30/9/16 Air Cadet Tom (14) hailed a hero Thursday, 29 September 2016 By GEM Staff Reporter in Local People
Tom Wood (left) and Colin Galton.
busy Saturday in a barber’s shop in a bustling Vale town. A regular
customer – an older gentleman – takes his place in the chair for a
short back and sides, and appears to suffer a heart attack. The initial reaction of many might be panic, or at least a fervent wish that a doctor is waiting in line, too. But not so for young Tom Wood, who works occasional Saturdays in Galton’s Barbers on Commercial Street in Llantwit Major. Tom,
aged 14, a pupil at Cowbridge Comprehensive School and a Cadet Sergeant
in 2300 (St Athan) Squadron Air Training Corps, knew what to do. With
Colin Galton, owner of the barber shop, and passers-by, they positioned
local resident Eric Reid on the floor ready for emergency treatment.
member of staff called for an ambulance, while Mr Galton sprinted the
160 yards there and back to fetch a defibrillator from the police
station; and Tom then began cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on Mr
Reid. “I couldn’t feel or hear Mr Reid breathing,” began Tom, “so my CPR training, which I learnt in the Air Cadets, kicked in. “I didn’t really think about it; it was instinct and training.” Tom,
whose ambition is to join the RAF Police, performed CPR on Mr Reid
until a community first responder attended, followed by the ambulance
service. The air cadet then handed over his life-saving work to the emergency services, which later included the Wales Air Ambulance. Mr Reid was taken to Heath Hospital for further treatment, but his family announced on September 26 that he died on Saturday. Mr
Owen Jones, a great-nephew of Mr Reid, told The GEM: “Had it not been
for the actions and calmness of this young man, Eric – who had had a
good innings – would have died then and there on the floor of a barber
shop. “I am very impressed that a 14-year-old handled the pressure so well and acted so quickly and decisively. “Tom is a credit to his family and those who taught him CPR,” said Mr Jones. Group
Captain Roger Simon, Regional Commandant Wales and the West Air Cadets,
said: “The Air Training Corps works hard to give its members valuable
and practical skills that prepare them for the many challenges that
they will face in the future. “First Aid training is just one
example and I am glad to hear that Cdt Sgt Wood was able to use his
training to assist in an unexpected medical emergency. “I am
grateful to the family for their recognition and praise of Tom’s
actions which were in keeping with the finest traditions and values of
the Air Training Corps.” Mr Galton, praised by the Reid family
alongside Tom and others who assisted in stabilising Mr Reid, explained
his actions, and said: “The defibrillator in Llantwit Major is in the
police station, which is not manned round the clock, and it was chance
that an officer was there. “The officer was great, and answered as
soon as I used the phone outside the station, but you have to wonder if
inside the police station is the best place for a defibrillator.” This sentiment was echoed by other businesspeople in the town. Staff at the Net Cafe in the town suggested that a defibrillator should be “easily accessible and available round the clock”. Another
local businessman asked: “If the police station were open all day, then
fine, but it’s not, so where should it be located and who should be
trained to use it? “Put a defibrillator in the wrong place and someone might fool around with it.” Flying
Officer Rachel Fowler, commanding officer of 2300 (St Athan) Squadron
said: “As a squadron, and as his CO, we are so proud of Cdt Sgt Tom
Wood. He showed bravery and maturity beyond his years facing a
situation that even many adults have not been faced with. “Tom was
able to put into practice skills he had learnt whilst a member of the
ATC, not just the first aid skills, but also the skills to be able to
deal with and stay calm in stressful situations. “He is a brilliant young man and an asset to our squadron, as well as his family and community.” Flying Officer Fowler told The GEM that she will nominate Tom for a Commandant’s Commendation and a St John’s Ambulance award. The GEM extends condolences to Mr Reid’s family – and admiration for the teenager’s actions.
of the 1977 Silver Jubilee review of the RAF by Her Majesty the Queen
year that Virginia Wade won Wimbledon, Her Majesty the Queen undertook a review
of the Royal Air Force at a special ceremony held at RAF Finningley on Friday
29th July, as part of the Silver Jubilee celebrations, marking 25 years of her
last month did British Movietone release the footage on their YouTube
channel with this description: Her Majesty the Queen completes her Silver
Jubilee Reviews of the Armed Forces by reviewing the Royal Air Force at RAF
by members of her family, the Queen presented a new 'Queen's Colour' which was
then slow-marched past the Royal Dias. The Queen and Prince Philip toured the
Airfield, inspecting the many aircraft assembled there and meeting members of
the Aircrews. The day ended with a fly-past of the many types of planes
operational in the Royal Air Force today. The first to fly through were 'Jet
Provosts' in the formation of the numbers 25. The Review ended with a display by
the RAF's world famous aerobatic team the 'Red Arrows'.
one minute in to the video, during the playing of the national anthem, you can
see the hangars in the background, one of which forms the home of Vulcan XH558
and Canberra WK163 today. After the impressive Vulcan scramble, at 6:20 look for
the Canberra aircraft flying on the lead Vulcan's wingtips. A truly remarkable
collection of aircraft.
Memorial to officers slain in Cyprus
23 Aug 2016
The memorial features a four-ton rock brought over from Cyprus
new memorial has been unveiled to honour the memory of police and
military servicemen who gave their lives during a four-year conflict in
A service was held at the National Memorial
Arboretum in Staffordshire on Sunday (August 21) as officials welcomed
the monument, dedicated to those who died in the 1955-1959 Cyprus
The memorial, which features a four-ton rock brought
over from the island, contains a time capsule bearing the names of the
371 British soldiers and 21 police officers killed in the fighting.
Sara Thornton, chair of the National Police Chiefs’ Council, laid a wreath at the ceremony.
said: “This unique memorial… provides us with an opportunity to bring
together the policing and military families to remember the sacrifices
that were made by our officers.
“Our thoughts remain with the family, friends and colleagues of those who fell during this conflict.”
Cyprus Emergency was a series of conflicts between British forces, a
Greek Cypriot nationalist group known as ‘Eoka’, and the Turkish
Those who fell are buried in a military
cemetery on the island, which has been largely inaccessible to families
as it has been trapped in a United Nations buffer zone since Turkey
invaded in 1974.
It is hoped the new memorial will finally give the friends and families of the officers and servicemen a focus for remembrance.
Atkins, leader of Staffordshire County Council, said: “It’s a real
pleasure to see the effort put into this project take shape and welcome
this memorial rock to Staffordshire.
“The National Memorial Arboretum is a beautiful place of commemoration and is the pride of the county.
will make a fitting home for the rock, which remembers and pays tribute
to the hundreds of service personnel who lost their lives during
conflicts in Cyprus.”
RAF Waddington unveils new Lancaster and Vulcan sculpture
Station Commander Group Captain Al Marshall and sculptor James Sutton.
RAF Waddington has unveiled a new sculpture created to celebrate its centenary.
stainless steel sculpture was revealed outside the station headquarters
by sculptor James Sutton and Station Commander Group Captain Al
The artwork includes the Lancaster and the Vulcan soaring through the sky.
The planes are mounted on 'air streams' which are engraved with images of Lincoln Cathedral and the RAF Waddington logo.
sculpture was commissioned by the base at the end of last year and Mr
Sutton has since been working to turn his vision into reality.
He told the Echo: "I was randomly approached out of the blue which was a bit of a surprise which was nice.
"They were keen for someone local to do it.
"I specialise in stone carving but in the last five years I've done more metal work.
"I came up with lots of designs based on the brief they gave me, then they picked their favourites and I explored from there.
"The heritage centre logo has a very similar composition."
Sutton has only ever seen the sculpture inside his studio and was
pleased to see it installed at the entrance of the air base.
He said: "It's taken twice as long as I thought it would, but it looks like I wanted it to so that's always good.
is always stressful, especially with the opening on the same day. You
never know how long it's going to take. I'm very relieved now it's in.
"You have an idea in your head and it's nice to see it realised. It's been lovely."
Mr Sutton brought his wife Helen, daughter Rose, 6, and son Jesse, 4, for the unveiling.
Station Commander Group Captain Al Marshall said: "It's absolutely fantastic, just as we hoped it would be.
sizeable and it's striking. And it's in a great position so everything
who is coming in and out the station will be able to see it, hopefully
for the next 100 years.
"There's two iconic aeroplanes for the station. The Lancaster from the Second World War and Vulcan from the Cold War era.
got the etchings of Lincoln Cathedral which is there to celebrate the
very strong relationship between the station and the city of Lincoln
and Lincolnshire who continue to provide huge support to the station,
the personnel and the families."
Welcome to a ‘new’ mainline locomotive - Avro Vulcan XH558
37 Diesel-Electric locomotive made by English Electric at ‘The Vulcan
Foundry’ now carries the name ‘Avro Vulcan XH558’ in official naming
ceremony at Crewe.
37 locomotive '558' carrying her new registration and nameplate at
Saturday’s official naming ceremony. Loco images courtesy of Paul
'Avro Vulcan XH558' returns to the public in a different guise!
Trust has recently established a relationship with Direct Rail Services
(DRS) and a very important ceremony took place at the DRS Depot in
Crewe at the weekend which will lead to a number of benefits for both
organisations. DRS purchased a heritage Class 37 Diesel-Electric
locomotive in 2015, rescuing her from an uncertain future with the
objective of carrying out a major refurbishment programme and returning
her to mainline working. On completion of the project it was generously
proposed to the Trust that she should be named 'Avro Vulcan XH558’ and
re-registered to number37558, an offer which was immediately accepted.
outcome of all of this activity culminated in the official Naming
Ceremony, which took place on Saturday when Trust Chairman, John
Sharman carried out the official unveiling in front of a large crowd
and in the shadow of the locomotive, which is in pristine condition and
a great credit to DRS.
John unveiled an impressive
name plaque which will now be carried around the country by 37558 and
be seen my many thousands of people as she goes about her business. DRS
have also donated a full size duplicate of the plaque which will now go
on display atThe Vulcan Experiencewithin Hangar 3.
am absolutely delighted that we have entered into a mutually beneficial
partnership with such a prestigious and well known company as DRS. I am
sure that our supporters will delight in seeing the name 'Avro Vulcan
XH558' once again being carried around the country by such a fine
machine, which not only carries the same name and registration number,
but was also built in the early 60's at the Vulcan Foundry in
Newton-le-Willows by English Electric - a classic synergy with both the
Vulcan and Canberra and like them, an outstanding example of British
innovation and engineering prowess."
of the cast nameplates unveiled at the ceremony on Saturday. Another
nameplate has been cast that will be displayed in Hangar 3 at Doncaster
in a few weeks’ time, marking the special relationship we are forging
with DRS and XH558’s namesake.
locomotive was shunted back to Derby for the completion of the work and
full commissioning before entering service in September. When we have
more details of movements and likely places to spot her, we will advise
you here in these newsletters.
Red Arrows pull out of Farnborough Air Show aerobatics after Shoreham
The Red Arrows will be restricted to flypasts, rather than
aerobatics CREDIT: MOD Ben Farmer, defence correspondent 15 JUNE 2016 •
The Red Arrows will not perform aerobatic stunts at Britain’s biggest
air show for the first time in more than 50 years, because of safety fears after
the Shoreham disaster.
RAF chiefs have decided the risks of flying high-speed
manoeuvres at low heights over built-up areas at the Farnborough Air Show are no
longer “tolerable”, and the jets will be restricted to flypasts.
means the RAF’s world famous aerobatic team will not perform one of their
crowd-pleasing routines at the flagship air industry show for the first time in
Aviation enthusiasts described the decision as a “huge
disappointment” for crowds of up to 80,000 people expected to attend the
Hampshire show next month.
Farnborough is the latest air show to curtail or
cancel displays this year after the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) imposed tight
new safety regulations after the Shoreham crash.
Eleven men were killed when
a vintage Hawker Hunter jet ploughed into the A27 during a display on August 22
Vice-Marshal Andrew Turner, in charge of safety for the Red Arrows, said there
had been a period of “introspection” after the Shoreham crash and the RAF had
decided the risk at Farnborough was no longer “tolerable”. The risk has
increased as Farnborough Airport has become increasingly hemmed in by houses and
buildings over the years.
recap the red arrows will only carry out flypasts in formation at Farnborough
2016. Going to disappoint a lot of people.
The Red Arrows’ normal 22-minute display ranges over a five
mile area and features nine jets passing each other as close as 15ft apart,
while travelling at 800mph at a height of sometimes only 50ft above the tree
An aircraft malfunction, bird strike or collision at that speed could
cause “multiple third-party casualties”, he said. He said: “The position we
find ourselves in is either we seek to clear the area of civilians, or we
tolerate the risk and frankly right now, we the RAF have decided that that is
not a risk worth bearing given the Shoreham public reaction.”
AVM Turner said it was not possible, given the time, to tailor the
Red Arrows normal display specifically for Farnborough. The display team will
still attend, but will be restricted to flypasts and ground demonstrations. He
said the team still intended to display at all other air shows where they are
booked to appear.
An RAF spokesman said: “The high speed and dynamic nature
of the traditional Red Arrow’s display is no longer appropriate due to the large
amounts of local housing, business areas and major transport links underneath
the planned display area.”
Howard Wheeldon, an aerospace analyst said:
“Clearly it’s a huge disappointment, but it has been done for all the right
reasons and I am not surprised given the tight restrictions put on air shows by
Organisers said no other air displays had cancelled at the biennial
show and there would still be aerobatic displays. The size and scale of the Red
Arrows display makes it uniquely risky.
A statement for the air show said:
“In light of the accident at Shoreham last year the nature of their display will
change. The RAF has conducted an assessment of the risk associated with flying
their display at Farnborough. Due to the high speed and dynamic nature of the
Red Arrows aerobatic routine, the RAF has decided it will not be possible for
them to perform their traditional display at Farnborough this year.”
'Safety fears' cast doubt over Red Arrows display
06:30, 15 JUN 2016BY CHARLOTTE NEAL
There are reports that the Red Arrows
aerobatic display has been dropped from the Farnborough International
Airshow next month due to "safety fears from RAF top brass".
The Royal Aeronautical Society (RAS) said on
Tuesday that following tighter Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)
regulations due to the Shoreham disaster, the display by the Red Arrows
could be reined in.
In its Aerospace Insight blog, RAS stated: “With new CAA safety
regulations introduced after the 2015 Shoreham disaster and the recent
spate of military flying display team crashes in the past week, the
flying display this year at Farnborough could look different than in
New safety measures in place“Insiders now confirm that the Red Arrows
traditional aerobatic display at Farnborough has been dropped due to
safety fears from RAF top brass.”
RAS has quoted an RAF spokesman as saying
that the Red Arrows will be attending the airshow and ‘are going to be
flying at Farnborough’ but when directly questioned about the aerobatic
display, referred to a short-notice media briefing due to take place
Get Hampshire has also been made aware of
the media briefing but as yet does not know what it entails –
organisers are keeping tight-lipped on the details.
The RAS report goes on to say: “More than
one highly-placed source has now confirmed that due to the new
post-Shoreham CAA rules and a review of the safety and risk case by RAF
duty holders, the Red Arrows flying at Farnborough will be limited to
straight and level passes (possibly in conjunction with the F-35B) and
It adds that the RAF is yet to directly
confirm this ahead of the media briefing.
Get Hampshire contacted the airshow’s head
of PR and the public relations team for the Red Arrows and is awaiting
aircraft take off from RAF Waddington once again
By CharlotteJ_LE | Posted: June 14, 2016
A Sentinel, one of the planes said to have
been spotted taking off from RAF Waddington.
Aircraft have taken to the skies from RAF
Waddington once again.
Regular flight stopped when work began on
the runway back in 2014.
Now some aircraft have been able to take off once again as works on the
runway draw closer to being finished.
Some planes including five Squadron
Sentinels are said to have been spotted taking off from the runway.
Fourteen Squadron Shadow aircraft were said to have been seen taking to
A spokesperson for RAF Waddington said: "We
have recommenced limited routine flying operations from RAF Waddington
by AIR ISTAR assets; however, the overall runway resurfacing and
refurbishment project is ongoing and contractor works will continue
over the coming months as we progress towards full airfield operating
Phil Bonner, of the Aviation Heritage Centre, said: "It's really nice
to have the aircraft back at Waddington after such a long time and it's
nice to see aircraft flying around the circuit again."
The return to skies is a relief for one
business owner, who saw his income drop by 80 per cent when the runway
John Robinson owns the Sentry Post café next to the airbase.
But when the planes stopped flying, his
customers stopped visiting and the threat of closure has been looming
overhead ever since.
He said: "We've seen very dark days, we almost went out of business.
"Now we feel there's light at the end of the tunnel.
"They're still saying it will be November when the runway is fully
"They've only got 600 foot, two thirds, of the runway reopened.
"In a way I can't blame customers for not visiting.
"If the planes aren't going to be there people go elsewhere where they
can see them.
"We lost 70 to 80 per cent income overnight and it's not picked up. We
almost had to close down, we used our reserves."
Mr Robinson said weekends used to be their
quietest days but are now their busiest thanks to motorcyclists coming
He said: "It's still a frightening prospect but now there's limited
flying it does just fill us with a little bit of hope.
"We're taking such a small amount I don't know any other business that
would have survived it.
"I'm glad we saved money while the air show was here.
"This second year of works has been a killer for us.
"It's a great place we made it into a great community. Hopefully when
the flights resume things will pick up. But then it's winter.
"We're just not sure whether we're going to get through this winter but
we just hope we can."
B-17 gunner revisits England, dies at Battle of Britain Bunker
Rector, in a screen capture from a memorial video.
B-17 on display for the 89th Airlift Wing at Joint Base Andrews, Md.,
March 30, 2015. World War II veteran and B-17 gunner Melvin Rector died
this month in England while visiting bunkers from the Battle of Britain.
Air Force Master Sgt. Melvin Rector long carried England in his heart
after he helped defend it during World War II, but 70 years passed
without him stepping foot back in the country.
94-year-old finally decided to leave his home in Barefoot Bay, Fla., to
visit Britain earlier this month. The National World War II Museum in
New Orleans conducts a travel program through which interested parties
can visit certain sites of the war. He signed up for one, in hopes of
visiting RAF Snetterton Heath in Norfolk.
served there with the 96th Bomb Group in 1945 as a radio operator and
gunner on B-17 Flying Fortress bombers, flying eight combat missions
over Germany during the spring of the war's final year. On four of
these missions, his plane came under heavy fire. One almost proved
catastrophic, and the plane returned to base with holes dotting its
of the aircraft on which he served as a gunner was the Memphis Belle,
the first heavy bomber to complete its tour by flying 25 missions with
its crew intact. It went on to have a post-war career raising morale
and money for the U.S. Army. Writes historian John Buescher of the
both crew and plane completed their respective 25th mission, the crew
received the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters and the
Distinguished Flying Cross. They were then ordered in June to fly the
Memphis Belle back to the United States for a cross-country tour, the
aim of which was to increase morale back home and to sell War Bonds. .
. . When the Memphis Belle completed its tour (the first heavy bomber
to do so), it was a joyful event, not only for the crew, but also for
the entire air command and the American public."
B-17 Flying Fortress garnered such attention that not one but two films
were made about it: a documentary in 1944 and an eponymously titled
drama in 1990, starring John Lithgow, Matthew Modine and Harry Connick,
was excited for his return to the place that made this great plane
planned it for like the last six months," Darlene O'Donnell, Rector's
stepdaughter, told Florida Today of the trip. "He couldn't wait to go."
Rector's long flight over the Atlantic, the pilot of his American
Airlines flight summoned him to the cockpit so the two could take a
photograph together. "The flight attendant stopped us and said, 'Mr.
Rector, the captain would like to meet you,'" Susan Jowers told Florida
had become almost a daughter to Rector after serving as his guardian
during a 2011 Honor Flight trip to Washington, D.C., and she
accompanied him on this tour.
May 6, Rector stepped foot on British soil for the first time in 71
years. The group first visited RAF Uxbridge in the London Borough of
toured Battle of Britain Bunker, an underground command center where
fighter airplane operations were directed during D-Day. After climbing
back into the sunlight, he told Jowers he felt dizzy. She grabbed one
of his arms, and a stranger grabbed the other.
just outside the bunker where Winston Churchill famously said, "Never
in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few,"
Rector died quietly.
walked out of that bunker like his tour was done," Jowers said.
Vavruich, Rector's daughter, said it's how he would have liked to pass
on, even though he sadly never did make it to RAF Snetterton Heath.
couldn't have asked for a better way to go," she told Florida Today.
"It was quick and painless. He had just gotten to see two planes, and
he passed away between them."
repatriating his remains to the United States, a small service for the
fallen hero was planned in Britain. It did not remain a small service.
just wanted something very simple. And when I found a little bit of
background out about Melvin, there was no way we were going to just
give him a very simple service," Neil Sherry, the British funeral
director in charge of Rector's service, told ITV London News. "I wanted
it to be as special as possible."
Jowers expected no more than four people, word of Rector's war record
reached the American and British Armed Forces. The American Embassy
donated a flag to drape over his coffin, and the room filled with
servicemen and women and London historians who had never met Rector but
wanted to pay their respects to their spiritual brother in arms.
of them was U.S. Army Maj. Leif Purcell. He may not have known Rector,
but he attended the funeral on May 18.
from the Royal Air Force and the British Army I saw here was
phenomenal," Purcell told ITV London News. "I was expecting just to see
myself and maybe two or three other U.S. service members and a priest,
and that was it. So it was very delightful to see."
to the congregation, one U.S. serviceman said, "I do know of his
sacrifice and his family's sacrifice, so you do him and his family a
great honor by being here today."
certainly got a beautiful send-off," Jowers told Florida Today. "People
everywhere, from Cambridge to London, heard his story."
who lives in Gloversville, N.Y., was also touched by the outpouring of
respect. She, along with Rector's five other children, will have the
opportunity to pay their respects on June 9 at First Baptist Church of
Barefoot Bay. Rector's remains were repatriated to the U.S. on Tuesday.
completed his final mission," Jowers said.
official! RAF Scampton to host new Lincolnshire airshow from 2017
By CharlotteJ_LE | Posted:
May 26, 2016
The show will be a permanent fixture on
Lincolnshire will have its own airshow
Scampton every year from 2017, the RAF Charitable
Trust has confirmed.
Speculation has been rife that Scampton, the home of the Red
would step in to fill the void since it was announced in September RAF
Waddington would no longer host the county's annual airshow.
The RAF Charitable Trust, which
runs the biggest
military air show in the world, in Fairford, Gloucestershire, announced
today that Scampton would host a show on September 9 and 10 next year -
and every year after that.
Andy Armstrong, chief executive for the trust said the
airshow would be run by its own dedicated team, who would draw on the
experiences learned by the charity in Fairford, to ensure the event was
He said: "Visitors will have a great show. There will
be everything from enthusiasts to those having a family experience.
