it for Dambuster Gibson

Simon Mander

A TYPHOON pilot has flown Dambusters’ legend Guy Gibson’s wings over Lincoln to mark a major exhibition about RAF heroes in the city. The display dubbed ‘Bastion in the Air: A Century of Valour,’ features the 617 Sqn OC’s uniform with pilot’s brevet and the VC he won for the epic 1943 mission. To promote the event a Coningsby-based Typhoon flew the badge over Lincoln Cathedral – a journey it must have made countless times on missions on its owner’s chest. Gibson began World War Two at Scampton with 83 Squadron, commanded his first squadron, 106

at Coningsby, before returning to Scampton to form 617 Squadron. He was serving again at Coningsby in 1944 when he lost his life. Lincolnshire County Council Aviation Heritage Manager Dave Harrigan said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to again highlight Lincolnshire’s vital contribution to the defence of our country through the bravery of such incredible individuals. “It is very appropriate and gratifying that RAF Coningsby agreed to fly the wings as a tribute to Gibson and all of the other people that we are celebrating in this exhibition.” The exhibition at The Collection Centre runs until March 15.

News Bulletin

Puma hits benchmark on Nato’s Afghan beat Staff Reporter RAF Benson PUMA HELICOPTERS have clocked up 30,000 flying hours since coming into service in 2015 – a third of them on operations in Afghanistan. The Benson-based Mk2 variant with its state-of-the-art avionics and engines has proven itself one of the most capable aircraft in service and has outperformed others in extreme conditions. It is the helicopter of choice for urban operations, discrete Army missions and for supporting flood and snow relief efforts in the UK. Pumas were also scrambled

to fly in aid to the hurricane-hit Caribbean in September 2017. Puma Force Commander Gp Capt Adam Wardrope, said: “A third of all flying completed on operations is quite unprecedented. It is a remarkable number of hours of continued support to Operation Toral in Afghanistan for almost five years.” An Iraq veteran, the Puma has been operational since 1971. The Royal Air Force fleet went through an upgrade shortly before it deployed to Afghanistan in 2015 to provide around-the-clock life-saving air transport to Nato personnel and visiting dignitaries in and around Kabul.

Kidz comes to Cranwell KATE WIGSTON opened the latest Royal Air Force Association-funded Kidz nursery at Cranwell this month. She said: “Having been part of the RAF family, I know how important a facility RAFA Kidz is and will be for years to come.”


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Royal Air Force News Friday, February 7, 2020 P15

News News bulletin

High five for marathon man

RAF ENDURANCE athlete Cpl Nick Gaulter hit his target of completing five marathons in five days. The 38-year-old braved subzero temperatures and driving

rain during the challenge to raise funds for the Royal Air Force Charitable Trust. IT specialist Nick mapped out the 26-mile route between High Wycombe where he works and the RAF training station at Halton. He said: “On the first day it was like the gates of hell had opened up with torrenteral rain, hail and thunder. “The following day the temperature started below freezing and didn’t get past three degrees all day. “It was pretty tough and totally different from my last fundraising run which I did between Episkopi and Akrotiri during a posting to Cyprus.” ●To sponsor Nick go to: https://uk.virginmoneygiving. com/NICHOLASGAULDER

LAC GEORGIA Sandover joined 17 other graduates on parade after making history as the first woman to pass combat training with the RAF Regt. Speaking after the ceremony Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston said: “The RAF Regiment Gunners graduating can be very proud of everything they achieved to get where they are. “We are equally proud of them because they include our first regular service female Gunner, making history with every role in the RAF now open to all.” ● See p23 for full grads report


Georgie’s all G’d up Supermum battling MS is on a high after thrilling flight in Hawk T2 Dave Williams RAF Valley

AN INSPIRING airwoman who thought her career was finished when she was struck down by multiple sclerosis has taken to the skies in a Hawk T2 jet. Air Force recruiter Sgt Georgie Smith was diagnosed with the crippling condition four years ago. The battling 40-year-old mumof-two has refused to be beaten by her illness and since receiving the bombshell news has become a campaigner for MS sufferers and Forces charities and captained the UK Warrior Games team in Florida. And she says a flight in a 25 Sqn Hawk at RAF Valley is one of the highlights of her career. “The flight was intense and experiencing G-Force is an amazing feeling. The views, speed and mobility of the jet is exhilarating. “The skill it takes for a pilot to fly a fast jet and the pressure it places on the body makes you fully appreciate the selection and training pilots go through. “I’d like to thank the squadron and Valley for giving me this fantastic experience.” She added: “When I got my diagnosis, it was quite a shock. I thought that’s it, my job’s over. The Air Force Sergeant received treatment at Headley Court, where she was encouraged to take part in the Warrior Games. She added: “I went to the Help for Heroes recovery centre in Salisbury, and they helped me discover new

The G-Force was exhilarating. It was a fantastic experience

sports such as power lifting. “I must train. It’s a mental strength issue and makes me feel I can recover quicker from a relapse,” she said. She went on to lead 20 injured British competitors in 2019 and compete herself in shot put, discus,

running, shooting and sitting volleyball events. Her campaigning charity work has also earned her a nomination for a Sun Millie award . Sgt Smith, who joined the RAF aged 19, has served in Bosnia, the Falklands and Afghanistan.

FLIGHT: Georgie lands back at Valley after Hawk thrill PHOTO SAC NATHAN EDWARDS

Royal Air Force News Friday, February 7, 2020 P17


view e r p ow h s r i A

Jupiter boost for Shawbury SHAWBURY IS to get four new H145 Jupiter aircraft and a simulator to boost rotary pilot training under a £183 million deal. Defence Minister James Heappey said: “These crucial upgrades will help our students become the finest helicopter pilots in the world.” The deal was signed by Ascent Flight Training Management, which delivers pilot training under the UK Military Flying Training System. It is part of a wider £3.2 billion programme to cope with increased demand for pilot training across the UK Armed Forces. The H145 Jupiter family is a proven training aircraft with more than 1,300 helicopters in service around the world and has clocked up more than 5.5 million flight hours.

Charity SOS

CRISIS-HIT COMBAT Stress is launching a fundraising drive to cover the cost of the services it provides to veterans battling mental health problems. The group recently announced it was unable to take on new cases after losing millions in NHS funding. Now charity chiefs have launched a campaign to boost donations and keep its services operating. The drive includes the March in March event, which is calling on supporters to raise funds by covering 10km. Fundraising director Robert Marsh said: “Combat Stress provides unique life-changing and often lifesaving support to veterans. “March in March is the perfect opportunity to show support for the military community while improving your own physical and mental wellbeing.” Participants completing 10 miles in March will receive a commemorative medal. Cash raised will pay to treat veterans with anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. The event costs £20 to register. For more information visit marchinmarch.co.uk.

’Phoon fighter Deano’s beano

TYPHOON PILOT Flt Lt Dean Rogers is set to take the air show season by storm as he showcases the RAF’s swing role fighter in front of millions of aviation fans this summer. The 34-year-old landed the job after a rigourous selection process and will be honing some of the show-stopping aerobatic

moves at Coningsby over the next few months ahead of his airshow debut in June. He said: “It is a privilege to join a team that represents a snapshot of all things that are great about the Royal Air Force and we are looking forward to sharing the airshow season with everyone.”

Neil Grobs a piece of the action Simon Mander A NIMROD veteran has been named as the Grob Tutor display team pilot for the airshow season. It’s the second year running Flt Lt Neil Owczarkowski of Wittering-based 115 Sqn has been chosen for the role. He will be putting the RAF basic trainer through its paces at more than 30 shows and be seen by around two million people. The agile Grob Tutor can perform stunning sequences

of turns, loops and rolls and its two display routines are rehearsed more than 20 times before Public Display Authority is given. Flt Lt Owczarkowski said: “The Tutor Display promotes the University Air Squadrons, mainly we go to airshows wherever there is a university or a squadron nearby.” To get in shape for the season Neil has been hitting the RAF’s new £70 million centrifuge at Cranwell, pulling more than 5G.

Royal Air Force News Friday, February 7, 2020 P18

Royal Air Force News Friday, February 7, 2020 P19

Feature The info war

Simon Mander reports


RC-135W: Intelligence gathering

… but it’s a Riveting fact that RAF Waddington’s the first to get the upgraded RC-135W ISR aircraft and state-of-the-art 5th-gen sim to train aircrew


SIM-THING WORTH SHOUTING ABOUT: AVM Harv Smyth takes the controls in Waddington’s 5th-generation Rivet Joint simulator cockpit


IR CHIEFS say upgrades to the UK-US Rivet Joint fleet make it the world’s most capable airborne electronic intelligence capability. And the RAF is the first to get the latest variant of the jet and a new stateof-the-art simulator to train aircrew and analysts at Waddington. Air Vice-Marshal Harv Smyth, who commands the RAF’s ISR Force, said: “We have put a brand-new cockpit in what is a heritage aircraft. “We’ve taken an aircraft with lots of dials and displays and replaced it with a next generation modern glass cockpit not unlike what you would see in an F-35. “We are also the first to have the upgraded Simulator Operational Flight Trainer No 4. That is a major step forward and the fact that the UK has the first demonstrates the level playing field in our cooperation with the US. “What’s key for me is that in it we can operate as we like, so we can do the very high-end mission training in a super high-fidelity realistic environment with gloves off, which will give us a battlewinning edge.” Rivet Joint is a unique British and American collaboration. Waddington personnel work alongside the US Air Force’s 645th Aeronautical Engineering ‘Big Safari’ Sqn in Greenville, Texas. Under the deal, British personnel train and operate with their US counterparts on their aircraft under reciprocal ‘co-manning’ arrangements. And while the RAF operates only three aircraft of the 20-strong force, British jet ZZ664 is the first to receive the latest improvements under the fouryear upgrade cycle. AVM Smyth (inset, right) said: “The RJ 18 is the first of 20 that’s had the upgrade. It’s slightly quirky that we have it here first, but that again shows the special relationship between our countries in this programme. “Our first jet was delivered in November 2013 and we’ve cooperated closely since then. For me, while the capability is phenomenal it’s not just about the pilots and aircrew side. “The aircrew get the aircraft where it needs to be, but all the smart stuff goes on in the back. The upgrade in the rear of the aircraft is called Baseline 12.2,

UK FIRST: ZZ664 saw the RAF lead the way when it debuted the next-generation glass cockpit

which is a generational step forward in what we do. “We’ve done a lot of work looking at exploiting big data from open sources right through to top secret, highly-classified capability and doing it in a way that will bring in other new technology. “It’s a very, very exciting period for UK Rivet Joint and the broader enterprise here.” The first RC-135W aircraft was delivered to the UK in November 2013 and the third in June 2017. Since its introduction to the RAF, Rivet Joint has deployed on operations over the Baltics, the Barents Sea, and the Middle East in the Coalition fight against the Daesh Islamist terror group. But air chiefs hope to integrate the aircraft with Britain’s new carriers and F-35 Lightning stealth fighters to collect vital intelligence and enable senior commanders to make the right combat decisions. 51 Sqn operates the UK’s Rivet Joint aircraft and

associated ground systems, to provide the Airseeker Joint Intelligence and Surveillance capability. It delivers near real-time, on-scene intelligence, collection, surveillance and analysis to coalition forces in the air and on the ground. The information gathered is forwarded in a variety of formats to a wide range of consumers via the RC135’s extensive communications suite. It is essentially an intelligence collection and analysis asset. RC135 Programme Manager Don Micelli said: “The phrase we use is ‘one team one plane,’ and that’s true. The first cutting-edge technologies have been embedded here and US Forces will come out here to do their training. “It’s a 4th-generation aircraft flying a 5th-generation cockpit and by advancing the technology we’re putting on the jet and the whole fleet we’ll be able to contest a high-intensity environment. “We’re putting more artificial intelligence and machine learning on the jet so that we can free up the

SPECIAL DELIVERY: The Rivet Joint sim (also inset above) arrives at Waddington last summer from Texas aboard a huge Antonov An-124

operators in the back to be thinking about the problem set using computers right in front of their eyes.

