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13/10/16

First reservist Colour Warrant Officer at recruit graduation
12 October 2016



Warrant Officer Watson, who joined the RAF in 1977 as a Logistics (Supplier) Airman, rose to the rank of Warrant Officer and was Station Warrant Officer (SWO), RAF Coningsby for three and a half years. He joined 7644 RAuxAF (Media Reserves) Sqn in 2015 after retiring from his SWO role in March 2015.

The graduation parade included one of WO Watson’s troops - Senior Aircraftman (SAC) Agnieszka Rudel, a Reservist from 7644 Squadron.

WO Watson said, “I’ve always wanted to be Colour Warrant Officer when I was a regular but never had the opportunity. It was a great honour to be able to do so when one of our squadron was graduating”.



Historically, the Colour Guard, comprising the Warrant Officer and two escorts were there to protect the officer who was responsible for carrying the regimental colours into battle.

“I joined as a Reservist because I still enjoy the life that the RAF gives you and I felt I could pass on my experiences to the team.”, said WO Watson, “I am there to be a mentor for the troops, to support but also to keep them on their toes. That’s all part and parcel of military leadership”.

“I am so proud to be graduating today” said SAC Rudel, “It was extra special to have our Warrant Officer here to be part of the occasion”.

RAF Media Reserves and 7644 (VR) Public Relations Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force, is tasked to support the RAF and wider UK Defence mission by providing skilled Media Operations Personnel to ensure the actions of our Armed Forces are communicated and understood.



Editor: LAC Ronan Carey

Images: SAC Gerry Gerrard

© MOD Crown Copyright 2016

6/10/16
Barry man leads RAF Police team to Cardiff Arms Park


Barry man Corporal Clive French, coach of the RAF Police rugby team, at Cardiff Arms Park. Pic: LAC Cathy Sharples.

The Royal Air Force Police rugby team play the South Wales Police at Cardiff Arms Park. RAFP Corporal No14 Dom Williams tries to break through. Pic: LAC Cathy Sharples.




A FORMER Barry pupil stepped onto the hallowed pitch of Cardiff Arms Park when he returned to South Wales recently.

Clive French is a Corporal in the RAF Police and is also the coach of their rugby side which he led to a showdown with the South Wales Police at the iconic rugby ground.

Clive, who was a pupil at Barry Boys Comprehensive until 1992. He said he was proud to bring his side to Cardiff: "To play somewhere like Cardiff Arms Park as a Barry boy is something special. I've been on the terraces for many years with my dad watching games. I've played once here, but as a coach, to coach a team here is even better."


Before the game Clive took the squad to train at the Vale of Glamorgan training facility at Hensol Castle used by the Welsh national side.

There were put through their paces by Welsh Rugby Union coaches, which Cpl French described as "a different level of coaching”. They also got to experience playing on a 3G pitch at the site.

The game was fiercely contested with South Wales Police coming out on top by 22 points to 5.

Cpl French, who joined the RAF in 2001 and before that was an Air Cadet with Barry's 372 Squadron, said his men were "as ready as they could have been" to take on the South Wales Police but their opponents had the benefits of playing together for longer.

Despite sustained pressure from the RAF Police, the South Wales Police made their greater size and experience tell as the match went on.

Cpl French said: "I expected a fiercely competitive match - two sides going at it hammer and tongues - and this is what we got. You're not going to get much different with 30 coppers on the park."

"I thought physically both teams brought it and both tried to play an expansive game - and playing on this wonderful surface did allow some good rugby. Scoring the last try of the game was a highlight - one of the lads getting one over at the Arms Park, you can't ask for much more."

The squad were also raising money for the Dallaglio Foundation, the cause set up the former England, Lawrence Dallaglio to teach life skills based on the values of rugby to young people not in mainstream education. They also supported the RAF Charitable Trust.

30/9/16

Cpl Thomas has been in the RAF for 15 Years, in that time he has served at various units around the UK and Cyprus. Those 15 years have included 6 operational tours; Op Telic (3 times), Op Herrick (twice) and the FI. He has recently been awarded the RAF Police Securing the Skies trophy by General Sir Peter Wall; for the most significant contribution to the protection of the RAF’s mission critical assets.

Cpl ThomasHe has been at Coningsby for 3 years, serving with 5 Sqn RAF Police and his role is a Protective Security practitioner. The role of the Protective Security office is to maintain the Confidentiality, Integrity, Availability, Business and Continuity of the RAF’s assets based at RAF Coningsby and overseas whether from traditional or non-traditional threats.

In one of his last duties as Provost Marshal, Gp Capt Bailey took great delight in breaking this good news to Cpl Thomas, congratulating him on his achievement. The award was established to recognise the RAF Police Protective Security NCO who made the most significant contribution to protecting RAF’s mission critical assets during the previous year - with the Provost Marshal and the Master of WCoSP selecting the winner between them.

Cpl Thomas was credited with directly contributing towards the protection and assurance of the UK’s Typhoon Quick Reaction Force with his in-depth knowledge of the security requirements, ensuring a timely delivery of all security effects in this fast-paced and critical environment.

In addition to his work relating directly to the Typhoon, he maintained and delivered a bespoke security education programme ensuring threats to the unit and personnel were understood and that personnel engaged and took responsibility for local security issues - all resulting in a reduction in the number of breaches and security incidents across the unit.

Following the announcement, Gp Capt Bailey said: “The nominations for this award just reinforced to me the high level of responsibility our NCOs take on day-in, day-out and they perform admirably. Both the Master and I took time to reach this difficult decision but to us, Cpl Thomas exemplifies all that is so good about the Force and it was a real honour to inform him of our decision.”

 

Cpl Thomas said: "I’m very proud to have been the first member of the RAF Police to have received this award and I would like to thank both my Chain of Command for my nomination and The Worshipful Company of Security Professionals and Computer Network Defence Ltd who sponsored the trophy and the subsequent award ceremony. I would also like to thank all those that have assisted me throughout my time in the Protective Security office at Coningsby; I would not have received this award without you.”

Cpl Thomas, 5 Sqn RAFP, RAF Coningsby PS Section.

Editor Yvonne Masters

Photographer SAC Helen Rimmer



8/9/16

Secondary school teacher Mike Dawson became an RAF Police reservist with 607

Secondary school teacher Mike Dawson became an RAF Police reservist with 607 Squadron, RAF Leeming, two years ago and is currently mobilised for six months undertaking general police duties at Mount Pleasant Complex. In this the third of our video shorts on RAF Reservists serving in the Falklands, Cpl Dawson explains that despite the sometimes harsh conditions, he still manages to train for the Inter-Services Cross Country Championships.
 https://socialfeed.info/secondary-school-teacher-mike-dawson-became-an-raf-police-reservist-with-607-4007995

26/7/16

 
RAF biker pleas for road safety awareness after witnessing crash


AN AIR sergeant who witnessed a crash while taking part in a motorcyclist safety course is urging other bikers to learn more about road safety.

Sergeant Tommy Brooks,who works in air traffic control at RAF Brize Norton,was taking part in BikeSafe on July 14, a police-led motorcycle project run across the UK.

The aim is to reduce the number of bikers being hurt on the roads by teaching riders the skills, knowledge and hazard awareness needed to make motorcycling safer and more enjoyable for everyone.


But Sergeant Brooks received a nasty shock when he was behind a car that lost control and smashed into the railings along the side of the road.

He was on his way back to the air base from the safety course at the time.

He said: "Had I been more hasty with my own riding, and without BikeSafe fresh in my mind I may well have been caught up in the accident myself."

The military man is now urging other motorcyclists to take up the course, as he believes without it his story may have turned out a little differently.

According to the Department of Transport, in Great Britain during 2008 a total of 6,149 motorcyclists were killed or seriously injured. By 2012 that figure had dropped to 5,328.


But officials insist more work still needs to be done to raise awareness of motorcycle safety.

RAF Brize Norton personnel attended the workshop last week, designed to help riders discover their strengths and weaknesses and how to develop in order to get the most from motorcycle riding.

Corporal Matthew Rice from the RAF police dog section said: "I've only been riding five months and I found it really helpful. All of the instructors were really friendly and helpful. It is a great course and I would recommend it to anyone."

Flight Lieutenant Mike Kelman from 47 Squadron said: "BikeSafe is a great course with information and guidance from the police officers. It has helped me identify where I need to improve and has encouraged me to investigate advanced riding."


The course is free to attend for all RAF service men and women, as it is strongly supported by the Military of Defence.

The next course is due to be held towards the end of August. Visit bikesafe.co.uk for more details.

 

14/7/16

For the second year in a row, RAF Police Reserves from No3 Tactical Police Squadron (3TPS), assisted by a 400-strong detachment of airmen from RAF Cosford, provided security at the prestigious Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire.

This was an important task given that the event would see the unveiling of the RAF’s 5th generation fighter aircraft, the F-35 Lightning II, being seen for the first time in UK airspace.

Sqn Ldr Jim Kirkbride, OC 3TPS and the RIAT Security Co-ordinator said, “We were able to build on our output at last year’s event, utilise lessons learned and take account of current security issues. This is great experience for the RAFP Reserves and underlines some of the utility, skills and experience we can bring to the wider RAF Police family.”

RAF Police Reserves took on the RIAT security responsibility at last year’s event releasing stretched regular colleagues to concentrate on their daily contribution to RAF outputs. Tasked to support the event again for 2016, planning and preparation began back in January. Warrant Officer Chris Roberts, a Regular RAFP WO, and the 3 TPS WO said, “It is testament to the high regard in which the RAF Police Reserves are held that they are entrusted with being part of the security for the F-35 and RIAT Showground in general.”

The RIAT Security Force under command of Wg Cdr Chris Jones, OC No 1 School of Technical Training, was drawn from 3 Tactical Police Squadron, No 603 (City of Edinburgh) Sqn, No 607 (City of Durham) Sqn, No 7 RAFP Sqn from RAF Benson and RAF Brize Norton and a detachment of over 450 personnel from No 1 School of Technical Training and No 1 Radio School at RAF Cosford. Cpl Stacey Graham i/c the RAF Police Military Working Dogs who said, “It’s been a great opportunity for our Military Working Dogs to demonstrate their capability and effect by supporting RIAT in delivering its mission.”

The security force dealt with a wide range responsibilities ranging through Royal visits, General Policing, armed guarding, control of entry, vehicle and person search, security co-ordination between RIAT and three police forces. All these provided a challenging environment in which to operate. Flt Lt Gary Martin, Deputy Security Co-ordinator and 3 TPS DSC said, “This was a highly enjoyable experience. Having the opportunity to pull together so many different assets and helping to achieve the effective and capable security effect to RIAT 16 has really showcased the squadron. Providing security to the F35 at its inaugural appearance in the UK has been a bonus.”

9/6/16

MOD facing compensation claims after RAF Coningsby Typhoons cause sonic booms over homes

A string of compensation claims have been made to the Ministry of Defence after sonic booms from scrambled RAF Coningsby Typhoon jets caused damage to homes and property across Yorkshire.

People across large parts of the county heard what sounded like two loud explosions on May 2 after the aircraft were launched from RAF Coningsby to intercept an Air France passenger plane which was not responding due to a radio communication problem.

Houses shook as the planes flew over Yorkshire to identify the unresponsive aircraft and accompany it in to land at Newcastle airport.

In figures obtained by a Freedom of Information (FoI) request by this newspaper’s parent company Johnston Press, claims have since been made to the MoD for damage to windows, roofs, ceilings and a fish tank.

The MoD has paid out just under £640 for the damage and is dealing with another seven claims.

The figures show that eight “sonic incidents”, which were likely to be the result of RAF aircraft undertaking supersonic flight, have been reported to RAF police since January 2013.

During that time sonic booms have been heard in Norfolk, Wales, Cambridgeshire and Yorkshire.

Dozens of compensation claims have been made to the MoD as a result of these incidents, with a total of £3,576.26 being paid out.

One claimant received £780 for damage to patio doors and a chandelier after a sonic incident over Peterborough in June 2014. The same event resulted in a successful claim of £500 after the noise caused one startled person to be involved in a car accident.

In response to the FoI request, the MoD said supersonic flight is not routinely permitted over land in the UK and training is carried out over sea.

The letter said: “Recent reports of supersonic flight overland have been caused by RAF Quick Reaction Alert Typhoon aircraft who have been on air defence missions authorised to transit at supersonic speed for operational reasons.

“Any inconvenience caused to the public is regretted but this must be balanced against the need to maintain national security in an unpredictable and dangerous world.”


RAF Police appeal – Investigation into allegations of non-recent sexual offences

 

By Carl Fallowfield on 03/06/2016
 
Following an investigation, an ex Royal Air Force Serviceman, Richard Philpotts has been arrested and charged with a number of offences of sexual assault against children.

The charges relate to individuals who were below the age of 16 at the time and were allegedly committed within the context of Scouting at RAF Gatow, Berlin in the 1980s.

Wing Commander Martin Tinworth said: “The Royal Air Force remains dedicated to ensuring that all allegations are fully investigated.
“Operation OVERFOOT is the Royal Air Force Police investigation into allegations of non-recent sexual offences at overseas units, this investigation has already resulted in a series of arrests and investigations continue.”

Anyone who is or has been the victim of such offences or has information relating to the activities of any individual which may have affected others is urged to contact the Royal Air Force Police, in absolute confidence, via the Service Police Crime Bureau who can be contacted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on 02392 285170.

 

 

19/5/16

Swadlincote cadets spend a week on board HMS Bristol

 

The next day, before leaving to board the coach, the cadets received praise from the ship's staff, following the captain's inspection. They were impressed with how tidy the cadet messes were and were complimentary about the cadet's behaviour while they have been on board.

 

They arrived at Southwick Park, the home of the Defence School of Policing and Guarding. Here, the cadets were met by RAF Police sergeant Dave Whitlock, who gave a talk about the history of the RAF Police, including the investigation into the war crimes committed against the Allied aircrew who escaped form the prisoner of war camp, 'Stalag Luft'. The cadets then looked at the exhibits in the RAF Police museum and some even dared to sit on the police motorcycle.

 

The cadets then visited the Second World War D-Day map room and listened to a lecture about the planning behind the D-Day landings. The cadets sat in the same room which had been used in 1944, to explain the plan behind the Allied invasion of Europe to King George VI, Winston Churchill and many other senior figures at the time. The D-Day map room is not open to the public and so the cadets felt very privileged to be there.

 

To cap off the visit to Southwick Park, the cadets had a tour around the Army's Royal Military Police (the Red Caps) museum.

http://www.burtonmail.co.uk/Swadlincote-cadets-spend-week-board-HMS-Bristol/story-29279198-detail/story.html

 19/5/16

Project Condign – When the British Studied the UFO Problem

According to Pope, this huge wave of UFO sightings culminated in a “massive triangular-shaped craft flying over RAF Cosford and RAF Shawbury in the Midlands.” According to witnesses at the scene, including a meteorological officer and a RAF Police patrol, they saw a UFO that was several hundred feet in diameter and fired a narrow beam of light to the ground while emitting a low frequency humming noise.

“It moved slowly across the countryside before shooting off to the horizon several times faster than an RAF fighter jet,” said witnesses.

http://www.topsecretwriters.com/2016/05/project-condign-when-the-british-studied-the-ufo-problem/

17/5/16

RAF Policeman Proves He’s A ‘Super Trooper’

16 May 2016

News articles by date

RAF Policeman Flt Lt Mike Rankine has arrived at RAF Brize Norton after cycling over 2000 miles from RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus and has raised over £4000 for SSAFA Cyprus - smashing his original fundraising target.

The peloton in the final stretch

Ferry strikes, pouring rain over the Alps, road closures, punctures, an angry shepherd in Crete, plus the fatigue of being in the saddle for up to 18 hours a day were some of the challenges he overcame to complete this epic challenge in just 14 days.