"What I've learned is don't try to do bigger and better. Be
different. That's what we'll get here, a different show. It's the home
of Red Arrows. It has the history of the Lancaster and the Dambusters.
"It's also the centenary of the station which starts in
October. These are themes that will come through."
Mr Armstrong said the Scampton airshow would be run by its own
dedicated team, who would draw on the Trust's
No details have yet been released on the type of aircraft
be at the event, but it is expected the Red Arrows will make an
Mr Armstrong said: "It's going to be like Glastonbury. We'll
announce the date then announce the acts in due course.
"This is the home of the Red Arrows, I think people would be
disappointed if they weren't here."
"I guarantee a fun packed air show everyone will enjoy. The
plan will be to start modestly in 2017 and build.
"We don't want to think too big and fall on our face. We'll be
cautious initially to make sure everything works properly then build
"We want to leave every year with people wanting more."
Proceeds from the event will go to the trust, one of the RAF
four main charities, whose interests lie in youth and aviation.
At the Royal International Airshow Tattoo
under 16s go free, and the trust plans to make ticket prices the same
at RAF Scampton.
return to Woodborough - 50 years after 'life changing' plane crash
By JemmaPage | Posted:
May 26, 2016
L-R Mike Sedman and Tim Thorn return to Woodborough where
their plane crashed 50 years ago
Tears were shed and church bells rang out as two pilots were
reunited in the quiet Nottinghamshire village where their planes
collided with another 50 years ago.
Tim Thorn and Mike Sedman visited Woodborough yesterday; half
a century after the crash between two Provost jet
showered the area with debris – narrowly missing youngsters who were on
their way to school.
The duo, who were based at RAF Syerston, in Flintham, near
were ejected from their seats after the collision at 5,000 feet with
They parachuted into the middle of the village's main street
and, miraculously, there were no injuries or damage to property.
Mike, who was 21 at the time and had been
to fly for two months, said: "We haven't been back to the village
since. It has been quite an emotional experience as the crash has
always been in the back of my mind.
Wreckage from the crash
"It's very humbling to come back. The welcome we received was
extraordinary. We have met people who were there at the time and
children who have been learning about it at their school."
The event took place at the Nag's Head pub in Main Street,
flag was raised by 13 children from Woodborough Primary School.
Church bells at St. Swithun's, where there is a plaque to
commemorate the crash, rang at 8.46am – the time the collision was
Mike, now 71 and living in Oxfordshire,
said: "It was a
life-changing experience in many respects. I wouldn't have met my wife
if it wasn't for the crash and the accident itself was a
Part of the plane's wing fell into the yard of butcher Walter
a cockpit dropped into a farmer's yard and debris fell on the village's
The airmen were taken to Nottingham General
Hospital but neither had serious injuries.
They spent two months in different hospitals across the
could not fly for a further four months due to the pressure on their
backs after they were ejected.
Tim, who was 23 years old at the time and
flying for four years, said: "I tried to avoid the collision but it
didn't work so we had to eject ourselves. As soon as we pulled the
handle, everything that happened next was a blur."
L-R Tim Thorn, Stephen Derry, Mike Sedman and Peter Bearne
The reunion was organised by Peter Bearne, of ITV Central
news, and Stephen Derry, who works at the Nag's Head pub.
Mr Derry, who remembers the crash took place on his seventh
birthday, said: "I was travelling on a bus from Lowdham and as we
passed the church we looked up in the sky and saw two planes crash.
"I got to the school and one of the pilots landed about 10
front of me with his parachute. We were ushered into the school
building by our headteacher and then we just go on with the school day."
Farmer David Rose, who witnessed the crash,
shook hands with the pilots at the event.
The 78-year-old said: "It's still so vivid in my mind. I
suddenly heard three explosions from the sky and rushed into the road.
"Suddenly, these bits and pieces started dropping around me;
and bolts and bits of engine. I ducked for cover and looked out and saw
this parachute coming down.
"One of the chaps landed right in front of me on the road. I
him if he was ok and drove him to his friend who was about half a mile
"The wreckage was left all across the village."
The Nottingham Evening Post's front page from the day the
Ancient floppy disks are still used in U.S. nuclear computer
Many government agencies, U.S. and
have a reputation for sometimes using tools that are horribly out of
But according to a report from a
agency, a particularly vital arm of the U.S. government may be using
the oldest tech you could possibly imagine.
According to a new report from the
Accountability Office (GAO), at least one part of the U.S. Defense
Department (DoD) still uses floppy disks in one of its systems.
the DoD uses 8-inch floppy disks in a legacy system that
coordinates ... the nation’s nuclear forces
What's a floppy disk you ask? Well, decades ago, instead of
USB sticks, data was transported between computer systems using a thin
square plastic case that contained a magnetic disk (which is where the
data was stored).
But most systems today wouldn't be able to accept a floppy
if the user wanted to, so the presence of such an outdated piece of
technology is pretty surprising, particularly within the halls of such
a historically technically advanced part of the government.
The revelation, surfaced on Wednesday in a
CNBC, is included in a GAO research document titled "Federal Agencies
Need to Address Aging Legacy Systems."
In it, the document states:
Federal legacy IT investments are becoming increasingly
many use outdated software languages and hardware parts that are
unsupported. Agencies reported using several systems that have
components that are, in some cases, at least 50 years old. For
example,the Department of Defense uses 8-inch floppy disks in a legacy
More troubling is the fact that the old school floppy disks
as a storage solution for the DoD's Strategic Automated Command and
Control System, which "coordinates the operational functions of the
United States’ nuclear forces," including intercontinental ballistic
missiles and nuclear bombers. The floppy disks are used as a part of
the section's IBM Series/1 computer (a system from
The good news? The agency plans to update the ancient system
in 2017, according to the GAO report.
In the meantime, let's hope the fate of
peace on Earth
doesn't come down to an 8-inch floppy disk that not even the smallest,
poorest business office would ever think of using.
Sheds Tears At Memorial To Fallen Troops
monarch dabbed her eyes with her gloved hand during a ceremony at the
National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.
royal display of emotion came during a service to honour dead soldiers
Queen wiped away tears from her eyes at the unveiling of a memorial to
soldiers killed in service.
display of royal emotion came as the monarch joined wounded veterans
and serving personnel from the Duke of Lancaster's Regiment for the
ceremony at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.
members of the infantry regiment have died in its service since it was
formed in 2006 following the merger of the King's Own Royal Border
Regiment, the King's Regiment, and the Queen's Lancashire Regiment.
statue of the 'Lion of England'
of the statue of the "Lion of England" featured on the regiment's royal
badge, the Queen placed a wreath beneath it.
also hailed the
work of the memorial's creators - stonemason Nick Johnson and sculptor
Georgie Welch, who crafted the lion from clay before it was cast at a
faces northwest in tribute to the origins of the regiment that recruits
in Cumbria, Lancashire, Merseyside and Greater Manchester, and of which
the Queen is Colonel-in-Chief.
Queen signed the National Memorial Arboretum's visitor book
service, Ms Welch, said: "The Queen said it was very lifelike and that
it had a real look of power. She also said it looked fearless.
so nervous I couldn't stop my knees shaking, but the Queen was
Johnson said: "I don't think you can get any higher honour than to meet
the Queen signed a visitors' book before meeting injured servicemen and
women, including Invictus Games gold medallist Corporal Luke Reeson.
Work has begun at RAF Marham in Norfolk to make way for its
new lightning aircraft which will arrive in 2018.
The stealth fighters F-35 Lightning Force will replace the
current Tornado squadrons.
The upgrades at the base are costing £20
including three new buildings to allow the maintenance, repair and
upgrade of the aircraft to be carried out on the base.
An “eyesore” RAF camp at the entrance to a
Buchan Coast village is being transformed into a modern apartment
The new Buchan Braes flats in Boddam have been built in the
former officer’s mess of RAF Buchan’s domestic base.
The accommodation and mess areas of the former base – which
vital for coordinating the UK’s air defence strategy before it became
and unmanned radar station in 2005 – are now making way for a new
And developers hope the site near the A90 Peterhead to
route will prove popular with commuters and those looking to enjoy the
Site owner Pamela Buchan, who also owns the nearby Buchan
hotel, said: “We demolished the huts and the sergeant’s mess is all
that’s left. There are 11 flats being created in the mess.
“The huts were an eyesore and they’ve been completely
And architect Richard Slater, from Michael Gilmour Associates,
“We’re trying to regenerate the whole Buchan Braes site so getting
people on the site is vital.
“There’s already a hotel, dentist and a business centre. This
about a sense of community – it’s critical to get people there to
Planning permission for 20 residential properties on the site
granted by Aberdeenshire Council in July, and this initial build of 11
flats represented the first phase of the scheme.
One flat is already complete and work will take place to
landscape the area where the RAF accommodation huts once stood.
Royal Air Force station Buchan was opened in 1952 as one of
the UK’s two air defence control and reporting centres.
The domestic accommodation was built in Boddam to house the
of the base which played a key role in intercepting Russian planes en
route to Cuba.
Permanently manned operations ended in 2005
Buchan family converted part of the accommodation into the Buchan Braes
RAF Waddington and Scampton centenary parade
With four USAAF airfields within 6
miles and a US
hospital only 4 miles away, Lavenham was a popular destination for US
service personnel. The Swan Hotel in Lavenham was one
favourite meeting places in the village and servicemen of the United
States Army Air Force, Royal Air Force, Corps of Military Police, the
Army, Royal Engineers and Royal Army Service Corps are known to
have relaxed and socialised here. Many of the
servicemen during this time signed the wall of the small bar,
known as the airmen’s bar in their honour.
The Eighth in the East are working in partnership with
the Stour Valley Community Archaeology Group to
many WW2 and post-war signatures. Many of the signatures are fading so
the project aims to record and research the signatures before any more
fade and dissapear with time.
The wall panels have been professionally
photographed by a
local Lavenham photographer and have been enlarged in order to
transcribe and decipher the signatures. Volunteers from the Stour
Valley Archaeology Group are now carrying out the transcibing process
and creating a database of names. Following this they plan to research
the names and discover more about the individuals behind the
signatures, along with their stories.
All of the data and photographs will then be stored at
the Suffolk Record Office, the Swan Hotel and on
American Air Museum website and will be accessible to all.
The project has already a large following
and as a result many relatives of servicemen
Arrests In Cyprus For Drugs And Explosives Possession
Four Cypriot men have been arrested for possessing drugs and explosives
after Sovereign Base Area (SBA) Police officers and the Cyprus Police
swooped on a private residence in Ypsonas village yesterday evening.
During the raid, which involved a total of 20 police officers from both
forces, a large amount of highly explosive TNT was discovered along
with approximately six kilograms of cocaine and a large quantity of
another substance believed to be cannabis.
After discovering the explosives, the search was immediately halted
while the area could be evacuated and experts could attend to the scene
to make it safe.
SBA Police officials have confirmed that as soon as the area is clear,
officers will continue with the search to see if anymore drugs can be
Since the arrests yesterday, €37,000 in cash has been seized from
houses within the Republic of Cyprus that belong to the men in custody.
The four men are currently in court and the SBA Police have asked for
them to remanded for eight days while they continue working with Cyprus
Police on the investigation.
"The recovery of significant quantities of controlled drugs
arrest of four people in Ypsonas yesterday evening suspected of
involvement in the supply of controlled drugs is as a result of working
closely with our colleagues in the Cyprus Police.
"This highlights our determination to work
to tackle drug supply which would have no doubt reached the streets of
towns and cities throughout the island, which as we know, has the
potential to blight so many people’s lives"
This seizure of drugs and explosives marks one of the largest ever seen
within the SBAs.
The British Forces Postal System is vital for anybody in the military
and their families.
That service is now guaranteed to continue and grow in
with the Royal Mail and the MOD renewing their contract by signing the
Forces Mail Settlement.
The contract ensures that overseas personnel are able to receive post
from loved ones from around the world at affordable rates.
British Forces Post Offices (BFPO), based all over the world, handles
service personnel’s mail while it is overseas and the Royal Mail takes
over its handling when it reaches the UK.
Did You Know?
The Royal Mail is celebrating its 500th
birthday this year.
Henry VIII knighted Brian Tuke as the first Master of the Posts in 1516.
During the First World War BFPO delivered two billion letters.
An e-bluey is a letter than can be sent directly online and printed in
During the first three months of the Invasion of Iraq in 2003 over
250,000 e-blueys per month were sent.
More than 80% of the letters sent between British forces and their
family and friends on operations are e-blueys.
A SUPPORT group for ex-RAF personnel is so
new committee members it has axed a 70-year-old rule to allow it to
take non-RAF veterans.
The Oxford and District Royal Air Forces Association (RAFA)
the new rule stating that members do not have to have served in the air
force could save their branch.
The group, which offers support, day trips and other
activities, says its membership has been declining at an "alarming"
An Oxford Mail appeal just six months ago
helped save the
branch from folding when Leonard Davis from Blackbird Leys came forward
to be chairman, but three other vital positions - secretary, treasurer
and welfare officer - still need to be filled.
Branch publicity officer Kath Mulligan said the roles needed
to be filled urgently.
Mrs Mulligan, who joined the Women's RAF in 1958 aged 18,
are at a last ditch situation at the moment and hoping something
"There just aren't the younger retirees out there interested
in joining us and our membership is declining at an alarming rate.
"The problem never seems to be solved with our branch.
"Our treasurer and welfare officer have had to retire to be on
to look after their spouses and our secretary due to heavier
The branch, which was formed in 1945, holds monthly meetings
speaker, organises collections and arranges outings to places like the
Imperial War Museum.
It was set up as a welfare support organisation for current
members of the RAF "family" so they are never alone or in need.
George Reade, from Risinghurst, resigned as secretary to take
of his wife Gillian who had alzheimers and died aged 75 in 2013.
The 80-year-old, who did national service at RAF Stafford for
years from 1953, encouraged younger volunteers to come forward.
He said: "It's a great group to be involved with and we need
people to come forward.
"It's about reproducing the camaraderie that was there when we
were in the RAF and everyone enjoys each other's company."
The retired accounts manager at British Leyland said he
former air force personnel were often hesitant to volunteer for things.
He said: "When I was stationed at RAF Padgate near Warrington
our corporal said to us 'does anyone like darts?'
"A young chap raised his hand and the corporal said 'great,
well dart out of here and get me a packet of crisps'.
"We all learnt not to volunteer for anything unless we were
completely sure what it entailed."
The welfare officer visits members at home or in hospital and
organises hotel breaks.
Mrs Mulligan said the role required IT
completing a paid-for course at RAFA Head Office but said it was "very
The Duke of Edinburgh opens The Prince
Philip Barracks at MOD Lyneham
MOD News Team, 11 March
2016 — Events
His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh visited the
Lyneham today to officially name the
Philip Barracks in his honour.
The Duke of Edinburgh is Colonel-in-Chief
of the Royal
Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (REME),
whose regimental headquarters are now located at The
The visit began with a Guard of Honour outside the Brunel
where the Duke of Edinburgh was met by the Master General REME,
Lieutenant General Andrew Figgures CB CBE and Chief of Defence
People, Lieutenant General Andrew Gregory CB. His Royal Highness then
went inside the building to tour some of the
The Duke of Edinburgh spoke to soldiers and officers
newly formed 8 Training Battalion REME, the REME Arms School and the
School of Army Aeronautical Engineering.
The hosting party went on to visit one of
technical training facilities on the former RAF site, which now house a
range of Army training equipment including tanks, armoured vehicles,
weapons and sophisticated technical training aids. The Duke of
Edinburgh and the Lord Lieutenant spoke to some of the soldiers and
instructors about the training at the school.
Then, hosted by the Master General of REME
Regimental Headquarters and watched by some of the 1,800 military
personnel working and training at MOD Lyneham, The Duke of Edinburgh
unveiled a plaque to commemorate the official opening of The Prince
Philip Barracks. The visit closed with His Royal Highness meeting the
families of those based at the barracks and having lunch in the
Princess Marina Officers’ Mess.
Colonel Mike Pendlington, Commandant of the Defence School of
Electronic and Mechanical Engineering, part of the Defence College of
Technical Training, said:
It is a privilege to continue to celebrate REME’s relationship
His Royal Highness by naming The Prince Philip Barracks in his honour.
The day has been a great success and an opportunity to demonstrate
how training continues to improve and evolve to the benefit of
British Armed Forces.
His Royal Highness has been Colonel-in-Chief
of the Corps of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers since
ex-MoD cop who 'saw UFO at Greenham Common' BREAKS nearly 30-year
FORMER MoD policeman has broken a 27-year silence over a bizarre UFO
sighting over a nuclear missile base he claims was covered up.
The whistleblower, who has not been named amid fears he could
accused of breaching the Official Secrets Act, came forward after a
recent sighting of what he described as an identical UFO.
The man, now aged in his 70s, came forward after Vanessa
revealed a picture she took of an alleged UFO hovering over the
Charnham Park area of Hungerford in Berkshire.
The ex-officer claimed he and a colleague witnessed the same
object fly down towards them above Greenham Common nuclear missile
silos one night in the late 1980s.
Greenham Common, famous for its anti-nuclear protests, was
the RAF and US Army Air Force, but it closed in 1993 after the Cold War.
The man claims he was made to sign the
Act and told never to discuss the event and a US "Men in Black" suited
officer swore them to secrecy.
He said: “It looked exactly the same as the photograph in the
“I want the people in Hungerford and Lambourn who saw it to
know they’re not alone and that someone believes them.”
Ms Cloete snapped several pictures of the UFO above her home
Other people have since reported sightings
of what has become knows as the Hungerford UFO.
But the retired officer is the only ex-offoicial to step
He added: “I was on patrol near the missile silos with a
colleague when we tried to fill up with fuel from the pumps.
“They suddenly failed for no apparent reason and then we saw
just like the photograph, a big, glowing ballbearing with a halo round
“It swooped down and my colleague said:
‘What the hell is that?’
“I know what aircraft and balloons look like. It was neither.
“It was just floating above the runway.”
He claimed it sped off at an “impossible speed” and they later
informed the control room.
He said next day he was grilled by top brass in the presence
of a black-suited American and warned never to mention it.
He added: “It’s been on my mind ever since and the photograph
brought it all back.”
regardless of what he saw, the image snapped last year was
investigated by the world's biggest UFO research organisation.
The Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), however, concluded it was
out of focus photograph of the planet Venus, which is often seen very
bright with the naked eye.
MUFON provided similar examples of strange
coloured orbs that were the result of blurred images of Venus.
Gulf veterans pay for their own
More than 2,000 people gathered in Staffordshire yesterday to
tribute to 47 men who died a quarter of a century ago during the Gulf
War but who had until now been denied a permanent memorial.
All but one of the men’s families attended the outdoor service
the National Memorial Arboretum. They were joined by high-ranking
veterans of the British campaign, by Khaled al-Duwaisan, the Kuwaiti
ambassador whose country donated half of the memorial’s £70,000 cost,
and by hundreds of military supporters, including one whose leather
jacket read: “I like you. I’ll kill you last.”
For many it was a moment of closure, of peace and of joy as
battlefield colleagues posed for photographs together, some catching up
for the first time in 25 years.
For others there was lingering anger at the government’s
“lift a finger” to help to fund the memorial. “It stinks that families
and veterans have had to open their pockets when the Ministry of
Defence should have given us a blank cheque,” said Kevin Doughty, a
former combat medic who launched the campaign for a national Gulf War
memorial four years ago.
“I wrote to George Osborne and asked for a donation but it was
declined,” he said. “And then he gives £1 million to the police force
for a memorial right here at the arboretum.”
Mr Doughty fell back on traditional campaigning methods. Over
years, veterans parachuted out of planes, ran sponsored marathons and
motorcycled around the country to raise enough money for the
three-spoked silver memorial with 47 paving stones bearing the names of
those who died.
The conflict began in 1990 when a US-led coalition fought the
army after the country had illegally invaded Kuwait. It ended when
Saddam Hussein’s forces were driven from Kuwait in February 1991. Until
today, no memorial has existed commemorating those who died.
The monument, designed by an RAF veteran, Ian Beadles, has
pillars to represent each of Britain’s armed forces and its centre
stone has an image of the Gulf Medal engraved in black granite. There
are 48 poppies, one for each of the 47 who fell and one to remember
those who died since the Gulf War ended.
Rebecca McFadden, the sister of Jason McFadden, a driver in
Royal Corps of Transport, said she was pleased that the memorial had
been organised by fellow veterans. “It was the people who knew Jason
raised money for him,” she said.
“That means a lot. It means he’s not forgotten”. Her brother
when he was killed by a cluster bomb on February 26, 1991, the day the
war ended. “He’s always close to us,” his mother, Elaine, said. “Now
he’ll be a bit closer.”
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “We
honour the contribution of all those who served in the first Gulf War.”
He said that the government had supported the installation of a
memorial at St Paul’s Cathedral, where a service was held on Friday
attended by the Duke of Kent and Earl Howe, the defence minister.
Mr Doughty dismissed the service as a “last-minute gesture”
many of the families had boycotted. “It’s just a plaque, it’s not a
memorial,” he said. “There’s been a lack of support from the MoD for 25
years. The families received an invitation only two to three weeks ago.”
One family member did not attend the St Paul’s service out of
at not being permitted to lay wreaths. “This event is much more
personal,” said Ken Sydee, the stepfather of Lance Corporal Terence
Hill, an ambulance driver who died at 26 on the penultimate day of the
The pain of the collective loss was reflected in the lonely
the bugle that preceded the ceremony. It set the mood for the padre who
conducted the service to read out the names of each man killed during
Operation Granby, the name given to British efforts to liberate Kuwait.
“We will remember them,” he proclaimed, a phrase repeated back to him
by the crowd.
Natasha Bolam, 28, told how she was only four when she heard
her father, Corporal Alan “Geordie” Bolam, had been killed. She had
taken comfort from discovering his life through his friends.
“Our dad’s military family told stories that brought our dad
life,” she said. “To me, to my sister, and to my brother Michael he is,
and he always will be, our hero.”
The Kuwaiti ambassador, who helped to
memorial and laid the first wreath, said that his country would always
be grateful for the help provided by Britain. “We will never forget
that you stood with us in the dark days. You are always with us and we
are always with you.”
A memorial remembering the British military personnel who died
the first Gulf War is to be unveiled 25 years after the conflict ended.
The monument, which has 47 paving stones with the names of
killed, will be opened at the National Memorial Arboretum in Alrewas,
The opening will be marked with a public dedication service
The first Gulf War began in 1990 and ended when Iraqi forces
were driven from Kuwait in February 1991.
A US-led coalition fought the Iraqi army during the war after
Iraq's invasion of Kuwait was declared illegal by the UN.
The new memorial has three pillars to represent each of
three armed forces and its centre stone carries the image of the
reverse of the Gulf Medal engraved in black granite.
