September 2009 - Royal Air Force

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Gateway September 2009

sue is ’s r e b m e t p e S n I Team Brize

On the cover A Brize family enjoying an open day event with 101 squadron aircraft looking on.

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June 09 Award for Excellence Institution of Mechanical Engineers Trailwalker 2009 RAF Cabin Crew take on Passenger Handling VAHS Out of Area September Weather Statistics AMS Commemorate 65th Anniversary of D Day MMU says farewell to Basrah Exercise Upkeep Exercise Long-way-up One Year in the Air The Longest Day The Air Crew Association 430 (Droylsden) Sqn Air Training Corps visit Brize Norton

Brize News 5 5 6 7 10 12

From the Acting Station Commander From the Editor Improvements to Facilities at RAF Brize Norton Future Brize Defence Estate Housing Update Future Brize Personnel Strand ‘Meet the Team’ Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft’s Infrastructure Building Programme

Editor Sqn Ldr Mark Dover Sqn Ldr Phil ’Fozzie‘ Foster

Ext 6618 Ext 7372

Editorial Correspondence The ‘Gateway’ Editor RAF Brize Norton, Carterton, Oxfordshire OX18 3LX Brize net email: [email protected] Distribution Sgt Hayley Crame Ext 6011 Cpl Phil Thorp No 2267 (Brize Norton) ATC Sqn

Although advertisements are included in good faith, the Editor hereby declares that the publication of any advertisement in the ‘Gateway’ in no way implies endorsements or responsibility, by the ‘Gateway’. The MOD or any Service Establishment - including RAF Brize Norton, for the advertiser or its advertised product or service. Furthermore, neither the Editor nor any Service authority will become involved in any dispute arising out of any advertisement appearing in the ‘Gateway’. The ‘Gateway’ is not an official publication; unless specifically stated otherwise, all views expressed in the ‘Gateway’ are those of the author alone and do not necessarily reflect official MOD or Service policy. © No part of the ‘Gateway’ may be reproduced in part or full without the written permission of the Editor or publisher. Photographs are Crown Copyright - all rights reserved - unless credited to an individual photographer. The ‘Gateway’ is the magazine of RAF Brize Norton and is published monthly by kind permission of the Station Commander - Gp Capt Ager.

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501 Sqn Help for Heroes Cycle Ride Pathfinder March 2009

Community Focus 56 57 58 58 59 60

Fun Day Police Update Need to talk? Amy’s Review RAF Brize Norton - SSAFA Recognition Carterton, Bampton and Burford Neighbourhood Management Update - August

© No responsibility for the quality of goods or services advertised in this magazine can be accepted by the publishers or printers. Advertisements are included in good faith. Published by Forces and Corporate Publishing Ltd, Hamblin House, Hamblin Court, 92-94 High Street, Rushden, Northamptonshire NN10 OPQ. Tel: 01933 419994 • Fax: 01933 419584 email: [email protected]

Editorial director: Ron Pearson Sub editor: Kerry Wells Sales manager: Sally Haynes/Amanda Ringer

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Our award winning restaurant and Michelin trained chefs cater for individual and party occasions at reasonable cost. Conference rooms available from 4 to 40. We cater for wedding parties from 10 to 100

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Brize News FROM THE ACTING STATION COMMANDER At the time of writing it is mid-August and many of us have just enjoyed, or are about to enjoy, a spot of summer leave. Concurrently, the operational tempo in Afghanistan continues unabated and the Taliban is doing it’s utmost to disrupt the impending Afghan elections. It is now almost a year since I took up post as OC Operations Wing and as I look back over the last 12 months, I am struck by the enormous amount that we have achieved together and the way in which Brize Norton continues to meet the enduring operational demands placed at its door. The unique place that RAF Brize Norton holds in Defence, as the only operational base in the UK with a direct link to Afghanistan, is clearly well understood by Brize Norton personnel, if not more widely. Whilst the continuous external interest and operational need presents its fair share of challenges here at RAF Brize Norton, the simple fact remains; the efforts of the personnel based here, both RAF and civilian, has a direct and positive impact on the activities in Theatre. And let us not forget that

whilst Brize based personnel continue to actively support operations in Afghanistan, we also deploy a number of personnel annually to fill a range of positions on the ground in Afghanistan itself. Brize Norton based aircraft conduct almost daily flights into and out of Afghanistan and they continue to provide an essential outlet for those personnel that are severely injured. Additionally, 99 Squadron unfortunately continue to facilitate the repatriation of our fallen into our sister Station, RAF Lyneham.

Whilst it would be presumptuous to predict what the coming 12 months will bring, it is reasonable to expect that Brize Norton will continue to be at the very forefront of direct UK support to our operations in Afghanistan and that, whilst it may ebb and flow, high operational tempo will continue. For the personnel at RAF Brize Norton, you can be sure that, regardless of rank or trade, your output is very necessary and it is valued - the overall output could not be realised without your individual contribution. I return to the subject of summer leave. It is vital that personnel take stock and exploit an opportunity for some necessary recharging of the batteries if we are to continue to be as effective as we can be on an enduring basis. For some personnel, a window for leave may be limited, but it is important that personnel take what they can. The message is simple - we are in this for the long haul, our personnel are the bedrock of our output and activity needs to be sustainable, so take that break!



he summer has continued to be a busy time for Brize Norton and I would like to take this opportunity to thank you all for continuing to support ‘your’ station magazine. The magazine is undergoing a few changes to make it more readable for all and as such all articles and departmental news stories are welcome. We aim to place all articles that come across the Editor’s desk. As the Station is under constant transformation as departments move, change roles or increase in size with Future Brize gripping you and your area of work, we would like to hear your stories. Please write and share with us your challenges and how you and your team are doing to meet your outputs in support of this busy station as well as sharing with the rest of us your challenges and how you are overcoming them. This month you can read about staff rides in Europe and the unabated charity activities of our people. Even I have been away raising funds with 216 Sqn’s contribution to the London to Brighton Bike Ride 2009. We have an article from Amy who has been reviewing our pages from a very early

age and it should highlight to our entire readership that we have a diverse and wide-ranging set of people and ages to cater for. No matter how big or small your articles, as long as they are accompanied by a few photos we offer you the opportunity to share your achievements with all on station. We have limited space to share your upcoming events calendar and advertise for your sporting clubs as well so remember just under 3,000 copies are produced and distributed across the Station and within the local community. Staff rides continue unabated and earlier this year members of the station took part in an event in France and I must ask for your help. As the focal point for public relations on and off station we have been contacted by a couple who were visiting a memorial site at Bayeux during the recent Normandy celebrations. They met 3 Service personnel from Brize Norton who shared stories and anecdotes with their

father who was visiting fallen friends. They are keen to get in touch and would like to see some of the pictures that were taken by the Brize Norton trio. If you were part of the team that shared your time with this Gentlemen and his family, please drop me a line at the Brize editors email so that I can put you in touch with the family. Finally, send all articles to the editors email gateway-editor@brizenorton. and please make sure your articles are in MS Word format and your images are under 4MB in size for each image you send. Enjoy the rest of the warm weather and we look forward to putting together the next edition of your stories!

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Brize News

Improvements to Facilities at

RAF BRIZE NORTON On Thursday 12 August, Officer in Command of Passenger Plans, Flt Lt Olivia Steel hosted Soldier Magazine and Defence Focus, two key outlets for the Armed Services. The aim of the day was to look at the improvements made to facilities at RAF Brize Norton which will benefit every passenger who transits through the Air Terminal on a daily basis. Improvements include the opening of the Flight Reception Centre at the Main Gate; this facility is aimed at the families of personnel who are transiting through. It provides a room for the families to wait in for their loved ones, if they cannot gain access to the Station. It has vending machines, toilet facilities and is fully air-conditioned for those hot days. They also viewed the new Hire Car Zone at the entrance of the station; this facility should be open by the end of the year. There will also be a parking facility for passengers who have no other option than driving their personal vehicle. This will be run by the

WO Passenger Plans, who will allocate spaces. Once the Hire Car facility has been opened, the current Short Term Car Park at the front of the terminal will be re-configured to provide dedicated parking spaces for the drop off/collection of passengers. At the passenger terminal, small but significant improvements have already made a difference, such as free WIFI, additional recycling bins for the waste, a better queue control system, new baggage trolleys and a free book lending facility, Norton’s Novels. This initiative provides a comfortable area in the o u t b o u n d l o u n g e w h e re

New Flight Reception Centre at the Main Gate

Variety of food on offer

Norton’s Novels in the Outbound Lounge of the Passenger Terminal

personnel can read/take books and return them once they are back from deployment. The highlight of the day, was lunch at Gateway House Hotel, where David Houlihan, Gateway Manager and Nigel Jenkins, In-flight Catering

New Recycling Facilities


Inside the Flight Reception Gateway Gateway -- Centre at the Main Gate

Manager, showed the visitors a variety of delicious food which ranged from Panini’s for a short delay to a hot meal, in case of a longer delay. The food was fabulous and the menu will change constantly so that passengers don’t get bored.

Future Brize Defence g in s u o H s e t a Est Update y recognised n has been widel RAF Brize Norto ice Families standard of Serv as having a poor y years and n (SFA) for man Accommodatio ng must be ing that somethi there is no argu uation. As a e the current sit done to improv en planning to Estates have be result, Defence e as part of ision for some tim deliver new prov Brize initiative. the wider Future est SFA are 600 of the poor Plans to replace molishing all d out, including de already being rolle such blight on that have become the blocks of flats ch a magnet for many years and su the landscape for to deliver 800 ur. It is planned anti-social behavio a combination tal, which will be new houses in to le quarters. of Type C and D sty ned to be are currently plan The houses that placed are: demolished and re

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ral SFA areas and REEMA Cent - The REEMA North Norton Road bordered by Brize - The block of SFA ntre and the dshires Health Ce to the South, Broa wood Crescent to the east, North new leisure centre Northolt road on Way down to to the north, Upav Road in the nt and Abingdon ce es Cr e or m an St and south-west. help to cater 0 houses will also The additional 20 nnel expected in married perso for the increase Lyneham and e closure of RAF as a result of th rt hub and of the Air Transpo n io at liz ra nt ce the quality of life d long overdue will be a great an d for this work personnel. The lea r fo t en em ov pr im tes Operations n by Defence Esta is being undertake compiling all e responsible for ar o wh g) sin ou (H n as well as ess documentatio financial and busin timescales. It is oject delivery and pr e th g ein se er ov rt in late 2009 nstruction will sta anticipated that co demolition of 13. However, the 20 te ple m co d an REEMA North ing flats within some of the exist ne 2008. commenced in Ju Gateway -



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Brize News


‘Meet The Team’

Moving house has been identified as one of the most stressful lifestyle changes that can happen to an individual outside of the work environment, according to the Health and Safety Executive1. Why is this important? Here at RAF Brize Norton, the Personnel and Community Support teams are aware of the challenges that are being faced by those currently serving at RAF Lyneham and the affect that the centralisation of the Air Transport capability could have on many individuals and families. Although some serving personnel have become familiar with frequent moves resulting from the need for their trades to adapt to regular postings, others have become more established in their local communities, which makes moving harder to manage. The services provided by Personnel Management Squadron are aimed at supporting all RAF personnel posted into RAF Brize Norton, and there are many activities and facilities on offer to help introduce and assist personnel and families whilst they are serving at the station. This month’s Future Brize article focuses upon the teams working on the ‘Personnel’ strand of Future Brize and introduces some of the people who hope to provide you with the support you need to make your time here as productive and settled as possible.

OC Personnel Management Squadron : Sqn Ldr Martin Perrin x 7270 Sqn Ldr Perrin has been in the role of OC PMS for approximately 18 months and is hoping to remain here at Brize for as long as possible! It is his responsibility to oversee the activities of both the Personnel Services Flight and the Community Support Team and identify any community needs that are not being met. He ensures that RAF Brize Norton complies with all Employment and Military Personnel policies and is keen to ensure continuous improvement in station welfare provision using any and all resources open to the team. He is married with a 2 year old daughter who attends the Sunshine Day Nursery. Personnel Services Flight Personnel Services Flight looks after the administration of service pay and allowances, postings, deployments and military annual appraisals using the JPA system. In addition, we process applications for service housing allocated by DE, applications for long service advance of pay and also offer career advice to airmen and NCOs. PSF also co-ordinates the RAF Brize Norton Stress Management and Resilience Policy for those returning



from deployments through the Station Recall Days (SRD), as well as all aspects of personnel related Business Continuity Planning should an unexpected incident occur. We also offer a wide ranging welfare package including services focussed on the families of deployed personnel, E&D advice and those personnel who are struggling with stressful domestic issues such as debt, bereavement and separation. O p e n i n g h o u r s f o r d ro p - i n appointments are currently all day Monday and Friday and mornings only for Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Appointments outside these times are always available if pre-arranged and PSF is permanently open for any urgent enquires, including 24hr Duty Clerk cover for emergency support. Personnel support is also given to operational Squadrons through the Sqn Clerk/Adjutant system of detaching TG17 personnel and embedding them within those Squadrons requiring tailored provision. OC Personnel Services Flight Flt Lt Andrea Watts x 7475 Flt Lt Watts arrived in April 2009 from HQ Air and is currently focussed upon reviewing the Out of Area information given to the families of deployed personnel. It is her responsibility to deliver the Station Recall Days each month, investigate E&D related issues and offer welfare and professional advice; in addition to responding to any task requiring her attention from the broad remit of issues covered by the team. Andrea is married

and has a black cross-breed dog called Harris (who can often be found eating biscuits in PSF). WO Personnel Management Flight - WO Mark Hammett x 7750 WO Hammett has over 30 years of experience serving in all aspects of TG17. He manages all aspects of daily personnel support delivery at RAF Brize Norton and oversees the distribution and career management of any TG17 personnel serving at the station and associated parented units. Mark lives in Gloucester with his wife and they have 4 children. Chief Clerk - FS Neil Valente (shadowing) x 7463 FS Valente has recently arrived from Manning and has taken over from FS

Andy Gibson whilst FS Gibson is deployed to Afghanistan. With a wealth of RAF experience across a broad range of TG17 roles, Neil will be taking over the new role of FS Parented Units on the return of FS Gibson. Neil lives in Gloucester with his wife and family. Community Support Team The Community Support (CS) team brings together a number of welfare focussed professionals aiming to help you deal with any problems that you may be struggling to resolve, as well as providing facilities and opportunities for you to meet friends and families here at RAF Brize Norton. They can be found in offices next to the Oasis Café on station. OC CS - Fg Off Greg Horan x 6308 Fg Off Horan has recently arrived at Brize Norton to oversee the Community Support team and also to use his degree in Management Consultancy and Accounting in order to manage the Non-Public Funds associated with all Clubs and Messes on the Station. Greg lives in the Officers’ Mess during the week and commutes home to Lancashire at the weekends. Service Community Support Officer (SCSO) - WO Yvonne Conway x 5350 WO Conway took on the Full Time Reserve Commitment of SCSO almost 2 years ago. Prior to this, she was a serving RAF WO providing medical support to stations across the UK. WO Conway is the primary point of contact for all Service Families Accommodation concerns and liaises with Defence Estates on behalf of service personnel and their families. She has been critical in the launching of many new community facilities such as the Ely Close Coffee Shop and has been awarded a recent AOC’s Commendation for her work in building the RAF Brize Norton community through social events.