“We can accurately portray the battlefield right now for national command authorities but we’re looking towards the future and

while we can’t say a lot about it you should just know that we are one team in one fight and we share one technology.”

Regulars Announcements l p6-7


Glorious Gloria - life in stages l p4

Royal Air Force News Friday, February 7, 2020 R'n'R 3

R'n'R Film review

The Gentlemen 18 rating, out now

Director Ritchie back on home turf THERE ARE not many better at the fast-talking soundtrack driven gangster plotted thriller than Guy Ritchie, and with his latest release The Gentlemen he is back to his best. The movie, with a stellar cast including Matthew McConaughey, Hugh Grant, Charlie Hunnam and Colin Farrell features all the usual bells and whistles amidst an almost apologetic use of violence. If you can overlook the constant use of the director’s collection of London pubsand the most unlikely council estate flat, replete with ornate doors, brushed stainless steel kitchen and cafetiere, as constant backdrops then you should readily enjoy the fast-paced dialogue and pointless, but intriguing plot. The story deals with Michael Pearson (McConaughey) a successful UK marijuana dealer, who is looking to sell of his highly successful business and retire before the use of the drug becomes legal. Having a criminal record means Pearson cannot obtain licences to cash in the new future for the drug, so he is looking for an out. As usual leaving the criminal underworld is harder than getting in to it, especially with Fletcher, (Grant), a freelance journalist who has been on the trail of Pearson under orders from his boss gutter

LADY AND GENTS: Main, The Gentlemen director Guy Ritchie flanked by Michelle Dockery, who plays Rosalind Pearson, and Hugh Grant, who plays Fletcher in the film PHOTOS: PA

press editor Big Dave, played by Eddie Marsan. The shameless clichés aside Grant, having been hounded by the press himself in real life, is excellent as he superbly recounts the plot to Pearson’s right-hand man Ray played by Hunnam. Over scotch and steaks, the

drama unfolds in between bouts of backwards and forwards banter between Grant and Hunnam, who carries most of the film and is excellent. The entire cast seem to be having fun throughout, which makes the film infectious. Ritchie, shows, then credits

out the violence in exchange for a different ending to said scenes, and somehow it works. Maybe this play on how desensitised viewers have become to violence is a salient point, but the newspaper scenes are as far away from reality as you could get, but thankfully this parody doesn’t get


Signed Jon Kennedy Ha! vinyl and MMXX digital downloads

Beats king Kennedy is keeping DJ dream alive

R'N'R HAS prizes galore to give away to mark the release of producer drummer, DJ Jon Kennedy’s seventh album MMXX, which earned a review score of four out of five roundels (see RAF News 1483). We have teamed up with the Manchester born musician to offer readers a chance to win some signed 7' vinyl of his last single HA! and digital downloads of his latest LP. Kennedy has blazed a trail across British house and dance music since his beginnings on the cult label Grand Central, having  remixed Bob Marley and Mr Scruff, to being featured on the Bradley Cooper OST film Limitless. Now with the release of his first sole-produced and performed album, he is moving into a new area of music which shows a maturity which looks set to make him a household name in the genre for

years to come. For a chance to win signed 7' singles and a download copy of MMXX answer this simple question correctly: What is the name of Jon Kennedy’s new LP?

The competition sees the first two names selected will win a signed single and digital download of MMXX LP, the next three names selected will win a signed 7' single of HA! Email your answers marked Jon Kennedy Competition to: sports@rafnews. co.uk: or post to: RAF News (sports desk) Jon Kennedy Competition, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe, HP14 4UE, to arrive by February 29. ■ MMXX is out now on iTunes/ Apple Music, Google Play and all major platforms and at: jonkennedy. co.uk.

in the way of a jolly good gangster romp. Review by Daniel Abrahams (four out of five roundels) ■ The Gentlemen is on general release now.


UK Box Office Top 10 1 1917 2 Bad Boys for Life 3 Little Women 4 The Gentlemen 5

Jumanji: The Next Level


Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

7 Bombshell 8 JoJo Rabbit 9 Just Mercy 10 Frozen 2

Source: BFI

Royal Air Force News Friday, February 7, 2020 R'n'R 4

Royal Air Force News Friday, February 7, 2020 R'n'R 5

R'n'R The Big Interview


Gloria Estefan


Glorious Estefan


ITH A BACK catalogue that comprises an incredible 38 number one hits worldwide and an Oscar nomination, cult Eighties songstress Gloria Estefan now has her life story shown on the stage in On Your Feet! Directed by two-time Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell, On Your Feet! stars Philippa Stefani as Estefan and George Loannides as her husband, actor Emilio. Former Miami Sound Machine lead singer Estefan found time to talk with RnR about her life in music behind the microphone and now about her story being brought to the stage.

What have you been most pleased with about how On Your Feet! has been received? Simply that people seem to love it. People have written to say they were entertained or cried or were reminded of different times in their lives through the songs. That’s the point of the show – to connect with people on a very human level, which is what we’ve always tried to do through our music. It’s been phenomenal. It makes grown men cry. Has any dramatic licence been taken with true-life events? It’s all true, although maybe not always at the moment you see it happening on stage, and some of the songs aren’t in chronological order – they’ve been moved around to suit the story. The only thing that’s not true is Emilio having a six-pack, as he does in the show. It’s in there somewhere, but washboard abs he does not have. How involved were you in developing the script with writer Alexander Dinelaris? We spent a year and a half talking it through with him. Of course, once a director gets involved they shape things, but Alex is a phenomenal writer and we’re lucky that we hired him before he won the Oscar [for Birdman].

WORLD TOUR: On Your Feet! can be seen across the UK before it heads to Europe and the US

What are you most proud of about your career as it’s depicted in the show? That we stayed true to who we were. What I tell every young artist is ‘They’re gonna try to change you’. One time they even told Emilio ‘Lose the singer,’ because it was the time of bands with male leads. Yes, Fleetwood Mac had two female singers but they also had male singers and yes, there was Madonna and Cyndi Lauper but that was a new thing in music. The record company even told Emilio to get rid of the horns and the percussion section. But we said ‘This is who we are’ and we fought to stay true to that.


What’s the most fun number in the musical? There’s a couple of really big numbers. Tradición is spectacular and then of course there’s Conga, where you literally see how it grows and grows then explodes in joy and includes the audience in it.

How has it been bringing the show to the UK? It’s been fantastic. The cast is amazing. And Philippa Stefani, who is performing at certain shows in London and is headlining the UK tour, is just wonderful.

And what’s the most poignant song in the show for you? Most definitely the one I co-wrote with my daughter Emily called If I Never Got To Tell You, which in the play is when my mother comes to



HE TORNADO YEARS, More Adventures of a Cold War Fast-Jet Navigator, replete with foreword by Air Marshal Sir Tim Anderson, is another fascinating and in-depth look into the world of military aviation. Wg Cdr David Herriot, whose last memoir offering on the subject – The Adventures of a Cold War Fast-Jet Navigator, The Buccaneer Years – won the Aviation Enthusiasts’ Book Club’s Book of the Year in 2018, is back in the same rich form. The author manages the difficult task of getting beyond the full-on technical aspect of flying in such cuttingedge fighter aircraft to appeal to all readers. There are plenty of laughs among the serious business, and Herriot shows a deft touch to combine the lighter side of life, amidst the gruelling demands of life in a cockpit. In The Tornado Years, Herriot spans his career from Weapons Instructor to his first Tornado

What prompted the decision to go from Miami Sound Machine to Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine, then just Gloria Estefan? That was Emilio’s idea. I didn’t want him to add my name to the band because we were successful and I was happy with my bandmates, nor did I want it to be just ‘Gloria Estefan’. But he was like ‘People are identifying with you, they think you’re beautiful and sexy, they need to know your name’.


Is it strange seeing yourself played by someone else? It was weird at the beginning, I’ve gotta say, but it’s an early version of me so it’s cool. And I would never say ‘Hey, do it this way’, I just give as much back story as I can, rather than have someone try to clone me.


Life as a Cold War Nav

Feet! When you released it in 1985 did you realise it’d be such a huge hit? Yes, I did. As soon as it was written, people were reacting to it as if it was already a hit. Funny thing is, it didn’t do well in the UK because Black Lace’s Do The Conga came out before our song did.



The Tornado Years

Miami Sound Machine star's incredible life in music… and coming back from horror accident that nearly left her paralysed




visit me in hospital after the tour bus accident. You have a huge LGBTQ following. Have you encountered any drag queen Glorias over the years? Of course. I love them. They’re far more fabulous than I ever could be and far more out there. The other day in Miami a friend of mine had her bridal shower at a drag brunch. When we walked in the drag queen who was headlining went ‘Oh my God, the patron saint of drag queens has just walked through the door’. That’s one of my favourite introductions ever. We ended up doing the Conga with them and it was a blast.


You met and began working with Emilio in 1975. Did you know back then you were on to a winning thing? I’m a bit psychic and early on I remember telling Emilio ‘I think we’re gonna be famous and I think we’re gonna be famous all over the world’. I believed so strongly in the music and I didn’t know how it was going to happen but I just knew something was gonna happen.



As you say, Conga is one of the high points of On Your



When putting together On Your Feet! how tough was it

What aircraft features in the title of Herriot’s first book? Email your answer, marked Tornado book competition, to: competitions@ rafnews.co.uk or post it to: RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe, HP14 4UE, to arrive by February 21. Please remember to include your full postal address with all competition entries. By entering RAF News competitions you agree to us holding personal details for the purpose of sending out prizes.