Beneath the centre stone there are 48
poppies, with one
poppy for each of the 47 killed and one poppy to remember the veterans
who have died since the Gulf War ended.
discovered that a 15 year-old
Guard’ Grand Slam bomb – was
Lincolnshire County Council were widening the road past RAF Scampton’s
main gate in
about 1958, the ‘gate
guards’ there had to be moved to make way for the new carriageway.
the WWII home of 617 Sqn,
and said “gate guards” were a Lancaster…and a Grand Slam bomb.
When they went to lift the
Grand Slam, thought for years to just be an empty casing, with an RAF 8
Coles Crane, it wouldn’t
budge. “Oh, it must be filled with concrete” they said. Then somebody
had a horrible
thought …. No!….. Couldn’t
be? … Not after all these years out here open to the public to climb
over and be
astride! …. Could it? …. Then everyone raced off to get the Station
ARMO. He carefully
scraped off many layers of
paint and gingerly unscrewed the base plate.
Yes, you guessed it, live
1944 explosive filling! The beast was very gently lifted onto an RAF
low loader, using a much
larger civvy crane (I often wonder what, if anything, they told the
crane driver), then
driven slowly under massive
police escort to the coastal experimental range at Shoeburyness. There
rigged for demolition, and
when it ‘high ordered’, it proved in no uncertain terms to anyone
within a ten mile
that the filling was still very much alive!
then took place, but nobody could find the long-gone 1944, 1945 or 1946
which might have shown how
a live 22,000 lb bomb became a gate guard for nearly the next decade
half. Some safety distance
calculations were done, however, about the effect of a Grand Slam
ground level in the open.
Apart from the entire RAF Station, most of the northern part of the
City of Lincoln,
Lincoln Cathedral, which dates back to 1250, would have been flattened.
The Grand Slam was a 22,000
lb (10,000 kg) earthquake bomb used by RAF Bomber Command against
strategic targets during
the Second World War. It was the most powerful non-atomic bomb used in
Known officially as the
Bomb, Medium Capacity, 22,000 lb, it was a scaled-up version of the
and closer to the original
size that the bombs’ inventor, Barnes Wallis, had envisaged when he
developed his earthquake
bomb idea. It was also nicknamed “Ten ton Tess”.
When the success [of the
Tallboy bomb] was proved, Wallis designed a yet more powerful weapon…
22,000 lb. bomb did not
reach us before the spring of 1945, when we used it with great effect
viaducts or railways
leading to the Ruhr and also against several U-boat shelters. If it had
been necessary, it
would have been used
against underground factories, and preparations for attacking some of
well advanced when the war
ended. —Sir Arthur Travers Harris (1947).
On 18 July 1943, work
started on a larger version of the Tallboy bomb, which became the Grand
with the original Tallboy,
the Grand Slam’s fins generated a stabilizing spin and the bomb had a
than a conventional bomb,
which allowed deeper penetration. After the hot molten Torpex was
the casing, the explosive
took a month to cool and set. Like the Tallboy, because of the low rate
production and consequent
high value of each bomb, aircrews were told to land with their unused
board rather than jettison
them into the sea if a sortie was aborted.
After release from the Avro
Lancaster B.Mk 1 (Special) bomber, the Grand Slam would reach
speed, approaching 1,049
ft/s (320 m/s), 715 mph (1150 km/h). When it hit, it would penetrate
deep underground before
detonating. The resulting explosion could cause the formation of a
(cavern) and shift the
ground to undermine a target’s foundation.
Unlike Tallboy, Grand Slam
was originally designed to penetrate concrete roofs. Consequently, it
effective against hardened
targets than any existing bomb. The first Grand Slam was tested at the
Walk Range in the New
Forest, on 13 March 1945. By the end of the war, 42 Grand Slams had been
dropped on active service
Aston Martin creates 750 jobs in St
Aston Martin is
to build its new luxury car in south Wales, creating 750 highly-skilled
The DBX Concept
car will be hand-made in a super hangar at St Athan in the Vale of
It is a major
coup for Wales, which took two years to secure the deal ahead of 20
locations across the world.
well as attracting one of motoring's most prestigious names, it is
expected to create around 1,000 jobs with suppliers and local business.
chief executive Andy Palmer called it a "momentous day for Wales" at a
news conference in Cardiff on Wednesday.
will include a skills academy, which will make St Athan and the Vale of
Glamorgan a centre of excellence.
Work on the
factory will start in 2017 and production will start three years later.
have a wealth of craftsmanship here. It takes 200 hours to make a car
and to do that we need skilled labour and we have got that skilled
labour in Wales, in Great Britain and that played a big part in out
decision," said Mr Palmer.
company is also bringing more work to its factory and headquarters at
Gaydon in Warwickshire bringing the total of jobs created to 1,000.
value of the deal is in the hundreds of millions of pounds, although
the Welsh government will not comment on the amount of support it is
In its 103-year
history Aston Martin has only sold just over 70,000 cars.
continue to survive at the luxury end of the market it has been looking
at broadening its range to appeal to younger - and female - customers.
car - which is an all-electric 4x4 and expected to cost at least
£160,000 to buy - was unveiled at the Geneva motor show last year.
Palmer said then that the company envisaged a world "perhaps a world
not too far away, when luxury GT travel is not only stylish and
luxurious but also more practical, more family-friendly and more
design team had in mind a driver who was a young woman, American - and
rich. The fictitious customer was dubbed Charlotte and seen as "an
attractive lady, cool, in her 30s".
Carwyn Jones said it was the start of a long-term relationship between
Wales and Aston Martin.
will work together in building on the strong foundations of our
partnership to nurture a prosperous and rewarding future for this
iconic company and its skilled workforce in Wales," he said.
Stephen Crabb called the announcement an "enormous boost" for Wales and
the British car industry.
added: "It is a genuine example of a 'one nation' achievement, with
both the UK and Welsh governments working together to attract this
prestige manufacturer to Welsh shores."
Speaking on BBC
Radio Wales, Mr Palmer said the company had chosen Wales because it was
"the best offer".
don't simply mean in terms of money. What really swung it was the
passion and the professionalism of the people we dealt with in Wales,"
Edwina Hart AM said: "We had an excellent relationship with Aston
Martin at official and ministerial level.
thing for us was ensuring that Aston Martin stayed in the UK, a fine
company for the UK.
"We fought very
hard to ensure we were on the list and now we've achieved having it.
"This is a win
not just for Wales but for the UK."
RAF Gibraltar In £8 Million Runway
Flights in and out of RAF Gibraltar has been secured for the
years following completion of a £7.9 million runway resurfacing
programme by DIO.
No military aircraft are currently stationed there, but RAF,
Commonwealth and aircraft of other NATO nations will periodically
arrive for transient stopovers, exercises, or other temporary duty.
Administered by British Forces Gibraltar, the station is a joint
civil-military facility that also functions as Gibraltar’s civilian
David Graham, DIO’s Deputy Head of Programme
and Projects Delivery International, said:
“Investing in infrastructure to enable
capability is a huge part of what DIO delivers for defence so I’m
really pleased with how quickly and smoothly this project has
progressed. This was only possible because of how closely DIO, Lagan
Construction, RAF Gibraltar and the government of Gibraltar worked
together to mitigate any possible problems.”
The refurbished runway is expected to last
for around 20 years.
Zowie Davis accused of defrauding RAF Honington of £100,000
Zowie Davis, 38, is alleged to have
committed one count
of fraud by abuse of position while she was working at RAF Honington,
near Bury St Edmunds.
The former accountant is accused of defrauding the RAF of
and appeared in front of magistrates in Bury St Edmunds yesterday.
Davis did not indicate a plea at the magistrates’ court
was told the matter could only be dealt with by a crown court due to
the amount of money involved.
She is alleged to have committed the fraud between June 2012
October 2014 while she was employed as an accountant on the base, which
is home to the headquarters of the RAF Regiment and the RAF Police.
The charge reads: “While occupying a position, namely
which you were expected to safeguard or not to act against the
financial interests of Her Majesty’s Forces at RAF Honington, you
dishonestly abused that position intending thereby to make a gain,
namely over £100,000, for yourself.”
Speaking only to confirm her name age and address, Davis did
enter a plea and has been given unconditional bail to appear at Ipswich
She confirmed a Honington address in court but has spent the
last 17 months in a mental health unit.
Davis was sectioned under Section 3 of the Mental Health Act
been receiving treatment at Wedgwood House, the mental health unit at
West Suffolk Hospital.
Prosecuting on behalf of the Crown Prosecution Service, Tess
said: “The defendant is charged with an amount of fraud to the value of
“That sum alone makes it not suitable to summary disposal [at
magistrates’ court]. I ask you [the bench] to send it to crown court.”
The CPS position was not contested by Davis’s defence and the
magistrates’ bench told Davis she would be dealt with by Ipswich Crown
She has been given unconditional bail to
appear for a preliminary hearing at Ipswich Crown Court at on March 21
Tragedy of Ravenscar plane crash
In the early hours of February 16 1944, the seven-man crew of
Halifax bomber suffered cruel luck when their aircraft made a
successful forced landing on the coastal cliffs above Robin Hood’s Bay
– and then slid to destruction over the rocky precipice that lay in its
The aircraft, which belonged to No.640
Squadron, based at Leconfield, near Beverley, was returning from a mass
raid on Berlin.
Crew of C8-P (Peter). Back (L-R): Sgt
gunner); F/O Hugh Barkley (pilot); Sgt Alf Elkington (flight engineer);
F/O Lindsay Sommerville (bomb aimer). Front (L-R): Sgt Derek Brown
(mid-upper gunner); Sgt Bill Jackson (navigator); F/Sgt Jock Smart
Heavily protected by night-fighters, flak and, at that time of
year, an almost continuous layer of 10/10 cloud, Berlin was always
hard; always testing. Prior to the attack on February 15-16, Bomber
Command had already launched some 2,600 four-engine bombers in four
raids against the German capital since the year began. The cost had
been high: 171 aircraft had failed to return and 1,197 aircrew had been
The raid that took place on February 15-16 was the fifth
three weeks. The combined effect of night-fighters and heavy flak in
the target area accounted for 43 of the 891 bombers detailed for the
raid. This was an improvement on previous loss rates, but it still
represented 300 aircrew as casualties of war.
Flying Officer H. Barkley and the crew of the 640 Squadron
C8-P (Peter) had survived that particular carnage but the re-crossing
of the North Sea posed its own challenges: the Germans were disrupting
the Allied ‘Gee’ navigation system that was being used to ensure that
returning crews could always ‘fix’ their geographical position relative
to their base. Like a number of returning crews, Barkley was not sure
where he was in relation to his airfield. He was not the only one.
Mervyn Harris, wireless operator of Halifax
(pilot Sergeant Roy Crockett), later recalled that his own navigator
also had some difficulties on that return trip from Berlin. At one
point the navigator had informed his pilot that they were possibly 50
miles from base but that he could not give him a course to steer
because Jerry was jamming the Gee signals. Harris had then immediately
used the ‘Darkie’ channel to request a ‘QDM’. Darkie was a short range
aid to navigation that allowed a ‘lost’ aircraft to make radio contact
with its base (or a ‘Tracking’ station) to obtain the appropriate
course to steer (the QDM).
“I called up and got an instant reply and the course to steer.
gave the ‘Message Received’ signal, bedlam broke out: almost every
aircraft was calling. I heard one very faint call sign which did not
get much of a chance of a reply because he was drowned out by closer
aircraft. I believe that it was Flying Officer Barkley’s aircraft. I
knew the wireless operator (Jock Smart) quite well.”
As luck would have it, Barkley made
Ravenscar - shortly before 01.30am and nearly an hour after the other
crews had landed. It was dark and the weather was not good: there was
cloud down to 1,500 feet and the generally poor visibility was reduced
still further by occasional showers. It was not the best combination to
ensure a satisfactory outcome but an additional complication was that
Barkley still did not really know where he was. By that time, his
wireless operator was using the ‘Darkie’ channel.
Vic Dagnall was living in Scarborough when I met him in the
1990s. But in February 1944 he was a wireless mechanic at the RAF’s
Radio Tracking station at Ravenscar: he was probably the last person to
communicate with P-Peter before it crashed. Fifty years on, he recalled
what happened that night:
“I was on watch and listening in when the
set came into
action and the pilot asked me for his position. I immediately switched
over to ‘transmit’ and gave him ‘312º. 10 miles Scarborough’ (I think
it was 312º, but I can’t now fully recollect), which was all that we
were allowed to say. I kept switching over from ‘transmit’ to
‘receive’, but there was nothing. It was stone dead from his end. I
kept repeating ‘312º. 10 miles Scarborough’, all the time. Then I heard
an explosion, and I knew what it was. He’d been circling before that.
It must have been about five minutes from getting the first call to the
time he actually crashed.”
Vic Dagnall served at Ravenscar Tracking
At 01.30am, Barkley’s Halifax came down behind Browside, a
precipice above the Scarborough-Whitby railway line, some three miles
north-west of Ravenscar. Seemingly anxious to find a landing space
(perhaps because he was short of fuel), Barkley had for some reason
turned the Halifax on to a West-East direction and had made a wheels-up
landing in a field some distance behind the outcrop – but the distance
proved to be not far enough. The plane’s momentum drove it through four
stone walls before the disintegrating bomber reached the precipice.
Then it temporarily became airborne before crashing down on to the land
just behind Stoupe Brow Farm, then the home of Mr Hayes Duck and his
The wheels and engines took an erratic
course down the
slope and, amazingly, missed the farmhouse by a few feet. However, they
demolished the walls and gateways at the south side of the building as
they plunged down towards the sea. One engine ended up on the
Scarborough-Whitby railway line below Browside.
There were no survivors.
Hayes Duck was the first man on the scene. His wife stayed
and went about heating water for first aid purposes. He found six
bodies strewn across their yard and one a bit further down the hill.
He, with other men to help him, gathered up the dead fliers and carried
them to a shed beside his house and then he went indoors to tell his
wife that first aid was not necessary.
Vic Dagnall told me just how close Barkley had come to
‘People said that had there been another ten or twenty yards
spare he would have stopped before the precipice. But there wasn’t -
and he went over the top.’
Details of Bill Norman’s book Halifax
wartime bombing operations of No.640 Squadron, Leconfield) can be found
at www.billnorman.co.uk. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Behind The Scenes At £15.7 Million Remembrance Centre Build
Building work on a new multi million pound remembrance centre
at The National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire,
reached the halfway point.
Ex-RAF policeman receives medal for
services to community
A FORMER RAF policeman, who is also part of
Royal British Legion, has received a British Citizen's Medal for
services to the community.
Andy Davies, part of the Wiltshire branch
of the RAF
Police Association, has dedicated over 30 years service to local
He said: "I feel deeply honoured to be receiving this award
would like to thank everyone for their support and encouragement,
without whose help I could never have achieved much of what I have been
"Many people think that armed forces
veterans are simply
old men and women in blazers just reminiscing about their military
service when in fact many of them are actively engaged in supporting
their local communities and raising money for charities.
"Whilst many veterans often need help, there are just as many
providing help to everyone within their local communities every single
day, and I feel privileged to be part of that."
A former nine-time British tae kwon do
European silver medal winner, Mr Davies runs a martial arts and fitness
gym in the Bristol area.
Many thanks to Brendan Harper for this
RAF pilot saved by wingman who talked him down
Dramatic rescue at RAF Leeming during a routine training flight in a
An RAF pilot who lost his sight in the
middle of a
training flight was talked down through a safe landing by a comrade who
flew behind him, it has been disclosed.
The dramatic rescue happened last week at RAF
Leeming during a routine training flight in a Hawk jet.
The unnamed pilot radioed to base after he
lost vision because of a suspected medical problem while flying solo
above North Yorkshire in the BAE Systems single-engine training jet.
At one point the pilot’s vision was so bad that commander’s
considered having him eject into the North Sea because there was little
chance he could land safely, sources said.
But the prospect of him suffering ejection
well as losing the plane led them to dispatch another pilot, Flt Lt
Paul Durban, to try to talk him down.
Flt Lt Durban, a 39-year-old father of two who flew Tornados
and Afghanistan before becoming an instructor at RAF Leeming, flew
close behind the stricken pilot to talk him down.
A source said: “They think he had an
infection in his
eye and he just couldn’t see. The other pilot flew behind him and
talked him down. They got him down safely and the plane is OK. Flt Lt
Durban is fine too, though I think he was pretty exhausted.”
The RAF on Sunday confirmed the incident on January 28, but
to comment on the condition of the stricken pilot. Sources said his
vision was thought to have been affected by the sudden deterioration of
an eye infection.
An RAF spokesman said: “During a routine training sortie on
Thursday, one of our pilots temporarily suffered a partial loss of
vision. To assist in the recovery of the aircraft to RAF Leeming, the
pilot used the radio to request the assistance of a wingman and was
promptly joined by another aircraft from the same squadron.
“The impaired pilot flew in formation back to RAF Leeming with
other aircraft where the pilot landed the aircraft uneventfully. Flying
in formation, and conducting an approach to land as a formation, is a
skill practised daily by RAF fast jet pilots.”
The RAF’s 100 Sqn use Hawk jets at RAF
Richmond in North Yorkshire, to train forward air controllers and to
act as enemy jets in practice missions. They are also flown by
RAF’s aerobatic team, the Red Arrows.
and GCHQ spies foiled IS attacks in Bath, London, Brighton and Ipswich
claims the Sunday Express
The Royal Air Force (RAF) foiled a potential terrorist attack
in Bath, the Sunday Express has revealed.
Two pilots said to be "sympathetic to
passed coded messages over the Mayday channel, it is claimed in the
Sunday newspaper. They were unaware that this channel was being
monitored at the time.
The report reveals the RAF sent these messages to GCHQ spies
Cheltenham, who spent seven hours decoding them. They realised the
airline pilots, who were unknown to the authorities, had discussed
attacks in Bath, London, Ipswich and Brighton.
The conversation took place in the wake of
the horrific terror attacks in Paris in November 2015.
The location of the pilots is not known but their voices and
identity are known to the authorities.
Speaking to the Sunday Express, a senior intelligence source
said the targeted cities have been given "extra surveillance."
On Sunday afternoon, Bath MP Ben
Howlett issued the
following statement: "Today's shocking news shows why we need to keep
national security at the highest level of importance. The RAF have done
a sterling job to intercept messages from those who are intent on
destroying everything we value.
"I am proud that our Government is investing heavily in our
intelligence and security services, including the vital work of GCHQ in
the West of England. While Bath residents should always remain
vigilant, we should never give in to terrorists by changing our daily
The current UK threat level is severe
meaning an international terrorist attack here considered highly
likely, according to MI5.
air force demands a lot of Leeming
Near the largest army garrison in Europe, North Yorkshire also
the region's largest RAF base - Philip Sedgewick finds out what goes on
behind (and above) the fences
RAF Leeming has a distinguished history –
built just in
time for the Second World War and fully operational by 1940, it saw a
succession of heavy bomber units stationed there, notably Lancasters
from the Royal Canadian Air Force. Post-war it became a training base
and, following the Cold War thaw, Tornados operated from the North
Yorkshire base as part of the nation’s fighter defences until 2008.
With the modern Royal Air Force in number terms, if not
shadow of its former self, air bases are expected to house a variety of
different units and in this, RAF Leeming is no different.
Its main flying unit is 100 Squadron, an
even for the RAF. Known as aggressors, these highly experienced pilots
fly sinister-looking black painted Hawks and act as the enemy to the
air force’s younger top guns. Locals will be well used to seeing them
in the skies above North Yorkshire, although confrontations tend to
take place over the North Sea in a specially monitored area away from
Being close to the electronic warfare range
RAF Leeming is attractive to visiting aircraft. These supersonic flyers
travel at eight miles per minute and can reach the Lake District in the
time it takes to find a parking space on a busy market day.
The station hosts regular exercises. Recently, aircrew from
and Germany spent three weeks there. Exchanges within Nato are common;
presently 100 Squadron has a US pilot who normally flies an F-15 Eagle.
The station commander is a former Harrier
jump jet pilot
Group Captain David Bradshaw. His father, Geoff Bradshaw, now
approaching 90, flew Spitfires, and son David always wanted to be a
Gp Capt Bradshaw says the operational tempo is as high as ever. He
makes the point that the RAF does not just consist of aircrew and
provides a vital service in support of air-power operations with 90
Signals Unit having a home at Leeming. Required to maintain a high
state of readiness at all times, they also have a member of the USAF on
Made up of soldiers, Marines and RAF personnel, the Joint
Air Controller Training and Standards Unit is a further highly
important team resident at the station. Acting as forward controllers
in a given conflict situation, its members instruct aircrew on what
needs to be done – a low flypast to scare the enemy, dropping bombs or
firing rockets, all to ensure the safe use of air power among our
The 2 Force Protection Wing, 34 Squadron RAF Regiment, 609
Riding) Auxiliary Squadron and the Northumbrian University Air Squadron
all operate from Leeming. There is also an RAF mountain rescue unit,
one of several throughout the country on permanent call out to assist
the civil and military authorities. The base is parent to 100 other
scattered units such as Air Training Corps, RAF Fylingdales and RAF
Linton on Ouse. Station medical personnel often work alongside the
National Health Service.
As the largest RAF unit in the North-East and seventh largest
base in the UK, Leeming is like a small town. Together with civil
servants and dependants, 3,000 staff, mostly Royal Air Force men and
women, make up its resident working population.
Highlighting the ready-response RAF of today, one of Gp Capt
Bradshaw’s vital roles is to set-up when necessary an Expeditionary Air
Wing, as they did last year as part of the Baltic Policing Mission.
He said: “We essentially do what we do, just somewhere else.
“The station is on a constant state of high readiness to
respond anywhere in the world.
“ It is a part of the job we do and, yes, it does leave the
base short, but the operational mission comes first.”
Gp Capt Bradshaw insists his main priority is to ensure all
personnel are well looked-after. He said: “I believe they are what is
important about the RAF – our staff are at the heart of what we do.”
Keen to emphasise the base personnel's community and charity
integration locally is a high priority. They entertain 2,000
schoolchildren annually for the Crucial Crew event and recently hosted
a dinner for St Teresa's Hospice; local pilots and air traffic
controllers are often invited onto the base.
As station commander, getting out and about and meeting people
preferred aspect of his role. In alleviating any problems he prefers
persuasion to formal military orders; he is, however, ultimately
responsible for discipline, although he says his staff are
On the need for high levels of security, Gp Capt Bradshaw
with his army counterparts at Catterick Garrison. The base has its own
RAF Police who work in conjunction with the local force providing both
policing and security. He said: “It is a balance between guarding
against complacency and the rights of the people who live and work
here, many of whom are not military personnel, but their families.”
Gp Capt Bradshaw has served in Germany, the Balkans, Iraq and
Afghanistan. He regards the pinnacle of his flying career as operating
his Harrier from HMS Illustrious, of which he is rightly proud.
