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Friday October 8 2021 No. 1521 70p

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Helping veterans in prison system

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Centenary celebration

Sentry salute

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THE RAF’S E-3D Sentry retired from service during an emotional farewell at Waddington after 30 years on the frontline. The aircraft made its debut in 1991 in the Balkans, operating over Serbia from Aviano air base in Southern Italy. Within hours of the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001 a 23 Squadron training sortie was rapidly retasked to Scotland to monitor air traffic returning to Europe after the closure of US airspace. When allied air strikes began on the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, the E-3D fleet was in action months before a single British fighter jet arrived. Sentry crews saved countless lives as the first allied troops landed in Afghanistan, facing fierce resistance. AWACS crews monitored more ‘patrol frequencies’ than they had

mission radios, with Airborne Techs often assigned the task of listening out for calls on other kit. Officer Commanding 8 Sqn Wg Cdr Victoria Williams said: “These were often distressing. “Isolated patrols encountered far larger Al-Qaeda and Taliban forces. Only the rapid coordination of US jets by the mission crew saved many who would sometimes be calling as they literally fought for their lives. “Air activity too reflected the nature of the ground battle with large numbers of strikes against well dug in and determined enemy forces who often fought fanatically to the death. “Due to the distances involved, carrierbased USN and USMC fast jets were the most common aircraft controlled initially.” Continued onPhoto: p3 Cpl Lee Matthews

FAREWELL TO AN ICON: 8 Sqn's Wg Cdr Victoria Williams leads the parade at RAF Waddington as the E-3D bows out of service PHOTO: SGT NIK HOWE

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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 ±ųå)e±ÏÏųåÚĜƋåÚ±ĹÚĜĹųåÏŅčĹĜƋĜŅĹŅüŅƚųÏŅĵĵĜƋĵåĹƋƋŅ8ŅųÏåŸü±ĵĜĬĜåŸØƵåŅýåų±ŸĜčĹĜĀϱĹƋ reduction in fees. In 2019/20 this meant that our Forces families paid just 10% of fees. In 2020/21 8ŅųÏåŸü±ĵĜĬĜåŸƵĜĬĬޱƼģƚŸƋƊĿĂĂŞåųƋåųĵØŞåųÏĘĜĬÚŠƵĜƋĘƋĘåÆåĹåĀƋŸŅüĘĜĬÚϱųåšŅƚÏĘåųŸƋĘĜŸ ĀčƚųåϱĹÆ屟ĬŅƵ±ŸƊƅŎĉŞåųƋåųĵšţ

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Royal Air Force News Friday, October 8, 2021 P3

We actors are rogues and The team is looking forward vagabonds, we’ve always toured” to international action again”

I’m so thrilled to win the award and, of course, so proud of DJ”

Sir David Suchet takes his new show, Poirot and More, on the road See R’n’R p4

Military Working Dog Trials winner Cpl Alys Webb, from RAF Northolt See page 13

New UKAF football chief FS Dyfan Pierce See page 30

Sentry bows out at Waddington after 30 years on the frontline

RAF News Room 68 Lancaster Building HQ Air Command High Wycombe Buckinghamshire HP14 4UE Editor: Simon Williams Email: Features Editor: Tracey Allen Email: News Editor: Simon Mander

Continued from front Barely a month after the US terror attacks, the first E-3D and a 23 Squadron crew flew to Southern Oman – the focal point for USAF and RAF deployment. Missions started within days by two Sentrys supported by three crews. UK E-3Ds flew one of three daily AWACS sorties over Afghanistan, the other two covered by USAF jets to provide round-the-clock surveillance, including watching enemy ‘driveways’ up through Pakistan. The longest Sentry sortie was a 17-hour and 50-minute flight in October 2001, still the longest mission ever flown by a UK AWACS. 23 Sqn was disbanded as an ISTAR unit in October 2009 but reformed in January for space operations. The Afghan war ended on August 30 with one of the biggest airlifts in history and more than 120,000 people

ROYAL SEND OFF: HRH The Duke of Wessex attends the parade at Waddington

This Week In History

Sports Editor: Daniel Abrahams Email: Tel: 07966 429755


H-bomb drop

SQN LDR EJG Flavell carries out the first British live atomic weapon drop from a 49 Sqn Valiant over Maralinga in Australia.

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evacuated – 15,000 by the RAF. Prince Edward attended a sendoff to the Sentry at the Lincolnshire base as 8 Sqn prepares to move to Lossiemouth to be re-equipped with Boeing Wedgetails. Spearheading the next generation of ISTAR platforms, the new SkyGuardian made its debut on Nato’s Exercise Joint Warrior. The uncrewed aircraft, which will be renamed Protector, will replace the Reaper fleet as part of a £94million investment at Waddington. ISTAR Force Commander Air Cdre Nick Hay said: “The sight and sound of the SkyGuardian operating from Waddington and Lossiemouth gave us a valuable and exciting glimpse into the future. “SkyGuardian operations were integrated seamlessly into local and European airspace whilst their role on two major exercises demonstrated impressive interoperability with other UK and Nato assets. The future is very bright.”


Wellington lands THE WELLINGTON bomber enters service with 99 Sqn based at RAF Mildenhall.


First female rotary pilot FLT LT Nicky Smith graduates at RAF Shawbury as the first female RAF helicopter pilot.

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



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Royal Air Force News Friday, October 8, 2021 P5


Reservists hit the mark on deployment training exercise


New Middle East chief THE RAF has a new Middle East chief in charge of combating Daesh in Iraq and Syria and operations from the Arabian Gulf to the Eastern Mediterranean. Air Commodore Mark Farrell takes over as Air Component Commander and Air Officer Commanding 83 Expeditionary Air Group. The former Tornado navigator, who began on the F3

fighter variant before converting to a Weapons Systems Operator on the GR4, is a XIII Squadron veteran of Operation Telic in Iraq. He paid tribute to his predecessor Air Commodore Simon Strasdin, whose tenure included the evacuation of 15,000 people from Kabul when the Taliban seized control. Air Cdre Farrell said: “He’s had an outstanding tour over the last 12 months. Due to his leadership the UK performed outstandingly on operations right from Operation Pitting, the extraction from Afghanistan, all the way to restructuring 83 EAG and making sure it’s fit for the future in both structure and HANDOVER: Air Cdre Farrell (left) and Air Cdre Strasdin form.”

RESERVISTS FROM across Scotland and the north of England gathered in Moray to hone their combat skills. A total of 100 personnel practised marksmanship, close-quarter battle drills, first aid, and responding to chemical attack before adventure training – mountain biking and rock climbing in the Cairngorms – as part of Exercise Readiness Bull. Officer Commanding 2622 Highland Squadron, Sqn Ldr Chris Beckley, said: “Congratulations to the part-time reservists who worked hard through rain and shine to practise their specialist deployment skills.” The two-week programme included training at Lossiemouth, the Fort George ranges and Kinloss airfield, and involved 2622 (Highland) Squadron and 603 (City of Edinburgh) RAF Regiment reservists exercising the skills needed to protect aircraft deployed in an Expeditionary Air Wing.



Leeming’s 609 (West Riding) Squadron joined for the airfield exercise along with regulars from C Flt 51 Squadron RAF Regiment, search specialists from 4 RAFP Squadron, paramedics from 612 (City of Aberdeen) Squadron, and drivers from 602 (City of Glasgow) Squadron. Lossiemouth’s Force Protection

Training Flight sharpened up reservists’ shooting skills on the ranges before they ‘deployed’ to Kinloss airfield to live in austere conditions and experience realistic scenarios against an elusive enemy. For the adventure training RAF Regiment reservists were joined by RAFP colleagues from 603 Squadron who had been practising marksmanship skills and section tactics at Boulmer.

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Royal Air Force News Friday, October 8 , 2021 P7


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l l e w n a r C , e z i r B n o t g n i d d a W d n a host VIP visits RAF PERSONNEL honed their parade ground drills for a trio of Royal command performances at Waddington, Cranwell and Brize. HRH Princess Anne arrived at Brize Norton as the RAF’s newest squadron got the Royal seal of approval. The Princess Royal, Honorary Air Commodore of the Oxfordshire base, attended the reformation parade for 30 Squadron as an A400M Atlas transporter carried out a flypast to mark the occasion. Officer Commanding 30 Sqn, Wg Cdr Stuart Patton, said: “It’s an exciting time for all of us to be bringing back the Squadron for the next generation. “The unit dates back to 1914, made its name as the first air drop specialist at the siege of Kut in 1916, flew fighters in World War II, and reformed with transports before the Berlin Airlift. “In 1968, it received the legendary C-130 Hercules which it operated until 2016, but the newly-reformed 30 Sqn will join LXX Sqn operating the Airbus A400M Atlas.” Prince Edward reviewed a Royal Parade at Waddington to retire the E-3D Sentry. During 30 years of operations the aircraft clocked up more flying hours than any other airframe during Operation Iraq Freedom and played a key role in the

Balkans on Operation Grapple. The E-3D has also carried out anti-drug missions in the Caribbean and supported recent strikes against Daesh in Syria and Iraq. The Earl of Wessex, an Honorary Air Commodore, was accompanied by Air Officer Commanding Number 1 Group, Air Vice Marshal Allan Marshall and Nato Airborne Early Warning and Control Force Commander, Major General Thomas E Kunkel USAF. Officer Commanding 8 Sqn, Wg Cdr Victoria Williams, said: “The parade is a fitting and emotional send-off for an iconic aircraft. We are incredibly proud of what has been achieved over the last 30 years.” Waddington Station chief Gp Capt Stephen Kilvington added: “The future for our intelligence assets is an exciting one, 8 Sqn will introduce Wedgetail into service at Lossiemouth while Waddington will benefit from £94m of investment to support the arrival of Protector.” In her other visit to an RAF station in a week, HRH Princess Anne reviewed the parade as a new accolade for inspirational female recruits was presented at Cranwell’s Sovereign’s review. SAC Megan Gammon became the first winner of The Jackie Moggridge Spitfire Award, named


after a pioneering aviator who was the youngest WWII ATA pilot and later flew commercial aircraft. Air Marshal Sue Gray said: “SAC Gammon is a truly worthy winner and has maintained a consistently high level of academic success while also supporting her peers during a challenging and uncertain year.” The prize for the best female aircrew or engineer was presented by The Princess Royal after being instituted by Jackie Moggridge’s daughter Candida Adkins, who attended the event. She said “My mother spent her life inspiring girls to fly and we hope that the Trophy will continue to inspire women to reach out

See p30


TRAILBLAZER: Centre, HRH Princess Anne presents inaugural Jackie Moggridge Spitfire trophy to SAC Megan Gammon. Below, Wg Cdr Victoria Williams leads the parade at Waddington as E-3D retires from service

into the world of aviation and inspire more female engineers, to whom my mother was always so grateful for keeping her in the air.” The Princess Royal arrived on the College Parade Square to take the Royal Salute while a Spitfire and Hurricane from Coningsby’s Battle of Britain Memorial Flight flew overhead. The parade was the last for Commandant Air Cdre Suraya Marshall, whose promotion to Air Vice-Marshal and appointment as AOC 2 Group was recently announced.

RAF veterans dole out TWO 11-3 drubbings


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Royal Air Force News Friday, October 8, 2021 P9


Feeding of 0 0 0 , 0 0 1 e h t

TOP BUN: Veggie burger is a hit

CUTTING EDGE: Protoypes from the British Experimental Aircraft Programme on display

Shot in the dark

COSFORD MUSEUM is offering aviation fans the chance to capture stunning images of some of the iconic aircraft in the collection with a special photography night shoot. Classic aircraft will be illuminated with dramatic lighting outside the hangars to create the perfect setting for amateur photographers. Event manager Ulrike Stuebner said: “We’re really looking forward to showcasing the aircraft in a completely different light and seeing the incredible images people capture.” The event takes place next month and places are limited to just 150. Go to for more details.