The ride, ‘Super Trooper’, mirrored the route taken each week by the RAF’s ‘Trooper’ service between the UK and Cyrus and saw the Flt Lt pedal his way over challenging terrain in Cyprus, Greece, Albania, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, France, Luxembourg and Belgium before reaching the UK.

Original plans for his route changed as a result of a strike by Greek sailors - forcing him into Albania and up the coast before boarding an overnight boat to Italy. His contingency planning skills were further tested on Day 10 of the challenge when riding through the Alps. After 120 miles in the saddle and at over 3500 feet, he was faced with the closure of the St Gotthard Pass so had no option but to board a train for Lucerne in Switzerland or be forced to bThe Joy of completing the journey acktrack and re-route costing valuable time.

With an early Sunday morning arrival into the UK, the final leg of this gruelling journey took Flt Lt Rankine into London where he was met by the Provost Marshal (RAF) Gp Capt Kevin Bailey, before calling at RAF Northolt and RAF High Wycombe where friends took to their bikes to ride the final miles into Oxfordshire with him.

This very special peloton led by Flt Lt Rankine, entered the gates at RAF Brize Norton and was met by the Brize SSAFA team and a host of friends and colleagues who had gathered to celebrate the end of his unique adventure - spraying him with champagne as he crossed the finish line.

Stepping from his bike, a clearly delighted Flt Lt Rankine said: “I can't quite believe I'm finally here! The whole journey has been demanding, but it's these last few days that have been the hardest by far with 18 hour stints on the bike, well into the early hours, to make sure I made it to Brize on schedule.

 

“Whilst I'm physically very tired, the mental fatigue that has steadily built over the past week has been the hardest part and something I could never have trained for.”

The team of riders celebrate

 

With a dedicated Super Trooper Facebook page, followers of his journey received frequent updates of his progress and this gave him the opportunity to read the numerous comments these produced, he said: “What has got me through has been the incredible support given by friends, colleagues and followers of the trip - especially through social media and seeing those words of encouragement pushed me through.”

 

For the last two days of his journey, he was joined by his long-time friend and colleague Flt Lt Mark Pearce who met him in Belgium. Flt Lt Rankine said: “I couldn’t have got to the finish line without the company of Flt Lt Pearce. We rode over 350 miles together over the final 36 hours, grabbing a little sleep on the ferry from Calais to Dover. We kept each other’s spirits up throughout those long hours on the road.”

 

Before heading off to enjoy a large plate of fish and chips, he reflected on the physical toll his ride had taken and said: “Whilst the trip has been hard on my legs, it is my hands and feet that have suffered most, owing to 2082 miles of road vibrations. I'm now looking forward to a few weeks rest from the bike!”

Editor: Sal Davidson

Photographs:

The peloton in the final stretch.

 

The Joy of completing the journey.

 

The team of riders celebrate.

© MOD Crown Copyright 2016

17/5/16

Ex-cop claims aliens in famed British UFO encounter were 'interested in secret stash of nuclear weapons'

The revelations have been made by Gary Heseltine after officers claimed a UFO spotted at RAF Bentwaters travelled 120 miles in eight seconds.

A former police officer has come forward with astonishing information which he says sheds new light on Britain's most famous UFO case.
Gary Heseltine, 56, claims a UFO visited RAF Bentwaters as extra-terrestrials were interested in a 'secret' stash of nuclear weapons at the American airbase.

 

The incident, dubbed the British Roswell, made the front page of the now defunct News of the World and has sparked several books and documentaries.
Gary, who clocked up almost 24 years in the British Transport Police, claims the deputy base commander, Colonel Charles Halt, told him the Suffolk airbase had the largest arsenal of nuclear weapons in Europe.

UFOs reportedly buzzed Rendlesham Forest and the nearby USAF base over three nights in late December 1980.
During one close encounter, Staff Sergeant Jim Penniston says he even touched a small triangular craft describing it as "smooth to touch" with strangle symbols similar to ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs before it zoomed away.
Col Halt led a small team of experts into the woods when the UFO returned two nights later and made a 20-minute tape recording as he described the object as like a 'red winking eye'.
Gary HeseltineGary with Colonel Charles Halt who he says told him about the nuclear weapons
He also filed a memo detailing the incident to the British Ministry of Defence which was released under auspices of the Freedom of Information Act a few years later.
The most controversial aspect of the incident are reports the UFO fired beams of light into the 'weapons storage area' - a term used by the military for nuclear bunkers.
Retired detective Gary claims Col Halt told him that RAF Bentwaters had "more nuclear missiles in the weapons storage area (WSA) than anywhere else in Europe".

He says the high-ranking USAF official made the shocking admission as they toured the base and Rendlesham Forest for a documentary, which was never made.
Col Halt is one of the highest ranking military witnesses in the world to have talked about UFOs.
Gary, who guarded nukes while serving in the RAF Police, said: "As my wife Lynn and I walked with Colonel Halt through Rendlesham Forest I clearly remember him saying 'that there were more nuclear weapons in the WSA at Bentwaters than anywhere else in the whole of Europe' and he laughed that the peace protesters who were just up the road camped outside Greenham Common were oblivious as to where they really were."

 Backing up her husband, Lynn said: "I clearly remember Colonel Halt saying that there were 'more nuclear weapons in the WSA at Bentwaters than anywhere else in Europe'. It has always stayed with me because of the fact that the peace protesters at Greenham Common had been duped."
However Col Halt told Mirror.co.uk: "My comment to Gary was, 'It appears the beam was in or near the weapons storage area'.
"Keep in mind I was a mile or more away. I never made such a statement about weapons to Gary. Those are his conclusions."

The UK and US governments have always had a policy of neither confirming nor denying that weapons of mass destruction were stored at the base.
If the USAF base did indeed have nukes it could have contravened UK/US armament treaty obligations of the day.
In December 1980, the base was on high alert as Soviet troops were massing on the border of Poland over Lech Walesa and the rise of the solidarity movement and there was a US hostage crisis ongoing in the Middle East.

He added: "This information now provides for the first time a genuine motive as to why UFOs turn up at the bases in late December 1980 at a time of world crisis and clearly implies to me that a huge cache of illegal nuclear weapons posed a potential destabilising threat to the Earth."
The latest twist comes after two retired radar operators at the base claimed the UFO travelled 120 miles in eight seconds.
Ike Barker and Jim Carey tracked the unidentified target making a sharp right angle turn on radar and said it was not man-made.
However sceptics claim the UFO was a lighthouse, the re-entry of a satellite or a meteor, despite high radiation readings taken by experts at the landing site.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/ex-cop-claims-aliens-famed-7979477

4/5/16

Reservists from the RAF Police have been serving in the Falklands for the first time, working as Military Working Dog Handlers or performing General Police Duties.

Cpl Townsend and SitaThey are mobilised for a six-month tour and have seamlessly integrated into working alongside their regular counterparts, supporting the work of the RAF Police by providing protection and security.

With a variety of backgrounds, these part-time reservists are putting into practice the training that they completed in the UK and are developing new skills in this operational environment.

Corporal (Cpl) Ronnie Townsend is a joiner by trade and was looking for a new challenge in his free-time so joined 603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadron as a RAF Police Reservist. He is no stranger to the military having served for 20 years as a TA Royal Engineer which took him to a number of locations around the world including Cyprus, Gibraltar and Iraq.

Since joining 603 Squadron, he has worked alongside civilian police providing security at the Edinburgh Tattoo and for an event at Holyrood Palace. He said: “I was keen to go away again and I was told the Falklands is the best place to go to get experience of policing which is what I wanted to do.”

Cpl Townsend went to the Falklands as a Military Working Dog Handler, which amused his friends as he admits to never having owned any pets, but the intensive training prior to the deployment ensured he was prepared for the task ahead of him. 

Cpl Brian Gorst

Another reservist to work as a dog handler is Cpl Richard McKell who is a manager for Sky and is enthusiastic to experience military life whilst holding onto his civilian job. Before leaving for his deployment, he completed, amongst others, driving courses to ensure he was prepared for a variety of vehicle types over different terrains, he said: “One of the best parts so far was to complete the Dog Handler’s Course and Practical Training Assistants Course so I am a fully qualified handler and can work alongside my regular counterparts.”

The handlers and their dogs patrol the base and when not on shift, they train together to ensure the dog remains motivated and disciplined - including arena work to maintain obedience and agility across obstacles. Feeding and cleaning generally takes place after their shift, but handlers attend the kennels every day to exercise and groom their dogs.

Cpl Townsend and Sita TrainingSita is a 2½ year old Malinois and is partnered with Cpl Townsend whilst Cpl McKell is partnered with Ciro, a 7 year old German Shepherd. Earlier in the year, both pairs successfully entered The Falkland Military Working Dog Trials, a competition for all handlers, both reservist and regulars, that tests various disciplines such as obedience and wind scenting – which is a test of the dog’s senses to locate an intruder that has not been seen by the handler.

Another reservist who volunteered to go to the Falklands is Cpl Brian Gorst. He performs General Police Duties having previously worked at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, undertaken security patrols in Gibraltar and has performed Aviation Transport Security Tasks on aircraft travelling to the USA and Canada.

He said: “The tour has definitely met my expectations from the high visibility patrols on foot or in a marked police car to control of entry to the base. I’ve made an arrest and taken statements from witnesses plus I’ve assisted with investigations, so feel I’ve helped to make this a safer environment.”

Cpl McKell and CiroIt’s not all hard work on their deployment and the trio have been able to enjoy a variety of trips including an Air Experience Day with 1312 Flt, which taught attendees about 1312 Flt’s role whilst flying at low level over the sea in a Hercules, a battlefield tour to Mt Longdon plus a helicopter trip to Saunders Island where they sat amongst a penguin colony.

Whilst visiting Mt Longdon, Cpl Gorst’s shift climbed Mt Harriet and cleaned a memorial plaque from 1982. He said: “It’s a tradition that if you find a memorial plaque, you give it a clean using the brass cleaner and cloth that gets kept behind all of the memorials in an ammo tin. Two Royal Marines died at Mt Harriet and cleaning the plaque is a way of paying your respects.”

With this six-month experience and the inevitable time away from home, Cpl McKell said: “Working with the Military Working Dogs in more of a vocation than any other job. I found it hard at first being away from my family because of the shifts and the timings don’t match back home, but you quickly get involved in the variety of things going on around camp and that really helps.”

Summing up his tour, Cpl Townsend said: “The dog section are really good guys and I’ve got some good friends there. They make it feel like there’s no difference between being a regular and a reservist.”

2/5/16

AVIATION: Whatever happened to the keys to RAF Metheringham?

 

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: May 01, 2016

 

By Phil Bonner and Dave Harrigan from Aviation Heritage Lincolnshire

 

 

 

Seven years ago Phil gave a talk at the Metheringham Airfield Visitor Centre on the subject of 467 Royal Australian Air Force Squadron, which moved to Metheringham from Waddington to be part of 'Tiger Force' before being disbanded at Metheringham in the September of 1945.

 

The resident squadron was 106 Squadron, which disbanded in February 1946 and then Metheringham went into 'care and maintenance' while it was prepared for closure that summer.

 

 

In the audience listening to Phil's talk was Trevor Partridge, who had been based at Metheringham and was one of the final members of the 'care and maintenance' party that stayed on to close the airfield. Trevor related that at the very end of the closure process they had locked up all the buildings and the members of the team were about to depart for their respective new postings. However, they did not know what to do with the keys for all the buildings.

 

A phone call to the Air Ministry was made and the reply was along the lines of "go down to the local police station, hand all the keys over and tell the local constabulary that the RAF Police will call round to collect them in a few days".

 The team duly handed over the keys and went off on their different ways. Trevor stayed in the RAF and became a pilot in Transport Command, retiring from the Hercules fleet in the 1970s. He often wondered if the RAF Police did indeed call round to collect the keys or are they still to be found somewhere in a police storeroom!

 http://www.lincolnshireecho.co.uk/AVIATION-happened-keys-RAF-Metheringham/story-29186232-detail/story.html

 

 21/4/16

Two men acquitted of rape of Anne-Marie Ellement

20 April 2016

Two former soldiers have today been acquitted of the rape of Corporal Anne-Marie Ellement.

Emma Norton, lawyer for Liberty who represents Anne-Marie Ellement's family, said:

"Today two soldiers have been acquitted of the rape of the late Corporal Anne-Marie Ellement. The verdict of the court is respected and accepted. It is now more than six years since Anne-Marie reported being raped and it is more than four years since she died.

"The family would like to take this opportunity to thank the police officers that worked so hard – from the RAF Police and Bedfordshire Police – and all the lawyers from the prosecuting team. The commitment and diligence they have shown is something to which all those who report rape ought to be entitled. 

"Anne-Marie was entitled to have her allegations investigated while she was still alive. As the judge himself noted in very strong terms, this case should have been heard five years ago. The family welcome the judge's comments about the extremely unpleasant and dishonourable conduct of the defendants. They share the judge's concerns about the culture within the Royal Military Police.

"The history of this case, and how it took six long years for it to come to court, reveals grave deficiencies in the policies and practices of those responsible for investigating  sexual offences committed against members of the armed forces. 

"Had it not been for the tenacity and strength of Anne-Marie’s family and their willingness to challenge the extraordinary reluctance of the Ministry of Defence (MoD), the military police and the Army prosecuting authority to investigate the allegations, this case would never have come to court.

"After such a long struggle the family now asks for time to reflect upon the verdict. Above all today their thoughts are with Anne-Marie."

13 April 2016

No 3 (RAuxAF) Tactical Police Squadron, based at RAF Honington, had their training facility formally opened by their Honorary Air Commodore, The Lord Stevens of Kirkwelpington, in a formal ceremony on Saturday 9th April.

The ceremony, which was attended by a variety of civic dignitaries, civilian police and RAF representatives, marks the transition of No 3 Tactical Police Squadron (3TPS) following their move from RAF Henlow to RAF Honington in June 2015.

The facility will be known as RAF Kai Tak in memory of 18 RAF Police Non-Commissioned Officers who died in an air crash on 29th June 1946 whilst serving in the Far East. It is housed in a former cold war hardened aircraft shelter, consists of a training police station, plus a search house and is unique to 3TPS being the only one of its type across the Royal Air Force.

http://www.raf.mod.uk/news/archive/the-raf-police-formally-open-training-facility-13042016

Sadly, the Head Shed got the historical part of it all wrong: Only 10 RAF Police NCOs were killed along with 4 soldiers and 4 aircrew. The RAFP that were killed had no connection with RAF Kai Tak in Hong Kong. They were from No 20 RAF Police District based at Kuala Lumpar in Malaya. The aircraft and those on board have never been located and its assumed all on board perished. May they all Rest in Peace - Steve Davies

 

15/3/16

 

Group Captain Kevin Bailey, left, presents Corporal Harvey with his warrant card.

The RAF Police recently welcomed new members to their ranks at a recent graduation ceremony and local man Christopher Harvey was among them.

Christopher, 23, from Market Weighton, was watched by friends and family as he graduated the six-month trade training course to become a RAF Policeman.

The Defence School of Policing and Guarding (DSPG) in Hampshire, played host to the special ceremony which saw graduating students awarded their warrant cards from the Provost Marshal (RAF) Group Captain Kevin Bailey.

 

RAF Police students arrive at DSPG after completing their basic training and it is here they learn all the necessary trade skills to begin their careers. RAF Police have a wide remit including law enforcement, base security at home and overseas, military working dogs, cyber defence, investigations and forensics, global aviation security, counter intelligence, air transport security plus humanitarian and disaster relief support.

 
 

The former Market Weighton School student will now go to RAF High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire to commence his RAF Police duties. He said: “Personal Safety Training was the highlight of the course for me as it was hands-on and it is a vital due to the nature of our job.”