His previous posting was as part of the F-35
development team at High Wycombe. Presently in the United States, the
joint US/UK new aircraft is expected to enter service with the RAF in
Optimistic about the future, Gp Capt
Bradshaw sees the
Royal Air Force as an attractive career and hopes to attract recruits
from all walks of life into a new reserve squadron – 607 County Durham.
Early indications are that there is a real interest in the RAF Reserves.
Married to Olivia, with two children, Gp Capt Bradshaw enjoys
in North Yorkshire and cycling across the Dales. As a pilot, flying is
his passion and he gets airborne at least twice a week, often taking
ATC cadets aloft for instruction.
Asked if he is jealous of Major Tim Peake,
astronaut currently on the International Space Station, Gp Capt
Bradshaw gives a wistful smile. Slowly, he replies: "Yes, of course I
am. I’d love to be up there.
What a wonderful and welcoming visit Ann
and I had
yesterday to the RH ,Chelsea where we the guests of Harry Puttick and
Madge Cole .They gave a very informative and interesting tour of the
whole site( bar he Chapel which is undergoing a major refurb) as is
many other external parts as part of a £30m refit of the pensioners
accommodation and facilities.Both our hosts are regular attendees of
the Armed Forces Day events in Scunthorpe each year ( 2016 date is
18/6/16) and this visit was their way of saying thanks to us for
looking after them whilst at the AFD.
We had a great lunch with many hundreds of pensioners ( some 320 in
total are housed there) followed by a nice afternoon in the great bar
and lounge.Some very useful gifts were to be had from the on site Gift
Shop and a very interesting tour of the museum followed this.Harry saw
service in Suez and is a BEM medalist and Madge served in NI and Malaya
and holds campaign medals for both zones.The whole site is in lovely
condition and is well worth a visit should you get the opportunity for
an arranged visit and tour. We both are looking forward to a second
visit when there a formal occasion in operation,to enjoy the unique
spender of the very British affair.
New Pay Model For Armed Forces
A shake-up of Armed Forces pay across all
three Services has been announced by the Defence Secretary.
A new model has been created which aims to simplify and modernise pay
for Armed Forces personnel, with the reforms coming into place as of
April this year.
The current pay system, introduced in 2001, was the first integrated
‘tri-service’ pay system - a major advance at the time.
But it's been criticised in recent times as being overly complex, with
some service personnel expressing dissatisfaction at shortcomings and
The reforms to core pay will apply to all Armed Forces regulars and
reservists up to the ranks of Commodore, Brigadier and Air Commodore,
except specialists like professional Aviators and Special Forces on
bespoke pay scales.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:
"These reforms will deliver a simpler, better and fairer system of pay
for our Armed Forces. They will enable us to better target pay to
skills and ensure that we continue to recruit and retain the right
Rank will continue to be the main determinant of pay and incremental
progression will remain a key feature of the new system.
Other ranks will now be put into four different categories.
Supplement 1 will cover support trades, Supplement 2 is for fighting
forces, Supplement 3 for specialist technical roles, while Supplement 4
will only apply to Army Air Corps pilots.
The model dramatically reduces the number of possible core pay
scenarios from 128. The Ministry of Defence argues that this will
provide a pay system that will be easier to understand for service
personnel, allowing individuals to more accurately predict their future
More from Forces TV: What Is The Armed Forces Covenant?
It added that the new system will be much simpler, and also fairer
because it will end ‘flip-flopping’ where some personnel found their
pay dropped as they were promoted.
The reforms, which have been praised by the heads of all three
Services, will include pay protection to ensure that no service
personnel take a pay cut on transition to the new model.
As the new pay model was announced, Armed Forces Minister Penny
Mordaunt said it would attract and retain motivated people, adding that
the restructure was needed and that it is not a cost-saving exercise.
Meanwhile Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nicholas Houghton,
"Pay is a key element of the package that attracts and retains skilled,
motivated individuals within the Armed Forces. This new pay model,
which both meets the needs of the services and offers a good deal for
our people, has my whole-hearted support."
The shake up only applies to core pay. Allowances are not part of this
review, neither is retention pay, which the 2015 Defence Review said
would be phased out.
1,100 jobs secured at Marshall in Cambridge thanks to new £369m
Hercules MOD contract
1,100 jobs have been secured at Marshall's base in Cambridge after it
agreed a new six-year, £369 million contract to maintain a key Ministry
of Defence aircraft.
will lead the continued in-service support of the MoD's RAF Hercules
C-130J fleet until 2022.
Hercules had been set for retirement in 2022, potentially leaving a
gaping hole in Marshall's order book.
last month's strategic defence and security review revealed the
Hercules would be given a new lease of life, as part of plans to
"recapitalise" the RAF's air transport fleet and enable UK forces to
"intervene globally at speed".
Hercules aircraft is billed as one of the RAF's workhorses, carrying
troops, supplies and equipment in support of operations around the
they have been involved in humanitarian relief efforts in Iraq, Nepal
and South Sudan.
new deal has secured 1,200 UK jobs overall, 1,100 of which are based in
contract is further evidence of what the growing defence budget with
£178 billion investment in equipment means for the UK," said defence
secretary Michael Fallon.
will secure around 1,200 skilled jobs and ensure our essential RAF
transport aircraft are prepared for operations for years to come."
carries out C-130 maintenance for a number of other clients across
Europe, such as the Dutch Air Force.
RAF currently operates a fleet of 24 Hercules aircraft. Under the new
contract, by 2025 there will be 14 of the aircraft in service, with the
other 10 being decommissioned in 2016 and 2017.
Fitz-Gerald, CEO of Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group, said: "It is
a privilege to be part of the C-130J Joint Team and to have contributed
to the achievements being recognised by the Minister's acquisition
year marks Marshall's 50th anniversary of our first engagement with the
RAF in support of its C-130 fleet, and we look forward to continuing
that partnership to provide the highest levels of availability,
affordability and innovation."
will also be undertaken by Lockheed Martin and its sub-contractors at
sites in Havant, Stansted and Cheltenham, while Rolls-Royce will
maintain the engines.
three companies have been working together on the programme with the
MoD since 2006.
MoD also says it has secured savings of £64 million for the taxpayer as
a result of the negotiations.
Baguley, the director of air support at DE&S, the MOD's
and support organisation, said: "This new deal for UK C130J Hercules
support builds upon improved performance at a lower cost that will
deliver strategic and tactical air transport capability and excellent
value for UK Defence.
represents the culmination of excellent work by DE&S, working
closely with the three principal industrial suppliers and the RAF
has been reported that Special Forces units led the calls for the
Hercules to remain in service, preferring the aircraft to the larger
Airbus A400M, which is beginning to enter service with the RAF.
Hercules is thought to be better suited to operating undetected behind
enemy lines, while its smaller size makes it easier to land on rough
surfaces than the Airbus.
this month, the efforts of the joint Hercules team were recognised by
the Minister for defence procurement Philip Dunne, who presented the
companies involved with an award.
Could new maritime patrol aircraft
bring spin-off for Kinloss?
Written byTanya McLaren
NEWS that a new fleet of maritime patrol aircraft will be based in
Moray has been widely welcomed, with hopes high that there may be some
spin off for Kinloss in the future.
Could there be a spin-off for Kinloss from the new aircraft going to
Lossiemouth?The Nimrod MRA4 which was due to come into service at the
former RAF Kinloss base was scrapped back in 2010, a decision which
paved the way for the airforce to move out of their military base at
Kinloss, creating a time of uncertainty in Forres and the surrounding
Kinloss Barracks is now home to the Army’s 39 Royal Engineers, who have
gained great support in the local community. The Royal Engineers at
Kinloss operate an air support unit, and although the New P8 maritime
patrol aircraft will be based at RAF Lossiemouth, hopes are high that
with an available runway and some remaining infrastructure buildings
that some collaboration may be possible.
Local businessman Bob Hellyer who is a former Nimrod air electronics
operator and captain said that in his view, the decision to base the
aircraft at Lossiemouth was a strategic decision.
“There isn’t a lot of available infrastructure for the aircraft in
Lossiemouth at the moment,” he said. “The fighters have taken up a lot
of the available space and buildings.”
“In my opinion, Lossiemouth cannot house all nine aircraft.”
He added: “There will be requirement for an OCU (operational conversion
unit) and operational squadrons along with associated buildings, as
well as a simulator and other support structures. Kinloss still has a
simulator building and the runway is still ‘in use’ in as much as it is
a NATO diversion aircraft, it would be perfect for some use.”
Mr Hellyer said that crews from Kinloss had been working out in America
getting ready to fly the Posiedon aircraft, which he said “made sense”
as they were also used by other countries in NATO, which would
facilitate good working together.
“It’s a very positive annoucement and I think it is good news,” he
added. “We had the best crews and the best equipment available in the
world and I hope this will still be the case.”
The announcement to procure the new fleet was made by Prime Minister
David Cameron last Monday, as part of the Strategic Defence and
He confirmed plans to buy nine new Boeing P-8 Poseidon aircraft which
will share the Lossiemouth base with Typhoon fighter aircraft.
Speaking on the Good Morning Scotland programme, the BBC’s defence
correspondent Jonathan Beale said: “There was a debate as to whether
the new maritime patrol aircraft should be based in Lincolnshire, at
RAF Waddington, where a lot of the surveillance aircraft the RAF has
are based, or in Scotland - and the decision has been taken that they
will be based in Lossiemouth.”
Mr hellyer said that the old Nimrod so-called ‘‘sneaky peak’ aircraft
based at Waddinngton also relied on Kinloss for servicing, which he
said was why Waddington was taken out of the equation.
The UK’s fleet of Nimrod surveillance aircraft were based at RAF
Kinloss until they were scrapped in 2010 as part of the defence review.
The Ministry of Defence is currently relying on French and Canadian
aircraft during a search after a reported sighting of a Russian
submarine off the Scottish coast.
Mr Hellyer said that most people in the maritime reconnaissance
community supported the new aircraft, and after speaking to former
Nimrod crew and current serving personnel, he was confident that there
woujd be some of the ‘old skills’ and personnel retained.
Leader of Moray Council, Cllr Stewart Cree also voiced his support for
“I’m delighted to hear that the military presence in Moray is to be
strengthened,” he said. “We argued and campaigned vociferously against
the closure of RAF Kinloss, and were deeply disappointed when the
decision to scrap the Nimrod fleet was announced.
“In the changing global situation the re-establishment of a maritime
surveillance and patrol facility here on the Moray coast line makes
Moray’s MP Angus Robertson, and MSP Richard Lochhead have both long
argued that the controversial scrapping of the Nimrod programme, which
ended aircraft basing at Kinloss, was a major mistake, leaving a
maritime nation with no maritime patrol aircraft.
Commenting in the wake of reports of a a search off the coast of
Scotland for a Russian submarine, with the UK relying on Maritime
Patrol Aircraft capability from allies, Mr Robertson said the news was
“Lossiemouth is one of the busiest airbases in the UK and has a wealth
of expertise to welcome the new aircraft in the coming years,” he said.
“The loss of the Nimrod was a blow for the RAF, a blow for the
community in Moray and a blow for our local economy. The reversal of
the Government’s previous decision to scrap MPA capability is welcome
for both protection of our vital maritime assets and for our local
communities in Moray. Moray’s communities will undoubtedly provide a
warm welcome for new RAF personnel to Moray as this decision takes
effect in the coming months and years.”
Mr Lochhead called it “welcome news” for Lossiemouth and for Moray
after the tragic and widely condemned scrapping of the Nimrod programme.
“With this u-turn by the UK Government it seems that hard lessons have
been learned. While it is too late for the loss of RAF personnel from
Kinloss it is good news that we are getting Maritime Patrol Capability
back to a Moray base.
“Moray’s economy will get a boost, as will our communities who have
long been welcoming and supportive of the many personnel who have been
based here over the decades, many of whom have made it their home.”
• The P-8 Poseidon is a modified version of Boeing’s 737-800 passenger
aircraft, as used by budget airlines Easyjet and Ryanair
• It is designed for long-range anti-submarine warfare; anti-surface
warfare; and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions.
• The aircraft can carry and launch torpedoes, depth charges, SLAM-ER
missiles, Harpoon anti-ship missiles, and other weapons.
• It can also drop and monitor sonobuoys, which are used to help locate
and trace submarines.
• The P-8 can fly at altitudes of up to 41,000 feet and at speeds of up
to 490 knots.
• It can fly up to 4,500 miles from its base without refuelling.
Forces Memorial at Alrewas to close for up to year
Armed Forces Memorial in Staffordshire is to be closed for up to a year
for repair and improvement work.
scheme, at the National Memorial Arboretum at Alrewas, follows the
award of a £3m grant from money gathered from UK banks in Libor fines.
at the monument includes adding better drainage and a new stone-paved
arboretum said it was creating an area featuring images of names on the
Armed Forces Memorial has the names of more than 16,000 people who have
died on duty or as a result of terrorism,
repair and improvement scheme includes lighting work and maintenance to
stonework, with some damaged panels being replaced.
is due to close on 12 November and re-open by Armistice Day 2016.
the period of the closure, the arboretum has created a new area
featuring information about the Armed Forces Memorial and images of
every name on its walls.
assets deployed in support of Falkland Island government in cruise ship
the Falkland Island Government, British forces based in the Falkland
Islands yesterday responded to a distress call by the 10,000 tonne
cruise ship ‘Le Boreal’. The ship reported suffering a major engine
room fire, which caused the loss of all power and left the ship
drifting. A north-westerly gale placed the ship in real danger of
grounding on Cape Dolphin, East Falkland.
ordered the ship, with 347 passengers and crew, to be abandoned early
yesterday morning. Working closely with the Falkland Islands
Government, British Forces enacted a major search and rescue plan. Two
Royal Air Force Sea King Search and Rescue helicopters were scrambled,
along with two other support helicopters, a C130 Hercules and a Voyager
aircraft for command and control. The Royal Navy patrol vessel HMS
Clyde was despatched to the scene, as were Dutch tugs which support
British Forces in the Falkland Islands.
coordinated from Mount Pleasant, Royal Air Force Search and Rescue
helicopters, supported by British International and Bristows
helicopters, successfully winched 79 people from the deck of the Le
Boreal and from two life rafts in the water. All of these evacuees were
brought to the British Forces Base at Mount Pleasant where they
received care, clothing, food and medical attention. HMS Clyde assisted
two further lifeboats with over 200 evacuees on board, ensuring they
were brought to safety.
and crew from Le Boreal have been accounted for and are being looked
after on the Falkland Islands. The vessel itself is now in a stable
condition and two Dutch Tugs, under contract to British Forces, are now
assisting to bring the vessel alongside in the Falkland Islands for a
detailed assessment of her condition.
Secretary Michael Fallon said:
rescue in the Falklands this morning demonstrates how our Armed Forces
are always ready to help those in peril. The swift action taken by
Royal Navy and Royal Air Force crews, working with civilian
counterparts, saved many lives and prevented this developing into a
British Forces South Atlantic Islands, Cdre Darren Bone, said:
with everything we had yesterday to assist in what was an extremely
complex and hazardous rescue operation in difficult conditions but I am
delighted that we can report all of the passengers and crew of the
vessel are safe and well and the vessel itself in a stable condition.
This was a huge team effort involving close liaison with the Falkland
Islands Government and I am enormously impressed with the reaction by
all the British forces involved, it was an exemplary performance all
Officer John Francis ‘Tommy’ Tomiczek was remembered at a poignant
memorial outside 5131 Bomb Disposal Squadron’s headquarters at Royal
Air Force Wittering on 12 November.
commemorative plaque was dedicated to Warrant Officer Tomiczek in a
service attended by his family and every available member of the
Squadron. Tommy’s warrant was presented to his widow, Tracey, by
Squadron Leader Mike Stocks, Officer Commanding 5131 (BD) Squadron.
Officer Tomiczek died in September this year of complications resulting
from his battle with cancer. Station chaplain, the Reverend Sqn Ldr
David Haslam, addressed the gathering and spoke of Tommy’s two
families; his wife and children, and his service comrades.
comparison thoughtfully reflected the close bonds of the bomb disposal
community, which has sadly lost one of its most experienced and
respected members. For Warrant Officer Tomiczek’s family, the service
was a dignified and appropriate memorial.
Tommy’s wife of 32 years said; “It was beautiful, very fitting. So many
of Tommy’s colleagues came to the service today, and it was lovely to
hear just how highly they thought of him. The whole day was a great
tribute to Tommy and I'm sure he would be so impressed with what the
Squadron has done in his honour.”
Sergeant Dave Lowe is a senior explosive ordnance disposal operator at
5131 (BD) Squadron, he worked alongside Warrant Officer Tomiczek for
years and remembers his working relationship very clearly.
Lowe said; “Tommy was a great man to work with, but that’s what you
find when someone is so passionate about their job. He would never have
asked you to do anything he wasn’t prepared to do himself, he taught so
many so much and will be greatly missed but fondly remembered.”
Officer Tomiczek enlisted in December 1980. His career included a host
of major operations from the last 35 years and saw him ascend to the
highest achievable non-commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force.
Mike Stocks said; “It’s easy to be sentimental at occasions like this,
but Tommy was a calm and factual man and our service reflected that.
Good bomb disposal officers are steady and rational; those qualities
made Tommy an excellent role-model for everyone on the Squadron.”
Stocks continued; “I’m pleased that Tracey, Shaun and Rikki were with
us today. It was important for us to let Tommy’s family know just how
much the Squadron valued him, not just for his technical expertise but
also for the content of his character.”
Wittering gratefully acknowledges the kind co-operation of the Tomiczek
family in the production of this press notice.
Cpl Paul Robertshaw and courtesy of the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund.
Crown Copyright 2015
From Tom Padget who was most
impressed with the field kitchen menu of Beef Wellington
an eight month dismantling process, a 70 mile journey along the M6/M54
motorway and a four month rebuild, the Royal Air Force Museum Cosford
is pleased to announce that its latest acquisition, VC10 serial number
XR808 is now complete and on public display.
The media, aviation fans and visitors alike have followed the aircrafts
journey to Cosford every step of the way and the Museum is thrilled to
see the aircraft fully reassembled and in its new display position next
to the Lockheed Hercules C130K Mk3.
The VC10 arrived at Cosford in June and was partially reassembled on
the airfield at RAF Cosford before being moved onto the Museum’s site
for completion. Since then the rear fuselage along with the outer
wings, fin, tail plane and engines have all been carefully refitted
onto the aircraft in the rebuild area directly outside the Museum’s
VC10 XR808 tail being fitted and engines back in the nacelles
The VC10 was moved into its display position during mid-October and the
final task of attaching the starboard outer wing was completed the
VC10 XR808 during its move into display position
The VC10 was originally designed and built by Vickers-Armstrong and
then later by the British Aircraft Corporation and entered service with
Royal Air Force in 1966. This dual-role aircraft enabled the
rapid deployment of troops and their weaponry and fast jet aircraft to
many theatres of operations around the world and proved one of the
RAF’s most significant assets for nearly 50 years. The RAF
allowed true global mobility offering a combination of speed and range
never previously attained by an RAF Transport Command aircraft type.
Having served for such a long period of time in a wide
roles, it would not be possible to accurately portray the history of
the RAF without an example of the type – therefore it is essential that
such a pivotal aircraft is preserved by the RAF Museum
Head of Collections at the RAF Museum said:
“The VC10 is an icon of the British aviation industry and one of the
most significant aircraft types ever to serve with the Royal Air Force.
We are delighted to have XR808 on public display at Cosford and
indebted to GJD Services for all their dedication and professionalism
in making this a reality. BAE Systems Heritage and the RAF Charitable
Trust have also played a crucial part in making this project possible
and we thank them for their continued support.”
VC10 XR808 now on display next to the Lockheed Hercules C130K Mk3
The dismantling, transporting and rebuild process was carried out by
GJD Services, a specialist maintenance and aircraft salvage company
based at Bruntingthorpe, Leicestershire.
Accountable/Engineering Manager at GJD Services said:
“Taking an idea that something can be done and turning that theory into
a reality is always driven more by the belief that it can be achieved
than all the drawing, planning and measuring involved. The
challenge of dissembling, moving and reassembling a Vickers VC10 has
certainly been a team achievement and without the dedication and good
will of all involved this would not have been being as successful as it
was; from the GJD guys who gave 110% to the task, the teams from the
haulage, transport and crane companies, to the RAFM staff I take my hat
off to all involved and wish to thank everyone who supported us along
the way. As a company, we are not often given the opportunity
show off, but now we can point to BOB and be very proud of what we have
The transportation of the VC10 was made possible thanks to the support
of BAE Systems Heritage.
BAE Systems Heritage Manager, said:
"We are delighted to be able to once again support RAF Heritage and the
RAF Museum in ensuring that this iconic example of British engineering
is preserved as part of the national collection of examples of aircraft
that have served our country over the last century.”
Trust Chairman Air Marshal Sir Kevin Leeson said:
“One of the aims of The RAF Charitable Trust is to inspire
encourage young people to think about aviation and the technology that
underpins it and to become involved themselves in this exciting career.
Where better to do this than within the fuselage of this aircraft which
will serve as a “living classroom”? The VC10 played such an important
part in the technological history of the aerospace industry and was a
key part of the Royal Air Force for nearly 50 years. In its history,
the VC10 has transported UK VVIPs and the UK Armed Forces globally; it
had a key weapons resupply role in the Cold War to the RAF in Germany;
and as an air to air refuelling tanker it was a pivotal force
multiplier for over 20 years. The Trust intends the teaching facility
that it will provide to be motivational to as many young people as
possible and we are pleased to be supporting such an inspirational
project. My thanks go to the MoD Defence Equipment and Support
organisation AT/AAR Project Team, GJD Aero Tech and the RAF Museum
technical team for delivering this amazing engineering and logistic
For more information about the RAF Charitable Trust visit:www.rafct.com
For further information please visit the Museum website
www.rafmuseum.org/cosford or call 01902 376200. The Museum is
open daily from 10am and entry to the Museum is FREE of charge.
From Facebook 2/11/15
I am so
proud with my Usha she became first Nepalese girl joined in the British
Royal NAVY - Gurka Chhabi Jung Thakuri
Moray military base could again host surveillance aircraft – just four
years after the RAF’s fleet of Nimrods was scrapped.
Westminster defence review – which is due to be published in the next
few weeks – is widely expected to recommend the return of maritime
patrol aircraft (MPA).
decision not to replace the Nimrods and close what was RAF Kinloss and
is now an Army barracks was met with widespread criticism from both the
Moray community and defence experts.
UK has since had to borrow Nato planes to scan its waters for
submarines amid an increased Russian military presence around Britain’s
coastlines and its airspace.
Ministry of Defence is now understood to be pricing nine Boeing P-8
Poseidon aircraft, which could cost about £150million each.