Eagles Over the Sea

The maritime Luftwaffe


How was it being hailed as a 1980s sex symbol? That was tough for me. I never hid the fact I was married and had a kid [son Nayib] and growing up I never felt sexy at all. But I learned to embrace what people felt was sexy and that seemed to stem from allowing people to see who I was and how music made me feel. I think that’s a sexy thing, when someone is confident and you can tell they believe in what they’re doing. The show illustrates just how varied your music has been… That was always the intention. The tricky thing is that the business wants you to continue with more of the same. Our biggest challenge when we put out Conga and it was so massive was that we wanted to release Bad Boy second and the record company went ‘But it sounds completely different’. You have to move forward.

tour, then overseeing tactics for the four Tornado squadrons based at RAF Brugen, Germany, before a desk job as a Staff Officer in Whitehall, to Italy as boss of the Jaguars deployed on Nato operations in Kosovo and beyond. It’s all here and well worth a read. RAF News has five copies of the book (rrp £25 from pen-and-sword.co.uk) in hardback to be won. To enter, just answer this question correctly:





SULTRY: The young songstress Estefan

for you to revisit the 1990 bus crash that could have ended your career? It’s strange because I remember more the aftermath than the actual crash. I’ve spoken to a lot of people who have also been involved in accidents and they agree there must be some mechanism in our brains or our spirits where you remember before and after but you don’t remember the actual moment of impact. I was awake for it and afterwards, as I

lay on the floor, I was in so much pain I was praying I’d faint but I never did. I remember everything except the actual breaking of my back. What got you through the painful process of rehabilitation? I grew up taking care of my wheelchairbound father so I knew what my family might have to face with me. I didn’t care about getting back on stage. I just wanted


to be independent and walk again. How did it feel when you first performed on stage again? Oh my God, it was euphoric. It was how I imagine climbing Mount Everest would feel. I had overcome so many obstacles and I’d worked so hard. It was just amazing.


n On Your Feet! features hit songs

including: Rhythm is Gonna Get You, Conga, Get On Your Feet, Don’t Want To Lose You and 1-23. It tours the UK and Ireland between February 11 and April 25, visiting Milton Keynes, Liverpool, London, Glasgow and Dublin, with tickets starting at £13. It then tours Europe and the USA. Go to ATGtickets.com for bookings.

HE SUBJECT of Germany’s World War II naval air arm is a rare beast, until now, thanks to the latest book from Lawrence Paterson: Eagles Over the Sea 1935-42. Paterson, whose last work Schnellboote covered the complete history of the Kriegsmarine’s fast attack boats, was roundly praised as a significant work on the subject. Eagles Over The Sea is no different, tracing the outstanding history of the Luftwaffe’s maritime units from the arduous development efforts, as part of Germany’s resurgent military. But the efforts were fraught with difficulty amid a climate of inter-service rivalries. Coming to fruition during the Spanish Civil War, before spearheading the opening days to the invasion of Poland in 1939, the units were an impressive force and Paterson covers the topic in one excellent work. Unlike the fragmented attempts of other writers, Paterson, who also wrote Hitler’s Forgotten Flotillas, delves deep into an interesting and lesser-

known story of a force that was ever present in all theatres of the Nazi war campaign, including Operation Barbarossa. It is here during the failed conquest of the Eastern front campaign that the maritime Luftwaffe began to come to an end. RAF News has two copies of this hardback title, priced £30 and from Seaforth Publishing, to be won. To enter, answer the following question: What book, with the name Hitler in the title, did Lawrence Paterson write?

Email your answer, marked Eagles book competition, to: competitions@rafnews. co.uk or post it to: RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe, HP14 4UE, to arrive by February 21. Please remember to include your full postal address with all competition entries. By entering RAF News competitions you agree to us holding personal details for the purpose of sending out prizes.

Royal Air Force News Friday, February 7, 2020 R'n'R 6

R'n'R Your Announcements

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

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

Flt Lt Beech’s funeral took place on December 6, 2019 at RAF High Wycombe Church on Site 3. Sandra would like to send a heartfelt thank you to all those who attended Diane’s funeral and for all the letters of condolences, cards, flowers and especially the donations made to Rennie Grove Hospice in Diane’s memory. HOBBS, Anthony Rudolph Barrington died December 7, 2019 aged 96. Tony was a Hurricane pilot with 6 Squadron in the Balkans 1944-46. A gentle man now reunited with Mary. MCINTOSH Kerr Sqn Ldr (Pers Spt) RAF Reserve passed away peacefully on January 29 aged 65. He served for 44 years from 1975 to 2020 both at home and abroad, latterly at HQ RAF Recruiting & Selection. Kerr's wife, Cathy and dauighters, Jenny and Susy, would like to thank everyone for their love, kindness and comforting words after their sad loss.


MEYER Bernard George (Max) Sqn Ldr (Rtd) aged

102, died January 4, 2020 at the Care for Veterans Care Home, Worthing. Max was one of the last wartime Hampden pilots and served most of his time on No 144 Squadron. He was awarded the DFC in 1941. Following a short period in civilian employment at the end of World War II, he returned to the Service in the Admin Branch. A significant part of his second career was spent on recruiting at CIOs Sheffield, Reading, Leicester and Southampton although he also served at Spittlegate, Chicksands, Fontainebleau, Chivenor and in Gan. Max will be sorely missed by his children: Penelope, Tina, Michael and Rachael as well as the remainder of his extended family.

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

How to use our service There is no charge for conventionally-worded birth, engagement, marriage, anniversary, death, in memoriam seeking and reunion notices. For commercial small ads contact Edwin Rodrigues on: 07482 571535. Help us to avoid errors by typing your announcement or using block capitals. We cannot, under any circumstances, take announcements over the telephone. They can be sent by post to: RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, RAF High Wycombe, Naphill, Buckinghamshire, HP14 4UE or by email to: tracey.allen@rafnews.co.uk

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

Use the coupon for RAF News announcements

2015 after a very brave fight

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Royal Air Force News Friday, February 7, 2020 R'n'R 7

R'n'R Your Announcements You can email photos for announcements on this page to: tracey.allen@rafnews.co.uk

VE Day 75 SSAFA, THE Armed Forces Charity will be presenting VE Day 75 with A Concert of Commemoration & Celebration at London's Royal Albert Hall. The anniversary event will feature the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra Plus Very Special Guests. On May 8, 1945, Prime Minister Winston Churchill made his ‘Victory in Europe’ speech. Exactly 75 years since that momentous day, the SSAFA chatity, the UK’s oldest national tri-service military charity, presents VE Day 75 An inspiring and patriotic evening will feature the best of British music from some of the country’s greatest composers. The night will feature renditions from Elgar’s Nimrod to Walton’s Spitfire Prelude & Fugue, Holst’s Planet Suite to Ron Goodwin’s Battle of Britain Theme and many more. The evening starts at 7.30pm. For further information on tickets and visit: royalalberthall.com.

Year ahead announced NEWARK AIR Museum has announced a bumper year of events to lift away any winter blues. The registered charity kicks off the year with Indoor Aeroboot/Aerojumble aviation and avionic sale on April 4. Seller tables will be hosted inside Display Hangar 2 amongst the aircraft at the museum site in eastern Nottinghamshire. Open 9am to 2pm From May (16-17) the museum holds the intriguing Cold War Call Up 20 which celebrates the diverse range of exhibits at the museum from both sides of the Cold War period. The two-day event will feature open aircraft cockpits and visiting displays. Open 10am to 5pm - last admission 4pm. The much-loved annual gathering, Cockpit-Fest and Aeroboot provides the perfect opportunity to view a diverse range of visiting aircraft cockpits. June 20-21. Open 10am to 5pm. Fans of anything 1940s should not miss the Autumn 40s Weekend event, October 3-4. The event will feature

Seeking 60s Cyprus line-up IF anyone can remember back as far as 1961 and can recognise any of those in this photo taken in small bar in Regina Street 1961 when I was on TSF Nicosia, please contact me. Ian W Seaman (Instrument Mechanic). Email: ianjazz@tiscali.co.uk.

LOOKING BACK: Above, re-enactors taking part in last yer's 1940s weekend at Newark Air Museum

under cover 1940s entertainment, with reenactors donning winter period clothing. Open 10am to 5pm. Full details of all the events and other museum activities can be found on the news and event pages of the website,

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which are regularly updated www.newarkairmuseum.org. Adults £9, Over 65s £8, Children £4.50 and Family ticket [two adults and three children] £24. Newark Air Museum, Drove Lane, Newark, NG24 2NY. Tel: 01636 707170.

THE BRITISH Motor Museum has announced a schedule of 18 unique motoring events for 2020, including the return of its Gaydon Land Rover Show (May 9-10), above, and the National Metro & Mini Show which will be celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the car on June 21. New for 2020 is the MGF Register 25th Anniversary which takes place on July 25-26 and the National BMW Festival also returns on August 16 for Europe’s largest gathering of BMW’s. for more details go to: www.britishmotormuseum. co.uk/events.

Royal Air Force News Friday, February 7, 2020 R'n'R 8

R'n'R Prize Crossword

Prize Su Doku

Solutions should be sent in a sealed envelope marked 'Prize Crossword' with the number in the top left-hand corner to RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High Solve the crossword, then rearrange the 9 letters in Wycombe, Bucks, HP14 4UE to arrive by February 21, 2020.

No. 266

yellow squares to find an RAF word.

No. 276 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. In the summer I cast away heathers (6) 8. Hat for James Anderson, say (6) 10. See 12 Across 11. A young lady is unsuitable (5) 12. And 10 Across. Out East, beg pert force to change trainer (4,7) 13. University sportsmen in a rut? (5) 17. Supreme physical exercise has the edge (5) 18. See 21 Down 22. See 24 Across 23. Capital Robin blows acting idiotically initially (7) 24. And 22 Across. How to gauge a pilot’s progress (6,5) 25. Where people communicate with a dead loss (6) Down 1. Watch attendant’s slow escape (7) 2. Bad behaviour by mostly royal ruler (7) 3. See 9 Down 4. In convoy, a German tanker emerges (7) 5. And 6 Down. Mosquito navigator portrayed in recent movie ‘Hero’ (5,5) 6. See 5 Down 9. And 3 Down. Sends cattlemen around RAF church (2,7,5) 14. Gift from the here and now (7) 15. Perfumed part of Germany? (7) 16. Quiet liver affected by wrinkle (7) 19. Handle untamed, fast horses at first (5) 20. Sounds like means of entry to harbours (5) 21. And 18 Across. Old RAF plane got hermit upset (5,4) Name ................................................................................................................... Address ............................................................................................................... .............................................................................................................................. .............................................................................................................................. RAF word ....................................................................... Crossword No. 266

Competition Frankenstein

Aylesbury Waterside Theatre


HE LATEST rendition of Mary Shelley’s classic gothic horror story Frankenstein, which will be performed at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, will see TV star Eilidh Loan play the role of the author.

Loan, whose screen credits include BBC dramas Doctors and London Kills, will play the author unpacking her own horrific tale in award-winning writer Runo Munro’s brilliant new adaptation of the seminal 1818 horror novel. Munro’s work for TV includes Doctor Who and Still Game. In the play, an 18-year-old Shelley dreams up a monster whose tragic story will capture the imaginations of generations to come. A young scientist by the

Name ...................................................................... ................................................................................. Address .................................................................. ................................................................................. ....................................................Su Doku No. 276

Solution to Crossword No. 264: Across – 1. Birds 4. Antwerp 8. Rampage 9. Tie-in 10. Idol 11. Mainstay 13. Ajar 14. Purr 16. Radio Ham 17. Moat 20. Imbue 21. Chianti 22. Treason 23. Shrug Down – 1. Berlin Airlift 2. Romeo 3. Seat 4. Arenas 5. Titanium 6. Ejector 7. Penny-farthing 12. Baroness 13. Audible 15. Falcon 18. Owner 19. Miss RAF word: Typhoon l The winner of Crossword No. 264 is J Acott from Ipswich, who wins a copy of Air War Over North Africa by David MitchellhillGreen (pen-and-sword.co.uk).

Solution to Su Doku No: 275 Solutions should be sent in a sealed envelope marked 'Su Doku' with the number in the top left-hand corner to RAF News, to arrive by February 21, 2020. Su Doku No. 275 winner Mr E James wins a copy of an aviation-themed publication.