11/3/16

 

A young man who “always wanted to be a Police Officer” has now graduated as an RAF Policeman

 

 
Group Captain Bailey (L) presents Corporal Longstaff the Physical Education Certificate

 

Group Captain Bailey (L) presents Corporal Longstaff the Physical Education Certificate

 

 
 

 

A Gainsborough man has graduated as an RAF policeman and he was awarded the Physical Education Certificate.

Thomas Longstaff, 20, from Gainsborough, was watched by friends and family as he graduated the six-month trade training course to become an RAF Policeman.

It was his outstanding commitment and consistency to his own personal fitness levels that saw him recognised with the special certificate.

The Defence School of Policing and Guarding (DSPG) in Hampshire, played host to the special ceremony which saw graduating students awarded their warrant cards from the Provost Marshal (RAF) Group Captain Kevin Bailey.

RAF Police students arrive at DSPG after completing their basic training and it is here they learn all the necessary trade skills to begin their careers. RAF Police have a wide remit including law enforcement, base security at home and overseas, military working dogs, cyber defence, investigations and forensics, global aviation security, counter intelligence, air transport security plus humanitarian and disaster relief support.

The former Market Rasen Sixth Form student will now go to RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire to commence his RAF Police duties as a dog handler.

He said: “I really enjoyed the whole course and the six months just flew by. My highlights were the Glock 17 pistol training, Personal Safety Training, the practical exercise and the fitness challenges.”

The Physical Education Certificate is awarded to the student who has shown outstanding commitment and consistency with regard to their own personal level of fitness.

This student will have displayed physical and moral courage and will have made a significant contribution to team cohesion.

Thomas added: “I’m currently waiting for my Dog Handling Course which starts in April.

“Since my graduation, I’ve been carrying out general policing duties so I’ve been involved in all sorts of work, from participating in station exercises, to carrying out regular police patrols.

“I have always wanted to be a Police Officer so the RAF Police stood out to me with the prospect of travelling the world and having an active role with the many specialisations.

 

The RAF Police welcomed new members to their ranks at a recent graduation ceremony and Islander Torsten Lumber was among them.

Torsten, 27, from Ryde was watched by friends and family as he graduated the 6-month trade training course to become a RAF Policeman.

The Defence School of Policing and Guarding (DSPG) in Hampshire, played host to the special ceremony which saw graduating students awarded their warrant cards from the Provost Marshal (RAF) Group Captain Kevin Bailey.

RAF Police students arrive at DSPG after completing their basic training and it is here they learn all the necessary trade skills to begin their careers.  RAF Police have a wide remit including law enforcement, base security at home and overseas, military working dogs, cyber defence, investigations and forensics, global aviation security, counter intelligence, air transport security plus humanitarian and disaster relief support.

The former University of Nottingham student will now go to RAF Honington in Suffolk to commence his RAF Police duties. He said:

“I really enjoyed the whole course and I feel the training benefitted greatly from the input of the staff.  For me though, the highlight is completing the trade training and looking forward to moving to my new posting.”

Cpl Lumber

Photographed: Group Captain Bailey (L) presents Corporal Lumber his warrant card

01 March 2016

 

RAF Police have found themselves under the microscope this week as they undergo their first statutory inspection by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) under Armed Forces Act 2011.

The five day inspection will see HMIC representatives split into three teams to assess the independence and effectiveness of investigations. Their findings will be written up in a report and presented to the Secretary of State.

The inspection marks the culmination of months of preparation by RAF Police to ensure that their dedication and professionalism is evident to the HMIC through the various interviews and focus groups that personnel will participate in.

The Provost Marshal (RAF), Group Captain Kevin Bailey is no stranger to HMIC. Earlier in his career he was the Project Officer for the voluntary inspection of the Special Investigations Branch. He said: “I am delighted to be hosting another HMIC inspection and I looking forward to showcasing the professionalism of the RAF Police. There has been a lot of hard work by my team to prepare for this inspection and I feel confident that we will perform well. Of course, the hardest part will be waiting for the results!”

Editor: Sal Davidson

© MOD Crown Copyright 2016

 

28/2/16

Hundreds of military police axed under Tory austerity, new figures show

Scores of RAF Police, Royal Military Police and Royal Navy Police officers have been cut since 2010 and even more jobs could be slashed

 

Hundreds of military police have been axed under Tory austerity, shock figures reveal.

A total of 460 trained officers have been cut since 2010 and even more jobs could be slashed - triggering claims the Government has a “reckless disregard” for troops’ safety.

Defence Minister Penny Mordaunt admitted the number of RAF Police alone plunged by 340 from 1,480 to just 1,140 in six years since David Cameron entered Downing Street.

The Royal Military Police has seen its numbers fall by 80 from 1,700 when the Conservatives came to power to 1,620.

And scores of Royal Navy Police have also been lost, with the force’s strength dropping from 340 to 300.

Overall, the number of military police plummeted by 13% from 3,520 to 3,060.

Shadow Defence Secretary Emily Thornberry, who uncovered the cuts using parliamentary questions, said: “Our military police play a very difficult but vital role within our Armed Forces.

“They investigate all military crime, they are an important presence on the streets of our garrison towns and naval ports - and, as we saw all too tragically in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Red Caps are regularly forced to put their lives on the line when operating overseas.

“George Osborne has already cut their numbers by 13% since coming to office and, despite that, they are still not safe from more cuts in the future.

“At a time of growing concern among many service personnel – particularly women – about serious crimes like sexual assault, that refusal to rule out further military police cuts shows a reckless disregard for the safety of our Armed Forces.”

 

Mr Osborne caved into pressure in the run-up to November’s Autumn Statement, agreeing to protect cash for the 43 police forces funded by the Home Office.

But he refused to guarantee that British Transport Police, the Civil Nuclear Constabulary and the Ministry of Defence Police would be spared.

Ms Thornberry said: “Only three months after he promised to protect police budgets in this Parliament, we can add the military police to the list of forces that are exempt from George Osborne’s pledge - and it is the safety of our armed forces and garrison towns that will suffer.”

The three military police forces have similar powers to civilian police forces, including investigating crimes and regularly patrolling garrison towns alongside civilian police.

 

A Ministry of Defence spokeswoman insisted: “The Service Police continue to meet all their operational commitments.

“These personnel reductions were implemented through the SDSR 2010, when the Services assessed that military police forces would be able to continue to meet their requirements.

“This has proven to be the case.”

The threat faced by military police was underlined in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

Nineteen Red Capos were killed between 2003-09, including six RMP personnel murdered in a single incident in Majar al-Kabir in June 2003.

 

 

Plymouth friends walk miles for charity

 

By Plymouth Herald  |  Posted: December 20, 2015

 

  • Jodi, Nicky, Lisa and Louise with Cally the dog

 

Four friends have embarked on a six mile walk to raise money for a charity which supports military veterans.

 

Jodi Johnson from Leigham arranged the walk to fundraise for Walking With The Wounded and with her three friends Nicky Harling, Lisa Cresswell and Louise Chapman has managed to raise £300.

 

Being an ex-RAF police dog handler, Jodi has seen first hand how people can be affected after leaving the forces.

 

Jodi's dad was also in the Navy, so the charity supporting ex service men and women is a cause close to her heart.

 

Walking With The Wounded's mission is to support veterans with physical, mental or social injury to gain the skills and qualifications necessary to develop new careers outside the military, re-integrate into society and provide long-term security for themselves and their families.

 

Jodi said: "Veterans of war are seen so frequently on the news struggling to find homes or get back into work.

 

"That's why I wanted to do some extra fundraising for the charity."

 

The four ladies along with Cally the dog trekked from Jodi's home bright and early on Sunday morning (20/12/15) through Plymbridge Woods, ending at the Skylark pub for a pint to celebrate.


 

The RAF Police Turn Back Time

10 December 2015

News articles by date

RAF Police have paid a special visit to Bentley Priory Museum to hand over a 1941, II Group RAF Sector Clock that was recovered from a pile of fire damaged objects following a blaze there in 1979.

Derek and FS Mick Parkinson open the clock for Eleanor Pulfer – Sharma

Members from the Defence Flying Complaints Investigation Team (DFCIT) have been careful custodians of the clock ever since and it was following a force development visit to the museum in 2014 that a photograph of the clock was spotted in one of the reconstructed rooms by Mr Derek Allen. Notifying staff of its whereabouts, plans then commenced for the return of the clock to its original home.

Derek has worked at DFCIT for 15 years and recalls the history of this famous timepiece, he said: “There have always been rumours that the clock was whisked away in the middle of the night but they’re simply not true. As guardians of this rescued clock, the department has always been immensely proud of it. It’s been on permanent display, has been admired by many and has formed part of our history.”

Back row: L - R – Chloe Marley, FS Mick Parkinson, Sgt Rob Smith, Sgt Craig Berry, Fg Off Lucy Bawden, Sue Welch / Front row: L - R – Derek Allen, Eleanor Pulfer-Sharma The clock has followed DFCIT to various locations through the years including Bromyard, RAF Rudloe Manor and finally RAF Henlow where the team now resides. It is reported that on each of these moves, it was wrapped in a blanket for safe keeping and transported in the boot of a car. However, for its final trip to Bentley Priory, the traditional blanket was replaced by bubble wrap to ensure its safety.

DFCIT bestowed the honour upon Derek to formally hand over the clock at a small ceremony and he said: “This is a small part of history which I’ll remember fondly - from the panic in 2009 amongst some of the RAF Police thinking it had been stolen when in fact it was in for repair, to today, as it comes home and leaves a space on our wall which will now remain empty.”

Receiving the clock on behalf of Bentley Priory Museum was the Director, Eleanor Pulfer-Sharma, who said: ‘‘We are delighted that the sector clock has been returned to Bentley Priory Museum, where it will be placed on display to enhance interpretation of the Dowding System and the pivotal role of RAF Bentley Priory during the Battle of Britain as Headquarters Fighter Command.

“It is evident that during its time with the RAFP’s DFCIT that the clock’s important historical value was recognised, and great care has been taken of the sector clock–including fundraising to have it repaired to working order.’’

Editor: Sal Davidson

Photographs: Mr Andrew Reed

Derek and FS Mick Parkinson open the clock for Eleanor Pulfer – Sharma.

The team say farewell to the cloc.

© MOD Crown Copyright 2015

Congratulations Warrant Officer Graeme Spark RAFP on being presented with your MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) yesterday at Windsor Castle.

Husband and wife team graduate as RAF Police Reservists

19 November 2015

News articles by date

The RAF Police welcomed new Reservists to their number at a graduation ceremony held recently, in the Headquarters of 603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadron. For the first time the graduation included a husband and wife.

The Sinclairs Jointly Receive Award for Best Newcomers to 603 Sqn in Dec 2014.James and Janet Sinclair, who live in Perth, were both awarded their warrant cards after successfully completing their training and are now looking forward to their part-time role within the RAF Police.

Both have a military background and having watched their son’s career progress in the army, they decided it was time to get back into uniform. They were attested in April 2014, beginning their training the following month.

Janet, who works as a Senior Administrator for a manufacturing company, has enjoyed her experiences to date and said: “In September of last year, we gave tours of our Headquarters in Edinburgh as part of the City’s Open Doors Weekend. This was thoroughly enjoyable and gave us a chance to research and showcase what an incredible building we are fortunate to call our HQ.”

A/Cpl James Sinclair Receives Warrant Card from The Provost Marshal (RAF)

After completing the first phase of training with an intensive two week course at RAF Halton in Buckinghamshire, the couple were jointly awarded Best Newcomers to 603 Squadron for 2014 - the first time it had been given to a married couple.

Acting Corporals James and Janet SinclairIt was during the six months worth of Phase 2 training that the Sinclairs rubbed shoulders with royalty when Her Majesty The Queen, the squadron’s Honorary Air Commodore, visited the Edinburgh Headquarters to mark the 90thAnniversary of the squadron’s creation.

Having been presented with their warrant cards by The Provost Marshal (RAF) Group Captain Kevin Bailey, a clearly delighted Acting Corporal Janet Sinclair said: “We were both so looking forward to graduating and obtaining our warrant cards so we could get on with being part of the RAF Police.”

Editor: Sal Davidson

© MOD Crown Copyright 2015

 

 

Was he the first RAFP?


In pictures: RAF Cosford boat project is a labour of love


It has been a 15-year-long labour of love – and for the team of volunteers working to restore a special boat at RAF Cosford’s museum there is a lot more work to do yet.

 

 
LAST RAF 30 SL 20
Nick Nicholls, 70, from Stafford, he served on this boat
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Many of the eight-strong team, based in the Michael Beetham Conservation Centre, have been been giving up two days a week of their time for time more than they care to remember to help restore the boat once used by the RAF Marine Branch.

And soon members of the public will be allowed in to see the fruits of their labours.

LAST RAF 38 SL 20
RSL 1667 saw service in the Far East

The task of restoring the Range Safety Launch (RSL), number 1667, to its former glory is even more special for one of the volunteers, Nick Nicholls, who served on it back in the 1960s.

The 70-year-old former plumber from Stafford, who was in the RAF for five years, said: “I only served on the boat for a fortnight, but I loved it. She was a great boat in her day and has seen a lot.

“It was used for so many rescue missions, but I wasn’t on it for long – although I wish I had been on it longer. I served on the boat in about 1967.

“But I love working on this project, it’s very strange been a part of this, as I have a history with this exact boat.”

With four crew members and a top speed of 20 knots, RSL 1667 saw service in the Far East based out of RAF Seletar, Singapore.

While in Singapore, the boat was painted in tropical white livery and operated in support of RAF Shackletons and helicopters based at nearby RAF Changi on search and rescue in target towing, sonar practice and weapon recovery duties.

In the 1960s it was used to tow Sunderlands to mooring buoys and transfer passengers to and from the aircraft.

Allotted back to the UK in 1970, the 43ft boat spent a further 11 years based on the south coast of England before its withdrawal from service in 1981 when it was purchased by a private owner.

While work completed to date includes the restoration of the wheelhouse including the instrument panel and controls, the next steps will see the engine bay having its surface finish restored and the steering gear rebuilt.

LAST RAF 20 SL 20
Henry Adams, 60, from Stourbridge, and Tom Merrall, 69, from Whitchurch fixing the rudder

Another volunteer, who has worked on the boat since 2001 is Bryant Rudolph, who is a retired RAF police officer.

The 77-year-old, from Shifnal, said he found out about the volunteers programme after reading an article in the Shropshire Star.

“I enjoy it so much,” he said. “I only live round the corner in Shifnal, so it gives me something to do. I love watching it all come together, and as I was in the RAF police I feel like I have a close connection to it.”

Another volunteer, Neil Butler started restoring the boat after his wife Mandy died last year.

The 57-year-old, who is a retired firefighter from Stafford, said he enjoys his days at the museum as it gives him something to do.

“I found out about the programme following an open day, and I have also worked at Severn Valley Railway helping there as well,” he said.

Team leader Mike Garbutt, from Wombourne, said the team are making good progress, but there is still a lot of work to be done.

He said: “The team are great, we all work very well together and the boat has come on so much from when I started.

“The one thing that has taken a long time is getting all the paint off it, because with a boat you just repaint over it.

“So when we started stripping it there was at least an inch of paint on it. Now we’ve pretty much completed that we are preparing to paint it an ivory colour.

“The boat was mainly painted tropical colours so it is only right that we return it to that state.”

LAST RAF 41 SL 20
The boat was formerly in private hands

Other volunteers include friends Mark Wakelam, 61, from Market Drayton, Henry Adams, 60, from Stourbridge, and Tom Merrall, 69, from Whitchurch. The three men have been spending a lot of their time working on the boat’s rudders, which they have now completed.

Visitors will be able to see the work next month at a series of open days.

 

They will also be able to view the ongoing restoration of the Vickers Wellington, as well as observe progress on another of the centre’s long-term conservation projects, the Handley Page Hampden.

The centre will be open from November 9 until November 14 from 10.15am to 1pm and costs £5 per person. For details log on to www.rafmuseum.org/cosford or call (01902) 376200.