Staff Reporter CATERING ACES served up their 100,000th meal to quarantined personnel at Wittering. Favourite food of the past 15 months has been Korean fried chicken but fajitas, tuna pasta bake and veggie burgers were on the latest menu for the hungry 100 personnel currently isolated for up to two weeks to stop

anyone with coronavirus deploying abroad. Those awaiting the all-clear aren’t allowed to mix with station personnel and exercise and eat separately so top grub is vital to morale, a spokesman said. Award-winning chef Cpl Chris Morrell

added: “Our rationale has been about making the food great, and the eating environment Covid-safe. Each group has an allocated mealtime; 10 minutes to sanitise hands, choose meals and get seated, then 20 minutes to eat.” To eliminate multiple hands touching the same items only chefs can serve menu choices.

Typhoons strike Daesh ambush PRECISION: Typhoons used laser-guided Paveway IV bombs in the strike against Daesh fighters

nds cliff AB FAB: HRH desce

MEMORIAL: French guard of honour at the site in Roderen, Eastern France

Allies honour A MEMORIAL inspired by one of the first American pilots trained to fight in the legendary Lafayette Escadrille has been unveiled in eastern France. The monument to Kiffin Rockwell, who was shot down and died on September 23, 1916, is at Roderen, Haut-Rhin, and is now dedicated to all Allied aircrew killed in both World Wars. The memorial was commissioned by a local organising committee led by former French Air Force Officer Pierre-Alain Antoine, who designed, raised the funds and oversaw the building. The unveiling was attended by relatives of some of the fallen including an Australian couple who had travelled to witness it. The ceremony was closed by a flypast of French, US and RAF aircraft.

Staff Reporter

TYPHOONS STRUCK Daesh fighters with a Paveway IV laser guided bomb after Iraqi security forces were ambushed. A pair of combat jets were on an armed reconnaissance mission when they were called in by ground troops under fire from insurgents hiding in dense vegetation 30 miles south of Erbil.

903 Expeditionary Air Wing Commander Wg Cdr ‘Dutch’ Holland said: “Typhoons from this air station conducted a strike against Daesh fighters who were engaged with Iraqi forces causing a ‘troops in contact’ scenario. “The precise strike, utilising a Paveway IV, neutralised the threat and provided stability and safety for those troops involved.”

THE DARING Duchess of Cambridge tested a rugged mountain bike trail and abseiled down a quarry to mark the reopening of an Air Cadets’ revamped £2m Adventure Training Centre. The sporty Royal, who is Honorary Air Commandant of the youth group, mastered the cycling tracks in Cumbria laughing with youngsters aged 12 to 19 before roping down a 10-metre cliff. Cadet Abby Armstrong, 14, said: “When I found out I would be meeting her it was a total shock.” Centre worker Andy Reeve added: “It was wonderful for the cadets and adult volunteers to have HRH join them.”

Royal Air Force News Friday, October 8, 2021 P10


BoB chiefs salute ‘Boycie’ SUPPORTER: John Challis with the Duke of Kent at the Battle of Britain Memorial site

BATTLE OF Britain Memorial Trust chiefs have paid tribute to ‘Only Fools and Horses’ star John Challis, who joined the campaign to keep the memory of Churchill’s ‘Few’ alive. The actor, who has died aged 79, was one of several stars who supported last year’s successful Crowdfunder appeal for donations to help the Capel-le-Ferne-based Battle of Britain Memorial Trust survive the funding challenge posed by the Covid-19 lockdown. John and his wife Carol became big supporters of the Trust after the actor rekindled an old friendship with Patrick Tootal, the charity’s long-standing honorary secretary, after he realised they had both attended Ottershaw School near Chertsey in Surrey Patrick said: “We got back in touch and he became a great supporter, most recently backing the Crowdfunder appeal with a heartfelt plea on our behalf. “What made things even more

A TRUE GENT: Actor John Challis as Only Fools character Boycie. Inset left, testing out the historic Spitfire trainer at the BoB Memorial Trust during one of his frequent visits to Capel-le-Ferne site

special was that John brought his on-screen wife Sue Holderness [Marlene] with him to see the site. “Not only did she become an equally good friend to the Trust, but she also discovered that her

uncle, John Browning Holderness, was listed on the Christopher Foxley-Norris Memorial Wall as one of The Few, having flown with 1 Sqn in the Battle of Britain.” As well as attending Memorial

Day in 2013 and 2015, ‘Boycie’ was at the site in March 2011 for the visit of the replica of K5054, the first flying Spitfire prototype, and was photographed sitting in the cockpit. “John will be greatly missed by

all of us at the Trust,” said Patrick. “Not only was he an old school friend of mine but the support he provided to the charity over the years was remarkable. He truly was a real gentleman.”

Hayley moves mountains for military mental health Afghanistan, so I wanted to make sure they could still get the support AN RAF RESERVIST joined they needed through the fabulous an ex-boxing champ and a Tory work the charity does.” MP on a trek up Britain’s second And as lockdown eased, she set highest mountain to raise cash for her sights on scaling Snowdon’s victims of PTSD. 1,085 metre peak for her latest Cpl Hayley Court, who recently fundraising feat. took part in the evacuation of The group were joined by Tony 15,000 Afghans from Kabul, Wilsher of It’s Okay Not To Be Okay, teamed up with former World and Darren Jackson from Combat cruiserweight title holder Glenn Stress. McCrory and Army officer turned Despite being recognised as politician Johnny Mercer on the the ‘easier’ of the mountain’s six climb for Healing Military recognised paths the climbers Minds. faced slippery rocks and spread The group was across the four-and-a-half-mile created at the beginning ascent at their own pace, taking of 2021 when Cpl the chance to learn about Court, realising the each other’s causes, and how impact the Covidthey help individuals and 19 pandemic was their families. having on charities “By lunchtime across the UK, everyone was back started fundraising down the mountain, for Combat Stress. albeit a little damper She said: “I than when they had knew a lot of people set off, but with tales who had benefitted to tell over a drink and urt from Combat Stress, some food,” said Cpl AIGNER: Hayley Co particularly after CAMP Court.

Simon Mander

ON A HIGH: Organiser Hayley is joined by MP Johnny Mercer and boxing champ Glenn McCrory to highlight her campaign. Inset right, on the summit

“Most importantly though, more than £1,600 was added to the Healing Military Minds running total for the year, which now stands

in excess of £26,000.” For more details on Healing Military Minds and future events, see Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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Royal Air Force News Friday, October 8 , 2021 P13


007 joins up Staff Reporter ACTOR DANIEL Craig has been made an honorary Commander in the Royal Navy – matching the rank of the Bond character he plays. The appointment coincides with the release of the latest 007 film No Time To Die, the 53-year-old actor’s final outing as the world’s most famous fictional spy. Cdr Craig, whose Navy role will focus on Forces families, said: “I am truly privileged and honoured to be appointed to the rank of Honorary Commander in the Senior Service.” Filmmakers worked closely with the RAF and the Royal Navy in the production of the latest film. RAF Brize Norton was used as a backdrop, standing in for a Nato airbase in Norway where Bond joins MI6 allies and later boards a C-17 Globemaster, while film fans can get a sneak preview featuring HMS Dragon cutting through the waves on the trailer. Although the appointment of the Bond star matches the fictional agent’s rank in the Navy, the real-life inspiration for author Ian Fleming’s super-agent is believed to be World War II RAF Officer Wg Cdr Forest ‘Tommy’ Yeo-Thomas, known by the

codename White Rabbit. Described as ‘one of the bravest of the brave’ he joined Churchill’s Special Operations Executive and was parachuted into occupied France three times to work with the Resistance. He was eventually betrayed and captured by the Gestapo and sent to Buchenwald concentration camp but escaped to continue his secret mission. In a memo Fleming wrote in May 1945 while working in naval intelligence, he briefed colleagues

Top dog DJ has his day NORTHOLT’S CPL Alys Webb and Belgian Malinois DJ scooped top honours in the annual Military Working Dog trials. Cpl Webb said: “I am totally overwhelmed but thrilled to receive the award and, of course, I am so proud of DJ.”

See p25

on the White Rabbit and his successful escape from a Nazi concentration camp. First Sea Lord Admiral Sir Tony Radakin said: “I am delighted to welcome Daniel Craig to the Royal Navy. I look forward to 007 INSPIRATION: Yeo-Thomas him getting to see more of our sailors and Marines over the coming months and years.”

STAR APPOINTMENT: Bond actor Daniel Craig sports his new Navy uniform after being appointed Honorary Commander. Above left, the Forces-supporting actor joins personnel at Camp Bastion during a visit to Afghanistan in 2012

Mawgan sows seeds for zero carbon bid Simon Mander

ST MAWGAN personnel have teamed up with green campaigners in their bid to become the first carbon neutral non-flying RAF base. Environmental experts met at the station to advise on protecting biodiversity on wild areas of the camp which are refuges for rare species – from stick insects and peregrine falcons to corn buntings and bats. National Wildflower Centre worker Fern Carroll-Smith said: “It’s collaboration like this that will really have a big impact in preserving environments in Cornwall. “The base provides the perfect place for us to carry out our work, and we get lots of help from the military.” With the whole of the UK aiming to be carbon neutral by 2050, the MoD is committed to achieving this by 2040, with Cornwall aiming to become the first carbon neutral county by 2030. Station Commander Wg Cdr Marshall Kinnear said: “The Environmental Action Group is our best-attended forum, which shows the drive within our local community to protect the environment. “It’s great to see our personnel and their families involved in

GREEN TEAM: RAF families join ecogroups to hit carbon neutral target

these initiatives. Educating the next generation and leading by example is what really counts.” The group includes Buglife – the only organisation in Europe devoted to the conservation of all invertebrates – which works to protect 40,000 species of bees, beetle, worms, woodlice, spiders and jellyfish in the UK, many of which are under threat. Also in the green coalition is the Eden Project, the National

Wildflower Centre which encourages biodiversity in hedges, fields, woodlands, roundabouts, housing estates, churchyards and cemeteries. Station environmental advisor Sarah Kretowicz said: “The wild seed collection is just one of many initiatives we have to encourage pollinators and to enhance the region’s biodiversity. “It’s so important that we protect what we have here, and we hope that we can set an example for military bases across the UK.”

Royal Air Force News Friday, October 8, 2021 P15

P-8 knocks it for LOSSIEMOUTH’S LATEST Poseidon sub-hunter has been named after a World War II Spitfire hero. The P-8 fleet’s sixth aircraft has been dubbed ‘Guernsey’s Reply,’ after the fighter flown by RAF pilot Jurat Herbert Machon on daring missions against V2 rocket sites near the Hague. The Guernsey-born flier fled his homeland before the Nazi occupation, joined the RAF in 1942 and flew sorties protecting Lancasters on bombing raids over Hamburg and Nuremburg and attacks on U-boat pens at Heligoland. The latest aircraft will operate as part of the re-established 201 Squadron, training the next generation of Poseidon aircrew and instructors and take its place on the frontline among a total of nine aircraft by the end of the year. 201 Sqn OC Wg Cdr Adam Smolak said: “I am thrilled to welcome Guernsey’s Reply to Lossiemouth. Not only does this mark a further increase to our maritime air capability, it is also a fitting tribute to the association between 201 Sqn and Guernsey.”


News In Brief

ROUSING: Cranwell College Band led parade


Stam of approval

on Jurat Mach

WITTERING PERSONNEL paraded through Stamford to mark their Freedon of the Lincolnshire town and pay tribute to the heroes of the Battle of Britain. The Band of the RAF College Cranwell led the parade as thousands of local well-wishers lined the route to the United Reformed Church, where a service was held. Plt Off Jeorgia Carr, who carried the Freedom Sword presented to the station, said: “This was my first ceremonal event. It was an honour to represent the station and carry the Freedom Sword.”