Waddington, near Lincoln, is strongly placed to accommodate any
replacement for the Nimrods as it is the air force’s current
intelligence and surveillance headquarters.
is also under consideration to host a detachment of the MPA, while the
former RAF base at Leuchars in Fife is also expected to be a leading
MP Angus Robertson rallied behind the calls for a return of MPA to
Scotland and Moray.
said: “We require MPA as a priority, which should be stationed in
Scotland, given the geographic proximity to their tasks.
has been home to MPA for decades and could easily operate the joint air
force and Army facility.
UK is the only northern European nation with armed forces without MPA.
This is totally ludicrous, not least because of the ongoing security
situation in the world and concerns over submarine incursions into our
night, a retired RAF engineer, who was formerly stationed in Moray,
said: “It’s general knowledge the RAF are currently costing buying the
are the goalies defending the UK from all the Russian stuff coming over
the Baltics and Norway and the UK has been embarrassed by having to
bring in the US, French and German MPA to do surveillance for us.
Army have done nothing at Kinloss, compared to what they have been
allowed to do to some of the old RAF bases in England.
have to ask why those brand new buildings are being kept there, if not
for the air force to return.”
MoD spokeswoman said last night: “The Strategic Defence and Security
Review 2015 is considering the current and likely future national
security risks and in turn the capabilities the armed services will
need to address these risks in the future.
further capability decisions have been made.”
Photographer Andy Rouse had
the best seat
in the house when he was lucky enough to photograph the iconic Avro
Vulcan bomber XH558 as it flew over Beachy Head, East Sussex on its
recent 'last chance to see' tour before it is mothballed forever.
airfield is not safe for planes, secret MoD files show
Northolt, London, which is used by the Queen is unsafe aviation report
Diana's coffin is carried from an aircraft after arriving at RAF
Northolt from Paris back in 1997Photo:
BST 10 Oct 2015
VIP airfield used by the Queen and Prime Minister is unsafe, according
to a classified Ministry of Defence report obtained by the Telegraph.
to “existing operations” at RAF Northolt, London, are so serious it
“could not be licensed in its current form” by the aviation
authorities, the report says.
is able to operate only under dispensation as a “Government aerodrome”.
situation is “inexcusable”, it is claimed, and could “end in an
a situation couldn’t possibly exist at any civilian aerodrome'
Curtis, managing director of Biggin Hill airport
is the base for the RAF’s 32 (The Royal) Squadron, which operates a
fleet of BAE 146 executive jets for military commanders, ministers and
the Royal Family. It was used 340 times by ministers last year.
the report says the site in west London suburbia is surrounded by
“substantial numbers” of buildings which “significantly” intrude into
the recommended safe zones for taking off and landing.
obstacles include a block of flats, an industrial estate and a petrol
Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry arrive at RAF Northolt after
the death of the Queen Mother back in 2002
some cases they come within a few feet of the aircraft undercarriage,
leaving little margin for pilot error.
normal flight path also leads to aircraft “crossing the public roads
just outside the boundary at very low heights,” the report says.
West End Road, planes fly just 9 metres (29ft) above traffic, the
lights are meant to stop vehicles when aircraft take off and land. But
many drivers ignore them.
safety of the travelling public, flight crews and local residents is at
very serious risk,” said Will Curtis, managing director of rival Biggin
added: “Such a situation couldn’t possibly exist at any civilian
aerodrome. The margins of safety that are normally assured for civilian
aircraft are absent here, but aircrew are not aware that they are
saying it is safe, you are misleading aircrew, and that will end in an
accident. It is inexcusable behaviour.”
the eastern end of the runway, there are 267 buildings or obstacles
intruding into the safety zone for aircraft landing, the report says.At
the western end there are 198 which intrude into the take-off safety
constrained site also gives it inadequate “runway end safety areas,”
which are designed to allow aircraft space to overshoot the runway in
hangars which housed Typhoons at RAF Northolt as part of the security
for the 2012 London Olympics
existing runway end safety areas do not comply with the recommended
length and width,” the report says.
probability of [an accident] is highest near to the runway ends."
a 1996 accident in which a plane overshot the runway, ploughed through
the boundary fence and hit a van on the A40 main road, seriously
injuring its driver, beds of gravel aggregate were installed at both
ends of the runway to stop aircraft breaching the perimeter. However,
the report says that “there are concerns about... the performance of
this system and its safety in use. An aggregate bed can cause
significant damage to an overrunning aircraft, difficult access for
emergency vehicles and provides an open textured bed that would
accommodate spilt fuel, which adds to the fire risk."
saying it is safe, you are misleading aircrew, and that will end in an
accident. It is inexcusable behaviour'
Curtis, managing director of Biggin Hill airport
report, entitled “Project Ark” and classified “confidential,” was
compiled in 2012 by a consultancy, Mott McDonald, for the MoD, to
assess how far Northolt met minimum Civil Aviation Authority safety
standards. All civilian airfields must comply with the standards to
receive a CAA licence, or since 2014 a certificate from the European
Air Safety Agency.
consultants concluded that the “extent of [Northolt’s] non-compliance
issues” was “sufficient to state that the aerodrome could not be
licenced in its current form. That conclusion would apply with the
existing operations and is not related to whether or not the aerodrome
was to be developed as an airport [for civilian traffic].”
said that “the CAA would not licence the existing runway configuration…
primarily due to the substantial number and degree of obstacle
infringements at the east end of the runway… A fully compliant runway
would require the runway to be shortened to such an extent that it
would not be… of much use in the military or civil sectors.”
improvements have been made since the report was written in 2012. At
the time, Northolt’s runway had a “landing distance available” (LDA) of
between 1592 and 1684 metres, depending on which direction you
approached it from. The runway has now been slightly shortened. It
currently has an LDA of 1502- 1555 metres, giving aircraft a little
more room to overrun at the runway ends.
Royal Air Force Typhoon FGR4 aircraft at RAF Northolt
the report says the Northolt runway needs a far bigger reduction in its
LDA, to 1250 metres, to be safe. This would mean, however, that many
aircraft types, which need a longer runway, could no longer use the
base. It has been ruled out by the MoD.
MoD has also rejected plans to replace the “problematic” gravel beds
designed to stop aircraft overrunning the ends of the runway. Plans
were drawn up to install a safer “engineered materials arrester
system,” made of a special type of concrete “honeycomb” which crumples
under an aircraft’s weight and brings it safely to a stop. But this was
abandoned on cost grounds.
report adds that it would be “impractical and certainly very costly” to
remove all the obstacles around the base that endanger aircraft on the
flightpath. “If necessary, it might be possible to remove a small
number of buildings that are significant obstacles,” it says. “However,
even in combination, these do not resolve the infringement issue.”
celebrated its centenary this year, making it three years older than
the RAF itself. It is the oldest Air Force base in Britain still home
to RAF aircraft and has witnessed dozens of historic events, including
the return of the coffin of Diana, Princess of Wales, from Paris after
her death in 1997.
airfields are regulated by the Military Aviation Authority (MAA), which
aims to follow the same standards as the CAA but has granted exemptions
to Northolt. However, most users of Northolt are in fact civilian. As
well as the Royal Squadron aircraft, which themselves carry many
civilians, up to 12,000 civil flights a year, mainly private jets, now
use the base, which markets itself as “London’s premier business
ministerial and Royal flights from Northolt are now made on civil
document obtained by the Telegraph was released following court action
by Biggin Hill and another rival to Northolt in the business jet
market, Oxford airport. In January this year, the two airports sued the
Defence Secretary, claiming Northolt should be regulated by the CAA.
lost, but had not at that stage seen the full Mott McDonald report,
raising the possibility of further legal action.
MoD insisted that the airfield was safe and that where it did not meet
CAA standards acceptable “mitigation” was in place. A spokesman said:
“RAF Northolt’s aerodrome safety standards are fully regulated by the
MAA. A recent judicial review confirmed that no changes are required in
relation to current aerodrome standards which are fully published and
promulgated to civil users who operate at the aerodrome.”
soldiers sent to Middle East to fight Islamic State
from Moray have been deployed to the Middle East to help in Britain’s
fight against the Islamic State.
20 personnel from 51 Squadron RAF Regiment, based at RAF Lossiemouth,
have been deployed over the last six months to provide vital support in
RAF’s C-130J Hercules provides support to the air force when it is
carrying troops, passengers or freight.
gunners – who form part of the Air Mobility Protect Team (AMPT) – keep
it safe, and have been spending about 10 weeks at a time on the mission.
up of force protection specialists from the RAF Regiment and RAF
Police, the AMPTs deploy to any hostile location to provide all-round
defence to the aircraft, its passengers and its load.
also assist the crew with any customs and immigration processes there
might be at their destination.
AMPT is currently active in the ongoing Operation Shader — the code
name for British participation in the ongoing military intervention
against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
operation began in late September last year, following a request for
assistance by the Iraqi government.
Greg, a RAF Police junior non-commissioned officer on the AMPT, said:
“On Operation Shader, our role is to provide on the ground security to
the Hercules aircraft whilst it moves passengers and freight in to and
the aircraft before any of the crew or passengers, the AMPT position
themselves at various points around the aircraft, ready to control
access and restrict anyone unauthorised from approaching.
the need arise, the team are armed and ready to counter any risk to
life that might be presented.
Greg added: “Our presence gives the passengers extra reassurance that
they’re being protected and well looked after when they enter or exit
high threat areas.
also gives the crew additional capacity to focus on their other duties
knowing their aircraft is in safe hands.”
Command Memorial unveiling: 'It was just something
had to do, you just got used to it'
felt elation as much as anything for doing the job I did," he said.
squadron was more like a club than anything because we all knew each
other intimately. We competed again each other in friendly competition
to see who could mark their targets the best.
knew what we were going out there to do and we have to be quick as we
had to mark the target three minutes before the Lancaster would light
was not scared and it was just something you have to do, you just get
used to it."
Spencer, 94, from Weston-Super-Mare was part of the Lancaster 97
Squadron and he was based at Woodhall Spa. He joined after he left
sixth form and was a navigator.
back I think about how frightened I was but I was very lucky to have a
good pilot," he said.
still remember my first trip to Germany and when we got there I went to
the front of the aircraft and saw that there was searchlights
did not understand how anyone could survive, but you just have to get
on with it. It is great that there is a day such as today to remember
the people who gave their lives. Sometimes I think I am so lucky to be
Tilley, 92, from Hitchen was part of the 617 Squadron and he was a
flight engineer for the Lancaster.
all happened 70 years ago and when I came out of the force I, like 99
per cent of the others wanted to forget about it all and get on with a
felt uneasy about mass bombing in civilian areas."
British Dambuster George 'Johnny' Johnson says Bomber Command Memorial
'brings airmen home'
last surviving British Dambuster George 'Johnny' Johnson has spoken of
his immense pride at seeing a permanent Bomber Command Memorial
unveiled in Lincoln.
93-year-old former bombardier's bouncing bomb damaged the Sorpe dam in
Germany on the night of May 16/17, 1943.
is the last surviving British veteran of the famous RAF 617 Squadron
which launched the bouncing bombs on Nazi targets in World War Two.
is a tremendous tribute to the 55,00 aircrew who gave their lives to
the defence of this country.
past and present have ignored those people and we are fortunate that we
have managed to get this Bomber Command Memorial. It is tremendous. It
is an appropriate act of respect.
will always be able to come here and see that every care has been taken
to ensure their brothers, husbands and sons have been remembered. The
fact it is in Bomber County makes it so much more important.
a return journey when you got to the Cathedralyou knew you were home.
You would be alert and get in the front turret just in case but you
were ready for bed.
means that those people named on this memorial have come back home – a
place they know so well."
Beaver, trustee of the International Bomber Command and one of
Britain's leading aviation historians said: "This is a fabulous day and
a realisation of Tony Worth's dream.
need to preserve this for generations if we are going to remember these
people in the future. The next generation of children need to
understand why they did it and how they did it.
volunteered and they had no idea what they were going to do. We still
some money and will have to raised £3m to do the rest of it.
great people of Lincolnshire have been shaken until there is no money
left and have been so welcoming."
reveal Germans' World War Two boobytrap bombs
of wartime boobytrap bombs, including an exploding chocolate bar and
devices intended to sink ships, have been rediscovered after 70 years.
drawings were made by a young artist called Laurence Fish for MI5's
is an incendiary bomb designed as a Thermos flask, an army mess tin
with a bomb hidden beneath the bangers and mash, and a high-explosive
device concealed in a can of motor oil.
is a magnetic limpet mine for a ship's hull which explodes when
there are timing devices ranging from the highly complex to the
remarkably simple - like a test tube full of dried peas which expand as
they absorb water and push two contacts together.
were unpleasant weapons dreamt up by German sabotage experts to spread
havoc among their British enemies.
exploding chocolate bar, it is rumoured, was intended as part of an
assassination attempt on Winston Churchill - though how it was supposed
to reach him, and how the Germans might ensure that it was Churchill
himself who tried to break off a slab, rather than a member of his
family or his staff, isn't clear.
25 drawings, exquisite examples of 1940s draughtsmanship, were
commissioned from Laurence Fish by Victor Rothschild.
and his secretary (later his wife) made up two-thirds of MI5's tiny
third member was a seconded police detective inspector, Donald Fish.
Rothschild was looking for someone to document the disguised and
booby-trapped devices he was uncovering, Fish suggested his son, a
self-taught draughstman who had learnt his trade before the war working
for Alvis cars.
idea was that the drawings would serve as a kind of manual for anyone
who had to defuse similar devices. And there were plenty of them.
historian Nigel West, who has written several books on espionage, says:
"The Germans during the Second World War were very keen on destroying
ships and their cargoes leaving neutral ports for the United Kingdom.
idea was to starve Britain into submission. And they created some very
ingenious devices which could be smuggled aboard ships and placed in
the cargo holds with long-term timers: they wanted the ships to catch
fire or to sink whilst out at sea."
was a larger-than-life character, a scientist and self-appointed expert
on many things, who as the fourth Baron Rothschild later became head of
Prime Minister Edward Heath's pioneering Think Tank.
was also brave. He won the George Medal for defusing a booby-trap
device concealed by the Germans in a consignment of onions which had
come by ship from Spain via Gibraltar.
Royal Navy lieutenant had lost an arm and an eye tackling a similar
gave a running commentary over a field telephone as he worked, so that
his secretary could take notes and keep a record of every step he took,
in case something else went wrong.
was immensely generous with his family's money," says Nigel West.
didn't draw a salary; he almost certainly paid Fish for the
illustrations himself; he made his family house up at Tring available
to MI5 officers who were bombed out of their houses in central London.
when MI5 needed an office in Paris upon the liberation, Victor just
simply made available one of his mansions."
who was a lieutenant colonel, commissioned drawings from Laurence Fish,
a humble aircraftsman, via letters stamped "Secret". They show evidence
of a close working relationship.
got on so well together," says Fish's widow, Jean Bray.
was an amazing combination.
had very great respect for Laurence... I don't know why, but it worked
kept the letters. But the drawings vanished. Rothschild had his
favourite framed and hung it on the wall of his study. A couple of
others were known from photographs. Otherwise, nothing.
a few weeks ago, members of the Rothschild family were clearing out
their house in Suffolk when they discovered a sheaf of drawings in
"deep storage" in a chest of drawers.
daughter Victoria realised what they were and got in touch with Jean.
the 1950s and onwards Laurence became a successful poster artist,
graphic designer and landscape painter, putting his wartime work behind
was interesting work obviously," Jean told me, "and it must have been
very concentrated work, but he wasn't going to make any money out of it
so as soon as the war was over he'd got to do something that earned him
her husband's old studio at the top of their home in the pretty
Gloucestershire village of Winchcombe she showed me the pile of
drawings, carefully wrapped in brown paper, cardboard and tissue paper,
that Victoria Rothschild Gray had sent her.
exploding chocolate bar may be the most famous, but Jean's personal
favourite is an exceptionally intricate 21-day timer involving a
the top, it says, in especially bold letters, "Do not unscrew here." At
the bottom, equally bold, are the words: "Unscrew here first."
Jean hopes that a museum or archive will agree to take the pictures:
freehand precision drawings made long before the age of computer-aided
design, and a fascinating record of fiendish wartime ingenuity.
Weir tragedy: Service remembers dead soldiers
soldiers, who died when their boat went over a river weir in bad
weather 40 years ago, have been commemorated at a service.
Royal Engineers regiment sappers, of Grangemouth, Falkirk, were on
night-time exercise when the vessel capsized at Cromwell Weir, on the
man survived, in what remains the 131 Independent Parachute Squadron's
largest peacetime tragedy.
100 people attended the memorial service at the lock, near Newark.
sappers were taking part in the Trent Chase, an 80-mile night exercise
from Stoke to Hull, on 28 September 1975.
unwittingly went over the weir, known locally as the Devil's Cauldron,
when conditions were also worsened by a high tide.
Lee, president of the Airborne Engineers' Association, organised the
service to remember the soldiers.
former Lt Col, who took part in the exercise that evening, said he knew
some of the men who died.
said: "[My memories] are one of complete shock and sadness. Half of the
troop had been wiped out overnight."
said the only survivor, Sapper Pat Harkin, was a "strong swimmer" who
managed to hold on to the upturned boat.
retired police officer, who did not want to be named, arrived at the
scene after electricity board staff, who were fixing navigation lights
on the weir, raised the alarm.
the time he arrived, the officer said it was pitch black and he could
hear just one man shouting from the water.
officer, then aged 20, along with another member of the force, managed
to save him after they rowed out in a small boat.
men were from the 300 Troop 131 Independent Parachute Squadron of the
Royal Engineers (Territorial Army)
sole survivor was Sapper Pat Harkin (Died in November 2012)
Raymond Buchanan, 20
Norman Bennet, 20
James Black, 18
Stuart Evenden, 22
Peter Evenden, 19
Ian Mercer, 17
Alexander O'Brien, 18
Terry Smith, 20
Ronald Temprell, 26
Joseph Walker, 21
Army Honours British Soldiers Over Kabul Attack
Nine British soldiers have received the U.S.
Commendation Medal this afternoon, in recognition for their quick
actions during a green-on-blue attack in Afghanistan.
In June 2014, a briefing was taking place in
at the British-run Afghan National Army Officer Academy, just outside
Kabul. Suddenly, a man wearing an Afghan National Army uniform opened
fire from just a few metres away. In just twenty seconds, he'd
fired thirty rounds into the small crowd.
was a shocking,
daylight attack during a routine site visit by US officers. Major
General Harold Greene was killed in the attack, the highest ranking US
officer to be killed in 13 years of war in Afghanistan.
U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Harold J. Greene
The assailant was also killed, with no
conclusive explanation given for his actions. Fifteen other troops were
injured, including Afghan officers, a British Captain and a German
The Close Protection Team that day included
soldiers from the Royal Military Police. As soon as the shooting
started they sprang into action. Cpl Davis-Smith was shot in the arm as
he ran to protect Major General Bathurst. Three others, including the
team leader Sgt Ford, began giving life-saving first aid to Captain
Hutton, who was shot several times.
The US Army Commendation Medal recognises
their actions that day, along with their heroic and meritorious service.
George Cross and Medal
have performed acts of the greatest heroism or displayed the most
conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme danger, gathered today
to mark the 75thanniversary
of the medals.
The Duke of Kent
medal holders with a boxed set of two coins: a new one bearing an image
of the Queen, the other of her father King George VI. All have been
individually engraved for each of the GC and GM holders.
Minister of State in
the House of Lords, Earl Howe, said:
is an honour to commemorate the valiant acts performed by George Cross
and Medal holders.
is right that today we remember those people who took actions of
supreme gallantry in the face of danger, often at great risk to their
own lives. They represent the best of Britain by selflessly defending
our people, both at home and abroad.”
Members of the Armed
receive the GC for acts of gallantry not in the presence of the enemy,
for example, military explosive ordnance disposal personnel. Civilians
also receive the GC.
medal in 1940, as Britain came under intense air attack. Although
awards to recognise civilian gallantry not in presence of the enemy
already existed, none held the prestige of the equivalent award for
gallantry in battle, the Victoria Cross.
Mark Davis GM,
53, an Ammunition Technical Officer, was awarded his George Medal in
2003 after he neutralised numerous explosive devices in Northern
Ireland where the risk to his own life was extremely high.
Lt Col Davis, of 29
Ordnance Disposal Search Group in Aldershot, said: "It is particularly
poignant to be here today as this year is also the 75th anniversary of
the formation of Bomb Disposal and it was to recognise the bravery of
our forebears and the civilians who worked alongside them in the
devastation of the Blitz that this award was first created."
You can read more
about the George Cross and Medalhere.
Below are the
extraordinary stories of three recipients of the GC and GM.
LANCE CORPORAL MATT
The Royal Marine
Reservist dived onto a live grenade to save his comrades in Afghanistan.
On 9 February 2008, he
with the Commando Reconnaissance Force, tasked to conduct
reconnaissance of a compound where it was suspected that Taliban
fighters made improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Croucher was at the head of the group as they began
the team moved silently through the dark compound, L/Cpl Croucher felt
a wire go tight against his legs. This was a trip-wire
to a grenade booby-trap, positioned to kill or maim intruders in the
compound. He heard the grenade’s lever eject and it fell, now
armed, onto the ground immediately beside him.
Croucher made a rapid assessment of the situation: he shouted
“Grenade”, then “Tripwire” to warn his comrades to find cover before
the grenade exploded.
had no way of knowing how long the device’s fuse would take to function
as low light levels prevented him from determining the type of
grenade. L/Cpl Croucher decided not to seek protection for
but attempted to shield the other exposed members of his team from the
impending explosion as time was running out.
threw himself on top of the grenade, pinning it between his day sack,
containing his essential team stores, and the ground. L/Cpl
Croucher lay on the grenade and braced himself for the
explosion. He prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for his
fellow marines and completely disregarded his own safety,
it detonated, L/Cpl Croucher absorbed the blast effect of the grenade
and the majority of the fragmentation was contained under his
body. His equipment and protective clothing prevented lethal
shards hitting his body and he suffered only minor injury and
disorientation from the effects of the blast. But L/Cpl
Croucher’s day sack was ripped from his back and completely destroyed;
his body armour and helmet were pitted by grenade fragments.
only other injury to his team was a slight wound to the Team
Commander’s face. The others escaped unscathed.
L/Cpl Croucher, from
was the first reservist to receive either a George Cross or Victoria
Cross since recent operations in Iraq and Afghanistan began.
He was deployed to
attached to Taunton-based 40 Commando Royal Marines in the autumn 2007.
Five months later he faced down death by diving on a trip wired grenade
to save the lives of his men.
self-sacrifice and devotion to duty by acting to save his comrades with
the knowledge that he was unlikely to survive.