Tryweryn: Personal stories 50 years after the flood

By Delyth LloydBBC News

MBE for RAF Police Reservist

13 October 2015

A RAF Police Reservist has been awarded an MBE at Buckingham Palace by HM The Queen following two operational tours in Afghanistan.

Corporal David Derbyshire (56), from Nottingham, has served with Number 3 Tactical Police Squadron since 2008 and was deployed to Afghanistan in both 2013 and 2014. On his first tour he was employed with the RAF Police at the Main Entry Point at Camp Bastion where he worked alongside the US Marines, returning to operations a year later as part of the RAF Police flight line security team at Camp Bastion Air Terminal.

Receiving the news that he was to be awarded a MBE came as quite a shock for the Corporal and he said: “I have always considered myself really fortunate to have been part of the RAF and able to make a constructive contribution to the Service.

“It has been a complete privilege to meet and serve with every single member of the services, including those from other nations.”

Going to Buckingham Palace on a sunny October day, Corporal Derbyshire and his wife Catherine enjoyed the enormity of their palace adventure, citing the professionalism of the staff and the company of the fellow recipients as making their day one to remember.

Corporal Derbyshire, who works for the YMCA as front of house security and out of hours management for a homeless accommodation facility, concludes: “My memories of the day and my complete service with the RAF Police will stay with me forever. I will always have at the foremost of my mind though, the thoughts of all those service men and women who have given so much more than myself, and their families.” 
 

Editor: Sal Davidson

© MOD Crown Copyright 2015

 

 

603 Squadron Celebrates 90 Years Of Service

 
603 City of Edinburgh Squadron, Royal Auxiliary Air Force (RAuxAF) has marked its 90th anniversary with a night of special events at Edinburgh Castle.
 
Now a Squadron of RAF Police and RAF Regiment gunners, it once had an illustrious flying past.
 
603 (City of Edinburgh) Squadron RAuxAF was formed in 1925 as a light bomber Squadron, flying from RAF Turnhouse which is now Edinburgh International Airport.
 
The Squadron converted to fighters and was equipped with the Spitfire by the time WW2 began.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

http://forces.tv/83613285

 

Blind veterans to join 200 others in Royal Marines Zip Wire

 

Eight brave blind veterans who have received life-changing support from Blind Veterans UK will be taking on a great challenge by riding a Royal Marines zip wire and descending 120 feet from the top of the charity’s iconic building in Ovingdean this weekend.

The dare-devil veterans will join 200 others in taking on the challenge to raise as much money as possible for Blind Veterans UK.

Tony Harbour

One of the veterans taking part over the weekend will be Tony Harbour. Tony, from Saltdean, turned 80 in June and will add the zip wire to his other fundraising efforts for Blind Veterans UK.

Tony was part of the RAF police from 1953 until 1961and was stationed in Gibraltar and the UK.

After Tony left the RAF he finished his apprenticeship and degree in electrical engineering and moved to Brighton where he started up his own business. Part of his work involved working on Blind Veterans UK properties, which are adapted for veterans with sight loss so they can live independently.

After volunteering for the charity for almost 20 years, Tony was diagnosed as suffering from glaucoma himself. He had several unsuccessful operations to try and help with his sight, but was registered blind in 2009.

Tony says: “When I lost my sight I found myself in a black hole that I didn’t know how to get out of. I wasn’t myself and I did not want to know the world.

“I’m so glad that I knew about Blind Veterans UK and I can’t tell you how much they have helped me. They’ve given me my independence back.”

Tony, will be joined by other members of his local RAF Police Association for the zip wire this weekend and he and the group have raised thousands of pounds for Blind Veterans UK over the last few years. Earlier this year he abseiled down the Grand Hotel in Brighton and raised more than £1,000.

He adds: “Lots have people have laughed at me when I told them what I was going to be doing but I can’t wait. I know we’ll all be in safe hands with the Royal Marines running things and I hope that we can raise as much as possible.”

 

John Mumford with his National Service medal.
John Mumford served in Cyprus from 1958 to 1960
16:54Friday 02 October 2015

A Spalding antiques dealer has finally got his military medal – 55 years after finishing national service.

John Mumford has been awarded the National Se rvice medal for the time he spent in Cyprus from 1958 to 1960.
All credit to Mr Mumford – he deserves it. He stood up there for the British trying to keep the peacePeter Carter of Long Sutton Royal British LegionThe National Service Medal recognisesthose who served as conscripts for the United Kingdom between 1939 and 1960.

Mr Mumford, who has run Spalding Antiques in Abbey Path for 28 years, was just 19 when he started his national Service.

He said: “I went off four days before Christmas and was one of the last when national Service finished in 1960.
“It’s certainly something I’m pleased I did. It was quite an experience and taught us discipline. We lived in a tent because it was so warm and if we drove the open top Landrover we burnt our hands on the wheel and our legs on the seat.
“I was in the RAF police and finished as a corporal. For three or four months I was stationed at the Middle East Air Force HQ.
“I can remember being on duty and saluting Air Chief Marshal Sir William MacDonald, who was the commander in chief.

“I was on duty when the nation’s first president Archbishop Makarios returned to the island. There were lots of cars that day - it was quite something.”
Mr Mumford was encouraged to apply for the medal by Peter Carter of Long Sutton Royal British Legion.
Mr Carter said: “All credit to Mr Mumford – he deserves it. He stood up there for the British trying to keep the peace.”

28 September 2015

When planning a flight in to an operational theatre, the crews of the Royal Air Force’s C-130J Hercules have plenty to think about; be it their route, the air threat, the weather, the fuel they need or the load and weight of the aircraft.

An RAF Regiment Gunner displaying his squadron badge and ‘Mudguards’.

One thing they don’t have to worry about, however, is the protection of the aircraft and its passengers on the ground. That is the job of the men and women of the Air Mobility Protection Team (AMPT).

Made up of Force Protection specialists from the RAF Regiment and RAF Police, the AMPTs deploy forward to any hostile location to provide all-round defence to the aircraft, its passengers and its load. They also assist the crew with any customs and immigration processes there might be at their destination.

An RAF Regiment Gunner displaying his squadron badge and ‘Mudguards’.

“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 around Iraq” said Corporal Greg, a RAF Police junior non-commissioned officer on the AMPT.

Leaving the aircraft before any of the crew or passengers, the team position themselves at various points around the aircraft, ready to control access and restrict anyone unauthorised from approaching. Should the need arise, the team are armed and ready to counter any risk to life that might be presented.

An RAF Policeman standing guard by the entrance door of a Hercules aircraft.

Cpl 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. It also gives the crew additional capacity to focus on their other duties knowing their aircraft is in safe hands.”

Editor: Flt Lt Lolley

Photographs: Flt Lt Lolley

An RAF Regiment Gunner displaying his squadron badge and ‘Mudguards’. 
 

An RAF Policeman standing guard by the entrance door of a Hercules aircraft.

© MOD Crown Copyright 2015

 
 

Ministry of Defence covering up infamous UFO sightings which made 14 children draw similar pictures, claims Tory peer

Tory peer calls on defence chiefs to come clean about what happened in the skies over an area known as the Broad Haven Triangle

 
 
Broadhaven sketches

The Ministry of Defence has been accused of covering up a top secret investigation into one of Britain's most infamous spates of UFO sightings.

In the late 1970s, a number of mysterious objects were spotted above an area which became known as the Broad Haven Triangle, in Pembrokeshire.

One extraordinary incident occurred near a primary school , when 14 pupils saw a UFO landing and drew strikingly similar pictures of it.

Now a Tory peer has called on the MoD to come clean and tell the world what it knows about the bizarre events.

Lord Black of Brentwood said: "A number of recently released Ministry of Defence files leave little doubt that a small number of sightings of aerial phenomena - particularly by military personnel, pilots and air traffic controllers - remain unexplained and unidentified.

"There needs to be further examination of these issues in the hope of learning something new."

 

 

The peer has a long-standing interest in the subject of UFOs, but his interest in this old case was sparked by new research into the Broad Haven sightings.

Neil Spring, a novelist, investigated several of the cases during the research for his upcoming book The Watchers, digging up a document which suggests a secret UFO investigation was carried out in the area, without politicians knowing about it.

"I visited Broad Haven a sceptic, and came away convinced that some of the locals knew far more about the mysterious occurrences of 1977 than they are willing to reveal," he said.

The declassified document is a letter from the head of S4, a wing of the MoD, to the Provost & Security Service, which functions as a kind of internal police force within the RAF.

 

 

In this letter, an official expressed surprise that so many otherwise "level-headed" witnesses had reported UFO sightings to the press and suggested a "discreet enquiry" could be the best way to proceed.

"I have not even told the Minister I am consulting you," the defence chief wrote.

At the time the MoD had denied there was any unusual activity in the area.

 

 

Nick Pope, who worked as UFO investigator for the MOD, said: “This bombshell document shows how the MoD's UFO project asked the RAF Police to conduct a secret investigation into these mysterious events, while Parliament, the media and the public were being told the subject was of no defence significance."

"Defence ministers were cut out of the loop," he suggested.

The sightings in Broad Haven took place near a military base, leading some observers to suggest the crafts had actually been Harrier jump jets and the aliens were just men wearing fireproof flying outfits.

We have contacted the MoD for comment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RAF Debden Memorial Unveiled

 

Personnel who served with the Royal Air Force and the United States Air Force at RAF Debden have been remembered by the unveiling and dedication of a memorial on the site.

The Unveiling by Mr William ClarkThe dedication coincided with the national commemorations to mark the 75thanniversary of the Battle of Britain, a date chosen specifically to highlight the crucial role that RAF Debden played in WWII defending the South East and London.

The role of RAF Debden changed after the war but retained a RAF presence for many years with the RAF Technical Training Command located there from 1946-1960 and the RAF Police Depot taking residence from 1960-1975.

The Wreath LayingThe unveiling was performed by Mr William Clark, a WWII veteran who learnt to fly the Hurricane at the base. The Deputy Provost Marshal (RAF), Wing Commander David Wilkinson, formally represented the RAF at the event, laying a wreath in unison with a USAF Officer.

Following the event, Wing Commander Wilkinson said: “It is an honour to be part of this event and to share time with some veterans and their families. RAF Debden is not only an important piece of history for the nation, but it forms a large piece of RAF Police history too. It’s wonderful to have this permanent memorial to all who have served here and I feel grateful to those who have worked so hard to make this happen.”

Editor: Sal Davidson

Photographs:

The Unveiling by Mr William Clark

The Wreath Laying.

 

© MOD Crown Copyright 2015

RAF air cadets from the Warwickshire and Birmingham Wing try fitness training and crime scene investigation

Royal Air Force cadets were given first-hand experience of military police training – learning everything from conducting an arrest to crime scene investigation.

Thirty-five air cadets and staff from the Warwickshire and Birmingham Wing took part in the Blue Light camp at the Tri Service Police Training Centre at Southwick Park near Portsmouth.

The programme covered many aspects of RAF Police training and also included additional visits to RAF Odiham and the Royal Military... 
source: Coventry Telegraph

 

 

Sergeant Tanner pictured here with his police dog Hertz, German short-haired Pointer and veteran of Afghanistan

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3231496/Stunning-photos-offer-rare-glimpse-lives-RAF-s-brave-servicemen-women-annual-photography-competition.html#ixzz3lhx3i4lU 

 

Tributes paid to Great Shelford community figure Ernie Mills following death aged 95

By Cambridge News  |  Posted: September 12, 2015

 
 

Ernie Mills' funeral will be held on September 21 in Cambridge

 
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Tributes have been paid to a community figure from Great Shelford who passed away aged 95 after more than 10 years volunteering at the village rugby club.

Ernest Mills, known as Ernie, died at Addenbrooke's Hospital on August 30.

He was a popular member of the community and a regular face at Great Shelford Rugby Club, where he volunteered at the weekend, selling merchandise for the past 11 years.

His son Michael Mills, 72, explained it was only in October last year that he retired from his position at the club, where he was also named an honorary vice president.

 
Promoted by Brilliant Barbados
 
 

He said: "He was upstanding and all the cards have said he was a gentleman – he was liked by everybody, everyone liked meeting him at the weekends.

"He liked his garden and travelling around, not really abroad, but he did go to San Francisco in his 80s on his own and cycled across the Golden Gate Bridge.

"He was fair, kind and a good man."

Mr Mills was born in the Hertfordshire village of Ardeley before moving to Cambridge with his parents in his late teens.

As a young man he worked at the Sainsbury's store on Sidney Street and he also served in Burma as an RAF police officer in the Second World War.

In the late 1940s, Mr Mills opened greengrocers E.W. Mills on Gwydir Street in Cambridge and he has been credited as one of the first people to introduce the mini market concept to the city.

After around 20 years at the shop, Mr Mills retired and got involved on a voluntary basis at Great Shelford Rugby Club.

Mr Mills worked at the club's shop on weekends and facilities manager Ian Hodgkisson said he would be missed.

Mr Hodgkisson, 58, said: "He was nice to everybody – the kids loved him because he was in the shop a lot.

"He was always around and he always spoke well of people – he never had a cross word with anybody."

Mr Mills was married to his wife Vera until she passed away in 2002. He leaves behind three children – Michael, 72, Ann, 71, and Stuart, 69.

He also had eight grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.

Mr Mills' funeral will be held at 11.45am on September 21 at St John the Evangelist's Church on Hills Road, Cambridge.

This will be followed by a private family ceremony at Cambridge Crematorium. Family flowers only, but donations can be made to the British Heart Foundation.


Read more: http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/Tributes-paid-Great-Shelford-community-figure/story-27781086-detail/story.html#ixzz3lhwNEsvB 

RAF parade in Bury St Edmunds yesterday 11/9/15

RAF Policewomen Help To Celebrate 100 Years Of History 

RAF Policewomen are helping to make history by joining colleagues from around the world at the International Association of Women Police Conference which is being held this week in Cardiff.

The Parade Begins

The International Association of Women Police (IAWP) is celebrating a very special year as 2015 marks its centenary and this training conference is designed to bring hundreds of members from 77 countries together. A milestone year for women in policing, 2015 also marks the 100th anniversary of the first women joining the British Police.

Six RAF Policewomen are in attendance at the Conference which is the biggest event in the IAWP’s calendar. It not only recognises the contribution that women make towards policing, it affords an opportunity to hear from global police leaders on a wide variety of topics, promotes the sharing of best practice and discussion of cross-cutting, local and international issues amongst delegates. It is all geared towards professional development.

The Conference opened with a VIP ceremony which saw The Provost Marshal (RAF), Group Captain Kevin Bailey in attendance, he said: “It was an inspiring occasion and one that provided a good opportunity to engage with the civilian Police, particularly at Chief Constable level.”

The highlight of the opening ceremony saw the centre of Cardiff graced by the presence of over 600 female police officers adorned in their uniforms from around the world as they paraded through the Welsh capital. The ‘Parade of Nations’ commenced under grey skies, yet the inclement weather did nothing to dampen the spirits of the participants as they wound their way through the City Centre to the delight of the crowds that lined their route. An awards lunch followed recognising outstanding efforts.

L-R FS Young, Cpl Logan, A/Cpl Wood, PM (RAF) Gp Capt Bailey, Cpl James, A/Cpl Feeley and Flt Lt Siczowa

Flight Lieutenant Chrissy Siczowa, Operations Officer, No 4 Protection Wing, at RAF Brize Norton is attending the Conference for the first time. She is heading up the exhibition stand for the RAF Police that promotes life in the RAF and used to aid the recruitment of reservists, she said: “It’s an absolute honour to represent the RAF Police at this year’s IAWP Conference. Having never attended the Conference previously, this will be my first experience of the Association and I am eager to showcase the RAF Police and learn from other organisations”.