NEW ARRIVAL: 201 Sqn CO Wg Cdr Adam Smolak with sixth P-8 Poseidon at Lossiemouth

Forces vets hit by gambling epidemic

Rock stars

Simon Mander

HONOURED: Wg Cdr Doherty leads RAF parade as Service receives Freedom of Gibraltar. Inset crowds turn out

AIRMEN AND women finally paraded to mark the Freedom of the City of Gibraltar after two years of delays caused by the Covid crisis. Crowds of tourists and residents watched The Queen’s Colour Sqn, 32 (The Royal) Sqn, 4624 (Reserve) Sqn, and local air cadets march down Main Street to music by a combined Forces band. Chief Minister Fabian Picardo said: “The RAF is as much a part of the defence of the Rock as it is of the sovereignty of the UK and of Western parliamentary democracy. “The runway hewn from

the Rock itself was constructed by the RAF during WWII. It became fundamental this year when the supply of Covid vaccines were flown in on an A400M.” Mayor of Gibraltar Christian Santos conferred the Freedom of the City to the Chief of the Air Staff’s representative, AVM Richard Maddison. RAF Gibraltar Station Commander Wg Cdr Nel Doherty said: “I am hugely grateful that we have finally managed to hold this event. It is wonderful that the RAF’s role in Gibraltar has been recognised.”

MILITARY VETERANS are seven times more likely to be problem gamblers than civilians, according to a new report. The first-ever UK-wide survey by Swansea University and the Forces in Mind Trust, found exmilitary personnel FOUR times more likely to have recently placed a bet and SEVEN times more likely to take risks to escape or avoid distress. They were also at greater risk of depression, anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder, and to have an alcohol and/or nicotine dependence. Report author Professor Simon Dymond said: “Our findings clearly indicate that veterans are at greater risk of gambling harm than non-veterans, but we cannot with confidence report the scale of the problem. “The significance of the findings is indisputable and is consistent with the international body of work which finds that veterans are at greater risk of gambling harm.” According to the survey, 43 per cent of the ex-military experienced problem gambling compared to just 6.5 per cent of civilians. The report recommends routine screening for gambling problems,

RISK: Ex-military personnel are more likely to develop gambling problems

gambling education programmes for Service personnel and a drive to remove the stigma associated with seeking help. Problem gambling is estimated to cost the UK up to £1.6 billion in economic, health, societal and criminal justice costs. Army veteran and report investigator Justyn Rees Larcombe said: “These findings are shocking.

“I got addicted to the thrill of online gambling and it nearly destroyed my life. I don’t want others to suffer as I have.” Forces in Mind Trust Director Tom McBarnet said: “This report identifies and highlights sobering facts that should make policy makers and service deliverers sit up and take action.” ■ Go

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Support for veterans

HELP, IN THE N Military charity Care after Combat supports Armed Forces veterans in the prison system

Those who have not served do not know what the Armed Forces have to deal with”

c TURMOIL: Veterans may experience mental health illnesses such as PTSD

Royal Air Force News Friday, October 8, 2021 P17


ORCES VETERANS only account for just over three per cent of the UK prison population and those who have served are far less likely to offend than civilians, according to Government figures. However the pressures of the job and rising rates of PTSD amongst those who serve on the frontline can trigger personal problems linked with criminal behaviour and in many cases a prison sentence. The stress of military operations has also been linked to alcohol and drug use and a recent report reveals that veterans are seven times more likely to develop gambling problems as some struggle to replace the high stakes excitement of deployments. Accurate figures for the number of veterans serving prison sentences are difficult to gather. Many do not admit to having served because of fear they may be a target for other inmates. Some others feel that they have not just broken the law, they have also broken the military code of honour and struggle to cope with the shame of knowing they betrayed the sacred bond of trust that for many defines the Armed Forces. While government figures show that Forces personnel are less likely to offend, they are still the largest occupational group currently detained at Her Majesty’s pleasure.


When I came to prison I was morally, emotionally and physically broken”

ormer RAF police officer Peter Norman served for 32 years before joining veterans’ charity Care after Combat, working in the prison system with former military personnel. During his time with the RAF he served overseas tours in Germany, Belgium and the Falklands and operational tours in Saudi Arabia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan. Peter and his team have helped bring down veterans’ reoffending rates to under 10 per cent – almost five times lower than the national average of almost 50 per cent. He said: “My own transition away from the RAF was relatively smooth compared to some. I had a supportive family and a house and I made the most of what I considered to be a very good resettlement process, including completion of a course at Manchester University. But that is very different to the experience of many other veterans. “People who have not served often do not understand what the Armed Forces must deal with. We provide training to services in the criminal justice system to make sure other agencies better understand the military way of life and how this affects how military people think, feel, and what they do. “A simple example is a common offence like reckless driving.

HIGH STRESS: On foot patrol in Afghanistan

For some veterans this increase in risk is the norm to them after some of the environments they have operated in. “Veterans in the criminal justice system often have complex and multiple needs which can be directly linked to their military service. There are also a host of lifestyle factors such as housing, employment, substance misuse and relationships that can affect their offending behaviour.”


mong the ex-Forces offenders to complete a 12-month Care after Combat programme is a former NCO who fought in Afghanistan, currently serving a prison sentence at HMP Lowdham Grange. He said: “When I came to prison I was effectively morally, emotionally and physically broken. Throughout my sentence Care after Combat have supported me in ways I never thought possible. “The support and guidance they provide is second to none. Every step of the way they have enabled me to come to terms with and deal with my issues. “Even after I’m released I know that no matter where I am, they will continue to be there for me. Not only for myself, Care after Combat has been there for my fiancée and is always there to advise and guide her whenever required. Every member of Care after Combat is a credit to the charity. They should all be proud of the work they continue to do for veterans.”


t the heart of the project is a mentoring programme run by ex-Forces staff and volunteers who work with veterans before release and for 12 months after they return to society. Peter added: “Our mentors have Armed Forces experience and understand

SERVICE: Charity’s Peter Norman, also (inset left) in Kosovo during his Royal Air Force days

what it is like to be involved with the criminal justice system. We try to ensure that veterans’ needs are fully understood and properly addressed. The charity also runs three separate programmes designed to help military vets turn their lives around and get back on the straight and narrow in civvy street. It provides specialist support in accommodation, employment and finances, healthcare and medication. Peter said: “I have been very fortunate. My own transition from the military to the civilian world was short and has had a positive outcome. For many it can last for years and be a very negative experience which can lead to offending.” n For help go to: and

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By Tracey Allen

BOMBER COMMAND Taking the fight to the enemy’s doorstep STRENGTH IN NUMBERS: No 75 RNZAF, RAF Newmarket © No 75 Sqn, RNZAF

C-IN-C: ‘Bomber’ Harris


ORMER PILOT Gordon A.A. Wilson’s new book Bomber Command Men, Machines and Missions 1936-38 (amberley-books. com) is a fascinating account, richly illustrated, of the RAF organisation since its formation in 1936 before World War II to its last years during the Cold War. The book examines why Bomber Command was created and looks at the personnel who guided its formation and the philosophy and politics of the change from strategic to area bombing, and the controversy that followed. A retired pilot with the Canadian Air Force’s 414 Electronic Warfare Squadron, Wilson flew target aircraft on secret missions to test the defences of North America, and as a squadron maintenance test pilot. He went on to fly for a major airline for 30 years. He describes Bomber Command as a ‘formidable force’ during WWII, adding: “History continues to debate Bomber Command’s mission and how it was carried out. Regardless, without it, certainly Great Britain, and possibly the world, would not have the democratic freedom we enjoy today.” Wilson explained that Bomber Command was ‘a direct descendant of the First World War strategic bombing forces.’ He added: “The striking power of Bomber Command in the early years was limited to leaflet dropping, defensive patrols, and a disastrous attempt at daylight raids on the heavily protected German Navy. “Bomber Command initially lagged behind in manpower and advanced aircraft but by 1942, under a new Commander-in-Chief, Air Marshal AT [Bomber] Harris, the tables began to turn and nighttime area bombing by heavier and more numerous bombers began. “In 1936 the Royal Air Force created Bomber Command to build up an organisation of personnel and equipment to meet possible future requirements. The politicians and guardians of the British Government purse still

WE HAVE a copy of Bomber Command Men, Machines and Missions 1936-68 to win (rrp £20, out on November 15). For your chance to own it, tell us: For how long was author Gordon A.A. Wilson a pilot with a major airline? Email our answer, marked Bomber Command book competition, to: competitions@rafnews. or post it to: RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe, HP14 4UE to arrive by November 12.



TWIN-ENGINE: Vickers Wel


© RCAF Archives

CHURCH SERVICE: No 428 (Ghost) Sqn RCAF © Canadian Museum of Flight, Langley, British Columbia

1937: Fairey Battle took to the skies

believed that diplomacy could avert the looming crisis. How wrong they were.”


he author explains that the organisation eventually increased to 13 Groups to meet organisational requirements, each one having its own headquarters under the command of at least a Group Captain or an Air ViceMarshal if it was a frontline group. “Perhaps the most famous of all the Groups was No 8 Group, the Pathfinder Force,” he said. “This initiative would raise

Bomber Command to new heights of effectiveness through more accurate bombing.” He added: “If No 8 Group was the most famous among the Groups, then the RAF 617 ‘Dambuster’ Squadron, flying from RAF Scampton in Lincolnshire, was the most celebrated squadron for its daring 1943 raid and destructions of dams in the Ruhr Valley.” Wilson said at various times during WWII there were more than 130 active squadrons in Bomber Command; some could trace their lineage back to the Royal Flying

© RCAF Archives

Corps before the RAF was formed in 1918. Lincolnshire, on the east coast, became known as the ‘Bomber County’ because many of the Bomber Command squadrons were stationed there. “Today Lincolnshire is home to the International Bomber Command Centre at Canwick Hill and the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Centre at East Kirby. Both continue to conserve and explain the Second World War history of Bomber Command,” said the author.

he years between both world wars saw the development of bomber aircraft from the Hawker Hind in 1936, a single-engine monoplane, and the Fairey Battle in 1937 to the Vickers Wellington twinengine monoplane in 1938. They were followed by the Avro Lancaster four-engine heavy bomber in 1942. Wilson said: “The men who looked after the aircraft and the crews who flew them had to be trained to the highest possible standard in spite of the limitations of wartime conditions. The aircrew would start at an Initial Training Wing in England and then many would finish overseas away from the constant danger of enemy bomber attacks. “The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan was a cooperatively funded training venture among the Commonwealth countries, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. The plan was primarily located in the wide-open ‘safe from threat’ skies of Canada.” He added: “Post-war the role of Bomber Command gradually changed during the Cold War years to a nuclear strike capability and in 1968 it merged with Fighter Command to form Strike Command. The last piston-engine bomber aircraft developed during the war years, the Avro Lincoln, was replaced with the jet engines of the English Electric Canberra and the V Bomber aircraft. “Bomber Command was not perfect, nothing is, but when called upon in Britain’s hour of need it brought the war to the enemy’s doorstep and helped to turn the tide of war. Bomber Command was a major part of the final Allied victory.”