PAUL JACOBS, GM
The morning of 20 Aug
2009 was the
same as every other had been for Rifleman Jacobs over his previous four
months in the Upper Sangin Valley, Helmand Province: he was on patrol
with his Vallon mine detector leading the way along one of the most
heavily IED’d stretches of road in the whole of Afghanistan.
member of Rifleman Jacobs’ Company was clearing an alleyway to allow a
Sappers’ tractor to turn, when there was an enormous explosion that
fatally wounded the soldier.
casualty was lying on top of another IED that had been partially
unearthed by the first explosion. Under risk of insurgent attack, the
plan was to recover the fatality from the alleyway.
volunteered knowing that a second device was just beside his comrade’s
body. Jacobs, alone bar a single cover man, immediately set about
clearing the area up to and around the body. As he did so, he confirmed
that the secondary device, lying on the surface, was not touching. As
he moved back up the alleyway towards his cover man, another device
suddenly exploded, killing his comrade.
was seriously wounded by the blast, with severe fragmentation damage to
his eyes and bleeding heavily from multiple wounds. But he had the
presence of mind and experience to drag him back onto the safe route he
had just cleared and into a position where his extraction would be
safer for others.
had, with a singular sense of purpose, placed himself in the most
dangerous of positions in order to recover the body of a comrade killed
in action, fully aware that the smallest of mistakes would be fatal.
His sheer personal courage and startling determination, unswerving
courage, selflessness, devotion to duty and dedication to his comrades
Rifleman Jacobs, aged
26, left the Army in 2013.
CHRIS FINNEY GC
Chris, then 18 and
serving in the
Household Cavalry, saved the life of a colleague in a friendly fire
incident in Iraq, on 28 March 2003.
Finney was part of D Squadron Household Cavalry Regiment who was
probing forward along a waterway north of Basra some thirty kilometres
ahead of the main force of 16 Air Assault Brigade.
mission was to find and disrupt the numerically vastly superior, and
better equipped, Iraqi Armoured Division in the exposed desert.
Finney, a young armoured vehicle driver with less than a year's
service, was driving the leading Scimitar vehicle of his troop, which
had been at the forefront of action against the enemy for several hours.
the early afternoon, the two leading vehicles paused beside a levee to
allow the troop leader to assess the situation in front. Both vehicles
were hit and caught fire and ammunition began exploding inside the
turrets when they were suddenly engaged by a pair of Coalition Forces
ground attack aircraft.
managed to get out of his driving position and was trying to get cover
when he noticed that his vehicle's gunner was trapped in the turret. He
climbed on to the fiercely burning vehicle, placing himself at risk
from enemy fire, as well as fire from the aircraft, should they have
the flames, exploding ammunition and smoke, Finney managed to haul out
the injured gunner, get him off the vehicle, and move him to a safer
position nearby, where he bandaged his wounds.
troop officer in the other Scimitar was wounded and there were no
senior ranks to take control. Finney realised the need to inform his
headquarters of the situation despite his relative inexperience, the
shock of the attack and the stark risk to him. He broke cover, returned
to his burning vehicle and calmly sent a lucid situation report by
began helping the injured gunner towards a Spartan vehicle of the Royal
Engineers which had moved to assist. He continued to help the injured
gunner comrade towards safety despite the impending danger of a second
attack from the aircraft. Both fired their cannon and Finney was
wounded in the lower back and legs and his comrade in the
getting the injured gunner to the waiting Spartan vehicle he saw that
the driver of the second Scimitar was still in his burning vehicle.
attempted to rescue him as well, despite his wounds and the continuing
danger from exploding ammunition. He valiantly attempted to climb up
onto the second vehicle but was beaten back by the combination of heat,
smoke and exploding ammunition. He collapsed, exhausted, a short
distance away and was recovered by the crew of the Royal Engineers
these attacks and their horrifying aftermath, Finney displayed
clear-headed courage and devotion to his comrades, out of all
proportion to his age and experience. He acted with complete disregard
for his own safety even when wounded.
Mr Finney, aged 30,
from Devon now runs a garden centre.
for RAF bomber shot down and killed during WW2
bomber airman, shot down over the Netherlands and presumed dead more
than 75 years ago, has had a ceremony in his honour.
Roy Penry Williams from Bridgend was part of a Wellington crew
returning from a bombing raid in 1941.
resting place of the six men was unknown but research showed they were
buried in a grave at Leeuwarden.
RAF crew from 103 Squadron was returning home from a successful World
War Two bombing of the German docks town of Emden.
their plane was shot down by a Luftwaffe night fighter over farmland
submitted to the Ministry of Defence's (MOD's) casualty and
compassionate centre confirmed the location of the communal grave.
an appeal, the MOD tracked down Mr Williams's first cousin once
removed, Elizabeth Joseph, 74.
said: "I'm delighted that Roy and the other five crew members are being
formally recognised for what they did, but I also remember how sad
Auntie Ket (Sgt Williams's mother) was on hearing that Roy was missing,
of Sgt Williams and the other five crew attended the ceremony.
Corbyn branded "feeble" by RAF veteran over National Anthem silence
Wed Sep 16, 2015
Gangel said there was
RAF veteran branded Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn "feeble" for not
singing the National Anthem at yesterday's 75th anniversary anniversary
Battle of Britain Memorial Service.
Flight Sergeant Chris Gangel, from Newark, said he saw it as a snub to
all veterans and all those who played a part in the Battle of Britain.
He questioned Mr Corbyn's judgement for standing in silence at St
Mr Gangel, who was at the service as a guest of the Royal Air Force
Association national office, said: "If you take the Queen's shilling
you represent Her Majesty.
"In not singing he slighted those courageous Battle of Britain pilots
and veterans everywhere past and present."
'There was disbelief and quite a bit of anger'
Mr Gangel, a veteran of the Falklands War who also served in Northern
Ireland was an RAF policeman for 23 years.
He said it had been a wonderful service.
"As soon as we left the mutterings started," said Mr Gangel, who has
acted as the Newark Town Crier and Mayor's officer.
"There was disbelief and quite a bit of anger.
"I'd seen a Battle of Britain pilot in his 90s struggle to his feet to
sing the National Anthem.
"You always sing the National Anthem, irrespective of politics. At
civic military services, the National Anthem is always sung.
"He was feeble. It was incredibly poor judgement or incredibly poor
"I believe many ex-Servicemen will not now be voting Labour. It was the
talk of the Newark RAFA club and no-one was happy.
"For the RAF, the Battle of Britain is our paramount achievement."
Corbyn defends his actions
Mr Corbyn was next to Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford, a former
Magnus schoolboy, and his wife at the service.
The Labour Party said Mr Corbyn, who was elected leader in a landslide
vote by party members at the weekend, had stood in dignified silence.
Mr Corbyn, who came in for widespread criticism after the service, said
today: "I was at the Battle of Britain memorial yesterday. I was there
out of respect for that amazing moment in British history.
"I was always thinking about my family, my mum and dad who were there
at that time in London and worked as air raid wardens during the Blitz,
and it was a respectful ceremony and I stood in respect throughout it."
A party spokesman said Mr Corbyn would play a full part in similar
future events, and that would include singing.
veteran receives medals - 75 years on from Battle of Britain
RAF veteran William Clark finally received his
World War II medals today, 15 September, on his 95th birthday - and on the 75th anniversary of the
Battle of Britain.
of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir Andrew Pulford, presented the
former fighter pilot and prisoner of war Mr Clark with the Africa Star,
1939-45 Star and the War Medal on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral.
Clark, who is originally from Kent but now lives in Nottingham, only
applied for his medals this year so that he could wear them to
unveil a memorial to World War II aircrew at RAF Debden this
am delighted to be awarded my medals by the most senior officer in the
RAF officer, rather than being presented them by the postman in a
little cardboard box. It was very exciting and a proud moment."
enlisted with the RAF in April 1940, aged 19, and was under training
during the height of the Battle of Britain. Mr Clark welcomed the
opportunity to pay tribute to the RAF veterans who took part in the
battle, describing himself as ‘just one of the many, who followed “the
former fighter pilot learnt to fly Battles, Ansons and then Hurricanes
before he was posted to Malta and then to 274 Squadron Amriya in Egypt
on 13 July 1941, where his unit flew Hurricanes and Gladiators on
fighter sweeps against the Nazis over the African desert.
But just after his 21st birthday, Mr Clark’s
aircraft was shot down and he was taken prisoner by the
saw “little balls of fire” approaching him, fired by the anti-aircraft
guns on the ground, and can distinctly remember the shock of the
crash-landing after his plane was hit. Surviving the crash he then
trudged in the desert’s midday sun wearing fur-lined flying boots, in
heavy desert battle dress as he tried to evade the enemy.
Mr Clark said:
wasn’t a very pleasant experience and of course there was the shock. I
was only just 21 and suddenly I was not in my normal environment – in
the sky, in an aircraft.
I was wandering about all on my own in a vast expanse of rock and sand.
It was very, very lonely. I’ve never been so lonely in my life.”
Clark was captured and made a POW and spent the rest of the war being
moved between prisoner of war camps in Italy, Austria and Germany,
during which time he was promoted from Sergeant Warrant Officer.
He recalled the boosting food parcels, concert
parties and escape plans as well as the hunger, boredom, lice and
in the camps used to go sky high whenever the Red Cross food parcels
were available. When they weren’t, things were pretty grim because the
food was very, very meagre,” he said.
Clark arrived home in the UK on 8 May 1945 – VE Day. His first glimpse
of home was from the cockpit of a Dakota, when he saw bonfires being
lit beyond the white cliffs of Dover.
He demobbed later that year, and went on to
become a head teacher, marry and have two children.
Clark did not apply for his World War II medals until recently: “I
thought ‘When am I going to wear them?’ So I never bothered asking for
them. Then I was asked to unveil a memorial this week and was told I
needed to wear my medals in memory of all those people I flew with who
would never fly again.”
Minister in the House of Lords, Earl Howe, said:
is a privilege today to pay tribute not only to ‘The Few’ but also to
other veterans, like Mr Clark, who courageously served in defence of
our nation during the Second World War.
am pleased that Mr Clark has been presented with medals to reflect both
his war-time RAF service and his country’s enduring gratitude.”
Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Sir
Andrew Pulford said:
was a pleasure to meet William today and I was delighted to present him
with his medals for his service in Africa on both his 95thbirthday
and the 75thanniversary
of the Battle of Britain. It is wonderful to see so many
here today; the modern day Royal Air Force is proud to continue to
serve the nation now as they so valiantly did then.”
RAF Leeming is honoured to be granted The Freedom of the City
of Ripon - and look forward to the parade on Sunday - 13/9/15
based at RAF Leeming remembered ‘The Few’ during a service held at the
National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire.
from 607 (County of Durham) Squadron and 609 (West Riding) Squadron,
Royal Auxiliary Air Force (RAuxAF), commemorated the contributions of
the Auxiliary Air Force (AAF) squadrons who bravely fought during the
Battle of Britain.
event, marking the 75thAnniversary
of the Battle of Britain, was attended by association members, serving
members and families. This included a family member of Hurricane pilot,
William Francis Blackadder (607 Sqn), who intercepted a German raid
over the North Sea in 1940.
Auxiliary Air Force is well renowned for its large contribution to
enemy aircraft losses. Squadron Leader Jeff Metcalfe, Officer
Commanding 609 Squadron, said: “The contributions made by Auxiliary
Fighter Squadrons during the Battle of Britain should not be
underestimated. They shot down between a quarter to one third of all
enemy aircraft. I believe the efforts of the men and women of the Royal
Air Force truly saved this country during the summer of 1940 and that
achievement must surely rank alongside the great moments in this
609 Squadron was the only fighter squadron without rest during the
Battle of Britain and became the first Spitfire squadron to shoot down
100 confirmed enemy air to air.
Battle of Britain Anniversary Air Show at Duxford airfield in
Cambridgeshire marks the 75th anniversary of the air campaign waged by
the Luftwaffe during the summer and autumn of 1940, and will tell the
story through the eyes of those who worked at the site.
thematic display will take spectators through the period’s history,
from how the airfield – a key base for Spitfires and Hurricanes –
prepared for active service during the Second World War.
aerobatic displays will be combined with wartime music and the voices
of men and women who served at Duxford, which is one of the Imperial
War Museum’s five sites around Britain.
Battle of Britain Anniversary Air Show at Duxford will include a
flypast by 20 Spitfires
Photo: IWM Duxford
history groups will recreate the daily life of RAF Duxford as a Battle
of Britain Fighter Station in 1940. Visitors to the event, which takes
place over a weekend in September, will hear the audio memories of
Battle of Britain pilots, recalling waiting to scramble.
highlight will be a flypast of 20 Spitfires, commemorating the “Duxford
Big Wing”, a tactic that saw large formations of fighter aircraft
attack German planes. The technique, espoused by Douglas Bader, a
flying ace based at Duxford, was controversial, but it remains a
significant part of the airfield’s history.
will also see a Hispano HA-112 MIL (Buchon) aircraft and Supermarine
Spitfires that will “chase off” the enemy aircraft to commemorate the
beginning of the Battle of Britain, which took place between July 10
and October 31 1940.
history actors will recreate the scrambles that took place at Duxford
during the Battle of Britain
Photo: IWM Duxford
highlights include the re-enactment of the Supermarine Spitfire’s
arrival, and the importance of the radar stations that formed an
integral part of the Air Defence of Great Britain. This will take place
by way of a flying display involving an gyroplane, a de Havilland
Hornet Moth and a Kirby Kite.
aircraft involved in the event include the Hawker Nimrod Mark I, Hawker
Nimrod II, Gloster Gladiator, Hawk 75, de Havilland Tiger Moth and the
Boeing Stearman. A flying display of North American Harvard and Yale
aircraft will demonstrate the varying formations and tactics that the
RAF used as the Battle of Britain continued.
displays by heritage planes will be complemented by contemporary
acrobatics including the Aerostars on the Saturday of the anniversary
air show weekend and the Red Arrows on the Sunday.
Battle of Britain Anniversary Air Show takes place from 2-5.30pm at
Imperial War Museum Duxford on September 19-20.
single-day tickets cost £27.50; £40 for two days. Child and disabled
tickets from £18.15. Tickets must be purchased in advance. Visitiwm.org.uk/events/iwm-duxfordfor
issue social media warning to armed forces families
Police is warning the families of members of the armed forces to be
careful about what they post on social media.
Credit: Press Association
comes after an allegation that a threatening letter was sent to one
such family in the county.
is understood the letter came from a group calling themselves 'The
Circle of Allah'. The Ministry of Defence is aware of the threat and
working with Lincolnshire police.
Command veterans sought for memorial unveiling
schoolboy whose life was saved by an RAF pilot 75 years
ago has placed an emotional "thank you" letter on his
Dennis Tunnicliffe, now 84, travelled from Derby to honour the
who saved his life by steering his Hurricane fighter aircraft away from
the field where he was playing.
Pilot officer Aston Maurice Cooper-Key, based at RAF Digby,
engaged in an anti-aircraft training flight when his engine failed over
Derby on July 24, 1940.
He had just joined the air base and was training for the
Battle of Britain, which had started days earlier.
But as he prepared to land in a park at Normanton, he spotted a group
of children playing and crashed the plane into a nearby railway
embankment, where he died instantly.
In an emotional letter, Mr Tunnicliffe said: "I owed you my
for not making a forced landing on our playing field when children were
"You went over us and landed on the railway where you sadly
lost your life. This was a very brave thing to do."
Mr Tunnicliffe this week told the Echo: "It was very sad. I
didn't die in action but he was equally brave in saving our lives and
losing his own. He was only a lad at 21."
In the moments after the crash, he had tried to reach the
stricken pilot, who had been thrown from the plane.
He has since built a model Hurricane in his shed and put the
tragic pilot's name on the side of it.
PO Cooper-Key had been posted to RAF Digby in Lincolnshire
more than a month before his death and is buried at nearby Scopwick
Mr Tunnicliffe was the driving force behind getting the pilot
a memorial service with full military honours in 2008.
He has been diagnosed with terminal cancer and said: "I won't
be around much longer.
"I've had three operations but they have said they can't do
any more. I will be 84 on August 12 and I've had a good life."
Dave Harrigan of Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire said: "The
the chance to bail out but didn't and purposely crashed into the
railway siding by the side of the field.
"He had only been on the squadron a few weeks. Nobody really
knew him. We were getting through pilots that quick.
"Most of the pilots coming out to Digby were arriving with
than 12 hours training on aircraft. He would have been considered a bit
more seasoned but he was still new to that aircraft. That is why he was
doing these patrols."
WHAT MIGHT THE FUTURE HAVE HELD FOR THIS PROMISING YOUNG PILOT
Aston Maurice Cooper-Key was only stationed at RAF Digby for a
short while before he was killed.
He would, had he survived, have played a major part in the
Battle of Britain in 1940.
but while he never fired his guns in anger, he is still
a hero after steering his failing Hurricane away from kids on a playing
The Lincolnshire station went on to play a big part in the
wartime fighter and bomber operations and was also home to some famous
It had become a fighter airfield within 12 Group, RAF Fighter
command in August, 1937.
At first, pilots in 46 Squadron flew Gloster Gauntlet and
Gladiator aircraft, but these were later replaced by the Hawker
Hurricane Mk 1.
When war was declared, RAF Digby was home to three Hurricane
squadrons – 46, 73 and 504.
In September 1939, 73 Sqn was sent to France and in May 1940,
46 Sqn went to Norway.
However before they went, they engaged an enemy squadron of
115s off the coast of the Humber and shot down five of them into the
As 1939 came to a close King George VI made the first of three
formal visits to RAF Digby. In addition to inspecting No. 46 Squadron,
he presented decorations to fighter pilots from Digby and several
The recipients included Guy Gibson who received his first DFC.
For six weeks in May and June 1940, the station was home to No
Squadron RAF on a rotational rest and recuperation break from fighting
the Battle of Britain from RAF Duxford.
The squadron's most famous flight commander was the legless
fighter ace Flt Lt Douglas Bader.
With the station's complement of pilots expanding nearby
Wellingore Hall was requisitioned as a second officers' mess.
The station became home to day and night fighter squadrons and
played their part in the defence of the skies over Great Britain.
But while the RAF suffered increasing pilot losses, they
to defend the skies above Britain until the Germans called off their
attempt to invade the country.
The Battle of Britain may have been won but the war was still
height and RAF Digby and its aircraft were still at the forefront of it.
However, in September 1942, the station became Royal Canadian
Force Digby with satellites at Wellingore and Coleby Grange. The
sorties flown included defensive air patrols by day and night,
escorting bombers, 'Rhubarbs' attacking enemy ground targets in Europe
and in 1943 night fighter missions over Europe in support of RAF Bomber
When VE Day came on May 8, 1945, the station had been the
home to 30 RAF Squadrons – 13 Canadian, four Polish, two Belgian and
Aircraft flown by pilots included: Hurricane, Spitfire,
Blenheim, Beaufighter, Mosquito, Mustang, Wellington, Oxford and Anson
It had hosted the full range of visiting RAF heavy bombers and
crews, as well as no fewer than 54 USAAF B-17Gs in November 1944.
At the end of the war the station returned to the RAF and was
over to Technical Training Command with a number of Trade Training
By 1953 most of the schools had relocated elsewhere and the
went on to a short period of care and maintenance until work started on
October 1, 1954 to receive 399 Signals Unit and thus began yet another
new chapter in the Station's history.
The Station continued to expand steadily throughout the 1970s,
80s and 90s.
The arrival of the Army, initially in 1994, and later the
and the US detachments, signalled the start of yet another era in the
history of Digby.
On September 1, 1998, 399 Signals Unit merged with the newly
Special Signals Support Unit from Loughborough to form the JSSU(D).
JSSU(D) merged with the rest of the station on 1April 2005.
Digby is not only a truly tri-Service environment but has a
distinctly multi-national flavour to it, one that evokes memories of
the last time the Station hosted overseas personnel.
The aviation heritage of RAF Digby and its satellite stations,
spanning 1918 to 1945 is recorded and preserved within the RAF Digby
Sector Operations Room Museum, which has been refurbished and restored
to its appearance in Sep 1939.
The Ops Room, which provides a fitting tribute to Digby's
heroes, was opened in May 1997 and is open each summer May to
September, or by appointment.
sheds 20,000 troops three years ahead of cuts target
2008 photo: Trooper Liam Davies, 21, from Wrexham, mans a .50 calibre
machine gun on top of a Jackal with the 1st The Queens Dragoon Guards.Credit:
British Army has been scaled down by more than 20,000, three years
ahead of target, latest figures from the Ministry of Defence show.
MoD figures, outlined in the department's monthly personnel report,
show there are 81,700 full-time trained servicemen and women in the
Army as of June this year, falling from 102,260 in 2010.
level is below the planned reduction of the regular force to 82,000 by
2018 as part of theArmy
2020 restructuring programme, which also seeks
to bolster the number of reservists to 30,000.
MoD said the Army had the "manpower we need at the moment", although
the service faced challenges in recruiting.
former commanders have called the plan "incoherent".
Richard Kemp, who has commanded army formations in Afghanistan, told
have already made the cuts by 2015, it shows confusion and targets that
don't match up ... it doesn't mean it's a good thing.
whole plan was to cover the gaps with reservists, but if you've not
achieved that then it must mean that we have got deficiencies.
only does that cause us concern about how we govern our people, but it
is also the message we are sending to our enemies. That kind of message
always shows aggression towards us.
COLONEL RICHARD KEMP
British Army Jackals on patrol through the Eastern Desert in Helmand
Province, Afghanistan, 2008.Credit:
MoD spokesman said:
government is committed to an army of 82,000 and the funding is in
place to deliver it. We have the manpower we need at the moment and,
working with the army, we are taking clear action to keep driving
restructuring plan has previously been branded a ''shambles'' amid low
recruitment levels of Army reservists.
April this year, the trained strength of the volunteer Army Reserve had
reached 21,030, up by nearly 1,000 on the same time last year, as a
review suggested recruitment had "turned a corner".
all branches of the military, including the Royal Navy and Royal Air
Force, the trained full-time personnel numbered 143,200 as of last
month, the latest figures show.
BEHIND THE HEADLINES: Making a difference with the armed
Around 100 people from the South-East Wales business community
attended a presentation on the benefits of employing reservists earlier
this month. CIARAN KELLY investigates what being a reservist involves
for both employer and employee
REPRESENTATIVES from the Army, the Royal Air Force and the
Navy were all present for a presentation at Rodney Parade, Newport, to
promote how reservists can benefit business.
Despite Wales making up just five per cent of overall UK
population, nine per cent of the three services are from Wales.
With high-quality training, reservists offer significant
employers, with transferable soft skills like leadership, teamwork and
Reservists add value to business with this high-quality
it is estimated that they are worth £377 million to employers, which
works out as £16,800 per reservist.