Bringing Mary Shelley to life

name of Frankenstein breathes life into a gruesome body. Banished into an indifferent world, Frankenstein’s creature desperately seeks out his true identity, but the agony of rejection and a broken promise push him into darkness. Dangerous and vengeful, the creature threatens to obliterate Frankenstein and everyone he loves, in a ferocious and bloodthirsty hunt for his maker. The cast also includes Ben Castle-Gibb, Thierry Mabonga, Sarah MacGillivray, Natali McCleary, Michael Moreland and Greg Powrie. RAF News has team up with Aylesbury Waterside Theatre to offer readers the chance to win a pair of tickets to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein on Monday, March 2 at 7.30pm. To enter, simply email your name, address & phone number to competitions@rafnews.co.uk by February 21. Mark all emails 'Frankenstein' in the subject heading. Please remember to include your full postal address with all competition entries. By entering RAF News competitions you agree to us holding personal details for the purpose of sending out prizes.


MONSTER MASH: Loan (below) plays Shelley and Castle-Gibb (left) plays scientist Frankenstein


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Find out how we can help you develop your career path for civvy street visit openuniversity.co.uk/rafnews

LOOKING FOR A NEW CHALLENGE? Leading defence and aerospace company, Babcock International Group, has some exciting job opportunities available at RAF Valley in North Wales. Babcock is looking to recruit exceptional and motivated individuals to work on Hawk T1 and T2 aircraft, and in the associated bays. Roles available include: • • • •

Mechanics Mechanical (Af/Prop) Mechanics Electrical (Av/Elec) Technicians Mechanical Technicians Electrical

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A variety of shift patterns are available including days, nights, four-on-four-off and four day working. Individual flexible working patterns will also be considered. If you hold aeronautical engineering qualifications, or have experience of working with Hawk aircraft, then please get in touch. By joining the team you’ll not only get to experience working in the beautiful Isle of Anglesey, you will also receive a competitive salary, support if relocating and have the chance to progress your career with fantastic training and promotion opportunities. For more information about the available roles: Visit: babcockinternational.com/careers/vacancies Email: careers@babcockinternational.com

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

Marine | Nuclear | Land | Aviation

Royal Air Force News Friday, February 7, 2020 P21


‘We want the UK to be the best place in the world to be a veteran’ Defence Minister promises major improvements in way ex-Forces personnel access help


EFENCE MINISTER Johnny Mercer has pledged to transform government and charity sector support for veterans struggling to cope after quitting the Forces. The Minister for Veterans Affairs and former Army Officer unveiled a £30 million programme to boost ex-Forces job hunters’ prospects and ensure they get the medical and welfare help they need. The moves comes as a UK-wide survey revealed the negative public attitude towards the ex-Forces community. With veterans also facing discrimination in the civilian job market, boosting ex-Forces personnel employment prospects through preferential job schemes is central to the revamped strategy. Speaking to charity and business leaders, Mr Mercer said: “When it comes to transforming the life chances of a veteran, there is one clear factor – having a job. “We have announced National Insurance reductions for employers who take on Service leavers and a scheme to give applicants guaranteed interviews for public sector posts. “We will create an eco system for veterans so that every one of them knows where they can turn to, and where there is a role for everybody. “We are working on a system that provides seamless interactions across government, charity and business sectors to promote collaboration with an unapologetic focus on the veteran and how it feels to be a vet.” Under the latest government proposals veterans will be offered a personalised on-line service which can be accessed through a mobile app and which will direct users to a range of services offered by government, charity groups and the NHS. New data-sharing measures will be introduced between government departments and other welfare groups along with a new Defence medical system which will transfer Service medical records to the NHS and GP surgeries. As part of the digital make-over the MoD plans to launch a system to enable veterans to verify their military service to a take advantage of job schemes, discounts and subsidised travel. Mr Mercer added: “We want the UK to be the best place in the world to be a veteran. “Too may people are falling

Royal Air Force News Friday, July 13, 2018 P7


Britain must back our vets



We will create an eco system for veterans so that every one of them knows where they can turn to, and where there is a role for everybody

through the net. The guarantors of veterans’ welfare should be the nation. “The experience of being a veteran varies widely in different parts of the country. Our veterans need to know where to turn to find help.

“This is all about levelling up and forcing local statutory bodies to adopt best practice. Our ambition is to build a personalised digital service based on user research. “The Vets’ ID card scheme is in progress and we are working to make sure it can be backdated. We already have many corporate partners who are offering preferential job schemes to Service leavers. “This government’s action plan is the first stage in a step change. We are going to fundamentally change the experience of being a veteran in this country. “Our veterans make a fantastic contribution in the workplace and to the economy. We must celebrate what they bring to our society and our communities and change the public perception. They deserve so much better.”

n Job discrimination n Financial meltdown n One in five homeless

Win win Golden Spitfire beer

Cult TV series box set

Win Win

l R’n’R p5

Stryd-ahead Win a £199 training meter

l R’n’R p5

l Sport p34

Friday December 2 2016 No 1408 70p


Chiefs vow on mental health

MORE NEEDS to be done to help former military personnel suffering psychological problems, public events such as Armed Forces Staff Reporter the first ever European conference Day, which took place last month. on veterans’ mental health has Sir Andrew Gregory, Chief who VETERANS FORCES been told. of SSAFA, said: “Too many served in recent conflicts like Executive undervalued and it’s our But the public view that Service Afghanistan and Iraq are veterans feel life damages people is wrong, to rectify this. undervalued by British society duty as a Nation public claims they according to Veterans Minister “The British and struggle to cope with civilian but, Forces Tobias Ellwood. Armed our respect do life according to a recent survey Addressing delegates from six our research shows this respect by a leading military charity. nations he said that while most dips the moment that their welfare by Research veterans live happy, healthy and uniform is hung up”. campaigners SSAFA reveals skills successful lives, all Governments “Valuable that almost 90 per cent brushed had the responsibility to safeguard are being of veterans say they the mental health of those who aside by civilian have suffered financial have served. employers; to the troubles, while 70 He said: “In order to recruit the extent that some per cent struggle to next generation of soldiers, sailors veterans hide their FAIR FIGHT: find work and feel history and airmen and women, we need Veterans of recent service discriminated against conflicts can face to show that we look after our altogether. by employers who do discrimination service personnel and veterans.” “They experience in the workplace not value their skills. “Britain is not unique in facing discrimination against a and struggle with the to According this challenge. That’s why it’s vital finances according part of their life that should report the average household to Forces charity that we discuss these issues and be a source of the utmost pride. income for today’s veterans is less survey share best practice with our close brave men and women than £17,000 a year, well below the We owe these European military partners.” this. national average, and one in five more than a new national mindset, Latest figures show rates “We need admit to being made homeless at of mental disorder among the promoting the advantages veterans service, transition to civilian life. some point. 3.1 per cent, below – courage, discipline, a nation-wide mentoring He added: “This report suggests military at general population at The battle to survive on Civvy bring to society respect for others. As veterans identity card backed by of the those a and maintains selflessness public the feeling while many that left lifeStreet has also 3.5 per cent, while Post Traumatic must overcome society’s major retailers and compulsory advice for huge emotional connection to the Stress Disorder affected two in disenchanted with the British Armed a Nation, we and alienation of the skills training and financial dwindling band of World War II Forces with more than 40 per cent mistrust, apathyof service leavers.” all serving military personnel. show ambivalence every 1,000 personnel in 2016/17. admitting they feel no pride in having new generation is calling for a range Former Chief of Defence Staff veterans, some to younger veterans. Previous MoD studies claim The charity served their country. Houghton added his or even apathy Nick Gen are less likely to kill growing the veterans combat to us”. Less than one in five said they of measures including setting up support for the campaign to ease the This should seriously concern themselves than civilians with would be willing to take part in veterans crisis eight out of 100,000 servicemen committing suicide in 2017, GRAVE REDEDICATION compared to 19 out of 100,000 in the general population in 2016. Defence chiefs are committed to spending up to £220 million over the next decade to improve The men remembered were: Sgts military mental health services. remained so until 1991. Victor Watson, Donald Tracey Allen “Over the years, the graves had been William Bowey, and Royal Canadian John Burke of declared as ‘lost’. Now, more than 70 Keeley, Air Force Plt Off Leonard service SPECIAL A their deaths, a commemoration for five crew years after McCann. for each of members of a wartime bomber who special memorial The service, organised members crew fallen five the Royal Air Force News never Friday, October 18, 2019 P18 returned from a raid on Berlin by the MOD’s Joint Casualty rededicated in was held at the Commonwealth War has been and Compassionate Centre, Commission’s Niederzwehren Hessen.” was conducted by the Rev Mel CWGC’s The Feature Graves Veterans special report Hessen, Germany. Cemetery in War Dr (Sqn Ldr) John Harrison, “These The crew of Lancaster DS678 took Donnelly added:allow us to Royal Auxiliary Air Force. It off on the evening of March 24, 1944. special memorials was attended by members of the five crew Five were killed and it is believed two commemorate the crew’s family from the UK, DS678, alongside survived and were taken as prisoners of of Lancaster Commonwealth Canada and the USA. other war at Ohrdruf concentration camp. Liane Benoit on behalf in the The five were buried in the PoW war casualtiesWar Cemetery. of Plt Off McCann’s family, said: “We Sgt Victor Watson, cemetery At Ohrdruf. A spokesperson Niederzwehren their graves in Ohrdruf are so grateful for this honour. It was a NOT FORGOTTEN: “Even though inset left. Above, Plt Off McCann’s greatsaid: “After the war, the Missing, ceremony in a generous and nephew Sebastien Molgart with his mother beautiful CWGC the EURO CAMPAIGN: Defence Minister found, be Recovery and Exhumation Services cannot nowall those who served and fell hospitable community and we know Liane Benoit Tobias Ellwood PHOTO: MOD were unable to identify the graves as the ensures that they will rest in peace.” ” name. by commemorated are and control Soviet cemetery was under WHEN SHE left the RAF ENGINEER ELEANOR CRACKNELL Tracey Allen and Simon Mander

Berlin bomb raid crew finally laid to rest

See p7

Harry's heroes will head to Sydney as Invictus goes global


Service veterans facing prejudice in Civvy Street

Rugby Union

Remembrance clash triumph

l Sport P32-33

Indoor Hockey

Inter it to win it for hockey stars

MILITARY SERVICE is bad for Royal your Air health Force–News Friday, October 18, 2019 P19 according to an astonishing 90 per cent of the British public. The disturbing figures were revealed in a new poll commissioned by Forces champion Lord Ashcroft. And another report just published shows that having been in the military may be bad for your wealth too – with almost a third of Civvy Street companies discriminating against veterans seeking employment.

We beat the prejudice on Civvy St in May 2017 after 12 years, Jenna Machin found it difficult to gain ‘fulfilling and purposeful’ employment, she said. She was the paramedic for the Queen’s Colour Squadron and her MERT roles included two tours of Afghanistan. The former Cpl said: “My civilian experience hasn’t been a smooth ride.” Her first job after leaving the Air Force was with South Central Ambulance Service, but it wasn’t what she expected. She said: “The ambulance service was quite abused, a lot of it is social work. It wasn’t what I wanted to be doing.” She left after six months. Jenna now works for Capita at the National Recruitment Centre for the Army as a lead practitioner, looking at applicants’ medical history and assessing if they are suitable for employment. She manages a team of 18. She said: “It’s ideal for me because I am using my military background and clinical knowledge.”