Eurofighter concept


FROOLQVDHURVSDFHFRP-6$6 © 2021 Collins Aerospace


Royal Air Force News Friday, October 8, 2021 P21 ■ Please note letters must be a maximum of 300 words and any accompanying pictures sent as attached, hi-res jpeg files

Post: RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe, Bucks, HP14 4UE Email:

RAF Colerne call BUCC STOPS HERE: Stu Smith (circled)

Pilot Stu’s still bananas about the Buccaneer MY NAVIGATOR on the Bucc conversion course sent me the picture of the Buccaneer in Cyprus ‘festooned’ with ground and aircrew (Letters page RAF News No 1520, September 24). I’m standing on the first rung of the rear cockpit ladder. I flew the wonderful aircraft on 12 Squadron for eight years at RAF Lossiemouth before leaving the service for commercial aviation. I retired in May this year after 45 years as a professional pilot – nothing surpassed the challenge or enjoyment of flying the ‘banana jet’. Stu Smith

HAPPY DAYS: Bob Copping (centre) with two pals

THIS PHOTOGRAPH was taken in 1952 at RAF Colerne, Wiltshire, when I was a Junior Technician. The unit then was home to three units: a Salvage MU, a Storage MU and a Navigator Training Unit, OCU No 238, flying Brigand and Buckmaster twinengined aircraft. Is there anyone from that era still alive and kicking? I am just over 90 years old.

I did nearly 40 years service in the Royal Air Force, retiring in January 1986 at RAF Swinderby. Perhaps this pandemic has isolated us, but let’s get back to doing things normally and receiving things by post, we are not all computer-minded. Bob Copping Peterborough ■ Are you in the picture or did you serve at the same time as Bob? Email:


Give recognition to all on mission AFTER READING the latest RAF News (No 1519, September 10), I am disappointed to notice yet more articles on the RAF’s efforts in Kabul that seem to not give mention to the RAF Police or Movers – personnel who were on the ground for the entire two weeks of the Op. I do not wish to discredit the efforts of anyone involved, but all articles and recognition seem to avoid any mention of the above. Is there a reason for this omission? I imagine it is very disheartening for them after what they have just been through. Cpl Debbie Cresswell 606 Squadron RAF Benson Editor’s Note: RAF News is always keen to cover newsworthy stories about all Air Force personnel on operations, exercises or at home. We would have been delighted to report on the role of the RAF Police and movers on Op Tipping, however, although loadmaster Sgt Andy Livingstone made brief reference to the movers in his piece, neither a movements nor an RAF Police representative was made available to us.

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Graduations REVIEWING OFFICER: Air Cdre Thomas Burke casts an eye over the new Gunners PHOTOS: CPL JAMES LEDGER



RAF Honington welcomes 37 rookie Gunners to the ranks PRIDE: Families and loved ones

THIRTY SEVEN members of TG 1-21, Salalah Flight became the newest members of the RAF Regiment after graduating at RAF Honington. Reviewing Officer Air Commodore Thomas Burke, Assistant Chief of Staff Operations, said: “The 37 newest members of the Corps should be immensely proud today. This isn’t simply the end of 20 weeks of demanding training, each has earnt the coveted Royal Air Force Regiment ‘mudguards’ that signify their specialist skills and professional quality. “I was delighted to be invited to be the Reviewing Officer and to share in their achievement with families, friends and

On graduation the LACs are posted to either 1 Sqn RAF Regt at RAF Honington, 15 Sqn RAF Regt (RAF Marham), 34 Squadron RAF Regt (RAF Leeming), 51 Squadron RAF Regt (RAF Lossiemouth), 63 Squadron RAF Regt (RAF Northolt) or 4001 Flt (RAF Honington).

INSPECTION: Passing muster

the staff. Per Ardua.” The Band of the RAF Regiment provided the music.

The prize winners were: Frank Sylvester Trophy: LAC Fellows – best all-round trainee. The RAF Regt Association Trophy for Drill and Deportment: LAC Bartell-Ramirez. WO Ramsey Physical Development Cup: LAC Coles. LAC Beard Recruits’ Trophy: LAC Nunn – most inspirational and supportive member of the Flight, as voted for by their peers. SAC Luders Champion Shot Trophy: LAC Piper. Cpl Bradfield Trophy: Cpl Walker – best Corporal Instructor.

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WINNER: RAF Northolt’s Cpl Alys Webb is presented with her trophy by AVM Gillespie

AWARD: Cpl Mundy from RAF Marham

PHOTOS: CPL JAMES LEDGER TEAM: Cpl Connelly and Sagan, from Lossie

Ruff and tumble RAF top dogs have their day at Scots show

WORKING DOGS: Undergoing RAF training

AIR DOGS were one of the star attractions at the Scottish Torque car show, raising cash for the RAF Benevolent Fund. And the hungry hounds were rewarded with a unique Typhoon-shaped dog bowl (below) made by charity boss Gavin Davey. He said: “We were delighted to have the RAF Police Dog Display Team, they really impressed the large crowd who thoroughly enjoyed ‘meeting the dogs,’ and they complemented the outstanding aircraft and supercars on display.” The event in the grounds of Broomhall House in Fife, ancestral home of the Bruce family, was the Fund’s largest event in Scotland. RAF Police Dog Display team manager Sergeant Webb said: “It’s an incredible feeling to be able to meet the public at such an amazing and historic location in Scotland after the constraints of Covid-19.” The work of the dogs and their handlers was also under the spotlight at RAF Honington recently, at the Military Working Dog Trials. This year’s champion is Northolt’s Cpl Alys Webb and patrol dog DJ. Runner-up was Marham’s Cpl Mundy and Nina, with Lossiemouth’s Cpl Connelly and Sagan coming third. The first team ever to win the The RAF Benevolent Fund McConnell Cup for Obedience and Agility was Cpl Stewart and Rover from Marham. Other winners were: Best Bitework – Cpl Woods and Sepp (Marham) Best Arena – Cpl Smyth and Gina (Lossiemouth) Best Windscent – Cpl Webb and DJ (Northolt) Best Nightwork – Cpl Carrington-Bent and Ruby (Brize Norton) The Lady Kemball Trophy for the Best Arms and Explosive Search Team – Cpl Parton and Rui (Waddington) The Drissell Trophy for the Best Police Dog Team – Cpl Weatherley and (Marham) The Von Wolf Trophy for 2020 Best Vehicle Search Dog Team Cpl Bearcroft and Coco (Brize Norton).


Remember R eme ember e to to c check heck in in w hen y ou’’re e ating g out t. when you’re eating out. CovidCovid-19 v 19 is still with w us. Even Even if you’ve you’ve been bee en vaccinated, vaccinated d, y you ou c can an st still ill th he virus virus and you you can can still pass p So use use the NHS SC OVID-19 app a get the it on. So COVID-19 tto o manage ey our risk and an nd help protect protec ct friends and d ffamily. amily y. your L et’s k eep lif e mo ving v ving. Let’s keep life moving. Download Do wnload the NHS COVID-19 COVID D-19 app

Royal Air Force News Friday, October 8, 2021 P27

Porsche Taycan Turbo TIM MORRIS Motoring Correspondent FUEL SUPPLY issues have been a real problem for supercar owners too – but not for those lucky enough to have a Porsche Taycan on the driveway. No, Taycan owners have been looking rather smug, even more so than 911 owners usually do. They’ve got the best of both worlds. They never have to visit a petrol station and they’re driving one of the best sports cars that money can buy. Picking an EV over a ‘real car’ doesn’t come naturally to old school motoring journalists like me but I have to be honest, this car is phenomenal. It is in fact one of the most amazing pieces of engineering that I’ve ever driven. With the Taycan (pronounced Tie-can) Turbo Porsche has created an electric supercar that’s not only fast but immense fun to drive. That’s no accident because since the car started life as a rough scribble on a notepad back in 2014 its designer has had one primary goal, to make it behave like a 911.


It this EV the best Porsche in world?

...our man thinks so

Exterior The Taycan is instantly recognisable as a Porsche and, in terms of looks, it sits somewhere between a 911 and a Panamera. Porsche has opted to make it a truly practical, four-door sports car that combines performance and functionality. It’s sleek, it’s muscular and the attention to detail is exceptional. The huge racing alloys, the rounded arches, the signature rear lights – it looks fast standing still. Quite simply, it’s a beautiful machine worthy of the Porsche badge. Interior Get into the Taycan and a few things leap out at you. The traditional clock above the dash, the Porsche sports wheel and the view of those rounded wheel arches peeping above the dash all feel very familiar. Then you turn it on and everything gets very sci-fi. The car adjusts automatically to fit you and the displays return to your personal configuration but the driving position is near as damn the same as the 911. There are four large instrument screens on the dash. If that’s not enough for you, you can pay extra to have one for your front seat passenger too, just so they feel like a co-pilot. The majority of the car’s features are controlled using the central 8.4 inch touchscreen and the 10.9 inch infotainment screen above it. I’m going to give you the usual warning that things are difficult to operate on the move because of multiple menus but the same can be said of most cars these days. The huge panoramic roof, space age sports seats and quality of materials make the Taycan stand

Verdict Pros Acceleration On-road performance Fun and great in corners Interior quality

out and it beats all rival electric cars for interior quality at present. On The Road Having driven many 911s over the years I’ve come to expect Porsches to have slightly uneven weighting but this is perfectly balanced. It is the best handling Porsche I’ve ever driven, by far. It’s flat through the bends and lands with absolute precision on fast, undulating roads. Thanks to the flat battery pack the car feels like a mid engine sports car in many ways and that fixes my ageold gripe. The power that the Taycan delivers is epic and perfectly controlled. Through town it glides along silently, like any other EV, but a firm press of the pedal on the open road unleashes power of biblical proportions. 680 horsemen of the apocalypse to be precise in our ‘Turbo’ test car. Official figures give this car a

Cons Mediocre battery range You’ll want optional extras Options are expensive The base car is expensive

top end of 161mph and it will get you to 99mph from standstill in just 6.9 seconds. You find yourself hoping you’ll have to stop at a red light because it gives you the opportunity to use launch control. The G Force off the mark is immense, it’s like having your own personal roller coaster. I’ve only ever felt acceleration this sharp in a Tesla Model S, which is marginally faster so Porsche has absolutely got it right with this car. Range & Practicality As part of my test I decided to take my green supercar to the greenest land of all, rural Wales.

My mission? To push the limits of the mileage that the car can cover on a single charge. The Taycan boasts an impressive 280 miles per charge but I reckon it’s more like 200 in the real world. Should I have needed to charge it, with the right charger, you’ll go from 10 per cent to 80 per cent charge in around 20 minutes. That’s quicker than a Model S hooked up to a Tesla Supercharger. Most chargers however will deliver the same charge in around 40 minutes but going from 0-100 per cent on a home charger takes around 13.5hrs, where other EVs will do it in 8.

Overall Doing my job I’ve driven most of the world’s supercars at one point or another but I don’t think I’ve ever driven anything quite like this. At £130k it’s comparatively priced for the segment and in line with key rivals. It’s also likely to hold its value particularly well. A Tesla Model S is still faster and Audi’s new e-tron GT comes close but the Taycan has style and handling that they just can’t touch. For me this is now the best Porsche in the world and as a true petrol head I can’t believe I’m saying that.

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4 pages of RAF Sport start here Early hopes dashed Veteran footballers showing the way forward: p30


Great start but Army hit back RAFRL ARMY

FIGHTING FIT: SAC Luke Richardson, Sgt Mary Westmoreland, and Cpl Rich Pope from the TKD team.

16 34

HEAD COACH Sgt Martin Wood’s hopes of an opening Inter-Services victory over the Army at the Millennium Stadium, Pontefract, got off to flyer with two early tries. EN GARDE: Action Sadly, it wasn’t to be for the from RAF Cosford Airmen, who lost 34-16 on a night PHOTO: punctuated by beautifully-observed CPL KRISTIAN minute silences for former RAF DAWSON Rugby League star SAC(T) Scott Stevenson, before each of the three games played. Stevenson died as a result of injuries suffered while playing for the RAF in the 2019 IS series against the Army at Aldershot. RAF team captain Cpl Ben Mellor said: “It is always a great battle against the Army, but after tonight we are aiming to give this result back to them next time. All in all, it was great to get back to playing though.” Cancelling out an early Army penalty, the airmen saw tries from SAC Tomas Rasoki and SAC Adam Middleton at the home of Featherstone Raiders. Rasoki’s try was neatly taken after a cool series of quick passes, the

Martial artists in the medals


final one from SAC Kevin Raqio. Middleton’s came after he collected a pass just short of the uprights and, with two Army players trying to hold him up, forced his way over the line. Three quick tries from the hosts put them ahead after a period of ill-discipline from the men in blue.