Accompanying Flight Lieutenant Siczowa for this Cardiff deployment are Corporal Rhi James from RAF High Wycombe, Flight Sergeant Angie Young from RAF Henlow, Corporal Adele Logan from RAF Halton and Acting Corporals Jess Feeley and Alycia Wood, both stationed at RAF Honington.

Looking forward to the week ahead, Flight Lieutenant Siczowa concludes: “It will undoubtedly be a fantastic opportunity for myself and the team to demonstrate the high calibre of female police personnel that currently exist within the RAF.”

Editor: Sal Davidson

Photographs:

The Parade Begins.

L-R FS Young, Cpl Logan, A/Cpl Wood, PM (RAF) Gp Capt Bailey, Cpl James, A/Cpl Feeley and Flt Lt Siczowa.

© MOD Crown Copyright 2015

 RAF Police Stand at the International Association of Women's Police Conference. What an inspirational event to attend.

 

Military police highlight work to Nuneaton cadets

A FASCINATING insight into RAF policing was given to young people.

Cadets from the 121 (Nuneaton) Squadron, and other units within the Warwickshire and Birmingham Wing, took part in a 'Blue Light' camp at the Defence School of Policing and Guarding at Southwick Park.

A total of 35 Air Cadets and staff took part in the unique camp at the Tri ServicePolice Training Centre.

This was the second time the establishment had hosted an Air Cadet camp for members.

 

The programme was varied and covered many aspects of the RAF Police Training.

It also included additional visits to RAF Odiham and the Royal Military Police (RMP) Close Protection Training Unit at Longmoor.

The stay opened up everyone's eyes to the wide variety of work undertaken by the RAF Police and RMP together with the extra opportunities to specialise after completing phase two training.

The Southwick Park camp was significantly different to a normal camp on a RAF station and the team were indeed fortunate to have the stations Deputy Air Cadet Liaison Officer, Cpl Adam Stuart RAFP assigned to them for the entire week.

The cadets also had an insight into the physical demands of police training when they undertook the RAF fitness and swimming tests, many of them passed the required standards with some obtaining exceptionally high scores.

The camp also visited the RMP Close Protection Unit at Longmoor where they train service bodyguards (looking after all VIP's abroad from Royals downwards).

On top of this a day visit to RAF Odiham was included and although people were unlucky not to fly – the cadets saw an RAF Police section for real, and had a display of the attack police dogs.

The Central and East Regional Commandant, Group Captain Nigel Gorman also visited for a day and was particularly impressed with the range of activities offered, and the support given to the cadets by the station.

The Air Cadet Camp Commandant Sqn Ldr Bryan Coats said: "This was a valuable opportunity for the RAF Police to dispel any preconceived ideas anyone had about the branch – and they certainly did that.

"It was a full week programme – with no gaps, and I have no doubt cadets will have learnt a great deal, and really enjoyed many parts of the activities.

"I thank the ACLO and the establishment for hosting us – and will not forget them. This was only the second ever ATC camp at the centre, and hopefully as a result of the total success of the week, there may be others."

Anyone who would like to know more about the activities and work of the Warwickshire and Birmingham Wing Air Training Corps visit www.aircadets-wbw.org

Royal Air Force corporal with North East community links faces child photo charges

Defence chiefs have appealed for any victims of sexual offences by service personnel to contact them as it emerged that a Royal Air Force corporal is in custody accused of possession and distribution of indecent images of children.

Roger Heal was held following an investigation by a Royal Air Force Police sexual offences and child abuse investigation team, the RAF Police said in a statement.

Investigators believe the serviceman has had contact with children through his voluntary work for youth organisations including the scouts, air cadets and civilian football and cricket clubs, predominantly in the Northumbria Police force area and London, Thames Valley and Cheshire, between 2001 and 2014.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is committed to supporting the safeguarding of children, or any other individual, who may have been affected by Corporal Heal or any other serviceperson, no matter where or when the incident took place, the statement said.

Anyone who was the victim of a sexual offence perpetrated by a serviceperson or had information relating to the activities of any individual which might have affected others was urged to get in contact, in absolute confidence, via the Service Police Crime Bureau, on 023 9228 5170.

An RAF spokesman said: “The RAF takes allegations of this nature very seriously and is dedicated to investigating them thoroughly. This has been a long and detailed investigation and from the very beginning our main focus has been and remains on ensuring that any victims and their families receive the fullest support. However, it would be inappropriate for the RAF or the MoD to comment further while legal proceedings are on-going.”

Corporal Heal is being held at the Colchester Military Corrective Training Centre, and there is due to be an internal pre-court martial hearing into his case there tomorrow.

 

 

Air Cadets Experience Military Police Training RAFP

 

Royal Air Force Air Cadets from the Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing have just returned from what has been described as a "Blue Light" camp at the Defence School of Policing and Guarding at Southwick Park.Thirty-five Air Cadets and staff from the Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing took part in a unique and extremely interesting camp at the Tri Service Police Training Centre at Southwick Park. This was the second time the establishment had hosted an Air Cadet camp for members of the Warwickshire & Birmingham Wing.

20150807-AC-2

The camps programme was varied and covered many aspects of the RAF Police Training delivered by the Southwick Park Defence School of Policing and Guarding (DSPG). The training programme also included additional visits to RAF Odiham and the Royal Military Police (RMP) Close Protection Training Unit at Longmoor. The week long camp certainly opened all our eyes to the wide variety of work undertaken by the RAF Police and RMP together with the extra opportunities to specialise after completing phase two training.

The Southwick Park camp was significantly different to a normal camp on a RAF station and we were indeed fortunate to have the stations Deputy Air Cadet Liaison Officer, Cpl Adam Stuart RAFP assigned to us for the entire week - and he was an excellent role model for the cadets throughout the camp.

The week started with a visit to Fort Nelson (A Napoleonic Fort which overlooks Portsmouth). On their return to DSPG Southwick Park the Cadets started their Police training with some short lessons in law, (both civil and military), including when and how to conduct an arrest followed up by a Personal Safety training session. The cadets were amazed at the Protective Security session and the downfalls and risks associated with using social media such as facebook etc, and this really captured their attention.

The cadets also had an insight into the physical demands of Police training when they undertook the RAF fitness and swimming tests, many of them passed the required standards with some obtaining exceptionally high scores.

The police training undertaken by the cadets also included visits to Southwick Park’s mock Police station, Court Martial suite (a mock courtroom) and an Airport Security check-in training facility complete with x-ray machines etc. The Airport Security check-in proved to be a highly amusing activity with each cadet having a go at the different aspects of the check-in process and using computer simulators to see what the X-ray machines can really do with a testing exercise. The cadets also spent a whole morning undergoing CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) training that covered many aspects of this specialist role, from collecting samples, fingerprinting and DNA to photography - a visit they all found exceptionally interesting - conducted by members of the SIB (Special Investigation Branch) of the RMP (Royal Military Police).

The camp also visited the RMP Close Protection Unit at Longmoor where they train service bodyguards (looking after all VIP's abroad from Royals downwards). The cadets were extremely interested in their impressive range of weapons. To their amazement one of the instructors giving the presentation was an ex ATC cadet from 198 (Hinckley) Sqn which had staff and cadets on the camp. Both RMP and RAF Police officers who have completed the Close Protection course are now serving all over the world in this extremely dangerous and specialist role.

On top of this a day visit to RAF Odiham was included and although we were unlucky not to fly - the cadets saw an RAF Police section for real, and had a display of the Attack Police Dogs. Add to this a half day of fieldcraft training and a night ex with RAFP instructors the cadets had every day filled full of new and exciting activities. The evenings were also enjoyable with Laser Quest, Cinema, Pier visit, and the last night party with Pizza, but anyone there will testify that it was an interesting and tiring week with so much going on.

20150807-AC-1

This was a very different camp to an annual camp on an RAF station (and their accommodation was probably the best I have seen - single rooms and a kitchen for each wing of 7 rooms). The cadets will not forget this camp.

The Central & East Regional Commandant, Group Captain Nigel Gorman also visited for a day and was particularly impressed with the range of activities offered, and the support given to the cadets by the station. His 2 daughters had passed out from DSPG some 10 years ago and he saw several activities that he didn’t see when he visited their pass out parade. He was also very pleased by the enthusiasm and commitment of the cadets taking part in the activities he witnessed.

The Air Cadet Camp Commandant Sqn Ldr Bryan Coats said. "This was a valuable opportunity for the RAF Police to dispel any preconceived ideas anyone had about the branch - and they certainly did that. It was a full week programme - with no gaps, and I have no doubt cadets will have learnt a great deal, and really enjoyed many parts of the activities. I thank the ACLO and the establishment for hosting us - and will not forget them. This was only the 2nd ever ATC camp at the centre, and hopefully as a result of the total success of the week, there may be others.

PICTURES: The Lossiemouth Raft Race

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The annual Lossie raft race took place on Sunday (August 2) drawing a crowd of over 3000 people despite the unpredictable weather.

The race is organised by the Royal Air Force (RAF) base along with Moray Council and Grampian Police to raise money for local charities and engage with the local community.

This year Cash For Kids and the ‘Make a Wish Foundation’ were the chosen charities.

Of the 19 teams that started the race only 5 managed to finish, with one team’s raft falling apart even before the start line.

 

RAF Lossiemouth’s Police Dog Section were the victors ending the Steamboat Inn’s short 1 year hold of the title.

The winning craft was built from oil drums.

The design, used last year as a Viking ‘long ship’, proved manoeuvrable and quick as it led in a close finish with ‘Cash for Kids’ raft.

Flight Lieutenant Ollie Harbridge said: “The raft race was a great success again this year. I’m obviously happy that a RAF Lossiemouth team won and I think the friendly competition helped to make this year’s event the most enjoyable yet.

“It was however a shame that most of the rafts didn’t make it to the finish, with only 5 teams making the finishing line.

“I’d like to thank the local businesses and residents of Lossiemouth for their continued support, for their patience during the disruption of the day, and their generous donations that have enabled us yet again to raise so much money for charity and put on this community event with such success.”

The money raised from the event will be split equally between MFR Cash For Kids and the Make a Wish Foundation. These were chosen to ensure two local charities receive all the benefits from the generosity of local people.

The final result of the race was:

1st – RAF Lossiemouth Police Dog Section
2nd – MFR
3rd – The Steamboat Inn, Lossiemouth
4th – 1 (F) Squadron
5th – ‘The Spitfire Sirens’, RAF Lossiemouth
** Remaining teams failed to finish.

Fancy Dress Competition Winners: ‘The Spitfire Sirens’, RAF Lossiemouth

The Annual Lossiemouth RAFT RACE 2015. This years theme was BoB First place, the RAF Lossiemouthpolice Dog Secotion. 2nd; MFR 3rd the Steamboat

The Annual Lossiemouth RAFT RACE 2015.

 

The Annual Lossiemouth RAFT RACE 2015.

The RAF Police winners

 

The Annual Lossiemouth RAFT RACE 2015.

No hard feelings from runners up…or those whose craft couldn’t cross the finish

The Annual Lossiemouth RAFT RACE

Outfits that don’t seem too tactical for the chilly waters

 

Lossie Raft RAce

A great spectacle for service men and women as well as local people

 

Lossie Raft RAce

Is that a bit of sabotage going on there? Or is it a rescue?

 

Lossie Raft RAce

Sabotage seems more and more likely…who can say though

Wirral pensioner jailed for raping girl

Ex-RAF police dog handler Peter Watson locked up for 15 years

A 74-year-old Wirral man who repeatedly raped and sexually abused a young girl received a 15 year sentence.

Peter Watson was given a 11 year term behind bars with an extended licence of four years by Judge Denis Watson, QC, who described him as a dangerous offender.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that she had been left severely psychologically damaged by the offences which spanned about 12 months when the victim was around 11.

Judge Watson told the defendant, a former RAF police dog handler: “You believed you were in a girlfriend-boyfriend relationship which gives me great concern.”

The girl read her own moving victim personal statement to the court and the judge said that for her the consequences of the offending “are truly life changing.”

He said that the case involved, “repeated and relentless sex abuse” with Watson giving the little girl cigarettes to make her feel more grown up.

He said: “You corrupted her, there were elements of grooming and planning.”

Watson, of Upland Road, Upton, had pleaded guilty to ten offences involving rape, attempted rape and sexual assaults. He also incited her to engage in sexual activity and watch a sexual act. He will have to serve two thirds of the custodial term before he can apply for parole.

The judge ordered him to sign the Sex Offenders Register for life and he also imposed an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that the offences, which happened when Watson was in his 60s, came to light in February this year after the victim told her mum that had happened and the police were called.

As well as raping and sexually abusing her Watson made her watch sex films while they were both naked. He also had a large make up box and got her to wear a dress and put make up on, said Paul Becker, prosecuting.

John Ballam, defending, said that Watson, “wants her to know he sincerely apologises for his disgraceful behaviour. He is disgusted by his behaviour and ashamed. She should not feel guilty, he is the guilty person, she was totally innocent.”

He said that Watson, who worked for a considerable time in a local factory, had been frank with police. After attempting suicide he was referred to a psychiatrist and had since been remanded in custody.

 

RAF Halton Police support RSPCA

  |  PUBLISHED: JUL 8TH 2015

 

RAF Halton Police at Blackberry Farm

Staff at the RAF Halton Police Flight have been busy supporting local charities as they carried out a series of collections on the main gates of RAF Halton in aid of the RSPCA.  The National RSPCA week ran from the first of June and included collections throughout the county where donations of food and money were also welcomed from the general public.

Corporal Dan Hill and his retired RAF Police Dog, Frisco, collected at the main gate along with Corporal James Bowers.  Another RAF Police team consisted of Flight Sergeant Dawn Bellingham and her labrador, Charlie and Sergeant “Dally” Pollard and her border collie, Dylan, who collected on the Swann Road gate.

The dogs worked very hard and it was noticeable how much the RAF Halton staff appreciated the sight of these animals on arrival at the gates. The aim was to raise £100 for the charity and in the early morning sunshine, the collection teams were well received with many donating loose change down the back of their passenger seat, or gave up their dinner money to go towards this worthy cause.

RSPCA Blackberry Farm in Aylesbury opened in 1997 and is a Head Office run centre.  This means that the running costs are paid for by the main RSPCA but that they also have a local fund raising group, made up of staff and volunteers, who raise funds for projects and items directly for the centre - such as the K9 Sensory Garden.

This is where the money raised by the collection at RAF Halton is going to be used and give the dogs in their care new areas to exercise, relax and carry out their normal instincts away from the kennel environments.  The majority of their animals come in via their Inspectorate - those animals that have been treated cruelly or neglected.

The RSPCA spend time rehabilitating them, behaviourally and with veterinary treatment until they are ready to be put up for adoption.  Blackberry Farm can hold up to 57 dogs, 96 cats and various small animals - such as rabbits, ferrets, guinea pigs, hamsters, gerbils, degas, chinchillas, goats, chickens and ducks.  They can take a maximum of 200 animals, depending on the small animal species but on average, they have around 130 animals on site, at any one time.

After the gate collections at RAF Halton, Dan Hill and Will Hughes, with his RAF Vehicle Search Dog, Sweep, carried out a walk around areas of the Station so that personnel who had missed the gate collections could donate – in exchange for a cuddle with Sweep!  Many of the personnel were only too happy to take time away from their work and talk about dogs and the animals in care at Blackberry Farm.

On Thursday 11th June, the RAF Police took a trip to Blackberry Farm with their dogs in order to meet the Centre Manager Julie Allen, and to hand over a cheque for £207.08 – over double the amount initially hoped to raise.  The Centre Manager was extremely grateful with the fund raising and sent her appreciation to all the staff at RAF Halton who donated.

Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund  
 
 
Dear Friend,
 
 
 

By the time you read this, Corporal Damien Smith will have been medically discharged from the RAF. He'll be trying, with courage, to make a new life for himself and his family.