Community Development Worker (CDW) - Mrs Lin Kennedy x 7068 Mrs Kennedy has many years experience as a CDW, having previously preformed this role at RAF Coltishall prior to its closure. Lin is responsible for representing RAF Brize Norton families in a host of public sector forums such as School Governing Boards, Local Authority Council meetings, Primary Care Trust and GP liaison. She is very well respected amongst all these institutions and is able to ensure the interests of the RAF Brize Norton Community are not neglected when decisions affecting the local area are made. Lin has been leading the RAF Lyneham open days, in which families currently based at Lyneham are given the opportunity to visit their future community and see what facilities are on offer. She can also offer advice on a range of community services, including local school catchment areas, as Carterton town is served by a number of primary schools. HIVE Information Officer Mrs Melanie Bushnell x 5349 Mrs Bushnell provides all personnel with information on the local area, welfare facilities, initiatives and services. She is uniquely qualified in that, as well as being a HIVE Officer, she has also experienced life as a service partner and has an excellent understanding of the information required by families when they arrive at a new station. In addition to her primary role, Mel manages many community support initiatives, such as the Ely Close Centre and Open Days, Coffee Mornings and evening events and this extra commitment has recently won her a CINC Commendation.

In addition to the personalities mentioned, we have a team of TG17 personnel and professional experts working alongside to deliver all the services described above. These include: Stn Chaplaincy Team - the team can be contacted on x 7531, 7530 or 6543 SSAFA Workers Mr Emmanuel Walcott and Ms Fiona McClenaghan (01993 846700/897251) Citizen Advice Bureaux Debt Councillor and Outreach Worker Mrs Julie Rogers (01993 892056) RELATE advisors that can be seen free of charge through appointments made by calling (0845 077 5556) furtheradvice/stressathome.htm


Town Hall, Alvescot Road, Carterton, OX18 3JL

Public information, travel tokens, bus timetables, Thursday market Room hire for parties and meetings Maintains recreational facilities Welcome packs for new residents Tel 01993 842156 Email: [email protected]

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Brize News

Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft Infrastructure Building Program While the first aircraft in the FSTA fleet are in various stages of production and military conversion, work is going on apace to put the FSTA infrastructure in place at RAF Brize Norton. Following the signature of the FSTA contract in March 2008, AirTanker Services (ATrS) has been busy setting up the key infrastructure and detailed development work needed to deliver the FSTA service. ATrS has been working in partnership with its Primary Sub-Contractor, VT Group, to ensure the construction milestones are delivered on time or, in some cases, ahead of schedule. Before the building of the FSTA twobay hangar (opposite Base Hangar) could start, some ground remediation work and relocation of certain services had to be carried out: • The transformation of a selection of pre-1960 RAF amenities into modern, updated facilities. In mid-November 2008, ATrS completed and handed over these re-provided facilities at RAF Brize Norton. These included: - Bulk diesel and waste fuel tanks - Air side motor transport parking - Petrol, oil and lubricants store The next stage of the FSTA service infrastructure: the construction of a twobay hangar and associated workshops and offices, started in February 2009. Backing on to the hangar, on four floors, will be the office accommodation for the RAF’s two FSTA Squadrons, the MOD DE&S FSTA Team and AirTanker personnel. The FSTA hangar foundations were complete in June 2009 and the steelwork was finished at the end of August, two months ahead of the current schedule. The roof will be complete by the end of the year. The hangar, workshops and offices will be fitted out during 2010 and the FSTA


Main Operating Base Licence Area will be commissioned and accepted in early 2011. At the end of 2009, work will start on the second facility: a training school for flight crews, technical staff and support personnel. The training school will also house the A330-200 flight simulator . ATrS and its supply chain have been keen to avoid disruption both on the Station and also within the local community. Therefore the building site has been entirely fenced off, making it quite separate from the Station (during the construction phase) with its own main road access gate and restrictions are in place on local roads for site traffic. Dave Mitchard, Managing Director of ATrS, is justifiably proud of what his team has achieved to date: ‘I am delighted to report these early successes in the delivery of the FSTA programme. We have a highly motivated and results-orientated team, who are all committed to building on these achievements and will strive to deliver the next project milestones in equally good time. ‘Working with the RAF at Brize Norton has been a most rewarding experience and we look forward to continuing to develop these positive relationships. ‘The FSTA programme will provide the RAF with the most advanced air transport and refuelling equipment, representing a step-change in performance. The new Airbus A330 FSTA fleet will deliver unrivalled levels of capability, and AirTanker Services, working with the MOD and RAF, will put in place the new fleet and service.’

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Side elevation showing

t’s mme

Steelwork 7 July 2009

hangar and offices

Builder cherry picker


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Team Brize June 2009 Brize Norton Station Award For Excellence

Cpl L Ridley, Aeromed Control The Aeromedical Evacuation Control Centre (AECC) is a crucial force enabler, providing essential 24/7/365 strategic medical-support to all Service personnel and entitled civilians worldwide, with AECC annually facilitating the movement of over 4000 aeromed patients back to the UK. Strategic aeromed provision is vitally important for all deployed personnel, many of whom are required to be evacuated back to the UK within 24hrs and who need the highest level of inflight, critical-care provision in order to save limbs or prevent loss of life. Without the considerable skills of the AECC controllers these particular aeromed moves would not take place as efficiently and effectively as they do. Since her assignment to RAF Brize Norton as a newly promoted Corporal in April 2008, Cpl Leanne Ridley has developed into an outstanding AECC controller and has been directly responsible for a significant number of Priority One aeromed moves from operational theatres and Rest of World. All of these aeromed moves have required Cpl Ridley to act quickly and decisively to get urgent life-saving support to Service personnel. Of particular note however, was the way Cpl Ridley managed a Priority One request from HERRICK whilst on duty during the holiday season on 3 January 2009. This aeromed move required Cpl Ridley to facilitate an entire move for 14 patients onboard two separate aircraft, which included four high-dependency Very Seriously Ill battlefield casualties. Notwithstanding the need to exercise a high level of autonomy in her decision


Ridley was also making, and required to account with the added for the diplomatic responsibility of facilitating ‘As a result of issues involved in the allocation Cpl Ridley’s transporting a Dutch patient via foreign of some of the personal airspace, which R A F ’s m o s t vital resources, involvement, required changes to flight routes back Cpl Ridley both the to Brize Norton. demonstrated a maturity and RAF and the F i n a l l y, a d v e r s e weather added to approach that belied her junior RAF Medical the logistical issues faced by Cpl Ridley status. She had Services once the aircraft t o o v e rc o m e received were on approach several major back to the UK. logistical issues justifiable This necessitated a in order to recognition last-minute aircraft arrange a timely diversion from aeromedical in the Birmingham to East evacuation National Midlands Airport from theatre, forcing changes to including the Press…’ previously planned coordinated West Midlands arrival of both a Ambulance and C-17 and Tristar aircraft with two separate HQ TMW patient reception specialist medical teams. In arrangements. Undaunted, addition, in her planning for and showing considerable the aeromed lift home, Cpl peace of mind whilst under

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considerable pressure, Cpl Ridley made fast, autonomous decisions throughout, thus ensuring the continuation of the RAF’s aeromed service delivery. Without doubt, Cpl Ridley’s ability to make important, independent decisions at crucial junctures together with her conscientious attention to detail contributed significantly to successfully delivering all 14 patients to Role 4 medical care. As a result of Cpl Ridley’s personal involvement, both the RAF and the RAF Medical Services received justifiable recognition in the National Press for this particular aeromed lift. Therefore, because of the way that Cpl Ridley has unselfishly and consistently demonstrated a consummate level of service delivery, in the very best traditions of the Service, she is unreservedly recommended for the June 2009 Station Award for Excellence.

Fifty members of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) paid an evening visit to RAF Brize Norton on 19 May 2009.

rs e e in g n E l a ic n a h c e M Institution of Picture shows Wg Cdr Chadwick and Mr Mackworth with OC 216 Squadron’s Pennant from 1936.


he IMechE is the fastest growing professional engineering organisation in the United Kingdom. Whilst the Institution has no direct link to the Station, it does provide the route through which many personnel seek to become Chartered Engineers. T h e v i s i t o r s ’ c a re e r s , i n keeping with the Institution’s extensive appeal, spanned the broadest spectrum of industry from commercial aircraft maintenance to food processing plant design, and nuclear engineering to research into interactive liquid crystal display technology. The visit, hosted by Sqn Ldr Chris Long and Flt Lt (now Squadron Leader) Paul Austin, started with a presentation providing an introduction to Station. The presentation briefly touched on the Station’s history before focussing on its operational role and how all the supporting organisations across the site interlink to deliver the Station’s output. The visitors were then given an overview of the wider Defence effort supported by the Station through an insight into the Lodger Units’ tasks and finally

were exposed to the scale of the transformation effort that is being delivered under Programme Future Brize. Following a coach tour of the Unit the visitors were split into three groups to look around C17, Tristar and VC10 aircraft. Sqn Ldr Simon Barton and Chief Technician Dave Greig, representing 99 Squadron, gave them a flavour of how the RAF maintains modern aircraft. The visitors, some of whom had links to the aircraft either as ex-RAF engineers or through industry as aircraft designers, were then able to contrast what they had already heard with Sgt Dave Boyes’ presentation on the different challenges and satisfaction gained from maintaining the VC10. Finally, Chief Technician Scouse Garrigan showed the visitors how an ex-commercial airline Tristar aircraft had been highly effectively modified to deliver the different capability needs of the military through its conversion into KC1 aircraft with its great utility as a combined air transport and air tanker asset. Notwithstanding the visitors’ own specialisations

and illustrious careers, they were all extremely impressed by all they saw at RAF Brize Norton. Many of those with no previous connection to military aviation mentioned afterwards over a cup of tea how amazed they had been with the breadth and depth of activity on the Unit. The really positive attitude of everyone they had met had reinforced their perception of the RAF as a ‘can do organisation’ within which the professionalism of those in the engineering environment particularly shone out. The IMechE visitors held a surprise for Brize Norton too: one of the guests, Mr James Mackworth, happened to casually mention that his father had previously commanded 216 Squadron! Rapidly digging through the archives Wg Cdr Steve Chadwick, today’s Officer Commanding (OC) 216 Squadron, discovered that Mr Phillip Mackworth had indeed commanded the Squadron from February to December 1936. This was a fact missing from 216 Squadron’s Board of Honour listing former OCs but an oversight Wg Cdr Chadwick

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was very happy to be able to correct. Phillip Mackworth CB CBE DFC MiD originally joined the Royal Naval Air Service as an anti-submarine pilot in 1916 and then transferring to the RAF in 1919, finishing his RAF career as an Air Vice-Marshall. In between he served in a wide variety of other flying roles including being appointed Flight Commander ‘C’ Flight, 216 Squadron in April 1932. On promotion in February 1936 he took up post as OC 216 Squadron, from which he eventually left his son the proud owner of his pennant baring the squadron number ‘216’. Mr Mackworth told Wg Cdr Chadwick that his father would often fly the pennant from his aircraft during sorties. Having been shown a number of photographs of his father and other colleagues from that period held within 216 Squadron’s own extensive a rc h i v e s , M r M a c k w o r t h generously presented his father’s pennant to Wg Cdr Chadwick as a permanent exhibit in the Squadron’s collection. Sqn Ldr Chris Long OC Transformation team


Team Brize

Despite almost missing the start due to some Sat Nav issues, at exactly 10.00:00 on Saturday 18 July 2009 Flt Lts Dan Gibson (High Wycombe), Chris Coates (Brize Norton, AT/AAR FHQ), Nick Lane (Brize Norton, JADTEU) and Mark Lynch (Cranwell), all engineering officers, began the TrailWalker Challenge 2009 in aid of Oxfam and the Gurkha Welfare Trust. After 100km walking across the South Downs through the night the team finished at Brighton Race Course at 06.49:22 on Sunday 19 July. Out of the 480 teams that started the challenge, the team finished 51st. All busy at work and based all over England, the boys’ training was less than ideal, only managing two team walks before the event. The weatherman did his best to bring a downer on the mood by forecasting that the rain would arrive at 17.00 on the Saturday and just get worse for the rest of the Challenge. However, the team

‘The first 30km were completed at a good pace and most of the downhills were done18at a jog…’

awoke to a gorgeous summer morning on the 18th and confidence was high. The first 30km were completed at a good pace and most of the downhills were done at a jog. After a brief sit-down, a bite to eat and a recharge of the Camelbaks, the team were feeling good and got off again. The next 20km were still done at a good pace, but the legs were beginning to tire. At the halfway point, a much longer break was needed to take on more food and liquids, but also to dress blisters and change socks. The rain arrived as forecast at 17.00, but the mood was still upbeat, especially as the showers only lasted for an hour. As the kilometres went

by everybody’s legs began to tire more and more and the pace dropped. Fortunately, there were Gurkha soldiers along the route to direct and, more importantly, give encouragement. At the 70km point the team were all struggling with their feet and legs, but at this check point a meal provided by the Gurkhas helped to give the impetus for next stage, which was a relatively short one at 6.9km. The following stage was the longest. This was also through the dead of the night - 01.00-04.15 - and was the hardest stage of all. It was purely a case of putting one’s head down and trying to ignore the painful legs and tiredness. It was a real relief to reach the next checkpoint as the sun began to come up, especially as that meant that there was only 11.1km left. The final kilometres went by in a bit of a daze; the elation at finishing was felt by all, though it was almost imperceptible at the finish due to the exhaustion. Afterwards there were sports massages available and all the team partook. Each of the boys fell fast asleep as soon as they got onto the massage tables. Next was a Gurkha curry, which was extremely well received, despite the fact that it was breakfast time. Finally the boys made it back to the hotel for some well-earned sleep. Throughout the challenge the boys were brilliantly supported by the WAG (Wives and Girlfriends) support team. The girls were quite awesome keeping the team topped up with snacks and meals, drinks and painkillers. They even held their noses and managed few foot rubs. In total the team raised over £1400.