A fourth saw the Army go in 22-10 ahead at the break. The Army went further ahead 15 minutes into the second half, before Rasoki went over minutes later for the RAF’S third try. The airmen continued to enjoy the majority of the territory throughout the half, but could not



PHOTO: Tim Keeton, Impact Images Photography

The late show does for struggling SAC CRASHES AND a mechanical issue were all part of a tough weekend for RAF Regular and Reserves’ Kawasaki team rider SAC Ryan Vickers at Oulton Park. Vickers, who scored just seven points from the weekend, fell another place in the overall BSB championship standings, and now lies 12th on 157 points after nine rounds. He said: “It’s been tough for all of us this weekend, but we’ve all worked hard to get through it, and we share both the highs and lows together. My confidence had taken a hit, but we did the best we could, and we’ll look to bounce back strongly at Donington.” Despite two spills during the Friday track sessions, Vickers rode

bravely to secure third during qualifying the following morning. The finish saw him on the front row for the first 14-lap race. He then had a further spill exiting Lodge during the opening lap of the race, which put him back to ninth, meaning he would now be on the third row for the opening 18-lap race on the Sunday. Issues with the bike, not helped by the series of spills, saw the Thetford-based rider’s team carry out emergency mechanical work, which resulted in him being out late on the track. Because of his late arrival, he was placed at the back of the grid and struggled to finish well, coming home 13th. Sat on the sixth row of the grid for the weekend’s final race, Vickers

get any return for their efforts, before a sixth Army try and penalty completed the win. The women’s match, which saw a mixed RAF team containing Royal Navy players, went the way of the Army 60-10, while the Development match also saw the Army win, 50-4.

RAF MARTIAL ARTS stars brought home major national competition medals with British Open gold and bronze along with GTI National Open gold. For the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu team, black belt Flt Lt Jon Maflin won a gold medal at the British Open, after competing in the medium-heavyweight category at the event at Loughborough University. RAF Halton star black belt SAC Alex Smith then produced a debut bronze in the heavyweight category. Meanwhile, the RAF Taekwondo team were busy at the GTI event in Cheltenham. Four RAF black belts competed: Cpl Rich Pope, Fg Off Kyus Martin, SAC Luke Richardson and Sgt Mary Westmoreland. Richardson took gold in the men’s heavyweight sparring, while Westmoreland scored two silvers in middle and heavyweight sparring disciplines. ■ The RAF Martial Arts Association holds monthly fixtures at RAF Digby, with an open-door policy to all levels of athlete.

Code breakers

placed 12th at the chequered flag. Teammate SAC Lewis Rollo had a better weekend, producing two top-eight finishes in the Pirelli National Superstock 1000 Championship. Qualifying 12th for the opening race, the East Lothian rider found himself in sixth on the opening lap of the 14-lap race, but having slipped to ninth at the halfway

point, he had to settle for seventh at the flag. Having secured a fourth-row grid start for the second race of the weekend over 12 laps, Rollo came home in eighth to hold the same spot in the overall standings on 117 points. The team move on to Donington Park for Round 10 of the championships.

THE LATEST instalment in the Rugby For Heroes charity hybrid league union match went the way of the union team 39-19 at Gloucester’s Kingsholm Stadium. The annual Battle of The Codes clash, which features current and former stars of both codes of the game, is used by the charity to raise funds and awareness for military personnel transitioning to civilian life. It’s played with 40 minutes of league rules and 40 of union. Rugby World Cup winner and Rugby For Heroes patron Mike Tindall, who played as part of the union team, said: “This is a special day with everyone getting together, it’s fun but it’s tough out there.” This year half of the match proceeds were being used in support of former Leeds Rhinos player Rob Burrows, who is battling motor neurone disease.

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Chloe is first woman home


It's double delight HOCKEY

Men & women's teams turn on Centenary style

SAC CHLOE RICHARDSON was the first female finisher at the recent Great Bristol Half Marathon. The athlete, a member of 30 Squadron based at RAF Brize Norton, was running for the RAF Benevolent Fund and had a winning time of 78 minutes. She said: “I was over the moon to win, while raising money for such a great cause as the RAF Benevolent Fund.”

Doyle toil in Global 10km

GRIT: Doyle

THE RECORDS keep coming for RAF veteran Paddy Doyle after he completed his 698th fitness challenge to take the Guinness World Records 10km Global title. Doyle walked along the Claverdon Village footpaths in Warwickshire, carrying a 120lb backpack. He completed the distance in a time of two hours, 45 minutes, and 26 seconds. Doyle (pictured) has now set records in eight different sporting disciplines. He said: “I completed the first 6km with a fast-walking pace, but after that, the weight and a sharp incline on the route saw me tested severely all the way to the finish.”

ONE HUNDRED years of UKAF hockey was celebrated at HMS Temeraire, Portsmouth, with the RAF standing tall as both the men’s and women’s teams triumphed with matching score lines. Thumping 6-1 wins over the Royal Navy saw both teams part way to glory, with the Centenary Championship trophies being brought home after two hardfought 3-2 wins over the Army. The men, boosted by the inclusion of SAC Liam Sanford fresh from his adventures at the Tokyo Olympics for Team GB, maintained their seven-year unbeaten winning streak, with the international picking up player of the tournament. Sanford made his class known netting a wonder goal to put the airmen 2-1 up over the Army, he then slotted in a penalty for the

third before team captain Flt Lt Andy Seimann’s men held out despite the Army netting a second late on. The women’s team had an extra incentive to win through this year, with the tournament marking the final time they would play alongside captain Cpl Sam Hodges. The team, who had not played since November 2019, were also hunting down a victory over the

Army to send their captain off in style. Hodges has now left the Service after a 13-year RAF hockey career. She had not beaten the Army since 2013, despite several close calls, but this time she wouldn’t fail, with the women comfortably leading 3-1 in the closing stages after a strong performance. The tournament also saw several new faces join the women’s squad

including LAC Emily Dark, from 603 (City of Edinburgh) Sqn RAF Aux, who currently represents Scotland and is part of the GB Hockey development squad, and SAC Rebekah Douglas, RAF Wyton, who won the Ladies' player of the tournament. ■ Follow the association on Twitter @RAFHockey and Instagram @rafhockey


Cyclists lap it up at Okehampton

THE SERVICE’S cyclists produced several top-10 finishes at the Royal Navy-hosted Inter-Services road championships in Okehampton. “We didn’t get the result we wanted, but our plan almost worked”, said RAF Cycling Road Performance Director Sqn Ldr Rob Willcocks. He added: “There were superb results for both our teams in cracking races. There was a bit of everything on a very good circuit. This all helps to build experience and enhance teamwork for us.” Kicking off the day on the 7.2mile sporting course with 430ft of climbs per lap, was the women’s event over five laps. An early crash saw the race shortened by two laps, and despite fielding a weakened team due to other race commitments, the RAF riders battled hard against a strong Army set up. Cpl Sarah Toms notably stuck with the pace setters during the early stages. The Army finally took both the individual and team race titles, but a runner-up in the team event for the RAF was boosted by a seventh place for Toms and a ninth for Sqn Ldr Helen Carrington-Smith. Three other riders made the top 15. The men’s event, originally over 70 miles or nine laps, was also shortened due to the earlier crash delay and would now be battled out over six laps (45 miles). The shorter distance meant a blistering pace from the off, with the Navy and RAF riders initiating


an early break away. Two laps down and all three Services had riders up ahead of the peloton, with a decent 50 second time gap. With their lead rider still in the peloton the Army used up several riders trying to bring back the breakaway group.

In the final few laps, with riders falling away and solo breakaway efforts being quickly reduced, the race came down to a bunch sprint. It was the Army who had the strongest sprint out of the final 10 riders, with the RAF making up the bulk of the rest, coming fourth with Fg Off Ed Calow, fifth with Sqn

Ldr Willcocks, ninth with FS Ross Mallen and 10th with Cpl Adam Baker. Next year’s event will be hosted by the RAF. ■ Anyone interested in Service cycling should contact Sqn Ldr Willcocks on: Robert.

Royal Air Force News Friday, October 8, 2021 P30


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New chief Pierce homes in on Cup

Veterans raring to get the job done Dan Abrahams IF PROOF were ever needed that life begins at 50, the Service’s veteran footballers are going some way to providing it. The association, which delivers over-50s and over-35s sport, is having a purple patch like never before – while its growing links to the professional game and impressive performances are gaining admiring glances from the sister Services. Leading the charge are FS Ret’d Matt Beattie and Sqn Ldr Ret’d Craig Gill who oversee the 35s and 50s teams respectively. With preparations for next year’s Inter-Services underway, Beattie found time to talk to RAF News about the current state of play. “It’s brilliant. The game doesn’t stop when you reach a certain age, there’s plenty of years left to enjoy it, and that’s what we are about,” he said. Beattie’s over-35s have had a great response for their very first full season and Gill is equally enthused after the over-50s’ impressive 3-1 victory against Royal Wootton Bassett.

11-3 DRUBBING: Over 35s thrashed Wootton Bassett by same scoreline as they trounced outclassed Cardiff

BEATTIE: Bosses the RAFFA Over-35s

Running the association along club lines rather than as separate teams, with virtual meetings every fortnight, means everybody has input and a part to play. With a good 4-3 win over a strong Wales team under their belts, Beattie is purring about the 35s team’s season ahead. “They’re going from strength

to strength. Our relationship with Senior Representative Team manager WO Andy Kutcha is excellent, so we now have an automatic step through with the SRT players of qualification age. “We are seeing people who won seven IS titles on the bounce putting on an over-35s shirt, and the level of football is a delight.” A recent 11-3 win over Cardiff saw the RAF team 5-0 up after 20 minutes and leading 7-1 after 37, with hat-tricks from Sgt Steve Norton and Sgt Dave Wanless. Beattie added: “We’ve a great relationship with St George’s Park (The FA’s national football centre). It’s a fabulous place; we have the elite changing rooms, access to their restaurant and we are treated so well there. It’s the home for everything England and FA related, so it’s fantastic for us and it’s now our home venue. “The future is hugely bright, we just want to ensure that when we step aside, the younger players know what is required and take things on properly.” ■ The veterans play Cobham FC away on October 24.