Damien, you see, has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which has cost him his very promising career in the RAF Police and almost cost him his family.

Now that most serving personnel have returned from Afghanistan, the impact of our time there is emerging. For Damien, part of a special unit investigating fatalities of British Forces, what he witnessed was life changing.

 
 
 
Help us to support members of the RAF family
 
 
“Being immersed in so much death and despair was simply overwhelming. I couldn't get over it. I knew I had to get help.”
 
 
 

"Seeing horrific injuries on young men and, on one occasion, a 13-year-old Afghan boy – I have three boys around that age – I found I couldn't help but get emotionally involved. Being immersed in so much death and despair was simply overwhelming. I couldn't get over it. I knew I had to get help."

Read more about Damien's experience here and how, thanks to your support, we are able to help him and his family to move forward.

If you would like to help someone in great difficulty, anything you can afford would be much appreciated.

Thank you for your support. People like Corporal Smith really deserve it.

Alison Wyman
Head of General Welfare

Queen and Duke of Edinburgh meet RAF reservists in squadron visit

Queen Elizabeth was accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh on a visit to the headquarters of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force's (RAuxAF) 603 Squadron.

The Queen has met RAF reservists in Edinburgh at the end of a week of public engagements in Scotland.

The Queen was accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh on a visit to the headquarters of the Royal Auxiliary Air Force's (RAuxAF) 603 Squadron.

The couple met squadron personnel and spent time talking to Second World War Spitfire pilot Allan Scott, 94, who revealed that it was not the first time he had met the Queen.

The retired Squadron leader said he encountered Elizabeth II as a 16-year-old princess when attending Buckingham Palace to be decorated by the King in 1943.

Mr Allan, who received the Distinguished Flying Medal after shooting down five enemy aircraft, said he had nipped off for a cigarette and was spotted by the princess who politely admonished him.

The grandfather of three from Shrewsbury said: "I've been looking forward to the visit, I enjoyed it very much.

"After all, I haven't seen the Queen for around 70 years, so it was quite a thrill to see her again.

"It's been a wonderful day and I am so pleased to have met both their Royal Highnesses. The Duke of Edinburgh and I have something in common you see - we are the same age."

Mr Allan signed the 603 Squadron visitor book along with the Queen and the Duke.

The Queen also signed a picture portrait which will be framed and hung in the headquarters.

603 Squadron is the younger of the RAF Reserves' two specialised police units. It converted to its current role in 2013 as part of the Future Reserves 2020 programme.

The Duke of Edinburgh presented service medals to reservists during the visit, which brought to a close a week of royal engagements in Scotland.

On their departure the Queen, wearing a Karl Ludwig coat in shocking pink and a matching Angela Kelly hat, was presented with a posy by seven-year-old Charlotte Murphy from Rosyth.

Earlier this week the Queen and Duke hosted a garden party for about 8000 people and on Friday they attended the official opening of a university research centre and a hospital complex in Glasgow.

Cpl John Nicholls on duty at Wimbledon Tennis Royal Box 2015

Hertfordshire Constabulary Reservist to Wear his Uniform to Work for Reserves Day

 
Reservist Outside Army Reserve Centre

Reservist Darren Baldwin (A.K.A Balders) decided to take part in Reserves Day 2015 to raise awareness of what the Reserve Forces do to the wider Hertfordshire Constabulary as well as the general public.

In his civilian role, Darren is a Civilian Crime Officer with Hertfordshire Constabulary who joined the Reserve Forces just under a year ago on the 26th June 2014 after he had been inspired to learn more after working alongside a Royal Air Force Police Sergeantas as an Ascension Island Police Officer.

Darren serves No 3 (Tactical) Police Squadron Royal Auxiliary Air Force [3(T)PS RAuxAF] as an Acting Corporal and has recently completed the Condensed Regular Battlefield Policeman Course (Phase 2 training). The course includes most aspects of Police work from learning civilian and military legislation to patrolling and compiling case papers.Reservist and Employer Outside Civilian Workplace

Highlights of Darren’s Reserves career include successfully completing Phase 2 training and passing out as a Royal Air Force Policeman, being presented with a RAFP warrant card, armband, military police patch and police whistle alongside 7 colleagues.

Darren believes that joining the Reserve Forces is for those who would like to be taken out of their comfort zone and challenged, he said “Not only is it an opportunity to serve your country, see more of the world and access first class training but it is a chance to take part in some incredible adventures that you wouldn’t necessarily experience in civilian life”

Darren’s next step is to complete a 5 day Aviation Transport Security Course which he is due to undertake in August of this year. After being in service for less than a year, Darren has achieved an incredible amount and developed skills in a variety of areas, all of have which benefitted him personally and in his civilian career.

If you would like to know how you can journey down the same path as Darren, take a look at our RAF Reserves page and find out if you have got what it takes to be a Reservist.

RAF training trophy success for former Bradford student

 
FIONA Burnell, who went to school in Bradford on Avon, became one of the newest airwomen in the Royal Air Force as she graduated from basic training with a trophy.

Ms Burnell was one of 50 new airmen and airwomen to graduate in front of friends and family having successfully completed ten weeks of intensive basic training at RAF Halton near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire.

The training at RAF Halton is designed to take the new recruit and transform them into an airman fit for operations by laying in place the foundation stones they will build on throughout their career.

Not only did Ms Burnell, 25, from Bath, successfully complete the course, she was awarded the Mayor of Aylesbury Trophy, which is presented to the recruit who has shown the best overall performance in all aspects of training.

She said: “I thoroughly enjoyed my nine weeks training here at Recruit Training Squadron. I have learned so much and met so many people.

"The highlight of my time here has been the Initial Force Protection Training but I have benefited enormously from the physical training elements. I was overjoyed to have won this award and I look forward now to starting the next stage of my professional training with the Royal Air Force.”

Ms Burnell, who studied at St Laurence School, before joining the Royal Air Force, will now begin training as a RAF police officer.

Squadron Leader Matt Tope, Officer Commanding Recruit Training Squadron, said: “Today is a proud day for Fiona, as well as her family; achieving success in Basic Training requires mental, physical and emotional strength, because the course is far from easy, and a great sense of achievement is felt by all, including the instructors who help them towards their objective of graduating.

"She is more than ready to start the next phase of her career, and build on what he has achieved already. The operational environment poses significant challenges, and training our people optimally prepares them for these challenges.

"The RAF is always looking for more people to join in our success, and I would encourage anybody who thinks they may be interested in a fast-moving and demanding environment to visit their local Armed Forces Careers Office or go to www.rafcareers.com.”

Exercise Eager Lion

Personnel from 51 Squadron RAF Regiment based at RAF Lossiemouth, have returned from participating in Exercise Eager Lion 15, a large-scale multinational exercise conducted throughout the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan during May 2015. 

The Squadron worked alongside the United States Marine Corps (USMC) and the Jordanian Armed Forces in an exercise designed to test the skills of those taking part in a variety of real life scenarios. C Flight, a relatively inexperienced Rifle Flight from 51 Squadron RAF Regiment, provided the core of the Squadron’s deployed personnel. The Flight’s numbers were boosted to 41 personnel with the attachment of snipers, machine gunners, a paramedic, specialist RAF Police men and women, and RAF Police Military Working Dogs.

The first phase of the Exercise saw the troops refresh themselves in basic close combat skills operating in austere and rugged conditions. This culminated in the simulated defence of a temporary forward helicopter refuelling point against an enemy force. The training was conducted in the arid and mountainous region of Al Quwayra, in Southern Jordan and gave the Flight a chance to practise all the component parts of operations in a challenging and realistic environment.

RAF Regiment gunners, such a Senior Aircraftsman Joseph Maden, had to quickly acclimatise to the hot desert conditions whilst also watching out for the numerous camel spiders and scorpions that were spotted throughout the Exercise. He said;

“It was an interesting and enjoyable experience. It was beneficial to be training in an environment similar to where we may end up working, rather than training in the cold rain of Scotland”

After completing the initial phase of the Exercise, the Flight moved to Amman to train alongside the USMC for crisis response training in the impressive King Abdullah Special Operations Training Centre. In addition to working closely with the US Marines, the Squadron worked alongside the British and US Embassies to rehearse a Non-Combatant Evacuation Operation. This required the safe evacuation of 200 role-players, simulating British and US citizens, caught in a deteriorating and deadly situation in a hypothetical Middle Eastern country.

Senior Aircraftsman Thomas Bunting said;

“The training in Amman was really interesting. I especially enjoyed integrating with the Americans and learning about how they did certain things differently to us, such as the weapon systems they used, and escalation of force drills. We would also exchange rations for the novelty factor – the Americans will do anything for chocolate spread.”

The evacuation training developed with increasing complexity, testing the troops with a series of diverse tactical problems. These ranged from simulated evacuees not having correct identification papers, through to violence and crowd control issues and escalated to include opposing forces shooting at the security forces and evacuees. C Flight together with their USMC counterparts provided the protection forces for the extraction, with the commanders from each nation working seamlessly together.

After completion of the second phase, the Squadron took the unique opportunity to visit the historical site of Petra which is famous for its architecture cut directly into the rock. It proved to be an amazing experience for all and a once in a lifetime opportunity for many.

The Exercise was a great success, as summarised by Officer Commanding 51 Squadron RAF Regiment, Squadron Leader John Kirkman:

“The Exercise provided a fantastic opportunity for my RAF Regiment gunners and attached RAF Police men and women to work together in challenging conditions and alongside coalition partners. Together with the UK and US Embassies and with our US Marine colleagues, we practised our procedures for the short-notice evacuation of a large number of civilians from a hostile and rapidly deteriorating situation by air, practising one of the tasks that we may be required to complete for real. Jordan has some outstanding training facilities and has provided the perfect environment in which to complete realistic, relevant and high quality training to prepare the Squadron for future operations.”

Editor: Flt Lt Chester Myers

Photographs: Cpl Dave Blackburn

Sniper, 51 Sqn RAF Regiment, provides protection in over-watch.

SAC Stephen, 51 Sqn RAF Regt, providing close protection of civilians awaiting evacuation.

USMC MV-22 Osprey aircraft approaching the Landing Site to extract the troops, following the evacuation of all civilians.

The evacuation was secured and protected by RAF Regiment Gunners and RAF Police working together.

© MOD Crown Copyright 2015

I’ll abseil down The Grand hotel for charity, says blind veteran David, 79

David Yeomans, 79, attended a Buckingham Palace garden party with his wife and more than 1,000 other veterans to celebrate Blind Veterans UK’s 100 years of support to blind and vision-impaired ex-servicemen and women

David Yeomans, 79, attended a Buckingham Palace garden party with his wife and more than 1,000 other veterans to celebrate Blind Veterans UK’s 100 years of support to blind and vision-impaired ex-servicemen and women

First published in News
Last updated 10:32 Monday 15 June 2015
by , Assistant News Editor

A BLIND Royal Air Force veteran has vowed to abseil down Brighton's Grand hotel for the charity that helps him.

David Yeomans told of his brave fundraiser after he was among hundreds of blind and visually impaired ex-servicemen who gathered to celebrate the centenary of Blind Veterans UK at Buckingham Palace.

Mr Yeomans will abseil down Brighton’s Grand hotel on July 14 and has already raised £734 for Blind Veterans UK.

He said: “Being 79, I joke that I’ve been passed fit to abseil by my doctor... and my psychiatrist.”

The Heathfield resident and his wife Adele attended a special garden party hosted by the Countess of Wessex at Buckingham Palace.

He said: “I was very proud and pleased to have been there. It was a fabulous day and we couldn’t have wished for better weather.”

Mr Yeomans joined the Royal Air Force in 1953 and served in the RAF Police as a Leading Aircraftman Acting Corporal in the UK and in Singapore. His job included arresting AWOL airmen and providing armed escorts. He also flew in a US B-17 Flying Fortress and an Australian Lancaster Bomber.

The most dramatic moment of his career was his nine-week return voyage from Singapore, when his ship was forced to take a detour by the Suez Crisis and was quarantined with Asian Flu.

Blind Veterans UK started helping Mr Yeomans last year. He was robbed of his sight by diabetic retinopathy, a common complication of diabetes, which meant he could no longer drive or carry out some of his hobbies.

He said: “I loved to broadcast for community and hospital radio, but I had to pack that in because I couldn’t see to operate the controls on the desk and read the CD titles.”

 

Blind Veterans UK have helped him in many ways, including giving him filter glasses to block out glare and a program to magnify his computer screen.

They gave him a colour picker - which helps him pick clothes out of the wardrobe.

He said: “My wife can’t believe that a gadget slightly larger than a torch can tell me what colour my trousers are, but it’s quite amazing. And it stops me having to call her out of the shower to check the colours when I’m getting dressed.”

Mrs Dring is the widow of WO Graham Dring

 

Brave gran speaks of burglary ordeal

 

Police outside the address at Lowbourne in Melksham. They have also been carrying out area searches. Trevor Porter 51517/1

Police outside the address at Lowbourne in Melksham. They have also been carrying out area searches. Trevor Porter 51517/1

First published  in News 
Last updated 19:51 Thursday 11 June 2015
by , Corsham and Melksham reporter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BRAVE 81-year-old Sylvia Dring has told how she chased off two thieves she caught sneaking around her home unaware they had raided her bedroom.
The pensioner had been pottering in the shed at her home in Lowbourne, Melksham, yesterday just after 2.30pm, when she saw someone coming out her house.

“I saw this tall figure in dark clothing,” she said. “I called out to him ‘what do you want and what are you doing on my property’?”

The man didn’t stop so the grandmother, who was wearing a pair of her daughter’s running shoes as she tidied the shed, began to chase the man as far as she could but he fled in the direction of the town centre.

It was while she was catching her breath in her driveway, she saw another man coming from her neighbour’s garden. The grandmother challenged him, asking if he was breaking into the house to which he mumbled and then sprinted towards Forest Road.

Her next door neighbour John Dixon, 64, was watching TV in his lounge at the time, unaware someone had been trying to get into his house and had searched his car.

“I heard nothing,” the Wiltshire Farm Foods employee said. “I went upstairs and all of a sudden I saw all the cop cars and forensics.”

Officers arrived within minutes and Mrs Dring told them what had happened and discovered £70 was missing from her purse, which had been in the kitchen.

However, it wasn’t until later that evening after the forensic unit and police had left, that she realised the thieves had also been upstairs, strewn clothes all over the floor and pulled all her drawers out and emptied her jewellery box with her mother-in-law’s rings in.

“I couldn’t stop crying,” said Mrs Dring, a retired Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food employee. “Ok they pinched my money – opportunists. But I just didn’t think they’d gone upstairs."

A forensic officer later returned to look for evidence but last night Mrs Dring was too upset to find out what had been stolen and stayed with a neighbour.

She feared sentimental items belonging to her late husband Graham, who died seven years ago aged 75 from cancer, could be missing including his RAF police medals.

The pensioner is now determined to not let the thieves win and is appealing for anyone with information to contact police on 101.

She has described the two men, who are thought to be in their mid-20s, as wearing jeans, dark tops, with one wearing a grey beanie hat.

Mrs Dring added: “We work hard all our lives to get what we want for somebody to come in and wreck it for us. It’s sickening.”