RAF Cabin Crew take on Passenger Handling On 1 April 09, 8 Cabin Crew joined the ranks of the passenger section in the Air Terminal at RAF Brize this is not an April Fools joke, it’s a new initiative between the Movements Role Office, Catering Role Office and AMS, Brize Norton. They will spend six months with us before moving on to the Cabin Crew course at 216 Sqn and 101 Sqn. It is widely recognised that the Movements Trade is suffering with manning and despite reinforcing with auxiliaries, Serco and a large recruitment drive, we needed manpower fast. The suggestion of putting Cabin Crew into the passenger section was initially met with some resistance however, after the reassurance that they would need to pass a bespoke training course at the Defence Movements School and complete an ROA , they were warmly welcomed. The eight Cabin Crew comprises a variety of ages and experiences with most of them coming from the Mess environment. Due to the nature of their jobs, they have spent a good proportion of their careers delivering high standards of customer service and they have brought this along to their roles within AMS. Everyone has appreciated the benefits, not just for us but also for the future relationship between air Cabin Crew and movement’s personnel. These Cabin Crew will leave us

with a greater appreciation of what the passengers may have experienced before getting on the aircraft particularly after a long delay or frame change. Their role within the passenger section comprises of checking in, checking through, supervising passengers in the departure and inbound lounge, chaperoning passengers to and from the aircraft, dealing with queries on the information desk as well as all the other day to day tasks. They are valuable assets allowing the shift SNCO to free up movements qualified personnel to carry out the more trade specific tasks. The Cabin Crew have been split into two groups of four and work a similar shift pattern to the SRF of four days on and then four days off. This enables us to reinforce our manpower for the most busy periods. This shift pattern means they get to work alongside two different shifts although their line manager is WO Passenger Plans. They have been welcome by the shifts they work with and each shift SNCO is taking their further development as

seriously as a BMT. They quickly appreciated the requirement to get up to speed on some of the more complicated passenger handling issues and ensure that they are aware of any new rules and regulations. They are unafraid to take questions and queries on the information desk despite their lack of movement’s knowledge and are willing to learn and develop. They are incredible keen and are learning quickly from their movements colleagues so much so that they want to get out and load aircraft however, their course does not prepare them for that role. It’s not just the day to day business within the Air Terminal that has kept them busy, three Cabin Crew recently assisted OC Passenger Plans with the Prime Minister of Iraq’s first official visit to the UK and one steward facilitated a remote check in area on 99 Sqn for the CAS’ Engagement Event. When AOC 2 Gp and his wife visited RAF Brize Norton for the AFI, two Cabin Crew were asked to meet Mrs Hillier to talk about their experiences working alongside movements personnel handling passengers. The eight Cabin Crew are hard working, conscientious and an asset to an already busy team. They compliment the existing professionalism but add a different slant on customer service that isn’t doing the movers any harm at all. 19


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Team Brize

Day one of my five day shift started on 20 March 09, a pretty uneventful day was punctuated with the normal A/C movements of 99 Sqn. Then, late afternoon, as I was making the lads a well earned cup of tea, one of my colleagues came through to tell me I had a phone call from ACOS manning. The voice on the other end said that I had been selected to go out of area at short notice and would need to be in post in two months! That wasn’t too bad I thought, two months to get myself kitted, fit and ready to go for four months in the desert.


VAHS Out of Area

A couple of weeks later I went to work to find out more on my mysterious detachment. Firstly I wen t to the Out of Area Clerk hoping she could shed some light on the situation of where and what I was going to be doing. She had exactly the same information as me, very little! Even tually after several phone calls and some e-mails I had my loca tion, arrival date (which was a week earlier) and the knowledg e that I had to undergo heat acclimatisation to cope with the 50+ C heat I would face. So two days later I dusted off my bicyc le and set off into the stunning Oxfordshire countryside, well , that was the plan. By the time I had ridden to the outskirts of Carterton I was already wishing I was back home, beer in hand watching someone else being sporty! Still seven or so miles later and I was home sweaty and tired. Several more rides and I was getting in to the swing of things, so much so that on the 4th Satu rday I rode to Swindon. I felt on top of the world and knew then that I could get fit in time. Now was time to arrange my kit at cloth ing stores. Once again Mr Goodman starred and within 15 minutes I had all the kit needed for a small war inside a kitba g and a large plastic bag. The next hurdle was getting all my inoc ulations up to date so a trip to the nurse and a sore arm later that was complete! Next was the dentist, now normally I am not fond of these people who butcher our mouths and look down on us with distain if we have need for their wonderful use of Amalgam. However I need not have worried, I was treated like royalty! (I must thank them for rescuing me when on the last Friday before I set off, my veneer broke and they fitted me in with out notice and repaired the gaping chasm! Thanks Shirley & Co.) Then I had to do my annual CCS. This was my briefing to confirm my understanding of all thing s in the field environment, chemical warfare, rifle skills, first aid and security. I also had to undergo a security brief for conduct after capture, something I was not ready for but I sure am now ! Time was getting short now and my fitness test was fast approaching, this will be easy with all the cycling I had done surely! WRONG! I struggled to get to last year’s level, although I did manage more press-ups and sit-ups than last year so it wasn’t all bad.

I also had to do an aircr aft cou rse for Larg e Airc raft Familiarisation Training too. ‘Doesn’t C-17 count as it’s the biggest thing the RAF has got?’ I questione d. ‘No’, was the straight answer. So followed a morning at 101 Sqn to learn about VC10’s. A morning at 216 Sqn for Tri-stars. Then a further morning at Lyneham learning about their ‘little ’ C-130 J & K models. The days were going by in a blur by now and I still had to get my flights confirmed. There was only one way to fly, C-17. The Ops staff had me on the flight as crew in minutes. The 18 May came round in a frenzy of packing and sorting out my paperwork. I was set for my adventure when at 03:3 0 on the 19th Sgt Sean Fairley collected me and took me to the Sqn for the last time in four months! Walking off the C-17 20hrs later I was met by a friendly face in a former member of 99 Sqn and of my C-17 course in Charleston, Damo. The heat was insta nt, now 36 degrees C is warm in anyone’s book but especially at three in the morning! Damo, my host for the next three days before his return to the UK was busy passing on his knowledg e and what I needed to know over a coffee and a cookie at the camp. He introduced me to my Coalition counterparts who were both forthcoming with offers of help that were genuine and gratefully accepted. The following day I was given the reign s for the post and set to work. The heat was crazy, 45 degr ees C but we got on with the job in hand and I was ready for my bed after 12hrs. A couple of days later and I was waving goodbye to Damo and left to my own devices as VAHS. Here I am two weeks later with the temp erature rising through 50°C but I am acclimatising and thor oughly enjoying my busy role and waiting for the next 3 1/2 mon ths until my replacement has the joys of being the ‘deer betw een the headlights’ and I can go home for a beer or two. Cpl Marcus ‘Plug’ Dick 99 Sqn (VAHS)

September Weather Statistics

Mean maximum: 18.4 °C. Record maximum: 28.2 °C on 11th 1999 and 11th 2006. Mean minimum: Record minimum:

10.0 °C. -0.5 °C on 30th 1969.

Wettest September: 138.7 mm in 1981. Average rainfall: 55.9 mm Driest September: 3.8 mm in 1959. Sunniest September: 201.9 hours in 1964. Average sunshine: 147.3 hours. Dullest September: 99.3 hours in 1969. The A-Z of Weather: W is for WEIRD WEATHER Whilst anything falling from the sky, apart from water in its many forms, is rare but there have been documented cases throughout the world. Raining animals tend to make the headlines because it is so bizarre, with fish being the most likely to be deposited, followed by frogs/ toads. The main explanation for this phenomenon is that strong winds, usually associated with waterspouts, tornadoes or powerful thunderstorm up drafts, travelling over water sometimes pick up creatures such as fish or frogs, and carry them for up to several miles. The creatures can survive as long as they are dropped soon after being picked up. Birds and bats have also rained down, when flocks have flown into thunderstorms. There have been several incidents of it “raining frogs”. In 1939, it actually rained frogs during a thunderstorm in Wiltshire. In June 1997, Culiacan, Mexico, it rained toads in the town of Villa Angel Flores. A small tornado whirled up a cluster of toads from a local body of water and dropped them in the town. Motorists reported the amphibians dropping from the sky around 11 p.m. June 2005. In 1894 a severe hail storm in Mississippi stunned the inhabitants of Bovina when it also brought an ice encased turtle measuring about 6 inches by 8 inches out of the sky. During a huge storm in June of 1983, in Dorset, England, lumps of coal fell from the sky pelted a number of yachtsman who were out for a day’s sailing. In 1968 southern England was covered in red dust. The heavy rain that had been blown in on the storm clouds was mixed with red sand, which had travelled over one thousand miles from the Sahara desert. Worms dropped from the sky in Jennings, Louisiana, on July 11, 2007, it is believed that a waterspout spotted less than five miles away at that same time near Lacassine Bayou could have something to do with it. Victoria Whatley (Forecaster, Met Office Brize Norton)


Team Brize

65th D Day

AMS Commemorate

Anniversary of

At 0630hrs on 6th June 1944 Operation Overlord, the Allied invasion of the Normandy coast began. Thanks to the heroics of the men who took part that day, whether on the ground, sea or air, Hitler’s iron grip on ‘Fortress Europe’ was loosened and the slow hard fight towards Berlin could begin.


h re e m e m b e r s o f C Shift Air Movements Squadron, FS Paul Amies, SAC “Crouchy” Herbert, and LAC “Frenchy” French, left for France on 4 June to participate in the 65th anniversary D Day commemorations, to learn more about the sacrifice paid and to meet the veterans (for many of them, this will have been their last trip back as the Normandy Veterans Association will be disbanded this year). We also conducted our own battlefield tours and assisted the British Legion and Surrey Police with traffic organisation at the main veterans’ ceremonies over the weekend. We arrived at our campsite after a gruelling 12-hour drive and set up our base. No readers, the word ‘campsite’ is not a typo: the RAF are not well known for roughing it out in the field, but all the hotels in the area had been booked


solid for the last two years! As we would find out, virtually everything in Normandy has a connection with the D-Day landings; the Chateau in the middle of the campsite was used firstly as a German - and then a Canadian - hospital, and just 200m down the road was the one time location of B7 aerodrome from where Hawker Typhoons of 198 Squadron operated during the summer months, attacking German armour. The next morning, we woke early to attend the Sword Beach commemoration at ColvilleMontgomery. We met no fewer than three RAF veterans who were very pleased to see us in Attendance. Two were fellow Movers and the third, a flight engineer/mechanic. The weather was fine and it was great to see the French public turn out in large numbers to show their appreciation and support towards the veterans

so long after the war had passed out of most people’s living memory. We helped the Surrey Police with directing the coaches around town and even had to stop a runaway car when we saw it rolling backwards past our diversion can imagine the double-takes there! We had the afternoon out of uniform and we used the time to take a drive along the invasion coast and visit the Canadian memorial at Courseulles-sur-Mer in the Juno sector. The tide was out and we took a walk to where the troops would have exited their landing craft and were shocked to see how far they would have had to run (whilst weighed down with equipment) to reach the sea wall in the face of withering German machine-gun fire. Our attempt to get as far west as Omaha Beach was thwarted by the only route being closed due

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to an accident, so it was back to the campsite to prepare for a gruelling night of painting Bayeux red! On 6 June, another early start to get some breakfast and change into our No 1s before arriving at the Bayeux War Cemetery for the first of two Gold Beach commemorations. Coaches were supposed to offload the veterans beside the cemetery but it soon became apparent that there had been some confusion and some were parked half a mile away. We made sure we were on hand at the bottom of the road to meet and greet the veterans and other visitors and to help push wheelchairs up the hill to the ceremony. We had the pleasure of meeting yet another RAF veteran, a Mr Jeremiah Wyndham, who served as a bomb disposal expert (see photo). In the afternoon, we were at Arromanche for the main

British ceremony. We were supposed to take part in the parade down to the square, but we were blocked off from joining by the French police as the VIP’s arrival became imminent. Only when we saw a couple of RAF officers on the other side of the cordon and pointed them out to the Gendarmes (along with the shocking “Franglais” we’d been using with the locals) were we able to pass through. By joining them, however, we had inadvertently become

glider-borne attack on this pivotal canal crossing tool place just a few minutes into D Day at 0016hrs. There are memorials sited at the spots where the three gliders landed and it’s amazing how close the managed to get to the bridge! We ate lunch at the Café Gondree which, due to its proximity to the bridge, was the first French building to be liberated, and served as a dressing station for those wounded in taking and holding the bridge until they were part of the official welcoming relieved. party for General Dannant, After a recommendation by Gordon Brown and the French a Royal Marine Staff Sergeant Prime Minister. The first two we met, we headed over to of them came and went, but the Merville Gun Battery, which the latter was delayed and the was also attacked in the early veterans became restless: it hours of the morning so it was now about 5:50pm and would not be able to fire on the they had been standing in the troops attacking the beaches. rain for almost an hour. “Why Out of 750 airborne troops are we waiting” started to involved in the action, only ring through the ranks and a 150 were dropped anywhere band’s bass drummer joined in. nearby resulting in 70 dead or Eventually their patience ran injured in taking it. The final out and the veterans started destination of the day was to march off. The Gendarmes Vierville-sur-Mer, in the centre put up some resistance at of Dog Beach (the stretch of first and tried to stop them, beach featured in “Saving but their commander gave Private Ryan”). It was sobering up after the French crowd to look up at the cliffs and began to boo. One see the concrete bunkers of the veterans, still standing about five feet tall It was sobering that would have and in his late 80’s, the deadly to look up at the housed pushed his way heavy machinecliffs and see past a six foot tall guns. Gendarme who Unfortunately, the concrete was about half Monday finally bunkers still his age! Once came and it was standing that they had started time to pack up marching, the and leave. It had would have applause from been an honour to housed the the crowds was meet the veterans deadly heavy and to show our heart-warming. It was a nice machine-guns support. The theme ceremony for of the event had the veterans, but been passing on a shame that the rain and poor the memory of D-Day to the organisation had marred this younger generation, and I think poignant and significant event. that the veterans were pleased On Sunday 7 June, with to see fresh-faced servicemen our official duties over, it there helping them directly. was a day to do the various Next year will not be as big an museums we had to see and event as the veterans will have to finally visit the American to pay their own way to get landing beaches. First stop there from now on, but we was the D-Day museum at will be returning to help again Bayeux opposite the cemetery, and to show our continuing before moving on to Pegasus gratitude for their brave actions Bridge. Although the main on that cold, bleak morning in attack started at 0630hrs, the June 1944.