RACHEL PRESTON left the RAF as a FS after almost 25 years. Her last role was FS Instructor on the Personnel Officers Basic Foundation Course at Worthy Down. She said: “I planned my exit from the RAF a few years before I left as I decided that I wanted to become an art psychotherapist, but I wasn’t qualified. “I spent three years doing an evening class to improve my artistic skills and started an MA in Art Therapy at Derby University in September 2016. I had kept my chain of command informed of my aspirations. “For my final dissertation I completed a research project on the transition of a female from the military (RAF) to civilian life. A large component of the work was artistic representation. As part of the project I wrote an article ‘Assessing the potential use of Art Therapy in the Ministry of Defence Department of Community Mental Health’. “This article won the new

She is currently on maternity leave, looking after her first child, 11-week-old Edward, and hopes to return to work in due course. She said: “I was 30 when I left the RAF and it was quite obvious I left to pursue having a family. “I wanted to work for an NGO that helps ex-Service personnel but because of my history working on jobs like MERT I think there was an expectation I should still be doing that, using those skills. I found it quite difficult for people to take that chance on me in the medical industry.”

practitioner essay prize 20182020 for the International Journal of Art Therapy.” After graduating in July 2018, Rachel is now self-employed providing an art therapy service in schools across Lincolnshire. She added: “I work with some children who are from Service families. I find that I can work effectively with them as I understand what being part of the Armed Forces family is like.”

was in the RAF for six years, joining at 16, leaving in April 2016 when pregnant with her second child. She took a career break until autumn 2017 but didn’t return to the RAF. Now a single mum to Billy, six, and Rory, four, Eleanor, 27, works parttime as an engineer for a wind turbine company. The former SAC(T) said: “I had no trouble getting another job after leaving the RAF. When I first started looking for work I wondered if my skills were transferable – they were. “I’ve had moments where I’ve really missed the RAF community especially and I have thought about going back.” She added: “I work mostly with men. Before my current post I worked as a wind turbine mechanic, doing all the servicing and repairs. Me manager was ex-RAF and one of my colleagues was an ex weapons tech. “I was the only female and was asked how I’d cope with not having a female toilet in the field. Being exmilitary, I said it was fine.”

HEIDI BURTON was an RAF photographer and left in 2012. Her work life since leaving is, she says, ‘a little unusual compared to most’. She told RAF News: “When I left the plan was to be a fully selfemployed photographer. I now do that part-time because my hobby of making handbags has turned into a business. “A lot of my bags are made from upcycled military uniform.” She worked part- time in a shop while her business established itself. She said: “I don’t think civilian employers ‘get,’ how the military work, there didn’t seem to be the teamwork culture of the Services. Some of my workmates preferred to slack off rather than crack on and get it done.” See handbagsandhome.co.uk for examples of Heidi’s work.

UK VETERANS face a tougher time in the battle for jobs in Civvy Street than ever as one in five British business bosses admit they discriminate against those who have fought for Queen and Country – and Forces women suffer more than men. A YouGov survey for the Forces in Mind Trust reveals nearly one fifth of UK business bosses are unlikely to consider hiring veterans due to negative perceptions of their time in uniform. More than 1000 top executives were polled in the research, including private, public and third sector organisations of all sizes. Just under half of potential employers believe veterans do not have the relevant skills or experience (44 per cent) while nearly 20 per cent think military job seekers may not fit in with their civilian colleagues. One in 10 firms claims Forces applicants may have different levels of education from those expected of civilian workers. More than a quarter of the organisations polled in the research have NEVER hired a veteran, with small businesses the least likely to do so (65 per cent). Research by Cranfield University and the Institute for Employment Studies looks at the reasons why, at less than 70 per cent, women Service leavers have a lower employment rate (69 compared to men’s 81 per cent). It reveals that while most women leave the Armed Forces voluntarily, one in four (22 per cent) of the 154 women surveyed were not employed, but the majority (68 per cent) of those wanted to be in work. Female Service leavers and employers interviewed said that women, unlike their male counterparts, undervalue their experience and may deselect themselves from roles they are suitable for. The report calls on the MoD to increase flexibility in working practices and childcare, provide more support and advice for women leaving the Armed Forces and highlight the benefits of employing female Service leavers. When she left the RAF in 2017 after 12 years, Jenna Machin found it difficult to gain ‘fulfilling and purposeful’ employment. She was the paramedic for the Queen’s Colour Squadron, and her MERT roles included two tours of Afghanistan. Her first job after leaving the Air Force was with South Central Ambulance Service, but it wasn’t what she expected. The former Cpl said: “My civilian experience hasn’t been a smooth ride. In the RAF you’re a cog in a big machine and what you’re doing is making a difference. It’s very meaningful – I don’t think you realise that until you step outside. “The ambulance service was quite abused, a lot LYNNE COPPING joined up in 1969 as a Statistics Clerk and was posted to Swanton Morley, where she did defect reporting on aircraft cameras, then went to Wildenrath. There she met and married an Army helicopter engineer. She said: “I left the WRAF in May 1973 but stayed working in the same office as a civilian clerk, leaving in October 1974 when my husband was posted to Germany. “We returned to the UK in March

n See pages 18-19 for the full story, and to learn what’s being done to fight back against public misconceptions about former Service

FORMERpersonnel. SAC Joanna Reddaway says her six-year Service career gave her the confidence to achieve her childhood ambition. The 32-year-old ex-dental nurse served in Afghanistan and on Op Olympics and is now in her fifth and final year of a Veterinary Science degree at Bristol University. “I loved my military career and didn’t want to leave for just another job,” she said. “Since then with all the jobs I’ve applied for I’ve put my military experience on my CV and always received a positive response. “Employers have said to me it makes me different in that I’ve faced difficult situations, taken responsibility, worked as part of a team and got stuck in – all the core values that the Air Force teaches you.” And thanks to the MoD’s generous ‘Free Degree’, enhanced learning credits scheme the ex-vet, now vet-to-be also benefited from having her tuition fees paid for while her classmates were saddled with a £45,000 student loan debt. “I’d always wanted to be a vet since I was young but never believed I would be able to,” she said.

VETERANS: Can face problems in civvy job market

l Sport P29

Fit for heroes – the Forces’ favourite newspaper

TOUR DE FORCE: Joanna Reddaway served in Afghanistan, and is now on route to her dream job as a veterinary surgeon

of it is social work. It wasn’t what I wanted to be doing.” Jenna now works for Capita at the National Recruitment Centre for the Army. She added: “I am happy now but it’s taken two years to feel like I have properly transitioned out of the military.” Cranfield University lead researcher Professor Emma Parry said: “Female Service leavers face a double whammy of obstacles when it comes to transitioning into civilian employment. “Only a minority of the women we spoke to felt that they received enough support during transition, and some said that the support they did get was not properly tailored to their needs.” Veteran Nicola Stokes (above, inset, bottom right, in 2012) struggled to get a job until she hid details of her military service. She said: “I applied for more than 100 jobs and just couldn’t get anywhere, not even an interview, until I took my military career off my CV.” The 36-year-old ex-SAC even removed reference to her three-and-a-half years Territorial Army service and moved to London to improve her employment prospects. “Instead I said I had been on Jobseekers’ Allowance or unemployed rather than admit I had been in the military,” she said. “I did get a job, but had problems so I left, and I finally found a job at The Poppy Factory in 1978. By then I had two children and while my husband finished his army career at Middle Wallop I stayed in the house we bought in Brackley in 1975, where I had stayed for 10 months, with my new baby, while my husband had an unaccompanied tour in Canada. “I had a part-time job selling houses from a show house for just over a year until we moved to Scotland. “I then had another part-time job

Richmond, where I have been for three years.” Former SAC Joanna Reddaway says her six-year Service career gave her the confidence to achieve her childhood ambition and become a vet. The ex-dental nurse served in Afghanistan supported the London 2012 Olympics and is now in her final year of a Veterinary Science degree at Bristol University. Forces in Mind Trust chief executive Ray Lock said: “The misunderstanding that ex-military personnel are unskilled or unfit for business environments is unfounded and damaging to their employment opportunities. “Employers must ensure these unhelpful perceptions are addressed in their recruitment processes, so that they benefit from the skills Service leavers can bring to their organisation.” He added: “Veterans gain strong leadership, communications, management and technology skills from serving in the Armed Forces. “As the UK currently faces a tech skills shortage, and the evolving world of work cries out for better leadership and collaboration, employers would do well to tap into veterans’ talents.” The Forces in Mind Trust says the Government should increase awareness and understanding among civilian employers of how Service leavers’ skills fit their recruitment needs to help the annual 14,000 Service leavers find fulfilling employment.

selling houses and also worked in a local solicitor’s. “In 1984 I joined a local oil related company as a document clerk. I thought ‘great, a clerical job in an engineering environment, exactly what I have missed from my RAF days’. I loved my job and finished 19 years later as a Senior Document Controller. “I left there in 2003 when my husband went to work in Muscat, on the Royal Flight, Oman.”

EX-RAF Police dog handler Vicki Catalfano, who now lives in the USA, said: “Since moving to America, I have found it extremely easy to gain employment and I believe this is specifically because I was in the military. “The first job I secured was as a Veterinary Assistant and dog trainer at a local vet clinic. They were very interested in hiring me due to the dog knowledge I gained in the military. “In the US it is easier to gain employment if you have served in any military, I think this is due to the work ethic you have and the values you strive for.”

SAMMY BETSON left the RAF from RAF Lyneham in 1972 when living in Wootton Bassett. She was an Air Traffic Controller (Radar) and when interviewed by a woman at Swindon Job Centre was told, ‘we don’t have any vacancies for traffic wardens at the moment, could you do anything else?’ Sammy said: “I tried to explain what I had been doing, but finally resorted to ‘I sit in the dark and talk to aeroplanes’ – which wasn’t a good move. “We agreed that she probably couldn’t help me and I found myself an admin job with a local insurance brokers.

“I was interviewed by all three partners and was confirmed in the post as soon as I answered ‘yes’ to their enquiry if I could play snooker. They had a full size table in a back office and I was asked to keep reps entertained if they arrived early before a partner got back in. My typing speed (two fingers but reasonably quick and very accurate) was purely incidental. “My admin was fine though as I had originally been Admin Sec before retraining. I never found a problem getting employment and was always very happy to recruit other ex-military, particularly ex-WRAF.”

PAULINE RICHARDS was in the WRAF from 1959-1962 as an Air Traffic Control Assistant. Her husband was also ATC. She said: “When I married I was immediately discharged from the Air Force as being a ‘married woman’ – it was expected I’d have children. “Military ATC did not have any standing in civil aviation and women still gave up their employment once they were married. “In the Air Force a woman married to a Serviceman was not expected to work as the husband went home for lunch every day and she would have a hot meal waiting for him as the day’s main meal. “I was discharged and moved from Lincoln to Middlesex. Before I joined up I worked as an accounts clerk in the offices of a department store. I therefore searched for similar office work. “Every interview I attended

was conducted by a man. A customary look through my application, then the leading question every time was ‘do you intend to have a family?’. My reply ‘in the future but not just yet’. The file was closed and I was thanked for attending the interview and heard no more. This was a recurring theme. “In desperation and needing a salary I took a position as a stock clerk in a factory. Many applications later I eventually obtained a position as an accounts clerk. This I continued to do until I had my family. This was 1962, we had not come very far from the post-war and 1950s days when women were in the home and not many went out to work. “This all seems so incredible in today’s workplace. Today’s generation cannot get their head round the fact that women were still regarded as second-class citizens. It was a different era. Thank goodness for progress.”