 Image shows: Number 3 Police Wing March on Parade at Royal Air Force Honington 9 June 2015. The Commander RAF Police, Group Captain Bailey accompanied by Officer Commanding RAF Honington, Group Captain Smeath MBE BSc (Hons) MA RAF, reviewed the No 3 Police Wing

Image shows: Number 3 Police Wing March on Parade at Royal Air Force Honington 9 June 2015. The Commander RAF Police, Group Captain Bailey accompanied by Officer Commanding RAF Honington, Group Captain Smeath MBE BSc (Hons) MA RAF, reviewed the No 3 Police Wing 'march on' to RAF Honington on 09 Jun 2015. The parade was to mark the arrival of No 3 Police Wing at their new location of RAF Honington. The Officer Commanding No 3 Police Wing, Wing Commander J Knight MA BSc LLB RAF, paraded the personnel of No 3 Police Wing from Poplar Close via the Main Gate and passed the Garden of Remembrance on Bray Avenue. The parade was constructed of a single Flight with RAF Police dog escort.

 http://www.cambstimes.co.uk/home/raf_honington_welcomes_300_new_members_with_as_3_police_wing_moves_to_suffolk_base_1_4107517

http://www.raf.mod.uk/news/archive/number-3-police-wing-march-on-raf-honington-10062015

RAF police move to new headquarters at Honington in Suffolk

9 June 2015 Last updated at 14:36 BST

Hundreds of RAF police have moved into a new headquarters at a former air base in Suffolk.

The service's police took over their new base at RAF Honington earlier but personnel will be expected to be deployed across the world.

The police protect RAF bases and aircraft from threats such as espionage, organised crime and terrorism.

They also investigate crime, drug offences and advise on legal issues. The police officers have transferred from Henlow in Bedfordshire.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-33067873

New Drop In Surgeries, Tattershall

The Coningsby, Tattershall and Woodhall Spa Neighbourhood Policing Team are joining forces with RAF Police to host weekly surgeries for the local community.

The drop in surgeries will be held every Wednesday morning, from 9.30am until 11.30am at the newly refurbished community centre on Clinton Park, Tattershall.

PCSO Alison Evans said: “We previously held surgeries on Friday mornings and they were very well attended but had to be discontinued when the centre closed for refurbishment. Now the building, which has a great central location on the estate, is open again and we’re looking forward to resurrecting the sessions.

“We will be available for crime prevention advice, property marking, and also for listening to local residents’ concerns. Anyone wishing to report a matter can also visit us at the surgery and we expect the padre from the base will be joining us as well”.

The sessions begin on Wednesday 17th and will continue weekly, including throughout the school holidays, when parents and children will have the opportunity to have bikes security marked and learn more about topics such as internet and personal safety.

Ali RAF

RAF Hercules Returns From Earthquake-Hit Nepal

A Royal Air Force C130J Hercules aircraft sent to assist the people of Nepal affected by a devastating earthquake has returned to RAF Brize Norton after completing a successful humanitarian aid mission.

A team of 38 RAF personnel deployed for a four-week detachment to assist in aid delivery, delivering over 62 Tonnes of freight to Kathmandu from an airbase in India.

During the busiest period of the deployment, every day would see a crew fly a mission of up to 16 hours, delivering World Food Program High Energy Rations, 10 Tonnes of shelters and tents as well as essential water purification materiel for use by the British Gurkha Engineers in Nepal.

Sqn Ldr Eoin Sands, C-130J Detachment Commander from 30 Squadron said:

‘’It has been a real privilege for me to command this detachment - it has been challenging at times, but also incredibly rewarding. Together, every member of the team has contributed 100% to allow the C-130 to safely deliver much needed aid to the people of Nepal and they all go home in the knowledge that they have made a difference.’’

Challenges faced by the team included having to manhandle part of the aid onto the aircraft, a total of 40 Tonnes over four days, due to a lack of serviceable cargo handling equipment. But, the presence of the support elements meant that the detachment was entirely self-sufficient for the duration.

Sqn Ldr Eoin Sands added:

‘’Every single individual we encountered during the entire deployment was eager to help in whatever way possible to help the detachment achieve its aim of delivering aid to the people of Nepal. The atmosphere was one of industriousness and everyone was proud to be contributing.’’

The support team included Engineers, RAF Police, Medics, Movements Operators alongside Safety Equipment fitters and Communications Technicians.

It comes after three RAF Chinooks returned from Nepal after sitting unused in an Indian Air Force base for almost a month.

 

In the dock: John Merrett, security officer at Gloucester crown court for the last 12 years, found himself in the dock as he was wished well for his retirement. His departure co-incided with his 73rd birthday and his 49th wedding anniverary.

Popular Gloucester Crown Court security guard John Merrett found himself in the dock facing two judges - but for the nicest of reasons.

On his 73rd birthday and 49th wedding anniversary former policeman John, of Brimscombe, near Stroud, retired after 12 years working at the courthouse.

The dad of five was given a rousing send off as barristers, court officials and other staff crowded into court number one - with John standing in the dock wearing a 'birthday boy' flashing badge.

Tributes were led by senior barrister George Threlfall who told the court that John's first job had been as an army bandsman - where his larger than life stature meant he ended up playing the tuba because they could not find a sousaphone big enough to wrap around him.

John then worked as a deckhand on a BP tanker sailing between Avonmouth and Southampton - but could not cope with the seasickness and he joined the RAF police for five years, working in Aden and Singapore, said Mr Threlfall.

Mr Threlfall said "John then joined the Gloucestershire Constabulary where he served for 27 years, eight of them as a motor patrol officer. Luckily I don't think I made his acquaintance by the side of the road!

"Here, as a security officer at the crown court, John's skills have really come into their own. A fairly diverse panorama of human existence comes through the doors of this building, some of them, it has to be said, unencumbered by a surfeit of charm.

"They are all met by our Falstaffian gatekeeper with his fresh from the rotisserie complexion. They are treated with kindness and courtesy.

"It is no surprise to any of us who work in this court that there is seldom, if any, trouble in the building. Partly, I suspect, because visitors have been put at their ease but more importantly because John is such a patently genial and decent man that people feel constrained to behave well around him."

But Mr Threlfall said John's career at the court had not been unblemished. There was the time he locked up for the night without realising that a visiting judge was still in the building!

"The Recorder was caused considerable anxiety and distress by his predicament and some say there was a tear in his eye when John released him," said the barrister.

Mr Threlfall also revealed that John, a keen country sportsman, had once shot three Magpie geese without realising they were rare specimens which were later reported missing from the Wildfowl Trust grounds at Slimbridge.

"It has been left to me finally to solve this forty year mystery!" declared Mr Threlfall.

He said John had played golf with a handicap of nine - "until his stomach got in the way." Nowadays he enjoys fishing and shooting.

John had also been recruting officer for the Gloucestershire police male voice choir since 1982 but had succeeded in signing up only one serving officer during his time at the crown court, the barrister added.

John was presented with retirement gifts and his wife Marilyn received a bouquet.

Judge Jamie Tabor said John's security desk colleague Richard Dando had gone to 'enormous trouble' to collect donations and buy the presents for his colleague,

The judge said the gifts and the number of people in court were a testament to the affection and respect everyone had for John.

"I have never seen a turnout like this, not even for a judge," he said.

John said: "I feel very humble to hear all these accolades. I think you must be talking about a different person. I have enjoyed my time here - they were possibly the best years of my working life."



Read more: http://www.gloucestershireecho.co.uk/Retiring-Gloucester-Crown-Court-security-guard/story-26611385-detail/story.html#ixzz3btogqj3k

Carve out a career with the RAF Reserves

Picture by Cpl Daniel Wiepen RLC. RAF Police Squadron providing day and night security in Camp Bastion

First published Friday 22 May 2015 in News by Vivien Mason, senior reporter

A FORMER flying squadron that was disbanded in the 1950s is being reformed as an RAF Reserves Squadron and is recruiting part-time voluntary reserves from the Midlands area including Worcestershire and Warwickshire.

An open day for recruitment for logistics and ground staff is taking place at Cosford Air Show on May 30 where personnel from 605 (County of Warwick) Squadron will be on hand in the recruiting village to answer questions and start the recruitment process for those interested in joining.

The reformation forms part of the Ministry of Defence's plan to create a new, fully integrated reserve force that is well trained, well equipped and well funded, including a raft of measures offering crucial support and incentives to employers, the reservist and their families.

The man charged with reforming the squadron, Wing Commander Mike Sherburn, said: "My team and I cannot wait to get started. We are incredibly proud of what we can offer our potential reservists, both here at Cosford and in support of RAF operations either in the UK or overseas. Having been mobilised on operations as a reservist myself, I appreciate how juggling civilian commitments with the RAF Reserves takes dedication, however, the rewards in terms of challenges, training, esprit de corps and financial are worth it."

No stranger to the West Midlands, 605 Squadron was originally formed at Castle Bromwich in 1926. After a distinguished period of service, including a notable contribution during the Battle of Britain, the Squadron was finally disbanded in 1957. Over half a century later, the Squadron will start recruiting at the Nuffield Pavilion, RAF Cosford, from 10am to 2pm on Saturday May 30.

The Squadron's Head of Recruitment, Sergeant Nicola Tait added: She said: "It has been great to establish a reservist squadron in the West Midlands. RAF Cosford is a busy station with exceptional facilities and we feel it is the ideal location in which to recruit and retain chefs, suppliers, drivers and police. With the foundations now in place we look forward to meeting the general public at our recruiting events, starting with our Open Day at Cosford.

Anybody interested in joining 605 Squadron can enquire online at https://www.raf.mod.uk/recruitment/ or call 0345 606 9069.

RAF Police Monitoring the Main Entry Point at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan

Image shows Royal Air Force Military Police guarding the Main Entry Point (MEP) at Camp Bastion on Herrick 18 as part of their role as Force Protection.
Taken on April 26, 2013


-------------------------------------------------------
© Crown Copyright 2014
Photographer: Cpl Babbs Robinson JNCO Media Ops 83 Expeditionary Air Group
 

 

To mark the end of the Second World War 70 years ago, Jemma Page speaks to some of those who experienced it. Today: Ray Topley, 84, of Gedling

The day the war was declared, I remember as though it was yesterday.

I can vividly picture Neville Chamberlain, the Prime Minister at the time, coming back from Munich in 1938 waving around his piece of paper and saying we're all safe now.

But Adolf Hitler knew different.

The evening the war was announced, everybody was out on the street – there were crowds of people looking up the road and at the sky.

I suppose it was because it had never happened before in most people's lifetime, so everyone was a bit hesitant as to what was going to happen.

Soon after, the iron railings were taken from the front of houses by government officials and aluminium saucepans and teapots were taken away and turned into Spitfires.

Nottingham was hit by the Blitz in May 1941 – I was 10 years old. Although the Germans didn't drop any bombs here, a row of about six cottages went down just on the other side of the level crossing.

The following morning, my cousin and I walked along to where they were and it was just devastation. It was terrifying.

When the sirens went off, you had no idea where the bombs were going to fall – they could have fell on you.

But we became accustomed to hearing the sirens blare. We'd say, 'oh, here we go again', and then the planes would fly over.

You could always tell a German plane from the sound of its engine because it was completely different to the British ones. It was sort of a constant throbbing note.

In the same year, when I lived over in Netherfield, I was playing out on the recreation ground with some of my friends at about 3pm.

Suddenly, I looked up and there's a German plane about 500 feet in the air. It had the big black cross on the side and it was following the railway line from the coast. The anti-aircraft people at Spondon fetched the plane down.

Education was broken up and school was strange because some weeks we'd go in the mornings and then the afternoons the following week.

I went to Ashwell Street School and we had an elderly lady teacher who turned up one day when I was nine with a young girl of the same age. She introduced this girl as a refugee from either Czechoslovakia or Poland.

She had come over from Eastern Europe in the early days of the war and was educated with us for a short time.

Afterwards, I found out that she had become a teacher herself at Carlton Le Willows Grammar School – and she taught my daughter when she was 11. She was an incredibly clever woman.

We also had a couple of male teachers. We'd just get used to them and then, on the Monday morning, they were no longer there because they'd been called up. It's as if they disappeared overnight. It was a strange feeling.

If we were in the classroom when the sirens started blaring, we were all ushered out into an air-raid shelter in the playground. It was a brick building, probably 10 feet high with a door at both ends and a concrete roof.

There wasn't anything inside at all and there wasn't anything we could do about it. We'd stay there until we received the all-clear.

I joined the Post Office as a telegram boy when I left school at the age of 14. I was out on the streets for at least two years before moving inside to become a telegraphist.

The war was still going on at the time I was delivering telegrams, so I caught the aftermath of D-Day as it progressed to VE Day. Essentially, I was delivering telegrams to ladies whose husbands were away in the war, so people would always watch where I was going.

It got to the stage where there was a little number on the envelope which we thought came from the War Office. If it was one of those, you handed the telegram over and tried to get away. But often the young lady at the door, only about aged 25-30 with probably two little children, would ask you to come back and stand with her while she opened it.

She would open it up and read it and her reaction would be frightening. I was 14 years old and sometimes they'd burst into tears or collapse on the floor and pass out. That went on day after day.

But on the reverse side, when VE Day came along, we were delivering telegrams which said their husband had been released from a prisoner-of-war camp and it was a completely different experience.

They were ecstatic. We were invited for drinks and cakes and all sorts of things. I could've been as drunk as a lord at 15!

And that's the contrast that the war brought along with it.

Food was a problem because everything was rationed. You had a book with coupons inside and you had to cut one of them out whenever you wanted something – they were fiddly little jobs.

I used to do the shopping every Saturday morning and it was a work of art. Sometimes you had to queue and it was almost a battle to get what you wanted.

In the summer, seeing a tomato was very rare – although some people used to get them because there was a lot of under-the-counter dealings.

My father joined the civil defence as an ambulance driver and when he was on a 2pm until 10pm shift, I'd have to cook dinner for us. We might have chops, if you could call them chops – they were skinny little bits of meat – or a sausage.

I was only 11 and I was peeling potatoes ready for dinner. I should've been out playing with the lads but I wasn't.

I was only a child for the first nine years of my life because when the war started, things became a bit more serious. I had to grow up very quickly."

Ray Topley met his wife-to-be, Jean, through work in 1947 when she was 16 and he was nearly 18.

"I was working as a telegraphist, while my wife was a clerk taking the telegrams and passing the messages over the phone to us," he recalls.

"We used to get chatting and then one evening we decided to meet up on our bicycles.

"We met somewhere on the recreation ground around the corner and went for a ride down Burton Road.

"We were married for 63 years until she died two days before Christmas last year. "She had a brain haemorrhage and a stroke and that was her life finished.

She had been suffering with Alzheimer's for the past five years so she didn't know what was happening around her – she barely spoke, she couldn't lift a glass of water and we had to feed her.

"I used to visit her nursing home every day to give her soup at lunchtime. – it had be something soft because she couldn't take solids.

"We had two daughters and we now have a granddaughter.

"I missed the war by three years.

"I was called up in 1949 when I was 18 but I was deferred for a year because my father was terminally ill. "But eventually, when my father died in February that year, I couldn't avoid it any more – not that I wanted to in the first place. I was in the RAF police for just over two years and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

"When I came out, I went back to the Post Office as a counter clerk from the age of 21 until 25. I was then moved into the offices and kept getting promoted again and again.

"In my later years, from about 2000 onwards, I was still active in military circles. I was a member of the RAF Association, the British Legion and I'm still president at the legion's Lambley branch."

Ray marks VE Day in verse:

This is the day we've waited for,

Waited for so long,

Why oh why in '39

Did everything go wrong?

The man had come from Munich

With paper waved on high

To tell us all with great relief

That no one's going to die.

But the little Austrian corporal

Had everything mapped out,

The whole of Europe would be his,

Of that he had no doubt.

He marched straight into Poland

And tore it into bits,

We came across a dreaded word

That dreaded word was "Blitz".

So once again we were at war

With battles raging high,

We fought on land, we fought at sea

And fought high in the sky.

The bombers came night after night

And tried to make us bow

But we were made of sterner stuff.

And Adolph soon found how.

Children were sent to the country

To get away from hell,

My dear wife was one of those,

What stories she could tell.

Monty gave us Alamein

The "few" they had their place,

The Navy sank the Bismarck

Graff Spee sank in disgrace.

If you remember ration books

Whalemeat, spam, dried eggs,

You'll know that shopping was no fun,

One nearly had to beg.

Bananas became a thing of the past

And sweets were rationed too.