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Team Brize I joined the Met Office at Brize in May last year as the new forecaster, replacing Laura Tobin who is now a regular on BBC daytime. Apart from the aircrew’s obvious disappointment when they saw that I wasn’t a “one for one” replacement, I have been made more than welcome by all. As well as forecasting in operations here at Brize Norton, I am also a forecaster in the Mobile Met Unit (MMU). Those of you that have been on Op TELIC, HERRICK or previous operations, may have heard of us, many of you won’t have. We are a small group of Met Office f o re c a s t e r s , E n g i n e e r s and support staff who are sponsored reservists in the RAFR. MMU forecasters complete their forecaster training at the Met Office College in Exeter before RAF Officer training at RAFC Cranwell on the SERE course, alongside the Clergy, Medical and Legal cadets, of which I graduated from last April. I completed a 9 week tour of duty to Basrah last summer and also a 10 week tour culminating in the closing down of MMU operations in Basrah, returning to the UK once No 903 EAW had lowered the RAF ensign on May 19th.


IMO Observing


y the end of the 2nd world war, 90% of Met Office staff were in uniform in the RAF VR. By 1947 most had been demobbed but the decision was made to retain 200 of them to form a rapid reaction team to provide meteorological information in crisis areas. This was the called the RAF Voluntary Reserve Met Branch. Over the years numbers dwindled to a small cadre, and in 1962 the Met Branch became the Mobile Met Unit (MMU.) Very little happened until the Falklands conflict in 1982, when the RAF had to ask the Met Office if the MMU still existed. Yes it did, and it has been involved in Military operations since, providing in-theatre support in the Middle East, the Balkans and now Afghanistan. The MMU has been in the Middle East since RAF aircraft were sent to the region in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in the early hours

of 2 August 1990. We have provided in theatre operational forecasts for the duration of Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM whilst deployed in Saudi Arabia and later JURAL, BOLTON and DESERT FOX out of Ali Al Salem in Kuwait. The first members of the MMU arrived in Basrah in April 2003 as part of OP BOLTON / TELIC and have been an essential part of operations there since. OP TELIC began on 20 March 2003, with the air campaign beginning on 21 March 2003 with precision attacks of military targets across Iraq. The Iraqi Army were overwhelmed by up to 700 attack sorties a day, culminating in the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime. The main base of operations was then established at the former Basrah international Airport (BIA) which became home to the RAF’s No 903 Expeditionary Air Wing, formed to support counter insurgency operations in the area. Over the 6 years of operations in Basrah, various aircraft have operated from the Air Station including; the


MMU Says farewell to by F/O Thornhill RAFR


Nimrod, Chinook, Merlin, Puma, Lynx and the C130, all of which have required MMU support. The MMU have been based in the ATC Tower, one of Basra’s most iconic buildings, but often the target for insurgency attacks due to its height. Outside of Iraq, the MMU have supported the Tornado GR4 squadron based at Al Udeid in Qatar, the main hub for air operations outside Iraq, as part of No 901 EAW. The drawdown of British Troops at the COB in Basrah was well underway when I arrived in theatre on 10 March. The MMU Det at Basra consisted of 4 personnel, 2 forecasters and 2 support staff, one of which being OC MMU Det, supporting a 24/7 roster. Alongside all other UK units on base we were immersed in OP BROCKDALE, the successful removal of British Assets from the Iraq Theatre of Operations. As part of OP BROCKDALE, we would be losing a vast majority of our in-theatre customers, such as the UK rotary assets of JHF(I), UAV assets and UK ATC, as we all departed. The MMU in Basrah, however, also supported off base customers, such as the Tornado Det at Al Udeid, UK assets as part of OEF in Muscat, and the media such as BFBS and the BBC. These customers still required forecasts post OP BROCKDALE, so contingencies were put into place so that these customers could continue receiving regular forecasts. Some forecasts were

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BBQ Time

handed over to the already busy team at Camp Bastion in Helmand, but the majority are now being covered by the new Joint Operational Meteorology and Oceanography Centre (JOMOC), which opened on 1 October 2008 at MOD Northwood. Once our ability to continue the forecasting role for our UK assets were established, our attention could be turned to our other responsibilities on base, such as our growing support for US assets. These were due to be covered by on site US Military contractors on our departure, however such contractors were not in a position to take over on our departure date, so met for US operations was therefore provided from nearby US bases in the interim. Although Basrah


International Airport (BIA) was not a direct customer of the MMU, the civilian carriers using the airport had access to our observations (METAR) and our forecast (TAF Terminal Aerodrome Forecast). Throughout the years, the MMU have provided training and equipment to the Iraqi Met Office (IMO) off and on. However there were serious concern that when the MMU departed, the IMO would not be in a position to support the BIA’s application to run with ICAO CAT II status. To gain this status a certain degree of Meteorological cover is required; one of which being accurate weather observations. As a consequence of this it was agreed with the BIA directors and Mr. Sadiq the Senior Met Officer at the airport, that we would run a mentoring

scheme to judge the ability and help improve the IMO’s standards of observations. I was personally impressed with the knowledge and standard of some of the Iraqi forecaster’s observations and they certainly imparted a ATC Tower lot of local forecasting knowledge over to us. The majority of US Changes the forecaster’s spoke reasonable English, so the communication of knowledge was surprisingly easy and they were generally eager to learn and gain as much from us as possible. Unfortunately, out of the 20 or so staff the IMO employed at Basra we only saw a small percentage of them. Frustratingly, the have yet to see anything being Baswari’s would only work with produced locally, as the US us for around 2 hours a day, military now supply a METAR as their office still had to be and TAF for the airfield, and manned, so it was difficult to it is likely that we will not see observe any real consistency in forecasts produced by the IMO their observations. In general until coalition forces pull out they were keen to learn and altogether. start producing their own The end of MMU operations products, but it seemed to us in Basra came on 11 May that as long as an observation 2009 at the end of OP PIKE; and forecast were produced the road convoy between the by someone else, they would COB at Basrah and Kuwait, not be stirred into action. We ferrying 6 years of supplies, kit and equipment out of theatre. This coincided with US Met the end of ISTAR and UK ATC support to the Operation. Our forecasting responsibilities on the COB were handed over to US forecasters and our equipment packed up. The last ATC and MMU staff were to leave Basrah on 15 May 2009, just over 6 years after we first arrived. On 31 May, the last Tornado GR4 and VC10 sorties were flown over Iraq, bringing to an end 19 years of near continuous RAF combat operations over Iraq. A Thornhill Flying Officer RAFR Met Office Forecaster RAF Brize Norton

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Team Brize

At the end of June, the Stn Cdr took a group of Sqn Ldrs away to visit the area around the Dams to the south of Dortmund in Germany. These Dams, the Mohne, Eder and Sorpe, were immortalised on the night of 16/17 May 1943 by 617 Sqn, the Dambusters. During the visit, each Sqn Ldr was tasked to answer one question. These questions ranged from the Leadership Qualities of Wg Cdr Guy Gibson to the effectiveness of the mission and the long term Tactical and Strategic objectives. It was also a welcome opportunity for enhancing Stn integration and communication between the many diverse Sqns & Wgs at Brize Norton. The visit was led by MEng Tom Lee of 216 Sqn, a guru on the subject of military history and a self-confessed orator. On the first morning the group assembled in the FHQ and, following a scene setting talk


by Mr Lee, boarded a nonMT bus to the RAF Museum at Hendon, which regrettably was fitted with a broken airconditioning system. Not ideal in the sweltering 30-degree

heat! Unfortunately, the bus driver didn’t know where he was going but, having driven through Hendon twice, Mr Lee got out his trusty GPS. Appropriately for the Staff Ride subject, on arrival it was discovered that the museum had suffered flood damage over the weekend but mercifully the Lancaster display was unaffected. Following talks and a visit to the Barnes Wallis display, the group travelled to Luton airport for the EasyJet flight to Dortmund. The following day, the group visited the Mohne and the Sorpe Dams, as well as the crash site of Flt Lt Hopgood and his crew. The visit to the Hopgood Memorial was poignant and tragic, in that it is a small wooden post, fitted only with a Sqn plaque

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and name plate in disrepair. Located in a small wooded copse alongside a main road, it is almost hidden from view and unless it is intentionally looked for it would not be found. It is possible that, in

a few years, this site could become overgrown and lost and, unless Staff Rides remain funded and more importantly well supported, this likelihood will increase. Lunch was taken on the Mohnesee Ferry which wends a slow route around the reservoir at the top of the damn before finishing with a head on approach to the Dam’s twin towers. This approach gives a Bomb-Aimer’s eye view of the last few seconds of the attack and is highly recommended. It is worth mentioning that one of our group elected to pretend to be a Lancaster at this stage, complete with noises. The rest of the group elected to hum enthusiastically to the Dambuster ring tone of someone’s mobile phone. That evening, the group elected to visit a local steakhouse for the evening meal. Regrettably, the lead was given to an individual with questionable navigational skills. It appears being able to guide aircraft skilfully around a computer screen is not the same as navigating in real life. The route stretched the bounds of sensibility as the group trekked for 3 miles, across main roads, through a locked grave-yard and, following a conversation with a local resident, nearly to the local Police Station. Finally, the destination was reached and a decent meal was obtained. Lamentably, the event was not helped when the Manager mentioned the following morning that the best local steakhouse and the in-vogue local bar/club were both within 5 minutes’ walk of the hotel, in

the opposite direction. The next day, the group travelled to the Eder Dam, following visits to the crash site of Pilot Officer Ottley and to the Arnsberg Viaduct. The Ottley crash site was a far more impressive crew memorial than that of the previous day. This is predominantly due to the local village taking responsibility for the upkeep of the site because of their belief that the crew attempted to avoid their village before crash landing. The site was overgrown but this did not deter the intrepid Sqn Ldr, who carried a crutch and elected to scythe away the weeds and clear the area. The wooden cross marking the site is a most appropriate memory to the attrition rate suffered on this mission. It is worth remembering that of the 133 crew who took part in this mission, 53 men lost their lives The route to the Eder Dam passed under the Arnsberg Viaduct, which was bombed by a 617 Sqn Lancaster carrying the 22000 lb Grand Slam Bomb later in the war. The Eder Dam offers a testimony to the skills of the crews that bombed and breached the structure. Enclosed in a valley and surrounded on all sides by rising ground, the Dam appears impenetrable and yet the location of the breach is visible to the naked eye. If a tourist only has the opportunity to see one of the Dams during a visit to Germany, then this must be the one. On the final day, the group

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had the opportunity to visit Wewelsberg Castle and the associated village which was the location of a Work Camp. Wewelsberg Castle was intended to become the powerbase and cultural home of Himmler’s SS, and it contains many examples demonstrating his love of all things occult and mystical. The work camp was a concentration camp with a labour force located there for a specific building project, unlike the extermination camps of Poland and Eastern Germany. The inmates were tasked to renovate the castle for the SS and they continued to do so for most of the war until more pressing demands for the workforce closed down the camp. The local village has subsequently expanded into the location of the camp, but a memorial was only laid at the turn of the Millennium. The memorial is a low-lying triangle, the symbol of the camp, made up of many triangles of varying colours and heights to demonstrate individuality. What is disturbing is that

the yearly commemoration service, whilst attracting many outside attendees, is almost completely avoided by the village inhabitants. Thanks must go to the drivers, MALM Gary Davies, FS Cliff Cook & FS Ian Marshall. These long-suffering assistants to Tom Lee were responsible for the majority of pre-Staff Ride admin and the myriad of tasks during the time away. Apart from a few minor instances, which included a quick junction pull away in fourth gear and an attempt to reverse down a dual carriageway, their driving was flawless, and their only voiced complaint was the lack of air-conditioning in the hotels. It should be noted that these gentlemen were particularly hard drinkers and, on one particular evening, following a hard day’s driving, they were heard ordering two large hot chocolates and a coffee.... crazy indeed! It is also a credit to them that they managed to maintain their politeness throughout, particularly despite being quizzed mercilessly for 3


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days on the relative merits of their respective GPS systems by one of our more wizened number. As an aside, and as a balance to how well the Brize Norton Airhead continues to operate, it is worth noting the complete lack of German efficiency on our return to the UK. Unfortunately our EasyJet return flight was delayed out of Dortmund Airport due to a technical malfunction. The planned ac was broken at Cologne and, rather than fly a new ac into Dortmund, it was elected to drive all the passengers to the ac. This was necessary as Dortmund Airport would be closing at 2200 and the ac would not be available until this time. No information was passed until the 150 passengers were in the departure lounge. They were then put through airport security, driven to Cologne, and then put through airport security again, during which all purchased duty frees were confiscated! To crown it all, the ac departed Cologne prior to the 2200 deadline. The Budget and Finance Manager was heard to mutter that he would consider requests not to travel on Budget Airlines very favourably in the coming year.