ONGOING BATTLE: RAF News reports on the fight to get a better deal for our veterans

Royal Air Force News Friday, February 7, 2020 P23


Historic day for the Regt Georgia becomes first female Gunner

LAC FOTHERGILL: Frank Sylvester Trophy

LAC HARVARD: Drill & Deportment award

LAC HODGE: RAF Regt Assoc. Physical Development Trophy

LAC LAMBERT: LAC Beard Recruits’ Trophy

LAC BAYLISS: SAC Luders Champion Shot Trophy

CPL RALFE: Cpl Bradfield Trophy

Honington THE FIRST ever female RAF Regiment Gunner was among 18 recruits to graduate with TG 3-19 Meiktila Flight at RAF Honington recently. Group Captain Blythe Crawford said: “I was delighted to have the opportunity to be the Reviewing Officer for today’s graduation of our latest cohort of RAF Regiment Gunners. “This is one of the most gruelling and challenging courses the British military has to offer and it is testament to their dedication and determination that we see so many on the parade square today.” LAC Georgia Sandover, 19, is the first female Gunner to join the RAF Regiment. She always knew she wanted to join one of the Services and was inspired by her teacher, who happened to be ex-RAF Regiment himself. Gp Capt Crawford added: “The RAF prides itself on its rich mix of backgrounds, ethnicities, genders and religions and is a leading proponent of diversity and inclusiveness as key attributes of the Next Generation Air Force, where everyone is equal; clearly demonstrated here today by our first female Gunner, showing glass ceilings are there for the breaking as she completes one of the most physically and mentally challenging courses we have to offer.” The RAF was the first Service open to women in all branches and trades. Roles in the RAF Regiment opened to women on September 1, 2017. Station Commander RAF Honington Gp Capt Matt Radnall said: “It has been a real privilege today to welcome the latest cohort of trained RAF Regiment Gunners into the Corps. This formal ceremony marks the culmination of their specialist training and onward passage to join one of our operational squadrons. “The training they have experienced is notable for its physical and mental challenges, and they can all be tremendously proud of their achievement in PROUD: A hug meeting the high for Georgia standards expected

WELCOME: Gp Capt Crawford speaks to LAC Sandover during the review

of RAF Gunners in the Ground Close Combat role. “Today is particularly special as we celebrate the graduation of our very first female into the RAF Regiment. All of our graduates have earned the right to wear the RAF Regiment ‘mudguard’ on their shoulder and we wish them well for the future as they look forward to a rewarding and exciting career.” As one of the youngest to graduate, LAC Axel Sawyer, 17, said he always wanted to serve his country and is very proud to be graduating. He too is looking forward to the career that awaits him. He said: “A soldier doesn’t rise to the occasion, he falls to the level of his training.” A quote previously attributed to a former Navy SEAL. Smart words from such a young airman. Officer Commanding Training Wing, Wg Cdr Stephen Turner, also

The RAF prides itself on its rich mix of backgrounds, ethnicities, genders and religions and is a leading proponent of diversity and inclusiveness as key attributes of the Next Generation Air Force

praised the proud graduates. Congratulations to the prize winners of TG Course 3-19: ● The Frank Sylvester Trophy: LAC Fothergill ● The RAF Regiment Association Trophy for Drill & Deportment: LAC Havard ● The WO Ramsey Physical Development Cup: LAC Hodge ● The LAC Beard Recruits’ Trophy: LAC Lambert ● The SAC Luders Champion Shot Trophy: LAC Bayliss ● The Cpl Bradfield Trophy: Cpl Ralfe.

Royal Air Force News Friday, February 7, 2020 P25

Sqn Ldr Bill Brodie Obituary

WWII Pathfinder who defied the Nazis in Europe and the Gulf S

QUADRON LEADER Bill Brodie, who has died aged 102, flew 85 bombing operations in the Middle East and over Germany for which he was decorated three times. In March 1934 he joined 602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron, Auxiliary Air Force as an airman and two years later started training as a pilot. In May 1937 he joined 88 Squadron to fly the Hind bi-plane bomber before the squadron reequipped with the Fairey Battle. For the first two years of World War Two he flew target-towing sorties at an air gunnery school. He also ferried aircraft to the continent until the withdrawal from France. He became an instructor on the Wellington, and on December 4 1941 he and his crew delivered a Wellington to Egypt via Gibraltar and Malta. He joined 38 Squadron based at Kabrit in the Canal Zone and on December 21 flew his first war sortie when he attacked El Aghelia. For the next few weeks he flew a number of mine-laying sorties. With the British Army in retreat during the summer of 1942, he attacked Sidi Barrani and Mersa Matruh. On the night of April 9 1942 Brodie was the pilot of one of four Wellington bombers of 38 Squadron tasked to lay mines in the approaches to Benghazi Harbour. New tactics of distraction were carried out and Brodie was detailed to make the first run in the minelaying area to drop his mines, and to draw the anti-aircraft fire so that a force of supporting bombers flying at higher level could spot the gun flashes and bomb them. After his attack Brodie was then to fly low over the water, about a mile out to sea, firing his guns and letting off Verey flares to distract the light guns on the harbour moles. He performed these tactics so successfully that when the other mine-laying aircraft flew in to drop their mines, not a single shot was fired at them. Brodie was awarded an immediate DFM, the citation concluding: “Flight Sergeant Brodie is an exceptional pilot and carries out his operations with courage and valour.” After returning to Britain - he was commissioned in April 1942 - he became a bombing instructor

‘EXCEPTIONAL PILOT’: Sqn Ldr Brodie, (pictured right) with his navigator beside their 692 Sqn Mosquito

for almost two years and was mentioned-in-despatches. After converting to the Mosquito he joined 692 Squadron of the Light Night Striking Force (LNSF), part of the Pathfinder Force, in June 1944. The high-flying Mosquitos marked targets for the main bomber force and they also flew diversion raids in small numbers to numerous German cities while the main force was attacking another target. The Mosquitos of 692 Squadron had been modified to carry a 4,000lb bomb (the same bomb load as a USAAF Flying Fortress), which

they dropped on “nuisance raids” to industrial cities, the aim being to alert the hard-pressed air defence forces and to disturb the sleep of the industrial workers. Brodie flew his first sortie to Gelsinkirchen on July 4 1944. He attacked most of the major cities, including Stuttgart, Hamburg and Frankfurt. However, his main target was Berlin, which he visited 18 times in six months. On the night of October 5, nine Mosquitos were tasked to drop mines in the Kiel Canal. The Germans relied heavily on the canal as Allied operations took an increasing toll of vital shipping

sailing along the North Sea coast carrying raw materials from Scandinavia to Rotterdam to feed the industrial war machine in the Ruhr. Brodie and his colleagues flew at low level and each had a specific aiming point along the length of the canal requiring precise navigation. The target was strongly defended by heavy and light anti-aircraft guns, searchlights and balloons. Undeterred by these hazards, and the most adverse weather, the Mosquito crews attacked from 200 feet and the operation was completed successfully. Reconnaissance photographs

showed that concentrations of shipping were held up at each end of the canal, which remained closed to traffic for a number of weeks. Brodie was awarded an immediate DSO. He continued to attack cities and oil installations and on February 2 1945 he flew to Mannheim, his 50th and final operation in a Mosquito. Shortly after, he was awarded the DFC. Brodie left the RAF in November 1945 and for the next year was a pilot with Esso. He remained with the company and became the manager for the Midland region until his retirement in 1980.






from 63 countries 65,9% of international

65 startups at Eurosatory LAB


Total attendance (exhibitors, visitors, press, organisers)


Official delegations from 94 countries and 4 organisations (representing 760 delegates)



from 44 countries

75 Conferences 2,102 Business meetings made 2018 key figures

Royal Air Force News Friday, February 7, 2020 P27

Dacia Duster


A bargain-bucket SUV TIM MORRIS Motoring Correspondent WE’RE NOT quite sure when UK car buyers shifted to the belief that anyone without a 4x4 should be stripped naked, painted purple and paraded through the streets of Blackburn, but somehow they did. Fortunately, this being England, people are far too polite to actually follow through with this barbaric ritual. Instead, they resort to tutting in an irritated fashion, whilst surveying your vehicle with all the disdain that you’d expect to see displayed by a cat surveying a furball that it’s just coughed up. You see, there is a sort of snobbery about owning a Sports Utility Vehicle (SUV), the ‘I sit higher than you, get out of my way’ mindset. The problem is that trying to keep up with the KensingtonSmyths generally comes at a cost. Fortunately, however, there is hope and it comes in the form of a new breed of economy SUV, the cheapest of which is the Dacia Duster. Value The Duster is a family SUV with prices that start below £10,000. Let’s just put that into context, it’s less than you’d pay for a Kia Picanto supermini. It is seriously cheap and yet the Duster feels like a solidlybuilt bit of kit. As you move up the range you get luxuries such as alloy wheels, sat-nav and a reversing camera but base models are very simple machines. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. In 1948 the first Land Rover went on sale and rapidly became the manufacturer’s topselling model, outselling its luxury saloons at a rate of almost two to one. Rugged Times have moved on but there’s something very British about driving a practical utility vehicle and the Duster fills that gap in the market perfectly. It has the height, it has the space and in 4x4 guise it’s pretty good off-road. The only thing it lacks is the lofty pretence that goes with more expensive rivals. Of course, you may wish to go one up on the basic Access model if you want a radio and height adjustment on the driver’s seat but even on this model you get electric front windows and remote central locking. New model The Duster was re-launched in 2019 and Dacia has spent a lot of time on the details. Every visible

BASIC: Cabin

CHEAP THRILLS: The no-frills Duster looks the business and performs okay, but don’t expect luxury, tech… or to make the neighbours jealous

panel is new, the grille and LED headlights are wider and the rear lights have been redesigned too. Other revisions include bigger wheels and more contoured wings that make the body look wider. Interestingly, the car hasn’t actually grown in any significant way however and remains fairly nimble in city traffic. The similarity to the original model is intentional. Dacia wanted to keep the spirit of the Duster intact so it looks similar, feels similar and, most importantly, it’s still stupidly cheap. Current owners love their Dusters and Dacia hopes that brand loyalty will be a big factor in driving repeat sales. There are other reasons for the design not changing much. The latest car continues to use the same platform as its predecessor. This, in turn, is based on a previousgeneration Clio chassis – just one cost saving tactic that helps the Duster to retain its ‘Cheapest SUV’ crown. Power You can opt for two or fourwheel drive variants with a choice of engines. The engine range consists of three petrols and a diesel, the latter of which delivers plenty of grunt when you’re playing in the mud. Known as the Blue dCi 115, it’s a 1.5-litre diesel that delivers 113bhp. It doesn’t have a lot of oomph at low revs but keep it over 2k and it behaves pretty well. You do find yourself changing down a gear more often than you may be used to but it’s no great drama in a vehicle that prides itself on feeling almost agricultural.