TOP MAN: Pierce (right) and Loughborough game (below)

AFTER WHAT must be the longest succession to any sporting throne ever, FS Dyfan Pierce recently took charge of his first game as UK Armed Forces Football Head Coach. During the 19-month, Covid-imposed wait Pierce and his backroom team continued the tireless work of their predecessors with the usual attention to detail. It paid off with a 4-0 win for the side over Loughborough University at Aldershot (see RAF News 1520, September 24 edition). He said: “I was really pleased with the performance. It’s been a long time coming and it was great to finally get out there.” The Aldershot match was technically Pierce’s second in charge of the team, as the Swansea-based man stood in for the then absent head coach FS Nick De-Long in 2019 to face a Guernsey FA side celebrating their 100th anniversary. In a strange twist Pierce finally takes the reins of the team to defend the Kentish Cup in its 100th year; the UKAF having won the cup for the fourth time in a row in December 2019 in Holland. “It’s an exciting time, we’ve had a few new faces in, but we’ve also lost some key players that have served UKAF with distinction” , said Pierce. “It’s a quick turnaround this year as we have fewer games to prepare for the Kentish Cup, so it was important we hit the ground running with this fixture and the Irish Defence Force fixture later this month.” Despite not having any matches to oversee, Pierce was kept busy during lockdown. He said: “We kept in touch with all players ensuring they were in the loop with everything, plus


there were virtual meetings with the staff. Having been a part of the set up since 2014, I knew what I was taking on, therefore we have made minimal changes to a winning set-up.” The backroom staff have all remained, with the only change being Cpl Daryl White becoming Pierce’s assistant. “He’s been a real asset to UKAF since joining us in 2015,” Pierce said. Of the upcoming Irish Defence Forces game, he added: “We will face a different test in the Irish team, one that we are fully aware of, having played them for a number of years. “We then enter the Kentish Cup in November and December. The whole team is looking forward to representing their country again at international level. Assisting under Nick in the previous Kentish Cup wins, I've had the best mentorship in military football. It’s now my time to step up.” ■ UKAF play the Irish Defence Forces at Havant and Waterlooville FC on October 20, KO 4.30pm. They play the French Armed Forces in the Kentish Cup, also at Havant and Waterlooville FC, on November 28, KO 5pm. Then the Dutch Defence Forces, again at Havant and Waterlooville FC, on December 2, KO TBC.

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Royal Air Force News Friday, October 8, 2021 P31





Verney and Beardsall give opponents real pounding Runaway victors show experience with mighty haul


WINNING PAIRING: WO Reg Verney and Sgt Glenn Beardsall caught total of 383lbs of fish

Inters champs on cloud nine THE GLIDING competition season may have ended but the heights are still being scaled by Service gliders, next stop Denbigh, Wales. These amazing images were taken by members of the Cranwell Gliding Club from a recent expedition in Boyne, Scotland. The team, which boasts 80 members, is one of seven clubs in the Service that will be holding training camps this autumn and winter, with overseas trips next spring. In July, the Air Force were the Inter-Service winners at RAF Keevil, Wiltshire. Cranwell club OiC Flt Lt Luke Dale said: “These expeditions are the first major club events since Covid. We have not been to the French Alps since

2019. The difficulty is not having airtime, so we want to really get back out there. The sport can be arduous and dangerous if skills aren’t maintained. Mountain

flying provides different challenges.” The club will take 15 gliders and four tow planes for the

week-long camp in Denbigh, with hopes of flying every day, weather dependent. Members will undertake high altitude flights, with pilots aiming for Height Gain awards: Bronze, 5,000ft, silver 10,000 and gold 15,000. While others will be looking for long distance gains, in the shape of a five-hour solo flight. Dale said: “The five-hour is challenging, even for basic things such as toilet breaks. Some will be looking to fly out to Snowden while we are in Wales. They can then claim it in their log books. It allows them to work towards higher qualifications.” ■ Visit: for details of all the RAF gliding clubs across the UK.

IT WAS a slice of Service angling heaven for competitors at the fourth pairs event of the season at Hardwick Lake and Smiths Pool in Witney. Association vice-captain Sqn Ldr Stu Thompson said: “The lake boasts the best-looking fish on the Linear Fisheries complex. It has rewards for those who know how to find them.” Using all their experience the pairing of WO Reg Verney and Sgt Glenn Beardsall gained the biggest rewards, coming home first with 16 fish totalling 383lbs, seven fish ahead of second place duo Emry and Paul Sampson. SAC Dan Upton hooked the first catch of the two-day event, a 23lb four-ounce mirror carp, followed by Sgt Killian Hallett’s 30lb 10oz common. Flt Lt Jay Vaughan and WO Richard Cooke took an early lead with three fish in three hours going into the opening afternoon of action. As the temperatures dropped Verney and Beardsall took the lead with three catches ending with a 32lb 4oz mirror for Verney. Not to be outdone, the Sampsons hooked a 25lb mirror and two other catches to remain in contention. Beardsall extended the pair’s lead during the opening evening

Angling pairs Linear Fisheries, Witney before Vaughan hooked two 23lb mirror carp. In the early hours Verney and Beardsall leapt from a 25lb lead to 110lb after a series of catches. The following evening the Sampsons moved close to the leaders, but in the early hours Verney and Beardsall’s triumph was complete with a haul of seven fish, to put them more than 200lb ahead, with just a few hours left. On reeling in the biggest catch of the competition, a 33lb 10oz mirror, Emry Sampson had sealed the runners-up spot with a total of nine fish weighing 210lb and 8oz, with Vaughan and WO Cooke coming third with eight fish totalling 175lb, 7oz.

CATCH OF THE DAY: Emry Sampson

66p ISSN 0035-8614 40 >

9 770035 861037

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Win: Totti's story p5

Ice queen– Samantha Womack p3


Take T ake a test, test, e ven iiff y ou h ave even you have mi ild s y ptoms. ym mild symptoms. CovidCovid-19 v 19 is still with w us. Even Even if you’ve you’ve been bee en vaccinated, vaccinated d, y you ou c can an st still ill ge virus and an nd you you can can still still pass it on. So So don’t don’t guess, guess, e get a ttest estt gett the virus and stay stay at a home if you you think you you could could hav eC ovid-19. have Covid-19. Let’s k eep lif e mo v ving. Let’s keep life moving. Order O Or d y der your our PCR ttest estt n now ow att nhs. h uk k/GetG t-Te estted d or c call all 119

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



Film review

ALL FIRED UP: Gunning for justice

Riders of Justice (15) Out now

Oddball comedy movie is big on dark humour


IR CHIEF MARSHAL Sir Richard Johns reflects on his illustrious career in his fascinating autobiography Bolts From The Blue (www., now in paperback (rrp £14.99). During his time in the Service, Sir Richard attended RAF College Cranwell, served as an operational fast jet pilot on Javelin night fighters and then Hunters operating from Aden and Oman. He also commanded the Harrier Force in Germany. As a qualified flying instructor he taught the Prince of Wales to fly to wings standard. In the 1990s, Sir Richard held a succession of senior national and Nato appointments and played an important role throughout conflicts such as the first Gulf War and the Balkans war. In 1997 he received his appointment as Chief of the Air Staff, where he was responsible for the operational efficiency and morale of the Royal Air Force. During his last three years of service, the ACM was fully involved in the decision-making process of the Strategic Defence Review, the commitment of RAF aircraft to operations over and within Kosovo and continuing air operations over north and south Iraq. His distinguished career gave him the privilege of a rare, if not singular, perspective of the RAF, its sister Services and national defence matters, witnessing a steady decline in the combat power of the UK’s Armed Forces as financial management took precedence over identifying strategic priorities and maintaining the vital skill set of Service personnel. For a chance to add the book to your collection, tell us: In which year was ACM Johns appointed Chief of the Air Staff? Email your answer, marked Bolts From The Blue book competition, to: competitions@ or post it to: RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe, HP14 4UE, to arrive by October 22. Don’t forget to add your postal address.


EPENDING ON the poster you see for this film, it could look like an action revenge movie or a Danish oddball comedy – fortunately, Riders of Justice lands perfectly in the middle. Director Anders Thomas Jenson has made a number of films with this same band of collaborators, sometimes absurd or grotesque, but always darkly funny. In this case a vengeance story, complete with fist fights and shootouts, is dropped into the laps of a bunch of damaged nerds, whilst their anti-hero leader Markus is probably the most damaged of all. Markus (Mads Mikkelson, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story) is serving in the military when his wife and daughter are involved in a train crash. Losing his wife in the accident, he returns home to be with his traumatised child when he is visited by another passenger from the train who insists that it was no accident and he has tracked down the people responsible: a notorious gang known as the Riders of Justice. This other passenger Otto (Nikolaj Lie Kaas) had offered his own seat to Markus’s wife before the crash and so appears to feel some

THE CRAZY GANG: Misfits are out for revenge, and in danger (left)

responsibility. A statistician with a dark past himself, Otto keeps very strange company. There’s Emmanthaler (Nicolas Bro), the obese and aggressive surveillance pro; and Lennart (Lars Brygmann), the smug and socially inept super hacker. This bunch of weirdos becomes

an unlikely gang themselves as they plot their revenge against the culprits, holed up in Markus’s gargantuan barn turned intel base. To remain incognito from Markus’s daughter (Andrea Heick Gadeberg), who worries about her father’s propensity for violence, they pretend to be a group of grief counsellors and, somehow, become


more like a family. It’s a ridiculous premise that is played with the right balance of wackiness and heart. Dressed up as an action film, filled with oddities, but played straight down the line, Riders for Justice has its cake and blows it up. 4 out of 5 roundels Review by Sam Cooney

Jake gets his Hooks into Peter Pan CAPTAIN HOOK: Jake Wood


WO OF EastEnders’ biggest names will be taking to the stage in the next few months – Jake Wood (Max Branning) stars as Captain Hook in Peter Pan, this year’s panto at the Swan Theatre in High Wycombe, and Samantha Womack (Ronnie Mitchell) heads the cast as the evil White Witch in CS Lewis’s classic The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe at Aylesbury’s Waterside Theatre. Peter Pan runs from December 10 to January 22, 2022 and The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is at the Waterside from November 16-20. The show tours the UK from November 2 to April 9, 2022. Womack said of her new role: “Having been a huge fan of C S Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe for as long as I can remember, I am thrilled to be playing the

WHITE WITCH: Samantha Womack

White Witch. The book has always been a magical read and having watched incredible actors interpret this role in the past, I am excited to see what she holds for me. “This production is so beautifully conceived with thrilling sets and costumes

and an amazingly talented cast and creative team. I can’t wait to seduce, plot and terrify Narnia into a permanent winter.” Fiona Martin, Wycombe Swan Theatre Director said: “After the absence of our annual pantomime last year, we’re excited to be welcoming EastEnders star Jake Wood to High Wycombe for the return of the high-flying Peter Pan. “This past year has seen many challenges for our local community and we are delighted to be able to provide a safe and comfortable environment for families to come together and enjoy this spectacular production from the world’s biggest pantomime producer.” ■ Go to: for more information about The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and go to: for Peter Pan details.

Royal Air Force News Friday, October 8, 2021 R'n'R 4

R'n'R The Big Event Hollington Drive


Poirot and More/The Addams Family

Be clued up on Poirot A UK tours


IR DAVID SUCHET makes his eagerly-awaited return to the UK stage this autumn in Poirot and More, A Retrospective, following a successful tour of Australia and New Zealand in early 2020. The show looks back fondly at Suchet’s illustrious career and Geoffrey Wansell, journalist, broadcaster, biographer and coauthor of Poirot and Me, will join him as interviewer. Suchet said: “Regional theatre has always been very close to my heart as it’s where my career started and was nurtured. To visit so many places that have meant so much to me during my 52-year career is wonderful. This show is my way of connecting and saying hello to people across the country after this terrible period and welcoming them back into the theatre. I am looking forward to sharing my memories, stories and favourite moments.” For more than 25 years he has captivated millions worldwide as Agatha Christie’s Belgian detective Hercule Poirot. Beyond Poirot, he has starred in works by Shakespeare,

LONG CAREER: Sir David, and below as Poirot

Wilde, Albee and Miller and is celebrated for his portrayals of iconic roles such as Lady Bracknell, Cardinal Benelli, Joe Keller and Gregory Solomon. There are two performances of Poirot And More at Aylesbury’s Waterside Theatre on October 9 and the tour continues to venues including York, Coventry, Brighton, Cardiff, Liverpool, Chichester,

Torquay, Richmond, Exeter, Bath and Guildford, up to November 27. Suchet, 75, told writer Sam Marlowe: “I wanted to bring my show to audiences around the country who haven’t had the chance to enjoy theatre for so long. I’ve always believed in the importance of non-elitist theatre. I don’t believe that London is the centre of the universe, as far as anything is concerned – especially the arts. “And we actors are rogues and vagabonds – historically we’ve always toured, going right back to the Elizabethans and before. It should be in our DNA – I think actors should put their money where their mouth is, and go out and tour.” Characters he’ll inhabit will include Oberon, Caliban, Macbeth and Shylock, as well, of course, as Hercule himself. “It’ll be a very eclectic evening. And I’ll talk about how I developed the role of Poirot – not only textually, from the script, but how I prepared for the role, the movement, the walk I developed, and how I found his voice – which, as you know,” he added, “is nothing like mine!” ■ Go to: for more details.