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Team Brize During the period 10th - 24th June 09, six willing volunteers from 101 Sqn set-off to endure the challenge of cycling from Lands End to John O’Groats in exercise, Long- Way-Up. This exercise was set with various aims in mind. The most fundamental of these was to encourage squadron personnel to take part in this arduous cycling exped, no matter what their level of fitness, therefore if you had a bike then you were in. The route runs from Lands End in the south-west to John O’Groats in the north-east and has been the inspiration for many endurance records and pleasure trips alike. (The fastest route to-date is just over 41hrs by Andy Wilkinson). Our route would take us 12 days on a more scenic meander which would explore country lanes weaving a course through rural Britain. The trip down to Penzance was a little cramped, mainly due to our poor packing and Kev Richards extra luggage. The drive down was filled with some trepidation as we drove through some heavy rain showers, pushed by an uncharacteristic wind from the north. The first night’s accommodation was in a refurbished YHA on the outskirts of Penzance. Having a hearty evening meal we met our first ‘End to Ender’ an elderly lady who was on her final day, having started at John O’Groats, she had completed over 1200 miles in 22 days. Her route included parts of Wales and Ireland and on inspecting her bike, which


was at best described as an old sit up and beg shopping bike, needless to say we felt very humbled and inspired by her achievement. In the morning we where keen to get cycling and set off to get a picture with the infamous John O’Groats signpost, unfortunately we were too early, as the sign gets removed each night due to vandalism. No sooner had we started when Mick Cutter found the first of many punctures, his forfeit was to buy the afternoon’s doughnuts, a reoccurring theme over the next 12 days. For the first couple of days we toured through the undulating but picturesque lanes of Cornwall and Devon, via the shores of Mounts Bay, Helston and St Austell; camping at Par, feasting on Cornish Pasties, what else. That evening we check maps and listen to the BBC weather forecaster who predicted light winds and a temperature of 19°C, unfortunately the weather forecast was slightly out, as we woke to driving rain that was to last all day. In fact the visibility had come down so much we had to fit our lights to increase our visibility to other road users. The day was a complete washout, with very hilly terrain and some temporary navigational glitches. The route through the Dartmoor

Exercis LONG-W



101 SQN

national park was anything but scenic and was starting to sap the strength of the more professional riders. In complete contrast to Day 2 the weather was ideal; we left the hills of the south and headed north. The weather was such that we made good time with an average speed of 18.1 mph. We decided to make good our route and stop at the Old Severn Bridge in anticipation for the next day and collected the day’s fines for various misdemeanours that had occurred throughout the day. Day 4 in the saddle - Today was planned to be a short day however the good weather allowed us to press on. Once Lee Morgan had adjusted his cycle shorts we headed off across the bridge. The day continued with some speculator views and scenery of the Severn estuary, Tintern Abbey and Wye valley. We met our support vehicle at Hereford Cathedral for another gourmet lunch prepared by our residence chef and support team driver Gareth Davis, cucumber sandwiches followed by fresh cream and strawberries, again! Content with our progress and a total disregard for the BBC’s weather forecast we set of in glorious sunshine to Church Stretton. In these first few days Mick Cutler, our cycle coach, had

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tweaked our bikes, adjusted our saddles, ensure we got the best out of bikes. Each day we would monitor our speed and estimated our daily calorie burn to be on average 4,000 calories a day. The following day we endured the busy A49, heading north to Warrington with an average speed of 18.3 mph. That night the tents stayed packed away in the back of the van, as we dinned and slept at ‘chez’ Gareth’s, excellent hospitality and a welcome break. The route through Warrington, W igan and Preston seemed to be an industrialised barricade that presented an impenetrable sprawl ahead of us heading north, a route I was not looking forward to. The intense traffic congestion led to a minor accident for Lee and some very close shaves for all of us. It was good to see


Team Brize

the back of these towns and headed towards the Lake District. However, it gave us the opportunity to stay in the centre of Manchester in the YHA with the added bonus of sampling an excellent curry from one of the many restaurants on the renowned Manchester curry mile. Maybe not the best type of food to eat when you are planned to be in the saddle for 7 hours. In the morning we paid a visit to an old cycling coach of Mick’s, known to all simply as ‘H’, an 81 year old


coach who has introduced innovative cycling training schedules to thousands of British cyclists throughout the years, some of whom have gone on to compete in the commonwealth and Olympic games. Certainly ahead of his time in cycling techniques and ideas, he was a very thorough man who still had reams of records of the cyclists he had coached; a welcome break and a very interesting man. Unfortunately we had to leave him and continue on our road northwards, heading

into the Lake District, through Kendal up and over Shap summit down into Penrith and finally to Carlisle. Once again the weather plagued us, driving rain and strong winds hampered our progress. For some the added double puncher whilst climbing Shap was not a welcome rest as the conditions made it very cold when stationary. A planned night under canvas was soon vetoed, once again Gareth came to our aid and found us a budget hotel which we where all to willing to pay for. Not much of a scenic route after all! We had only travelled 67 miles that day, never was a hot bath and some warm food more welcome. If Graham Hannam had his way we would have quite happy stayed there and picked him up on the way back down. Day 8 in the saddle: Carlisle to (a place Kev had problems pronouncing) Lesmaghow. After yesterday’s experience o f t h e w e a t h e r, w e all tentatively watch the morning news for the weather forecast, dry conditions with

a stiffing westerly breeze. Having departed we paid a quick visit to the Smithy at Gretna Green, took a few happy snaps with the Japanese tourists, and listened to a gentleman wearing a skirt and playing a sheep’s inners. Up and into Scotland, the first 40 miles was pleasant despite the wind. However as the day progressed the weather became more like a Falkland Islands autumnal day and like the weather the road surfaces of the Northern Cycle route all deteriorated quickly becoming the ultimate decider of how far we would progress today. Another campsite close to a busy railway line ensured we

Day 10 & 11 took us along the shores of the mirrored waters of Loch Lomond then climbing high at Crianlarich to the inhospitable wildness of Rannoch moor into Glencoe and Fort William for another nights camping.

L to R: Flt Lt Graham Hannam, MACR Kyle, MACR Richards, (back) FS Gareth Davis, SAC(T) Lee Morgan, Sgt Mick Cutler.

departed early the following morning, travelling through East Kilbride, Paisley, the outskirts of Glasgow and over the Erskine Bridge. Lee, once again displayed his suicidal tendencies by crashing into Kev’s stationary bike, while he waited for the lights to change. Home for the night was a very busy SYHA in Glasgow, choca-block as the boys where in town, Take That! A huge pasta meal establishes everyone’s carbohydrates. Plus a step back in time to an ice cream parlour that sold everything from hot soup, Lasagne and everyone’s favourite pick-and-mixed sweets. Ice creams where purchased by Kev as he paid for another forfeit having directed myself down the wrong route, only to be intercepted by the local constabulary. Day 10 & 11 took us along the shores of the mirrored waters of Loch Lomond then climbing high at Crianlarich to the inhospitable wildness of Rannoch moor into Glencoe and Fort William for another night’s camping. Once again we met fellow cyclists from as far a field as Canada, an unforgettable day’s cycling with views that typify the West coast of Scotland. Onwards to Inverness the views once again spectacular, tracing the course of the Caledonian Canal. At Spean Bridge we stopped at a memorial to the birth of the commandoes and their conflicts in World War II. We then continued along the shores of Loch Lochy, Loch Oich through Fort Augustus,

and then to Loch Ness with a quick stop at Urquhart castle, that projects into the Loch Ness. At Inverness we set up a more permanent campsite, keeping the tents pitched here for the next few days. Having tried various local delicacies as we travelled, it was Graham’s mission to try that well know Scottish titbit, the battered mars bar. However, he tried in vain, so we settled for a spicy kebab instead. The final part of our journey took us across the A9 bridge at Inverness and followed the cycle route northwards before rejoining the A9 following the eastern coastline via Dor noch, stopping at Helmsdale. The concluding leg started with some steep ascents out of Helmsdale following the open moorlands through to Wick. The solitude of the area was enhanced by scatterings of single cottages which where dotted along the roadside and coastline; rugged with dramatic steep cliffs where small harboured settlements have been carved into the rocks. Emotions were high as the countdown was signposted nearing John O’Groats, even the sun was out to greet us as we cycle the last few yards into the car park. We had completed the route, all 886 miles. Obviously proud of our achievement we were happy to celebrate with a bottle of champagne and a picture to prove our exploits.

One Year in the

Air Sqn Ldr Scott, VC10 Air Engineer 101 Sqn Although Sqn Ldr Andy Scott had already achieved his 10,000th flying hour last September, a unique event occurred 35 minutes after a VC10 took-off from Calgary on 2 August 2009. At a position 30 miles west of Saskatoon at ‘Flight Level 310’, Andy clocked his 8760th hour flying the VC10; this is equivalent to spending a year in the air in a VC10! It is not believed that anybody else has ever achieved this milestone. On his return to RAF Brize Norton from Calgary, Andy and the crew were met by the Sqn Duty Executive Sqn Ldr Dave Currie in the early hours of the morning on 3 August 2009. The following day, Andy flew his final sortie in the RAF which was a UK Air to Air Refuelling towline over the North Sea; his logbook now contains some 10,280 flying hours. The crews were met on landing by the Station Commander, Gp Capt Jon Ager, and the traditional Sqn welcoming party, who gladly

popped a customary bottle of champagne. Andy joined the RAF in 1972 and first came to Brize to fly the VC10 in 1984 having previously flown the C130 Hercules with 47 Sqn. His first VC10 flight was on 31 March 1984 and since then he has flown extensively with 10 Sqn and 101 Sqn and, as you might expect, he has a wealth of VIP Air Transport and Trail experience. For someone who left the training regime as a possible training risk, Andy has done exceptionally well, qualifying as a VC10 flight instructor and rising to the top of his profession as the STANEVAL Air Engineer. Following commissioning, Andy served on 6FTS at RAF Finningley between 1992-1994 but has served at Brize ever since. He officially retires from the RAF on 22 October 2009 having spent 23 1/2 years flying the VC10, and we wish him all the best for the future. Sgt Paul Riley



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Team Brize

The Longest Day On 21 June 2009 (Fathers Day & The longest day) a team of 14 riders from 216 Sqn RAF Brize Norton took part in the London to Brighton charity bike ride, with the aim of raising over £2500 for the British Heart Foundation (BHF). The British Heart Foundation (BHF) is the nation’s heart charity, dedicated to saving lives through pioneering research, patient care & campaigning for change by providing vital information about heart disease. This charity relies on donations for such projects at their 580 charity shops located across the UK. The BHF raised £14 million last year from their charity shops, selling 60,000 items every day to over 15 million customers to


continue their life-saving work of beating heart disease. In 2008 the London to Brighton bike ride raised an impressive £4.2 million. In light of this & interested in helping the BHF; Sgt Scott Ginn decided to organise a team from 216 Sqn to take part in the annual charity bike ride from London to Brighton. Initial costs needed to be covered and the Sqn

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are extremely grateful for the generous donation of £600 made by ‘Marshalls Aerospace’ to get the team entered into the ride & help towards the funding of the T-shirts.

Earlier in the year a wellorganised training regime had been implemented by Sgt Ginn, ensuring every rider was well accustomed to the ordeal that lay ahead. With on-


216 SQN going squadron commitments to operational tasking it wasn’t possible to ensure all riders could train together. Nevertheless, it was training well spent when it came to the ride, but we didn’t factor in a special training element. With so many cyclists on the road at one time, leaving in 30-minute intervals since 6am, there was bound to be congestion along the route. For the majority of the time at the start everyone was balancing on their bikes whilst hardly moving, unprepared for this, it would have been a good way to start our training, for it took nearly 2 hrs to leave the centre of London. The 216 Sqn riders were made up from all sections of the Squadron & we departed Clapham Common at 9am for the 54-mile (87km) ride, with one of the biggest turnouts thus far for the BHF, over the 29 years since they became involved with the ride. This year over 27,000 riders descended on London to begin their own epic struggle to the finish. It was decided at the beginning that we would make the ride an individual event, meeting up wherever possible, with the use of our mobile phones. It would have been completely impractical to attempt to keep 14 riders together along the entire course, so the five fittest amongst us, broke ranks & raced ahead and left a band of nine to battle it out for last place. With tens of thousands of riders it was impossible to attempt to cycle the entire distance without stopping along the way, bottlenecks at junctions, roundabouts,

h i l l s a n d t r a ff i c lights were soon to become hot spots. Luckily the race organisers had plenty of rest stops spread across the entire length of the ride, to help break up the pack and provide welcome toilet breaks and mechanics to fix your bike. This was on top of the dozens of unofficial stops manned by local residents who cheered us on. They were enjoying the day with street parties and barbecues, as well as selling sandwiches & giving away free water and biscuits as you rode by. This wasn’t the only refreshment on offer; the odd pub opened their doors early & reaped the abundant trade passing by, needless to say a few of us took part in this refreshing idea. To w a rd s t h e f i n i s h , a t around the 46 mile mark, we all attempted the dreaded ‘Ditchling Beacon’ which is the third largest hill in the South Downs and the highest hill on the ride, standing 814ft (248m) high. The ride had taken its toll on many of us by then and I joined the vast majority of cyclists who attempted ‘Ditchling Beacon’ but ended up pushing their bikes up the hill at the end. Only a hand full of our team made it to the top without stopping, which is a challenge in itself. After that it was downhill all the way to Brighton, (clocking

42 mph at one stage) and then the finish line along Madeira drive next to Brighton peer. Hundreds of well-wishers and supporters l i n e d t h e ro a d c h e e r i n g everyone across the finish line. The breakaway groups were enjoying a cold beer as we crossed the finish, the first to finish were Sgt Mick Rimmer & SAC Rich Lovelady in 5 hours 45 minutes, followed shortly afterwards in a time of 6 hours and 15 min were Sqn Ldr Si Young, FO Harry Povall & FO Adam Troughton. The main bunch of us (pictured at the start) managed it in 7 hours and 15 minutes, which was only 15 minutes over the average expected to complete the ride. Congratulations go out to the entire team on an extremely well organised charity event, which raised a total of £2673.60 for the BHF, who came on base to collect the cheque on a very wet day in August, probably a day like today whilst you’re reading this article....