The six-speed manual gearbox comes as standard and offers a good range of gearing. There is a large jump between some of the ratios but it is a slick shift and doesn’t seem out of place with a rugged SUV. If you prefer a more laid back driving experience however the Duster may not be the car for you because there’s no automatic option. In the cabin With bargain basement pricing you’d expect the Duster to be small and cramped but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. In fact it’s only fractionally smaller than Nissan’s Qashqai, and that translates into a surprisingly spacious interior. There’s a new dashboard, a better infotainment system and redesigned seats. The materials used on most surfaces are still pretty hard but it’s definitely a step up on its predecessor. The sat nav and multimedia system is a doddle to operate but don’t expect it to connect to live traffic updates, the Duster doesn’t do tech. The switchgear and air-con controls operate nicely and many still use old-school cables rather than electric motors. I like that. Other cost-saving measures include a centre rear seatbelt that’s hung from the roof, thus avoiding the need to strengthen the back seat, and five high-mounted vents on the dash that you can aim into the back. That saves ducting the air flow. No rear air vents in here. Interestingly, it feels sturdier than many low-cost rivals however and that’s important in a car of this class.

On road The Duster is rugged and feels solid. It handles predictably but there is a fair bit of body roll in the corners. There’s also a lot of ‘bounce’ when you get it on faster, more undulating roads and you can find yourself ‘moshing’ wildly, whether you’re rocking out or listening to Grieg. Come to a halt rapidly and you’ll notice a distinct nose dive. The brakes are surprisingly efficient and the Duster stops in a shorter distance than several rivals. The steering gives you a reasonable amount of feedback and though it’s not a vehicle that encourages you to drive in a sporty manner, it’s not totally bland either. There’s a fair bit of wind noise from the door mirrors and roof rails on the motorway but it’s quieter than the outgoing model thanks to more sound deadening, a reworked engine bay and thicker glass. Off-road The Duster is belt and braces engineering in many ways and in 4x4 guise it is as dependable offroad as you would expect. Starting at under £14k, the 4x4 variant will seriously surprise you, in fact. Due to a slightly limited angle of attack it’s not quite as well designed for the rough stuff as a Suzuki Jimny but it’s a really capable vehicle in most circumstances. One of its greatest strengths is an incredibly low 1st gear that gives it plenty of grunt from a standing start. You will have to use plenty of power for the rest of the time but if you drive it properly it will tackle most things that you can throw at it with ease.

Dacia Duster Pros l A proper old school 4x4 that’s very capable l Lots of space inside l Almost unbelievable value Cons l Interior much improved but still feels a bit cheap l Ridiculously sparse equipment on lower trims (not even a car alarm) l Clumsy details still let it down Verdict The Dacia Duster is a brilliant machine if you like simple, effective engineering that works well. It is phenomenal value for money and, at the base end of the range, is cheaper than any rival. It has several obvious shortcomings. It’s slow, it’s a bit gruff, the front seats don’t slide very far back, the USB ports leave wires dangling on the dashboard, the front cupholder is too shallow to be of any real use and there’s a wide centre tunnel that will leave your middle rear seat passenger splay-legged for the entire trip. No, the new Duster is not perfect but even the range-topping Prestige costs less than the cheapest Suzuki Vitara. Resale values are solid and it is quite simply a much, much better car than you’d expect it to be at this price. In that respect it seriously over delivers and we like it.

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Royal Air Force News Friday, February 7, 2020 P28

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7 pages of RAF Sport starts here l Summer stars get ready to shine: P30


Young guns under fire

New stars blooded by Senior side in IS warm-up Daniel Abrahams HQ Air Command

IT WAS a chastening evening for the Service’s rugby union stars as they began the run-in to the IS championships, losing 26-12 to Cambridge University. Team captain L/Cpl Dan Johnson said: “Over the past five years we have worked really well with a solid core of players, now we are bringing together new faces, and we knew this would be a difficult game especially with so many things to pull together in such a short space of time in preparation for the Inter-Services. “Cambridge are a good side, fast well structured, but I think we responded to that really well especially from set plays. “We looked at ball retention and be quicker off the base, which we achieved, but in the final third we were lacking, so we will reorganise and come back again stronger.”

The Grange Road ground fell silent before kick-off to mark the passing of former Emmanuel College student and Cambridge player Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Stear. The hosts kicked off and produced a series of early attacks out wide, but the Service players, despite some handling errors, coped easily with the attacks. L/Cpl Sam Breeze provided some solid blocks in the middle, while Fg Off Owen Smith and SAC Toby Evans covered well and looked to attack with ball in hand. The hosts scored out wide after 10-minutes and once the RAF did manage to free their speed in attack L/Cpl Chris Craig burst over for 5-5. Just after the half hour mark a terrific passage of passing and movement saw the Service men release SAC Evans. lCont page 30:

OLD SCHOOL TIE: Above and below, action from the Cambridge university clash PHOTOS: SAC JAMES LEDGER

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Royal Air Force News Friday, February 7, 2020 P29



RAF bullish despite loss Sefton Branker Trophy slips from Service’s grasp but Halton race kickstarts IS charge SERVICE CROSS country stars dodged the freezing temperatures to kickstart the association’s sporting calendar with the annual Sefton Branker Trophy at Halton. In its 90th year, the race featuring Civil Service, Fire and Police teams, hotly contested and fast paced, this year was no different. The course was measured this year, men 10km and ladies 6km, to enable perfect preparation for the upcoming InterServices. The female runners ran 1.5 laps of the tough and deceptive course, while the men completed 2.5. The ladies fielding a weakened team, saw LAC Chloe Richardson (Brize), in her debut RAF XC race, and Flt Lt Tamsyn Rutter (Stamford Hall), a seasoned vet, setting off at a strong pace amongst the large presence of Civil Service runners. Richardson came in first; Rutter second in with Adams in 18th to make up the first three RAF Ladies to cross the line. Richardson said: “I really enjoyed the course and can imagine I will get used to racing at Halton in the upcoming years. The overall team results saw the Civil Service come first, with the Police second and hosts third. In the men’s race, a large field assembled, producing high standard performances. The hosts’ fielded a weakened side and a powerful Civil Service team took advantage taking all the top six places, making them look set to maintain those places throughout. SAC Will Gardner (Benson) who recently rose from the Service’s top junior athlete, led the charge with Cpl Rob Wood (Odiham) close behind. Gardner eventually slipped back to sixth place. Wood settled in to finish ninth overall. The hosts then saw a group of five RAF runners take the spots between 13th and 18th. The group was led by FS Paul Vernon (Wyton) who was first RAF Veteran over the line in 13th place. Vernon was followed by Cpl Kieran White (Vet) (Halton), Cpl Steve Robinson (Wittering), Sqn Ldr Matt Whitfield (Vet) (Shawbury) and Fg Off Alex Gibb (BrizeNorton). The InterServices are hosted by the Army on February 12.

HILL TODAY: Clockwise from top left, action from this year’s Halton events


Royal Air Force News Friday, February 7, 2020 P30

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Association homes in for short game at Lord’s

Staff Reporter HQ Air Command THE BUZZ of anticipation around RAF cricket is rising as the association announced it will be sounding the call to arms for the summer game in style at Lord’s as it unveils the IST20 match in April. The men’s team, eager to win back the Inter-Service title from the Army at Lord’s on May 26, will once again be led by captain Flt Lt Adam Fisher. He has already expressed his desire to get his hands back on the trophy he last lifted during the Service’s 100th year in 2018. Fisher said: “Playing at Lord’s, abroad and against professionals spurs the boys on to work really hard and impress, putting right the mistakes we made last year. We know what winning the title feels like, so we are aiming to repeat 2018 again.” Last season highlighted the team’s new talent and those coming through the system with an emphatic victory at Vine Lane in the Development IST20. And this year looks to build on that, with an action-packed 25 fixtures scheduled for the season plus a tour to Birmingham ahead of the main short game event of military cricket at Lord’s. This year, the association will see a continuation of the trial system to open more opportunities for new players in the the senior and development sides. Last year saw SACs Jack Harrison and Sam Buckfield blast onto the scene, making their debuts at the highest level in their rookie season. Buckfield, almost single-

BAT IN ACTION: Main left, Fisher with Army captain Cpl Jay Boynton, right, the team winning in 2018 PHOTOS: SAC MATTY SMITH, CPL TIM LAURENCE AND SGT PETE GEORGE

handedly beat the Navy under water during the white ball fixture between them. The association has also had more than just success in the light blue, with several players representing the UKAFCA who are traveling to Sri-Lanka and India over the next few months. UKAF veteran Fisher said: “It is a massive privilege to have so

many selected from our squad, the guys will compete hard, enjoy the experience whilst learning vast amounts to bring back for the season.” For more information on attending the RAF Cricket Trails in Birmingham on March 17 contact Station PEd section for more information or email: Daniel. walker122@mod.gov.uk.

game plan, even when they went further behind 26-5. Half-time substitute SAC Tom Windibank finally got his moment to make an impact and his clever interception on the halfway line and the break to the line was fast

and impressive for a final score of 26-12. The team play their next IS warm-up match against the Armee d’l Air on February 26. lFollow the team twitter @ RAFRugbyUnion.

University challenge too strong Continued from page 28: After a final quick interchange Fg Off Owen Smith could not keep hold of the ball and the move broke down. Some excellent try line defence frustrated the hosts before Phillips finally broke the line after running from deep for 12-5. The second half just didn’t spark for the Service team, who were solid in defence, but unable to find the telling pass to break through in the final third. Trailing 19-5 on the hour, the visitors maintained their shape and

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Royal Air Force News Friday, February 7, 2020 P31



Vultures set to swoop Building programme is aiming for success at Inters

OLD GUARD: Above and right, action from previous Vultures clash

A CLEAN sweep of upcoming Inter-Services matches is the aim for the service’s rugby union old guard. The Vultures beat the RN Mariners, before losing to the Army Masters last term, but started the road to glory in winning style, with their 10-game build up. Sqn Ldr Nick Jones said: “The four pre-Christmas games, all of which were close fought, have given the coaching team a lot to think about as the focus switches to the upcoming IS games. “With the fixtures so close, the players were able to demonstrate their ability to dig deep when it counted, maintain composure and achieve those difficult results, sometime against the flow of the game. “Our focus for the next half of the season is to build upon the early lessons and put out a dominant team against the other Services in April.” A two-point win over Def Academy Shags 43-41 was the first of the warm-up games. Played at Shrivenham, and under the guest coaching of FS Tug Wilson, the game proved to be a good test, with


Our focus for the next half of the season is to put out a dominant team against the Army and Navy for the Inter-Services championship in April

the score remaining nip and tuck deep into the second half, with the military team scoring a converted try in the last 10 minutes to pull the score to 36-38 before scoring again to take the victory. A runners-up slot was the next reward at the Jersey International Veterans Tournament, Super 10s. Fielding several debutants the new players gave the coaches plenty to think about after some excellent performances. A tough away battle for the Vultures against Witney Jets ended with a 19-19 draw. The game featured some excellent passages of play from both the forwards and backs against a determined opposition.