Joanne shows dark side


T’S JOANNE CLIFTON as you’ve never seen her before…the Strictly star will be heading the cast of a UK and Ireland tour of musical comedy The Addams Family, as the gothic matriarch Morticia Addams. The tour opens at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal on November 5 before heading to venues including Cardiff, Sheffield, Milton Keynes, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Newcastle, Bromley and to Hull on March 15, 2022. Joanne has starred as Janet in the UK tour of The Rocky Horror Show, Alex Owens in the UK tour of Flashdance, and Dale Tremont in Top Hat, where she received her second Offie nomination. Her first was for her acting debut as the Streetwalker in Irving Berlin’s Face the Music. She is probably best known for her time on the BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing. After winning the World Professional Showdance Championship and the European Professional Ballroom Championship, she joined the show as a professional dancer. During her time on the hit show, she performed in the Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour, as an expert presenter on the programme’sbackstage show, It Takes Two, won the Christmas Special with McFly’s Harry Judd, and went on to win the glitterball trophy as the 2016 champion with her partner Ore Oduba.

NO WILTING FLOWER: Joanne as Morticia

In The Addams Family Wednesday Addams (Kingsley Morton), the ultimate princess of darkness, has grown up and has a shocking secret that only her father Gomez (Cameron Blakely) knows; she’s fallen in love with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family. Now, Gomez must do something he’s never done before — keep a secret from his beloved wife,

Morticia. Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s ‘normal’ boyfriend and his parents. All the usual clan are present – Uncle Fester (Scott Paige), Lurch (Dickon Gough and Ryan Bennett sharing the role), Pugsley (Grant McIntyre) and the rest. ■ Go to: for full tour details.

NNA MAXWELL MARTIN and Rachael Stirling star as sisters in new four-part thriller for ITV Hollington Drive, from acclaimed screenwriter Sophie Petzal. The drama focuses on the lives of sisters Theresa, (Maxwell Martin, Motherland) and her older headteacher sibling, Helen (Stirling, Wild Bill). Rhashan Stone (Finding Alice) plays Theresa’s partner Fraser and Peter McDonald (Dublin Murders) is Helen’s partner, David. The sisters appear close and their families enjoy spending time together. When Theresa’s 10-yearold son, Ben (Fraser Holmes) asks to play in the nearby park with his cousin Eva (Amelie Bea Smith), the adults begin to niggle. Fraser is relaxed and happy for them to go, but this doesn’t help Theresa’s fears of foreboding and growing feelings of anxiety. As expected the children don’t return on time, and Theresa goes in search. Her suspicions are heightened when she finds the children on the edge of a woodland area and they appear to be fighting. Immediately her instincts tell her something terrible has happened. Then distraught neighbour Jean (Jodie McNee, Little Boy Blue), calls on the family. Her 10-year-old son Alex has gone missing...


TIES: Helen (Rachael Stirling) and Theresa (Anna Maxwell Martin), far right

Siste their

etzal’s credits include Blood, The Last Kingdom, Riviera and Wolfblood. She said: “I had just finished two series of Blood, and was wondering what to write next. I wanted to make a show that wasn’t a world away from Blood, but felt bigger and more ambitious tonally. Also, I had always wanted to write about sisters – I have a sister and that relationship is probably one of the absolutely brilliant. I hadn’t really seen most important in my life. anything like it on TV before. It was “I started thinking about the idea really odd, the characters were quite of a secret kept between sisters who heightened, but it was just exceptional. live very close to each other… they “I got in touch with Sophie and her make decisions that have unfolding producer and asked to work with them. consequences and nothing is quite Luckily, they said yes! as it seems.” “Then I read Hollington Drive and it Although she didn’t write the was great. I was really gripped, I raced roles of Helen and Theresa with through the scripts. Sophie’s really good particular actors in mind, Petzal at not sitting on her laurels, she keeps said she was ‘delighted’ with their the narrative going all the time. I love thrillers, I hope the audience has a nice casting. She added: “I’m so delighted night in on the sofa watching it.” with the cast, it’s absolutely She added: “This looks like incredible. Anna is another drama about a kiddie somebody who going missing, but it’s not elevates everything that. This series is really not about the missing child she does. Rachael is – that’s just a catalyst to extraordinary too, make people turn in on I’ve always been themselves. such a fan of hers and what’s amazing is “The real centrifugal the chemistry between force of the drama is this her and Anna. I don’t hideously co-dependent McDonald think either of them DAVID: Peter relationship between has ever delivered a bad Theresa and Helen. It’s very complex performance in their whole careers. and you just can’t really work out what’s It was a privilege to watch actors of going on between them.” this calibre.” tirling [daughter of the late Dame axwell Martin said: “I wanted Diana Rigg] described her character to be part of the project Helen as ‘a woman who has always been before I had even read the scripts, the grown-up in her family, the sensible, because I knew of Sophie and her pragmatic, practical one’. work. I watched Blood, which was She said: “You come to learn that

Who can you tr



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

Telly news


Round-up Coming soon

Tennant certainly gets around

MAN IN A HURRY: Tennant as Phileas Fogg

ers and r secrets

rust when a child is missing?


HE BBC has released images from its new drama Around the World in 80 Days. The adaptation of Jules Verne’s epic, on BBC One and iPlayer later this year, features David Tennant (Staged, Braodchurch) as the intrepid explorer Phileas Fogg. Following an outrageous bet, Fogg and his valet, Passepartout, take on the legendary journey of circumnavigating the globe in just 80 days, swiftly joined by aspiring journalist Abigail Fix, who seizes the chance to report on this extraordinary story. The series has been adapted by a team of renowned writers led by Ashley Pharoah (Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes). Photographs were taken on location in Cape Town, South Africa and Romania. The channel has also released images of Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Loki, Black Mirror) and David Oyelowo (Selma, Les Misérables) in JP Delaney's adaption of his bestselling novel The Girl Before. It tells the story of Jane (MbathaRaw), who gets the chance to move into a beautiful, ultra-minimalist house designed by an enigmatic architect (Oyelowo). There’s just one catch: the occupants must abide

THE GIRL BEFORE: Plummer and Oyelowo

by his list of exacting rules. Jane starts to feel the house changing her in unexpected ways, but when she makes the shocking discovery about her predecessor, Emma (Jessica Plummer), she’s forced to confront unnerving similarities. As the two women’s timelines interweave, Jane begins to question if her fate will be the same as the girl before. And the Beeb has revealed filming is underway on the seventh series of Steve Pemberton and Reece Shearsmith’s critically acclaimed and BAFTAaward winning anthology series Inside No. 9, for BBC Two.


Totti: One Captain (15)

COUPLE: Fraser (Rhashan Stone) and Theresa

Theresa has had a chaotic time and she has always been the one who has been a bit out of control. Helen has never been out of control in her life, so she has always looked after Theresa and it suits her. “Helen is a primary school headteacher and a pillar of the community. She has an assumed authority about her – I know those people so well, the type that when they walk into a room you just do what they tell you to do. She’s just very high status and you’d look to her during any sort of crisis.” Stirling and Maxwell Martin had

On DVD and Download-to-own (Dazzler Media)

worked together previously on another ITV drama, The Bletchley Circle. Stirling said: “What I really loved about the [Hollington Drive] script was the chance to play out this fascinating relationship between co-dependent sisters. Apart from in long-running soaps we just don’t really see sisters on telly or really examine their relationships. I’ve never had a sister so I’m fascinated by that dynamic.” ■ Hollington Drive continues on ITV at 9pm on Wednesdays.

A host of big British names will star in series seven, including Daniel Mays (Line of Duty), Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter), Sophie Okonedo (The Escape Artist), Jessica Hynes (W1A), Diane Morgan (Mandy, Motherland), Daisy Haggard (Back To Life), Annette Badland (EastEnders), Siobhan Redmond (Unforgotten) and Ron Cook (Hot Fuzz). Also set to feature in the upcoming series is Shearsmith and Pemberton’s fellow co-creator, writer and star from The League of Gentlemen, Mark Gatiss (Sherlock, Dracula). ITV has announced that filming has started in Brighton of popular crime drama Grace, adapted from Peter James’s bestselling novels, with John Simm ((left) returning in the lead role as tenacious detective Roy Grace. The celebrated screenwriter and Endeavour creator Russell Lewis has adapted the three screenplays: Not Dead Enough, Dead Man's Footsteps and Dead Tomorrow.


Rome is where the heart is T

HE FILM Totti: One Captain, that’s been described as a stylish and moving series dramatising the story of Italian football legend Francesco Totti, is coming to DVD and Download-to-Own from October 18. It’s the ironic and touching story of Francesco Totti’s last 18 months as a football player, portraying his fight against time and his coach, culminating in the most heartrending farewell in the sport’s history.

Capturing the passion, flair, loyalty and determination that made a footballing legend on and off the pitch, the series stars Pietro Castellitto (The Predators, Twice Born) as the Italian sporting hero. Totti, pictured inset, played solely for Roma and the Italy national football team. He is the second-highest scorer of all time in Italian league history. To be in with a chance of winning a copy of Totti:

One Captain on DVD, simply answer this question correctly: Which two football teams did Francesco Totti play for? Email you answer, marked Totti DVD competition, to: or post it to: RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe, HP14 4UE, to arrive by October 22. Please include your full postal address with your entry.

Royal Air Force News Friday, October 8, 2021 R'n'R 6

R'n'R Your Announcements

You can email photos for announcements on this page to:

Seeking LOOKING to reach former graduates of OCTU 253 OMC who marched off the square at RAF Henlow for the last time on January 13, 1972. Nigel Tuffs is working on a plan for a reunion (possibly lunchtime in RAF Club) on January 13, 2022 to mark the 50th anniversary of this memorable occasion. Those interested should contact him on: thetuffys@ A member of the RAF Association, Beccles and Southwold Area Branch, is appealing to the families and anyone who knew 1579140 LAC Wilfred Holbrook from Long Eaton, Derby and 1777072 LAC Norman Parker, RAF Regiment, of the Blakelaw area of Newcastle upon Tyne to make contact. Both were killed in action on June 11, 1946 at Medan Airfield, Sumatra by Sukarno terrorists. The purpose of the appeal is to convey to any surviving family members the knowledge that, following the death of their relatives, a full military funeral was arranged for these brave airmen, attended by our member and all conducted with full military honours and great respect. In full accord with the Data Protection Act 2018, any information can be forwarded in confidence to President Brian Vousden, RAFA Beccles and Southwold Area, email: lancaster457@

Reunions DID you serve at RAF Changi or at HQFEAF Singapore? The RAF Changi Association (inc. HQFEAF) founded May 1996 welcomes new members from all ranks, ex RAF/WRAF/WAAF and civilian personnel who

served at RAF Changi (inc. HQFEAF ) during 1946-72. For more information please contact our Membership Secretary: Malcolm Flack on: 01494 728562 or email: MemSecChangi@outlook. com or visit: www.rafchangi. com for more details. RAF Bawdsey Reunion Association. Having cancelled our 2020 reunion, we were planning the next reunion for June 5 this year but the continuing Covid-19 restrictions made it impossible to hold a successful reunion for our members, so the June 5 event was cancelled. A consensus showed that members were not in favour of a reunion in September 2021, therefore we have provisionally planned the next reunion for Saturday, May 21, 2022, before The Queen’s Jubilee celebrations and the extended public holidays in early June, and we look forward to seeing our friends again then. In the meantime we wish you all a safe and healthy time as the roadmap out of lockdown progresses. If you have any queries please email: doreen. bawdseyreunion@btinternet. com or call: 07513 301723.