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If this article has inspired you & you’re interested in raising money for the BHF you can contact them direct by visiting their website; or by calling 0845 130 8663. Acknowledgements: The team from 216 Sqn RAF Brize Norton comprised of; Organiser & ride leader Sgt Scott Ginn Support team Malm Ray Orr, Sgt Kevin McGreskin, Cpl Barrie Austin, SAC (T) Dan Wellstead Riders Sqn Ldr Phil Foster, Sqn Ldr Si Young, FO Harry Povall, FO Adam Troughton, MENG Micky Brighton, FS Kevin Murphy, FS Tosh McCabe, FS Neil Charlton, Sgt Mick Rimmer, Sgt Sean Moroney, SAC Rich Lovelady, Mrs Helen Bridgewater & Mr Will Bridgewater. FS Kevin Murphy 45


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From Nursery to A Level – Nurture and Excellence Choosing a school for your son or daughter is one of the most difficult choices you may have to make. You find a Nursery you really like, but as soon as you’re settled need to choose a primary school. At Our Lady’s Abingdon we help you by providing an education for both girls and boys from Nursery right through to “A” Level. Our Early Years staff provide a welcoming environment for you and your little ones to ensure everyone feels included, secure and valued thus making a positive and enthusiastic contribution to your child’s early development. Pupils achieve excellent academic results, and are also able to find an expression for creative talents and discover that education is not just confined to the classroom. “OLA has a strong sense of community supported by excellent facilities. I have had many years of enjoyable learning, a feeling of belonging and the confidence to pursue my dreams and ambitions.” (Sixth Form leaver) OLA was recognised by the DCSF for their International School Award in 2008, for the “outstanding work done by the staff and pupils to bring the wider world into the classroom and to take the ‘classroom’ to the wider world”. If you feel your son or daughter would also enjoy the experience of OLA please telephone Marie on 01235 523147 (Junior School) or Jayne on 01235 524658 (Senior School). You are very welcome to come to our next Open Morning on Saturday 17 October, 10.00am – 1.00pm. Registered for Early Years Funding. Scholarships and Bursaries scheme. Gateway -


Team Brize

n o ti ia c o s s A w re C ir A e h T The Air Crew Association exists to provide the facility for military aircrew of all ranks, of either sex, and all services, to meet and encourage debate on all aviation subjects. The comradeship that develops extends into group visits to aviation establishments of all kinds, and a variety of


monthly meetings throughout the year. We of the Hungerford and District branch have very useful links with both Lyneham and Brize Norton, and in the latter case particularly with 216 Sqn. Our group meets monthly for lunch at a friendly pub/ hotel at East Garston in the Lambourn valley, and four times a year invite our wives/girl friends to join us, (but not at the same time!). We usually have a speaker (not always on aviation matters). Our membership of about 40 consists mostly of full members, but also some very involved and active associate and honorary members. Visits of a variety of kinds, but virtually always with an aviation theme, are also held throughout the year. In particular in each year we are actively

involved in a flying display, generously sponsored by two rather wealthy local honorary members. Last year we helped raise £50K for SSAFA. Membership costs £12.00 pa for the Association as a whole, plus a variable local group fee currently about £6.00. Obviously attendance at meetings is not compulsory, and some members find it only possible to attend maybe as few as 1 or 2 per year, but will always receive notes of each meeting, receive a quality quarterly Association magazine, and always have the opportunity to attend as many of the organized visits as they wish. If membership interests you, and you would like further information with no commitment to join, then please contact Chris Harwood at caharwood@

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216 SQN

430 (Droylsden) Squadron Air Training Corps visit Brize Norton


n my capacity as a Service Assistant to 430 (Droylsden) Squadron, I invited Flt Lt Bennett OC 430 Sqn, the Cadets and some of their parents to the RAF Brize Norton Families’ Day. Prior to this all happening however, I first requested permission from Sqn Ldr Thompson, the event organiser, for permission to attend the event. When the go ahead was given the logistics of transporting 36 Air Cadets and Staff plus 14 parents from Manchester to Brize Norton was not as straightforward as I anticipated. I had no idea of the prices for coach hire and when we got quotes ranging from £1000 plus it was looking to be a daunting task to arrange one. Ultimately I managed to arrange a 70 seat yellow school bus, which you may have seen on the unit, for £700 after much haggling and using a little emotional blackmail! Once this coach was booked we then needed to formally gain permission from East Lancashire Wing HQ and put in the necessary paperwork for attending a public event. W ith the jour ney from Manchester to Brize Norton

being a good 4 hour coach drive, including the required drivers rest breaks en route, the Cadets assembled at 0700 to depart at 0715. In an effort to keep costs down some cadets from Ashton Sqn and Hyde Sqn also accompanied the 430 Sqn Cadets for the day. Once the nominal role was compiled and a head count done by Flt Lt Bennett, we then departed Droylsden. Dave a civilian instructor on the Squadron left by car with me to get to Brize Norton before the coach arrived to ensure the arrival onto the station went smoothly and escort the driver to 216 Sqn. The coach made good time and arrived at Carterton at 11.45 however due to the heavy traffic we managed to get on station at 12.30! Due to the other members of our stations family’s gaining access to the Station event. After a quick Admin break The Cadets were taken upstairs to the 216 Sqn briefing room where Flt Lt Phil Walton was waiting to give the Cadets a talk on 216 Squadron history and the roles the Tri-star operates in, especially our role on Op Herrick.

Once this was completed and all questions answered it was time to go and visit a Tri-Star C2 aircraft on bay 4. At the aircraft the Cadets were split into several groups to make the task of viewing the Tri-star more adaptable. SAC “Babs” Church a 216 Sqn Air Steward then explained her role on the aircraft and showed the visitors around the cabin. Outside the aircraft C/T John Morgan conducted external tours of the airframe both explaining parts of the aircraft and answering questions. Once again Flt Lt Walton assisted admirably and held court this time explaining the controls and switches on the on the Flt deck to the visiting groups. With the Squadron visit over, it was all aboard the big yellow bus to be transported over to the base hangar car park where the Cadets disembarked and had time to look around the static displays, exhibitions and take in the flying display. For many on the trip it was the first time they had ever seen the Vulcan and they were all fascinated by its display. One group of Cadets was then taken over to the simulator building where they had the opportunity to experience a Tristar and VC10 Simulator flight, which they all thoroughly enjoyed. Four Cadets chosen on merit for their hard work on 430 Squadron over the last year were selected to go flying. This was a surprise for the Cadets as they had no idea about this part of the day. The 4 were taken back to 216 Sqn and collected by Flt Lt Scotty Butler who took them over to the Tiger Moth he

was flying, and the three other light aircraft of the Flying Circus that they would be flying in. These Cadets were then flown to RAF Halton were they were collected by Dave the Civilian instructor, and driven back to Manchester. The Last event of the day was a visit to 501 Sqn RAF Regiment arranged by Sgt Ian Faraday, here the Cadets were shown a display of modern weapons and had the opportunity to see the other weapons in the 501 collection. For many of the Cadets and their parents it was the first time they had been on an RAF Station and it was really enjoyed by all. The geographical location of Manchester and lack of RAF establishments in the North West region makes trips like this very important for the next generation, who might like to make a career out of the Royal Air Force and have a chance to see what a station provides, and Brize Families’ Day certainly does this in a very positive manner. Many thanks must be conveyed to the people who assisted me during the day to make this a truly fantastic day out for the Cadets and their parents. When we arrived back in Manchester at 2145, the Cadets who had been on the Henlow aircraft were waiting for us and the grins on their faces tell the tale of a great flight, and a fantastic day out for all at 430(Droylsden)ATC Squadron Sgt Duncan Pritchard Picture courtesy of, Damien Burke/HandmadeByMachine. com.

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Team Brize

501 Squadron Help For Heroes Cycle Ride

2009 marks the 80th anniversary of the formation of 501 (County of Gloucester) Squadron. During this anniversary year the Squadron has organised a number of celebratory events, such as the recent 80th Anniversary Dining in Night, and a Veterans & Families’ Day. Fg Off Cooper Presenting Bottle of Squadron Port.

Several squadron members have also been actively involved in a number of charity fundraising activities, either as individuals or in groups, in order to raise money for Help for Heroes. At the end of 2008, the Squadron set itself the target of raising £8,000 for Help


for Heroes during its 80th anniversary year and one of these fundraising events was a charity cycle ride from Filton Aerodrome, Bristol, which was the original 1929 home of 501 Squadron, to the Squadron current base at RAF Brize Norton, a distance of 60 miles.

The cycle ride took place on Sat 27 June 09. Numbers taking part were depleted due to injury, training and recruiting event’s, however 6 dedicated (hardcore) cyclists made their way to Bristol on the morning of 27 June 2009, with clear blue skies and the prospect of a rain free ride. Prior to setting off from BRISTOL, the participants were treated to a private viewing of the RollsRoyce Spitfire, housed in the original 501 Squadron Hangar, and special thanks go to Aircraftsman Bauer (of 501 Squadron and who

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works for Avon and Somerset Police) for arranging this. The riders and support team were encouraged to look around the plane, and helped push it out of the hangar (how cool is that) for an official team photograph (thanks to Corporal Sambrook of 501 Squadron). The Rolls-Royce staff were also able to inform the participants of some of the early history of 501 Squadron. When the Squadron was first formed in 1929, it was housed in tents on the North side of the airfield, and the canteen was a hole in the perimeter fence where Squadron personnel


could buy pies, from the local pie shop! At the end of the visit a presentation of a bottle of Squadron Port was made by Flying Officer Cooper, on behalf of those present and the whole of 501 Squadron. The gift was, needless to say, very well received. The start time from Bristol was by now somewhat delayed due the viewing, and the team lined up for a pre-start photo at the delayed (from 0930) start time of 1045. This lost time was quickly made up however (despite some early punctures) and a rapid pace was set from the outset. The route took the riders out of Bristol via the B4057, under the M4 and though a number of picturesque Cotswold towns and villages as they followed the River Avon for most of the ride. The riders were even treated to a Flyover by the RAF Vulcan (and a brace of C130’s out of Lyneham) and enjoyed good weather, and minimal traffic, all day. Scheduled stops were made in Chipping Sodbury, S h e r s t o n , M a l m e s b u r y, Cricklade and Lechlade before the final run into Carterton and RAF Brize Norton. All riders (bar just 1 retirement due to mechanical failure) reached 501 Squadron Headquarters at RAF Brize

Norton, at 1730, having spent 41/2 in the saddle, averaging 13 miles per hour. The event concluded with a barbecue in the Squadron bar with participants joining the rest of the Squadron Permanent Staff, Training Team and Trainee Gunners after their days training. Special mention must also go to Sgt McMann who organised all the vehicles, food and equipment for the event and to Senior Aircraftsman Williams and Leading Aircraftsman Lane who acted as support drivers on the day. Finally, the whole purpose of the ride was to raise money for HELP FOR HEROES, and over £450 has been raised so far from this one event alone. This is especially relevant to one of the Squadrons Gunners who has only recently returned to duty with 501 Squadron after suffering life threatening injuries in a Rocket Attack on Basra in 2007 and has benefited directly from the charities work at the TriService Rehabilitation Centre at Headley Court. Another of the Squadrons Gunners completed the ride just weeks after returning to full duty after being injured on operations in Afghanistan in 2007.

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Team Brize

Pathfinder March 2009 O

n 20 June 2009 three members of Eng Ops Sqn, FS Ray Lloyd, FS Al Broom and Sgt Colin Litherland took part in the 11th Pathfinder March. This annual event commemorating the achievements of the Pathfinder Force during WW2, is a long distance walk of 46 miles (to be completed within 20 hours) starting and finishing at RAF Wyton and taking in the former Pathfinder Units of RAF Graveley, RAF Oakington and RAF Warboys in Cambridgshire. Our preparation for the event was a little ad hoc, apart from Colin who was used the event as a stepping stone to the Nijmegan Marches. Colin’s


training was comprehensive, whereas the other two, being older and wiser, figured that it was only a walk (how wrong we were) and we both maintain a good level of fitness, therefore whilst some training was essential there was no need to go overboard. In all we walked about 100 miles in training which incorporated 3 walks of around 20 miles each. Quite late in the day we decided to do the walk for charity and chose Macmillan Cancer Relief as the worthy cause. Despite the very short time we received pledges of over £250 from work colleagues and friends so a big thank you to them. On the day, after registering

and final checks of kit, the event was started by Gp Capt Smith, RAF Wyton’s CO, at 04.00 on a thankfully cool and damp morning. 208 people set off to walk the full distance along with 61 in relay teams. Twelve runners were to set off 3 hours later. The route is largely off road through open countryside and is reasonably flat, although there are several hills along the way. Walkers are required to check in at a series of 8 check points on route and here there was the opportunity to replenish water and at some food was available. The event was well organised and well run with plenty of support from RAF Medics, the ATC and RAF

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Wyton’s Catering contractors among others. Throughout the day the weather conditions remained reasonably good for walking although we did get wet several times. Having taken care to ensure that we were suitably equipped and provisioned (lots of chocolate and energy bars) for the day our journey was reasonably uneventful with just a few aches and pains and a couple of blisters to report at the end. Regular sock changes (every 15 miles) proved to be an essential operation as we saw many examples of foot failure along the way. At each checkpoint we took on more water or energy drinks, kindly supplied by Lucozade and at checkpoint 4 (half way) we took a 20 minute stop for lunch. Although we all had our own individual periods of fatigue the collective low point was during the first leg after lunch between check points 4 to 5 where the terrain seemed particularly difficult especially along the banks of the River Great Ouse and at about the 30 mile point morale was probably at its lowest. Perseverance and an impromptu fly over by the BBMF pushed us on and by the time we got to check point 6 with 14 miles to go we were revitalised. Over the last 10 miles we were going at better than 4mph and for the last 2 were almost jogging with the end in sight. We finished in a time of 14hrs 25 mins, better than our original estimate of 15-16 hrs. 153 of the original 208 completed the full distance and we arrived home in the first 30 with feet that had disowned us and legs like lead. The immediate aftermath was not pretty but the sense of achievement was immense. A very welcome cup of tea and bacon butty, courtesy of the ATC Sqn, gave us the opportunity to reflect that what we had dismissed as ‘just a long walk’ had in fact been a considerable challenge and probably one of the hardest any of us had undertaken. Will we do it again? The jury is still out. If you are interested in taking part in next year’s event you can find the details at www.