A clash against Chinnor RFC Vets on a cold wet evening in Thame saw the Service side in fine fettle, putting in a strong display before Christmas. Chinnor took an early advantage with a brace of tries, one converted. The Vultures started to find their rhythm and were soon rewarded with a converted try under the posts by Chf Tech Gary Dunn. Cpl Mikey Ryan then went over for an unconverted try for 12 - 14. The game ebbed and flowed with both sides scoring with penalty kicks in the 75th minute sealing the win 34-36 for the RAF Follow the team in Twitter @ RAFRugbyUnion.

UPCOMING FIXTURES: v Torbay Vets at Bridgewater & Albion February 19. 7pm KO. v Richmond Heavies at Richmond RFC. March 4. 7.30pm KO. v Surrey Vets at Esher RFC. March 18. 7pm. KO. vArmy at Gloucester Barracks. April 4. KO TBC. v RN at Stoop/Kneller Hall. TBC. KO TBC.

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Royal Air Force News Friday, February 7, 2020 P33


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Vets snuff out Welsh fire Cardiff hosts battling clash as boss Beattie’s Inter-Services plans go perfectly RAFFC Veterans Wales Veterans

2 1

“EXTREMELY TOUGH and challenging”, was how Veterans football head coach FS Matt Beattie described his side’s 2-1 win over Wales vets. Beattie added: “This was a very testing game against a Welsh team that have a very talented squad. This game was no different for us, we let them have the ball for large parts and then suppressed their offensive players. Huge credit

has to be given to our guys who applied, executed and delivered a sound game plan to overcome this strong outfit. Preparation for our upcoming Inter-Services games (March) continue in earnest and we are progressing very nicely to peak at the right time.” Over the last few years, the two teams have played keenly contested fixtures, with rarely much between the sides. Beattie put his charges through a few days of training at USW campus, Cardiff. It was the Welsh that settled into the game first with the Service

side unable to retain the ball for long enough to make inroads into the attacking third. The military defence stood firm with Sgt Paul Stones looking secure in the goal behind them. After 17 minutes the RAF took the lead through Sgt DavWanless, who cut inside his marker before curling a left foot strike into the top right-hand corner. A goal of real quality put the RAF in front slightly against the run of play, and the same pattern would continue with the Welsh enjoying the lion’s share of possession.

A mixture of fine defending and wasteful finishing enabled the RAF to stay in front. On 22 minutes a RAF free kick some 45-yards-out, saw Sgt Danny Bartley swing in a ball across the penalty spot with Wanless heading into the corner. The Service held their 2-0 score line to the break, but the Welsh were out of the blocks quickly after the restart, producing some good attacking play. A powerful goal bound header struck Sgt David Barker’s hand and the Welsh captain Craig Hughes

wasted no time in calmly tucking away the spot kick. The Service side dug deep to defend their lead. Sgt Paul Stones continued to pull off fine saves with FS Paul McCormick marshalling the defence. They were finally breached, but the second Welsh goal was ruled out for offside. Sgt Dominic Reeves then struck the base of a post, with Bartley testing the keeper with another free kick. Follow the RAF Veterans team on Twitter @RAFFAVets.


Tough times for RAF orienteering stars GRUELLING TERRAIN tested RAF Orienteer stars in the Forest of Dean Inter-Service Orienteering Championships fixture. A field of more than 40 service athletes took on the demanding terrain of forest and steep hills near Cinderford, with the RAF fielding reduced teams. The cold conditions made the going underfoot varied, from calfdeep mud on some forest tracks to rock-hard ruts on others where the sun had not broken the overnight freeze, complicating running. Despite their reduced numbers, the Service put in strong performances against their counterparts. The British Army retained its grip on the trophy in both the men’s and ladies’ team disciplines. While The men were able to hold on to second place with a very strong performance from a developing squad, the ladies team had to settle for third place behind an emerging RN/ RM team. RAF Orienteering Chairman, Air Cdre Rob Woods, said: “Despite the result, I am very pleased with the performance of the RAF athletes and there were some valiant individual performances. “As important, all the RAF athletes demonstrated great sportsmanship, helping to strengthen mutual Tri-Service friendships through competition. “The event was a huge success and I wish those selected for the Armed Forces team in March, the very best of luck.”  

BRACING: Above, Cpl Jake Gosling who went on to scroe two goals, right, SRT stars get stuck in

PHOTOS: Cpl Nick Egan

Stars are just Four-midable

Continued from back page: Manager FS Kev Barry had the majority of his squad available with SAC Liam Corrigan and SAC Chris Peel returning after long absences. The hosts started brightly with Cpl Alex Woodhouse, Cpl Jake Gosling and Sgt Mike Campbell all going close in the early stages, however it was AFC who took

the lead on 16 minutes when a defensive mistake allowed them in. The SRT hit back immediately with Gosling finishing off a superb move.  The game settled down. On 40 minutes another poor decision allowed AFC to pick up the ball and score for a half-time 1-2 lead.  SRT started on the front foot after the break, with Campbell

scoring from 12-yards, Cpl Dave Webb finished off a great move to put the hosts in front for the first time. The visitors then levelled, before Gosling completed his brace beating two defenders and calmly finished to make the final score 4-3. Follow the team on Twitter @ RAFFASRT.

Royal Air Force News Friday, February 7, 2020 P34

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Lessons learned for MDS England Schoolboys hand out heavy defeat RAFF MDS England Schoolboys

1 4

THE MDS men faced their final clash before the IS championships after a 4-1 loss at the hands of England Schoolboys at Oxford City’s March Lane ground. The RAF started well, as SAC Alex More’s through ball was pounced upon by SAC Joe Spalding. Taking advantage of the confusion in the England box he slotted into the bottom left hand corner to make it 1-0 to the Air

Force U23s. The Schoolboys’ then rallied forcing a fantastic save from SAC James Rutherford, who parried with Sgt Ali Jones clearing. The Service side should have extended their lead, when a corner was whipped into the back post to SAC George Barber, who headed it down towards goal, but his effort struck the post. It wasn’t long before England’s pace and sharpness produced an equaliser, and the visitors quickly scored a second minutes later just before the break.

The RAF had a series of chances to equalise, first through Barber who did well in the middle of the park to keep the ball and play it through to Spalding who took his shot early from the corner of the 18-yard box, but struck it straight at the goalkeeper. Cpl Lewis Seddon then saw a free-kick from 20 yards comfortably saved. Just after the break SAC James Rutherford was beaten form the penalty spot and the visitors fast paced tempo produced a fourth and final goal.

The RAF U23 squad now await selection for preparations ahead of the first of their Inter-Services games against the Army U23 at

Aldershot Military Stadium on February 5, (7pm KO), before facing the Royal Navy at Marsh Lane, February 19, (1pm KO.)


Slow start proves fatal as Veterans lose warm-up RAFFC Veterans Royal Wootton Bassett

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HAVING PRODUCED a solid performance to beat Wales Veterans the Service veterans’ team could not repeat the feat, falling 5-3 to Royal Wootton Bassett two days later. The visitors controlled the first-half of the IS warm-up match, without really breaking sweat. The military men were second to every ball and looking

like a team that of strangers. Bassett played through the RAF with ease and took the chances created well, cruising into five nil lead before the break. A different team appeared for the second- half and immediately took the game to the visitors. On 47minutes Cpl Mark Brown started the comeback superbly sweeping a cut back into the roof of the net from just inside the area. The RAF were on the front foot now and we’re sharper to the ball all over the field.

However, the second goal didn’t come until the 72nd minute when Brown claimed his second following a Cpl Dave Wanless cut back. The lost time proved fatal as a couple of other chances went begging as well as the crossbar coming to Bassett’s rescue before a Wanless strike was helped in by Jnr Tech Neil Thomas from close range on 81 minutes. They did not have enough time to level the scores, but some pride was restored after a shocking first half.

LRT on track after loss Service Ladies continued their struggle towards the IS Championships with a 3-0 defeat at the hands of an in-form Oxford. Head coach Sgt Michelle Harvey-Perkins said: “Oxford are a fantastic team who play in the third tier of women’s football. We knew they would provide a test that would be exceptionally tough. For me it’s not about the result, it was about the performance. “Could the players put the patterns and systems we have worked on throughout the season into practice against this standard of opposition? And the answer was yes. Oxford dominated, but we were able to Impose ourselves. This stands us in great stead and builds huge confidence going into our upcoming fixtures.” lLRT play the Army at Cosford on March 10 and the Royal Navy in Portsmouth on March 17.


Academy cannot bridge Brunel gap Brunel University RAFRU Dev

64 10

THE SERVICE’S Academy rugby union stars went down 64-10 to Brunel University after the toughest game of the season so far. Speaking after the match Head Coach Cpl Berwyn Davies said: “I can’t fault the effort and determination the lads showed throughout, but I was particularly impressed with the positivity and belief they showed during the half time break, despite being 35 – 0 down. “They showed real character to step it up in the second half and we have a learned a lot that we can take forward in the season.” Played under floodlights at Ealing Trailfinders a very strong well organised Brunel side got off to a quick start with a penalty in the first three minutes resulting in a kick into the corner and a powerful After enduring immense pressure in the opening exchanges, the military team began to regroup and organise

their defence with both sides trying to assert some dominance

I can’t fault the effort and determination the lads showed throughout

in the middle of the park. For the next 20 minutes Brunel continued to dominate possession and looked to move the ball wide to a fast back line, but time and again the Academy held strong. The Academy got the upper hand in the scrum early on with a number of penalties conceded by Brunel, but the Servicemen’s lineout was not firing, and ball was continuously turned over. Lapses in concentration and missed tackles were punished by a powerful and fast Brunel back line who ran in three more tries for a half time score of 33 – 0.

The Academy returned from the break after with more focus and physicality and they started to make inroads into the Brunel defence with some quick thinking from Flt Lt Jack Shepherd who seized on the opportunity to take

a quick tap penalty on the Brunel five metre line and score a try. Despite the best efforts of a more organised and physical Academy side Brunel continued to dominate in the second half with fast and skilful back line and

some very good kicking skills to score a further five tries. The Academy side managed a consolation with a push over from a scrum in the final two minutes. Follow the Academy on Twitter @RAFRugbyDev.

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Royal Air Force News Friday, February 7, 2020 P35


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SPEED THRILLS: Main, Cpl Mike Campbell shows his pace during the AFC clash, right, the Service side attack PHOTOS: CPL NICK EGAN

SRT AFC Wulfunians

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Staff Reporter RAF Cosford “AN EXTREMELY good side and a great challenge”, is how SRT head coach FS Kev Barry described his side’s opponents after result after their 4-3 win. The senior RAF side faced AFC Wulfurnians at RAF Cosford as part of their Inter-Service warmup matches, and Barry said: “This fixture was great preparation for the

IS in March, AFC are an extremely good side and had a great attitude to the fixture which had a good competitive edge. “The staff worked hard to get across to the lads how we wanted to play, the challenge was for them to believe in their own ability, and be confident enough to play in a particular style.   “The lads all stuck to their jobs and tried at all times to play how we asked.  We have Cpl Sam Rawlings, Cpl Mike Atkinson, SAC Kyle Willis, SAC George Barber and SAC Danny Dixon still to come into the squad so we should improve in all areas going forward.” Continued on page 33:

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RAF News 07.02.2020  

RAF News is the official newspaper pf the Royal Air Force. Published every fortnight, it bring news, features on topical issues and life in...

RAF News 07.02.2020  

RAF News is the official newspaper pf the Royal Air Force. Published every fortnight, it bring news, features on topical issues and life in...

Profile for rafnews