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

want to hear from you.

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

details including the name of the artist, Wg Cdr Alan Robertson. “Any information to try to reunite the sculpture with the artist is appreciated.” Please email Mike at: if you can help.

CAS scholars are a talented trio

Secret Postcard sale THE Secret Postcard Auction, featuring celebrities’ postcard-sized artwork to be sold in aid of veterans’ mental health charity Combat Stress, opens at 10am on October 10 – World Mental Health Day – and closes at 11.59pm on October 23. More than 150 artists and celebrities, including Joanna Lumley, Maureen Lipman and Sir Anish Kapoor, have donated artwork they designed. Go to:

Seeking sculpture READER MIKE Jenvey is asking for help to find a sculpture of ‘Father of the Royal Air Force’ Lord Trenchard (above, right). Mike said: “The sculpture was last seen in an anteroom alcove at the Officers’ Mess, RAF Newton – since closed of course – over 20 years ago. “It was on display in an RAF art exhibition – ‘Highly Commended’ – about 197273. The portrait head was lifesize, hatless, looking straight forwards with a slight smile, modelled in fibreglass resin with a bronze finish and mounted on a drum-shaped wooden base engraved with

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

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

Scampton window REV Sue Deacon, project lead for the RAF Scampton commemorative window at Scampton Church, has given an update for supporters. She said the window’s commemorative book (below) has been on display since the installation, but many supporters from distant parts of the UK, and around the world, have been unable to visit and view it, so an online version has been uploaded. You can also sponsor one of the commemorative window’s panes for a suggested donation of £100 per pane. Please contact: rafwindow@ for full details.

ACCESSIBLE: THE RAF Scampton commemorative window's commemorative book is now available online

CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY GRADUATES: From left, Gp Capt Paul SangerDavies, Gp Capt Adam Bone and Wg Cdr Jonny Finbow

GROUP CAPTAINS Paul Sanger-Davies and Adam Bone and Wg Cdr Jonny Finbow have just been awarded their Masters degrees in Philosophy from Cambridge University, in Politics and International Studies. The one-year full-time course helped them develop a deeper understanding of international relations. Their dissertation studies included cyber and space strategy, and the strategic challenges of the High North. Gp Capt Sanger-Davies said: “The course also gave us the opportunity to meet talented students from around the world, and to examine together many of the challenges we are facing, including strategic competition and conflict, economic inequality and the pressing need to address climate change.” He added: “We also took the opportunity to row at competitive level for our Cambridge College, Trinity Hall.”

The three officers are part of the CAS Fellowship Scheme which identifies and rewards talented personnel within the RAF Regulars, Reserves and Civil Service. The scheme sponsors high calibre individuals to study full and part-time at Master’s and Doctoral levels with universities around the UK. Gp Capt Sanger-Davies explained: “There are a selection of Fellowships on offer across our rank spectrum, including opportunities to study Sustainable Engineering at Cambridge, Strategic Security Studies at Exeter, and a Master’s Degree in Air, Space and Cyber Power. The scheme also offers the flexibility for you to study a subject of your choice at a university of your choosing. “CAS Fellowships offer you opportunities which are both career and life changing.” ■ See 2021DIN07-077 CAS Fellowships for more details.

St Clement Danes service THE FRIENDS of St Clement Danes Church Annual Concert, with the Central Band of the Royal Air Force and the Choir of St Clement Danes, takes place on November 25. Tickets are available at the church door on the night or from RAF Charitable Trust Enterprises, Douglas Bader House, Horcott Hill, Fairford, GL7 4RB, call: 01285 713456 or email:

Royal Air Force News Friday, October 8, 2021 R'n'R 7

R'n'R Your Announcements

You can email photos for announcements on this page to:

Campaigner Ena celebrates 103rd A ROYAL Star & Garter resident has celebrated her 103rd birthday at the charity’s home in High Wycombe. Ena Mitchell was treated to a day of pampering by staff, who styled her hair and gave her a manicure. She also enjoyed a socially distanced party with other residents from the floor she lives on at the home. The Indian food fan also indulged in a curry lunch, specially cooked by the home’s chef. Royal Star & Garter

provides care to veterans and their partners living with disability or dementia. The youngest of five children, Ena was born in Kingsley, Hampshire, on September 30, 1918, during World War I. Royal Star & Garter was established two years earlier to care for the severely injured young men returning from the battlegrounds of WWI. Ena married Bill, a soldier who served in the East Yorkshire Regiment, in 1939. He was one of the 330,000 troops successfully evacuated from Dunkirk in 1940, and four years later took part in the D-Day landings on June 6 – his 33rd birthday. Bill survived the offensive, but, on September 13 that year, was killed in Belgium when the Bren gun carrier he was travelling in to fetch supplies for his unit was bombed. Ena’s and Bill’s daughter was just two at the time. Later, Ena started fighting for the rights of the women who had lost husbands during the war, and joined

Tickets for heroes BIRTHDAY GIRL: Ena enjoyed a curry on her special day; below left, pictured with husband Bill

the War Widows’ Association (WWA). She began raising money for Royal Star & Garter after visiting its former Richmond Hill home in the 1970s through her work with the WWA. Over the next five decades, she raised thousands for the charity, often asking for donations to Royal Star & Garter each birthday, instead of presents. The great-grandmother said: “I’ve had a lovely day.

Thank you to all the staff at Royal Star & Garter who organised it and made it so special. I am a lucky lady.” The High Wycombe home is welcoming new residents, go to: for more information. Q As part of its Remembrance campaign, Conflict Never Stops, Royal Star & Garter will be reflecting on the service and sacrifice of veterans and others.

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

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

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Royal Air Force News Friday, October 8, 2021 R'n'R 8


R'n'R Prize Crossword No. 301

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

Across 7. To show pain is cowardly (6) 8. Strip heartless fugitive (6) 10. Meal taken by drug addicts? (4,3) 11. Pilot dismantles rifle (5) 12. In Borneo, a thought becomes a promise (4) 13. Snake on way to lodge (5) 17. Maybe baulk at scene of recent RAF activity (5) 18. Costume worn in South Africa marine centre…(4) 22. …and food eaten by Cape Town kid (5) 23. Regular Army class disrupted by naughty boys (7) 24. Sailor despatched, then posted missing (6) 25. Accountants in old gambling-den (6)

No. 311 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.

Down 1. Plane sent to wild phony (7) 2. Escapes to first Friday illuminations (7) 3. Loudly criticise the not-quite-finished cubicle (5) 4. And 16 Down. Dour, dwarfish ox confused by RAF event (7,3,4) 5. Romulus or Remus has eaten a writer (5) 6. My diarrhoea at heart is caused by gum resin (5) 9. See 14 Down 14. And 9 Down. Ungoverned animal spooked by aircraft action (7,9) 15. ‘West Side Story’ girl embraces Los Angeles fever (7) 16. See 4 Down 19. A bird on a dam (5) 20. Punk rockers come to blows (5) 21. A force in the RAF is serving troops and reservists, initially (5) Name ................................................................................................................... Address ............................................................................................................... .............................................................................................................................. .............................................................................................................................. RAF aircraft.................................................................... Crossword No. 301

Solutions should be sent in a sealed envelope marked 'Su Doku' with the number in the top left-hand corner to RAF News, Room 68, Lancaster Building, HQ Air Command, High Wycombe, Bucks, HP14 4UE, to arrive by October 22, 2021.

Name ...................................................................... ................................................................................. Address .................................................................. ................................................................................. ....................................................Su Doku No. 311

Solution to Su Doku No: 310

■ The winner of Crossword No. 300 is R Tappin of MOD St Athan. Solution to Crossword No. 300:

Across – 6. Wallace 7. Cower 9. Level 10. Problem 12. Strike Group 14. Pathfinders 18. Bren Gun 19. Abbot 21. Medal 22. Sea King Down – 1. Cadet 2. Albert 3. Ace 4. Bomber 5. Revenue 8. Friends 11. Minimum 13. Carrier 15. Hangar 16. Rebuke 17. Count 20. Ben RAF word – Mission

■ The winner of Su Doku No. 310 is Mrs Edith Spencer of Great Barr, Birmingham.

Film review


Out now

Tales From The Script

The Last Bus (12A)

The Script

OAP Tom takes to the road

Danny knows The Script


Spall saves cheesy movie


Prize Su Doku

Send entries to the address printed in the adjacent Su Doku panel.

IMOTHY SPALL (Mrs Lowry & Son, Finding Your Feet) is Tom Harper, a widower journeying from the tip of John O’Groats down to Land’s End using only local buses in this pensioner’s road movie. Charting his journey in a little notebook, complete with stops at B&Bs along the way, Tom carries only a small brown suitcase, of which he is very protective. Playing a character far older than himself (a dim young man asks if it was the First World War in which he served) Spall slows his mannerisms in a very deliberate sense, emphasising the meaning and emotion. The motivation for his travel is thinly veiled, revealed through

flashbacks to the romance he shared with his wife (Phyllis Logan), in the beginning as in the end. Despite the inclusion of various hurdles along the way, of breakdowns and bus crashes, of tensions between multi-cultural passengers or thieves at bus stops – the film remains gently plodding, and predictable at that. One scene at a station sees Tom sat with an elderly Glaswegian man between a hen party and some football fans returning from a match, the two groups somehow get into a singing battle which is settled by our Tom giving a warbled rendition of Amazing Grace, making everyone go silent, if not a bit sad. One subplot, if one could

JOURNEYMAN: Timothy Spall as pensioner Tom Harper

call it that, seems to be that Tom is gaining local notoriety and becoming something of a social media sensation, with fellow passengers documenting his efforts. This point is thankfully downplayed, as it detracts from the personal journey of the film, but even its brief inclusion becomes a bit

of a distraction. The Last Bus is an extremely simple story that is not short of sentiment, taking the odd diversion into unbridled cheesiness, but held up by Spall’s performance at the heart. 2 out of 5 Review by Sam Cooney

HE SCRIPT celebrate a journey that has included five UK No 1 albums, six billion streams, and more than two million ticket sales with their career-spanning greatest hits album Tales From The Script, just out. The celebrations will extend deep into 2022 with the confirmation of a huge UK and European greatest hits tour, which starts with a run of intimate club shows in February before scaling up to arenas from May. Their first run of live dates in over two years, the tour includes a huge London show at The O2 and culminates with two homecoming performances at Dublin’s 3Arena. The band will be joined by special guest Ella Henderson on their UK and Ireland arena dates. Tales From The Script features all the biggest hits and fan favourites from their six albums so far. It highlights the classic cuts from the trio’s catalogue, including the PLACEBO HAVE announced the release of their first new single in five years, Beautiful James. The band’s Brian Molko said: “If the song serves to irritate the squares and the uptight, so gleefully be it. But it remains imperative for me that each listener discovers their own personal story within it –I

THE SCRIPT: New greatest hits album

No 1 smash Hall of Fame (featuring and the Top 10 hits The Man Who Can’t Be Moved, For The First Time and Superheroes. The collection honours everything that the trio – Danny O’Donoghue, Glen Power and Mark Sheehan – have achieved together since forming 14 years ago. It’s completed by the new song I Want It All. ■ Go to: thescriptmusic for tour details. really don’t want to tell you how to feel.” Placebo have been described as one of the defining alternative rock bands of the past 25 years, with 13 million albums sold to date worldwide. The band, featuring vocalistguitarist Molko and bassist–guitarist Stefan Olsdal, have now finished their eighth studio album.

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