As role models, they have a strong cultural mindset with
values and having already been tested in demanding circumstances,
reservists can deal with high pressure situations
With transparent openness about how long reservists may be
and the period of notice required before they are called up for
service, relations between the armed forces and employers have never
Reservists are not mobilised for a lengthy period of time and
family and employer is taken into account. Whether they are called also
depends on the scale and nature of the threat.
There’s a period of notice in advance, which is nine months in
the Army and three months for the air and navy.
With mobilisation, when there’s a requirement to deploy
they are asked to volunteer. The MoD pay for the employer to advertise
cover for the job and any increase in costs is covered.
Added to this the fact that the cost for employers is
nothing. Employers are only asked to support the reservists’ training,
rather than the individuals having to use their annual leave.
As part of this so-called corporate covenant, companies
the likes of Tesco, HSBC, BT and National Express have been quick to
pledge their support for reservists.
Among those present at the presentation earlier this month was
Bagnell, head of operations at the £35-million EADS research and
development laboratory in Newport, who has employed dozens of
reservists in the past.
He said: “I left Newcastle at the age of 16 to join the RAF.
“I spent 23 years in the RAF and 22 years in industry, so I
saw both sides.
“They are high performers and I endorse their soft skills as
well as the training they receive to support the business.”
There are seven army reserve units in Gwent, with five in
Newport and two in Cwmbran.
The Army is the seventh-largest employer in Wales and 20 per
Army training takes place in Wales, with 385,000 training days held on
private land in 2014.
Specialists represent five – 10 per cent of the force. They
niche posts, such as cyber specialists and linguists. They have minimum
military training but are called when they are needed.
Some 70-90 per cent of army reservists are generalists, who
are involved in the likes of engineering and communications.
Speaking of the appeal of employing reservists, Colonel
Cartwright, a general officer from the Royal Regiment of Scotland,
said: “The reservists are a great source of talent and hold the
affection of the public.
“They are tested in demanding situations.
“They have a very strong cultural mindset and are role models
hungry for success.”
If you are aged between 18 and 49, you are eligible to apply
to be an army reservist.
There are 23,920 current reservists, with an eventual target
34,900. Numbers have not been in marked decline as such, but there has
not been an increase since the Second World War.
Leighton Owen, from Cwmbran joined the 104 Regiment 217
Raglan in March, 2008 and was deployed
to Afghanistan in
He said: “It was always something I wanted to do and I’ve got
so much out of it.
“I’ve got fitter and more punctual. Working with a team helps
your man management and you meet people from different social groups.
“It’s taken me all over the world, whether it’s rock climbing
in Germany or skiing in California.
“I really enjoy it all still.”
The Royal Navy is made up of five arms: the ship in the
fleet, the aerial fleet air arm, the covert submarine service, the
amphibious royal marines, and the civilian fleet of the Royal Fleet
Opened on October 15, 1980, HMS Cambria is the only Royal
Naval Reserve unit in Wales, based in Sully in the Vale of Glamorgan.
As a member of the Royal Naval Reserve you could be giving
logistical support to ship crews, sending detailed signal information
to merchant shipping, or planning the landing of an amphibious task
There are three different categories: Royal Naval Reserve,
Naval Reserve ex-regular and Royal Naval Reserve with specialist skills.
More than 2,300 men and women currently serve as reservists in
Royal Navy alongside their normal day job and most have no previous
military experience when joining.
Jobs within the Royal Naval reserve are varied, whether they
shore or at sea. They can include: logistics, intelligence, diving,
mine warfare, information systems, submarine operations and maritime
Every exercise that a reservist takes part in is designed to
underpin the operational roles they may encounter both in the UK and
around the world.
Serving reservists take part in physical and mental challenges
activities involving practical leadership, basic weapon skills and sea
Reservists normally commit to the equivalent of 24 days a year
training, which takes place mainly during the evenings and at weekends.
Reservists are paid for their time, with pay increases with
seniority. However, new recruits can easily earn over a thousand pounds
a year, in addition to a yearly tax-free bounty which ranges from £400
to £1,600 depending on the length of service.
The initial training to become a reservist takes place one
week or at weekends for the first 20 weeks, followed by a two-week
residential course at HMS Raleigh in Cornwall which includes an
overnight exercise on Dartmoor. New recruits will then be given
training for a specific role, ranging from logistics to submarine
In recent years, personnel from HMS Cambria have been involved
operational deployments to Afghanistan, Iraq, the Gulf and numerous
exercises across the globe.
When needed, the Royal Naval Reserve supplements the full-time
with extra manpower, and in some cases provides additional specialist
New recruits must be aged between 16 and 40, have a basic
in English and maths, and be able to complete a one-and-a-half-mile run
within a specific time period.
Elsewhere, as a reserve with the RAF, you use your spare-time
develop transferable skills, increase your self-confidence, meet people
from a wide range of backgrounds and enjoy adventurous training
Roles are available from 18 right up to 54 years and six
months of age.
Reserves commit a minimum of 27 days per year on a renewable
basis. Each year includes a two-week (15 days) block for general RAF
training, and at least 12 weekend or holiday days for additional
training, trade training, or training exercises.
While you may get the opportunity to train overseas as part of
annual 15-day training block, most of your time will be spent on a
nearby RAF base. Each one of these has its own role, from front-line
operations to training establishments.
Like regular RAF personnel, reserves can be mobilised on
expeditionary operations at some time during each 12-year contract.
They can be deployed to a UK, overseas or temporary base for
six months, plus another six months for pre-deployment training and
post-deployment relaxation with their families..
During your time away you could be travelling with your unit,
filling in for another member of the RAF, or working alongside regulars
and reserves from other services. You could also be part of a small
team dedicated to a particular job, or a big disaster relief mission.
The RAF will cover your costs and provide advice and
your family when you’re away. The maximum period you’ll be away from
your employer is one year.
The RAF Reserves in South Wales are represented by 614 (County
of Glamorgan) Squadron Royal Auxilliary Air Force.
The Cardiff-based unit was founded in 1937 and reactivated
last year as part of the expansion of the reserves.
Squadron Leader Matt Best, explained how the reserves fit into
the Royal Air Force.
He said: "Reservists are fully trained to do the same job as
regulars and be deployed to the same places with all the same
challenges faced by regulars.
"You'll be paid the same daily rate as a regular, but the
attraction of a tax-free bounty if you serve for 27 days in a year.
"That time can be made up of evenings, weekends and longer
"When we were involved in Iraq and Afghanistan, reservists
big part in RAF operations there, but you could also be deployed in the
UK or in support of civilian authorities as we were during the Olympics
or on flood relief in 2013."
The Royal Auxilliary Air Force offers trades as diverse as
intelligence analyst, driver and chef, with opportunities also in media
operations, RAF police, or physical training.
Cathy Sharples is a reservist with 614 Sqn. The photographer
with the unit’s media flight and has recently returned from Estonia
where she was covering the deployment of RAF Typhoon fighters to defend
She said: "I love the fact you get to do exciting jobs like
deployed overseas, but whatever job you do, you get the chance to
develop and be pushed to your potential and out of your comfort zone."
Squadron leader Gill Pritchard, of the 614 (County of
Royal Auxiliary Air Force Squadron, has been involved with the reserves
for 22 years.
She said: “I have gone on to serve in Germany, Cyprus and
Afghanistan. I could not have achieved this without the full support of
“Through the reserves, I developed my personal and
professional skills. My decision-making was enhanced
“They were totally different jobs but there were transferable
skills. It did not encroach on my civilian employment.
“In fact, it added to it.
Saturday 17th July cadets from 1F (City of Leicester) Sqn provided a
guard of honour for one of their fellow cadets - Cdt Callum Mayes - as
he embarked on a sponsored wheelchair push with his dad from Leicester
to Blackpool. The wheelchair push is in aid of The Wheelchair Awareness
Campaign and is expected to take Cdt Mayes, his Dad and other family
members 8 days to complete.
Army Vet Turned BT Engineer Confronts Unexploded Bomb
an ex-soldier, engineer Dave Owen knew exactly what to do when he
spotted a Second World War incendiary device in a garden.
rusting object, which looked like a military shell, was in the
neighbouring garden of a customer’s home. Dave realised it may be an
unexploded bomb and immediately told the woman occupier to remain
indoors and to call the police.
bomb disposal experts arrived on the scene in Caernarfon, North Wales,
and Dave led them to the shell. They confirmed it was WWII ordnance.
praised Dave for his actions and evacuated residents from neighbouring
houses as a precaution. The Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) team took
the bomb away to dispose of it safely.
served 22 years in the Royal Corps of Signals, including in
Afghanistan, Iraq, Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Bosnia and
said: “The woman told me she had dug up the object the previous day. I
calmly advised her to go indoors with her dog and to dial 101 for the
police. I told her it could be a device from the Second World War and
might be dangerous. She said: ‘Are you joking?’
didn’t tell anyone else about it because I didn’t want to alarm people.
From my military experience, something that old can be unstable and
liable to explode so it’s best not to take any chances.”
'Gross Failures' By MoD In SAS March
coroner rules that march organisers were not well prepared and the
increased risk of heat illness "had not been appreciated".
one of the hottest days of the year with temperatures reaching 27C and
humidity at times reaching more than 80%.
soldiers had to
complete a 16-mile march in 8 hours 45 minutes as they neared the end
of an arduous six-month selection process believed to be the toughest
in the world.
those in charge of the event had not been adequately prepared and
briefed and the increased risk of heat illness "had not been
checks were inadequate and commanders failed to fully understand the
significance of soldiers withdrawing through heat illness.
'We Are Truly Sorry'
protocol had been followed, the march would have been stopped on three
occasions, she said.
coroner said an
emergency plan listed the wrong hospital as closest to the march and
that mobile phone signal problems meant 999 calls were cut off, causing
intended to update the movements of individual soldiers every 10
minutes was also "not fit for purpose", she said.
Roberts was found collapsed less than half a mile from the finish in an
area known as VW Valley.
stands for voluntary withdrawal because of the number of people who
drop out at this stage.
Maher's GPS tracker showed him stationary for at least 44 minutes
before anyone noticed.
found dead, still clutching a water bottle in one hand and bar of
chocolate in the other.
Killed Three Recruits Aiming To Join The SAS
Killed Three Recruits Aiming To Join The SAS
between 40-75 minutes for Cpl Dunsby's lack of progress to be noticed.
paramedic told Solihull Crown Court that his body temperature was
40.4C, the highest he had ever encountered.
body "appeared to be shutting down" the paramedic said.
rescued from the mountain and taken to hospital but died 17 days later
from major organ failure.
John Donnelley from the MoD said changes had been made to the
SAS testing exercise since the three soldiers died.
said: "I would like to apologise for the deaths of James Dunsford,
Craig Roberts and Edward Maher - three fine soldiers.
made a number of changes to the exercise in terms of the way it is run
as a result of our own investigations and from those of the Health and
A TRIBUTE to the Dambusters has been unveiled in a German
village which the bombers flew over en route to their targets.
The official unveiling of the memorial in Germany
Some 72 years after the famous raid, residents of Haldern on
Rhine have unveiled a stone memorial near where one of the Lancaster
bombers crashed killing all on board in May 1943.
Policeman and historian Volker Schurmann, 36, became
the attack when he saw a photo of a bouncing bomb as a child. The 150
residents got behind his fund-raising efforts. The new memorial
replaces a simple plaque unveiled two years ago on the 70th anniversary
of the raid.
Mr Schurmann said: “There are many memorials around our
Germans who fell during the war but now there is one more, to a British
crew, and many in the village feel that this is right. In Germany we
don’t celebrate war stories as in the UK but behind every victim there
is a family. That is the main point.”
Carole Marner, niece of Flying Officer
Phillip Burgess, was at the unveiling and spoke of the villagers’
Carole, 72, of London, said: “I found it very poignant to be
standing in a German village with people who had chosen to celebrate
the Dambusters, including my uncle. Their generosity, the fact the
villagers had worked and collected money, is wonderful.
Fallen heroes Robert Barlow, Samuel Whillis and Philip Burgess
Harvey Glinz and Jack Liddell
I thought it was really touching and in the spirit of
Carole Marner, niece of Flying Officer
“I thought it was really touching and in the spirit of
The others who died on May 17, 1943, were Flight Lt Robert
DFC, Pilot Officer Alan Gillespie DFM, Pilot Officer Charles Williams
DFC, Pilot Officer Samuel Whillis, Flight Officer Harvey Glinz and Sgt
The crew are buried at the nearby Reichswald war cemetery.
crashed into power cables while flying low on the approach to their
target. The crowd of 250 people included relatives of six of the crew,
RAF officials and residents. After the ceremony, the Haldern brass band
played the Dambusters March.
Charles Williams and Alan Gillespie
The raid, in which 53 of the 133 aircrew died, saw 34
including Wing Commander Guy Gibson, who led the operation and received
the Victoria Cross.
He was killed later in the war.
British Ebola Nurse To Be Honoured With
Col Alison McCourt, who ran a unit in Sierra Leone for eight months, is
being recognised for "her presence and personal touch".
British nurse who ran an Ebola treatment unit in Sierra Leone is being
awarded an OBE for her work in fighting the deadly virus.
Alison McCourt was given just six weeks' notice before being deployed
to the West African nation - one of three countries to suffer the most
fatalities from the disease.
from Llandrindod in Wales, was instrumental in setting up the clinic
and training staff. A citation for her award said "her presence and
personal touch have been felt everywhere".
problem has been too small to overlook, no person too insignificant to
receive her full attention and the patients admitted have been received
with utter professionalism and compassion."
was based in Sierra Leone for eight months and returned in May, said
the recognition is a "huge honour", but insisted that the award was for
her "entire unit".
Inside Sierra Leone Clinic
described the operation as "physically and psychologically demanding,
but also professionally rewarding".
total, 55 personnel have been recognised in the Operational Honours and
confirmed that a third person has been diagnosed with Ebola on
Thursday, nearly two months after the country was declared free of the
Wins BAFTA For Ebola Coverage
who have contracted Ebola "have a history of having had dog meat
together", according to doctors. One of them, a 17-year-old boy, has
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has urged Liberians not to panic.
11,220 deaths during the outbreak, 4,800 fatalities were reported in
A BLACK RAF veteran who said his skin colour saved his life in
Nazi-occupied Europe will be remembered at a ceremony in Thame today.
Johnny Smythe is buried in St Mary’s Church cemetery in the
where his relations will join military veterans and members of the
Sierra Leone community to mark the 100th anniversary of his birth.
The RAF navigator was born in the West African country and
moved to the United Kingdom to join the air force in 1940.
He flew 27 successful missions with Bomber Command during the
Second World War before being shot down in November 1943.
The Flight Officer spent the rest of the war as a prisoner of
He was liberated in 1945 and returned to Britain, where he
qualified as a barrister.
He later moved back to Sierra Leone before returning to Thame
to be closer to family.
At noon today, his sons John and Eddy will be at his graveside
pay tribute to their father along with current and former members of
the RAF, including Ronald Lisk-Carew.
Mr Lisk-Carew, who was also born in Sierra Leone, was inspired
to join the RAF by Mr Smythe and organised today’s event.
Eddy Smythe, who lives in Chinnor, said: “My father never
spoke about the war. He threw out his uniform.
“It was only in his later years that we managed to pin him
“We knew the back story but he never really discussed the
“He was happier talking about his law practice and his
“It makes me very proud.
“He was not into celebration or flaunting his achievements and
his gravestone is very modest.
“Ronald has done this off his own back and I am very grateful
Mr Lisk-Carew, who moved to the UK in 1969 and served in the
until 1974, said Mr Smythe credited his black skin with saving his life
after he was shot down.
The Senior Aircraftman said the war hero parachuted out and
landed in a barn.
When German troops found him, they were so shocked
by his skin
colour and height – he was 6ft 5in tall – that they did not open fire.
The 65-year-old said: “My school friends and I in Sierra Leone
found out that Johnny and a few others had flown for the RAF.
“That was very exciting to us as young men. A couple of my
wanted to serve as well but they did not have the opportunity.
“I was really chuffed.
“Johnny was such an inspiration to me so I thought we had to
celebrate his life.
“That is how today’s event came about.”
When Mr Smythe was liberated by Russian troops, he was feted
by them and toasted with vodka because he was black.
Mr Lisk-Carew plans to hold a vodka toast at today’s event and
a member of the RAF will play The Last Post.
Mr Smythe moved to Thame in 1992 to be near his sons.
He passed away in 1996 aged 81 but his wife Violet, 88, is
alive and living in the United States, where the couple’s daughters
Jennifer and Kathryn also live.
Mr Lisk-Carew added: “Today will be a very proud moment.
“He was a war hero.”
Ex-Harrow commander Richard Claydon told us about his goals
future in Hillingdon, challenges fire crews face in the borough, and
offers residents fire safety advice
borough commander said he looks forward to new challenges, hopes to
reach out to vulnerable people, and wants to engage the community.
Richard Claydon, who will soon be reaching 30 years of service
and was previously borough commander for Harrow,
requested to move to Hillingdon
for “more of a challenge”.
Speaking to getwestlondon, he said: “I’m
excited! I live in Ruislip
so I have a personal connection. Although it’s a safe and
well-performing borough, there’s still challenges and it can always do
Mr Claydon, 50, says his priority is helping the vulnerable
across the borough, such as the elderly, those with mobility issues,
and those with drug and alcohol dependability.
“Most of the vulnerable people in the borough will have
intervention from our partners so it might be London
Borough of Hillingdon,
adult services, children's services, safer neighbourhoods teams with
the police, there's a whole raft of people that we work with.
“We're setting up a partnership referral scheme so our
tell us about vulnerable people within 48 hours - my mission is to have
a fire alarm fitted with their permission.”
With the hard work of his crews, Mr Claydon hopes to raise
with home fire safety visits to give advice and guidance about fire
prevention, as well as fit free smoke alarms, which anyone in London is
He said: “We have a vulnerable person panel in Hillingdon
where we discuss with the council and health and adult services the
needs and how to help vulnerable people, some of whom have come to us
fire brigade beat its target last year for fitting fire alarms and
carrying out home safety visits, with 105% of targeted vulnerable
“The larger risks in fatal fires and high risk fires is sadly
people we don’t know about, so when I speak to these partners I can
find out as the police or council may know about them so communication
is key,” Mr Claydon added.
'Hillingdon borough challenges'
There has been a drop in the number of incidents and fire
respond to 50% less cases than 10 years ago, which Mr Claydon says is
down to the community safety and prevention work they do.
“The big danger here is danger to themselves because the
are derelict and once they’re alight they can develop into full fires.
There’s also dangers to my crews that attend when they're fighting a
fire in a derelict building.”
In a rolling 12 month period, between 2014-2015, there were
149 domestic fires. Recent causes of fires in Hillingdon
include domestic fires started by candles and incense, smoking, and
Mr Claydon was officially appointed on June 1. He is planning
a day with the Hayes
Gurkha community in July.
REVEALED: From postmen to pilots, the
Army Reservists wearing their uniforms with pride
THOUSANDS of reservists will today reclaim the streets across the UK by
turning up to work in their uniforms.
They are marking Reserves Day - which used to be Uniform To
- as part of Armed Forces Week which reaches its climax on Saturday.
And they are shrugging off the threat of attacks by jihadis
to the pair who murdered soldier Lee Rigby, 25, on the streets of south
London in May 2013.
Reservists make up 16 per cent of the Armed Forces and the
proportion is set to rise as the Army gets cut to 82,000 and relies
more heavily on the reserve.
They are drawn from all walks of life, from binmen to bankers
pilots to postmen, and are currently serving in Afghanistan, Northern
Iraq, Cyprus and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
They are also in the frontline of efforts to fight Ebola in
Among those marking the day with pride will be Daily Express
specialist Andy Burrow, 49, who works in logistics with 4624 Squadron
Andy from North London and who previously served in the
as a weapons technician, said: "I work on Air Movements moving kit and
personnel around and get to travel the world.
"I was in the RAF and realised I missed the military
"This is a very good way of combining life as a civilian with
life in the military.
"We learn skills we can apply in civilian life and being in
the military is a great confidence boost."
The Army Reservists have taken part by wearing their uniforms
I was in the RAF and realised I missed the military
is a very good way of combining life as a civilian with life in the
Army Reserve officer Kishn Singh Thandi, who is an insurance
with Willis Limited, said: "I feel so lucky that I'm paid to meet new
people, develop my interests and broaden my horizons in my spare time
with the Army Reserve.
"I've travelled to countries I'd never have been to otherwise,
and seen a side of life I'd never have experienced.
"I'm really proud of what I've achieved with the Army Reserve
hope that by raising awareness among my colleagues, I might encourage
more people to join."
The director general, Army Recruiting and Training Division,
General Chris Tickell, said: "Employers across Britain have already
recognised the many benefits of encouraging their staff to join the
Army Reserve, so this is a fantastic way for them to show their support.
"We know that Reserves benefit from outstanding leadership
and are focused, driven and enthusiastic about furthering their careers.
Part time Reserves not only stand out in a competitive jobs
market, they are highly valued by their civilian employers."
Minister for Reserves, Julian Brazier, said: "Reservists are a
part of our Armed Forces and play a huge role in protecting the
nation's security at home and overseas.
We are indebted to these men and women who give up their spare
to serve in the Reserve Forces so that should their country need them
they are ready to serve; anywhere, anytime.
As Winston Churchill said, 'The Reservist is twice the
"Reserves Day is an opportunity for all to recognise and
the work of the Reserve Forces and the individuals themselves.
We are extraordinarily proud of our Reservists, and it's
important we tell them that and show them our support on this day."
VC10 in six-hour trip to RAF Museum
21 June 2015
The fuselage was taken on a six-hour journey
A military aircraft has made a six-hour journey to its new
home at a museum.
The 93ft (28m) long VC10 fuselage left Bruntingthorpe in
Leicestershire for RAF Museum Cosford, Shropshire, at about 07:00 BST.
It will be on permanent display in the autumn.
The VC10 has been one of the RAF's most significant assets for
nearly 50 years, the museum said.
A lorry took the fuselage on the M69, M6 and the M54 and
through Shifnal in Shropshire.
It was too large to pass under a railway bridge at Cosford but went
through Shifnal, the museum said
The fuselage had earlier been on motorways before arriving in Shifnal
The VC10 entered service with the RAF in 1966 and had the
carry up to 124 troops at a time with nine crew members or a freight
load of up to 20,400 kg (44,974 lbs). It completed its final mission in
It will be positioned on the airfield at RAF Cosford for about
to six weeks and partially reassembled, before being moved on to the
museum site in August.
It is scheduled to be placed on permanent display next to the
Hercules in October.
A police escort was needed in Shifnal
It arrived at RAF Museum Cosford at about 13:00 BST
The museum's head of collections, Ian Thirsk, said: "For one
aircraft type to have been in service for such a long period is
remarkable in itself.
"However, when this is added to the variety of roles and
worldwide scope of operations, it is clear this is a unique aircraft."