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✰ Servicing ✰ Major Repairs ✰ Vehicle Diagnostics ✰ MOT Centre for Cars, Vans & Mini Buses ✰ Bodyshop ✰ 24 Hr Breakdown,Rescue & Recovery

Celebrating 27 Years in Business

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2000 V Reg FORD Ka 1.3i 3 Doors, Manual, Hatchback, Petrol, 52,929 miles, Metallic PANTHER BLACK, 2 Owners. Front E/W, BCB, PAS, Drivers airbag, Folding rear seats, Immobiliser. £1,995 1999 T Reg PEUGEOT 406 1.8 LX 5 Doors, Manual, Estate, Petrol, 66,087 miles, Diablo Red, 2 Owners. Heated door mirrors, Steering wheel reach adjustment, Service indicator, Height adjustable drivers seat, Audio remote control. £2,195 2001 51 Reg SEAT Ibiza 1.4 Chill 3 Doors, Manual, Hatchback, Petrol, 63,356 miles, Silver, 1 Owner. Steering wheel reach adjustment, Height adjustable drivers seat, Steering wheel rake adjustment, Rear wiper, PAS, Front fog lights. £2,295 2003 03 Reg PEUGEOT 106 1.1 Independence 3 Doors, Manual, Hatchback, Petrol, 69,042 miles, Moonstone, 2 Owners. Drivers airbag, Power assisted steering, Body coloured bumpers, Folding rear seats, Immobiliser, Rear wiper, Service History. £2,495 2003 53 Reg Ford Ka 1.3i 3 Doors, Manual, Hatchback, Petrol, 24,513 miles, Black, 2 Owners. Rear wiper, Drivers airbag, Folding rear seats, Immobiliser, Radio/Cassette, Power assisted steering. £2,995 2002 52 Reg PEUGEOT 206 1.4 GLX 3 Doors, Manual, Hatchback, Petrol, 58,047 miles, Metallic crystal green, 3 Owners. Climate Control, Air conditioning, Heated door mirrors, Steering wheel reach adjustment, Service indicator. £3,450 2002 02 Reg Toyota Corolla 1.4 VWT-iT3 5 Doors, Manual, Hatchback, Petrol, 70,011 miles, Metallic Grey, 3 Owners. Air conditioning, Alloy wheels, ABS, Steering wheel rake adjustment, Front electric windows, Rear electric windows, Rear wiper. £3,650 2005 54 Reg VAUXHALL Vectra 1.8i Life 5 Doors, Manual, Hatchback, Petrol, 53,150 miles, Metallic Silver, 3 Owners. Heated door mirrors, Steering wheel reach adjustment, Isofix child seat anchor points, Space saver spare wheel. £3,995 2003 03 Reg RENAULT Clio 1.2 16v Dynamique 3 Doors, Manual, Hatchback, Petrol, 33,140 miles, Metallic Black, 1 Owner. Heated door mirrors, Isofix child seat anchor points, Height adjustable drivers seat. £3,995 2004 04 Reg VOLKSWAGEN Polo 1.2 Twist 5 Doors, Manual, Hatchback, Petrol, 45,744 miles, Metallic Silver, 1 Owner. Air conditioning, Heated door mirrors, Central locking, Passenger airbag, Drivers airbag, Metallic Paint. £4,750 2005 05 Reg RENAULT Clio 1.2 16v Expression 5 Doors, Manual, Hatchback, Petrol, 22,913 miles, Metallic Red, 1 Owner. Heated door mirrors, Isofix child seat anchor points, Height adjustable drivers seat. £4,850 2005 05 Reg PEUGEOT 206 1.4 16v SE 3 Doors, Manual, Hatchback, Petrol, 43,014 miles, Moonstone, 2 Owners. Alloy wheels, CD Multichanger, Audio remote control, Climate Control, Full Service History. £4,995 2005 55 Reg PEUGEOT 206 1.6 Sport Doors, Manual, Hatchback, Petrol, 40,974 miles, Metallic aegean blue, 1 Owner. Air


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conditioning, Heated door mirrors, Height adjustable drivers seat, Folding rear seats, Radio/CD. £4,995 2004 04 Reg SMART Roadster 80 2 Doors, Automatic, Petrol, 49,232 miles, Red. Front electric windows, Drivers airbag, ABS, Alloy wheels, Passenger airbag, Radio/CD, Sports seats, Power assisted steering, Remote locking. £5,250 2004 54 Reg HONDA Jazz 1.4i-DSI SE 5 Doors, Manual, Hatchback, Petrol, 52,095 miles, Blue, 1 Owner. Rear electric windows, Heated door mirrors, Height adjustable drivers seat. £5,295 2005 05 Reg CITROEN C4 1.6i 16v VTR Plus 5 Doors, Manual, Hatchback, Petrol, 33,689 miles, Metallic Black, 1 Owner. Air conditioning, Alloy wheels, Height adjustable drivers seat, Audio remote control. £5,495 2006 56 Reg Peugeot 206 1.4 Look 3 Doors, Manual, Hatchback, Petrol, 20,631 miles, Metallic onyx black, 2 Owners. Audio remote control, Radio/CD, Steering wheel rake adjustment, PAS. £5,750 2006 06 PEUGEOT 307 1.6 S 5 Doors, Automatic, Hatchback, Petrol, 40,101 miles, Metallic MONTEBELLO BLUE, 1 Owner. Air conditioning, Alloy wheels, Steering wheel reach adjustment. £5,995 2007 07 Reg SEAT Ibiza 1.4 Sport 3 Doors, Manual, Hatchback, Petrol, 31,599 miles, Black, 2 Owners. Steering wheel reach adjustment, Isofix child seat anchor points, Full size spare wheel. £6,495 2006 56 Reg PEUGEOT 207 1.4 16V Sport 3 Doors, Manual, Hatchback, Petrol, 19,664 miles, Metallic aluminium, 1 Owner. Leather upholstery, Celio Glass Roof, Air conditioning, Heated door mirrors. £6,995 2006 56 Reg PEUGEOT 207 1.6 Sport 3 Doors, Manual, Hatchback, Petrol, 14,973 miles, Metallic aluminium, 2 Owners. Alloy wheels, Celio Glass Roof, Air conditioning, Heated door mirrors. £6,995 2007 07 Reg PEUGEOT 307 1.6 HDi 110 S 5 Doors, Manual, Hatchback, Diesel, 34,364 miles, Metallic diablo red, 2 Owners. Air conditioning, Heated door mirrors, Height adjustable drivers seat. £7,495 2006 06 Reg FORD Focus 1.8 TDCi LX 5 Doors, Manual, Hatchback, Diesel, 23,444 miles, Metallic Aquarius Blue, 1 Owner. Air conditioning, Heated door mirrors, Height adjustable drivers seat. £7,495 2008 08 Reg PEUGEOT 207 1.6 HDi 110 Sport 3 Doors, Manual, Hatchback, Diesel, 8,500 miles, Montebello Blue, 2 Owners. Air conditioning, Alloy wheels, Heated door mirrors, Steering wheel rake adjustment. £8,995 2008 57 Reg PEUGEOT 308 1.6 VTi S 5 Doors, Manual, Hatchback, Petrol, 8,736 miles, Metallic aluminium, 1 Owner. Air conditioning, Isofix child seat anchor points, Service indicator. £8,995 2008 08 Reg PEUGEOT 307 2.0 HDi SE 5 Doors, Manual, Estate, Diesel, 10,950 miles, Metallic onyx black, 1 Owner. Steering wheel reach adjustment, Steering wheel rake adjustment, Climate Control. £10,750 2007 56 Reg PEUGEOT 207 CC GT THP 150 2 Doors, Manual, Cabriolet, Petrol, 22,511 miles, Metallic ASMARA RED, 2 Owners. Air conditioning, Climate Control, Electric door mirrors. £11,250

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Tel: 01993 867366

We also offer long/short term parking (off site) at unbeatable prices Located RAF Brize Norton and Carterton

Insurance approved repairers

Established over 25 years

Accident Repair Centre Car & Commercial Body Refurbishing Specialists Unit One Carterton Industrial Estate, Black Bourton Road, Carterton, Oxford OX18 3EZ Tel/Fax 01993 845480 E-mail: [email protected] • Insurance repairs • Resprays • MOT preparation & servicing • Valeting • Lo bake oven • Free courtesy vehicles available • Car hire (small, family, 7 seaters & vans at competitive rates)


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Unit 6, Clare Terrace, Carterton Ind. Estate, Black Bourton Road, Carterton

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Community Focus this edition updates from Welcome to Community Matters. You will see in s. the Police and how you can help by reporting crime the Area Audits we sed analy now have we that t repor I am please to DE to make sure that the received and are working closely with MHS and on a regular basis. I SFA estate is cleaned and tidied and this will be done and this is very positive. am sure you will have noticed the changes already Sheets. Thanks to the Area Reps who completed the Audit edy, the Community Kenn Lin me, ct conta e pleas ents If you have comm or email me at: Development Officer (CDO) on: 07786801107, [email protected] ing welfare issues For advice and guidance or to assist with any hous ne Conway the Station that you may be encountering contact WO Yvon 50 or by email: Community Support Officer (SCSO) on: 01993 8953 [email protected] ing being posted in or If you require information about anything, includ in the area, contact Mel out, schools, local services or any aspect of living [email protected] at the HIVE on: 01993 895349 or by email: brizen

Can you spare some children’ s toys, colouring books and soft toys for injured child ren in Kandahar Hospital? These are child ren who are inju red and in hospital as a result of th e fighting and ha ve absolutely nothing! If you are able to send any of the items listed, no sweets or perisha bles please, then pa ckage up and send to: 5766271 Captai n A J Subbs. UK-JF Med Gp Op Herrick 10b BFPO772 The cost of a pa

rcel up to 2KG

is free.

Fun Day

On Wednesday 22 July, a further fun day was held in the Ely Close Families Centre supported by the Brize Norton Community Support Team. The day began with heavy showers but thanks to Steve Enyon and his team from SEF, who erected tents loaned from 501 Sqn, this somehow forced the rain to cease and the sun to shine. The events entertainment was provided by the very enthusiastic owner of ‘Wiggler’ based in Banbury and Chipping Norton, with balloon making and magic tricks for the children, along with his very artistic face painting assistance. The children seemed to have plenty of fun and enjoyment especially with the two bouncy castles which were also provided. Lee Barbosa and Aaron Hill from the Catering Sqn provided an abundance of tasty burgers and sausages and despite hitches with the temperamental barbecue (yet again eh guys!) maintained a constant flow of food for the hungry crowds. The Thrift Shop was also open for business with a steady flow of bargain hunters boosting charitable profits. My thanks go to all those who assisted Mel Bushnell and I in making the day a huge success. On that note, the Community Support Team are planning an ‘event’ for the last Wednesday of each month, commencing on 30 September with a Free Pamper Day (0900 - 1330hrs) at the Coffee Shop in Ely Close. Please look in the Gateway magazine and for advertisements for this and future events.


Your support and attendance is greatly appreciated. For further details on monthly events or any ideas you would like to put forward then please call; Fg Off Greg Horan Tel: 896308, Melanie Bushnell Tel: 895349 or WO Yvonne Conway Gateway - Tel: 895350.

Police Update Anti-Social Behaviour Since the last article the usual problems continue in the middle of Carterton Town Centre on a Friday night, which has been labelled ‘kiddy’ night. At times there can be anything up to 50 - 100 youths in the middle of Carterton at this time. Most of the youths are well behaved, if loud, however we did have the minority who have consumed alcohol and are on the verge of falling over. The policy is for the Neighbourhood Team to move the youths onto the Recreation Ground and try to keep them in one place. If a youth has been drinking then the Team call the parents of the youths and ask them to collect them from us. This does have an excellent effect as the inconveniences the parents. Our job is not to inconvenience the parents but this does bring home to the parents what their offspring are up to. The Country Park is an excellent facility and we, along with West Oxfordshire District Council, are aiming to keep it that way. The Park is well used during the day by children far and wide. Unfortunately, during the evening it is a magnet for the older youths. The team do not have a problem with youths using the Park, but not until 2.00 in the morning or making the amount of noise that they make. Please consider local residents when you are using the park! Finally, we MAY have some nice weather, so please remember that if you are in the back garden, lock your front door so that no-one can enter your property without your permission.

The Council cleaners continue to do a good job, but we could all make their job so much easier if we threw our rubbish in a bin or took it home with us. If bins are full then contact either Carterton Town Council on 01993 842156 and they can speak to someone who can get them emptied. Carterton recently took part in the ‘The Big Tidy Up’ and 20 volunteers turned out to help. The weather on the day was good and 20 bags of rubbish were collected. We would like to thank Street Scene for their help with the graffiti removal machine and the use of litter pickers and gloves.

Other Police


Starting at the beginning of July the neighbourhood team have been using body worn video cameras, which enable us to collect evidence of crimes and anti -social behaviour. This is a fantastic tool for the team and we welcome it. The Co-Op on Shilton Park had been having problems with shoplifting on a regular basis from what appeared to be the same group of people. Due to polic e and staff initiatives this has stopped and things have been quie t for a few weeks now.

How you can Help Reduce Vehicle Crime

If you see a vehicle with valuables left on show then please note down the make, registration number and location of where you saw it. Then email these details to crimereduction@ The local Crime reduction officer will pick this up and write to the owner of the vehicle to give them some crime reduction advice and warn them that they were at risk of theft because of leaving items on show.

Surger y DATES

-in surgeries: If The PCSOs are now holding regular drop to find out the er offic local you would like to contact your 8 505 505 or 0845 hone telep r eithe dates of the surgeries visit

Reporting crime incidents on the SFA It is an unfortunate factestate of life that incidents of crime happen on the SFA estate, just as they do elsewhere in Carterton. Indeed, in recent weeks there has been a spate of thefts of belongings from back gardens in the Married Quarter area. When such incidents are reported, there is a natural tendency for Service occupants to report the matter to the RAF or MOD Police. There is nothing wrong with such action, however it is vital that the matter is also reported to Thames Valley Police (TVP). When you inform TVP you will be given a crime incident number, which is your reference for follow up action and is also useful if you have to make an insurance claim. Furthermore, by reporting to TVP you will be helping to ensure that they have an accurate picture of crime levels in the SFA area. That accurate picture is then used to justify the allocation of resources to combat the crimes. Any incidents reported to the RAF Police are notified to the local TVP contact. However, a crime incident number is only raised when the victim makes a report. It is the recorded crime incident numbers that tell TVP HQ what is happening and which provoke an appropriate response. The number to call is 0845 8505 505. If you are unfortunate enough to have to make such a call, always insist that you are given a crime incident number. The call centre operative might tell you that the matter will be passed to the local MOD Police, which is quite acceptable but they must give you an incident number and you have every right to ask for one. Finally, if you witness any criminal activity whilst it is happening, a 999 call is appropriate.