So sulphur tablets came of age,

What damage they could do,

Dig for Victory was the rage

And Land Girls did their bit.

To grow your own and feed the land

You needed bags of grit,

We lost our iron railings

The saucepans went as well

How many Spitfires they all made

No one can ever tell.

Soon the tide was turning,

Our hopes were rising high,

The Yanks had come to join us

And "overlord" was nigh.

D-Day came and we marched on

Soon to reach the Rhine,

The Russians came in from the East

And everything looked fine.

The day was fast approaching

When victory should be won,

The boys would soon be coming back,

Their task was nearly done.

So came the day we waited for,

We'd reached the golden dome

But let us not forget the lads

Who never made it home



Read more: http://www.nottinghampost.com/VE-Day-series/story-26478615-detail/story.html#ixzz3ZudOuPHj
 

Second unexploded device found at RAF Waddington in a week

The Royal Air Force Police Dog Unit is on scene on the runway at RAF Waddington.

Published April 28, 2015
By Emily Norton
S

Second bomb: A second unexploded device has been discovered during runway works at RAF Waddington near Lincoln in a week.
 

A second unexploded device has been discovered during runway works at RAF Waddington near Lincoln in a week.

Update, April 28, 6.30pm: Wing Commander Matthew Nicholas, Officer Commanding Operations Wing at RAF Waddington said: “The incident at RAF Waddington has now been resolved. The ordnance, an identical type to what was unearthed last week has been removed for disposal and the cordon has been lifted.

“Once again, we apologise for any inconvenience caused.”

At the time of writing, police have closed a section of the A15 Sleaford Road adjacent to RAF Waddington.

It is expected that the road will be closed for some time until the devise is disposed of.

[Workers are being evacuated from the runway at RAF Waddington after a second unexploded device has been found.]

Lincolnshire Police are on scene and workers on site have been moved to a safe compound on the base.

Wing Commander Matthew Nicholas, Officer Commanding Operations Wing at RAF Waddington said: “During excavations to the RAF Waddington runway contractors have unearthed what appears to be a second historical piece of ordnance.

“As a precaution a cordon is now in place until Military Explosive Ordnance Disposal experts who have been called in to assess the situation can dispose of the device appropriately.

“The cordon will regretfully cause a stretch of the A15 to close until the device has been disposed of.

“We apologise for any inconvenience caused but we will without hesitation; always take the necessary precautions to ensure the safety of station personnel and members of the general public.”

Contractors renewing the runway unearthed what was thought to be unexploded bomb on April 23. It turned out to be a WW2 training device and did not need any form of controlled explosion.

RAF Odiham fundraisers scoop volunteer award

First published Saturday 25 April 2015

A TEAM of RAF fundraisers from Odiham have been dubbed volunteers of the year.
Troops from RAF Odiham have worked with other stations to raise £22,000 for two charities.
They rallied together to support the RAF Benevolent Fund and ABF The Soldiers’ Charity that help thousands of men and women who have represented their country in the forces.
Fundraising events included car wash days, cake sales, bucket collections and a 102-mile run along the Cotswold Way.
The team of 34 members included the MPGS No. 7 Sqn RAF Police and 2 Police Wing and now they have all been hailed volunteer fundraising team of the year by the RAF Benevolent Fund.
Corporal Krishna Rai said: “The team is a collection of like-minded people who not only want to raise money but they also want to help raise the charity’s profile on the stations where they work. I think of how much the fund spends at RAF stations in support of personnel and their families and I want more people to know about the fantastic work they do.


25/4/15

MBE crowns “astounding” career of brave RAF policeman

 
PROUD DAY -- for Phil Rodd and wife Dawn, pictured with his MBE

PROUD DAY -- for Phil Rodd and wife Dawn, pictured with his MBE

A man with strong Ashfield and Mansfield connections has been awarded the MBE at the end of a long and distinguished career in the Royal Air Force (RAF).

Warrant Officer Phil Rodd (52) has made what his bosses describe as “an unwavering and astounding” contribution to three decades with the RAF Police.

And it was the proudest moment of his life when he and wife Dawn (51) travelled down to Buckingham Palace to receive his MBE, which was awarded in the New Year’s Honours List. “I was totally humbled and somewhat overcome,” said Phil.

Born in Chesterfield, Phil moved to Mansfield as a youngster and spent some of his teenage years working at the David Boot butcher’s shop on West Gate. After marrying Dawn, they lived on Church Street, Kirkby for 15 years.

Phil joined the RAF in 1985 and soon gathered extensive operational experience. In the 1990s, he worked in Northern Ireland, where he was an arms and explosive search handler, working with dogs to find devices on Army patrol routes.

He has been deployed on numerous other tours, to places such as the Balkans, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, where Phil has shown skill, dedication and courage.

In Kabul in 2004, he was convoy commander and ran the risk of suicide bombers twice a day as he ensured his crew arrived at the airport safely.

From 2006, he played a key role in Operation Herrick, which is the codename for British operations in Afghanistan.

He carried out several missions in Helmand Province, integrating with Army frontline troops. And he was responsible for engaging and interacting with the local population, which he did so well that, at one point, the insurgents put a contract on his head. His last deployment dealt with a plethora of issues at Camp Bastion. H

Phil is currently serving at RAF Henlow, near Bedford, from where he is retiring this year. He and his wife plan to live in Brittany in France.

Said Phil: “I have been lucky enough to experience 30 incredibly varied years and travel the world. Much of that time has been very positive, and I have made many friends. But there have also been times that I prefer not to remenber, and friends that I have lost.

“I dedicate my MBE to my family, particularly Dawn and my father-in-law Dennis who, sadly, is no longer with us.”

19th April 2015

Not strictly RAFP but Snowdrops

Manchester Snowdrop City

 

To mark the centenary of the First World War we worked with local volunteers, community groups and schools to plant 100,000 snowdrop bulbs in green spaces across in Manchester in September 2014. Snowdrops were planted on soldiers’ graves during the war to make them less bleak.

A symbol of hope and peace during the conflict, the commemorative flowers bloomed across the city for the first time in February 2015. They will leave a lasting legacy when they flower each year and should produce even more spectacular displays as they multiply for the enjoyment of people who visit, work and live in Manchester.

‘Every year famous outdoor sites in Manchester will turn a sea of white as the carpets of snowdrops bloom,’ said our urban gardener Sean Harkin, who has led the project. ‘The snowdrop is so fragile in appearance and with white being the colour of peace we thought it would be a good emblem to commemorate the First World War.’

Dramatic snowdrops installation accompanies project

A war-themed installation featuring snowdrops growing out of an imitation First World War bunker was also created outside the entrance and inside the foyer of Manchester Art Gallery to showcase the snowdrop planting project.

The display led visitors to an exhibition of Stanley Spencer paintings on loan from Sandham Memorial Chapel which ran until 1 March 2015. The ‘Heaven in a Hell of War’ exhibition was the first time that the visionary paintings had been this far north.

You can see the snowdrops that were planted around the city in the following locations:

Or download a map of the locations (pdf).

If you'd like more information about the Manchester Snowdrop City project please email our urban gardener Sean Harkin

By Nottingham Post  |  Posted: March 26, 2015

A Nottingham couple is celebrating their diamond wedding anniversary today.

Thomas Woolhouse, a former member of the RAF police investigation force, asked out Essex-born Maureen, then 19, after visiting the cookhouse where she worked at his base in Compton Bassett, Wiltshire, in 1953. Thomas, then 25, had just returned to England after nearly six years in Burma, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Even though he moved to a post near Blackpool shortly afterwards, they kept in touch and Thomas, now 86, visited Maureen when he could.

He said: "We were apart for about 18 months and then I applied for a post at Wiltshire's Ruddlow Manor so I could be close to her. She was pretty, sensible and didn't want the world. We decided to marry."

Maureen, now 81, said: "There was no proposal, it was just something we both knew we wanted to do. I always joke I had 4,000 airmen to choose from and I picked him."

She moved to Nottingham, where Thomas grew up, to live with his mother at Warton Road, while he was posted to Glasgow.

On March 26, 1955, they tied the knot at the former St Ann's Church. Thomas left the RAF in 1956 to settle with Maureen and became a telephone engineer. She worked at Marathon Knitwear. Ten years later, in 1966, with two sons, Terrence and Christopher, they bought their own house.

Now at Astley Drive, Mapperley, they will celebrate their diamond anniversary by inviting their family – including their three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren – for tea.


 

RAF Police Awarded Certificate of Affiliation by Worshipful Company

The magnificent Tower of London provided the prestigious venue when the Royal Air Force Police (RAF Police) received a Certificate of Affiliation, courtesy of the Worshipful Company of Security Professionals (WCoSP).

L-R – WO Stuart Coppard, Flt Lt Berenice Barnes, The Reverend Canon Roger Hall, The Master of the Company Mr Barrie Stewart, The Provost Marshal Gp Capt Kevin Bailey and Flt Lt Neil Lawrenson

The WCoSP chose their annual Founders Day Church Service on the 19th February, held in The Chapel Royal of St Peter Ad Vincula, as the backdrop for bestowing this honour. The WCoSP is currently one of only a very few City of London Livery Companies with the privilege to hold a service in the chapel. This annual event celebrates the forming of the Company in 1999, making it youthful in comparison to many other Guilds in the City of London which date back centuries.

The Certificate of Affiliation is a way to cement the existing links that the WCoSP has with the RAF Police and both sides are thrilled to formalise the relationship. The Provost Marshal, Group Captain Kevin Bailey, accepted the certificate on behalf of the RAF Police and said:

The Master, Mr Barrie Stewart and The Provost Marshal, Gp Capt Kevin Bailey

“It is a true honour to accept this certificate on behalf of the men and women of the RAF Police. I am proud of the professionalism I see every day and to be linked with other security professionals in this way is truly inspiring and recognises the contribution of my staff to developing excellence in security.”

With these enhanced links, the RAF Police can look forward to even greater support from the WCoSP from access to the Charitable Trust, further involvement in events throughout the course of the year and more interaction with other members. Presenting the certificate was the Master of the Company, Mr Barrie Stewart. He concludes:

“The Worshipful Company is extremely proud to be associated with the RAF Police, cementing further links with the military and their security role. We look forward to many years of mutual support and developing our relationship further.”

Editor: Sal Davidson

Photographs:

L-R – WO Stuart Coppard, Flt Lt Berenice Barnes, The Reverend Canon Roger Hall, The Master of the Company Mr Barrie Stewart, The Provost Marshal Gp Capt Kevin Bailey and Flt Lt Neil Lawrenson.

The Master, Mr Barrie Stewart and The Provost Marshal, Gp Capt Kevin Bailey.

RAF/MOD Crown Copyright 2015

Work set to begin on new guardroom at RAF St Mawgan

By Cornish Guardian | Posted: February 07, 2015

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    An artist's impression of how the new guardroom is likely to look.

BREAKING GROUND: From left, Sergeant Jim Putland of the RAF Police, Wing Commander Guy Bazalgette, station commander at RAF St Mawgan, main guardroom receptionist Trisha Rooney, Group Captain Mark Smith, Martin Lee of Babcock and Defence Infrastructure Organisation project manager Graham Martin.

THE construction of a new guardroom at RAF St Mawgan is finally set to begin following years of uncertainty over the current building's future.

The existing guardroom was built during the Second World War and extended in 1954, with a life expectancy of between 10 and 20 years.

 

An assessment in 2002 concluded that the best solution was to replace the guardroom with a completely new building on an adjacent green field, so the existing facilities could be kept operational throughout the development of the new one.

Despite the need for a new facility, funding was not made available at that time and the project was shelved until 2012, when it was resurrected for the design development and delivery stages.

The project is now reaching the build phase, to be delivered by engineering support service Babcock and its supply chain partners on behalf of the Defence Infrastructure Organisation in Plymouth.

 

Defence Infrastructure Organisation project manager Graham Martin said he was delighted that the project had now started to take shape following the funding setbacks.

"The larger and more comfortable modern structure will improve and enhance the station and will also provide improvements to the vehicle entrance," he said. "I'm proud to be associated with the project, and look forward to working with the team to produce a first-class facility."

 

Group Captain Mark Smith said the RAF had extracted full value for the taxpayer from the existing guardroom, which when it was built in 1954 was only expected to be a short-term fix.

"Our new guardroom will be particularly welcomed by the Military Police Guard Service and the RAF Police, who have handled an unusually high volume of military and cadet visitors to the station each year in a less than ideal reception building," he said.

 

Main guardroom receptionist Trisha Rooney said the new building would present a great image for a modern RAF station. "It'll be marvellous to be able to welcome and manage people from a new and modern-looking building, which is the first and the last building that visitors see," she said. "I've been here for less than two years but some of the guys have put up with less than ideal conditions for far longer than I have."

 
 
 

In the dock: John Merrett, security officer at Gloucester crown court for the last 12 years, found himself in the dock as he was wished well for his retirement. His departure co-incided with his 73rd birthday and his 49th wedding anniverary.

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Popular Gloucester Crown Court security guard John Merrett found himself in the dock facing two judges - but for the nicest of reasons.

On his 73rd birthday and 49th wedding anniversary former policeman John, of Brimscombe, near Stroud, retired after 12 years working at the courthouse.

The dad of five was given a rousing send off as barristers, court officials and other staff crowded into court number one - with John standing in the dock wearing a 'birthday boy' flashing badge.

Tributes were led by senior barrister George Threlfall who told the court that John's first job had been as an army bandsman - where his larger than life stature meant he ended up playing the tuba because they could not find a sousaphone big enough to wrap around him.

John then worked as a deckhand on a BP tanker sailing between Avonmouth and Southampton - but could not cope with the seasickness and he joined the RAF police for five years, working in Aden and Singapore, said Mr Threlfall.

Mr Threlfall said "John then joined the Gloucestershire Constabulary where he served for 27 years, eight of them as a motor patrol officer. Luckily I don't think I made his acquaintance by the side of the road!

"Here, as a security officer at the crown court, John's skills have really come into their own. A fairly diverse panorama of human existence comes through the doors of this building, some of them, it has to be said, unencumbered by a surfeit of charm.

"They are all met by our Falstaffian gatekeeper with his fresh from the rotisserie complexion. They are treated with kindness and courtesy.

"It is no surprise to any of us who work in this court that there is seldom, if any, trouble in the building. Partly, I suspect, because visitors have been put at their ease but more importantly because John is such a patently genial and decent man that people feel constrained to behave well around him."

But Mr Threlfall said John's career at the court had not been unblemished. There was the time he locked up for the night without realising that a visiting judge was still in the building!

"The Recorder was caused considerable anxiety and distress by his predicament and some say there was a tear in his eye when John released him," said the barrister.

Mr Threlfall also revealed that John, a keen country sportsman, had once shot three Magpie geese without realising they were rare specimens which were later reported missing from the Wildfowl Trust grounds at Slimbridge.

"It has been left to me finally to solve this forty year mystery!" declared Mr Threlfall.

He said John had played golf with a handicap of nine - "until his stomach got in the way." Nowadays he enjoys fishing and shooting.

John had also been recruting officer for the Gloucestershire police male voice choir since 1982 but had succeeded in signing up only one serving officer during his time at the crown court, the barrister added.

John was presented with retirement gifts and his wife Marilyn received a bouquet.

Judge Jamie Tabor said John's security desk colleague Richard Dando had gone to 'enormous trouble' to collect donations and buy the presents for his colleague,

The judge said the gifts and the number of people in court were a testament to the affection and respect everyone had for John.

"I have never seen a turnout like this, not even for a judge," he said.

John said: "I feel very humble to hear all these accolades. I think you must be talking about a different person. I have enjoyed my time here - they were possibly the best years of my working life."



Read more: http://www.gloucestershireecho.co.uk/Retiring-Gloucester-Crown-Court-security-guard/story-26611385-detail/story.html#ixzz3btogqj3k