Royal Air Force
Finalist In UK Workplace Race Equality Awards
The Royal Air
Force has been
recognised for its commitment to increasing Black, Asian and Minority
Ethnic (BAME) representation in the workplace, by being named as a
Finalist in the Future Workforce Award category at the Race for
Opportunity Awards 2015. Business in the Community’s race campaign
celebrates its 20thanniversary in 2015 and the Awards are in their
ninth year. The awards celebrate outstanding practice, innovation and
dedication to race equality and inclusion in UK workplaces. The winners
will be announced at the Awards Dinner on 6 October
London Hilton, Park Lane.
Glynis Dean MBE from
the Royal Air Force said “we are absolutely delighted to be recognised
as a finalist for the forthcoming Future Workforce Award category at
the Race for Opportunity Awards 2015. This is testament to our
commitment to delivering a sustainable diverse workforce in 2020 and
beyond. The programmes we have maintained over the past six years have
helped to develop student’s character traits and behaviours that
underpin success in school and the workplace.”
Sandra Kerr OBE,
Director, Business in the Community, said: “Congratulations to the
Royal Air Force on being named as a Finalist in the Future Workforce
Award category at the Race for Opportunity Awards 2015. They are taking
action to create a workplace culture which puts race equality at the
heart of their activity and have demonstrated a strong commitment to
ensuring that ethnic minority talent has equal opportunity to progress
at every level. It’s a huge positive to see that they recognise the
UK’s changing demographics and are addressing the need to reflect the
clients, communities and customers they serve, and I hope other
organisations will learn from their example.”
A full list of the
be found online. The winners will be announced at
for Opportunity 20th Anniversary Dinner, which takes place at the
London Hilton Park Lane on Tuesday 6th October 2015.
Waddington runway work is taking longer than expected
By PWhitelam_LE | Posted:
June 11, 2015
Ministry of Defence has
confirmed that runway repair work at RAF
Waddington will not
now be completed until next summer, the BBC is reporting.
the MoD is yet to confirm if the 2016 Waddington International
Air Show will go ahead.
year's show was cancelled
due to the £35 million rebuild of the 9,000 ft long runway, which had
been due for completion by November 2015.
BBC says it now has
confirmation that waterlogged ground and extra work involving
undergroundutilities from the Second World War has delayed
spokesman told the Echo:
"The RAF is currently reviewing its air show commitments to consider
how best to achieve effective engagement with the
public, the results of this review will be announced later this year."
Robinson, who has
been running a cafe at the Waddington Aircraft Viewing Experience for
five years, said the lack of planes so far due to the work has already
affected his trade .
said: "Without the aircraft here there is not much of an attraction.
has hit us very hard."
have heard that repairs
have been extended into the middle of next year minimum, it could be
longer which will put out next year's air show.
winter is going to be extremely difficult and we have put money away
knowing it would be difficult."
RAF enthusiast said: "Lincolnshire is the RAF - not to have an air show
is a travesty.
said: "They might use it as a final excuse to cut the air show all
air show started in 1995 and 2015 would have been in its 20th year.
2014 event attracted around 140,000 people over the weekend where there
was seven hours of flying displays each day.
whistleblower William McNeilly leaves Royal Navy
A submariner who went on the run last month after publishing
about the safety of the UK's nuclear deterrent has left the Royal Navy.
Able Seaman William McNeilly, from Belfast, alleged the
missile programme, based on the Clyde, was a "disaster waiting to
He went into hiding abroad but handed himself in to military
police after returning to the UK last month.
In a fresh online post, he said he had been given a
He wrote: "All of the charges against me were dropped -
there's nothing that I can be charged with now.
"I believe the Home Office are still doing their
investigation, but that's nothing to worry about.
"Most people know that I acted in the interest of national
However, I was still given a dishonourable discharge from the Royal
Navy. On the claim that my sole aim was to discredit their public image.
"It is shocking that some people in a military force can be
more concerned about public image than public safety."
He said he regarded the Royal Navy as being the "greatest navy
in history" and insisted his sole aim had been to improve safety.
The former sailor said he had received support from some
adding: "A lot them wished me luck on completing my objectives. Some of
them were shocked that I didn't receive an honourable discharge or
wasn't kept in the service.
"Personally, I thought honourable discharge would've been nice
didn't really care if it was honourable discharge or not. I just
respectively told them that I'd accept any punishment as long as the
accusations against me are true."
The Ministry of Defence confirmed the 25-year-old, who said he
mainly been held at HMS Nelson in Portsmouth since being detained by
Royal Navy Police at Edinburgh Airport, had left the service.
An MoD spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that AB McNeilly has
the Naval Service, the details of which are a matter for the individual
and his employer.
"Throughout the process Able Seaman McNeilly was still being
afforded the duty of care that we give all our personnel, as was his
Naval regulations allow for service personnel to be dismissed
their views or actions are deemed to be incompatible with service life.
AB McNeilly was an Engineering Technician Submariner who had
patrol with HMS Victorious, one of the four nuclear-armed submarines
based at the Faslane naval base on the Clyde.
His 18-page report, called The Secret Nuclear Threat, included
descriptions of incidents ranging from complaints about food hygiene to
failures in testing whether missiles could safely be launched or not.
He described security passes and bags going unchecked at
alarms being muted "to avoid listening" to them, and stories of fires
starting in missile compartments.
AB McNeilly said he raised these and other concerns through
chain of command on multiple occasions, but that "not once did someone
even attempt to make a change".
An investigation was launched into the claims, which
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon saying AB McNeilly's safety claims had
not been proved and were either incorrect or the result of
Mr Fallon insisted that neither the "operational
the fleet "nor the safety of our submariners or public have been
But in a debate on the issue in the House of Commons, former
Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond said Mr Fallon's explanation was
"an insult" to the public's intelligence.
Fighter jet on permanent sentry duty
A SPECTACULAR piece of RAF history has returned to stand sentry over
its former home.
A Tornado F3 jet fighter has become the new “gate guardian”
Leeming in North Yorkshire, watching over the base from which it once
It replaces the old Gloster Javelin which used to fill the
which found a new home at a Gloucestershire museum earlier this year.
The Tornado F3 began its life at Leeming in 1988, providing
protection to UK airspace and squadrons from the base regularly
intercepted Russian aircraft up until April 2008.
The type itself came the end of its lifespan in 2011, when it
replaced by the Typhoon, and since then the remaining F3s have been
returning to Leeming to be run through a spares recovery programme run
by BAE Systems.
The very last of them was picked from the programme and, after
valuable assets were stripped, the airframe was rebuilt and presented
back to the base.
Station commander Group Captain David Bradshaw said: “Today is
a really exciting day for all of us at RAF Leeming.
“Being able to take the last aircraft and placing it as a gate
guardian will mean that all personnel coming onto Leeming in the future
can reflect on our wonderful heritage and this wonderful aircraft.”
BAE Systems’ maintenance and upgrades manager Martin
said: “During its time in service, it has served its country really
well as the main air defence aircraft for the UK.
“I’m delighted to see that the last one has been saved and as
guardian for Leeming it will act as a reminder of the squadrons which
A new medal has been created to recognise the bravery and hard
work of people who have helped to stop the spread of Ebola.
The government has today (11 June 2015) set out the details of
medal that will recognise the bravery and hard work of thousands of
people who helped to tackle Ebola in West Africa.
The medal is expected to go to over 3,000 people who travelled
the UK to work in high risk areas to stop the spread of the disease.
This is the first time a medal has been created specifically
recognise those who have tackled a humanitarian crisis and is in
recognition of the highly dangerous environment that workers were
required to enter.
The medal has been designed by John Bergdahl, who has been an
engraver for over 40 years and recently designed a new coin set to
celebrate the birth of Prince George. Mr Bergdahl’s design was chosen
following a competition run by the Royal Mint Advisory Committee. It
shows a flame on a background depicting the Ebola virus – above this
are the words “For Service” and below “Ebola Epidemic West Africa”.
The obverse bears a portrait of Her Majesty The Queen designed
by Ian Rank-Broadley.
The medal will be awarded to military and civilian personnel
have been tackling Ebola on behalf of the UK in West Africa such as
people from our armed forces, doctors and nurses from the NHS,
laboratory specialists and members of the civil service and
non-governmental organisations. Eligibility is set out in detail in a command
paper published today.
The first awards of the medal will be made as early as this
and will be ongoing thereafter. The Prime Minister will also host a
summer reception to congratulate in person some of the recipients.
The Prime Minister, David Cameron, said:
The Ebola outbreak was one of the most devastating epidemics
generation but we managed to stop its spread thanks to the hard work of
British people who travelled to West Africa.
As a result of their efforts, many
lives were saved and the outbreak contained.
This medal is about paying tribute
people. They put themselves at considerable personal risk and we owe
them a debt of gratitude.
Airbus transport crash caused by “wipe” of critical engine control data
data zapped during updates on 3 engines, causing shutdown at 400 feet.
Airbus had already revealed that the fatal
crash of an Airbus A400M
military transport was caused by what was described as a "quality issue
in the final assembly" of the electronic control units (ECU)—a fault in
software configuration that led to a loss of control of the aircraft
and resulted in the
death of four crew members. Reuters reported
additional details today provided
by individuals familiar with the investigation into the crash, stating
that a critical part of the configuration data in three of the
aircraft's four ECUs—a file storing torque calibration parameters for
each engine—was somehow "accidentally wiped" when the software was
being installed. As a result, three of the aircraft's engines
automatically shut down in flight.
Citing a safety document shown to Reuters, Tim Hepher reported
the pilot of the A400M would not have gotten an alert about the missing
data until the aircraft was already at an altitude of 400 feet. No
cockpit alert about the data fault would appear while the aircraft was
on the ground. According to Hepher's sources, the lack of a ground
warning was an issue raised during a safety review last year, but "regulators
approved it on the basis that the chances of failure were small and the
installation procedure included extra checks," people familiar with the
The A400M, which was on a final test flight before delivery to
Turkish Air Force, reached an altitude of 1,725 feet after takeoff
before crashing during an attempted emergency landing. The aircraft
struck an electrical pole at about 180 miles per hour.
The missing data made it impossible for the aircraft's central
control system to interpret data coming from the engines' sensors. The
aircraft's software is designed to shut down malfunctioning engines to
prevent them from affecting the operation of the aircraft. But a
software failure of more than two engines was never taken into
The data wipe appears to have been caused by the computer
used to install the flight control software and update calibration
data. Airbus has instructed its European NATO buyers of the A400M not
to use that software. Safety officials are still investigating how
safety checks failed to spot that the calibration data had been deleted.
The Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) has announced its
July's airshow at Fairford, Gloucestershire. Here's what MOD plans to
planning to provide an extensive
range of military aircraft to demonstrate the cutting-edge technology,
range of capability and impressive flying skills of the RAF. This will
include displays by:
and Spitfire Battle of Britain 75th anniversary synchronised pair
Britain Memorial Flight Spitfire and Hurricane
these, there will be a
wide-range of static display aircraft, including Tornado GR4 (from each
Squadron), Tucano, Tutor, King Air, Hawk (208), Hawk (IV), Griffin,
Squirrel and Voyager.
the United States the
F-35B programme is making good progress. Royal Navy and RAF personnel
have just returned from operational trials on board the USS WASP,
working alongside the United States Marine Corps as we test ship/air
integration in training missions over sea. Read the story here.
With both the
UK and US focused on
meeting operational milestones, there will not be an F-35B at this
year’s RIAT – here’s our statement, from an MOD spokesperson:
continues to make good progress and as F-35B (STOVL) users, the US
Marine Corps and the UK are working closely together. The USMC priority
is to reach Initial Operating Capability (IOC) this summer, which takes
precedence over attending international air shows.
You can find
more information on the UK’s Aircraft Carrier Capability here.
The office development is the first phase of the Uxbridge town
centre extension element, which will include a hotel, museum,
restaurants and shops.
James Stockdale, St Modwen’s development manager, said: “Once
the go-ahead for this commercial phase of the wider project we will be
able to start to deliver the new jobs for the area, both in the
long-term and also during the construction phase.
“We are making strong progress on the residential front with
homes already built, and occupied, with more now under construction.
St Andrews Park was one of six former RAF bases disposed of by
MoD, with services at those sites being relocated to RAF Northolt.
It contains the Grade I listed Battle of Britain Bunker, which
run by the RAF and will remain open to the public by prior appointment.
A spokeswoman for St Modwen said 150 new homes at the site
already occupied and it expected another 50-70 sales to be completed by
the end of the year.
Armed Forces Day
It’s one month to go until Armed Forces Day and plans are well
advanced for a spectacular array of events up and down the country.
The centrepiece of this year’s celebrations will be the
National Event, hosted by the historic Surrey county town of Guildford.
Guildford Council has announced an exciting programme of
for Armed Force Day on 27 June. The day will begin with a special
service at Guildford Cathedral, followed by a celebratory parade along
the historic High Street and a fly-past of current and historic
aircraft. The parade will include tri-Service personnel and will be
supported by bands, veterans and Cadet Forces.
The focus of activity will then move to Stoke Park for an
of exciting military demonstrations and entertainment. Highlights
include the Royal Signals White Helmets Motorcycle display and the
Royal Navy’s Raiders.
Aside from the National Event in Guildford, people are being
encouraged to get behind the campaign and show their support for our
Servicemen and women in a variety of ways. There are over 100 events
registered across the UK for the public to attend, including an RAF Ice
Hockey Match in Telford and an evening with the Stafford Military Wives
As well as events the UK is being encouraged to support Armed
Day online. Join the likes of Sir Derek Jacobi, Carol Vorderman and
Lorraine Kelly by sending us your military salutes to @ArmedForcesDay
using #SaluteOurForces. Find out more about the campaign on Facebook,
or sign up to our newsletter
to keep up to date with the latest.
The week of Armed Forces Day begins on Monday 22 June when the
Forces Day flag will be raised on buildings and famous landmarks across
the UK. Reserves day, on Wednesday 24 June, will be a chance to
recognise the hard work of our Reserve Forces in the Royal Navy,
British Army and Royal Air Force who have both military and civilian
careers. Reservists will also be encouraged to wear their uniform to
their civilian jobs on that day.
Group Captain Carol Vorderman - Carol Is First Female Honorary
Ambassador For RAF Air Cadets and is supporting Armed Forces Day 2015.
For more information on Armed Forces Day and details on how
you can get involved, please visit our brand new website.
Appearances confirmed to date.
would encourage everyone to see XH558 display this year - her last
season of flight.
XH558's planned participation is only confirmed when the date and
location is listed on this page.
We have 16
appearances already booked for 2015, so now is the time to see which is
the nearest to you, then put them in your diary, book tickets, line up
friends and family for what will be a memorable 2015 experience.There will not be the likes of XH558 airborne after this year.
Here are the dates and locations confirmed
RNAS Yeovilton U/T
Sun 23rd August
U/T = Underwing Tours available
for a small donation whilst operating conditions allow.
await further updates and do not call or email the office or individual
show organisers. They know no more than published here - thank you.
20 May 15
Medal for RAF helicopter
nurse who has rescued 600
Sqn Ldr Thompson-Edgar received the Associate of the Royal Red Cross
medal for her work evacuating and treating battlefield casualties in
An RAF emergency nurse who
evacuated more than 600 wounded from the battlefields of Afghanistan’s
Helmand province has been decorated for her life-saving efforts in the
latest military honours.
Sqn Ldr Charlotte
six tours in the country between 2007 and 2014 and is believed to have
taken part in more helicopter evacuation missions than any other
Sqn Ldr Thompson-Edgar,
who serves with
Princess Mary’s Royal Air Force Nursing Service, received the Associate
of the Royal Red Cross medal which is given for exceptional services
and devotion to duty.
The 40-year-old from
at the forefront of care in Britain’s medical emergency response team
helicopters which acted as combat air ambulances picking up wounded
from across Helmand and dashing them back to the hospital at Camp
The teams of four medics
flying in a
Chinook helicopter kitted out like an accident and emergency ward were
credited with saving countless lives.
Together with the renowned
Camp Bastion, they were able to provide speedy, life-saving care
unprecedented in previous conflicts.
Sqn Ldr Thompson-Edgar
Telegraph: “It’s been a very exciting six or seven years to see these
unexpected survivors coming off the battlefield where in the normal
environment they would have died.
“All of us are doing it
soldiers on the ground. They are doing such a difficult job and the
terrain that they are walking in is so dangerous. For their peace of
mind and for their morale, knowing that they have a good,
highly-skilled capability to come and pick them up if the worst
happened, that’s why we were doing it.
“All of us have exactly
objective and that’s just to make sure we get those guys back to
hospital as soon as we can, ideally in a better state than they were on
As well as carrying out
herself, she has developed and commanded teams of nurses and become one
of the military’s foremost experts in medical evacuation.
One of the casualties she
up and save was Britain’s first surviving triple amputee of the war.
Mark Ormrod lost both legs and an arm when he stepped on a homemade
bomb on Christmas Eve 2007.
Sqn Ldr Thompson-Edgar
said picking up the Royal Marines Commando, who is now a motivational
speaker, had been a “privilege”.
She said: “He’s probably
hero, he’s just done so much. Bear in mind how poorly he was when we
collected him, he had such horrific injuries, so what he’s achieved
today is just absolutely incredible.”
The missions were often
dangerous. Helicopters frequently came under fire from the Taliban. The
lowest point in her six tours was when a helicopter of her American
counterparts was shot down in June 2010, killing five. The US Black
Hawk, call sign Pedro 66, crashed and caught fire after it was hit in
the tail by a rocket-propelled grenade as it tried to pick up a wounded
British marine in Sangin.
Sqn Ldr Thompson-Edgar
said: “That was
horrible because we work very closely with our American colleagues and
we had only had coffee with them half an hour before. It could very
well have been us going up on that shout and it could have been a very
In the aftermath of the
teams had to temporarily take over duties from the Americans and flew
missions round the clock, roughly every two hours, for ten days.
18 May 15
Parade marks the end of
proud history of No 3 Squadron at RAF Wittering
Years of proud military
at RAF Wittering on Tuesday 14th April with the disbandment parade of
No. 3 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment. Weeks of rehearsal and
planning culminated in a flawless disbandment parade, reviewed by
former Chief of the Air Staff, and Honorary Air Commodore of the Royal
Air Force Regiment, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton. More than two
hundred service personnel, civilians and 3 Squadron veterans attended
the disbandment parade. In spite of very cold and blustery winds,
immaculately dressed and with superhuman precision, 3 Squadrons finest
captivated the audience. The speech, given by Sir Stephen Dalton,
reflected the distinguished history of No. 3 Squadron and he praised
the unit for its outstanding contribution saying; 3 Squadron can be
justly proud of the part is has played and the leadership,
camaraderie and teamwork has served the Squadron well.
Weeks of rehearsal and
culminated in the flawless parade, reviewed by former Chief of the Air
Staff, and Honorary Air Commodore of the Royal Air Force Regiment, Air
Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton.
The unit can trace its
ancestry back to
1922 when No 3. Armoured Car Company was formed in Basra, present-day
Iraq, to support light bombers in their policing of large areas in the
No. 3 Armoured Car Company
disbanded in 1925. In 1942 the Royal Air Force Regiment was formed and
No. 2757 Squadron was absorbed into the new Corps. 2757 Squadron saw
action in France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany and was then
re-named No. 3 (Armoured Car) Squadron in August 1947.
3 Squadron was disbanded,
disbanded again during the mid-fifties, and was finally reformed as a
Field Squadron in July 1987 at RAF Hullavington. It has since seen near
continuous active service in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan and
has accumulated a distinguished military record.
More than 200 hundred
service personnel, civilians and 3 Squadron veterans attended the
proud military history
ended at RAF Wittering on Tuesday 14th April with the disbandment
parade of No. 3 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment. Weeks of rehearsal
and planning culminated in a flawless disbandment parade, reviewed by
former Chief of the Air Staff, and Honorary Air Commodore of the Royal
Air Force Regiment, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton. More than two
hundred service personnel, civilians and 3 Squadron veterans attended
the disbandment parade. In spite of very cold and blustery winds,
immaculately dressed and with superhuman precision, 3 Squadrons finest
captivated the audience. The speech, given by Sir Stephen Dalton,
reflected the distinguished history of No. 3 Squadron and he praised
the unit for its outstanding contribution saying; 3 Squadron can be
justly proud of the part is has played and the leadership,
camaraderie and teamwork has served the Squadron well.
years of proud military
at RAF Wittering on Tuesday 14th April with the disbandment parade of
No. 3 Squadron Royal Air Force Regiment. Weeks of rehearsal and
planning culminated in a flawless disbandment parade, reviewed by
former Chief of the Air Staff, and Honorary Air Commodore of the Royal
Air Force Regiment, Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton. More than two
hundred service personnel, civilians and 3 Squadron veterans attended
the disbandment parade. In spite of very cold and blustery winds,
immaculately dressed and with superhuman precision, 3 Squadrons finest
captivated the audience. The speech, given by Sir Stephen Dalton,
reflected the distinguished history of No. 3 Squadron and he praised
the unit for its outstanding contribution saying; 3 Squadron can be
justly proud of the part is has played and the leadership,
camaraderie and teamwork has served the Squadron well.
Sir Stephen Dalton,
parade, reflected the distinguished history of No. 3 Squadron. He
praised the unit for its outstanding contribution saying” “3 Squadron
can be justly proud of the part is has played”.
He added that:
“exceptional leadership, camaraderie and teamwork has served the
No 3 Squadron’s Standard
into lodgement at the Royal Air Force College Cranwell, which means the
squadron could reform if the need arose.
Group Capt Damian
Alexander is the Station Commander at RAF Wittering, home of 3 Squadron.
He said: “No. 3 Squadron
has been an
integral part of life here at RAF Wittering for many years, they have
brought honour and distinction to the Station, and of course we’re sad
to see them go.
“We ought to remember that
and skills are being lost from the Royal Air Force. The officers and
gunners of No. 3 Squadron will soon join different Royal Air Force and
RAF Regiment units, and they’ll continue to make a tangible
contribution to defence.”
The parade took place last
was only announced this week by RAF Wittering, which said “Government
departments must remain impartial during a general election campaign”.
15 May 15
first post-restoration flight on 18th October 2007 – VTTST archive.
is going to be a spectacular summer for Vulcan XH558 but also a very
emotional one; it is with considerable sadness that we have to confirm
that we are about to enter the final flying season. After she has
landed from her last flight this autumn, there will no longer be a
flying Vulcan. We are therefore going to work especially hard to make
summer 2015 a memorable flying season for every Vulcan enthusiast
across the country. We intend to use every flying hour available,
taking her to more people than ever before, celebrating other iconic
British engineering achievements and saluting the heroes of Britain’s
legendary V-Force in which she played a vital role during the
knife-edge tension of the Cold War.