SFA flat demolitions Just a note to let SFA occupants know that there will be further SFA Flat demolitions later this summer. The last 3 blocks of unoccupied flats in Ely Close, Innsworth Road and Stanmore Crescent will be demolished over the September/ October period.

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Community Focus

Need to Talk?

It can be tough keeping relationships together and the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund (RAFBF) recognises that RAF couples face additional pressures, due to long periods of separation, the stress of active service, and having to live a long way from family and friends. That’s why they’re offering to pay for confidential relationship support for anyone in the RAF and their partners, whether they are married, living together, separated, divorced, or coping with the end of a relationship. The RAFBF will pay for up to six counselling sessions for everyone regardless of income. To suit your lifestyle, hours of duty and place of deployment, support is being provided in a number of ways:

• Call 0845 077 5556 if you want to book a face-to-face counselling session at your nearest Relate Centre or a telephone counselling appointment. • E-mail [email protected], quoting your service number, if you want e-mail counselling and a consultation form will be sent to you. • Visit for live online chat with a trained counsellor. You will need to give your service number, or your partner’s service number, but this is solely so the RAFBF can check that it is only paying for those eligible for the services. Everything you say to a Relate counsellor will remain confidential and no-one in the RAF will be told that you have accessed these services.

Amy’s Review

This all started when Amy’s Grandma took a photo of Amy looking at an edition of Gateway, and it actually looked as if she was reading it - which you would not expect of a 10 month old baby. She sent the photo off and it appeared in the August edition in 2007. The original magazine was actually left at their house by some ex-neighbours who live at Brize Norton. Their daughter and sonin-law work at the base. Having seen this in publication we immediately contacted the base and asked for some extra copies as keepsakes. We thought it would be nice for Amy to see herself in print. When he replied Barry Jessel (then OIC) came up with the idea that as she was in her first year we might like to do the same the following year to see the


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change. We thought it was an excellent idea. So again her photo appeared in August 2008. This time her picture appeared twice and when we showed her she was quite excited. Through contact with Barry, he suggested this is something we could do year on year during Amy’s childhood,

to create a mark in time, and to make it a yearly feature. He mentioned in his editorial that at some future point she could be invited to visit the base, which would be an exciting and out of the ordinary trip for her (and us!). We don’t get to see many issues of the Gateway Magazines, but when Amy

does see one she likes looking at the planes. In fact ‘plane’ was one of her first words, and she would point to the sky and spot planes that we could hardly see. Of course now she is getting a little older that happens less frequently. Mr Paul Woolterton

RAF Brize Norton - SSAFA Recognition Three Members of SSAFA Brize Norton were awarded there badge for recognition 10 years of service as a community volunteer. The presentation was made by SSAFA area co-ordinator Liz Tripp. SSAFA will have a stall at Party in the Park or for information on the services we provide please visit 11 Ely Close.

Left to right: Andrew Sowerby, Jacqui Roberts, Kev Trethowan, Pamela Kane, Graham Lee, Hazel Prestwood, Emmanuel Walcott and Liz Tripp.

Mis-Selling of Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) to HM Forces Personnel...A Scandal!


rather long title, I’ll admit. And you’ll notice that I end it with an exclamation mark - not a question mark - this is because I am making a statement. The selling of PPI to people who will never claim on it, to whom it is useless - HM Forces personnel - is, at the very least, a scandal I’ll stop short of calling it theft! And I believe it was cynically sold to Forces personnel. T h i s c o v e r, w h i c h w a s designed to be sold to employees at the point when they were taking out most forms of credit, from a wide range - credit cards/loans/ mortgages/car-loans/hirepurchase etc, was sold to as many people as would take it. The idea being that, should the client be unable to work due to sickness,

accident or redundancy, this PPI cover would ensure that the payments on their creditagreements were met...for an agreed period (usually a year or two, maximum). PPI reaped billions (not millions) in income for the institutions selling it. In theory it all sounds wonderful, and, in some cases, when sold correctly, it did offer breathing space to a number of people (employees with little or no employer cover), allowing them to recover from illness or to find another job, whilst having a little peace of mind knowing that their credit liabilities were being covered, at least for a set period. However, it has since been discovered that PPI was sold to a vast amount of people to whom it is completely worthless. Many self-employed

people were sold it and, when the worst happened, found that they weren’t eligible for payouts under this cover. Many employees (the group that PPI was designed for) found that there were so many ‘get-out’ clauses built into their policies that they were worthless. One of the most glaring examples of a workforce that should never have been sold PPI is - HM Forces Personnel. Having dealt with the Forces for over 14 years, providing our home-buying service, we made clients aware (I have been asked many times over the years, by my Forces clients, if they should get some PPI in place, mainly for the mortgage) that they have absolutely no need for PPI. If they cannot w o r k , t h ro u g h s i c k n e s s / accident, they continue to be paid. There are (generally) no

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redundancies in the Forces. In short, nobody serving in HM Forces should have been sold this cover...but so many have. In tandem with a firm of solicitors, we now have available leaflets entitled HM Forces and Mis-Selling of Payment Protection Insurance (PPI)...THE FACTS. Please contact me for a leaflet. **Because so many Forces personnel are still unaware that they are paying for this completely (for them) useless cover - I’m sure friends, family, colleagues would be happy if you mentioned this topic and suggested they check that they haven’t been sold it. For a leaflet...or to discuss further...please email - frank@ or call - Frank Kelly 0845 612-3336 or 07711 327359 59


The Neighbourhood Team is continuing its high visibility patrols around Carterton town centre and the Market Square in Bampton. Carterton has been busy in the middle of town and the recreation ground, but while there were numerous groups of youths they were generally good natured. Bampton has also been relatively busy and the team was called to a group of 20 youths in and around the war memorial. However, when we arrived they had disappeared. Once again the main problem seems to be Friday nights when there are numerous youths around. The Country Park, which was an area highlighted as an area where young people were congregating at a meeting with West Oxfordshire District Council, seems to have quietened down. Indeed, over the last weekend in July there were no older youths seen in the park. An Acceptable Behaviour Contract (ABC) has been signed by a Carterton re s i d e n t a n d t h e t e a m will be monitoring this closely. Bampton residents still continue to ring the police about anti-social behaviour and they have now been given anti-social behaviour diaries to fill in. Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) Isabel Webb is visiting them on a regular basis to compile evidence against certain individuals. PC Simon Towers, Anti-Social Behaviour Manager, will be issuing letters to the main protagonists. PCSO Angela Alford has identified three suspects in Filkins who may responsible for anti-social behaviour and the team is currently dealing 60

with this. Whilst their actions are low key at the moment the team intend to nip the problem in the bud. PCSO Sara Holmes visited a Carterton resident who had complained about an anti-social incident and PCSO Holmes spoke to the youths and their parents. Both of the youths have since apologised to the victim. On Thursday 9 July the team conducted a high visibility day in the Bampton area. We removed two vehicles for having no insurance and three other vehicle owners were given advice for motoring offences. We located a man who was wanted by the mental health team for an assessment, provided the community with crime prevention advice and gave out information about the police Community Messaging system. We received very positive feedback from residents. These days are going to be repeated over the coming months in the major towns within our neighbourhood. A test purchasing operation was carried out on Friday 10 July where seven premises were checked with only one failing. The premises supervisor was spoken to and the member of staff was issued with a fixed penalty notice for serving someone underage. Test purchasing operations will continue throughout the year to get the message across to licensees not to sell alcohol to underage people and to always check for identity. The team fully supports these operations as our major issues of antisocial behaviour revolve around drunken youths. Two youths were arrested on 10 July for public order offences following an incident where one of them refused to surrender alcohol and then become abusive towards the PCSOs. One has been charged and the other is on bail. Another youth was arrested and admitted causing criminal


damage on Tuesday 14 July. A man was arrested on suspicion of theft from Somerfield following reports of him being drunk in the Beehive car park. He admitted the offence and was charged with theft. Over the weekend of 24 and 25 July numerous bottles of alcohol were emptied by the PCSOs on the recreation ground on Alvescot Road. A party was broken up by the PCSOs on Friday 24 July which was to be held on Willow Meadow in Carterton. The old Party Zone building has become a haven for underage drinking and most of the windows have been smashed. Recently a solid fence has been put up along the front of the building which will hopefully act as a deterrent.


The team has carried out numerous Speed Indicator Device checks in the area. Milestone Road and Upavon Way in Carterton and North Street and Cote Road in Aston were targeted. The Roads Policing Team carried out an operation in Kencot targeting speeding motorists, those not wearing seat belts and those using mobile phones. We are waiting for the results of this. The Speed Data Recorder (SDR) was deployed on North Street, Aston and as soon as the results are back they will be fed to the Parish Council. The car park at the Country Park on Shilton Estate is close to completion. It is at the far end of the Shilton Park estate and we ask all drivers using the car park to use extreme care around the housing estate. Litter Litter continues to be a problem on Saturday and Sunday mornings following the night before. Fortunately the council cleaners are very

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good and before most people are up the mess has been cleaned. One of the main areas of concern is smashed glass around the Recreation Ground. This is a danger to both residents and animals. The Country Park at Shilton had a lot of litter during the first part of July but this has since improved and the bins are getting emptied on a regular basis.

Other news

The Neighbourhood Action Group met on 2 July in Bampton and was attended by the new Principal Community Safety Officer Ron Spurs. The PCSOs have held several drop-in surgeries with more planned for August on the following dates: Thursday 20 August - 9am10am in Carterton’s Women’s Institute and Marketplace Tuesday 25 August - 12pm1pm in Brize Norton’s post office Saturday 5 September 2.30pm-3.30pm in Carterton’s Co-op café PCSO Sara Holmes also attended ‘The Big Lunch’ at the New Community Hall on Shilton Park. This was an event organised by Cottsway Housing and was well attended. If you would like to speak to the neighbourhood team please either telephone 0845 8 505 505 or email carterton@ Danielle Hilton Partnership Communications Officer danielle.hilton@ thamesvalley.pnn.police. uk Chris Kearney Oxfordshire Communications Officer Christopher.kearney@ thamesvalley.pnn.police. uk

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PARTY IN THE PARK, RAF BRIZE NORTON SECURITY AND ENTRY CONDITIONS Your consent to full searches of your vehicle/person and belongings will be a condition of entry to RAF Brize Norton ‘Party in the Park’ (‘the venue’). Please assist us by ensuring that you keep all your belongings with you at all times. No ammunition, replica or toy firearms, knives, or any kind of weapon may be brought by you into the Venue: any found will be confiscated and you may be refused entry into the Venue. Entry to the venue is not guaranteed solely on the production of an event ticket. Personnel are to ensure that they are able to produce either a valid MoD identification card or the requisite photographic identification to facilitate the issue of temporary visitor permits. Visitors entering the Venue do so entirely at their own risk. No liability will be accepted by the Secretary of State Defence or its agencies, the Royal Air Force, Royal Air Force Brize Norton, their servants, agents, independent contractors, consultants, or sponsors for any death injury (including fatal injury), illness, damage or loss whatsoever directly or indirectly occasioned to person or property whether due to negligence or otherwise however subject to provisions of the Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977. RAF Brize Norton reserves the right: (1) to carry out such security checks as it deems necessary (2) to refuse entry to persons and/or vehicles to the Venue (3) to divert vehicles to car parking areas and/or(4) to remove persons and/ or vehicles from the Venue or any part of the Venue Party in the Park is organised by RAF Brize Norton and reserves to itself all rights or exploitation thereof. Accordingly visitors are admitted to RAF Brize Norton upon conditions that, save with prior consent of RAF Brize Norton they do not attempt to sell, license, or otherwise exploit, any material whether written or in the form of photographic film, sound, video, or other recording or computer software obtained or made of the Venue and that they agree not to assign or license any copyright or other right in such material, or any interest therein, to any third party without first offering the same to RAF Brize Norton upon the same terms or terms more favourable to RAF Brize Norton. In the event that any of these terms and conditions are held to be invalid, illegal or unenforceable for any reason, such term or condition shall be severed and the remainder of the terms shall continue in full force and effect. Children under 12 years of age are to be escorted by an adult, No ID is required if accompanied by an adult. Children not accompanied by an adult require a photographic ID Family ticket is 2 adults and 2 children – Children are aged 5-16yrs – Under 5’s go free

The Yellow Ribbon Foundation is proud to present our Christmas Prize Draw fundraiser, in aid of our chosen charity for 2009/10 - The Forces Children’s Trust, helping dependent children whose father or mother has died, or has been seriously injured, whilst serving as a member of the British Armed Forces. The raffle will be drawn on Monday 30th November 2009 and the prizes are as follows: 1st Prize - £100 cash 2nd Prize - £75 cash 3rd Prize - £50 cash 4th Prize - Party Lite Candle Gift Set 5th Prize - Combat Bear Gift Set Tickets are priced at £2.50 for a book of 5 tickets (that’s just 50p each) and are available in a number of ways. Firstly online at wwwshop. - your ticket numbers will be emailed to you upon 62

receipt of order and payment. Secondly you can send cheque or postal order payment, with number of books requested, addressed to The Yellow Ribbon Foundation, 16 Latimer Road, Carterton, Oxon OX18 3SE. Please enclose a SAE for us to return your ticket stubs as receipt. Every single penny raised from the sale of tickets will be going to the Forces Children’s Trust - the prizes already having been paid for - and we hope to raise £2000. We know there is a serious recession in place and that it is asking a lot of people to part with money, but if you could make one gesture this year towards a really worthwhile military charity then please consider buying our raffle tickets. You will be helping make such a difference to the children they lovingly help and support, and you may end up quids in yourself just in time for Christmas.

The Yellow Ribbon Christmas Prize Draw is registered under the Lotteries and Amusements Act 1976 with West Oxfordshire Council. Promoter: Mrs VLJ Evans, The Yellow Ribbon Foundation, 16 Latimer Road, CARTERTON, Oxon OX18 3SE. Victoria Evans Director - Sales & PR The Yellow Ribbon Foundation 16 Latimer Road CARTERTON Oxon OX18 3SE Tel/Fax : 0845 094 1169 Mobile : 07951 952 441 The Yellow Ribbon Foundation established 2003 Sponsored by Hudson Engineering Services Ltd, The Kinetics Group and Sovereign Capital

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